Trooper Douglas M. 'Doug' Bailey

 

Doug Bailey in Naples, December 1943.
I was with Ben Ziegler from my 4th Gun Section
for 3 days at the 5th Army Rest Center.

 

In December 1939 I read in the local paper that Port Angeles was going to have a National Guard unit.

 

It was to be A-Battery of the 248th Coast Artillery Regiment. I and a few of my Classmates who were in the Junior Class in High School all lied about our ages and joined up. We went two weeks into our Senior Year when the late President Roosevelt called up most of the National Guard into Federal service. We were sent to Fort Worden, WA.

 

A-Battery was assigned to a 10" Disappearing Gun Battery.

 

I was in the Motor Pool for awhile at my Coast Artillery Fort before I went to the Paratroops. I drove the big 6 X 6's and 4x4 Weapons Carriers and Jeeps

 

 

I still have a copy of my Army Driver's permit.

 

When I first went into the Service, to take the exam for Pilot Training you had to have two years of College. As the War went on you had to have Graduated from High School and then it got down to have a certain Score on a IQ test.

 

A friend in my outfit and myself put in for Pilot Training and they sent us to Seattle to take the Test. We took the mental Exam in the morning and both passed but I did not pass the Physical because I was Color Blind. My friend passed and later was killed in a B-17 over Germany.

 

I then put in for the Parachute School and did not pass the color Blind test. (I did not know about the color Blind test to be a Paratrooper) or I would not have even taken the test. So I went back to regular duty and then received a letter saying I could be a Glider Pilot. So I put in for that but a week or so later I receive another letter saying the Qualifications had been changed and were the same as the Air Force. So I almost gave up and one day I was told to report over to the Post Hospital and the Doctor who gave me the test said you are in good Physical condition and said do I really want to go to the Parachute School. I said I did and he pointed to a large Desk Blotter and said what color is this I said Green. Ok, he said and about 4 days later I was on my way to Fort Benning.

 

Eventually seven of us from A-Battery 248th Coast Artillery became Paratroopers. Four of us went to Europe and three went to the Pacific War. I left Fort Worden January 1st 1943 for Fort Benning and the Parachute School. Made my qualifying jumps and sent to the 82nd A/B Div. at Fort Bragg, NC. Was only at Fort Bragg a short time and then it was off to North Africa, and our long Trek would begin.

 

Doug's Diary

 

From June 1943 till May 1944, Doug kept this diary.
This most interesting information may be called UNIQUE !
(Webmaster)

"Fully equipped trooper" (Doug)


Doug's original diary
 

 

Where you see this **** , it is what I have added.
Things that came to mind after I had typed the entry, from my diary. (Doug)

 

1943

 

June 16th, went on pass to Oujda, rented a bike, and bought some canned fruit, rumors of German Para-troops in the vicinity.

 

June 16th, made night jump shortly after midnight near Oujda, in French Morocco. A guy would not Jump. (He was later shipped out of the Battalion). I made a good landing but had hard time finding 4th gun section. Some of the bundles landed in wheat field, but 4th section was first to get to the assembly point. First section did not Jump because door load got stuck in the door.

June ? Went on compass course last night wandered all over the hills of Morocco, did not get back to camp until daylight completely hushed.

 

June 25th? Packed all extra equipment, B Battery getting ready to go by plane to our next destination, packed my old boots, wearing my new ones, they hurt my feet, going to get some beer tonight. Hope I get some mail.

Date ? Left Oujda by plane for area around Souse or Kairouan, we flew high + very cold, just about got air sick, pissed in helmet, camped near Kairouan, very very hot, drinking lots of water. Too hot to do anything in day time, do it at night, wind like a blast furnace, sharing pup tent with Bennett, dug fox holes. Guess my hair will grow back to normal one of these days. Know I'm going into combat, think it's tomorrow night, they showed us the sand table of the area that we are jumping in, I'm in #4 plane loaded with ammunition. Lt Cole, Jumpmaster, also went to planes and had instructions in case of a sea landing.

Some of us had Chutes that had both Static lines and a rip cord. The Chutes were Camouflaged Nylon with a Spring loaded Pilot Chute. I heard that they were the type the marine Paratroops used. I cut off a Pilot Chute and got rid of the spring and carried the little chute in my Musset Bag and lost everything when I was wounded at Hemroulle.

 

July 10th?††† Left night of the 9th from Kairouan, Tunisia flew over Malta which was a check point about five or six hundred ft. Pretty light out, took my turn standing at door holding door load, Two guys got airsick, anti-aircraft fire hit us as we came over the coast of Sicily. Red light came on, then green light, door load partly stuck in door. I went out head first, could see flashes and tracers from ground fire before my chute opened, when chute opened grabbed front risers and slid most the way to ground, hit very hard. Lots of firing going on. Loaded gun and got grenades ready. 505 guy beside me broke stock of gun going out door we had hard time getting oriented, every time we moved, machine gun bullets whiz over our heads. Joined a group of troopers, and started looking for my gun crew. Came across Paratrooper with broken leg. He had crashed into a tree stump, He was on the wrong side of a brick wall about five feet high, when some of the firing let up, about 4 of us jumped over the wall and lifted him over on the safe side. Finally met some guys from B-Btry. Fought with the Infantry, knocked out two machine gun nest and captured the Italians and their guns. Dead Italian soldier in cart, Lt. from 505 killed while trying to throw grenade through slit in tall pill box. Olosky shot in foot. Two medics killed one was from B-Btry.

****

My Battery "B" jumped with the 2nd Battalion of the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, When we loaded the planes in Tunisia we didn't put on our chutes. When we were about half hour from the coast of Sicily the Crew Chief of the plane came back and told us it was time to chute up. This was a nervous time for all, slipping around where the air-sick guys puked on the floor, it was dark, the plane was jerking around, and we had to get all the straps and harness over all our stuff, it was our first combat, I guess we were a little nervous.

****

The Pilots missed our drop zone by about 20 miles, and gave us the green light over an area of Pill Boxes, rock walls and trees. I don't think we were over 250 to 300 ft when we jumped. We also jumped with our guns unloaded and had little tin crickets for identification. The pass word was George and the countersign was Marshall.

****

Date ?. At one point in my wanderings I went to a well in courtyard of house to fill canteen. There was a Sicilian women wailing because her husband was lying in the doorway dead. Shot by mistake I would guess in all the confusion that night.†††† Battalion formed with prisoners and moved out after we broke their rifles over a rock wall, also a couple ancient machine guns.

