3:51 | (From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #22) After weeks of battle beginning when he parachuted into Normandy, Jake McNiece was rewarded with a seven day pass back in England. True to form, he overstayed his leave for seven more days.
Keywords : Jake McNiece paratrooper Dirty Dozen Filthy Thirteen England pass Absent Without Leave (AWOL) Albert Top Kick Miller Normandy France
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #8) Jake McNiece wanted to contribute to the war effort, but it wasn't until 1942 that he enlisted. He insisted on paratrooper duty, a new type of warfare that was considered highly dangerous.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #9) He was in trouble from the very beginning. Jake McNiece liked to fight. If you didn't give him his butter, or if you were an MP trying to take him back to base, you were apt to take a licking. His masterpiece of contrariness, though, was his claim of being a member of an unusual religion.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #10) The paratrooper regiment in training was going to attempt a 142 mile forced march, so they let Jake McNiece out of the stockade because he was always a leader in endurance tests. After the march, he didn't even sleep before he went out on the town looking for trouble again.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #11) The Dirty Dozen was inspired by a real life demolition and saboteur squad led by Jake McNiece. While in training, his group acquired the nickname The Filthy Thirteen, because of their disdain for Army rules and discipline.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #12) After intensive physical training, the new 506th Parachute Regiment went to Fort Benning for jump school. According to Jake McNiece, the first jump was the easiest. After that, you couldn't help but think about what you'd seen on previous jumps.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #1) Jake McNiece thought it was finally time to enlist. It was 1942 and he had a mind to take on one of the most dangerous jobs in the military, the parachute infantry. From the beginning, he was a troublemaker, but he was too good to wash out.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #2) Jake McNiece led a demolition squadron of paratroopers who jumped into France at midnight before the Normandy invasion. The men were scattered and many were killed, but he pulled together a small group and managed to destroy his targeted bridges and secure another to wait for the advancing Allied force. It wasn't going to be that simple.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #3) The mortar round landed just a few feet from Jake McNiece and his eyes filled with blood and debris, but that didn't make him nearly as mad as discovering that his Copenhagen didn't make it through the battle.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #4) It was the night before D-Day and paratrooper Jake McNiece was hunkered down in a hedgerow trading fire with Germans. Looking across at the next hedgerow, he was sure he saw a shadow moving. The enemy was closing in and he knew he had to do something. With his bayonet ready, he charged.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #5) The acceptable estimated loss for Normandy paratroopers was 50 percent. Jake McNiece's unit lost 70 percent. The next mission was the foray into Holland called Operation Market Garden. His outfit outperformed their mission during the initial fight, but had to linger on forever as the operation ultimately failed.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #6) It was a desperate attempt to resupply the men surrounded in Bastogne. Jake McNiece would make the jump with some special radio equipment to guide the aerial resupply. Despite making it possible for the Americans to survive the battle, he got some static from an Army Major when he sought quarters for his unit.
(From Interview #1 Jan. 10, 2010 Video #7) Some strange things happen in combat. Paratrooper Jake McNiece recalls several stories that have a twist; something unexpected that makes them memorable.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #13) Having finished basic training and jump school, the men of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment went to Tennessee for war maneuvers. The men were allowed to go into town, but Jake McNiece missed the last truck back to camp. Fortunately, there was alternate transportation just sitting there.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #14) The ship was large, but there was an entire regiment crammed aboard, recalls Jake McNiece. Once they were in England, there was intense training specific to the task ahead, the invasion of Europe.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #15) The paratroopers were quartered on a large English estate which functioned as a game reserve. Jake McNiece felt like the food they were being fed was just slop, so he looked around at the deer and the trout and the rabbits and started scheming.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #16) Jake McNiece headed the demolition and saboteur section of an airborne unit preparing to jump into Normandy. Scared of picking up body lice, he cut his hair into the scalplock favored by his Choctaw ancestors. His men demanded the same treatment and when the signal corps photographer showed up, a legend was born.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #17) The men of Jake McNiece's demolition and saboteur unit were told to blow two bridges and wire a third, then wait for the advancing forces from the Normandy beachhead. The paratroopers were widely scattered, though, and he was on the ground fighting alone for two hours before he hooked up with anyone else.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #18) The paratroopers were scattered around everywhere. It was the night before the D-Day invasion and Jake McNiece was trying to round up enough men to carry out his mission to blow bridges on The Douve River. He managed the task but between him and the Americans advancing from the beach were hundreds of Germans. No problem.