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Part VII - Pushing back the Germans, Starting August 6, 1944 PDF Print
Written by Charles Harper   
Friday, 17 May 2002

August 6, A good nights sleep. Guess a little to good as German planes were over dropping flares and bombed some at division H.Q. Shook things up here but I didnít wake up. The report came in this morning that the Germanís trucked in a bunch of troops to hold a town which was behind our lines several miles. The didnít know we had moved so far forward. Before they knew it they were in the middle of 357 Inf. Lines and were captured before they got out of the trucks. We moved 39 miles yesterday, but as we are now in reserve are far behind the front.
We have just found out that the owner where we are now camped is pro-nazi and has a sign in a tree so he wonít be bombed. We also hear he is the mayor of the town and made them take the American flag down this morning.

A few days back we picked up a pup, and she is having a big time with us. We call her cognac. Of course everyone looks out for her. Moved at 6 p.m. seven miles this time and stayed long enough for supper then moved 11 miles more. We are quartered in a large chateau now. Foggy so no chance for air attack.

August 7, Moved out at eleven, stopped in a small town by the name of Ernee. We were showered freely with flowers. We gave out all the cigarettes, candy, and soap we had. Everyone having a holiday. Had an officer riding with us who could talk some French. Found out the krauts had slept there last night. They are one of the many small groups left. About two miles out of Ernee we were stopped and learned a company of Germans had been contacted. That held us up about three hours. We were just ready to move out when 13 planes came over strafing the hedge rows. And the town we had just left. The strafed just one hedge row from us.

August 8, Moved about ten miles into a large chateau.
Also found a boobie trap hanging from a tree limb so have taped it off with white so no one will get into it. Started raining about chow time but moved up about 8 miles. Several pockets of German soldiers are rounded up every day, their equipment liters the roads as we go along. Stopped raining as we pulled into our new area and settled down for the night.

August 9, Had a hot breakfast of bacon, peach jam and bread. Repaired a tire in Coís Jeep and got 35 cans of gas which pretty well filled up. Collected about 30 Germans during the night and they were on there way to the POW camp now. A kitten curled up on my bed and slept most of the night with me. He had a fight with cognac this morning.

Moving again. Got shot at by a sniper but as he missed we didnít go hunt him down. Saw a German tank that had run into a shell hole and stalled. The engineers built a road around it. The MPís picked up a 2 1/1 ton German Truck. They are going to use it for a patty wagon. We checked it over today and it seems to be in fair shape. We had chow tonight from our own private supply. We had chili, peas, etc. and a gallon of peaches to top it off. We asked three officers to join us. Ltís Smith, Pattock, and Girton. They thought they really had a feed. Went to bed about 11 oíclock.

We are in a thick woods and 5 Germans were captured just as we were stopping. Plenty of chance for more. During the night a man on the tank got trigger happy and strafed the grass and trees all around us before he could be stopped. The tank was camped right next to us. No one was hit but it was close. All was quiet till about three oíclock when we were awakened by machinegun fire and a rifle now and then. We were ready with guns handy but nothing happened.

Next morning we had breakfast of our own rations again. And afterward a French officer joined us. We all helped equip him in a suitable uniform and arms. Many of the French are fighting with us now. We also gave him a good breakfast and he was very grateful for our help. The French are pretty well organized now and help us out a lot. The French will shoot a German on sight so are a lot of help to us. We went through LeMans yesterday, a beautiful old city and a beautiful old Church left untouched by bombs.

August 11, Was wakened about 4 a.m. by gun fire and found that Corp HQ was moving in with us. The guards had discovered a German and as he didnít want to be captured they shot him enough so they could capture him. About 7 we packed up and moved out. Went about 15 miles then we stopped for about four hours and for dinner. After that we moved on for about five more miles making 20 for the day.

The 2nd Fr. Army is ahead of us now and seem to be doing pretty well. After supper I cleaned up then went up to a well after water. One of our men was waiting for me when I got back. He had broken the frame on his glasses and wanted me to see if I could fix it. I got out my soldering iron and put them back together for him. By then another men was having trouble with his grease gun so I got it fixed for him.
According to what we can learn from the German prisoners they donít think they can hold out much over three weeks or a month. They have moved back so fast that they donít have any communication now.

August 12, Moved up 20 miles today. Finished a ring for Hendron during my odd moments, made it from a British Shilling. One of our jeeps ran into a jeep from 357 MPís and messed up the front end. We fixed him up so he could run it and then sent him back to Service Co. to get it repaired. Moved out of Rene about 2:30 saw a lot of destruction. Moved up to Alancon where we saw several tanks stopped and also a lot of fire being thrown at the vicinity. It was still pretty hot there but was soon cleared after we got there. So we moved in and set up for the night. We joined the British forces today.

Be sure and check back again next week for the next installment.

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