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Private First Class Willam "Knobby" Walsh

2nd Ranger Battalion - F Company

Pointe du Hoc

 

On June 1st we boarded the transport Ben My Chree at Weymouth, England, 1944. Our mission was to begin June 5th, 1944. The weather was so bad that it was delayed one day. Early that morning we were served pancakes and issued Puke Bags for the journey into Normandy.

We were lowered into our landing craft at 0445 and the ten boats with English pilots started into Pointe du Hoc. It was discovered that the crafts were wrongly headed. After the correction was made it forced us to travel parallel with the beach about 300 feet out. The surprise disappeared and began to fire at us. I like a few popped their heads up to see sand you could see the bullets dancing on the water. If you ever threw stones on the lake you would know the sight. Their aim was lousy as no boats seemed to be hit.

Captain Masny was master of our boat. His first order was to the English sailors. Don't drop the gate until I say, we've got lots of time. When he gave the command the boat was scrapping the shore. The rockets with the ladders attached were fired and cleared the cliff tops. The gate came down and every man skirted off and not one of us got their feet wet. Thompson and I hurried over to a shell hole and set the 60mm Motor up. In the Rangers we always carried the Motor assembled. In other units it was carried by three men in three pieces.

Time was on our side because of it. We fired four shells off quickies. I looked behind me and the tide was coming over the edge of that hole like Niagra Falls and had to get out and forward. As I ran forward I could see bullets chuting up the small pebbles. The next thing I knew I was hit in the head like a blow from a baseball bat. My hermit was caste away and my neck was bleeding fast. I yelled over to Doc. Block and two of his men that I was hit. He said crawl over here which I did. He managed me up and put something like a tag around my neck and said to craw over to that big rock for coverage. As I did I saw three guys under small overhang at the cliffs. They were Simson and another plus Sergeant Ott who was lying down with an abdominal wound. We took our Mae Wests off and made him a mattress. We periodically gave him morphine which we had been issued for such cases. The weather was miserable, wet and rough water. They tried to send a small boat in with our sailors but the water kept them from landing.