Segment 2


They [Annotator's Note: Zager and the 71st Infantry Division] were put in a convoy and were sent to the front. The convoy stretched out for over twenty miles. Zager was a jeep driver/motor messenger. He received the vehicle in Belgium and trained with it at Old Gold. The man that Zager trained with was the only other Jewish person in the outfit with Zager.The entire division ended up at a place called Bitche, France. In Bitche the Germans were not far away, maybe two to three hundred yards. They proceeded to hunker down in foxholes for the night. They had orders to stay in their foxholes. Their first casualty was a result of friendly fire. A soldier had to use the restroom in the middle of the night and walked forward of the line. According to Zager they, "put quite a few bullets into him."Zager and his driving aid Stevenson named their Jeep "Betsy." As the front kept moving it was hard to communicate initially because the rear echelon operations of stringing up wire and so forth took awhile. Zager and his band of Jeep messengers were a critical link between headquarters and the front.When Zager would get a message there was a system of encoding that would need to take place. As a message would go from headquarters to the front line and vice versa, it was important that it was encoded because as Zager points out, "I got shot at almost every day."Zager recalls an incident when he was in his Jeep and three silver P-47's [Annotator's Note: American P-47 fighter planes] came up behind them and strafed them. Zager had to bail out of the Jeep to avoid being hit by machine gun fire.Near Bitche there were several hundred artillery pieces. As they moved out of Bitche the artillery pieces opened up against the Germans. Zager happened to be near the artillery when it opened up and recalls the power of the concussive blasts that echoed through the air. It caused one of his ears to bleed. They broke through the German lines and came up to the Maginot line.


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