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tv   Oral Histories John Raaen WWII D- Day Interview  CSPAN  June 9, 2019 6:30pm-7:36pm EDT

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the noblest of causes, and america would do it again for our friends. may god bless you. [applause] >> you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> june 6 was the 75th anniversary of the allied d-day invasion of occupied france. was there on d-day. he describes how his company was hoc tod from pointe du
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utah beach. the national world war ii museum in new orleans recorded the interview. >> this is the president and ceo emeritus of the national world war ii museum in new orleans it i've hit today to interview again, general john raaen who was a captain on d-day. offer a veryo compressed version of his d-day from june 6 until june 8. , all yours.raaen mr. raaen: my name is john raaen . on d-day, the day of the normandy invasion in 19 44, june
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6, i was a captain and the fifth ranger infantry italian. companyas headquarters commander. we had sailed from england over to france, the coast of normandy and.e hms prince bottle we loaded into the assault boats at approximately 4:30 a.m. for the 12 mile run in to the beach. our primary mission was to a which wasr force f battalions of the cliffs and exploit the countryside beyond. unfortunately, the second rangers did not make it to the on time.t least they did finally about 40 minutes late. by 40 minutes late, we had to was toto plan b, which
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land and march overland to the cliffs at pointe du hoc. and ran a control told us we had to divert to omaha beach which was the next beach over. we did so, and began our landings with our first wave consisting of a and b of the second ranger battalion. those two companies were come up for practical purposes, wiped out when they landed. very heavy fire from in the bluffs right above them. removed moved another thousand yards to our left and it landed at -- i can think of the name of the entrance -- but at least
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14 recordersome and the beach. when we came off the boats, we could use the breakwaters as little forts to protect us from the dreadful rifle and machine gun fire coming in from our right. crossing the beach, there were only about 50 to 60 yards of beach at the time that we got there. across the beach, we couldn't get to the seawall. it was piled high with men who were trying to get out of the rifle and machine gun higher coming in from our right. it is interesting to note, very , theistorians note this reason we only had fire from the ,ight was, directly above us there were brushfires. the brushfires not only blinded the enemy gunners on the bluffs, but it burned some of them out.
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many of them had to abandon their positions because of the flames of the brushfires. there was a nose and all the enemy forts were around on the wrong side of that knows and they could not reach us. so, we were very, very lucky where we landed. we have the breakwaters and we have the seawall and only a short amount of beach to cross. , i could nothore get my life preserver's off. so i stood up, tried to take them off, couldn't do it. and the corporal to me jumped up with his knife and cut the life preserver's off of me so i was free to move. at that point, you take advantage of whatever is happening, you look around you come and the first thing i saw was the seawall was made of wood. heavy planks, like six-inch by
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12 feet type wood. i said this is the wrong beach. our seawall is supposed to be concrete. i had to think back through all the maps that we had had and i realized that i had to be on this particular beach and i knew exactly where we had to go. i knew where i was. so, now i was oriented. i looked down the beach and i saw tanks driving second forth from the water to the dunes. they too were protecting infantrymen from the dreadful fire on the right, because the tanks would drive down to the water's edge, the men would climb out, use the tanks for shields and get up to the dunes where they would be safe. then the tanks would back up. there were three or four doing this about 200 yards away from me. , and there my left
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was an lci landing craft introductory -- landing craft infantry coming in. at that point, a man with a flamethrower was hit by artillery and the whole lci burst into flame as the jelly gasoline spread all over the pace. most of the men cut off that thing unscathed, but quite a few died in the fire on the gangways. at that point, i knew where i was, new what i had to do, and the first thing i did then was to locate major sullivan who was in the next day to meet of the 14 ritards. and reported to him.
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he said, you stay here, i will go see the battalion commander p he went and saw the battalion commander. we found the battalion commander was quite interesting. we just yelled, rangers, where is colonel schneider? backn 30 seconds it came that he was three bays from us. , what becamelittle a cemetery. talking with the company commander. sullivan got the orders and came back and gave them to me. my orders were to follow a machine gun section of c company and follow them through a gap that would be blown in the wire. by the time we got there, it was blown in the wire. but first, something else very interesting happened. one of the men -- and rangers are very curious, they are always looking around trying to gather information. they said, a captain, look at that guy down there.
