I first became aware of Major Richard Winters from the HBO Mini Series Band of Brothers. He is a truly inspiring man. Plain and soft spoken yet powerful and determined. Major Winters will not be with us for much longer so I am compelled to ask a favor of all of you. Please help Major Richard D. Winters (ret) get the Medal of Honor that he and his men deserve, earned, and was nominated for during World War II. You can do this by contacting your U.S. Senator.
The following account describes the capture and destruction of Four German 105mm guns on the morning of D-Day in Normandy covers my memories in the events of that action.
C. Carwood Lipton
104 Selkirk Trail
Southern Pines NC 28387
The German 105mm Cannons
By about 8AM on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944, there were thirteen of us together from B Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. We had joined together by twos and threes following our jump into Normandy shortly after 1:30 that morning. The rest of our company was scattered over the Normandy peninsula, and it would take several days for those who had survived the jump and the combat following it to join us.
We had two officers, Lt. Winters in command and Lt. Compton; two platoon sergeants, Guarnere and I and nine men, and we had two machine guns, a 60mm mortar, and our individual weapons. We had moved along the road network, led by Lt. Winters, from the vicinity of Ste. Mere Eglise, where many of us had landed, to a small village named Le Gran Chemin, near Ste. Marie du Mont, joining up along the way with men from other companies in our Battalion and with some of our Battalion headquarters.
The entire group was stopped there by the sound of German artillery firing from a wooded hedgerow area off to the right of the road that we were on. Lt. Winters was called to Battalion and was ordered to take and destroy those guns with his company. None of us had been in combat before that day.
Lt. Winters had no time for a reconnaissance, but from his initial observation he decided that there were several guns, manned and defended by probably at least 60 men, and that the guns were well dug in and camouflaged and that there was probably a network of trenches and foxholes around them. We learned later that he was right in all these estimates and that the German forces included a number of paratroopers from the German 6th Parachute Regiment.
A frontal attack against those positions by 13 men could not succeed, but Lt. Winters confidently outlined to us his plan to deceive and defeat the German forces and to destroy the guns.
His plan was to concentrate a double envelopment attack on one gun, the one on the German left flank, and after capturing it to hit the other guns, one by one, on their open left flanks. He sent LT. Compton and Guarnere around to our left to hit the Germans on the first gun from their right front. He sent Sgt. 1~anney and me around to our right to put fire into the German positions from their left flank He set up the two machine guns in position to put heavy continuous fire into the German positions from their front. He then organized and led the rest of our men in a direct assault along the hedgerow right into the German positions.
With fire into their positions from both flanks, heavy machine gun fire into their front, and LT. Winters leading an assault right into their defenses the Germans apparently felt that they were being hit by a large force Those defending the first gun broke and withdrew in disorganization to a far tree line, and that gun was in our hands.
Our attack then continued to each gun in turn from its exposed left flank. Lt winters blew out the breeches of each gun as soon as we had it with blocks of TNT. In all, the Germans lost 15 men killed three of them by LT. Winters - 12 captured, and many wounded. In E Company we had one man killed and one wounded.
These guns were sited to put artillery fire on the full expanse of Utah Beach, where the us 4th Division was coming ashore from landing craft. They had forward observers along the beach to direct the fire. The capture and destruction of the guns was a major factor in the success of the Utah landings and in the almost complete lack of casualties in that Division during its landing.
I was in many combat operations throughout the war in Europe, and, to rue, this was the most outstanding example of a combat leader reading a situation, forming a plan to overcome almost impossible odds, organizing and inspiring his men so that each one would confidently handle his part of the plan, and leading his men in the most dangerous parts of the operation
C. Carwood Lipton/J October 30, 2000
First Lieutenant Richard D. Winters, 101st Airborne Infantry Division, 506th Paratroop Regiment, E Company at the time of the Action, 06JUN44 D-Day