Two 505 guys killed by Italian grenades, moved out late in the afternoon, hadn't went too far when started to receive some fire from the left flank. Had to knock down wall to get barrel of the 75mm gun to bear, the rear trail was sitting on hard road, gun bucked up and back every time we fired. Nobody hurt and we were soon on our way. Made some of our prisoners pull the Gun, this was probably against the Geneva Convention. Marched all night, at one time past a bunch of dead Germans or Italians by some knocked out armoured cars, the smell was very bad.


**** "B" Battery was right in the middle of all this wreckage, and smell, when the long column stopped for a break, we were exhausted and just dropped in the ditches, it was dark so the living and the dead were sharing the same ditches, it was hard to tell which was which. We kept moving all night headed for Gela, we were moving through the town of Vittoria I think about midnight, when we saw the anti-aircraft fire that shot down so many of the 504th combat team.


July 12th. After marching all night we pulled into a barnyard about daylight, and everybody took a break. When we rested we were on the road again and joined the combat team at Biazza Ridge. Somewhere along the way we got rid of all our prisoners I think we gave them to the 45th Division ? Went into position and dug in. Got some watermelon out of garden, we have captured Italian tanks, trucks, guns, and a couple motorcycles. Heard that Sgt. Sholonis was killed when their door load got stuck, and by the time they jumped they were over the beach. Sgt Raby and his planeload are still missing. Just ate some K-rations and waiting to move up to front. German planes bombing ships in harbor, saw only one shot down. Got my foot taped up, just came from where 505th lost a lot of guys.

**** After we had taken a break mentioned above and had a chance to get some sleep in the Barnyard, we hit the road rested and in very high spirits. We had survived our first night combat jump, our first fighting, and winning over the enemy. The climate was better then North Africa, and we went in columns, one on each side of the read with the prisoners pulling the Howitzer in the middle. Sometimes when we would take a short break and if we were lucky we would be opposite grape vineyards, or melon patches, or tomato patches, we would take the steel part off our helmets run out in the field and fill it up with what ever was available. ďThe spoils of war you know".

****

As we marched down the road, we would see those little farm houses with pretty curtains in the windows, some close to the road and others further back. When we got up close we could see that they were not what we thought they were. They were Pill Poxes with the curtains that looked so nice and pretty†††† painted so they looked like real curtains

****

This incident happened the night we were getting ready to move out from where we dropped the night of the invasion.

One of the guys from my Gun squad get hold of some vino and got himself pretty well plastered and started to give Captain Harris a bad time. Captain Harris hauled off and knocked him to the ground, then he motioned for myself and another guy to come over where the guy was, still to the ground, and told us to take his rifle away from him and to keep an eye on him until he sobered up. The guy was later transferred out with the rest of the screw ups.

****† Just before the above incident happened, another trooper and myself had been guarding a bunch of Italian prisoners. They were really happy to be out of the war. They would pull out their wallets and show us pictures of their wives or girlfriends, their babies, we really didn't have to guard them. They seemed quite content. They just wanted to get their part of the war over with and go home.

 

July 13th.††† Still at Biazza ridge, U.S. 155 artillery outfit just went by. 376 Parachute Artillery and 504 Parachute Infantry lost a lot of guys. talked to medic out of 504, their plane was hit, blew up he was only one to get out of his plane he pulled his reserve had got clear of wreckage and came down with his reserve chute only.

Went to look at Mark 6 Tiger tank that "C" Battery knocked out, it's a big son of a gun, had 88mm gun on it; also looked at a 77mm gun, a motorcycle, and 5 German graves.


**** Cecil Farmer and myself went over to where they had German prisoners from the Herman Goring Panzer Division, burying about 15 of our guys in shallow graves. Two troopers from our Battalion were killed when the light Italian tank that they captured that resembled a British Bren Carrier took a direct hit from a German 88 on a Mark 6 Tiger Tank.

****

Since we didn't jump with blankets and it got pretty cold at night, I had been using my cellophane type gas cape to keep a little warm at night. Looked up one morning , and here comes Rip True with wheelbarrow full of German blankets he got out of a barrack near by. The 4th gun section slept warm that night, but had to go to the 45th Division aid station the next day to get deloused.

 

July 14th. Marched to Gela, a tough hike, feet are killing me. (new boots). Saw some American Jeeps and five American Tanks that were destroyed, and a dead Paratrooper beside bridge, somebody had taken his boots. German and American equipment scattered in the ditches Sgt Raby is OK. We are now on big hill overlooking Gela, can see group of American ships in Harbor, I'm out of water, very thirsty.

 **** Sgt. Raby and his planeload reported missing, found out later that they got lost over the ocean and flew back to Africa, and came in the next night with the 504th.

 

July 15th. Still on hill by Gela, have plenty of water now. Everybody pissed off because we had to shave, had an inspection by Col. Gavin. After inspection went to beach, got a ride in amphibious duck to Gela.

 **** While on the hill at Gela we had an after battle critique where anybody could speak out his ideas on the jump, weapons, etcÖ One guy got up and suggested that since we had such a bad dispersal, that they let the Paratroopers fly the plans, and make the Air Force jump.

 

July 16th. Had mountain rations for breakfast, pretty good, busted part of my rifle, got another part and fixed it. Went swimming in the ocean today had lots of fun, lots of landing craft wrecked on beach. Sweated like heck going over and back. Eating Five & One rations, better then C- or K-rations. Lots of ships in harbor unloading men and equipment.

 

July 17th. Cleaned 75 Howitzer, still waiting to move out. They said we would leave tonight, we moved out by truck towards the front. Passed lots of wrecked Pill Boxes and trucks, bridges were blown up so we went around them. using some captured trucks to move up. A.J. Pierce driving a big charcoal burning truck. Camped for the night near Littica. All the towns we went through are pretty old and dirty. Traveled about 60 miles today, lot of troops going forward.

 

July 19th. Cleaned Bazooka and rifle, moved again toward the front more bridges blown out, moved at night, now in orchard, dug slit trench.

 

July 20th. Still in orchard, found well, best drinking water since I left the States. Took whores bath out of helmet, ate some grapes and cleaned rifle.

 

July 21st. Still at orchard, had gun drill, cleaned Bazooka, laying around waiting to go someplace.

 

July 22nd. Moved up to another place, going into action again soon.

 

July 24th. Moved to Trappani by truck, crowded as heck, went past burning railroad station, went into position on outskirts of Trappani. Went into position under fire they were using time fire, but had their fuses set wrong, and their shells were bursting high in the air. I could lay in my slit trench and reach up pick grapes.

 

July 18, went down to a stream and washed, filled my helmet with grapes, went swimming at ocean again, came back and ate. Watched about 200 Italian prisoners go by with only two guards.

