Joining the Army

Ranger Training

Training for the Normandy Invasion

Landing Plan for D Day

Fighting to the Pointe

Maisy Battery

Getting Rest, Replacements, and Shot

Saarlautern to the Battle fo the Bulge

Behind the Lines at Zerf

Blackouts and Buchenwald

Occupation Duty

After the War

They thought We Were Criminals

I Don't Want to go to the Hospital

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Daniel Farley tried to enlist in the Marine Corps but they turned him down. He then went to the army and they took him right away. He was a Golden Gloves boxer prior to joining the army. The attack on Pearl Harbor came as a surprise. He was at church when the attack occurred. His father had stayed home because he was not feeling well and heard about it on the radio. When they got home from church Farley's dad told him and his three younger brothers that they were all to go into the service. One of his brothers died of pneumonia before he could enlist. Farley's dad had taught him demolitions and how to handle TNT and black powder which he had learned from working the coal mines. Farley never worked in the mines. When he was 18 he joined the army. Farley enlisted in the army on 29 March 1942 and was sent to Fort Thomas, KY. After being issued his uniforms he was sent by train to Fort Leonard Wood, MO for 13 weeks of infantry basic training. They then took part in maneuvers and Farley saw General Patton. After basic training a call went out for volunteers for the Rangers. Farley wanted to get out of Fort Leonard Wood, MO so he volunteered. Farley became acquainted with a family in Waynesville, MO. He went to get a beer at a place that was set up in a double wide trailer. It turned out that the place was a brothel. When they volunteered they went before a board of Ranger officers who had seen combat during the raid at Dieppe. The first American killed on the European continent was a lieutenant from Franklin, LA. After going before the board they were sent for a psychological test. When they went before the board of officers they were completely naked. Farley was accepted and sent to Camp Forrest, TN where he took his Ranger training with the 5th Ranger Battalion.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army with Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] Ranger training was hard. The Rangers are the most highly trained troops in the army and Marine Corps. They trained by tossing logs back and forth and did a seven mile speed march every morning. They also learned to fire every American infantry weapon and with the Canadian .55 caliber antitank rifle. They fired five shots from the Boys antitank rifle. They also fired the 81 millimeter mortar, 60 millimeter mortar, the M1, Springfield, Thompson submachine gun, and the BAR. The carbines came later. They also trained on the 300 radio and with walkie talkies. From Camp Forrest they were sent to Fort Pierce, Florida for amphibious training with rubber boats. The training was one in conjunction with the navy and coast guard. From Florida they were sent to Fort Dix and Camp Kilmer where they continued training. They would be taken in blacked out two and a half ton trucks and dropped off in an unknown location and told to find their way back to base by a certain time. This type of training was done multiple times. On the second trip they were dropped off early in the evening and told to be back at noon the next day. They were hungry when they passed through a small town and saw a man sitting on his porch. They approached the man and asked for water. The man's wife was having a bridge party and had several sandwiches made up which they gave to Farley and the seven other Rangers.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army with Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] They went abord the Mauretania which was a sister ship to the Queen Mary. Seven days later they were in England. The 5th Ranger Battalion was the only unit aboard the Mauretania. They also returned to the United States together as a unit. They conducted excercise and training for at least seven or eight hours a day aboard ship during the trip. When they got to England they continued training. In England they had trouble between the white and black soldiers. Things were so bad that the white soldiers would go out one night and the black troops would go out the next night. There were constant fights over women and booze. They went to Wales and to Scotland where they conducted amphibious training on LCAs with the British commandos. They were lectured by a commando lieutenant colonel about sheep in the area they would be training in. From Scotland they went to Swanee in England where they practiced climbing cliffs. When they checked into a hotel in the area they were told that they could bring their gear upstairs using the stairs but after that they had to climb up the side of the building and rappel down. They were training to go to Pointe Du Hoc. In town when they went out the local people would avoid them. Finally a chaplain went to talk to one of the religious leaders in the town and was told that the engineer unit that had been there before they arrived had told the locals that all of the Rangers were convicted felons who would be pardoned if they survived the war. They knew they were training to go over to France. They were marched to a location that was closed off and guarded by military police. They were locked in there. They trained on fireman ladders climbing up one side and down the other. Before they were locked up they went on a 25 mile hike. On the hike they followed an old Roman road.