Becoming a Soldier

Overseas Deployment

Sicily and Salerno

D-Day Preparations

Entering Normandy

Generals Gavin and Ridgway

Normany Action

Normandy Combat

Command Decisions

Holland to VE-Day

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Wayne Pierce grew up in the small farming community of Polo, Illinois. He was drafted in June 1941 six months before the war started . Though originally unhappy with that, when the war started, the situation was more acceptable. He began his service in the 3rd Division artillery in Fort Lewis, Washington. After the war started, he was selected for OCS. [Annotator’s Note: OCS—Officer Candidate School] Pierce was accepted and received his commission in August 1942. His basic training was in Georgia and then on to airborne training in Fort Bragg. He was assigned to the 325 Glider Infantry in the 82nd Airborne. He was told at Camp Wheeler that he met the requirements to be in the airborne. As far as he could tell, that requirement was for smaller sized individuals. That had possibly something to do with flying in gliders. A couple of commanding officers said as much. That included a small individual named Colonel Lewis who said he preferred the smaller not larger soldiers in his command. [Annotator’s Note: Colonel Harry L. Lewis] Some large men, like DeGlopper, were exceptions, but the rule by Lewis was not to have big, heavy men in his gliders. [Annotator’s Note: Charles N. DeGlopper was the only Medal of Honor recipient in the 325th] At Fort Bragg, Pierce was put in E Company under the command of Captain Dickerson who was a regular Army man. [Annotator’s Note: Captain Robert L. Dickerson would eventually be promoted to the rank of major] There was no difference in the infantry training except they used a mock-up glider for practice on loading and unloading. During training at Fort Bragg, the engineers had built a footbridge for crossing a stream. One of the men fell into the water and drowned. There was a family feeling within the officers at Fort Bragg. A West Point regimental officer named Colonel Scott threw his weight around. [Annotator’s Note: no given name was provided] Scott would take the headquarters group out on three mile runs in the morning. One day when he attempted to perform this routine in the rain, Colonel Lewis came in and stopped that practice. Before going overseas, there was an opportunity to weed out poorly performing officers. That was when Colonel Lewis removed Colonel Scott from the command. Pierce was originally assigned as a rifle platoon leader in Company E at Fort Bragg. Colonel Dickerson recommended a better position for Pierce. As a result, Pierce became the S4—Supply Officer for the First Battalion. He was there when he went overseas. As rifle platoon leader, he had a tough job but the experience came in handy later in combat. A platoon leader handled his men in any type of situation. If the group was bivouacking or fighting, the leader was in command of the platoon and its actions.

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Wayne Pierce was the Supply and Transportation Officer when his Battalion left Fort Bragg. The regiment travelled by train bound for oversea deployment. He signed about 600 men onto the train. Afterward, he and the conductor had the responsibility of counting the troops and to assure that all were accounted for. The problem was that the two men never managed to arrive at the same count of soldiers on the train. The port of embarkation was New York City with Pierce as the Supply Officer. The first arrival point overseas was Casablanca on 10 May. That was when the Germans surrendered in Tunisia. [Annotator’s Note: 1943] The 325th did not fight in North Africa as a result. The regiment was at full strength at that time but full strength was not typical of infantry regiments. There were two not three battalions in the regiment. Additionally, there were three not four platoons in each company. They could have been considered light infantry. The regiment crossed by rail and truck through Fez and other North African towns that had been associated with French Foreign Legion history. Upon reaching a small town, the battalion commander, Colonel Swenson, ordered the enlisted men to leave a restaurant so that the 15 officers could dine there. [Annotator’s Note: Lieutenant Colonel John H. Swenson] He was not favored by the battalion, it even made Pierce feel guilty. In retrospect, if the enlisted men would have tried to eat there, there would have been havoc in the facility. From there, the regiment was moved to a little town named [unintelligible]. A camp was set up in the desert about ten miles outside of town. The men were hot, tired and dusty all the time. There were night problem training there. It was good for them. From there, they flew by glider and then traveled by train to Tunisia where they were stationed in an olive grove. There were trees to get under and dig foxholes. There was a holy city of Kairouan nearby but the men got very few passes to visit the city. From there, the initial entry into combat for the 325th was to have been in the fight for Sicily. Instead, it turned into a fiasco.