 

July 25,† fires from yesterday still burning, white flags on houses people cheering as we came through the towns, threw us apples, candy, flowers, and sometimes when we stopped they gave us bottles of wine.

 

July 27th, left few guys on gun, and the rest of the Battalion went prowling through the hills and some little towns, I think this was a show of force to let the people know that we were in charge. Sweated so much it got in my eyes. Found out that we are going back to North Africa. Somebody stealing morphine out of first aid packets.

 

July 28th, off again on another hike through the country side, longer then yesterday. Went past airport which had been bombed, all kinds of planes scattered all over. Dead horse in road.

 

Date ?. Went on firing problem on other side of Trappani. Then went swimming in the ocean. A bags came in with rear echelon, on guard again post #4.

 

Date ?††† Visited Areecce (The city above the Clouds), then went on firing problem and road marches. Civilians come in area couple times a day to sell eggs, melons and vino. Getting ready to leave, going back to North Africa, the Island is now in our hands.

 

Date ? Went on another hike, got back with two blisters, heard again that we are going back to North Africa. Moved about 3 miles to old German camp. German and Italian equipment scattered all over. Everybody had the Red Ass, all non-corns ducked retreat. S---Drunk Sgt R--- & Sgt--- shipped out MC---E-- & E---Put in guard house.


**** Don't remember all the details, but do remember when we had to take one guy up to the court martial proceedings we had to get a stretcher from the Medics because he was too drunk to walk. The outcome of all this was that they transferred all the habitual screw up and trouble makers out of the Battalion.


Date ? Went to Airport at Trappani, C-47ís all over the place to fly us back to Africa. Got souvenir from wrecked German plane. Boarded C-47 and flew back to North Africa. Went into bivouac at pretty good place. Bob Hope put on show. Moved by truck to Bizerte, good deal go swimming everyday. Heard that we will be flying back to Sicily.> **** We were coed right on the beach outside of the harbor at Bizerte, went through our biggest air-raid of the war; we could see the German planes when the searchlights caught them in their beams, Flack was really filling the sky, and lots of stuff with fuses that didn't work were falling down in our area and exploding; watched a lighted up Hospital ship come sailing out of the harbor, making a mad dash for the open sea. Another trooper lost couple fingers while taking apart a fused 37mm shell he picked up at Trappani airport while waiting for planes to take us back to Africa.

 

Sept. ?†† Back in Sicily now camped at airport a few miles from Vittoria. Wrecked German planes all over the place. Took my trench knife and took joy stick out of a ME-109 fighter. Lots of German bombs in woods, flies terrible, went to Vittoria one day, got some vino, we do a little drill in morning and get afternoon off, too hot to do much. Heard that we are going to Italy soon.

 

Date ? Back to the old grind of training again, had big rain storm got my tent fixed up hope it will keep me dry. Sleeping on a bed made of 88mm shell cases (they were like a wicker basket). Adolph Menjou was here today, told us the people back home thought the war was over and that production had decreased. Still near airfield at Vittoria shows just about every night. Bowersox and I took bath over by a Sicilian well, civilians thought that was real funny.


**** This place in the trees at the edge of the airport was really shanty town. We made huts out of old lumber shelter halver, and other stuff that we found in the area. Lt. from another Battery killed when he put down a German teller mine by the mess tent. It went off and riddled the mess tent and wounded a couple more guys. I heard that he brought it into the area to lecture about it?

 

Date ?††† After breakfast all squads had to furnish two men each to make jump at Gela.

***† Like always when something like this came up, my 4th gun section would cut cards. Bowersox and myself were the ones from our squad. We loaded up in the C-47s with a Glider hooked on behind, with the 75mm gun fully assembled and took off from the airfield where we were bivouacked. Flew out over the Mediterranean for awhile then came in over the airport at Gela. They dropped the Glider, then the tow rope over the field, and we jumped and landed in a nice soft plowed field at the edge of the airport, then pretended to attack a anti-aircraft position on a hill overlooking the airport. We were quite concerned that the tow rope would not release and the hook on the end would hit and split a canopy, so we tied a string to the end hooked up to the tail of the plane and ran it along the fuselage to the guy standing in the door so when the tow rope released it would pull the string out of the guys hand, and we would know the tow rope was released OK.

 

Oct. 12th, American pilot flying captured ME 109 killed at field near here while landing. Raining today. †

 

Oct. 13th, 0--- got on a crying drunk, and had the whole Battery in hysterics. Going out to fire tomorrow.

 

Oct. 14, Went out and fired the 75ís.

 

Oct. 22nd, squadron of B17's from bases in North Africa landed at airport here, they are going on mission deep in Austria.

 

Nov. ? Leaving Sicily, went to Agusta by train, stayed overnight in British camp. Marched to docks and boarded French ship run by the British named "Villa De Oran". I had yellow jaundice and was put in ships sick bay all the way to Algiers. Had German prisoners aboard. Landed at Algiers stayed three days, went by box car to Bizerte, I was very sick and had miserable trip. Box car was crowded and took long time to get to Bizerte.

 

Nov. 22, Now at Bizerte will stay about 4 days. Went to Tunis on pass, nice modern city, Raining like heck, on night detail at dock loading crates of parachutes to go to England with the 505.

 

Nov. ? Now on Liberty ship "Anson JonesĒ headed for Naples I think? Bunch of British engineers on board.

 

Nov. 26, had turkey for dinner today on board Liberty ship "Anson Jones". Now anchored in harbor of Augusta, Sicily same place we left from quite some time ago to go back to Africa. On guard tonight.

 

Nov. 27, we had pulled into Augusta to wait until dark, and then make dash through the straits of Messina. Convoy was raided going through straits yesterday, lots of British troops on hoard.

 

Nov. 30,† came through straits of Messina OK, no sign of enemy planes. Pulled into harbor at Naples, lots of ships sunk in harbor, had long march to quarters, staying in some Italian college buildings.


****††† Found out later this was the Victor Emmanuel College


Dec. 1st, Christmas Pkg from home.

 

Dec. 5th, went into Naples without pass, pretty interesting place, on Guard tonight.

 

Dec. 8th. went to Naples with Datoli, walked all over, talked to some survivors of 16 merchant ships that were sunk in the Adriatic.


**** They told us there were lots of ships in Harbor at Bari, including ammunition ships when some Focke Wulf fighter bombers that had twin tails and were mistaken for our own twin tail P-38ís got in close and bombed heck out of them.


Dec. 9th, advanced detail left this morning for someplace.

 

Dec. 13th, now about 30 miles from Naples at Italian Army Garrison with the Canadian-American First Special Service Force. Living in bombed out buildings, allied planes going back and forth all day to the front lines.