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about 150, 100 yards away there was a crazy man, sort of plump wandering up and down the beach, shaking his hands at the people and yelling at the soldiers in the dunes and against the seawall. is?peculated, wonder who he maybe he is a photographer who doesn't know any better. maybe his a newspaperman that doesn't know any better or he could be a high-ranking officer just trying to exert leadership. as he approached, he came around the edge of my they -- my bay. iran down to see him. i didn't want him to mix up my men peered as i approached, i saw a nice star on his shoulder. could have been on his collar. i reported to him, said sir, raaen. ron -- captain
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son.ust be jack raaen's theral cota asked situation. it landed on the beach intact. we were spread over 82 hundred 50 yard front approximately from where i was and 250 yards down the beach. he said where is your battalion commander? i told him. he started off. then he turned around and said something that became very famous. he said, i know you men are rangers. i know you won't let me down. then he proceeded off to see schneider. meanwhile, i took the platoon that i had with me and worked my way down three more bays to where colonel schneider was. the d company have blown a cap and the wire. we waited until the machine guns of c company passed in front of
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us and then we followed and tagged right along. time, there was an awful amount of rifle and machine gun fire from the right. we used those ritards, the breakwaters as protection against that. it was not just walk over there. you rushed around the end of the breakwaters to get the protection and things like that. climbed up the seawall when we finally got the word come across a little road. there was barb wire beyond it. the barbed wire had been blown. we were able to pass through without any hesitation whatsoever. the first thing i saw when i got there was one of my men from a former company lying on a pillbox with his trousers down he had received a wound in the gluteus maximus well crossing the road. there he was exposed to the entire battalion as we went by.
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we moved across the road and yards got to the base of the cliffs, the bluffs. they are steep bluffs about 100 54 110 feet high. bluffs.ed up the i noticed there were six stone steps that we went up first on this little path. again, we were following the rest of the battalion in front of us. battalion had blown for gaps in the wire. ahead of me, were only d company, c company, and myself. if the other rangers went through the other gaps and were on parallel courses to us. we got up to the top of the bluffs, there was a little wall there. i could see the boats were still were still going
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through the holes that we had blown and following us. it is interesting to note that there were quite a few navy man who had lost votes who picked up weapons and helmets from along,ies and followed ready to follow the orders of any officer. in any event, our mission was to our west, so we turned west along the wall and ran into the company. they already have their marchers in position. he warned me not to go in that particular field there because the germans have it under fire, but go in this field and you will be all right. i moved forward and finally found sullivan p on the map, it is at point d. sullivan asked me to reconnoiter a path along a fence line right
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in the middle of a field. i did. it was perhaps 200 yards or 300 cards. fields, by the way. these were massive fields. got to the other side where in theas a hedgerow and hedgerow, lying there nicely was a dead german. he had been shot at a few times on the way over. it was mostly friendly fire, i went back and more fire and told sullivan it would be a proper route for the battalion to go. that is the way we did it. the battalion moved across, followed the little pathway into an irregular field. in the regular field we received quite a bit of artillery fire. was first that we had received. it was our baptism.
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the first time we heard a shell, we all hit the dirt. by the time we got out of that field, we listened to the sound of the show coming in and we could tell where they were going to hit. if it wasn't very close, we would have paid no attention to it. moved to the field up toward the road and finally ran into sullivan again and he gave me another mission. find the left flank of the battalion. what had happened was, the d company, our lead company tried to go around to the south. the hedge rows beyond that road prevented them from doing it. the battalion commander sent a platoon to envelop the problem, which also ran into machine guns theanother -- and so battalion was strung out in the wrong direction. five companies of it. he said find me the left flank. i proceeded down the road alone, which was stupid.
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i should have had somebody with me. isoved to what on this thing point h on the map. at that particular point, i had found the last platoon and ran into a patrol from the first division. this was the linkup between the 29th division and the first division. . took the patrol with me there were about three paratroopers who had been dropped in the water 10 miles from where they should have been dropped and they joined us and took the whole bunch back to the headquarters which was back still at approximately point g. we then proceeded down the road because, principally the be company commander said i can't get through here, there are too many machine guns, so he walked back and chose to march through.
