WW II Submarine Base
After we went ashore on Utah Beach, in th area of St. Mere Egless, we fought our way up the coast to Brest, France. Brest had the largest Submarine Base in the world at that time. This is where the Nazi Submarine Wolf Packs would go into the Atlantic Ocean and sink millions of tons of Allied Shipping, most heading for England or Europe. Thousands of soldiers, Merchant Marines, Sailors and Civilians lost their lives with the sinking of so many ships.
Our observation battalion dug in close e to the Submarine Base. We were the eyes and ears of the Field Artillery and directed Artillery Fire on the base. The Base was surrounded by hundreds of Anti-Aircraft guns on three sides.
We watched a lot of American B-17 Bombers make bombing raids over this base. We could see black puffs of Anti-American gun shells bursting among the bombers. When a B-17 was hit and would lose a wing it would dive in a large circle and then crash into the ground or ocean. If both wings were still intact and was disabled it would dive straight down. Every time a B-17 was destroyed, 10 young American men would lose their lives. Sometimes we would see one or two white parachutes plume out, but not often.
We had two huge black French Moroccans adopt our outfit at Brest. They wore Moroccan style baggy trousers and the only weapons they had were huge Sabers. They would sleep under our trucks in the daytime and eat our food. At night, they would go behind enemy lines and kill “Bosch”. Bosch was American slang for German Soldiers. (The Moroccan’s didn’t like the Nazi’s because they treaeted them so badly in French Morocco.) They spent three days with us and we never saw them again.
Our Artillery fired in this base from the ground, the Air Force bombed it from the air, and the Navy shelled it from the sea. After much fire power and many days, the Nazi High Command capitulated and the Submarine Base surrendered.
Our 16th Field Observation Battalion went on to fight at St. Lo, Parris, Battle of the Bulge, Koblenz, cross the Rhine River, liberate the Ohrdruf Concentration Camp (First one liberated on the Western Front), the Sudaten Land, Nuremburg and Czechoslovakia when the War in Eurpoe ended May 8, 1945.
From the time we went ashore on Utah Beach until the war’s end I was on the front lines the whole time. I know that Freedom is not Free.
(Serve Daily would like to thank all Men and Women who have served, are currently serving, or will serve to protect the freedoms afforded by God and The Constitution of the United States.)
F. Keith Davis near the Submarine Base in Brest, France.