**** This was our first meeting of the Canadian-American First Special Service Force. We would be with them quite some time.

 

Dec. 21st, took hot shower and got clean underwear, cleaned gun and loaded in trailer, getting ready to move up again.

 

Dec. 22nd, still by San Vittore, got haircut from kid about 12 years old in bombed out town. On 4 hr guard last night but nobody woke me up, so didn't stand it. Don't think the guy I was supposed to relieve could find my hole?

 

Dec. 23rd, heard of Allied landings below Rome, moved up to new positions on side of hill, raining like heck. While digging gun pit came across old roman road.

 

Dec. 25th, Christmas at the front, pulled in last night dug gun in, wet and muddy, saw Bill Faires and Norm Svela. They are in little town close by.

**** We moved up at night, and when morning came found out we were in a really bad exposed position on this hillside, we could see Casino and the Abbey in front of us. I think this is why we did not stay in this position very long. That night the rain was really coming down, and I was on guard out in front of position and noticed a long line of guys coming down past me. I asked "what outfit you guys in"? It was the Japanese 100th Battalion, later to be part of the Japanese 442nd. Regimental Combat Team.

 

Dec. - †In same place, gun all dug in and camouflaged did not do a hell of a lot of firing, moved back by Jeep and trailer to San Vittore for a rest.

 

Dec. - Did a lot of firing, German planes diving on our positions on other side of hill. Kitchen tent burnt down, Moore got hand burnt.

 

1944

 

Jan 3rd,† saw our plane dive bomb German position, went about 25 miles back of front to take shower. On way back to front Germans planes strafed us, trucks stopped, I jumped out over tailgate and dove under motor of truck behind us. Green Eyes (Bennett) dove in ditch full of water, so did Powers. Planes came back about 2 o'clock, two of them shot down, came during fire mission, everybody hit the dirt. They killed about 20 men and left 3 trucks burning on the road.

 

Jan 4th, still at front. We were dug in on on side of hill, and close by there was a pile of dead Germans that were piled up like a stack of wood and frozen stiff.

 

Jan 5th,† watched our planes dive bomb German positions, Big Battle going on all night, sky was all lit up. Dead German wrapped in shelter half close to position. Lots of rain.

 

Jan, 8th, German planes overhead nearly all day. Moving up tonight.

 

Jan 9th, moved up to the front last night, dug gun in, five of us came up late, driver got lost on the way up. After digging gun in† dug slit trenches. It is raining very hard, a few enemy shells bursting near, finished slit trench and had some fire missions.

 

Jan 6th, enemy planes overhead. AA drove them away. Germans shelling town and hill about a mile away, our planes dive bombing Germans. Mortar shelling in close by the Germans. Now have slit trench with roof.

 

Jan, 10th. Still in position by San Vittore.

 

Jan, 11th. Firing at the Germans, shell landed right in front of our gun, -- a Dud.


**** It was in this position when we were first heard the German Nebelwerfer (Screaming Memmie) a 6 Barrel rocket Gun that made such a horrible screech.


Jan 12, or 13, German planes came over while eating breakfast, everybody scattered, Spitfires chasing Germans, our AA shooting at the Spitfires. Shelled German dug-out with good effect. B-25 received direct hit from German AA, burst into flames.

 

Jan, 16th. Fired all night. Heard that Rezor from H.Q. had foot blown off by German mine while laying wire.

 

Jan 17, fired all night, Germans shelling us with Mortars. Took compass reading on them & fired corps 5 rounds. Today saw German fighter plane blow up over gun position, Spitfire shot it down, it was a German ME 109.

 

Jan 19th, in position on outskirts of Cevaro, moved in two nights ago. Dug gun in. Fired very little, now waiting to move a couple miles toward Casino. Germans shelling close. S---††† had a nervous break down, sent to rear. Enemy planes overhead every day. Moving up tonight.

 

Jan 24th, Germans shelling pretty close, moved back to fox hole to sleep. We were attached to the First Special Service Force, then the 36th Division and now attached to the 91st Recon. outfit. Still wet.

 

Jan 25th, moved up a railroad bed that was being used as a road pretty close to front. Germans shelled heck out of our old area about 10 minutes after we left, direct hit where no. 2 gun position was. Crashed P-38 out in front of our position.

 

Jan 26-27-28th, all dug in at new position, doing most of our firing at night. German shells landing close, a few guys get to go back to a rest camp for a few days.

 

Jan. 29th, heard rumor that we would take off in morning, it came true. Packed gun and went back to base camp at Santa Maria. First Special Service Force all ready to go. Pulled out and spent night in a staging area.

 

Jan 29th, marched to docks, got to see Bill and Norm in Staging area. Rags hit guy that was pestering Major Wicks, boarded a LST, had shower on board and good chow, even got a bunk, pulled out and don't know where we are going.

**** Bill and Norm are two guys from my home town of Port Angeles, Washington. I went through Jr. High and High school with them we lied about our age and we all joined the National Guard (248th Coast Artillery) while still in our Junior year of High School, and were called into federal service Sept. 16th 1940, we had just completed two weeks of our Sr. year. This call up was just supposed to last a year, it turned out to be about five years. Bill and Norm went through Jump school after I did and ended up in the 376th of the 82nd AB.

 

 

This is the type of Coast Artillery Gun
I served on before I went to the Parachute School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
It was called a 10" disappearing type Gun

That's my Wife Dorothy on the Gunners platform,
the Breech Block is missing and also the Gunners Sight.
The gun is now at ( Fort Casey ) a Washington State Park.

 

Jan 31st, spent good night on LST, landed on new beachhead at ANZIO. Saw Spitfire on fire, pilot bailed out and landed in the ocean, plane crashed in the sea, destroyer picked up pilot.

 

Feb. 7th, up all night last night, expected Germans to counter attack, but they didn't. Fired time delay and HE at them on different sector. Cold as hell last night. 20 jerry's over today attack ships in the harbor, think two of them got shot down?

 

Feb. 8th, Germans again bombed harbor, our Bombers overhead headed north. Plane drops emergency gas tank real close, think it was one of ours. Shelled house today Delayed Fuse, Germans ran out , use time fire and got em.

 

Feb. 9th. Same as always

 

Feb. 10th, B-17 Group going over to bomb German positions, one received direct hit from German AA fire, went down in balls of fire. Another circled two men bailed out, plane circled again and then went into dive, crashed I think, 7 men got out of this one. 

 

Feb. 11th, got rained out of Hole, pitched tent. Ammo cases floating down ditch.

 

Feb. 12, Germans dive bombing Harbor.

 

Feb. 2 or 3rd or 4th, still in position, Germans shelled us yesterday, used a little time fire, shells hitting close.

