Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

Page 9

Page 10

Page 11

Page 12

Page 13

Page 14

Page 15

Page 16

Page 17

Page 18

Page 19

Page 20


An Ambulance Driver's
Experiences in World War II

From Omaha Beach to the Malmédy Massacre


Howard E. Nixon

6 April 1923 - 29 December 2001

Omaha Beach was a bloody landing. They died in the water as well as on the beach. It was lucky for us that the Germans didn't think that the landing would be so soon. Therefore they didn't have as many soldiers there at the beach. (Note: also General Patton's "phantom army" did its job well. That was a ruse to make the Germans think that the invasion was coming at Calais instead of Normandy. That trick tied up a whole German panzer army.)

There were five beach heads: Utah, Juno, Omaha, Gold, and Sword. Omaha Beach was the worst by far.

A few days after the invasion they said, "Boys, we are ready to go." We drove to South Hampton docks and there they proceeded to load our ambulances on the ship. The ambulances consisted of our duffle bag, medical equipment, blankets, litters, and lots of louse powder, and lots of Sulfanilamide for infection.

The ambulance had 2 fold down seats on each side one long and one shorter. We could take 4 litters, or we could take 10 walking wounded, or we could take 2 litters on one side and 5 walking wounded on the other.

When they got to my ambulance to load it, it was about 10:00 in the morning. They picked it up in a net and started to haul it up. Just then one of them Englishmen hollered, "Tea Time." They stopped the hoist and there it hung - halfway up the ship till they finished their tea. I thought that a little strange when a war was going on.

The ship started up. We were headed for France. It was a little choppy, but not too bad. Everybody was quiet - thinking I guess. We got to where we could see land and Joe Robinson said to me, "Well Nick, we're going to France." Then it hit me - this was it. The real thing.

Before we left South Hampton, England they had sent back prisoners from the beach They were on a train and they were smiling. They were out of it.

The 82nd and 101st airborne dropped behind the German lines on June 5th. They were to knock out bridges, communications, etc. One man dropped onto a church steeple of St. Mère Eglise, or St. Marie Eglise, his chute caught, and there he hung. He couldn't get down. Come daylight the Germans were there and saw him hanging there and thought that he was dead. When the clock on the church struck they would look up and he was afraid they would shoot him, but they didn't. He was rescued later by infantrymen.

They sent over gliders as well. They were pulled by a plane and then let go and they glided back of the beach. But that didn't work too well. The Germans had long poles in the ground and the gliders hit them, flipped over and tore off wings. Gliders carried a jeep and 4-6 men.

The beach had all sorts of objects to slow down the troops and loading craft; mines, posts, iron posts pointing out to the sea. By the time we got there most of it had been cleared. Omaha was the hardest landing of the 5. They called it "Bloody Omaha."

War correspondent Ernie Pyle walked the beach and saw a small Bible on the sand. He picked it up, walked a few feet and turned around and put it back where it had lain.

There was a hospital ship anchored by the beach for the wounded. The dead had been cleared away by this time.

Page 5
Previous Page    Next Page

© Copyright, Howard E. Nixon, 2001.

Address comments to:
Howard's son Pat Nixon or his daughter Cindy Guernsey at the following email addresss:
nixon748@cox.net nixon748@cox.net or cindyguernsey@chartermi.net cindyguernsey@chartermi.net.