A talk with my father yesterday/WWII vet

A talk with my father yesterday/WWII vet

This is a discussion on A talk with my father yesterday/WWII vet within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Yesterday I called up my father to ask about the trenches in WWII that someone had mentioned in another thread. As I thought, he said ...

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    A talk with my father yesterday/WWII vet

    Yesterday I called up my father to ask about the trenches in WWII that someone had mentioned in another thread. As I thought, he said they used foxholes.
    He then went on to say that they used the foxholes the Germans dug as they kept pushing them back.
    Anyway, like I've mentioned before, he was a scout for the Darby Rangers and then the First Special Service Force. When the majority of the DR's and FSSF's got killed they combined both units into one, the First Special Service Force.

    As he got to talking he mentioned being on scout patrol by himself one night and getting back in the morning tired and cold. After reporting to his sergeant, who was set up inside a huge haybail complete with bed, he asked if he could sleep there. He was told no, to go out and get in a foxhole because they were going to be taking fire from the "88's" ( 8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37/41 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ). He went on to say that he was pinned down inside his foxhole for 2-1/2 hours as a train 2-3 miles away (he guessed), on the other side of a field, kept shelling them with the 88's mounted to the rail cars. It was during this time where he found a German in a ditch as he was crawling across the field and took his P38.
    He added that he couldn't believe he made it. He said you could watch the railway cars going back and forth on the track shooting. During this shelling the haybail took a direct hit and his sergeant was killed.

    I asked him about how a soldier might return from the war with an issued weapon, as we are always seeing 1911's being mentioned that "grandpa brought back from the war" and it has recently made me curious. He said he didn't know. All weapons had to be turned in before they got on the ship. They were not allowed to have weapons on the ship and even their bringbacks were cataloged and put in storage. He said that some guys mentioned having a gun though. One guy inparticular who played craps a lot...

    And, something that I still have a hard time getting my head wrapped around, he said he turned in his weapons BEFORE being sent to Norway to help the Germans onto the boats and get back where they belonged. He said the war was over then, so they didn't need weapons, so I guess they were there just to show their presence.
    It was freezing and they had to sleep in their pup tents using two sleeping bags. That's a big memory of his that he mentions a lot, from the time I was a kid, how cold he was. He was there for five years, it had to be summer sometime, but being cold is always meantioned. He said it was hard to sleep and nobody wanted to get up, go outside their tent and perform their duty overseeing the Germans, so guys would take turns calling out each others' names when the officer called out the names who were on duty. This way they could stay in the tent and apparently no one noticed you were missing from duty because a voice said Here from another part of the camp, lol. Kind of makes you wonder if 50 guys were supposed to be on duty and only half could be found, so they must have played it smart.

    Anyway, it was a nice talk. He'll be 91 this year and I like when he tells stories from the war. He always gives me a little something he never said before.


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    Thanks for sharing that, PAcanis.
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    New Member Array danrev's Avatar
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    Thank your father for serving, he is one of the greatest gen.




    Quote Originally Posted by PAcanis View Post
    Yesterday I called up my father to ask about the trenches in WWII that someone had mentioned in another thread. As I thought, he said they used foxholes.
    He then went on to say that they used the foxholes the Germans dug as they kept pushing them back.
    Anyway, like I've mentioned before, he was a scout for the Darby Rangers and then the First Special Service Force. When the majority of the DR's and FSSF's got killed they combined both units into one, the First Special Service Force.

    As he got to talking he mentioned being on scout patrol by himself one night and getting back in the morning tired and cold. After reporting to his sergeant, who was set up inside a huge haybail complete with bed, he asked if he could sleep there. He was told no, to go out and get in a foxhole because they were going to be taking fire from the "88's" ( 8.8 cm Flak 18/36/37/41 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ). He went on to say that he was pinned down inside his foxhole for 2-1/2 hours as a train 2-3 miles away (he guessed), on the other side of a field, kept shelling them with the 88's mounted to the rail cars. It was during this time where he found a German in a ditch as he was crawling across the field and took his P38.
    He added that he couldn't believe he made it. He said you could watch the railway cars going back and forth on the track shooting. During this shelling the haybail took a direct hit and his sergeant was killed.

    I asked him about how a soldier might return from the war with an issued weapon, as we are always seeing 1911's being mentioned that "grandpa brought back from the war" and it has recently made me curious. He said he didn't know. All weapons had to be turned in before they got on the ship. They were not allowed to have weapons on the ship and even their bringbacks were cataloged and put in storage. He said that some guys mentioned having a gun though. One guy inparticular who played craps a lot...

