Segment 9


[Annotators Note: this segment begins with George Griffenhagen and the interviewer returning from a break and talking about the engineer unit Griffenhagen was in being attached to other units.] To George Griffenhagen the worst thing about the Higgins Boat [Annotators Note: Higgins Boat is the nickname for the LCVP or Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel] was going down a rope ladder with a full pack to get into it. One problem with the landing was that many boats did not land where they were supposed to. Some were a half a mile away from where they were supposed to be. Griffenhagen had no problem going ashore in Normandy. When he went ashore in Sicily he was walking ashore in waist deep water and stepped into a bomb crater. He sank down into it but managed to keep his rifle dry. Through the entire war Griffenhagen carried an M1 rifle. There was very little action going on when he went ashore. The dead were being picked up. They were marched up to a hedgerow field where they camped out. Griffenhagen dug his foxhole then got called for guard duty at the entrance to the field. When he returned to his foxhole there was a dead German in it. The enemy soldier had been dead in the tree above the hole and had fallen into it at some point. The first six weeks they were building roads and bridges. His company had the responsibility of building a platform for the first entertainment group from the United States to visit Normandy. The group was led by Edward G. Robinson and had a dancing group with it. They had just finished the work on the platform and the entertainers were beginning to rehearse when ack ack [Annotators Note: anti aircraft fire] started coming in. They all dove for cover. Griffenhagen dove under a half track and Edward G. Robinson dove under the same vehicle. Robinson played a tough guy in the movies but was terrified during this time. Nothing happened and the alert only lasted about five minutes. Griffenhagen wishes one of the pretty dancing girls had dove under the half track with him instead of Robinson.


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