The Tracer Incident

      We entered this small town--- quite a number of white flags (made of bedsheets, pillow cases, and towels) flying from the windows. There had - been no firing but ---- as we had learned from previous experiences --- whenever white flags flew, be prepared for gunfire. Lt. Burns then ordered our platoon to dismount and make a house to house search for any German troops.

         Normally, I would use the bolt action German Mauser that I had picked up near Bitche, France. This day I left it in the M-8 as I got out so I grabbed an M-1 from one of the jeeps. The jeep guys were using their carbines and we had several M-ls we had picked up from wounded GIs we had taken back to medical. Corporal Daniels had 'retrieved" a Thompson sub-machine gun and used it throughout the war.

         I quickly checked the clip to make sure I had ammo and began my side of the street. Kicking the door open, I was always prepared to shoot. I had "cleared" three or four houses and arrived at this particular house. Opening the wooden gate at the front, I walked the short walkway to the house (about 30 feet). Tuning the door handle, I then quickly kicked open the door, with my gun ready to fire. Immediately a large German police dog leapt through the air directly toward my face. I was so startled, with this unexpected turn of events I did not shoot. Reacting quickly, I kicked him backward and when he hit the floor he started coming at me again. His mouth was wide open and when I pulled the trigger, the barrel end was almost in his throat. Every fifth bullet was usually a tracer and he happened to draw one. It penetrated almost the entire length of  his body -- exiting at his left flank. These type homes usually had very thick walls and stone floors. Also, the cattle stalls shared the same roof and joined the living area. Well, this tracer struck the stone floor, ricocheted, and became embedded in the bed mattress and began smoldering. Since all this happened within one minute, I then looked to my right and there was an old man and woman. The woman came over and fell on the dog and began crying as the man got a pot of water and poured it on the smoldering mattress. When I saw this, I remembered how much I loved my dog and how terribly upset I became when he was killed by a car.

        There was nothing I could do ---I tried to apologize but they understood no English.

        A sad tale --- a faithful dog protecting those he loved and those who loved him.

----- Mason ( Mickey ) Hardin Dorsey

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