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we were fired at by snipers and a few things like that, maybe some long-range machine gun fire, but we got through. point, we were to totinue on to pointe du hoc relieve the second battalion. the 29th division, particularly the commander of the 116th and general cota thought the beachhead was too fragile. they did not there let a whole ranger battalion go. he made us stay to defend the beachhead that night. position in a night to farm houses that were a couple hundred yards from the main intersection. my company in one of the farmhouses, and the headquarters in the other farmhouse. the only thing that really happened there, we did not receive any counterattacks during the night, but i also found out i had forgotten my
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entrenching shovel, or i had lost it. so, i couldn't dictate foxhole or a slit trench. the man offered to do it for me, i said no, i will wait until you are through and i will take one of your showgirls -- one of your shovels and do my own. meanwhile i will go over to the haystack, it is probably nice and warm, and i will be comfortable they are watching what you do. i went to the haystack and climbed in and being a city boy, i didn't know the difference between eight minute or pile and a haystack, but i found out. every bug in france attacked me come was bitten, i itched iran out of the haystack to the tune of all my men doubled over in laughter. at least they had the decency to give me their flea powder, which
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i spread liberally and it stopped the bugs but did not stop the itching. that is how we spent the night there. we did hold a meeting of our battalion and the first battalion of the 116th infantry. plans for the following day. those plans were very simple. the advance guard would consist battalion,h ranger seven tanks from the seven 43rd, and the provisional company of the second rangers. we took their exceed company, be company, and a company, they had so many casualties we barely made a ranger company out of them. that was the advance guard. after that, the regular forces , the second battalion
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of the 116th and the third battalion with scattered tanks, engineers, things like that. so, the next morning bright and arly i got up, and there was german counterattack. it was not more than 200 yards from me. probably down where the engineers were positioned that night. suddenly, i saw our tanks were sitting on the road doing nothing. yet, to hundreds of the guards was a major counterattack, probably company size. i banged on the tour it with my rifle until the commander came out. i pointed out this little counterattack and said don't you think you should take them under fire? sure.d oh he turned around and gave orders and they took them under fire but with the coaxial machine guns, not the canon. i said why don't you use your canon? he said overkill. they beat off that particular patrol.
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sullivan gave me orders to take towardl out to patrol the north seaside of the road that runs through. so i took the battalion sergeant major, the battalion supply sergeant and a corporal, and we made ourselves a nice diamond formation and we patrolled to 100 yards south of that road, flushed to germans and chased them across the main road. we pursued them beyond the military crest where i was able an overseas cap. we came back and hurt the grinding of motors. you. with corporal sharp and proceeded down to
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where i knew the 29th division headquarters would be down at the beach. i had to run through a gauntlet g3mp's to get through the tent. general gerhard heard i was there, may make in so i was able to give my report to him and not the g3. he said, can we do for you rangers? i said well, we are out of ammunition, we need mortar, and machine gun ammunition. not so much rifle ammunition. so, he told his aid to take them to the beach, get him a cheek and loaded up with ammunition. that is what they did. up and it was spooky, all the troops had left the town. i thought. not true, but i thought that. so, i proceeded to go toward pointe du hoc on an empty road
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and i could tell where they had been because when tanks pass a place, if they have used their guns, there are big brass. if they have used machine guns, there is little brass. if infantry is there, there is always little brass. there is usually blood and damaged things. so, i could tell i was on the right track. but, it was awfully lonely. during that trip, i was shot at at least three or four times, including one where my helmet was hit, spun off my head into my lap. that was pretty much fun. spot where io a was no longer on the road, no longer protected right hedge rows right and left. there was just a great big gap, we just couldn't take the jeep across because it was too chopped up. the road was too chopped up. so, we drove to the edge of the
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visible area and we got under the jeep and muscled it over our heads for a full 50 yards until we got past the open area in the hedgerows. we got back in the jeep or did was hit several times by rifle fire or machine gun fire. we never knew which. time later, we ran into the rear end of the advance guard, it turned out to be. or part of the advance guard. the -- we distributed the ammunition and the jeep ran out of gas because the gas tank was hit by one of those sniper rounds. so, we disposed of the jeep and i went in and found sullivan, you are to him and said an armored officer. go check the tank positions and see if they are properly placed for defense for the night we are
