First I have to congratulate the French who with typical Gallic dash and cunning executed the best counter move to a restrictive battle scenario I could have ever imagined! Wow! As the opposing force we Fallschirmjäger need to learn to expect anything. It was highly unexpected that the French would get up at 6am and hump down into the woods and lay in wait for the us. The DBLE hit the Fallschirmjäger from behind when all the firepower was up front. What a surprise! Our rear echelon folks took quite a hit.
Another lesson this Fallschirmjäger learned was that there are always Allies around. I took a hit from a Legionnaire in the woods… on a grassy knoll when I was leading another patrol. I had assumed there were no Allies in the area I was walking in on the road; wrong. (One of our own was perched on his R-75 in the middle of the road smoking a cigarette… totally ignoring his hits so I thought there weren’t any Ami’s around.)
The ambushes were the highlight of the day. Ambush number one was when Herr Hauptmann sent another Jager and I hunting for the flanking Amis. We walked a deep gully away from the action and then paralleled the general direction of the road. We came to a second gully where we thought the Amis were. Behind the gully was a huge hill. We scaled the back side of it and surprised a couple of locals watching the battle below with binoculars. My partner spotted 6 Amis lying on the far side of the ravine below us. With the general battle noise they would not have heard our shots. So we moved down and close and did a simple banzai charge. So we got two of them… before we both got shot. Kinda farby…
My next ambush was a small effort also. I had noticed a Legionnaire in the woods near the road pinning down our Kubel and a Feldwebel. We had a sniper in the woods but he’d been ineffective at hitting the Frenchman. I set out in a direction away from the front and flanked to the right, following the fence. I snuck up slowly to where the sniper hide was. I got past him heading toward the woods with the French. It was wide open tall grass; a low crawl would have been better but for cactus and fire ants. I approached in a crouch without making any sudden movement. The Frenchman didn’t see me until I stood up for the shot. He stood up and raised his rifle but I already had him sighted. The sniper and I fired at him as soon as he stood. He took a great hit and went down hard. I approached past him and there was only one other Frenchman on the hill but he hadn’t seen me or his buddy go down. I hosed him and came out on the other side of the hill. I found no others so it became apparent there were only a few Legionnaires on the hill holding the road.
I reported that to my Hauptmann and we were instructed to form a team to go find where the 36th was, since the Hauptmann suspected they were flanking again. I led a team down the road the opposite direction from the front. The team was two soldaten from the 167 Volksgrenadier and two Fallschirmjäger with K98s and last me with MP40.
Zwei soldaten 167 Volksgrenadier
As we reached the road split we circled back to the front on the other road. In the distance we heard some muffled vehicle noise and we moved into an ambush across the road. We arrayed on the road and I went forward to sit on the hill past the site to close the kill zone and use the full auto spray on the occupants of the kill zone.
We sat in ambush for a few minutes and we could hear the GIs talking about putting Jeeps into 4L to climb a hill. The two Jeeps crested the hill, waited and then the first one came into the kill zone. They never saw it coming until we lit them up. The first was a jeep with a .30 cal an American Captain and two GIs. They ran right into it when the 98′s opened up I sprayed them from the side. The Captain was so surprised he just yelled “F**k!’ at the top of his lungs, they never even got a shot off.
The next Jeep with 3 more Amis and a .30 drove right up into the KZ and got the same treatment. The Amis on foot came up and started flanking us and at first didn’t see us so we got 4 more of them before they dropped us.
One of our victim jeeps… photo by Scott Swenson, G Company, 36th