Cross Over The Bridge!
Co E 273rd Infantry Regiment
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buddy, Fran Dionne, and I were scouts in the 2nd squad of Lieutenant William R.
"Bill" Matlach's 2nd platoon.
On April 16th, 1945, as the Company
rolled into Trebsen, a part of the 9th Armored Division's
Dionne and I were ordered to look under the bridge that crossed the Mulde
into Tresben for explosives, but don't cross over it.
We were told anyone on the other side were Germans.
we were looking under the bridge, the men from Company E began to run across the
bridge, despite my protestation.
Orders were not to cross over.
Some officer replied this order had been changed and we were to get on
over to the other side.
bridge was long, covering a lot of marshland and could only hold men and a Jeep
size vehicle. When Dionne and I
reached the part of the bride that spanned the Mulde River, we heard a lot of
noise. An airplane was firing at
us! It was so low I thought
it was going to crash into the bridge. It
made repeated passes. There may
have been more than one. In the
confusion I couldn't tell. On what
I think was the third pass, I was hit in the shoulder, Dionne in the leg, our
squad leader in the neck and another GI was wounded!
It turned out the plane was a P-47 from our side. Quick radio work from one of the tanks from the 9th Armored we had been riding halted the firing. When we got to the end of the bridge, a P-47 flew over and dipped its wings. I was not a happy soldier who crossed over the bridge but at least it got me off the front.