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If I was a carpenter . . .

“Pinned down by the shelling, TF 2 suffered twenty-three casualties during the course of the day [August 11, 1944]. . . . The Americans were desperate enough to ask the local civilians for volunteers willing to go aloft to pinpoint the hidden German batteries. A carpenter from St.-Barthelemy, Victor Guerinel, answered the call. Guerinel, who had secretly wanted to be a pilot for most of his adult life, was overjoyed by the fact that he was finally going to do battle from the air. He was transported by jeep to le Mesnil Rainfray, where he boarded an L-4 artillery observation plane. Flying over the ridges overlooking the beleaguered troops of TF 2, Guerinal spotted eight hidden artillery positions by identifying irregularities in the terrain. As the location of each German battery was confirmed, American artillery began engaging them. . . . Thanks to the courage of the intrepid thirty-nine-year-old Frenchman, the Americans at le Mesnil Tove lost significantly fewer men to incoming shells than during the previous two days.” – Mark J. Reardon, Victory at Mortain

Published inThe Second World War

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