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probably going to end up here. i said ok, so i checked where the tanks were and they were all good tankers and had gotten in the right kind of place. and i reported back to sullivan and he said, we just got word from the 29th division. backneed the tanks and us there at the beach as soon as we can get there. back,e monkeys on your by. the tanks took off and so did the two commanders, leaving me in command. so, i called the company commanders in, but not all of them showed up. they couldn't. this was understandable. for we worked out a plan the defense of the place for the night, knowing each company's position and knowing the
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password and the countersign. that type of thing. also, i sent out a patrol of two , because we were at sait pierre du mont. into night fighting positions and in the morning, i got up, went down and said are they back? the two men i sent a patrol. i had known them because they were in my platoon as a company commander. yes sir, they are back. what do they have to report? moody is right over there. ask him. so i said a juicy rudder? gave him the him, full situation and told him we would attack this morning and i
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laid a wire so you can talk to colonel rudder. plans for the relief with my force. of i had was a sea company the 116th, the provisional company of the second battalion and the company and sea company of the fifth battalion plus a few hangers from battalion headquarters. before we could jump off on our tech, up comes the fifth ranger battalion. so, their plan took over, which was essentially execute our plan and they would follow. that is the way we were going to pointe du hoc. we went across country on a diagonal path. we did not go down to where the road runs to pointe du hoc.
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at pointe du hoc it was nice to have the homecoming. there were approximately 100 of them left of the second battalion. they started with 225. their casualties were high. of these 100, many were walking wounded. but, i was sitting on eight caret, one of the gun turrets, when suddenly the tanks of the seven 43rd burst out and started shooting at us. we had a flag behind us that was on the thing. we waved that, but they kept shooting and finally, this is a vague memory that i have added is probably not fully correct, but what i remember was the motor officer of the second ranger battalion ran about 50 yards from cover over to the lead tank, jumped on bank on the turret and said
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you are attacking the wrong people so they stopped firing. i think we took eight killed in that, which was a very unfortunate incident. andeorganized a little bit started toward gran camp. my only excitement there was they told me to clear the houses upany stragglers, so i made for little parties, foreman age. i took one of the parties and we would leapfrog on both sides of the street. found any germans, which was also good. very glad about that. we had toe of them stick the bandit in the keyhole, fire around that type thing. we mostly found frightened frenchman.
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a battle going on above them and then soldiers with bandits coming down to make sure there were no germans. as i said, we went on toward mazy battery. i had very little to do with the mazy fight. i won't cover that. did was march past the battlefield. so, that concludes my coverage of d-day as i saw with me again and we are speaking about his landing on d-day. and then a full description of his first three days of battle, beginning on june 6. we tracing some of those steps, you have been quite detailed with generalogress
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coda. describe the scene of the battle as you are coming ashore, what it felt like and what was going on in the battle, in terms of the fire that you were getting. you that the second battalion, two companies had landed on our first wave. he moved another thousand yards down to where the bright waters were and we landed there. as we came in, we were about 1000 yards out when we made the turn to come in. we proceeded in, in two ways. schneider had the first wave of seven boats.
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there was a second wave of seven boats. they were about 500 yards apart. as we got within 500 yards up the beach, we noticed artillery fire. we could hear it. , aboutber, distinctly 200 yards away, i saw an lct tank hit by artillery fire. we could hear the small arms. 700 yards, it is a little hard to hear small arms battle. the artillery, we could hear that rumbling, but nothing really just. as we got closer, we began to maneuver through the obstacles. i remember distinctly on the one was a teller mind. -- teller mine. i watched as we crashed down on that teller mine.
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that was the extent of my emotion because at the next moment, another wave through us in the opposite direction. all the way in from that point on, up to where we finally ,round assure -- ashore constant artillery fire was hitting vessels. i do not remember if anything that needed in the water. probably not. >> what was it like? chaosns of the fire, the in the water. what it felt like all around you. landing, theginal earliest landing had about 200 feet -- 300 yards of beach. the tide came in so rapidly. it was coming in the yard a
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minute. there,time that we got all but the last 60 to 70 yards of beach was covered in water. any casualties were out there in the water. we began to see bodies like that. smelled the odor of artillery. we began to smell burning oil and gasoline. that type of thing. it was very ugly. down,e finally touched there were casualties all over the beach. most of them were dead because they were not moving. there was nothing that we could do about it. there were these breakwaters. i chose the right cubicle.
