BIG SHELL

      This is part of my remembering things that happened over there. I wrote this parrellel to our battle log. It was given to all my grandchildren a long with copies of the log. I am not a profesional writer just put down what I could remember. Some times things could get funny and this was one that we laughed about after it happened. I was in C battery and worked the telephones at our fire control. We got calls from hdqtrs and had phones to the gun crews. We also kept records of our shots. We did a lot of interdiction at night and fired heavy in the wee hours so the infantry could jump off in the early dawn. It was interesting.

     We returned to Germany and prepared for the battle to cross the Roer River. We were in several positions before we ended up near the River itself. I remember one position over looking the river where we stayed in an old fort. This may have been along the Rhine tho. We did a lot of firing mostly at night. When we got near the river we had heavy missions at night so the infantry could jump off at dawn. One morning some one else and I made plans to walk up to the bluff overlooking the river to watch the attack. I wanted to pick up a German haversack I had seen in the woods near our position. Spring was coming and the snow had melted leaving the ground soaked as there was still some frost in the ground. We were near the Bluff walking across an open grass field when we heard an incoming shell. We hit the ground, sliding about five feet in the wet and cold grass, lying still waiting for the shell to go off. After we waited and nothing happened we decided it was a dud but most likely the worlds largest shell and we were very lucky as it landed close by. We got up wet in the front and walked up the hill to the OP. There were a few guys there from Headquarters Battery and after we exchanged the usual GI bull one of them asked if we had seen the P51 drop his gas tank. No we had not, but that was why we were still wet in the front.

     I remember crossing the Roer River and going through the town we could see from the OP. There was very little left of the town, piles of rubble with the roads through the town bulldozed so we could travel. We were in several places that all run together with only slight memories of some locations. I remember being in one area firing thousands of yards ahead and on our side was a pack 75 outfit which could only shoot a short distance. The Germans are putting up strong resistance as we are on the Motherland. They are also paying the price for their stubbornness. We experimented with six gun batteries for a while.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

               -- William H. Gieske, 172nd F.A. Bn.

LINKS

BATTLE ACTIVITIES LOG, 172nd FA Bn, U.S.A.

Biography of William H. Gieske, 172nd F.A. Bn., U.S.A.

Back To Justin Oral History, Army Anecdotes

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