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army as a rifleman in Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] In the lock up they had a sand table mock up of where they would be going. The plan was for three companies of the 2nd Ranger Battalion to go up the cliffs. The 5th Ranger Battalion was to follow them up when they got the signal. The 2nd Ranger Battalion lost thier communications equipment so the 5th Ranger Battalion did not get the signal that the 2nd Ranger Battalion had reached the top. Instead they were routed to a different landing site. Farley watched the USS Texas fire a full broadside and the ship rocked over so far Farley thought it would sink. Farley and many of the other Rangers got very seasick in the landing craft. They were supposed to go over on 5 June but did not because of the weather. A destroyer steamed in a circle around the troopship and invited some Rangers over for steak and ice cream. A lottery was held and Farley was selected. When Farley went aboard the destroyer the first guy he saw was a guy he went to high school with. Farley landed in Normandy on the Dog White sector of Omaha Beach. General Norman Cota ordered the Rangers to lead the way and that is how they got their motto.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army as a rifleman in Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] The 29th Infantry Division was still landing when the 5th Ranger Battalion went ashore. The firing on the beach was heavy. Farley had bullets passing between his legs and flying past his head. As they advanced inland they got separated. Lieutenant Soulliere [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling] was hit in the hand and when he raised his wounded hand in the air most of the men in the company thought he meant to halt and they hit the dirt. The company commander of Company A and 23 other members of the company including Farley moved through a drainage ditch. When they reached the rendezvous there was nobody there. They turned and made their way toward Pointe Du Hoc fighting all the way. Finally they had to circle back because they had prisoners. They disarmed the Germans then turned them loose. While Farley was on point he smelled a position and they advanced on it the 10 Germans surrendered. They continued on fighting the whole way. They encountered hedgerows but dodged them and stayed closer to the beach. Finally they reached the 2nd Ranger Battalion at seven o'clock that night. They had been fighting since six fifteen that morning. That night there were 90 effectives out of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 5th Ranger Battalion, and two guys from the 101st Airborne Division. They ran out of food, water, and ammunition and had to go back down to the beach to take what they needed off the dead and wounded. On 7 June a liaison officer from the navy came in and brought food and radios. They had been forced to fire German weapons. On 8 June the rest of the 5th Ranger Battalion, the 29th Infantry Division, and a tank outfit arrived. The tank unit opened fire on them because they heard the German weapons. Farley had been firing an MP40 submachine gun.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army as a rifleman in Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] On 9 June Company A and Company F of the 5th Ranger Battalion knocked out the big German artillery battery at Maisy. For Farley it was rougher than D Day. They were told to fix bayonets but did not have to use them because the Germans started to come out and surrender. The SS men in the area started shooting their own soldiers in the back for giving up. In one of the bunkers Farley found a payroll of French francs. The men could only send home what their pay was so they could not send much of it home. Farley did not smoke so he saved all of his cigarettes and would get his buddies to send money home for him. The fighting at Maisy was five hours long and gun to gun. They captured more prisoners there than they did at D Day. They came across an SS captain who had held a grenade to his own head and killed himself. The bunkers in the area were fixed up. There were dining areas and a hospital. When the Germans surrendered they destroyed the guns and left. After the fighting at Maisy they got a two day break.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army as a rifleman in Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] The German rifle was not very good compared to the M1 Garand but their machine guns and the 88 were great. The Germans used the 88 for everything. On 9 June they knocked out Maisy [Annotators Note: the German artillery battery at Maisy]. Farley went back to Maisy since they opened it up for visitors. It brought back a lot of memories. There were three of them there. One guy was not at Maisy because he had been wounded on D Day. During their two day break they checked their weapons and socked up on ammunition and got something to eat. They took a beating for a while. During the fighting around Maisy Farley got the Silver Star. He pulled a fellow Ranger out of a minefield after the man had stepped on a mine. By 9 June they had lost 31 wounded and killed out of 65 officers and men. Then they got replacements. When a soldier was wounded they were sent to a replacement center and could be assigned to any unit but Rangers were returned to their original unit. When they got replacements they had been trained as Rangers. The replacements arrived on 9 and 10 June. One of the replacements was from New Roads, Louisiana. After their two day break they were responsible for handling the prisoners down on the beach. They had turned several prisoners on D Day and Farley believes that the word had gotten back to German troops that if they surrendered the Americans would not hurt them. One Ranger in another company cracked up and killed a prisoner. He was run out of the Rangers. The prisoners were preparing to go work on farms in Louisiana and Mississippi. Then the Rangers went back into action with the 29th Infantry Division and 1st Infantry Division. Then they went to Brest where they knocked out the submarine pens. From there they were assigned to Patton's 3rd Army. This was in September or October. Between June and October Farley was in a hospital. He had been shot in the shoulder by a sniper in a church steeple in .

