August 5, 2017

1945. Private Norris' Souvenir Gun

Private Norris Takes a Day Off
American soldiers of the 10th Armored Division ride past abandoned 75-mm PaK 40 anti-tank gun in Saarburg, Germany on February 22, 1945 (source)
From the Northern Daily Mail, April 3, 1945:

Private Norris, of Ohio, 22-year-old chauffeur to a colonel and not allowed to fight, got tired of being shown German pistols and other souvenirs by his comrades, and went out and captured a German 75 m.m. gun "just to show them."

Norris asked for the day off, and crossed a canal where the Americans held the north bank and the Germans the south, says Bill Downs, C.B.S. correspondent in a broadcast.

"From their side the Germans were periodically shelling the Americans with a 75 m.m. gun hidden in a wood. As Norris advanced they took a shot at him over open sights, but missed by ten yards.

"Going on into the wood, Norris came upon the gun site. There were 11 Germans manning it, and they were all looking the other way. Norris started firing, and with the first shot one of the crew fell.

"He kept firing and the Germans went for cover. Just as his gun had stopped, and he was putting in more ammunition a shaky German stood up and cried 'Kamerad,' and all the crew surrendered.

"Norris, by threats and signs, made them manhandle the 75 m.m. gun down to the canal bank, and shouted across to his buddies, 'Here's that damn gun that's been giving you guys trouble.'"