I was very privileged to obtain a copy of this book from Greg Acken, provider of Lt. Donald Mills photos. He was gracious enough to let me borrow it for a time to read. I'm sure glad he did!!! It is one of the more insightful looks into the detailed fighting in Normandy that I have read. It is an extremely hard book to find. I have it listed in the Book section of website. I shall share a few glimpses of Mr. Bradley. Mr. Bradley was a medic with the 120th IR, Co. E. He landed on Omaha Beach with the 120th and was captured at Mortain. In his book Mr. Bradley relates some of the following occurances:
Almost every man when they came ashore tried their CO2 flotation belt to see if it worked. Then threw them into one great pile.
It seems the worst place for a German sniper was in a tree. Nearly everyone that opened fire from a tree was killed and the bodies stayed up there for days.
The safest place for a combat medic was directly with their own unit...these men made sure you were protected as well as could be expected.
We were surprised at the amazing level of noise. A single rifle or pistol was quite inaudible in the din and the smallest explosion that was audible was a hand grenade.
When a man's "buddy" was killed in combat, a truly spontaneous hatred of Germans developed. This total hatred led to any German they encountered being killed instantly.
Almost every dead cow, and there were many, had their eyes covered with straw by American GIs.
An Aid Man's most useful medical aids were compresses and morphine. They usually used the individual's sulfa powder and compress. Tourniquets were very rarely used to control bleeding, since most wounds were puncture wounds and bled very little or were amputations or hits caused by hot and high velocity shell or mortar fragments which seared the wound shut. They carried extra water but found the wounded usually wanted cigarettes more than water.
When the German 88 fired there was so little time between the sound of the gun and awareness of the sound of the shell and its explosion that all on could do was drop almost instantly by sort of buckling the knees. If you did not learn this you were a casualty.
There were millions and millions of mosquitos. With all the flooded lowlands, they breed by the multitudes. They would gather in great swarms towards evening and would appear like smoke or vapor above the trees.
The German artillery fired at surprisingly regular intervals. The dull plop of mortar shells gave a person time to get into foxhole or slit trench...not so with the 88.
Most infantrymen would try and avoid being in the vicinity of tanks since they always drew German fire. Most of this fire did not destroy tanks but the fragments and bullets glancing off their armor caused many infantry casualties.
The wounded and dying were nearly always deserted because their comrades had to continue on with the fight and protect themselves. The wounded thus felt pretty low and were very happy to see an Aid man.
The dying had a grey-green color of death appearing beneath their eyes and fingernails. Often those making the most noise had superficial wounds. Plasma was almost impossible to give under fire.
No one had much time for replacements. They usually had received much less state-side training than veterans. They often thought they were under direct fire in their foxholes when the artillery was actually falling miles away. This was often caused because in a hole in the ground the sound or vibration was easily carried through the ground. Tall men were at a distinct disadvantage over short, thin men because they were much slower to react to shelling.
Many artillery casualties left absolutely no trace of their bodies. They simply vanished.
In Normandy they recovered German wooden bullets which produced wounds that led to infection since the fragments could not be detected by x-ray.
Soldiers became familiar with the sounds of artillery both US and German. Heavy German shells 'rustled' as they went through the air and American support fire from behind emitted a long drawn out coo, like a morning dove in the United States.
Soldiers also began to obey hunches. Many times they would have a hunch to move to another location and immediately after the move a shell would come and explode in the hole they just left.
The most horrible casualties he saw were those buried alive during the St. Lo friendly bombing incidents. The dead faces were still pink, unwounded but dead.
During the St. Lo bombings there were a number of blast casualties, who although apparently unhurt started walking into trees and the walls of houses.
During the battle of Mortain the Germans often banked shell fragments off rock walls and they came at us and our wounded from totally unexpected directions.
Many of the French farms were constructed with the buildings forming a courtyard. During the war many of these courtyards and the buildings literally filled with fleas. When you stepped into the room you could hear a curious soft, quiet hiss which was the sound of all of these fleas jumping at once.