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army as a rifleman in Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] Farley was hit in the shoulder by a sniper in a church steeple. The Rangers with him shot the sniper. It was not until two days later that was sent to a hospital. He had been shot on 4 July [Annotators Note: 4 July 1944]. He was sent to a hospital in Oxford, England and had a cast put on his arm. He returned to his unit at the end of the fighting in Brest. They got a five or six day break then got assigned to Patton's 3rd Army. They were attached to a motorized cavalry unit out on the flanks and were tasked with conducting advanced reconnaissance. They took part in the battles around Saarlautern. They fought against a Tiger tank in the town of Saarlautern for two days. After they took out all of the German infantry the enemy tank left. After Saarlautern they took part in the Battle of the Bulge. In Bastone there were a number of units other than the 101st Airborne. As the 4th Armored advance on Bastone the 5th Rangers were protecting the flanks. After the Battle of the Bulge Patton kept the Rangers as his ears and nose smelling out trouble.

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In February [Annotators Note: 5 February 1945] Daniel Farley and the 5th Rangers got word to assemble in a certain area. They were to enter a town on the Saar River across a bridge built by the 94th Infantry Division. They were going to get behind the enemy lines. They moved at night carrying landmines, mortar shells, ammunition, rifle, a k ration, and D bars. Their job was to cut off a road to keep reinforcements from entering the Saar Moselle Triangle because the 10th Armored Division and the 94th Infantry Division were going to make a move. Around daylight Farley and John Perry stopped a vehicle that was transporting a German Army doctor and three medical assistants as well as supplies. They were five and a half miles behind the enemy lines. It was a great catch. The doctor took care of the American and German wounded. At Zerf they fought one battle after another against a fresh German mountain division that had just come from Norway. They wiped out the whole German division over a period of nine days. They had been told by 20th Corps that they would only be there for two days before the 10th Armored Division and 94th Infantry Division. They got their second Presidential Unit Citation for the fighting at Zerf. They had received their first for D Day. The Germans were sending reinforcements through the Zerf area. It was the job of the Rangers to stop them. Each Ranger company had its own job to do and they would switch up depending on the circumstances. They also took hundreds of prisoners during this time. The battalion lost more men during this time than any other battle they were in. There were 72 men from Company A who landed on D Day. When they left Zerf in March 1945 there were 12 D Day veterans remaining. The second time Daniel Farley was wounded he was hit by shrapnel from German nebelwerfers [Annotators Note: rocket artillery]. Those rockets were scary. Farley saw one guy lose it completely during one of the rocket attacks.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army as a rifleman in Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] When the war ended they were on the border of Austria and Czechoslovakia. On 8 May 1945 the lights came on at night all over Europe. It was the first time Farley had seen lights at night since 1941. There were blackouts back in the United States but Farley thinks it was just to make people aware that the country was at war. While they were attached to Patton's 3rd Army they were told to go to the concentration camp at Buchenwald. When Farley arrived, Eisenhower, Bedell Smith, Patton, Bradley, and other generals were there. Farley was told that General Eisenhower told Patton to send out troops to gather up all of the civilians they could and bring them back to the camp. Patton sent the Rangers to do the job. The civilians all denied knowledge of what had happened. A black tank outfit had gone into the camp first. There were four or five outfits there. When the Rangers brought the people back to the camp they escorted them through it. They said they did not know about the camp but the place could be smelled from very far off. The worst Nazis came from Austria. They were awful. Buchenwald smelled like dead bodies. Farley saw a lot of bodies and very thin people. They were told to not give the camp inmates food but they did anyway. They gave them cigarettes too. They just did not give them candy or chocolate. They had already given all of their candy to the German children. The people were so thin. When Farley was living in Gaithersburg, Maryland he met a man named David Thornton who had been an inmate at Buchenwald. Farley ended up dating David's niece.

