Clarence "Clancy" Lyall - Easy Company Veteran
The complete story
NormandyJune 6, Operation Overlord, Normandy. I landed 2 miles from St. Marie-Eglise, where I landed in a tree. I was so heavily loaded with equipment, that my good friend Jim Campbell had to cut me down. We were a long way from our original DZ and were in the area of responsibility of the 82nd Airborne Division. We were attached to B Company, 508th Parachute Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division for a few days fighting around St. Marie-Eglise. After 3 days we found our way back to Carentan.
Market GardenAfter Normandy, I was assigned to E Company, August, 1944, at Aldbourne. There getting ready to jump in Holland. Landed at Son DZ. The first we heard upon landing at the assembly point was an 88 firing down the middle of the road moving across the canal on patrol. Sgt. Radar, Mike Massoconni, Donald Hooper and myself and Pace came upon a platoon of German soldiers and annihilated some.
German 88 mm
September 18-19 liberated Eindhoven, then waiting for the British, but they were quite late. A young P.A.N. (underground) boy of 14 or less came up to Mike Massoconni and myself and started to show us where the Germans were in the houses. We then proceeded to clear out the houses and captured about 6 Germans. A young P.A.N. person had only a small caliber pistol. I gave him my trench knife with my name on it, which to this day is in the museum in Eindhoven.
Mike and I put a 30 caliber machine gun on top of a building in Eindhoven for a better field of fire. We had a killing zone of three intersections and we could suppress any movement very well. But during the fighting, a German mortar came down through the skylight of the building and we heard bottles breaking. I then looked through the skylight and saw we were sitting on top of a Heineken beer brewery. Needless to say, we then liberated a few bottles.
September 22. Company moves to Uden. There, the Germans cut behind us and we were surrounded in Uden. We broke through and went to Veghel, where we had extremely heavy fighting.
September 24. My squad dug in in an apple orchard in Veghel, which was a huge mistake. There, German artillery was so fierce and murderous, the rounds would hit the trees and burst and the shrapnel would come down on you, so foxholes were of no use at this point. We then jumped out and ran for undercover.September 25. We were attached to the British tanks and cleared Veghel with the loss of 1 tank and a few soldiers.
September 26. Heavy fighting up and down Hell's Highway. We were protecting the British tanks on a small road, trying to get to Arnhem. It was like cowboys and Indians. We were running the gauntlet through the Germans as the Germans were firing continuously at us. One good thing-> Donald Hooper and myself knocked out a half track.October 3. Moved to Opheusden on the Nieder Rhine where we had bitter fighting with the Germans who were attempting to push us back.
October 9-21. We were holding defensive positions on the dike. We were doing extensive patrol work and counter attacking the Germans. Leibgott and myself captured 8 Germans at that time. There was a German sniper in a jam factory about a thousand yards away who was constantly pinning us down until Pace took aim and squeezed off a round and shot him. It was a good shot. While counterattacking, I was blown off the dike by a German mortar and wounded in the right leg. I was evacuated and returned to my Company in November at Mourmelon, France.
Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge
December 17. We mounted trucks and left for Bastogne. Upon arriving, E Company set up strong defensive lines at Foy and Bastogne. A large-scale German attack was defeated; we killed many Germans but we lost Gordon. There were many patrol/ambush-recons. During the last half of December, there were many contacts and fire fights on both sides.
January 2, 1945. E Company attacks and clears Bois Jacques woods north of our position. The thousand yard attack was very bloody. Rader was wounded, Sawosko was killed, Smith was wounded, Sholty was wounded, Webb was killed. After the attack, we returned to our defensive lines where we were heavily shelled by the Germans. We had many casualties. I was again wounded, but with no place to go, stayed in my position and a medic took care of me.
January 9: The company with the 2nd battalion attacks Recogne. There was heavy shelling and casualties to get to high ground near Recogne.
January 11-12: Finally, E Company goes into reserve for 2 days.
January 13: E Company attacks and clears Foy. There, Lt. Spears became our C.O. Again, several were wounded and killed.
January 14: E Company moves to Noville to attack and clear the town.
January 16: E Company attacks and clears Rachamps. Sgt. Earle Hale was wounded there.
January 17-18: E Company prepares to be relived by the 17th Airborne and moves toward Germany and Haguenau which is in Alsace-Lorraine.
February 5-24: E Company takes over positions in Haguenau; not much to do but patrols. On one of the patrols, Wynn damn near drowns trying to cross the river on patrol.
February 25: E Company moves back to Mourmelon for refit.
March 15: The entire 101st Airborne Division receives the Presidential Unit Citation, the first presentation to a Division.
April 1: E Company leaves with the Division for the Rhine River opposite Dusseldorf to contain the German forces in the Ruhr pocket.
April 20: 101st leaves the Ruhr pocket and moves to Berchtesgaden, where the Germans are expected to make a last stand. By the way, E Company 506th received the last combat command of the 2nd World War and that was to take Berchtesgaden.
April 28: We saw our first concentration camp at Memmingen in Bavaria. There we saw some of the worst sights I have ever seen.
May 4: We were stopped along with Free French Army under General Leclerc on the Autobahn due to bridges blown up by retreating German forces. After knocking our German defenders, the 506th engineers rebuilt the bridges.
May 5: E Company enters Berchtesgaden.
May 8: War ends.
On May 10, Many German dignitaries were captured.
506th was headquartered at Zell am See, Austria. The division was de-activated in November, 1945.
After the de-activation
I re-enlisted and was reassigned to B Company 508th Parachute Infantry, 82nd Airborne, Frankfort, Germany.January 12, 1946: Made victory parade with the 82nd Airborne down 5th Avenue, New York. Returned to Fort Bragg in 1948. Recondo training 1949. (Commando training, Dundee, Scotland, Ranger training, Camp Hale, Colorado, Jungle training, Camp Blanding, Florida). Assigned to 187th Parachute Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 1950. Combat jumps October 20, 1950, Suchon and March 16, 1951, Munsan-ni. Reassigned 1952 advisors A Group 101. 1954 Assigned for patrol, intelligence gathering for the 8th French Parachute Assault Battalion at Dien Bien Phu. We left 2 weeks before it fell. Reassignment 1955 to E Company 506th Parachute Infantry at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Thus, a full circle !