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.Meanwhile six German soldiers decided they had had enough; they came marching down the connecting trench to the second gun, hands over their heads, calling out "No make dead! No make dead!"Pvt.John D.Hall of A Company joined the group.Winters ordered a charge on the third gun.Hall led the way, and got killed, but the gun was taken.Winters had three of his men secure it.With eleven men, he now controlled three 105s.At the second gun site, Winters found a case with documents and maps showing the positions of all the guns and machine-gun positions throughout the Cotentin Peninsula.He sent the documents and maps back to battalion, along with the prisoners and a request for more ammunition and some reinforcements, because "we were stretched out too much for our own good." Using grenades, he set about destroying the gun crew's radio, telephone, and range finders.Captain Hester came up, bringing three blocks of TNT and some phosphorus incendiary grenades.Winters had a block dropped down the barrel of each of the three guns, followed by a German potato-masher grenade.This combination blew out the breeches of the guns like half-peeled bananas.Lipton was disappointed when he returned with his demolition kit to discover that it was not needed.Reinforcements arrived, five men led by Lt.Ronald Speirs of D Company.One of them, "Rusty" Houch of F Company, raised up to throw a grenade into the gun positions and was hit several times across the back and shoulders by a burst from a machine-gun.He died instantly.Speirs led an attack on the final gun, which he took and destroyed, losing two men killed.Winters then ordered a withdrawal, because the company was drawing heavy machine-gun fire from the hedges near Brecourt Manor, and with the guns destroyed there was no point to holding the position.The machine-gunners pulled back first, followed by the riflemen.Winters was last.As he was leaving he took a final look down the trench."Here was this one wounded Jerry we were leaving behind trying to put a MG on us again, so I drilled him clean through the head." It was 1130.About three hours had passed since Winters had received the order to take care of those guns.With twelve men, what amounted to a squad (later reinforced by Speirs and the others), Company E had destroyed a German battery that was looking straight down causeway No.2 and onto Utah Beach.That battery had a telephone line running to a forward observer who was in a pillbox located at the head of causeway No.2.He had been calling shots down on the 4th Infantry as it unloaded.The significance of what Easy Company had accomplished cannot be judged with any degree of precision, but it surely saved a lot of lives, and made it much easier—perhaps even made it possible in the first instance—for tanks to come inland from the beach.It would be a gross exaggeration to say that Easy Company saved the day at Utah Beach, but reasonable to say that it made an important contribution to the success of the invasion.Winters' casualties were four dead, two wounded.He and his men had killed fifteen Germans, wounded many more, and taken twelve prisoners; in short, they had wiped out the fifty man platoon of elite German paratroops defending the guns, and scattered the gun crews.In an analysis written in 1985, Lipton said, "The attack was a unique example of a small, well-led assault force overcoming and routing a much larger defending force in prepared positions.It was the high morale of the E Company men, the quickness and audacity of the frontal attack, and the fire into their positions from several different directions that demoralized the German forces and convinced them that they I were being hit by a much larger force."There were other factors, including the excellent training the company had received, and that this was their baptism of fire.The men had taken chances they would not take in the future.Lipton said he never would have climbed that tree and so exposed himself had he been a veteran."But we were so full of fire that day.""You don't realize, your first time," Guarnere said."I'd never, never do again what I did that morning." Compton would not have burst through that hedge had he been experienced."I was sure I would not be killed," Lipton said."I felt that if a bullet was headed for me it would be deflected or I would move."(Paul Fussell, in Wartime, writes that the soldier going into combat the first time thinks to himself, "It can't happen to me.I am too clever / agile / well-trained / good-looking / beloved / tightly laced, etc." That feeling soon gives way to "It can happen to me, and I'd better be more careful [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]