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Wayne Pierce and the 325th Glider Infantry did not make the fight in Sicily. A couple of days prior to entry into that combat, there had been an incident of friendly fire that caused casualties to the 82nd Airborne Division troops. They had flown over Allied shipping near Sicily. The gunners on the ships below had mistaken the American airplanes as German and fired upon them. The consequence was that the 325th was held back from the action to prevent further similar mistakes. [Annotator’s Note: the planning for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, included painting three broad white stripes on Allied aircraft wings and fuselages in order to minimize friendly fire incidents] The 325th was flown into Sicily in C-47s to organize for the mission into Rome that was later cancelled. [Annotator’s Note: the Douglas C-47 Skymaster was a transport aircraft used to carry troops and supplies, drop paratroopers, or tow gliders. The mission into Rome was an operation that did not transpire. It involved an American paratrooper drop near the city that likely would have been premature and ultimately disastrous.] Planes were ready to leave with the 504 having one or two planes that were loaded. [Annotator’s note: 504—504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division] The 325th loaded aboard a ship to sail for Salerno. [Annotator’s Note: Salerno was one of three entry points into mainland Italy for the Allied amphibious troops in September 1943] In route to the invasion beach, the ship stopped at Palermo. [Annotator’s Note: on northwestern Sicily] One soldier knew his brother was in Palermo so he left the ship to meet up with him. The ship left without the man but he caught up with his comrades later. Pierce did not go into Sicily. He had injured himself while loading a jeep into a glider in Bizerte. It resulted in him being hospitalized after he was smashed in the back of a glider. Missing Italy probably saved his life. He was in the hospital longer than necessary. The doctors would check his grip and eventually did a reduction of the wrist. Pierce would catch up with the regiment after his release from the hospital in Africa. The regiment had moved from Naples to Ireland and then to Leicester, England. It was there that Pierce caught up with the 325th.

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Wayne Pierce returned to his regiment and was placed in Company B. He went to the battalion commander who told him that he and one other man were in consideration to become the battalion Executive Officer. After several checks of the tenure between the two men, Pierce was selected. That battalion officer would be hurt in a glider landing in Normandy. Pierce would visit with him later after the war. The preparation for Normandy would be at Leicester, England. Other regiments were trained nearby. Pierce was assigned to First Battalion Company B after he reached England. He had been in Second Battalion Company E previously. As Executive Officer there was not a lot for Pierce to do. He served under Dick Gibson who was wounded many times during the war and probably more than any officer in the 325. Leicester was good duty. It was like a second home. When the men pulled out for Normandy, the local English civilians lined the streets and some were even crying. Serving in England was much better than Africa if for no other reason than the ease of communication. In Africa, the troops did not know who to trust. Training at Leicester did not change much. The hedgerows of Normandy were not anticipated prior to the invasion. It was basic training and that was what was needed in Normandy. [Annotator’s Note: the fighting through tough hedgerow terrain was very slow going for the troops after they captured the Normandy beachheads. The heavily rooted and thick vegetation served as good defensive positions for the German troops who knew the terrain well.]

