Storming Juno (2010) Movie Script

Going to Normandy.
Army Intel is only
two out of five of us
are going to make it
off this beach.
Let us launch!
They're gonna die
without us!
Move out!
Don't stop for anything!
We're the first unit
to go in.
One hundred and ten men
of "C" company.
First Canadian
Parachute battalion.
In training we thought
we were the best!
Way tougher than
the infantry.
But this is going to be
our first time in combat,
our first chance
to do our part.
June, 1944.
The world's been at war
for almost five years.
Hitler's war machine
has killed millions
and Europe is living
under Nazi rule.
But that's
about to change.
After two years of planning
and training, this is it!
The plan is to launch
a massive surprise attack
against Hitler's
fortress Europe.
It's a do or die
We'd either set the stage
for the defeat of Hitler,
or get slaughtered and
pushed back into the sea.
The beaches are code-named;
'Sword', 'Gold,'
'Utah', 'Omaha'.
Us Canadians?
We have one of the most heavily
defended beaches on the line.
It's called Juno.
This is my story.
This is our story.
What's wrong?
I don't mind jumping.
I, just can't stand looking.
Well switch
with me then.
We were going to be dropped
deep into Nazi occupied France.
Nine hours before the rest
of the invasion forces
even hit
the beaches.
Jeez-Louise Hartigan,
what you got in there?
A few extra mortars.
You're gonna
drop like a rock.
We were
the tip of the spear.
Best seat in the house here!
Almost seven thousand ships
stretched out
the English Channel.
About a hundred and
sixty thousand men.
'D Day', the largest
sea-born invasion in history.
Holy Jesus!
And me a kid from Sydney,
Nova Scotia, way out in front.
We'd been stuck on this
ship for three days.
Seasick, couldn't sleep,
couldn't eat.
But the men
were holding up.
Seventh Platoon.
My Platoon!
Mostly prairie boys
from Saskatchewan.
A lot of farm boys.
We looked out
for one another.
Some joined for adventure,
some out of duty.
Others were
just plain hungry
and the Army
paid a dollar a day.
We'd been chosen to lead
the first wave
of the beach assault.
Alright, enough, enough.
Alright, anyone else?
It was going to be our
first time in combat.
you in you little woman?
I got five bucks on Apple.
We were young.
Luis Brunning was only
fifteen when he joined.
We called him
Snake eyes!
Snakes eyes!
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
What's this?
From your girl? What?
What, oh,
you have a girlfriend!
Who is she?
No one.
What's her name?
Ah, C'mon!
What does she look like?
Who is she?
Who is she?
Look, look.
C'mon look,
it's from my mother.
Did he just say from my mother?
Did he just say from my mother?
Apple's mommy
loves him.
What's it say?
What's it say?
Aw c'mon, what's it say?
Let me see.
Ah, Come on leave him alone.
Well, what it's say?
Ah, It says um,
"God Keep Him Safe."
Well God, let him
roll sevens, huh?
Make me some money!
Oh! Nice!
Now I get to roll.
(miscellaneous talk)
Hey, hey roll em up
again, again, let's go!
What, something I said?
I joined the Army,
not the god-damned Navy!
I was in the Army
long before this war.
Signed up in Montreal, Quebec,
just seventeen years old.
I didn't want to be no hero,
just stay out of the poorhouse.
I'm what you call a
P.S.. Permanent Soldier.
My wife said it stood
for "permanently stupid".
My ex-wife tell the truth.
What are you doing?
the United Church?
Good Jewish boy
like you?
Look. It's
my mother's orders.
Turn the 'J'
to a 'U'.
Just in case
we get taken prisoner.
No one's going to
take us prisoner.
We're going all
the way to Paris!
I'll find you all a
nice Mademoiselle.
You'll see.
Where you goin?
Probably the only dry place
on this whole Goddamned
military vessel!
Don't puke
in the tank McGinnis!
Yeah, don't worry Silver,
I got nuthin left!
Our tank is a
top secret weapon.
Designed just for
It can launch directly
into the sea.
They're called a
duplex drive.
You take a Sherman tank, and
an inflatable canvas screen,
waterproof the hull, connect
propellers to the driveshaft.
And viola, you've got a
thirty-two ton floating tank.
And let's you drive
it out of the sea.
A big surprise for
the Germans.
That's the way to travel.
First class!
Final checks!
We were going in, disguised
as a routine bombing run.
That's why we were packed
into these old bombers
like sardines.
Final checks.
Be bloody careful,
no accidents, please!
The drop was
behind enemy lines.
Fifteen miles
from the coast
where the main
invasion force would land.
We'd be on our
own for days.