 

Feb. 6th, shell hit CP, killed Capt. Harris, a couple others, and one or two were wounded. German planes over today, saw one crash, two of them flew over us real close, both smoking. Last night shelled German gun that was in cemetery. Germans counter attacked but failed. Fighting around a canal over here.


**** I believe Col. Cooper was in the building when the shell hit, I heard that this farmhouse had a Navy radio team in it with a high powered radio that was directing fire for warships off-shore. and that the enemy radio-direction finder zeroed in on it?


 

Feb. 13th, same old stuff, Germans over at night bombing harbor. Saw three shot down. Olivant and myself went out at night to dig Bazooka position.

**** We did not get much done, it was raining like heck and the L shaped trench was full of water, there we were up to our knees in water and miserable as heck, so we started singing some crazy song.

 

Feb. 15th, took shower back at the beachhead. I think itís safer up on the front.

 

Feb. 16th, Germans over in force last night, raided harbor, and our positions. Dropped flares, bombs all around us. Big attack going on, fired a lot this morning, Two ME 109ís tried to shoot down our Cub Observation plane. Missed him. Germans shelling road close by.

 

Feb. 17th. German planes tried to get Cub again, it flew around the Church and big trees and got away. Saw our B-25ís bomb German positions. Germans over bombing harbor again. Germans expected to attack again, we are ready for them.

 

Feb. 18th, saw three B-24ís go down in flames over German territory. About 300 B-24ís in raid, saw two make force landing on our side of the lines. One plane was disabled, crew jumped, empty plane flew over head and over German lines. in a big circle, German AA missed it. Plane flew back over our lines and crashed near Nettuno.

 

Feb. ? German counter attack last night, fired like hell and beat it off. Got some tanks, Germans sent in wrecker tank to get 2 disabled tanks and we got it too.

 

Feb. 19th, Germans attacked again and driven back, by Artillery and small arms fire, Germans bomb ships in harbor about 3 times a day.

 

Feb. 20th, German shells landing close, German bombers came over in the evening and dropped radio controlled rocket bombs at ships in the harbor.

 

Feb. 21st. Same old stuff, enemy planes over so low could have thrown rocks at em, saw one go down about 2 block from our position.

 

Feb. 22nd. Enemy planes over last night, bombed hell out of harbor, hit Ammo dump or gas dump. AA shell hit about 10 ft. from gun position shook us up a little. Found some foil that the Germans drop to foul up the radar net, German shells again landing close.

 

Feb. ? Ragsdale to Hospital (Tonsils). Got 14 new men, part of the outfit going to England. Germans had another big attack, fired a heck of a lot. Fired bell out of gun, part of gun blew off, nobody hurt, lucky. Rained a lot but hole is O.K., eating C and K rations.


**** Ragsdale was wounded at Bastogne and later killed when the ambulances taking the wounded to the rear were ambushed and shot up.


March ? Same old stuff, in same position, enemy planes and guns still active. Bill and Norm going to England.

 

April. ? Still in same position, Battery got two more guns, now in another section, they brought some rear echelon guys up from Santa Maria to fill up gun crews, a few Tech & Master Sgts. I had 3 days at rest-camp with Ben Ziegler at Santa Maria and Naples. Went down on a LST and came back on a LCI.

**** The rest camp was north of Naples at Santa Maria, and we were supposed to stay around this little town, but as soon as we got a shower and clean clothes we took off for Naples. Spent all our rest time in Naples, and just got back to rest camp in time to go to the docks and sail back to Anzio.

 

April ? German planes over early in morning, bombed heck out of things, dropped flares over Battery positions, Bennett got one of the Flare Chutes : big one. One man in A-Battery wounded, bomb holes all around the Battery positions.

 

May 11th , still same place, something big coming off soon, have dug two new gun positions and are now waiting to move. One man hit by shrapnel coming back from new positions while riding in truck. I hit the floor. 5 American tanks and their crews knocked out while trying to cross canal about two weeks ago, we lay smoke screen for them. Guy made radio from phone handset, razor blade, carbon out of a battery, lead pencil, and wire. could pick up the "Berlin Bitch" broadcasting from Rome. Going up tonight to dig gun pits. While digging gun pits, German self propelled 88 moved in opposite of us and and started firing, really made us hit the dirt.


**** We had been going up at night to dig gun positions by the canal, tanks and other stuff were also moving up to the jump off positions. To screen the noise of this troop movement they had the piper cubs that were used for Artillery spotting fly back and forth above the front making a lot of noise, heard that they took the mufflers off. There was no cover where we were at except a small mound about 10 inches high and those 88ís were coming in on flat trajectory. This was the night I tried to climb into my helmet.


The above was the last entry. Don't know why I quit . I wish I had kept it up.

As you can see, the German Air-Force was quite active at that stage of the War. By the time we were headed for Rome we did not see hardly any German planes.


 

This is a German 9mm Walther P-38
that I brought home from the war.

I replaced the Bakelite Handles with wooden Handles
or what we call Grips.

The German I got it from no longer needed it.

Another German souvenir I brought home...


Douglas M. Bailey
Port Angeles, WA 98362

 


 

Interview with Mr. D. Bailey

 

Where and when were you born? Do you have any recollections of the time you went to school or about your childhood?

I was born March 4th 1922 in Port Angeles, Washington situated on the straits of Juan De Fuca 18 miles across from Victoria, British Columbia (Canada)

I had a wonderful childhood growing up in a small town with lots of Playmates and lots of things to do

I joined the Washington National Guard when I was a Junior in High School and went two weeks of my Senior year when my Guard Unit, Battery A 248th Coast Artillery was called into Federal service.

 

What did you think when you first heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? Did you realize immediately the USA was now involved in a global war ?

I had just come off Guard and crawled into my Bunk when someone came into the Barracks and told us about Pearl harbor. We immediately drew rifle ammunition and went up to the 10" Disappearing Gun Battery we were assigned to and waited for the Japanese Fleet to come steaming up the Straits. (It never showed up). We were not surprised as we were called into active service along with many, many National Guard units on September 16th 1940 almost a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor. My parents had no objection to my joining the National Guard although I told the Recruiters I was 18 yrs old but I was really only 17 yrs old.

 

What are the different places where you had your training and what kind of training did you have? Do you have any memories of the time you were in training, good and/or bad? How was the food for instance? Were you allowed to go home sometimes, or did you have some time off once in a while?

Since I joined the local National Guard Unit we did not have the regular Basic training we would have got if we had joined the Regular Army.

We were lucky to have quite a few guys that had spent a enlistment in the Army, Marines, Navy. They made them the Corporals and Sergeants right away.

