The 87th Division was pulled out of the Saar Basin on December 23. It was a cold, barren place with copses of woods concealing enemy machine gun emplacements and tanks, deadly for foot soldiers. We were positioned on the right flank of the Third Army. We were glad to go. It was rumored the Germans had broken through the American lines somewhere to the north.
With full pack and rifle, we carefully went over the side of our cross-channel ship and worked our way down the cargo net to a landing craft (LCI) heaving alongside the hull in the long harbor swells of Le Havre. We were instructed to leap in the boat as it fell in the trough. With rifle and full pack added to our body weight, if we landed in the boat as it rose in the swell, you could break a leg.
As I watched, Morgan tracked the machine gun to fire. We had a quick whispered discussion and decided not to fire until the squad was at the center of the field, between each hedgerow. When the squad reached center field, Morgan open fired.