Tuesday, August 17, 2004
In WWII, several Men take part in an insane attempt to destroy a German Machine Gun post.
The Machine Gun Nest
"Forward!" cried the captain, and we ran forward through the field. Almost
instantly, a barrage of bullets came zooming around us.
The noise filled the air, loud and repetitive, the blast of the machine gun
clogging out all other noise. It was hard to think.
It was D-day plus four. I was a corporal in the US army. We had broken
through on Omaha beach, and I had also survived several firefights with the
Germans. I had had my baptism of fire on D-day, so nobody considered me a rookie
any longer. Although I survived the invasion on the beaches, and several
firefights since, I was still scared sh*tless.
We ran on forward, and I could barely make out the figures at the end of the
field, crouched over a pile of sandbags and a machine gun, which was blazing
It was a mad rush; it was my guess that the captain wasn't thinking clearly.
Four men to take out a machine gun nest. This was impossible. But we had to
"Hit the ground!!" Shouted the captain at the top of his voice, and I flung
myself to the ground with the three others, behind some shrubs and high grass.
The Germans stopped firing momentarily.
I looked to Sergeant Will Tate, who lay crouched beside me. On his filthy
face I could make out a look of pure determination. I respected that, and wished
I could show such courage.
The Germans began firing again.
Private Caparzo, who was to my left, muttered, "F*ck it."
The Captain was giving orders, I knew because I saw his lips moving, and he
was pointing. It seemed that everyone could hear him but me. He finished his
orders and put a new magazine into his Thompson. The Germans stopped to reload.
"Now!" He screamed, "Covering fire!! With that, Caparzo, Tate, and Williams,
the fellow who lay beside Caparzo, got up and ran forward like maniacs. The
captain and I remained, the captain firing away on his Thompson.
I held my rifle in my arms and fired several shots forward, to add to the
Suddenly, a bullet embedded itself in my helmet. I fell backwards clumsily.
The captain smiled, not taking his eyes of the action ahead of him, and said
Now I was as scared as ever. I hugged the ground and closed my eyes, lying as
low as I could. The bullets zoomed overhead. I couldn't think, I couldn't hear,
I couldn't move. I opened my eyes to narrow slits and looked through the grass,
making sure not to raise my position.
I saw Williams' lying on the ground in a small depression, just ten metres or
so ahead, riddled with bullets. As Tate ran forward, I saw a bullet strike him
in the shoulder, and he fell on the ground.
Caparzo, realising the hopelessness of the situation, turned around and ran,
as the Germans stopped to reload. He ran as fast as a gazelle, dropping his
rifle near Williams' corpse.
I lay as still as a rock, and saw Caparzo hit the ground as the Germans
started firing again.
I wiped my face with my sleeve, and, noticing my stress and thirst, reached
over and felt for my canteen.
The German fire was strong, bullets zooming overhead, the sound filling the
air. My heart was beating like a brass band, and I saw with woe, the captain lay
on his back. Two bloody holes were in his forehead and chest.
"Oh god!!" I half-spoke, "Shit...oh no, no, no..."
I looked through the grass again, searching for Caparzo.
I spotted him in the grass ahead of me, his hands covering his head. He was
crawling slowly on his belly towards my position. Good, I thought, he was still
I observed the German nest at the far side of the field. It was only about
forty metres away from me.
I clasped a grenade from my belt. I knew that I had to die in honour rather
than be killed a coward.
I shot up and ran forward. It was like a miracle, as I ran forward, none of
the bullets hit me. I kept running, and screamed in rage at the top of my lungs
"Take this, you Nazi mother-f*ckers!!" as I flung the grenade into the nest.
I felt a penetrating, pain as a bullet went right through my hand and out the
Then I hit the ground, and covered my head.
The firing stopped and I heard the Germans at the nest shriek.
The grenade exploded, and did away with the soldiers and the nest. I looked
up, with my hands above my eyes to shield me from any dust. I was mighty close
to the nest when I threw the grenade, so I had a minor shrapnel graze.
Those Germans were dead, all right.
As I ran back, Tate called me from the ground. He was wounded in the shoulder
and the knee. I said nothing, and dragged him over my shoulder. ԓThanks..." He
managed, and he then went unconscious.
I lay him down in the grass beside where the captain lay.
"How's Tate, is he okay?" Asked Caparzo.
"He's been hit in the shoulder and in his left leg-he's out now." I replied.
"I'll take a look at Tate-you radio for some assistance."
Caparzo leant over Tate, and I took the captain's radio, and switched it on.
"Does anyone read me?" I asked into the radio.
"Roger, I read you. This is Captain Sam Smith of the 101st, over."
Came the reply.
I continued. "We have two men down and one man wounded, we require immediate
on 08/17 at 06:56 PM