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sullivan chose the left. we van out. they picked whatever baby wanted to be in. the situation was pretty bad. theof the artillery from beach, i emphasize that, it was hitting the large boats because those with the concentrated targets. we were 50 yards beyond the boats. the artillery was hitting at least 60 yards away from us. we were not bothered by artillery, except for the noise, the smoke and perhaps fragments a little bit, but not much. >> were the medics working the wounded? john: tremendously. nothing like medics and their heroism.
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most of it was met, but he feels it was that type of thing. the cries of the wounded and dying were hunting, but they were drowned out by the rifle and machine gun fire coming from the right. most people do not know it, but you did not hear the day of the rifle or the machine gun. is the supersonic bullet going of your head. bullet, as ac sound wave that moves at about 45 degrees from its track. had all these little cracks. remember it was a 20 millimeters cannon that had placed itself where a tracer
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burnout occurs. when the tracer burnout occurred , the shell exploded. they carefully manipulated their range, so it was exploding right over us, which contributed to the noise. beach was just full of burning debris, wrecked vehicles , probably a couple of tanks, but i do not remember them. almost every boat pulled in to the beach was damaged by artillery fire. my own boat was hit by artillery fire. you asked about medics. i have to mention captain lacey. the bluffsgo up likely did. he stay down there at the waters edge where the artillery was falling.
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he was dragging the wounded head of the tide. he was blessing the dead. that type of thing. he was a real hero. alltayed there practically day, taking care of the wounded. >> what time did you actually hit the beach? john: 7:50 exactly. again, tell us that story again, quickly. the story to get you moving. i will start with him coming around the end of the breakwater. him.hed down to salute i did not know who he was or what he was at first. as i got closer, i could see the
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start. theported to him that battalion had landed intact. the battalion commander had already given the command, which to your assembly points by platoon movement, not by company movement, not by battalion movement. they were individual and on their own. he said, where is your battalion commander? i started to take him to schneider. said yourto me and he job is back here by the men. back to my position with the men. when he turned and said you men are dangerous. i know you will not let me down.
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and he proceeded. he got to schneider and he told him that because of a situation that the battalion orders were changed. we would fight our way. that changed everything because the companies were already up the bluffs by the time. that caused runners to be sent out. they never did get to the first platoon. ace parker proceeded on his own because the runners never got to him. ahead and he got there that night. john: they did. it was still light when they got there. it was like, but late. timee daylight taking --
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gave us extra daylight. >> he got there with about 20 guys. april manger platoon, but it had casualties. as theber 22 sticks out number that he had. that might not be the number. you are talking about when you got to the top of the bluffs or part of the way up. you got a chance to look back and see the other troops coming through. bullet had been blown. what were your own feelings about that at the moment? did you have a chance to reflect? of course, i thought about what was going on, but up until this point, the resistance that we had run into was very light.
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on top,ntry resistance partly because of the brushfires. the germans had abandoned their machine guns because they were too heavy to escape. it would not have been able to take the ammunition with them. was not thatghting severe. there were a few people killed. those breakwaters -- our battalion had five casualties crossing the beach because of the breakwaters themselves. they were able to take protection from the rifle and shooting gunfire. that is very important point. by the time i got to the top of the cliffs, i would venture that crossany was the first to and they proceeded almost
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straight in. there was minor b organization at the top, but they were the most ready. the rest of the battalion was be organizing at the crest. it was during that when they companies.and d >> did you have a feeling that you all were making reasonable, good progress? what time did you get to the crest? john: landed at 7:50. certainly, within half an hour, i was on top. around 8:30. been that greg sent a message to brandy from schneider. have reached coastal road. >> that was good news for
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bradley. john: i do not even know if you received it. i do not know if it had the range. we were about a mile inland. there were about 12 miles out to the anchorage area. i do not know whether they were inside that. you are talking maybe a 13 mile range. i am not sure the three hundred had that range. >> there was a time that bradley was nervous enough that he considered. john: where the first battalion landed was an absolute disaster. a company was wiped out. except for the company executive officer who came in with the next wave.