So we loaded ourselves
down with extra grenades.
Mortar rounds, you name it.
Open the bloody hatch.
There was France.
From five hundred feet.
At two hundred miles per hour.
Red up, hook up!
The red light was the warning.
Two minutes till
the green light.
Two minutes before all of us,
one hundred and ten men
of 'C' Company
would jump straight into...
God knows what?
Remember we've got fifteen
seconds to clear this place,
so move fast!
Hartigan, spot me a
cigarette would ya?
Hit the ground and move!
We have, five minutes to make
it to the rally point.
I don't mean for now,
I mean for later.
You do not make it?
You're on your own!
Here, take the whole
god-damned pack!
Good luck!
I tried not to think about
being shot on the drop.
Or landing on a tree.
Or drowning in the
flooded fields below.
We knew we were heading
towards the coast.
But the exact location of
our landing was kept secret.
Most bets were on Calle .
Some thought Holland,
even Germany itself.
We're goin to Normandy.
Did anyone win the bet?
No sir.
Good, let's hope the Jerrie's
are even more surprised.
The Americans have
'Utah', and 'Omaha'.
'Gold', and 'Sword'.
The Canadian beach,
'Juno' Beach, it's here,
and our sector,
'Nan Green', is here.
Our target, is actually a
little fishing village called
Everything else
just as we trained.
MG-42's, 55's,
75's and the 88.
The heaviest position on the
beach and it is all ours!
The Germans had four years to
turn the coast of France
into a concrete fortress.
Hundreds of miles of bunkers,
heavy guns barbed wire, mines.
According to Army
Intelligence, our beach,
Juno Beach was manned by eight
thousand German soldiers
from the seven hundred and
sixteenth division.
It was one of the most heavily
fortified sectors
of Hitler's Atlantic Wall.
Get past the first
fifteen minutes boys,
we're gonna be okay.
[SINGING] pack all your
troubles in your old kit bag,
and smile...
Most of us weren't expected
to make it off the beach.
[SINGING], smile.
We all knew.
But nobody talked about it.
...your fag,
Smile boys, that's the style,
what's the use of worrying?
It never was worth while,
so pack up your troubles
in your old kit-bag,
and smile, smile, smile.
We had fifteen seconds
to empty the plane.
If you hesitated, the men
behind you would get scattered,
and we'd all be screwed.
Of course the plane had to be
in exactly the right place
at the right time.
Green lights on!
Green on!
Go Go Go
Go Go!
Move it!
Move it!
Just after I jumped,
I'm thinkin,
"What the hell am
I doing here?"
We launch at dawn.
The plan is to drop into
the sea two miles offshore
and arrive
just before the infantry.
There's no
turning back now.
Listen gonna tell
you straight up,
Army Intel says only
two out of five of us
are going to
make it off this beach.
If we wanna make it, we're
going to have to keep our heads,
stay smart.
Remember that we got one job,
punch through the enemy lines.
Remember that
and we'll be okay.
Paratroopers would
have landed by now.
Each airborne unit had
a specific objective,
knock out a bridge,
or communication line,
to prevent the Germans from
launching a counter-attack
against the beach.
Our job was to
secure the drop zone
by launching a surprise attack
on a German garrison
near a town called
We had to take out their main
gun before the next wave
of twenty-five hundred
paratroopers came in.
If we failed, those boys
would get slaughtered.
I had five minutes to
get to the rally point.
Problem was, I had no
idea where the hell I was,
or how to get there.
First time I get bombed,
it's by our own air-force.
Maybe they missed
their target,
maybe we'd been dropped
in the wrong place.
Maybe both.
Maybe we were all
screwing up.
Judy! What?
Jesus Christ, "Judy!"
Um, "Who won
the Stanley Cup?"
You look like
shit Hartigan.
You're one to talk.
Any idea where we are?
How the hell do we get
to the rally point?
I dunno.
We'd missed the rendezvous.
I wondered how many
others were lost.
Wandering around the
French countryside.
Or dead.
June sixth, 1944.
At last we could see it.
The long grey
coastline of Normandy.
Then our Navy guns opened up.
Artillery fire
So loud it was like getting
punched in the chest.
We hoped it was doing a
lot worse to the Germans.
Artillery fire
Alright, alright!
One last time.
LCA drops us
here at H-hour.
Chief snipes the machine-gun
position here while me, Apple,
Bashnick and Culty take the
Bangalores and blow the wire.
Blow the wire.
Section One pushes through
to take the Machine Gun pillbox.
We then rally here.
And attack the main bunker,
here, destroying the 88.
Alright! There'll be
a lot of heavy smoke.
What do you do if you get lost?
