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Private Herbert Krieger

29th Infantry Division - 115th Infantry Regiment - Cannon Company

Omaha Beach

 

On June 6thwe were on our way again. The 116th Regiment made the initial assault. We were the second wave. The channel was still rough and the coast of France was visible. As we approached all hell broke out. We couldn’t approach our designated area, Dog Green, since we were on an LST. They knew we had heavy equipment and they made sure we were not welcomed. Whoever was in command of that ship decided to try other beaches. I think we tried all including Dog Red, Green and White.  We got close enough to pick up wounded then would back off for awhile and go into the beach again. About that time the wounded would start yelling "No!  No!" They could feel the motion of the vessel returning. On the LST they made makeshift operating equipment and obviously due to the lack of anesthetics there was a lot of screaming to help the wounded. As we neared again under fire out comes a load of German prisoners. The channel was choppy, their small boat was weaving and they attached the ropes from the davits (I'm not a nautical person) to hoist them. Evidently with the choppy channel waters one end of their ropes on the davit became undone and spilled prisoners into the channel. A few were saved.

We could not land D-Day during the night but those on shore were wishing they were on board and that on board were wishing they were on shore. That night in total darkness we were strafed and bombed. Our LST was hit. I might add that it sounded like you were in a metal bathtub and a bunch of large rocks were hitting it. Suddenly, a ball of fire exploded above us and cheers went up to no avail. The anti air craft were hitting balloons.

As dawn appeared, we were ready to land. As we were about to disembark a loud crash was heard. The LST has elevators that lower heavy equipment to the lower level and opening doors. The elevator had malfunctioned and crashed to the floor of the LST and killed three of ours.

When I landed on the beach it was covered with bodies. Most were not covered and some had boxes over them while others looked to be covered with Indian blankets, which I thought to be strange. Still others were in pieces. At about that time we were all separated. We lost our gun (not small arms) and were complete chaos. I was in a rifle company and I was the radioman. I also did wire repair and layed wire. I was with the 1st Division in all of the confusion. On the beach we went up the well-protected bluffs. One officer told us to make sure you step in the same footsteps as the man in front of you because of the mines. If you didn’t you would end up like the people lying around you. When I got to the top of the bluff the machine gun blasts, mortar and small arms became abundant. As we were pinned down at first I did what I was taught which was to take your bayonet and probe (at an angle), for the mines. I did that for about 30 seconds but there was no time for that. You want to lie as flat as you can and as soon as you could. When I got up and explosed my head to fire over the hedgerows the guy next to me said, "Don’t do that!" Look at these dead guys around you. It’s a funny thing but he was firing by holding his gun over hedgerow without seeing the enemy. Stupid but safe. That ended when the Germans counterattacked. While we were pinned down up on the bluff, I noticed something unusual about a German soldier. His armored vehicle was flared open like a tin can. His leg lay next to me and it had on long underwear.  I could still see the channel behind me. Progress was slow and bloody. It would be three days before I would get any sleep. No shower for three weeks. I had run out of food the third day and existed on my "D" bar. ”

Herbert Krieger