Sep 132016

dersturmerIn April 1945 I used the M3 twice in a single day.

We had crossed the Rhine and come to an ugly town, Bad Ems, on the Ems River. The city center was an oblong square surrounded by four story apartment buildings. In the plaza was a bulletin board, and tacked under the glass a newspaper with two large photographs on page one. The journal was Der Stürmer published (I learned later) by one Julius Streicher. The two photographs were of the same crying young man. I thought the captioned headline read: “How to know a Jew, if you see one.” His nose looked like my father’s.

His tears were to be education for the citizens of Bad Ems.

The butt of my M3 was steel. I smashed the glass and tore up the newspaper. The bulletin board was too sturdy to be knocked down. I went to the center of the plaza and shot a burst, spraying the buildings like a garden hose. No one appeared at the windows, no voice was raised. I had chipped some plaster, and I felt no better.

A few hours later it was fortunate that I had a weapon that did not require my eyes for aiming. I stepped around a corner, as did a German soldier.

One of the troubles with the M3 was that the user had to go across the grease gun with his left hand and throw open the safety hatch. Unless the hatch was open, the gun could not operate. The German soldier’s weapon was not so encumbered. I think his safety was in the trigger housing. He only had to flick his finger forward, release the safety and then pull the trigger. That’s what he did. He missed me.

I was slower, but I got off some .45 caliber rounds without aiming. A bullet hit him in the head. He fell, squirming. I watched him writhe but left before he stopped moving.

It may have been the only time I saw somebody I shot.



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