Grab STORK and poke his
head through the clouds.
Move up that beach and
keep moving no matter what.
You do not stop to
help the wounded.
No one stops.
Medics take care of that.
Artillery fire
Given the Naval bombardment,
chances are
nothing will be left.
With seas like this,
launching the tanks
was going to be tricky.
but the time was here
to get em in the water.
The bloody Brit
won't let us launch.
Navy command is
saying it's too rough.
But this is 'bullshit'.
Well Sergeant,
I can see their point.
We've never launched in
conditions like this before.
But sir I...
Four of your
men can't even swim.
Yeah, but I...
Including you.
I speak for my men.
We'd rather take our
chances out there,
than stay on this
rolling puke bucket.
C'mon sir let us launch.
Those infantry boys they're
going to die without us.
Okay, okay.
Leave it to me.
What about the Brit?
It's not his show.
Sergeant Gariepy.
Bonne chance.
I was thinking,
was that very brave?
or very stupid?
Artillery shots
Bird, looks like we're
gonna be in the movies.
Yeah, a regular
Gary Cooper huh?
Hi mom!
Hey Apple, know why bagpipers
are always walkin around?
To get away from that noise.
Load em in.
Section One!
It's about bloody time.
Let's move.
Pick it up.
Pick it up!
Careful with that kid!
After three days at sea,
we finally boarded
the landing craft
that would take us
in to the beach.
Each carried a Platoon
of thirty-six men.
Just little boats made
of plywood and steel.
Bouncing around like a cork.
According to plan, we were to
land on the beach at 'H' hour
just when the Naval bombardment
was scheduled to stop.
We were scared.
Anyone who said he wasn't,
was either a liar
or just plain crazy.
Okay Men, prepare to launch,
prepare to launch.
McGinnis, start er up!
Navy command said it was
too dangerous to launch.
But our C.O.
Decided to push forward.
Everyone in our squadron,
all nineteen tank crews...
Electrics on.
...felt we had to chance it.
Radio check.
Main gun in position!
Ladies, our skirt is up.
Take us in McGinnis!
Aye, aye Captain!
Here we go.
... McGinnis.
Hold steady.
We launched more
than two miles off shore.
The first tank in
our unit to go in.
But I wondered, how many
of us would make the beach?
The first infantry
assault wave
is already headed
for the beach.
Further inland air-borne units
are racing to secure their
objectives to prevent a
German counter-attack
against our beach forces.
Mallon and I
had spent our whole night
dodging enemy patrols.
By sunrise, we finally made
our way to the objective.
The German garrison
at Varaville.
We were so late, we figured
the rest of our unit
had already
knocked out the gun
that threatened
our main drop zone.
Get down!
Get down.
Get down.
Over here!
Hey, Stupid.
Where've you been?
MacPhee, what the
hell's going on?
Makela, take the
Bren gun over there.
Keep your head down.
Why haven't you
taken the objective?
Because of that Pillbox.
The German artillery's back
there, hidden that wall.
Right there?
Where's Macleod?
Major MacLeod is dead.
In the house there.
We were scouting
when the gun opened up.
Jesus --
Where the hell
is everyone else?
only 17 of us made it.
We can't get
past that pillbox.
So go around.
We tried that. There's
minefields on either side.
There's no way in.
Well, I have to do something.
We can't take it.
We're out numbered.
And we got nothing -
One Bren gun.
Your mortar's the
biggest thing we've got.
Best bet is
just to keep'em tied-up
'till reinforcements
come in.
We've got to do something.
I'm gonna scout
out the position.
Maybe I can
find a way in.
Okay. See if you can get
up to the rooftop.
Sergeant McPhee
and the others
had kept the enemies
engaged all night.
But sooner or later
German reinforcements
were bound to show up.
Careful in there
The German's had converted
this house into a barracks.
While I was lost in
the french countryside,
our commander, Major McCloud,
led the assault.
We stormed the place
with just a few men,
the ground floor
was deserted.
McCloud took a handful of
men up to the second floor.
It was empty too.
The beds were still warm.
The German's had fled just
a few minutes earlier.
McCloud must've
had them convinced
they were outnumbered.
From up here
McCloud and his men
began to scout for
the German's main gun.
But the gun found them first.
I'd never seen
anyone dead before.
I didn't know
thing's like that
could happen
to a person's body.
Last night, they were alive.
If I hadn't got lost
it could've just as easily
been me lying on the floor.
Instead of my friends.
If I got higher up, maybe
I could see our objective.
The gun that
killed those men.
I could see the pillbox
that had us pinned.
And there, beyond
it, the main gun.