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #19) The paratroopers inserted before D-Day faced some fierce fighting. Jake McNiece recalls the stories of three of his men who were wounded or captured.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #20) Six days after D-Day, in the town of Carentan, France, an awards ceremony was held for valorous American soldiers. There were French collaborators at work because, suddenly, a barrage of shells from a German 88 tore through the assembly. Jake McNiece describes that heartbreaking scene and the surprise of snipers in a church steeple.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #21) War is hell. So says Jake McNiece and he should know. He had the grim job of clearing the battlefield, which was littered with dead American paratroopers, dead German soldiers and dead livestock.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #23) The paratrooper outfit was severely depleted, so the call went out to other units; come volunteer for airborne duty. They were back to full strength just in time for Operation Market Garden, the push into Holland.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #24) Jake McNiece relates his parachute jump into Holland right in the middle of a Panzer unit. He administered morphine to a friend with a grievous wound who was left for dead. Imagine his surprise when he saw him again, later. The Holland fight was totally different from the guerilla type fighting he had in Normandy and it went on way too long.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #25) The new lieutenant was arguing with acting Sgt. Jake McNiece. He wanted to stay on the bridges they'd secured, even though German planes were making menacing passes. After that situation was resolved, with deadly consequences, McNiece rode a commandeered German truck into Veghel, thinking the British were in control. Think again.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #26) As a reward for 78 days in Operation Market Garden, Jake McNiece got a 72 hour pass which he characteristically abused and stretched into an AWOL situation. He was offered a way out of his arrest. He could volunteer for the Pathfinders.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #27) When he volunteered for the Pathfinders, an airborne group with a high mortality rate, Jake McNiece thought the war was almost over and their special skills would no longer be needed. How wrong can you be? The Battle of the Bulge hit and he was dropped into Bastogne with special radio gear to guide the aerial resupply effort.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #28) After Bastogne, paratrooper Jake Niece, who was temporarily assigned to the Pathfinders, thought it was all over. But there was some trouble near the Siegfried Line and he had to do another jump with radio gear to guide the aerial resupply effort. Then it was back to his regular unit and southward, to Austria and the hideouts of the Nazi chiefs.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #29) Jake McNiece relates the story of the town of Saint Vith, where a German commander negotiated in bad faith with General Patton.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #30) While in occupation at Hitler's retreat in Austria, Jake McNiece was amazed at the luxury of the installation. After a huge victory celebration there, complete with baseball games, he went to Paris to do the town one more time. Since it was Jake McNiece, you know what was bound to happen.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #31) After the war, Jake McNiece got a call from a Dutch boy who told him the story of his aunt. She had watched the 101st Airborne Division's jump into Holland, and was thrilled because she knew she was destined for one of the Nazi's "baby factories," where blue eyed, blond girls were kept for the pleasure of the SS.
All leave was cancelled. The D-Day operation was imminent, but British Army nurse Hannah Deutch and her Canadian husband managed an intimate rendezvous in London. Shortly after that, she came up sick. She couldn't be pregnant, could she? After all, leave was cancelled. Soon she was sick again, seasick on a difficult Atlantic crossing to Canada to be with her in-laws.
Robert James was propped up against a bulkhead, going in and out of consciousness. The kamikaze had destroyed the starboard gun mounts and there were many dead and wounded. He was grateful when someone gave him some morphine to ease the pain from multiple shrapnel wounds. This was the beginning of a painful journey to healing. Part 2 of 2.
He bunked with regular B-17 crew members, but Bill Livingstone was a gunnery instructor who was there to keep skills sharp. He was also there to substitute for any crew member who was not able to fly. His very first mission turned out to be a memorable one. Part 1 of 5.
Hannah Deutch got engaged to a Canadian soldier and right away, there was no end to the people who wanted to help with the wedding. The Jewish refugee was a British Army nurse in London and her wedding was staged in posh style by English benefactors.
On his first raid in North Africa, reconnaissance platoon leader John Souther captured a hundred Germans with no losses to his own unit. His job in the 1st Armored Division was to be out in front with his eyes open, and he was doing just that when a huge amount of enemy was spotted. Rommel's big push had begun.
B-24 flight engineer Bill Toombs was over Germany when bad went to worse. One engine was shot out. Then an 88 round went right through the number four wing tank. It didn't blow up the plane, but they lost all the fuel for that engine, so now they had two engines out. They made a desperate run for Brussels, which had been liberated.
Hannah Deutch's father served in the German Army during WWI. He would not live long enough to see the tragedy that befell his Jewish family, having died in a flu epidemic in 1929. She and her mother were living with her grandparents in Bochum, where the schools were excellent. She was very good at learning languages.