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was scattered all over the place because the coxswain understood that could not land. they joined up with c company. three boats went to the left. their four platoons, they vanish into a sparker, that kind of thing. c company landed absolutely intact and was with us all the way. the heavy weapons company never got out of the water. they will tell you that they did. they are here today. but that battalion was wiped out. that is the report that bradley got. he did not get the report of what was happening.
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i forgot the name. that was my beast. -- that was my beach. progress made markable off the beach. abode in lesse than an hour. we made a lot of progress. >> i was amazed when i was up there last september. i was standing on the beach. i went up the coastal road and walked across the road. today, most people do not have that in their imagination. it is a big field. john: 200 to 300 yards. , up until youopen get to the hedgerow. feeling that you are making reasonable, good
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progress. you are getting organized. as far as i was concerned, everything was on plan, but the orders had been changed. i liked that much better. personally. it gave some force to our attack. other proceeding platoons, that particular case, it was 11 platoons and me, with my sort of platoon. totally uncoordinated. incidentsendly fire and people crossing over, doing things wrong. with respect to the whip behind them or in front of them. it was better with the strong-willed company commanders , maintaining the order within their companies, that type of thing. the situation was well under
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provided the germans did not mount an armored counterattack. fortunately, they did not have the armor. confident byirly the end of the day, getting ready to send a relief force. john: essentially, nobody had stopped us. , machine guns had stopped. they knocked out the machine guns. the way they did it was dropping down below the crop line, so they were not able to be seen. they worked their way across the hedgerow, coming down the opposite side and attacking the machine gun positions from the rear. that way, it took a lot of time, but it took two she guns could
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not stop the ranger company. d company proved it. this is too heavy. let's see. i was talking about the battalion. column, bute we in right beside us was c company. they were a full infantry company, approximately three times our size. had hisany commander foot crushed in the ramp and got off the boat. rifle as ag his crutch, but he was leading his company properly. they were a godsend to have beside us. this was on the sixth. we were on the top of the bluffs. we were proceeding on the road.
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position across company right beside b and the fifth rangers on the road. both of those companies had no trouble going through, but they managed to very heavy replacements a couple hundred yards beyond. they were stopped there, at least temporarily, while lee came up. to orders were given to us cease and desist. we were going to stay. whatu were heading towards was originally this simply area. area was tosembly the south west. there was a boat intersection. it was probably two or three
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miles away. it was aone that used sparker. he went to his rallying point, which was the farm, then he moved to the assembly area and waited for us a couple hours beene deciding that he had left behind. then he proceeded. the rangers did not proceed? john: nobody but a sparker. they had all gotten word that we were moving as he battalion. each took his place in the column. where youas a point got into a lot of smoke. john: that was going up the hill.
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so steepe hill was that you either followed diagonal paths of it or you sidestepped, trying to get up. face the hill and walk up. it was too steep. we were on that hill, following a path. halfway doubled back up. it doubled back to the left. we proceeded. up thateded to go little part of the hill. as we did, we went into very heavy smoke from the brushfires. i saw no flames, but the smoke was heavy. it was hard to breathe. saying, captain, can we have our gas masks? i would say no.
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-- i gave in. and myd my gas mask apple and orange fell down the hill. of course, i was frantically getting the maps, drinking in that smoke. i finally realized what had happened. when i ripped that thing out and put it on, i had forgotten to pull the plug. i ripped the thing off and now i was breathing smoke, fumbling around for my maps. my second effort, i got the maps back, put the helmet between the legs and in the process, i let go of the helmet, and it went rolling down the hill. my communications sergeant, who was the senior enlisted that i had with me.
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he caught my helmet and brought it back to me. as i got my gas mask on and i decided to punish .yself for being weak need i decided to punish myself. i kept it on until i reached the crest. >> that was a good punishment. john: it was. punishment for being stupid. forward to thep night of the seventh and the morning of the eighth, you did not go down the coastal road to where the company was holding. john: we did not get that fire. now, i will tell you this. i told you where i got to and
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where we attacked from. in.position that they were in the process, the advanced and hadd gotten past gone over a little crest that let them see granville. they could actually see it. at that point, probably from the battery, heavy artillery began to fall on them and infantry could never -- could no longer accompany them. with aks withdrew, along provisional company of the and theangers, artillery chased them all the way. i watched it fall about 150 yards for me as they thundered back. >> what time did they come back in?