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Wayne Pierce and his regiment were moved to an airbase in the south of England in anticipation of the start of the Normandy invasion. They were sealed in the area for five days without any external communication. The night before leaving on the assault, the men turned in all equipment not designated as travelling with them on the mission. They slept out in the open on the ground before the invasion. They slept for about four hours in their packs with weapons nearby. They had breakfast a couple of hours after midnight and marched to the boarding locations. While getting his meal, a rear echelon officer shouted “good hunting” to Pierce. That perturbed Pierced because the man was not going into combat with him. The men had showers before boarding the aircraft. During the shower, a lieutenant named Gayley sang a song about how it would be a lovely day tomorrow. It made the men feel good. The ironic thing was that Gayley was one of the first men killed the next day. [Annotator’s Note: 1st Lieutenant Jim A. Gayley was killed on 7 June 1944 which was the day the 325th GIR landed in Normandy.] The only men from the 325th who went into Normandy on 6 June were about 90 men who went in by boat and followed a tank unit. [Annotator’s Note: there were insufficient gliders for these men to fly into Normandy so they were assigned to go ashore in Higgins boats or LCVP—Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel on the day of the initial assault. They were to meet up with their fellow members of the 82nd Airborne Division further inland where they paratroopers and glider infantry had landed.] The rest of the 325 went in on 7 June. Pierce and the First Battalion went in a seven o’clock in the morning. In the same group were Colonel Lewis and the regimental command team. [Annotator’s Note: Colonel Harry L. Lewis] Pierce flew in aboard a Horsa glider. [Annotator’s Note: a British manufactured glider that was constructed of heavier materials than the American Waco glider.] The 29 glider passengers could tell the tow plane was having difficulties pulling the glider with its full load and the extra supplies. After Pierce checked with the pilot and copilot, he and the men ditched much of the extra weight they carried in the center of the glider. Out the rear of the aircraft went mines, machine gun ammunition, drinking water canisters and other heavy supplies. At that point, the flying dynamics improved on the Horsa. The altitude rose to be above the tow plane as it should be. They were nearing the coast of France at that point. Once they passed the coastline, the glider was cut loose. During this time, Pierce experienced some airsickness from the glider banking. The aircraft landed in a very good field. After leading his men out of the glider and into a safer location, Pierce became aware that he had left his Tommy gun behind in the glider. He raced back and got it. Prior to retrieving his submachine gun, Pierce had initially entered combat in France without his weapon. [Annotator’s Note: Pierce chuckles at the memory] Many other men found themselves facing combat without their weapons. [Annotator’s Note: the paratroopers who jumped into Normandy were particularly susceptible to having their weapons pulled away from them and lost as a result of the transport aircraft flying at too high a rate of speed for a nominally safe jump.] The landing zone where Pierce came down was not marked in any way. The landing was during daytime and the glider pilot found a good spot to put his aircraft down. The eventual location where the glider stopped was about three miles off primary target. It landed near Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. That was not where they were intended to arrive. [Annotator’s Note: paratroopers and gliders were landed in a scattered fashion over Normandy generally as a result of heavy German antiaircraft fire and difficult weather conditions. Other airborne troops had Sainte-Marie-du-Mont as an objective while Pierce’s platoon did not intend to land there. This randomness caused the Germans great consternation concerning the objectives of the airborne troops.] Pierce’s platoon landed at seven o’clock in the morning. The men organized very rapidly within an hour or two. Within another hour the battalion was together. Pierce found out several of his commanding officers had been lost or injured in the landings at that time. Major Sanford told the men to move through Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and on to Saint-Mere-Eglise and toward the La Fiere causeway. [Annotator’s Note: Major Teddy H. Sanford] That night he and his men ended up behind the railroad at La Fiere. They served as a reserve for Task Force A that was commanded by General Gavin. The force was composed of little groups men from the 504, 507, 508 and 505. [Annotator’s Note: these are regiment numbers for the scattered paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne who were under the command of Brigadier General James Gavin.] In the early evening, General Gavin came by in a jeep and gathered Major Sanford and brought along Pierce to go to General Ridgway’s command post. [Annotator’s Note: Pierce was serving as Executive Officer for Sanford. Major General Matthew Ridgway was overall commander of the 82nd Airborne Division while General Gavin was his Assistant Division Commander.] During the briefing of Sanford by the division staff, Pierce took a bit of a rest. Simultaneously, Gavin had a meeting with Ridgway. Near midnight, the officers left Ridgway’s command post. On the route back, the jeep pulled off the road so the men could rest. The officers went to sleep. Some of the officers huddled up together to have some warmth. Most of the men were separated in small groups. During the night, a German patrol came near them firing their Schmeisser. [Annotator’s Note: the Schmeisser is the German MP-40 machine pistol or submachine gun.] Although the firing woke the Americans; it was obvious the Germans did not know where their adversaries were located. Gavin posted a guard with some of the enlisted men and went back to sleep. Neither Pierce nor Sanford moved as the enemy fired. They thought the other man was awake but remained still. Pierce felt it would be foolish to try to find the patrol when the Germans knew the lay of the land and the Americans did not. The next day, Pierce rode on the hood of the jeep and Sanford rode with Gavin. When the battalion was reached, Pierce and Sanford departed from Gavin who rode onward. The day was spent there. That was when Myers came over and joined them. Ultimately, Ridgway would give the order to attack over the Merderet at the ford that Myers had found. [Annotator’s Note: 1st Lieutenant Joseph F. Myers.]

