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An Infantryman's True Story in Normandy — by Rocky


Beach headI landed on D+2 at Utah Beach, Normandy, France as a replacement for Company " C " 357 Inf. 90th Division. I fought as a rifleman from June 8, 1944 to Jan. 13, 1945, without being wounded. Any infantryman, who landed in Normandy, France on June 06, 07, 08. or 09,1944, saw plenty of combat action against the enemy. (The German Army).

An infantryman had to fire his weapon, whether it was a M1 rifle, BAR, or machine gun, at the enemy. He also had to throw hand grenades from behind one hedge, to where the enemy was taking cover, behind another hedge. At the same time he has to seek cover behind a hedge, all the while, he is being fired upon by the enemy with rifle fire, concussion grenades, machine gun fire, motor shells, and artillery.

He has to pray, that he is not wounded or killed. He has to relieve himself often, (pee). When darkness falls, he has to dig a fox hole, and open a can of "C" or "K" rations, then if he has a buddy near him, they take turns on guard, one sleeps 2 hours and then the other one, wakes him, and then he sleeps, 2 hours. This is to be sure that the enemy doesn't counter attack, and catch us both asleep. If the enemy doesn't attack during the night, then we have to attack. Some days we may take one or two rows and some days we take none, other days we have to fall back.

This hedgerow fighting went on for over a month until we finally broke out of the hedgerows. It was a great relief to be able to ride atop a Patton Tank until we met resistance again. Then it was back to fighting and digging foxholes again.

General Patton was our commander. We hated him because he made us continue to chase the enemy, after we broke out of the hedgerows. We were tired. Then our Sherman Tanks ran out of gas, and we had to park them in open fields.
This is when the enemy observers saw us and they zeroed in on us, and we were clobbered. After that we all loved General Patton and think that He was the Greatest General we ever had.

We had just broken through the hedgerows of Normandy and were traveling fast and meeting no resistance. We entered the town of St Susanne and settled down for the night. My sergeant told me to stand in the middle of the road because "B" Co was coming through and I was to tell them to go to the left, at the fork in the road about 50 yards up the road.

It was about midnight and I heard a truck coming and soon saw it approaching me. I said "HALT" and jumped onto the running board, I asked "B" CO, and heard the driver say "VAS IS". I realized then that they were Germans.I jumped off the running board and started to run toward the buildings, yelling "JERRY"S' JERRY'S. My squad opened fire on the truck as it started to move forward. It went about 20 feet and stopped. We counted nine soldiers in the back of the truck and three in the front seat. All were dead or dying. My sargent removed a lueger pistol from the dead Captain and gave it to me.

We moved so fast in the breakout of Normandy that there were pockets of Germans hiding out in different locations.Most of the Germans didn't realize that we were ahead of them. This is one of the many combat experiences I was involved in.

Bronze StarU. S. Army Service

• Entered U.S.Army on Nov. 01, 1943
• Honorable Discharge from U.S.Army on Nov. 17, 1945.
• Basic training at Camp Croft, So.Carolina.
• Arrived in Plymouth, England in April 1944 to train for the Normandy, France Invasion.
• On June 08, 1944 I landed in Normandy, France. I was One of the first replacements for the 90th Infantry Division, Company "C" 357" Regiment. "D-Day" was on June 06, 1944, I landed two days after the Normandy invasion.
• I fought in every Battle from June 08, 1944 to January 13, 1945. I got " Trench Foot", (Frozen Feet) and was hospitalized in England for three months. I was unfit for combat duty and was assigned to a non-combat engineering outfit in southern France.
• The War ended in Europe in September 1945, and I was on a ship, going to the South Pacific, when the War ended with Japan and we came back to the States.
• My BATTLE CAMPAIGNS include Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Battle of the Bulge.
• Received Bronze Star Medal.

Rocco N. Gedaro

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