Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Henry Bardach
BARDACH: Then there was confusion. Confusion because we obviously had to regroup. The landings had already begun, but several miles back it was very much in turmoil. It was very difficult to know where there were pockets of German resistance and where the Germans were. Our instructions were to regroup as a regiment with the different companies. My first task, with two or three other colleagues, was to find regimental headquarters wherever they might be regrouping. That took a little while to get ourselves organized. It took several hours as a matter of fact. I believe the first night we just slept wherever we felt it was safe to sleep and stayed there. The great danger were the snipers. The Germans had left behind snipers. Some of them were Germans; some of them may have been local, that is German local loyalists. Because of the topography, the hedgerows that very rich hedge country and quite a few trees, it was very difficult to know where a sniper might be hiding. I think that was the most immediate danger were those snipers, or possibly German patrols. You may have seen the movie, The Longest Day which was reasonably accurate. There were German patrols running around you didn't know but what you might come face to face with a patrol. The paratroopers had this little clicking device like a little frog you would click, but the Germans got wind of that, and I think there were some instances where they fooled allied forces. The first task, of course, was to see if there were any prisoners. The division went into action very quickly. We had to because we had some bridges across the Merderet River, I believe, that needed to be taken. The paratroopers were on these bridges and were trying to hang on to them. It was a tough job, and they needed the support of additional infantry. The paratroopers and the glider infantry were able to help them there. We did get some prisoners right away. There were quite a few of these prisoners, I would say always except for the SS divisions or so, most of the prisoners were what you might almost say voluntary prisoners. Not all, but they knew the time was up and they were quite happy to...
Q: Well, they had also some second or third rate divisions there too.