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Wayne Pierce fought with General Gavin in Normandy. He and the airborne found him to be a god. In terms of Pierce’s personal experience, Gavin did not meet the standards of General Ridgway. Ridgway would remember a man by name the following day after meeting him. Gavin did not have that ability, but he was a young man that an individual would follow anywhere. [Annotator’s Note: Major General Matthew Ridgway was overall commander of the 82nd Airborne Division. Brigadier General James Gavin was Ridgway’s Assistant Division Commander.] Gavin was an impressive leader. Any soldier would like him as a leader. Pierce did find him to be aloof. Ridgway was different in that respect. He did not look down on his men. With Gavin, that feeling was not as strong. In fact, there might have even been a tendency by Gavin to feel that the paratroopers were above the glider infantry. Pierce has no direct anecdotal information to assert that. He only had an impression he gathered while in contact with Gavin. After the war, General Gavin was invited to the 325 Regimental reunion. Although Gavin declined, he indicated that he always depended on the 325. Pierce only briefly came in contact with Lieutenant Myers so he did not have much to add in that context. [Annotator’s Note: 1st Lieutenant Joseph F. Myers.] Major Teddy Sanford was a man like Ridgway. He was the Battalion Commander but he did not look down on his men.

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Wayne Pierce and his battalion had received orders to advance earlier in the evening in the woods adjacent to the railroad. As the helper for Sanford, he kept the men moving on the road and in the proper direction. [Annotator’s Note: Lieutenant Colonel Teddy Sanford was a 325th GIR Battalion Commander and Pierce served as his Executive Officer during this action on the Merderet River near La Fiere in Normandy.] Pierce assured that the men turned off properly at the ford in the river. When the column came to a stop near midnight, he investigated. He found a man seated on the rail asleep. Those behind him were doing the same. That man had a reputation for sleeping in Pierce’s training classes before. Upon Pierce’s initiation, the pace picked back up. The ford was crossed and an orchard reached. C Company was forward of Pierce. They were to advance and make a feint on the enemy in a fixed position inside a castle. Tracers were flying everywhere. C Company fell back and the troops withdrew beyond Colonel Timmes who had about 100 men. [Annotator’s Note: this officer’s surname spelling and given name could not be verified] Moving through the orchard, Pierce thought he would be in the center of the attack with Company C on each side, Company A in the rear and Company B to the left. A Lieutenant Brewster Johnson had been on the attack and told Pierce that the enemy could not shoot very well. Johnson would be dead shortly thereafter. The men crossed two roads and went into a wheat field. Lieutenant Myers was leading Company C. Pierce did not see him or Sanford. Sanford may have been with Captain Stokley on the right. [Annotator’s Note: 1st Lieutenant Joseph F. Myers and Captain Dave E. Stokley.] A German prisoner was captured. He went with the Americans. Pierce joined Sanford and took cover in a ditch with a couple of other men. The platoon advanced beyond them and the firing picked up. After the firing slowed, Sanford went to the road and then returned to Pierce and told him that C Company was wiped out. Sanford withdrew the remaining men to the orchard. Meanwhile, Pierce felt that C Company possibly had survivors. He moved forward to find them. He knocked his helmet off under an apple tree. He retrieved it but expected to be shot at any time. There was a German howitzer in the field. As he proceeded, he could not locate any C Company survivors. He heard German voices and took cover. After unloading his dispatch case and binoculars, he slowly withdrew. He intended to return and get the items left behind. While retiring, he came upon several men from C Company. The men told him that some of the men had surrendered and others were wounded. They withdrew across the road and reached the point where they could see the orchard they had previously passed through. Pierce organized the remnants of C Company into a couple of squads under two sergeants. He informed them that they were going to join up with B Company which was still fighting. When they experienced incoming fire, they ran toward the orchard. There Sanford had reached regimental headquarters and gotten artillery support. Foxholes were dug and the men waited. They heard that 3rd Battalion had been ordered to attack across the causeway. [Annotator’s Note: the Merderet causeway leading to La Fiere] Colonel Sanford ordered Pierce to take C Company and make contact with the paratroopers or 3rd Battalion. Pierce had a man who could speak German with him. They came upon four Germans and told them to get up. The enemy soldiers complied and were disarmed and sent back to the orchard. In the morning of 10 June, a regiment of the 90th Division came through Pierce and his men. They started an attack toward Amfreville. Pierce and his men were elated that they had some help. Pierce returned to pick up his equipment he had left behind previously. The items were gone but the casualties that could be seen in the area were extreme. When he returned to his former position, the 90th was withdrawing. The lines were backing up without regard to soon having their backs to the river. Pierce got the withdrawing Americans to settle down and to regroup for their attack the next day. The order for C Company to attack came from General Ridgway via Colonel Sanford. It had been planned as a feint on the castle with the company to fall back afterward. During that time, Pierce was with Sanford and making sure the men were adhering to the plan of attack. Once he got across the ford, he met up with Sanford. There were about ten men with Sanford when Pierce reached him. Sanford would have had runners for the three companies plus Pierce and a few others for a total of eight to ten men.

