This took place : “After returning to England for further training, the Division hit Utah Beach on 10 June 1944 (D plus 4) , cut off the Cotentin Peninsula, drove on to Cherbourg and penetrated the port’s heavy defenses.” From Combat Chronicle@ http://www.mrfa2.org/9thWWIIa.htm
Doc was relaxing when the platoon Sgt hollered for him to come on. The Sgt was discarding his weapons and told Collins to put down his weapons and grab his medical kit. As they were walking away from the company area Sgt Ohlinsky told Collins his plan was to go up the hill and see what the Germans were up to. “Doc”, he said, “you just follow my lead and we’ll be fine.” Collins thought, “This ought to be interesting.”
The hill had been blasted clear of trees, nothing there but scrub and dirt and lots of craters. They slogged on up the hill knowing that the Germans had them under their sights. Even with the iron sights of the K98 Mauser the Krauts couldn’t miss them. About 50 feet from the top they were told to halt. Four Germans came forward casually holding their weapons. A German Sgt spoke and asked what they were doing on this hill. Ohlinsky said,” Well, my medic here wanted to offer you any help or medicine that you needed, and I wanted to tell you that you have a chance to save your men from further death and destruction. About 2 or 2:30 this hill is scheduled to be bombed to dust and there is no place you and your brave men can go; there is water behind you and our division on the other 2 sides of this hill.” Collins had given the medical kit to another German and was listening to the Sgt tell what Collins thought was a big lie. The German Sgt looked at Collins as if to confirm what this brash American was saying, Collins looked him square in the eyes and said, “We just got the word about an hour ago. Since you can’t escape, the war for you will be over one way or another. You can save your men; there doesn’t have to be anymore killing on this hill.”
Collins and the Sgt started back down the hill, the Germans made no move to stop them. After they got back to the Company area they finally looked back and the Germans were trooping down the hill under a white flag, tossing their guns aside. As the Germans got to the company area the G.I.s started getting them into rank order. About an hour later around 2:00 p.m. a flight of P-47s flew over and started pounding the hill, the Germans started whooping and hollering and shaking the American’s hands and grinning like possums eating briars. The Americans were surprised and started handing out cigarettes and chocolate. No one was more surprised than Doc Collins though. He found the Sergeant and asked him if he knew the planes were really coming. Sarge winked and said, “Sometimes things just work out for the best.”
Altogether they captured about 200 German soldiers and saved lives on both sides.
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Picture source.
More to come. I’ll do more battles and his time as a POW of the Germans.