September 1, 1944 – Crossing the Arno River Outgunned

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Good Giants Blog


On the night of August 30, Company K, under Captain Reedy, relieved Jarman’s Company I. Reedy was the only White commanding officer among your four line companies. You did not know of his abilities. He did not seem very loquacious but did appear calm under fire. Some of his platoon leaders were also White. No White officer reported to a Negro company commander. This system assured that the best officer was not always in charge.

On the last day of August, 1944, a patrol consisting of men from Company I, and Company M drew mortar and machine-gun fire. In spite of rumors to the contrary, the Germans had not withdrawn. The Germans were using a “burp gun” – the MP-38 submachine gun. It held 32 rounds and could five hundred rounds a minute. With your semiautomatic M-1s, you could fire only one round at a time from a clip of eight. You were clearly outgunned.

M-38 German “Burp Gun” with 32-round clip (9 rounds per second)

Semiautomatic M1, with eight-round clip (one round per second)

By 0050 on September 1 all of Compamy I was across the Arno River, and a few moments later a green flare indicated that the forward platoons had reached their destination in Lugnano, a village on the north bank, where the sound of grenades and burst of small-arms fire could be heard.

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