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3.4 Dick Wolch 82nd Airborne Division 508th PIR 3rd Bat. Co. G

Dick Wolch in France in 1945After we had been briefed we took of at night from our airfield in Southern England. Believe it or not but I fell asleep as soon as we were in the air. I was quickly awaken by the ack ack of the German anti aircraft fire when we passed the French coast. We could here the bullets and shrapnel hit the sides of the aircraft.

At approximately 1:00 AM we left the aircraft. When I was floating down fire was coming from the ground. I was hit in my left upper arm before I had hit the ground. Another bullet scratched my eyebrow and I was very lucky that it didn't do much damage. This first jump into enemy territory was definitely a baptism of fire.

Dick Wolch in the cockpit of a C47 prior to the Normandy DropAfter I had landed I had a hard time orientating myself. I concluded that I had dropped far from our objective. Later this would turn out to be more that 20 miles but at that time I didn't know that. Not a trace was found of the other men from my stick. (a group paratroopers that jumps out of one aircraft is called a stick). I decided that the best thing to do was rely on my compass and walk towards the coast where the troops from the sea would land. I gathered my parachute and all the other stuff that was of no use to me at this moment, like the toy frog. I buried the lot and went on my way. It would cost me six days to reach our own lines. I traveled by night and hide myself in bushes or old barns during the day. I had a few close encounters with Germans, but managed to get away and hide every time. There was no use in fighting at this point since for a soldier alone it would definitely end in prisonersship or being killed.

Dick Wolch would eventually receive the Purple Heart for wounds he received on D-day and he would earn the Bronze Star for achiefments later in the Normandy campaign.

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Read about his memories of the Holland drop here...

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