The Captain in civilian life was a County Engineer. We did go to one summer camp and Fired the 10" Disappearing Guns.

Picture taken 2 days after getting home

 

After we were called up and stationed at the Fort which was only fifty miles from our home town we could get home in a hour so we got home quite often.

I had no complaint about the Food as it was OK. The Mess Sgt. was a old timer who had spent time in the Regular Army.

Did you know that in the peace time Army you could buy your self out for $129,00 dollars. The pay was only 21 dollars a month so it was hard for Soldiers to save $129.00 after having your pay deducted for Dry Cleaning, Laundry, Theatre Tickets, Post Exchange, and gambling Debts.

 

Did you have different jobs in the Battalion, in the 456th or/and in the 463rd ?

When I first joined the 456th I was assigned to the B Battery 4th Gun Section and stayed there my whole Airborne Career.

I aso when called upon was a Bugler since I knew all the Bugle Calls.

 

Do you have any recollections about the split of the 456th ?

I do not

 

Do you have any recollections about the Operation Anvil-Dragoon in Southern France in August 1944 and or do you have any recollections about the time you were in the Alps trying to stop the retreating Germans fleeing from Italy ?

This is my story I wrote for my Kids years ago about Dragoon:

 

"OPERATION DRAGOON " with the "FIRST AIRBORNE TASK FORCE"
THE INVASION OF SOUTHERN FRANCE

 

By Douglas M. Bailey
 

Who served with the

456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion,      82nd Airborne Division
463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion,      1st Airborne Task Force
463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion,      101st Airborne Division

 

The First Airborne Task Force was made up of the Independent Parachute and Glider Units in Italy in 1944

551 Parachute Battalion                            463 Parachute Battalion ***
517 Parachute Combat Team                     509 Parachute Battalion
550 Glider Battalion                                  British 2nd A/B Brigade

 

Before we were assigned to the First Airborne Task Force. My Battalion the 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion was designated the 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and we belonged to the the 505 Parachute Infantry Regimental Combat Team in the 82nd Airborne Div.

After we had jumped in the invasion on the Island of Sicily shortly after midnight with the 82nd A/B Division , we were sent to Italy and we were attached to the American/Canadian First Special Service Force. This was a Special Unit that had both Americans and Canadians in it, they had Mountain and Parachute training. We served with them on the Casino Front, the Anzio Beachhead, and the drive to Rome. When my Parachute Battalion was pulled out of the lines after Rome was captured, we first went to Lake Albano, which is South of Rome and where the Pope has his summer residence.

After a short time we moved out to the coast to LIDO DE ROMA which was a summer resort for the wealthy Italians. Here we received replacements to build the 463rd Parachute Battalion up to full strength for the next Combat Jump. They sent some Officers back to the Replacement Depots in Africa to hand pick the qualified Troopers.

Just before we left Lido De Roma some Engineers came out with a compressor and spray guns to camouflage us. We fell out with our jump suits on, and all our webbing and Musset bag. One guy sprayed us with black paint and the other guy sprayed us with green paint. We also had tubes of grease paint to paint our faces, so by the time it came to load the planes, we would be a mean looking bunch. We Left the Rome area and went north about 100 miles to the Grosseto Airport where we would take off for France. We left around midnight and flew west over the Ligurian Sea, then North about on the same route that Napoleon took when he returned to France from exile.

The 463rd and the 509 made up a Combat Team, and we took off about 40 minutes before the rest of the Airborne. These two little Bastard Battalions spearheaded the attack. Jumping around 4:30 in the morning, just before daylight, we were supposed to jump at a place called Le Muy about 15 miles inland, but quite a few plane loads of the 463 and 509 got the green light over St. Tropez, which is on the coast. When we went to the planes to Chute up, there were two extra main chutes and two reserves left over at our Plane, so we just threw them in the plane. About half way to France one of the guys got his back pack snagged and the chute came out behind him. So we grabbed one of the extra chutes and somehow, in that dimly lit plane, got the old one off and the new one on over all the equipment.

When they made the big plan, they did not figure that when all those planes arrived over the coast, that the coast and miles inland would be covered by low clouds. When I went out the door and my chute popped open, I immediately entered what I thought was a ground mist or fog and got ready to hit the dirt. I came out of that cloud and went into another one, and thought this must be a ground fog. I came out of that one and then I could see in the moonlight that we were coming down on the coast. I could see the coast line real clear in the moonlight and knew that they had dropped us in the wrong area≠ I could see that I was over land, but not by much, so I grabbed my front risers and tried to slip further away from the coast and the Ack Ack fire, which I had become quite allergic to after the Sicily Invasion Jump. We had jumped from quite a high altitude, in fact the highest I ever jumped, so it was quite a long ride down . ( One whole planeload of 18 Troopers from the 509 were lost when they came down through the clouds to land in the water and they all drowned.)

I came down on a dirt road with trees on both sides, and could hear other Troopers coming crashing down through the trees and high brush. I scurried over to a ditch and had a heck of time getting out of my Chute. The Belly band that goes between your body and through the reserve chute had twisted up my back, and I could not reach the Quick release tab. I had to get my Jump Knife out to cut myself loose. The first guy I met was out of my gun section. He was an Apache Indian from the San Carlos Indian reservation in Arizona. He had joined us as a replacement on Anzio. We joined up with a few others, captured one garrison and took many prisoners, and also captured a large pill box on the beach, and took them prisoners too. Most of them were not Germans but from other Balkan countries that the Germans had captured and impressed into the German Army . They had German uniforms and had German equipment. The big Pill Box we captured had a German Sgt. and Corporal, but the the other 12 or 14 soldiers were these other troops. We also got into a street fight in St. Tropez with some German Marines, but they soon showed the white flag. While all this was going on, other 463rd guys were capturing a German Coastal Battery. Jay Karp, who was one of the guys that made that charge up the hill told me, " We came upon a Lt. Rosen, who had been shot in the rump. He hollered at us. Don't mind me go get those Bastards. " ---" So we did"

Col. Cooper, the Battalion Commander, broke his leg on this jump and was sent to a Hospital in Africa. He rejoined us months later when we were up in the French Maritime Alps. Later that evening we turned our prisoners over to the 3rd Infantry Division that had landed, and we moved by Amphibious Ducks to La Muy, which was our original Drop Zone. After we got together with the 463rd and 509 guys that did drop at Le Muy, we continued along the coast until we got to the outskirts of nice. at one point we came to a river and the Germans had blown the bridge. There was a blown up Jeep that had hit a mine with pieces of the jeep in the branches of a tree and what looked like clothing or body parts.?? The Engineers had marked a path with white tape down the bank of the river which was fairly shallow and the trucks started down to cross. Most of them made it. But the truck behind us turned too soon and did not follow exactly and hit a mine in the middle of the river and blew up, I could see two guys flying threw the air over the side of the truck and come splashing down in the River. One suffered a broken leg, and I heard later that the other guy, I think his name was" Felton" was paralyzed from the waste down.?? They were the only two really hurt. The rest were pretty shook up, and the truck was totaled. Later two more 463 troopers were wounded when there Machine gun position was hit by mortar fire.