Wes Ruth was eating breakfast when he saw the planes coming in. He thought they were ours until the bombs started falling. As he drove frantically to his hangar on Ford Island, he saw the USS Arizona hit. The Japanese had made their move. As a photo-recon pilot, he was dispatched as soon as the attacks ended to search for the enemy fleet.
Bill Adair was suffering from the effects of a concussion when the battle for the Philippines came to an end for him. Along with thousands of others, he was forced to surrender and was facing the prospect of joining what would become known as the Bataan Death March. Then fate intervened in the form of an ambulance without a driver. Part 1 of 2.
Hannah Deutch had two inseparable friends when she was growing up in Dusseldorf. One made it through the Holocaust and one didn't. All of her family except she and her mother also perished. It all started when one of her non-Jewish schoolmates said she could not play with Hannah anymore.
When he had to bail out, Jim Wicker was literally sucked from the cockpit when he released the canopy because of his high rate of speed. He was just a hundred miles inland a few days after D-Day and the Germans caught him almost immediately. As he sat in solitary confinement waiting for interrogation, he was comforted by his faith.
Bill Garrison was standing in a chow line when a man up the line suddenly dropped, shot dead by a sniper. That was only one hazard at the air fields in China; the others being Japanese air raids and infiltrators. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
Hannah Deutch was a teenager when the Kindertransport rescue effort became her means of escape from Germany. England was taking in thousands of Jewish children and she got her papers in order and left. Right away, as the oldest one in the large group, she became the leader on the journey.
Bill Adair may have been the luckiest man in the Bataan Death march. With a commandeered ambulance full of casualties, he threaded his way through the ordeal thanks to luck and guile. At the end, though, there was a camp waiting for him just like all the rest. Part 2 of 2.
John Souther was on reconnaissance patrol when he nosed his halftrack up over the edge of the gully in the Tunisian desert. A round from a German 88 immediately tore through the engine compartment, but left him unhurt. They paid mightily for that shot. With his radio, he began spotting artillery on their position, under fire the entire time. He was awarded the Silver Star for this action.
They were welcomed with open arms. 150 Jewish children arrived in England, including sixteen year old Hannah Deutch, who had been a substitute mother to the younger ones on the journey. She passed all the exams she needed to work as a nurse, but there was one little problem. No English. She remedied that right away.
Near the end of the war, the food supply in Holland had been disrupted and there was widespread hunger. Henk Duinhoven was lucky to be in the countryside, where gardens had been harvested. When he heard the sound of Canadian tanks, he knew that liberation was finally at hand.
Two engines were out, a third smoking, and they were were losing airspeed and altitude, but they were flying level and pointed home. Then time ran out for the B-17 and Don Scott had to slip down the hatch into the slipstream. Part 2 of 3.
Robert James was in the shower aboard ship when the alarm went off. He scrambled to his gun mount to man the 20 mm gun and then the threat became apparent. Kamikazes had broken through the air cover and were headed for the convoy. He heard some firing from another gun and turned around just in time to see a horrifying sight. Part 1 of 2.
It was their third mission over Berlin and they were heading home. Four German fighters pounced on the B-24 and it was engulfed in flame and going down. Clyde Burnette fought for consciousness as the other crew in the back of the plane bailed out. He woke in free fall with no idea how he had made it out, and soon he was in German custody. Everyone made it out of the plane except George "Danny" Daneau, the nose turret gunner, who went down with the aircraft.
After a nerve-wracking mission to bomb Tokyo and a typhoon, B.E. Vaughan and the destroyer O'Brien suffered a second kamikaze attack which killed all three of his hometown pals who served with him on board. Then, began the grim task of collecting the personal belongings of the dead and preparing them for burial at sea.
British Army nurse Hannah Deutch was stationed right next to Buckingham Palace when the place was bombed out. They were cheered by a visit from Winston Churchill. She was a Jewish refugee from Germany and was a regular at the Jewish Forces Club. That was where she met a very special Canadian.
The first operation for the 4th Division was the landing on Roi-Namur. Lawrence Snowden remembers that, though it was an easy victory, valuable combat experience and important lessons were imparted on the Marines.
In London, when it was cold, you huddled close to the fireplace and talked. German Jewish refugee Hannah Deutch was now a British Army nurse and she had befriended another young woman who was in the group sitting around the fireplace. All of a sudden, her friend made a startling declaration, "I hate the Jews."