The Longest Weekend, D-Day pt. III

September 21, 2010 - 5 Comments

by Jim Barnes

Here is Bill’s Continued Report on Longest Week-end- Conneaut Ohio:

Following on the heels of that epic bridge battle the three West Virginians retired to the comfort of the 2nd Gebirgs camp for a rest and refit.

While cleaning rifles and reloading bandoleers, we were approached by the local news media for snap-shots and interviews.

I escaped to the parking lot for a tail-gate lunch and then ran into my wife Linda and Debbie Wenig, who ate ice cream with me.

Then it was back to camp to await orders for the big beach landing battle.

The Second gebirgs were placed on the left end of the battle line on the high bluff above the beach landing area. Below us on the next terrace were a company of Waffen ss.

We could see two landing craft approaching from the distance. I was reminded of that famous line from “The Longest Day”, “You know those thousands of ships the allies don’t have? Well they are coming directly towards me”. “Wo ist mein hund?”

We were told not to fire until ordered. Then some  P-51 Mustangs started dropping bombs on us. Some of us started taking pot shots at the plains. Lt. Udo Sturm reminded us to hold our fire. Then we saw the landing craft coming ashore. Men began running out. We held our fire until ordered to shoot. As soon as men started running towards the beach obstacles we were ordered to shoot. Then we let go with everything we had. If you thought the video of the bridge battle was intense, this was even more so (for thousands of photos go to www.D-Day Ohio.com and click on event photos-by Stitch).

It took almost what seemed like ½ hour for the allies to cross the beach. Several sniper shots seemed to be working well for me as I aimed at a running GI and squeezed off a round just as he jumped down into a hole or hit the sand on the beach. There were three of us together who had opted to purchase some cheap blanks, which kept jamming our guns. We kept cursing the foreign saboteurs who were forced to work in our arms factories. Some of the jams became so serious that some of us had to take premature hits, and be dragged off the firing line.

As soon as this battle was over, Tino Struckmann, the star and director of “Red Rose of Normandy” found us three West Virginians and asked us to report down on the beach for more scene filming.

This time the entire platoon of the 2nd Gebirgs, 137th were asked to participate. We Germans were placed in a shell hole and were repeatedly attacked by a squad of Americans. During the process, smoke grenades were set off behind us and us Germans kept wishing that we had not thrown our gas masks away.

After about an hour of shooting, with our jack boots full of sand, the three West Virginians began dragging ourselves off the beach and heading towards camp. Suddenly the field telephone rang. It was my wife calling. Linda asked us if we wanted to make another movie. We quickly conferred and agreed to act in another movie being made in the French camp.

Jim, Ron and I went directly from the beach to the French Resistance camp for our rest and refit.

The French Director set up the scenario for us. Three Germans were hiding in the woods waiting to ambush a group of French resistance fighters. That was a change.

The woodsy terrain was a bit hazardous with steep hills, ravines, a stream and a drainage pipe. Then it began to rain. The humidity increased. The day light was fading. We scrambled into positions for about an hour of more film shooting. The director kept shooting the scenes from different angles. Ron and Jim both got shot and killed during this action. I was in a firefight with the French and got to blow them up with a grenade in the end.

After all it was the perfect end to a beautiful day. But it was not over yet. There was still the dinner and dance to attend.

Back to the hotel for a shower and change of uniform, Linda and I went to eat the free dinner at the American Legion post in Conneaut. After the dinner we went upstairs to a big dance floor where we enjoyed the hit tunes of the war years and began dancing off the dinner.

We took a table second from the dance band just behind a table of Germans dressed in immaculate tailored dress uniforms. The things you see when you don’t have your camera (we had left ours out in the car and it was raining too hard for us to retrieve it).

We remained at the dance till about 11 PM when we all just ran out of steam. Linda and I Ron and Debbie returned to the motel and Jim went back to camp.

The next morning at breakfast at the Moose lodge Jim reported, “Alcohol and guns don’t mix”. He said that camp was quiet for about an hour when the Germans, who had been at the dance arrived, cranked up the German marshal music and began shooting .

This truly was the “Longest Week-end”.

This concludes my report,

Bill Donegan

Comments (5)

Bill Donegan

September 24th, 2010 at 7:00 am    


Jim,

Does that dancing make my belly look fat?

Bill

Jim Barnes

September 24th, 2010 at 7:05 am    


I know nothingggg…I see nothinggg!

Helmut Thiel

September 24th, 2010 at 7:15 am    


Vielliecht ist es die Kirschtorte oder die Strudel.

Helmut

Bill Donegan

September 24th, 2010 at 4:13 pm    


Ach,

Beim weg Helmut. Es gibt ein Deutsches Restaurant in der nahe beim Cumberland.

Es ist Fritz Warners. Es ist wieder geoffnet in Creseptown Md.

Lassen Sie uns zusammen gehen in November.

Ganz gut?

Hellmut

Eric Montgomery

August 3rd, 2011 at 1:29 am    


Hey Bill,

Enjoyed your report found by having a scan at my buddy and WWII Veteran’s Facebook Page, Jack Read. He’ll be there this year. Can you update the photo link you have in the above? The web site is http://www.ddayohio.us

I’ll see you soon! Eric “Stitch” Montgomery

Leave a reply

Name *

Mail *

Website