A seventy-five millimeter
artillery piece
surrounded by minefields.
Past that wall,
the Germans were using a path
that led from the pillbox
through to the minefield.
Straight to the gun.
If we could get to that path,
we could get to the gun.
But how to get past
the pillbox?
Then I saw it.
A way in.
The launch, along with
the weather was a mess.
Less than half the tanks that
were supposed to launch
made it into the water.
We were supposed to hit the
beach just before the infantry
but the heavy seas delayed us.
McGinnis turn right.
Turn right!
Sarge, I can't turn
against the waves.
The waves are too big.
We're full out.
Please God.
Not now...not now.
We got water comin in.
Sarge we got
water coming in!
Thank-you, Neal.
That's fine.
Let me know when it
reaches your knees.
I was bluffing.
And scared.
In training a number
of our men drowned.
One heavy wave over that canvas
skirt and down we would go.
Trapped inside a steel coffin.
I was worried for my crew.
But we were late.
Without our heavy guns,
those infantry guys
wouldn't have a chance.
Artillery fire
200 yards to shore!
Prepare for landing!
Stick with me Apple.
When our Navy guns fell silent,
I knew we were in trouble.
Every minute we were delayed,
allowed the German's
time to regroup.
Why have our guns stopped?
We're late.
We're supposed to
be on the beach now.
A mile offshore, the sea was
crowded with landing crafts.
But as we grew closer
to our landing sectors,
we began to spread out.
100 Yards.
Get yourselves ready.
You okay with that?
Soon, we were alone.
I'm right behind you buddy!
Church tower.
It's still there!
Looks like everything's
still there!
They missed our beach.
50 yards!
Open the gate.
Keep it steady.
Section One.
I want those Bangalores
to the wire fast.
Don't stop
till you're there.
You see a bangalore
drop, pick it up.
You see a ladder
drop you pick it up.
Good luck sir!
You'll be fine Apple.
Stick with me kid.
Go in full speed.
Down ramp!
The Navy bombardment
had left
the enemies positions
We couldn't see them, but we
knew they were waiting for us.
Where the hell is everyone?
Where the hell are the tanks?
Explosions & Gunfire
Section One!
Don't stop for anything!
Go! GO! GO!
Section two!
Move out!
I've been hit!
Move out!
Keep going!
Get out of the water!
Forward position!
Get down!
Get down!
Don't touch him!
Just let him go.
Leave him,
just get to the beach.
Move, move, move!
Don't stop!
Go, go, go.
There's coverage ahead,
move, move.
Run for cover!
Gun shot
They told us
if we could survive
the first fifteen minutes,
we'd take the beach.
But we landed directly in front
of the machine gun pillbox.
Five minutes in and I'd
lost most of my platoon.
We stay here,
we're dead.
Move out!
Follow Grayson.
Keep firing!
We've got to take out
that pillbox.
Bring up the Bangalore!
Cover him!
Cover him now!
Machine gun fire
Get behind those sandbags.
Grab the the Bangalore.
We've got to blow this wire.
Machine gun fire
Grab the the Bangalore.
Hurry up!
Grab the the Bangalore.
Are you okay?
Hurry up!
I'm sorry, Phil.
Get that Bangalore
over here.
Man down.
Blow the wire!
Coming through.
Keep fighting!
We're clear.
We blew the wire but
we were still trapped.
Move up.
There were no tanks,
no support.
We were alone.
8:20 Am.
Only fifteen minutes in
and half my men are down.
The enemy resistance
is fierce.
I made it to the beach,
but so many of my men
never made it
out of the water.
On the beach, there's nowhere
to hide from the mortars,
mines and
the machine gun fire.
We were trapped
behind the wire.
Until a lone tank
surfaced from the sea.
McGinnis, stop!
Dropping the skirt.
We were the first tank in
our unit to reach the beach.
The rest had either
sunk or scattered.
We were only
minutes late.
But the beach was already
littered with bodies.
keep us moving.
Go full speed.
Straight ahead.
Machine gunfire
Hit the pillbox.
Load one round!
A team.
(Speaking German)
Armstrong, cover me,
I'm goin, I'm goin.
I'm going for the Pillbox.
Take out the machine gun.
What the hell?
(Speaking German)
Reverse right.
It's the bunker.
Load one round.
A Team.
(Speaking German)
To the right of the
machine gun pillbox,
there was a large
fortified bunker.
It was a tank killer.
C'mon, c'mon!
Find your craft.
Our gun was no match
for the bunker.
But we could
hit the machine gun
that was
killing our infantry.
I got to get close.
(Speaking German)
On target.
We took out the pillbox.
The main bunker was
still hunting us.
