Late Oct - Early Nov 1944
Troop C was getting hell. Here we had kicked the Krauts out of Hambone woods and were breaking in the green 26th Division Recon Troop just west of Xures, showing them how to smell out the enemy, and the Krauts had spoiled our show for the last five days by knocking hell out of the section covering our little minefield.
A Jerry AT gun, estimated as an 88, was particularly nasty and seemed to hang out in the orchard before the woods called La Haut de la Croix. "It's in dem trees", said one CP trooper, and we pounded away with our assault guns on the target area, but with no apparent affect.
Col. Ben decided to have a look, and brought along a T/Sgt. from the air-ground liaison detachment with his mighty jeep-filling radio. Col. Withers insisted on joining the tourist party.
Our forward trenches to the right of the road on the hill were reached by Col. Benkosky and the sergeant without incident. Col. Withers arrived hurriedly and slightly short of breath as he had been boosted up the hill by three shell bursts that walked up the slope behind him. The last one almost paid off as it hit the sod above the trench just as he slid in -- safe!
The Colonels both had as little success in seeing anything as the troopers had had for the last four days. Their efforts to prove that Colonels see better than privates did manage to stir up the enemy a little more than usual.
Doubtless in an effort to discourage the tactical peering of the Colonels, the T/Sgt. stuck his head up and took a look around. Poor chap, he was color blind. The artificial color of the camouflage with which the Krauts neatly hid their gun didn't register on his "poor" eyes, and he picked up the position immediately.
A radio call to Mustang support group, description of the target and it's location, were presently followed by the appearance of our fighters. They circled and dove in, 50's yammering. As they pulled up, two grand slams were heard. The orchard disappeared in a cloud of smoke and flying earth. The 500 pounders had scored and the C Troopers, now that the enemy gunners had been Christinized, slept peacefully that night with only enemy mortars to bother them.
"By God, Benkosky", said Col. Withers, "I'm going to write you up for that!"
When the Silver Star came Col. Benkosky said, "For watching a damn good 4F sergeant do a fine piece of work."
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