“This is a story my father told me when he was the Sergeant of a mortar unit in WW2. They were in combat in the city of Neumarkt Germany, April 1945. He was on the 2nd floor of a building at the end of a street sighting targets and the mortar team was behind the building. There was a machine gun team on the first floor under him shooting down the street.
He would spot a target and run to the back of the building to yell out the coordinates to the team, and then run back the front of the building to see If it was fired effectively. A German tiger tank that he described as “Their biggest tank” turned onto the street at the end of the lane and shot a round at the machine gun team below him.
The explosion caused part of the building to collapse, and he was knocked out with a concussion. When he woke up on the 2nd floor everyone was gone so he retreated and later found his mortar team. They thought he had died in the building due to the explosion and it collapsing. I corroborated his story when I found an account in a 65th Division history book that told of the same incident from the surviving machine gunners view of the tank that was in the building below him.
He had several other close calls with German mortar fragments killing a man standing next to him and another time he took cover under a wagon during a German artillery barrage that he described the shrapnel as “sounding like rain on a tin roof” as he hid under the wagon.
– As told by Ed Schroeder 65th Division, 259th Infantry, Company K.
This story, and hundreds more like it, are now available in my book, “What War Did To Us” which is now available on Amazon.
This story was documented by Battles and Beers.