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Wayne Pierce had no idea of what was happening with A or B Companies while he was with Sanford and the remnants of C Company. [Annotator’s Note: Lieutenant Colonel Teddy Sanford was a 325th GIR Battalion Commander and Pierce served as his Executive Officer during this action on the Merderet River near La Fiere in Normandy. He had gathered the survivors of C Company after a devastating attack had decimated most of the Company.] Pierce remembers that he had been instructed to fill out a five paragraph field order if something unexpected happened in combat. In a firefight, it just was not practical to fill out forms. Things that were supposed to happen in an attack normally did not happen. Company A of the regiment was originally commanded by Lieutenant Gayley but when he died in the glider landing, a Lieutenant Herlihy took over. [Annotator’s Note: 1st Lieutenant Jim A. Gayley was killed on 7 June 1944 which was the day the 325th GIR landed in Normandy. 1st Lieutenant Thomas P. Herlihy of the 325th GIR would also be killed in action in Normandy in November 1944.] Captain Gibson commanded B Company all the way. [Annotator’s Note: Captain Richard M. Gibson would be promoted to Major within the 2nd Battalion] C Company was commanded by Captain Stokely. [Annotator’s Note: Captain Dave E. Stokely.] Captain Stokely was captured in the attack on the right but escaped. He would become Executive Officer of the 2nd Battalion. He went back to the states to provide advice on proper combat training. In doing so, he missed out on the Battle of the Bulge. Stokely said that the Bulge would have been extremely hard on him since he was from Tennessee. Pierce became C Company commander on 9 June after the ill-fated attack by the company and the capture of Stokely. Sanford sent Pierce down to take command of the remnants of C Company after their disastrous attack. Pierce had about 60 men at that time. He received no replacements. There were only 37 left in the Company when it withdrew from Normandy. A normal company consists of 150 men and five officers. Company G was even worse off. It only had 13 men and possibly one officer when it returned to England. They had been leading the attack on Le Ham. The Company G which advanced across the Merderet causeway belonged to the 401st Parachute Infantry Regiment not the 325th. Pierce was a 1st lieutenant when he took command of C Company very informally. The men told him to watch out for the deceased Captain Bishop who had just been killed by a mortar round. [Annotator’s Note: Captain Alex Bishop] When C Company attacked Caligny, there was a considerable increase in small arms and mortar fire. The attack was helped when the Germans were drawn away by the feint. The Germans returned shortly afterward. The wheat field that was the site of the attack at Cauyuigy was a sizeable area with about foot high wheat in it. There was limited interaction with local civilians, but there was an instance when Pierce woke a citizen from his bed. It occurred while crossing the peninsula. The Company crossed heavy underbrush with a small German tank that fired armor piercing rounds at them. Half of the battalion bounded forward but Pierce’s half stood fast. A regimental S3 with a radio came up and Pierce thought he could get orders from him. [Annotator’s Note: an S3 in a regiment usually served as the Executive Officer for the regiment and carried the rank of major.] Instead, the officer asked Pierce what he planned to do. He moved his men to a building and set up a perimeter. They discovered a container of milk and filled their canteens. The next morning, Pierce could not find his first sergeant. He went into the house and found a man in bed. He shook the man thinking it was his sergeant. A poor Frenchman stood up screaming. All Pierce could do was ask his forgiveness.

