Segment 5


The interviewer asks Baker to discuss his arrival in Italy. He arrived approximately the 28th June 1944. His Medal of Honor action didn't happen until the following year. He spent some time in the hospital prior to that action as a result of being shot in the arm in October 1944. He was on a night patrol to take a house on the side of a hill. He took a squad up and lost three men right away. As they went around the house a German soldier came up and both fired at each other. The bullet ricocheted off the ground and broke his arm. When he reported back, his platoon sergeant told him he was hit. He didn't notice it was as bad as it was. Baker lost so much blood he passed out waiting for the doctor. He woke up in the 64th General Hospital in Pisa, Italy to a beautiful Italian woman asking if he wanted a cigarette. He was in the hospital from mid-October to the end of December 1944. He went back to his unit, Company C, after that. Other units were trying to take specific hills, X, Y, and Z, in Italy, generally unsuccessfully. So on April 5th, 1945 they knew it was their turn and they were ordered to take Hill X. They knew they could take it. For a week before the 5th of April they had been bombarding all those hills. And every morning at five or six they would bomb until daylight began. Baker's unit moved from a little town, across an open field to the bottom of the hill and were told to wait until the artillery stopped. Baker had 25 men with him. They moved from hill X, to Y to Z and then went towards Castle Aghinolfi. Baker describes the terrain and an unexpected area they in encountered. There was a rocky path along the hills they followed but they didn't know the path was mined. He thought they heard artillery but it was men in his unit stepping on mines. He lost six men coming up Hill X.


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