Bringing supplies to Berg-and-Dal

Dick Wolch, 508th Regiment 82nd Airborne Division.

We worked for three hours, hauling cart after cart load of ammunition from the dropzone to the Regimental ammunition dump. The dump was located on a hill overlooking the DZ. We sorted the different types of ammo into seperated piles and loaded our cart to supply the third battalion that was now fighting in the streets of Berg-and-Dal.

We were about ready to drive off when the enemy began shelling us with 22 mm shells. The first shell burst on a rock between Bill and me, showering bits of steel and rock in all directions. Someone cried out and then swore. I mad a dive for a deep hole as the next shel burst. I will never know how Bill got into the hole before I did, but he was there. The shelling stopped as sudden as it begun. We crawled out of the hole and administered first aid to the wounded. None of the men was seriously wounded though. A tall fellow slipped of his jump pants, turned them upside down and shook the remainder of a good bottle of wiskey of his pocket. We all agreed he had had a good reason to curse.

Bill, Harold, Staff Sgt. Sherman G. Boyd, 2nd Lt. Bill Lowder and I were ordered to take the first load of ammunition to the third battalion. We threw most of our equipement on our cart and spread out on both sides of the cart in a skirmish line. Bill did the driving. we passed a smoldering C-47 Troop Carrier and as we walked closer I saw that the pilot was still sitting in the pilot seat, burned to a cinder.

Not far from the C-47 we came upon a wagon trail. Lt Lowder looked at the map and decided that the wagon trail would lead us into Berg-and-Dal and to the third battalion HQ. The trail twisted and turned in the tick woods. Harold and Sherman walk in front of the cart while Lowder and I covered the rear. As the trail dipped into a deep gully, Lt. Lowder pointed out a motorcycle to me, half hidden in the brush. He told the others to keep going with the cart while he and I would try to start the cycle and ride it to HQ. We checked the motorcycle for boobytraps and we found out that the motor was still warm. Evidently the rider was running through the woods with the dispatch papers, at that same moment. We found an empty dispatch case on the motorcycle to support that theory.

While I was busy checking the cycle, a rifle cracked and a bullet plunked into a tree near the cycle. I rolled off of the bike and lay still, hardly daring to breath. The rifle cracked again and the bullet passed over my head and plowed into the ditch bank.

Hearing a commotion behind me, I turned in time to see Lt. Lowder run through the ditch bank and disappear across the road. Another bullet chipped a pile of bark from the tree over my head. I looked around for means of escape and decided to take the same route lt. lowder took a moment before. Another bullet hit the tree and then I rose to my knees and jumped into the ditch. The rifle cracked again but I didn't hear it passing. I cussed all second lt's when I raced up the bank and over the road and dove in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. I groaned in mid-air. The ditch was over nine feet deep. I landed on my stomage and almost knocked myself out.

I rose to my feet and ran into the direction of which the cart had disappeared. Judging by the length of the footsteps I saw in the soft sand, I knew lt. Lowder had wasted no time in leaving the area. A half hour later I found him sitting in a ditch with his hands cupped to his head. He was extremely happy to see me. He then told me why he left me lay near the cycle. When the first shot was fired he thought he saw a hole in my chest, over the heart and believed I had been instandly killed. The blood that he saw was evidently a leave that had been stuck to my jumpsuit. At a time like that a man is likly to imagine anything.

When we reached the battalion CP, Bill, Harold and Sherman had the cart unloaded and were digging foxholes. Lt. Lowder and I grabbed shovels and dug our foxholes close together. We had hardly finished when we heard the old familiar whistle, followed by a long drawn out howl which passed over us and exploded near the CP. In a flash we were in our holes, huging the cool moist earth. More shells passed over, but exploded further away. We crawled out of our foxholes, picked up our shovels and dug the hole a foot deeper.

We established an ammunition dump for the third battalion fivehundred meters below the city of Berg-and-Dal. Due to the active enemy air force it was necessary that the ammunition and cart be camoflaged. Twice enemy planes roared over the treetops. One was recognized as a photography plane. Our equipement was well covered, for the enemy did not come back to bomb or strafe. That night I fell asleep listening to the screaming of shells and an occasional German plane passing overhead. It was the end of a busy day.

Continue here with Dick Wolch's Market Garden recollections

Dick Wolch in France in 1945.

Books about the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII

Lekker winkelen zonder zorgen - Gratis verzending en retour