The War Log of Bill Allen – part 6

Shoot first…..

“We crossed the line and entered the field. On our right was a belt of trees which concealed a German heavy gun battery which included a rocket gun. These were all firing shells into our lines at the Northern end of the cornfields at the rate of about a dozen per minute. We could see them bursting amongst the trees less than a mile away, we were so near to our own men, and yet so far. The strangest thing about the whole business was that we could not see a single Hun in the whole area.

The two of us began to feel very elated, and we set off to walk in the direction of the lines. After walking for about half a mile through the cornfields, we received our first shock of the day. A section of the corn began to move, and to our surprise, we came upon a Hun outpost with about eight men in it, all very cleverly camouflaged with the corn. One of the men stood up and called to us to go over, we were about thirty yards away at this time. When the Hun stood up we stopped and turned in another direction as though we had not seen him. He was not to be fooled however, and started to walk towards us, at the same time brandishing a Schmeiser sub-machine gun, so we decided to stop. He came up to us, and asked in very good French for our papers (identification), I produced my identity card, the one that I had got from the French civilian who had given me the civvie clothes. The Hun, a Corporal, examined my card then asked the lieutenant for his but of course he had not got one. I was just wondering what he would do when he started fumbling in his pocket as though for his papers, but he produced a Browning automatic pistol instead and sticking it in the German’s chest he fired and shot him through the heart. I grabbed my identity card from the German’s hand just as he was falling to the ground, and then, realizing that it was useless carrying on set off running back the way we had come, at each step expecting a volley of bullets from the remaining Huns in the outpost. However, much to our surprise, and great relief, not a shot was fired. We made for a ditch and decided to hide up in it whilst we made up our minds whether to make a second attempt to get through the lines after dark or return to the other fellows in the marshes at st. Paire. After an hour or so we decided to go back to the other chaps, which was now almost as dangerous as trying to get through the lines, where we had casually strolled past Germans, we had now to strictly avoid them. This was not so easy as there were Germans all around us, and to go past the first batch we had to climb a wall about eleven feet high, drop over the other side, and then make our way across some grounds that contained a group of buildings which appeared to be German H.Q. of some sort. As the Lieutenant slid down the other side of the wall, half of the wall fell down after him with a roar like thunder, or so it seemed to me, but strangely enough no one seemed to have heard the row, so we started across the grounds. About two-thirds of the way over we came to a small river which we had to cross by means of a log, there being no bridge. I got over O.K. but the Lieutenant slipped off and got a wetting, but we had to carry on. At the other side of the grounds we had to climb the wall again, but this time we did it more quietly.

The next stage of the journey included the Park containing the tanks and trucks which I mentioned passing on the way out. This was not so easy so we decoded to go across a field of wheat on out knees and then through the row of vehicles on our stomachs, this took us between two Guards who were posted ten yards apart. We got through without incident, and regained the road which we proceeded along in our stockinged feet. The rest of the journey was without incident except that we got a bit off track, and eventually arrived back in the marshes just as dawn was breaking; the chaps were very glad to see us safe as they thought that we must have been caught, or even worse killed…..”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s