4th of July during WWII

Excerpt taken directly from Gen Omar Bradley's book, A Soldier's Story. This was during the Normandy Invasion, one month after the initial landing in 1944.



Each year at noon on the 4th of July, the army observes the holiday by firing 48 guns in a national salute. While lunching with Gerow two days before, I had suggested we keep the tradition by firing a live salute into the enemy's lines.


"Just 48 guns?" he smiled.


"No hell no, Gee. (nickname for Gerow) We'll fire every gun in the Army."


Eddie the Canon --as Hart, the artilleryman, had been named by Dickson--issued an army-wide order that evening for a TOT salute. TOT to an artilleryman means Time-On-Target. Each gun was to be fired with such split second timing that every shell would explode on the enemy at the exact moment of 12. And each target, Hart instructed his gunners, was to be a remunerative one.


At precisely noon on July 4 the startled German darted for cover as 1,100 shells from that many guns exploded in a clap of thunder. It was the largest and most remunerative national salute the U.S. Army ever fired.


I returned to the Army CP on the afternoon of July 4 after yanking the lanyard of a 155 to find that Eisenhower had squeezed into the back seat of Queseda's P-51 for a fighter sweep over the Allied beachhead. They grinned like sheepish schoolboys caught in a watermelon patch. Queseda had been cautioned by Brerenton to stick to the ground in France where he was worth more to us in a swivel chair than in the cockpit of a fighter. And Eisenhower was frightened for fear word of his flight might leak to the newsmen.


"General Marshall," he admitted, "would give me hell."


And I had no doubt that he would. :pdt12:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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