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i would say midafternoon .f the seventh >> said they were defending the perimeter. john: they had left by then. they had pulled back. they did not run into any of their own kind. >> so when those tanks came back, they did not bring any men. john: none. their eyes were all straightahead where the german positions were. by fact that they had gone .he road, pretty far down
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the germans must have known that they were surrounded. escapedat could, they from the area. a few remained. it was the second rangers, using captured german weapons, that would following -- firing the blitz that caused the tanks to attack us. , what was the -- to my knowledge, i think you are the only officer who is still with us, still living, that was ,n the beach at omaha on d-day and the days following. i just wanted to ask you, your reflections on that day, but he
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felt at the time, in terms of what you are fighting for. what do you think about the significance of that moment some 73 years later? well, it is hard to talk about that, not that it is difficult. thoughtsd to get your in mind. i think i told you, from what i had seen, we met with nothing but military success. relieve the second battalion and we did get all the and capturedaisie the artillery batteries that they had their. ametimes you can count fourth, but it does not really matter. militarily, it was a great success.
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was a giant step .owards unseating hitler the success on my side, it ended with the capture of the 29th division. it all depended on the battalion landing intact. we were a major fighting force. nobody was able to stop us. we brushed them right out of the way. we had help from the tanks and artillery. we had a lot of the artillery, we had a lot of help. still, the main thing was ranger battalion, well-trained, intact, we just brushed right by the enemy opposition. missionple say that the was a failure because the guns were not there.
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the was not the mission of force. the mission of the force was to block the enemy in the maisie area from counterattacking the beachhead. the second battalion accomplished that mission as well as finding the guns. on d+vement toward them three -- no, it has to be d+ 3 2, we sealed the deal. by relieving them and blocking that whole way. our companies after planting it scattered. company went d down to where the sluice gate -- slew gates were and set up positions to prevent the germans from attacking across that small bridge from grand camp. another company, i do not remember which one it was, went
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down to a little french town that was just to the south of us blocking any pop -- any possible movement. we went through grand camp and the germans cannot attack ther e. we were a giant first step -- ♪
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announcer: 10 night on q&a, blues musician darrell david talks about his book "clandestine relationships" for he details befriending ku klux klan members. >> he was wearing military camouflage with the love drop emblem right here. and the initials kkk right here on his chest, embroidered across his beret on his head were knights of the ku klux klan. on his hip he had a semi-automatic handgun in a holster. he came in and was followed right behind him i mr. kelly,
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the grand dragon. in a dark blue suit and tie. when the nighthawk entered the room and turned the corner and saw me, he froze. mr. kelly bumped into his back, because the guys stopped short. they stumbled and regained their balance looking all around the room. and i knew what they were thinking, they were thinking either the desk clerk gave them the wrong room number or this was a set up, and ambush. i went like this. to display my hands. nothing in them. i stood up. i approached him and said hi, mr. kelly. my name is gerald davis, come in. announcer: tonight at 8:00 eastern on q&a on c-span. monday night on the communicators, net choice vice president and general counsel carles a bow and jean kamel and, president and ceo of the consumer advocacy group public knowledge, on breaking up big tech firms and the launching of antitrust investigations by the
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house judiciary committee. >> when we see one company become -- or achieve market power, it means you are the dominant player, and they engage in anticompetitive behavior as laid out in what is called the sherman act, that is stuff like tying, it is tough -- it is not really help anybody. just to specifically designed to prevent new competition. law addressesust that. the fact that the house judiciary committee this week announced that they are in a bipartisan way looking to hold hearings, briefings, and possibly do some investigating on their own to understand the digital market, understand if and i trusted needs to be changed and updated or if there are other policies turbo about competition. i think that is the exact right role for congress to be playing here. understanding if there is a problem, identifying the problem, and looking for the right best tool to address it. announcer: watch the communicators monday night at
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8:00 eastern on c-span two. announcer: this year is the 75th anniversary of d-day, the allied invasion of nazi occupied france. next from our c-span video archive, president jimmy carter speaks at the normandy american cemetery in 1978 where he built a long friendship between united states and france. friends of the -- of france and the united states of america join together in history, in the present, and

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