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Wayne Pierce felt the night attack on Cauyuigy was the right thing to do. The attack failed because the 400 Americans were outnumbered. The assault faced a German regiment of about 1100 to 1500 men. Waiting it out until morning would have done no good. It was better to attack at night since the attackers were outnumbered. When the paratroopers first arrived, they held both sides of the causeway. [Annotator’s Note: Merderet causeway near La Fiere] They withdrew because it was easier to defend just one side of the causeway. Meanwhile, General Ridgeway knew the 90th Infantry was advancing from the beaches and he had to hold his position. [Annotator’s Note: Major General Matthew Ridgeway commanded the 82nd Airborne troops in Normandy.] It was easier to advance straight down the line. In hindsight, it may not sound like it, but the night attack was the right thing to do. The Germans had as many as six mortars dug into their defensive positions. They also benefited from artillery howitzers to aid with their defense. There were old obsolete tanks that also helped them. [Annotator’s Note: the Germans utilized much of the old armor from the French Army of 1940 which fell into their hands after France capitulated in June 1940.] Pierce spotted two or three tanks that had been destroyed. They were old French tanks but they were still tanks. There were few 88s that Pierce saw in that area. The Americans generally called all German artillery 88s but not all cannons were that size. [Annotator’s Note: the German 88mm artillery gun was a multipurpose weapon. It was originally an antiaircraft weapon that was adapted to antitank and personnel use. Because of its accuracy and utility, it was feared by Allied troops in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations.] When Pierce experienced an attack, it seemed that not all the men got angry at the same time at the enemy trying to kill them. Only half of the men seemed to react against the enemy. In the case of the attack that Pierce witnessed, it seemed that there were far more Americans killed. For the men who had to pick up the bodies, it usually required some imbibing of liquor to prepare them for the task. The dead would be stacked like cordwood on the side of the road. Most of the bodies were Americans. Bud Olson of Montana was a noncommissioned officer responsible for retrieving the dead for proper interment. With only 60 men, Pierce and his C Company were usually held in reserve or protected the flanks. He participated in few direct attacks. When his Company did go forward in the attack, they would serve to keep contact with the division adjacent to his regiment. His Company usually moved quicker than the adjacent units. They would have to slow down and string themselves out. Tactics related to the C Company attack at Cauyuigy are disputable. Whether it would have been best to attack in a column, skirmish line or wedge, the tactical best approach is still debatable

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Wayne Pierce returned to England after Normandy. The regiment stayed there until September when the paratroopers jumped into Holland. [Annotator’s Note: Operation Market Garden in September 1944] The battalion was commanded by Sanford. [Annotator’s Note: Major Teddy H. Sanford] There were 40 gliders assigned to go to Holland but only 19 made it to the objective near Nijmegen. Some returned to England. Some were shot down. Some did not make the planned landing zone. There was one tough battle in Holland on 2 October. Company C led by Pierce was on the left and B Company was on the right. There was a flat with only a few houses. Company B got into trouble and got on the radio pleading for help. Sanford got on the radio and told them to get off the air. Pierce was requested by Sanford to observe B Company’s status and advise him accordingly. Pierce ran across the area and hid behind a bush and could not see anyone from B Company. His radioman chased Pierce down and said Sanford was inquiring about the status. As Pierce advanced further, he was hit in the helmet by a German firing at him. He could tell the enemy was firing directly at him. Pierce returned to the radio and told Sanford to get a tank and fire on the house held by the enemy. After the tank put a few rounds in the house, the firing stopped. Pierce had masked his rank on his helmet by smearing mud on it. The Germans were shooting at everyone so it did not make much difference whether his rank showed or not. Advancing further, the Americans entered the lower part of a house with the enemy on the floors above. An English tank pulled up and Pierce told them to fire on the enemy. After a few rounds, Pierce moved on. Later there was a house on fire and the men were debating whether to wait for morning to move up. Captain Gibson came over and said he would resign his commission if he could get away from the action. [Annotator’s Note: Captain Richard M. Gibson] Gibson did not have command of Company B. He was 2nd Battalion Executive Officer at the time. The next day, orders came to pull back. An Englishman had ridden a motorcycle and been shot at. He had gotten off his cycle and took cover in a ditch. Pierce made sure the man escaped with his motorcycle from the area, too. While at Weiler in Germany, the men looked up and thought they spotted Spitfires but instead it turned out to be Messerschmitts. This was also the time when the Americans were told to celebrate Armistice Day by firing a clip of ammunition. After the Americans fired their weapons, the Germans opened up too. There were no doubt casualties from the incident. The 82nd would fight in the Battle of the Bulge and continue across Germany. They crossed the Elbe River and met the Russians. They found a barrel of wine in Ludwigslust, Germany. Some of the men got quite sloppy so Pierce got the Company together and told the men that he was going to shoot holes in the keg and drain it. He kept five gallons for the first sergeant and unscrewed the bung hole and drained the wine.

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