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[Annotators Note: Daniel Farley served in the army as a rifleman in Company A, 5th Ranger Battalion.] There were a lot of good Christian German people. After Germany surrendered Farley was assigned to occupation duty. He was there from June until October 1945. They patrolled all over the territory looking for members of the SS who had escaped. When they found them they would turn them over to the MPs. One time Farley, Lieutenant Stan Atkins, and Henry Deck took a train load of prisoners from Munich to Berlin and let them go. Then they were given special duty in the mountains. They came across a cave in which they discovered millions in American and British currency as well as jewelry and paintings. Farley thought it was all counterfeit. They notified the battalion commander who contacted SHAEF [Annotators Note: Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force] Headquarters. SHAEF sent a couple colonels to the cave site. The colonels told Farley and his group that they were sending their own guards. When they were on occupation duty they had access to a brewery and a stable full of horses. In another town they were in one of their officers, Parker, would meet with the town mayor every morning to make sure the civilians did not need anything. One morning a woman complained about soldiers making too much noise. It turned out that it was Parker's house. While in Margraffen [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling] Farley became acquainted with a German family. He would take them coffee and other items they could not get. They took over a building to set up their mess hall. After meals German kids would stand outside by the garbage cans to collect what the soldiers threw away. The soldiers would always get seconds then give it to the kids so they had something to eat. Farley believes that the German Whermacht was a good organization but the SS and others were not. The German soldiers were good men fighting for the wrong cause.

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Daniel Farley has been back to Europe several times. It was not difficult for him to go back the first time because there were still a lot of guys from his Company A that were still living. When they went back to Maisy for the 50th Anniversary the locals had their names and put them up during their stay. In the town there is a memorial to the Rangers and the town square is named Ranger Square. They were even taken out into the English Channel to Pointe Du Hoc. There were a lot of people there including Bill Clinton, President of the United States, and his wife Hillary. After giving a speech Clinton shook hands with all of the Rangers. Farley has met both Bushes and Collin Powell. He also met Sullivan who was the Chief of Staff of the Army in 1945. Farley received a medal from the French government but did not go back to Europe the year this interview was recorded. Farley was born and raised in West Virginia but now lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He spent 12 years in the army. He was stationed in Panama but after his wife's son was killed they returned to the United States. Farley had received a commission but resigned it to return to America. Panama was good duty. His wife was from northern Louisiana. Many of his grandchildren went to school in Louisiana. Both Farley and the interviewer are Saints fans. Farley has been to the Museum [Annotators Note: The National WWII Museum] four times. He thinks the Museum is a great thing. He plans to visit the Museum the year after this interview. He is also attending the Ranger reunion. Farley was able to go to college on the GI Bill. He stayed in the army after the war then when he got out of the service he started his own company. He ran the company for years until his wife got sick. The war also affected his brothers, one of who was in the navy and the other in the Air Corps. Farley's parents divorced and both remarried during the war. He did not want to have to decide which of his parents to live with so he reenlisted in the army at Fort Meade, MD.

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