It was a bright sunny day. Blue sky. About April 15,1945. The fourth armored division had arrived at a small town and began meeting resistance. They were receiving fire from anti-tank guns and 88s. The German 88 gun was one of the best weapons - and also most feared - of WWII it was used as an anti-aircraft guun. Was on every German Tiger tank and was also used for anti - personnel. It was said throughout the American ranks that the 88 could hit a helmet at a distance of 1000 yards.
The armored outfit was taking pretty heavy fire, and were returning fire into all the houses and buildings of the town.
Our recon platoon was given the mission of circumventing the town and radio back our observations. We circled off to the right several miles and came back toward the rear of the town through a forest and over a dirt road through the woods. As we approached nearer the sound of gunfire, Lt. Burns ordered the platoon to halt. He then asked Sgt. Williams and myself if we would go on a dismounted patrol with him. We both replied "yes" some 400 yards down the road we came to the edge of the woods. There was a clear field of about 100 yards to the first house. We could then see the town and, with binoculars, could see that the German tanks had simply smashed into the houses and buildings from the rear and had the 88s protruding from the windows in front and were firing at the armored units.
I didn't much cotton to the Williams carbine that were issued to us of the mechanized forces. Somewhere near Bitche France I had picked up a German Mauser rifle from a dead soldier. I had also "retrieved" a carrying case handled carton of ammunition. Near Bitche I fired it many times and had it "zeroed" in for 100 yards.
As we were observing the town and making notes as to the enemy equipment, two German soldiers came from around the house and started walking across the field at sort of right angles to us. Lt. Burns said "we want to capture them if possible. You shoot in the dirt in front of them, and, if they don't surrender - shoot". The two Germans had their rifles slung over the shoulder.. Immediately after Burns fired and the dust rose in front of them, each began unslinging his rifle. I quickly fired at the one slightly behind and he fell immediately. I then used the bolt action of the Mauser and injected another round, quickly drawing a bead on the other. I could see that he was already falling (Sgt. Williams had shot) but I could determine the impact of my second shot.
My first shot had obviously killed him quickly, but the other soldier began screaming "Hilfe - Hilfe". Thinking other enemy might have heard the firing, or there might have been others coming to us through the woods to our left, I ran about fifty yards to the other edge. There were no other Germans approaching. Lt. Burns then called for me to run back and get our platoon medic; which I did and brought him to Lt. Burns. Burns then asked him to go and attend to the wounded soldier but the medic refused. As they were talking, a man and woman came out of the house, got his arms over their shoulders and carried him up the three steps into the house.
We then retraced our steps to our vehicles. Lt. Burns wrote out a report giving specs as to enemy strength, which I then encoded on our M-209 cryptograph, sent it to division HQ by CW on our SCR 536 CW radio.
The town was later overrun and captured by the fourth armored and 71st infantry divisions.
----- Mason ( Mickey ) Hardin Dorsey
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