Please be advised, some of the information below is intense.
After the events of June 7th, Dad remembers the effects of his concussion were beginning to hamper his ability to function. He remembers being in a farmhouse that was apparently being used as a temporary command post for 1st battalion. This would have been somewhere in the vicinity of Saint-Come-du-Mont. He complained to the lieutenant there of an absolutely blinding headache. The lieutenant gave him some sort of pills and ordered him to go upstairs to the loft and get some sleep. The pills, whatever they were, knocked him out cold. He remembers waking up after it had become dark and going down stairs to find the place deserted. He went outside, a ways from the house, and found a bunch of American equipment, abandoned. Then he heard some voices a ways off, but could not make out what language. Since he did not have a gun, the realized he was a target and went back inside to wait for daybreak before venturing out again.
As it was getting light, he opened the windows in the loft so that he could look out and try and get his bearings. He saw what he thought was either a P-51 or a Spitfire flying low over the countryside, toward the farmhouse. As the plane flew over the house he saw that it was actually a Messerschmitt. Had the pilot spotted him and hit the trigger, Dad could have been blown out of the window.
Having no idea where the 506th was, he left the farmhouse and wandered the countryside trying to locate his unit. Having no luck, he located an aid station where he could help with the wounded. As people came in and out, he continued to ask about the location of the 506th. He later learned that the 506th was down near the town of Carentan, a couple of miles away. He continued to work in the aid station waiting for the opportune time to leave. The two things that were holding him back from leaving were immediate concern for the wounded he was working on, and not wanting to head out unarmed and alone.
One of the things that is clear in his mind was the occasional sniper victim that was brought in. The sniper victims that made it to the aid station were the lucky ones, obviously because they were still alive. There in Normandy, most of the French civilians were happy to see the Americans. But a few were not. There was a big problem with some of the French girls in the area who had been shacking up with the occupying German soldiers. They were not happy to see a good thing come to an end. A group of men would often relax when an area seemed secure, then a single shot would ring out from a window some place, and a man would go down. At that time, no place in the open was really safe, which really played with the men’s minds. Some of the girls were caught. Most were not.
Dad eventually heard rumors of a counterattack against the 506th near Carentan, and realized the urgency of rejoining the unit. There was a group of guys that had an UE2, a small French armored vehicle with a trailer, loaded with supplies headed for Carentan. He saw his opportunity and went with them. He remembers them all stopping to get something to eat along the way, near Carentan. They made a brief stop to get some food near an outpost where a Navy spotter was calling in fire from the ships offshore. The Navy man was bragging about how he could get any target hit in only two salvos. Soon after that, a German ammo dump was spotted on the outskirts of Carentan, and the guys started to take bets on how soon it would be taken out. The Navy man radioed in the position of the ammo dump. In came the first shot and VAVOOM…up it went. The Navy man was wrong…that time it only took one shot!
UE2 French Light Armored Vehicle
Dad remembers heading south on the road, running alongside of the loaded down UE2 after that, and then blanking out. Accounts of what happened then were somehow relayed by someone who was in the area to the doctors who later treated him. The doctors in turn relayed the information to Dad’s brother, Howard, who was stationed in Europe with Patton’s aerial photo recon group. A shell had come down in the middle of the men and the armored vehicle, blowing them all up. Dad was reported to be the only survivor. He woke up in an army hospital tent in a cast from his right hip, all the way down to his toes. After a few days, he was evacuated back to England.