One was named " Tolster " who was a ex Marine and had served in China. On the Transport that took us to N. Africa, the Matson Liner S.S. Monterey, he ran into the Captain of the S.S. Monterey's steward, and that Steward had owned a Bar in Shanghai that "Tolster" use to patronize. They looked at each other and recognized each other, and had a Mini-reunion right there down on "D" Deck. (Small World). We boarded the S.S. Monterey in New York for the 12 day trip to North Africa where we disembarked at Casablanca. On the ship they only served two meals a day, and we only had a bunk to sleep in every-other night. The nights we did not have a bunk to sleep in, we just found a place on deck to sleep. The S.S. Monterey had been a Cruise ship for the Matson Line that went from San Francisco to Hawaii in peace time. It had been converted to a Troop ship. There were about Five Thousand Troops aboard, mostly out of my Division. The 82nd Airborne Division.

A few days after the capture of NICE, we were on our way to the mountains. The 463rd along with a Glider Battalion was sent up into the French Maritime Alps to fight as Mountain troops. It Took about two days for the trucks get up in the Mountains to our Destination in the Alps. We had our Rear Echelon in a Pass through the mountains in the town of BARSLONET, and our front line positions near the village of JOUSIE. We were told that this was the same pass that Hannibal took his Elephants through on the way to Italy.??

B Btry had a good position on the side of a mountain and did not receive too much counter battery fire. The other batteries further down from us took a lot of fire. I believe one Battery had to move a couple times. They sent one Battery way up higher on a mountain, and while there were covered by deep snow and became ineffective. They took 3 or 4 men from each gun section. and sent us up the mountain to help dig out the road so the snowbound Battery could get out. I did not mind going up there, although the snow was about 8 ft deep in places. We really worked up a sweat shoveling that snow. I think we were in the mountains for about 3-1/2 months. We lived on C & K Rations and once in a while we had 10 in 1 Rations. I think they were packed in England. Because in each box was a great big can of Beef and Kidney Stew which was the worst food I ever tasted. Even now I shudder when I think of it. We were finely relieved by French Moroccan troops from North Africa that had Mules to get around with. The 463rd moved back down along the French Riviera.


              

Doug Bailey in France, 1944.


If I am not wrong the 463rd PFA arrived in Mourmelon, France, just a few days before the start of the Battle of the Bulge. Col. Cooper asked to join the 101st Airborne on their Rendezvous with Destiny and then the Division headed first to Werbomont, just a bit later the plans changed and the 101st went to Bastogne. When did you find out that you were going into combat again? How was the trip to Bastogne?

Woke up one morning at Mourmelon Le Grand and got the word that we were moving out and at that time I did not know where we were going.


This is my story I wrote for my Kids years ago about Bastogne, and also on demand of Col. Cooper:

About 10 years or so ago, Col. Cooper sent out letters to those of us that were at Bastogne to write and send him the memory's of our experience at Bastogne during that Battle.

As my experience only lasted from the time we arrived in the area around December
19th until the 24th when I was wounded, and until around the 27th when the Ambulances got there and took the wounded out.
 

To: John T. Cooper

Dear John;

In your last letter to the troops, you asked us to tell what we did during the German tank attack on Christmas day.
My story must start on the 24th of December. I had Just moved back to the 4th gun section after spending all night standing in a foxhole on a snow covered slope out in front of B Battery's Gun position. When we went out to dig our defense line, Captain Cole passed out the last of the rifle ammunition and Grenades, We knew we were surrounded by the German Panzer, Parachute and Infantry divisions. We also knew about the surrender note and demand, so we knew we had to hold the position . During a fire mission later that morning a shell exploded right in front of the gun position, and for some reason there were only three of us on the gun at that time. Don Zafke, Cecil Farmer, and myself, and all three of us were wounded.

Tom (Doc) Pace our Medic came running across the snow and
Gave us some help, and patched us up as best he could , and then a Jeep came over to us , and they threw us in the Jeep and took us to the Church in Hemroulle that they were using as a aid station. The wounded were put along the wall. The Americans on one side and the wounded Germans on the other. This was only about 150 yards from where we were wounded. They used the equipment bundles and parachutes that came from the re-supply drop on the 23rd December to cover us.

The re-supply drop came just in the nick of time, as our squad had about 5 rounds of HE (High Explosive), about 6 rounds of AP (Armored piercing), and about 3 rounds of WP (White Phosphorus).
The concussion from the exploding shell made my legs numb, and I felt no pain. After lying on the floor for about a half hour, I started to get feeling again in my legs and I started to hurt. They had bandaged up my left leg where the shrapnel went in. My right foot started to really hurt. I worked my hand down to my boot, and I could feel that it was all clammy. I called one of the medics over and they found that I had been hit in the right foot also.
Christmas day during the battle, All we could do was lie there and wonder what was going on. Shell fire broke the windows above us and the glass fell down an us, and one or two shells came through the roof exploding in the Church and re-wounding some already wounded Germans.

At one time during he battle, we could hear a tank running outside the church. When someone opened the door, I raised up, took a look and saw a German tank. I thought we had bought the farm. It turned out that it was one of the ones we had knocked out, and Booger Childress got it running and drove it into our lines. Heard later that they used it for a road block.

I don't know how long we laid in the church in Hemroulle before they roved us to the aid station in Bastogne. There wasn't anything they could do for us there. because the Surgical teams that were following the Division to Bastogne were cut off and captured. Also the room that had the whole blood plasma was hit by a shell that wiped it all out.
A building next door to the one we were in was hit by bomb's and caught fire killing most of the wounded and a Belgium nurse that was helping out. The wounded coming in with critical wounds, like stomach wounds, were just put over by the wall. There was nothing that could be done for them.

There was still quite a bit of shellfire hitting the town, but after surviving the Sicily Jump, Casino front, Anzio, and the Jump into Southern France, and the French Alps, I thought I was Invincible, Indestructible, and Immortal. At one time after a bout of shelling, I noticed the Chaplain going down the long line of wounded lying on the straw covered floor giving everyone the last rites. When he came to me, he asked if I wanted them administered to me? I told him I wasn't Catholic. (I thought only Catholics did this.) Anyway, he gave me the last rites and moved on to the next man.
At that time things were looking pretty grim. The only thing I remember having to eat all this time was some English Taffy that was put in some of the re-supply bundles that were packed in England. I also heard about this time that James Ragsdale, who had been in my gun squad, had been wounded and then killed when the ambulances taking the wounded to the rear were ambushed and shot up.