    And, something that I still have a hard time getting my head wrapped around, he said he turned in his weapons BEFORE being sent to Norway to help the Germans onto the boats and get back where they belonged. He said the war was over then, so they didn't need weapons, so I guess they were there just to show their presence.
    It was freezing and they had to sleep in their pup tents using two sleeping bags. That's a big memory of his that he mentions a lot, from the time I was a kid, how cold he was. He was there for five years, it had to be summer sometime, but being cold is always meantioned. He said it was hard to sleep and nobody wanted to get up, go outside their tent and perform their duty overseeing the Germans, so guys would take turns calling out each others' names when the officer called out the names who were on duty. This way they could stay in the tent and apparently no one noticed you were missing from duty because a voice said Here from another part of the camp, lol. Kind of makes you wonder if 50 guys were supposed to be on duty and only half could be found, so they must have played it smart.

    Anyway, it was a nice talk. He'll be 91 this year and I like when he tells stories from the war. He always gives me a little something he never said before.

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    VIP Member Array lionround's Avatar
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    If you don't have him on video sharing these memories, you should do that. Not just his war memories, but when he was a child before the war, too. My Mother is 93 and I have 2 hours of video of her sharing her childhood memories.
    WHEC724, OD*, PAcanis and 4 others like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lionround View Post
    If you don't have him on video sharing these memories, you should do that. Not just his war memories, but when he was a child before the war, too. My Mother is 93 and I have 2 hours of video of her sharing her childhood memories.
    Great idea! We video-taped my grandaddy. Now we have it forever and his great great grandchildren can know him a little. What I wouldn't give to have memories like that on video from my older ancestors!
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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Please give that MAN a (very manly) hug from Ghost Tracker. Pappy was a combat B24 crewman and considered himself purely SPOILED compared to WWII Infantry. I bought my folks a nice video camera and tripod, I set-up a pair of chairs and brewed some iced tea. Then I INSISTED that they tell every SINGLE family or personal story they could recall. Well, one story jarred the memory of dozens more. It became 5-6 hours in the telling(s). Now, these are treasured family archives for my yet unborn GREAT grandchildren. Photos are nice, first-person videos are MUCH NICER.
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    Thanks for sharing. When I was around eight to twelve years old we had a family friend who served in the Army in Europe throughout WWI. He talked often of the trenches and I heard a few hair-raising stories of trench warfare. Several of my relatives and friends served in WWII and Korea and I heard about the foxholes and some hair-raising stories. One of my older cousins was awarded the Silver Star as a Marine in Korea. The only time I ever spent in a foxhole was during Advance Infantry Training at Camp Pendleton before going to Viet Nam as a Navy advisor.
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    Awesome, truly awesome. You have a treasure there, which you know. Thank him for us when you can.
    BigJon


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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Thanks.
    What a great generation that was. And the times that followed for us baby boomers to grow up in.
    BenGoodLuck and gatorbait51 like this.

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    Please get any WWII vet in touch with the nearest Honor Flight so they can fly free to DC to see the WWII Memorial, other monuments, and Arlington Cemetery. Check the Honor Flight Network on-line to find the closest to you. I am a proud member of the Board of Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee
    If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd taken better care of myself when I was younger

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    Great conversations to remember. My dad was only 16 in WW11 my granfather could not read english so my dad told him it was for school an enlisted in the Navy. He was a gunner on a landing craft in the pacific. A bunch of guys on his ship LST stole a 30 mm from a disabled tank an mounted it on the landing craft he used it to shoot at machine gun nests as they landed the troops on the beach. After that he went to the marines in Korea was at chosin reservoir 1st marine div still has shrapnel all over pieces work out every once in a while. Has 2 purple hearts an a bronze star he also talks about the cold being the worst thing. He talks about holding a mountain pass with a recoiless machine gun him and two other guys held it for 8 days before they ran out of all ammo than high tailed it out of there giving the retreating marines time to get out. When
    I got drafted back in the late 60's he tried to enlist to go with me would have been a hoot.

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Easy8, your father was part of the landing craft crew?
    That's another story my father has. He mentioned how the landing craft never pulled into the beach when they were being fired on and he would have to get out in water over his head and hope he didn't run out of breath before he got his head above water. I don't know if that's the reason why he doesn't like water or not.
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    Not sure but I will ask he told me most times he was dropping off never said anything about picking up. But his landing craft went to beach talks about having to get sand out of engine an how it filled up boat but they left door down backing up so most of it washed out. His was one of the infantry only boats so it could make it to shore the bigger heavier boats that held jeeps an tanks had much deeper draft so could not get as close.
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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    I was talking about being dropped off.
    I know the footage always shows them pulling right into the beach and dropping the ramp, but not according to my father, lol. I can still hear him talking about it.
    Different theater though. He was over in Europe and North Africa.
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Called dad he says if taking direct machine gun fire would open farther out said it would have been bad to go up on beach drop door it would funnel fire into men they had a better chance of making it if dropped farther out so they could spread out. Thats why the guys would scavenge machine guns an bolt them down anywhere they could to give return fire.
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