A NIGHT OUT
Late one afternoon Syl (Sergeant Sylvester Szychulski) and I were reporting in at Hqs giving our recon report to S3 when Capt. Christensen told us that we had to check a railroad bridge across a river that was along the German line. We told him that it had already been looked at and was reported out. Capt. Christensen says "I know but an airplane flew over it and the pilot said it looks OK. So the three of us are leaving just before dark." Soon we got together and took off in our jeep. I was driving, Syl sat in front with me and Capt. Christensen was in the back. There he could sit and talk to both of us. The bridge was some miles away and we were driving without lights. Our windshield was down and covered against reflection and in the center of the front bumper there was a heavy metal iron, about four inches wide and about six feet straight up, with a hook at the top and braced with metal strips on both sides. This was a protection against a cable or wire stretched across a road or lane by the Germans, just high enough to decapitate the good guys which they sometimes did. We reached the site, pulled into a lane and we were still a far piece from the bridge. We stopped and Capt. Christensen said "Bob (Pearl) you stay with the jeep and Syl and I will go and check the bridge." The Germans heard them coming and had machine guns set up on the bridge. They sent up flares and fired their guns. A short time went by and the flares went up and more firing. Now being alone in the dark isn't much fun but I was worried about Capt. Christensen and Syl and walked down the lane. Soon the lane ended and then the flare went up and it was like daylight. I didn't move because the guideline is don't move or they will see you. However I did see Capt. Christensen and Syl about 30 yards from me. They were standing still but we saw each other. They hadn't done much so Syl and I went up to the bridge and crawled up the bottom along the beams. Each time we moved the bridge would shake and tremble. Each time the flare came we could see more of the bridge and the firing was all on top and we were underneath. Soon we saw that the bridge had been blown up but some of the rails and ties had stayed in place and made a line that would look complete from the air. Syl and I went back to Capt. Christensen, then back to the jeep and to Hqs. Capt. Christensen turned in the report. That was the end of a night out.
By Bob Pearl
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