When the 4th Armored Division broke open a road to us, the ambulances were loaded, and we were off over ice and snow covered roads through the Ardennes to a Evacuation Hospital in Thionville, France. Here they operated on me and took the shrapnel out of legs. I was here a few days and then we were taken out to an airfield where they more to fly us to Paris. This was a new tent holding area run by a Chemical Warfare Battalion. They were over there with all their nasty gasses in case the Germans used Gas on us. Since the Germans were not using Poison Gas, they had this outfit running this tent city taking care of helping, and transporting the wounded coming out of the Bulge fight.

I read somewhere that this was the coldest winter In Europe in 40 years. I believe it. We laid in those freezing tents on stretchers about 4 days. Didn't know which would come first. Would we freeze to death or starve to death first? This area was near an Airfield and since the weather was too bad to fly us out, they finally loaded us in ambulances again and took up to a railway where we were loaded on a Hospital Train.

We finally arrived in Paris where we were unloaded and carried to waiting ambulances by German Prisoners of war. I had a tag around my neck that had CZ on it. This meant that I was to go to a Hospital in the Paris area. CZ stood for Communications Zone . The Hospitals were full, so they changed the tag to UK which stood for United Kingdom, so now I was to be flown to England. They loaded us up on a C-47 that was rigged up with stretchers. I was put in a top stretcher up where the roof curved over. I felt like I was in a coffin with the lid half closed. They flew us to Southern England, and I ended up in the 106th General Hospital near Bournemouth. They operated on me again in England, and then it was just a matter of letting time and good care do the healing. We had pretty Nurses, good chow, clean sheets, music in the ward, and even a movie once in a while. Another time I was taken by wheel chair to a U S 0 show at the Hospital. While I was putting up with all this, the Battalion was still in Belgium enjoying winter sports! Ha!!!!.

Finally I was released from the Hospital and sent to a replacement center near Birmingham, then to Southampton, over to Le Havre, and then to another replacement center up near the Belgium Border. At this time there was no guarantee that I, or anyone else would be sent back to their original outfit, they would just ship you to the Airborne unit that needed replacement the most. Needless to say this did not go over too well and the guys were just taking off from the center as soon as they found out where their original outfit was. I was about to do this, except I had heard the Battalion had left Belgium and was somewhere in Luxemburg. A few days later I heard that they had moved back to France, and about that time they changed the policy at the center , and so you knew you would be sent back to your own outfit.

I rejoined the Battalion at Mourmelon La Grande about a week before we loaded up and moved into Germany up on the Rhine River by Dusseldorf. We then headed south and were down by Munich when the war ended, and our long trek was over.

EPILOG


Colonel John T. Cooper:
Became Battalion commander after Colonel Hugh Neal was badly wounded shortly after we broke out of the Anzio Beachhead. After the war Colonel Cooper went back to practicing law.

Colonel Hugh Neal:
Became Battalion commander an the Island of Sicily, after we lost Colonel Harrison Hardin. After the war went back to building Bridges as a Engineer. Was from Baton Rouge, LA.

Captain Ardell Cole:
Became Battery commander of B Battery after Captain Harris was killed on the Anzio Beachhead. After the war became a Judge, an now retired, he lives in Paris, Tennessee.

Captain John S. Moore. (Battalion Medical Officer)
The Doctor that did such wonderful work on the wounded through all the battles. After the war went back to private practice in Albuquerque New Mexico.

Tom (DOC) Pace:
Was not really a doctor, but one of the two medics assigned to
B Battery , everyone called him Doc. The other original medic was killed in the first few minutes of the Sicily Invasion. After the war Pace moved from Nebraska to Oregon where he worked in heavy construction. Now retired he lives in The Dalles, Oregon.

Cecil Farmer:
Badly wounded at Bastogne spent about 9 months in Hospitals in England and in the United States. After Discharged, worked for the Government in El Paso, Texas.

Donald Zafke:
also wounded at Bastogne, Went to Hospital in England. After discharge from Hospital rejoined the Battalion in France. After the War worked as a Architect for the State of Minnesota. He lived in White Bear Lake, Mn.

Booger Childress:
Not his real name, but everyone called him Booger. Was the one who put his undershirt over the barrel of the gun of the knocked out tank and got it running and drove into our lines. He was from Cowpens, South Carolina.

Doug Bailey
Was also wounded at Bastogne, went to Hospital in England. After discharged from Hospital, rejoined the Battalion in France. How retired and living in Port Angeles, Washington.
 

 

 

I did not rejoin the 4th Gun section until I got out of the Hospital in England and
the 101st + 463rd was back in France at Mourmelon Le Grand.

 

Back row, left to right: Don Zafke, Bowensox, Wilson
Front Row, left to right: Doug Bailey, replacement ?, Don Gallipeau.

 

When the war ended in Europe early May 1945, the USA was still at war with Japan. Was there a possibility that the 463rd would have received a new assignment in the Pacific ?

I don't know much about that either as I had lots of Points and was in the first bunch to leave for home from Bad Reichenhall in southern Germany.

Looking back : what or which scene grabbed you the most ?

When we got pulled out at Rome and were stationed at Lido De Roma a couple little Brothers use to hang out around the building for food and one day one of them picked up a German Grenade someplace and was pounding it on a wall and it went off and killed him, we rushed him to the Medics but it was too late they could not save him.

 

I do not think I will ever forget that incident.

What did you do after the war ended ?

My first job was a Fireman on a Logging Train. I had many jobs after that In a Paper Mill, Montgomery Ward Department Store, a Crown Zellerbach Paper Company, Manager of a Grocery store, was a partner and owner of a Plywood Mill, and sold the Mill to ITT Rayonier a pulp Mill, I retired and got tired sitting around took the exam for a Real Estate salesman and after 12 years retired completely.

 

Doug and his wife Dorothy

 

 

If you could do it all over ... what would you change?

I would have joined the Navy like my Brother did.

Did you meet some members of the 463rd at reunions after the war ?

Yes, quite a few.

Are you in contact with members of the 463rd who are not in contact with the website ? I donít have contacts with any member of A en C Batteries

I used to be in contact with a few but but they are no longer living.

Did the 463rd website help to trace old friends or make new friends ?

Not many.

 

Doug, thank you for this interview.

FILIP