We had to get off that beach.
With the Pillbox destroyed,
I made my way to the bunker.
I made my way to the bunker to
take out that artillery piece.
Where the hell's he going?
He's going for the bunker.
Cover fire!
Cover fire!
McGinnis, get us off
this bloody beach!
I can't see!
I can't see!
Keep moving.
In line.
(Speaking German)
Hurry! Hurry!
Machine gun fire
We charged off the beach
to escape the German gun.
And blasted our way through
anyone who tried to stop us.
McGinnis, go!
Run them down.
I entered the bunker and
found myself underground.
The Germans had built a
secret network of tunnels.
To move men and supplies.
They were close.
But I didn't know where,
or how many.
The beach invasion is underway,
and thousands of paratroopers
have already dropped
into occupied France.
Thousands more are
headed our way.
To protect the drop zone, we
have to take out that main gun.
I found a way in.
There's a small gap between
the wire and the north wall.
You can only see
it from the roof.
I'm listening.
Why don't you send
Mallon to the roof.
He can tell the boys to fire
while you and I crawl up.
You bloody nuts?
Even if we get
past that pillbox,
how we gonna
take out the 75?
We have to get close,
fire flat like a bazooka.
It's only a matter of time till
German reinforcements show up.
I only have five rounds.
We have to get close.
We hit'em point-blank.
It'll work.
Let's do it.
Ross, you fire on
Mallon's signal.
Let's go.
As the battle raged overhead,
I could hear the enemy.
(German in background)
Nein! Dis en ein d'cessant.
(German voices)
We had taken
the command post,
above ground,
everything had gone quiet.
I figured either my men
had taken the beach,
or they were dead.
MacPhee and I made our
way to the stone wall.
This would be our only chance
to take out the main gun.
From the roof,
Mallon would give the
signal for our guys to open up.
We snaked along the path
through the minefield.
Toward their gun.
We needed to get the mortar
close enough
to fire it point blank.
We couldn't afford to miss.
We gotta get out front.
Brace on the tree.
Don't shoot.
We surrender.
Drop your weapons.
We surrender.
The German garrison at
Varaville had us outnumbered.
but we took out their gun,
Hands up, hands up, hands up.
we captured more than
eighty prisoners.
We radioed the
code word, 'Blood'.
It meant 'C' Company, the first
Canadian parachute battalion
had completed the mission.
Bitte! Bitte! Bitte!
[speaks in German]
We surrender.
Our tank made it
off the beach.
And into town.
The fighting was
street to street.
House to house.
Dirty fighting.
The place was
crawling with snipers.
We hated snipers.
You caught one, you
didn't take prisoners.
We made it through town
supporting the infantry.
Then headed to our
next objective.
We stopped in the
French countryside.
You could hear the
war in the distance.
But here,
everything was calm.
Three, this is three,
three alpha over.
Three, this is three,
three alpha over.
For a few minutes the war
seemed a long way a way.
Nice eh?
The C.O. Wants us to rendezvous
at a crossroads,
a mile up-road.
One other thing, our
troop, number three troupe,
we're the only ones left.
Let's saddle up.
Out of all the tanks
in our squadron,
we were
the only troupe left.
Start us up.
On our way to
the rendezvous we learned
that snipers had killed
a number of our comrades.
Friends of mine
from the same unit.
See anything?
Second floor!
There's movement
in the window.
Take us in.
It's just a sniper.
That bastard just shot at me.
One round HE.
Nells could radio it in.
Let the infantry deal with it.
I said take us in.
That is a Goddamned Order!
Maybe I wasn't rational.
Maybe I was angry.
So we went in.
Hit the farmhouse.
Load one round HE.
We're loaded.
What the hell are
you waiting for?
There's people-
I'll do it myself!
Gun shot
[yelling in french]
we gotta go.
This sniper, she was
just nineteen years old.
Her German fiance had
been killed that morning.
I had done my best
to protect my men.
To make our objective.
And to come through
in one piece.
But the victory, well,
comes at a price.
What happened, Sarge?
Did you get'im?
What happened?
Let's go.
We had broken through
the first line
of German defense
on Juno beach.
Hitler's Atlantic wall
was finally breached.
For many of the German
prisoners, we captured,
their war was over.
But for many of my men,
they had lost so much more.
In there, move.
(Speaking German)
On your knees!
(Speaking German)
You goddamned
These basterds!
They killed Apple.
Easy brother.
He was just a kid.
He was just a kid.
Lieutenant Grayson.
He took this bunker by himself.
You shoulda seen'im I-
Sarge and I were
just along for the ride.
You shoulda seen it.
All by himself.
By mid-morning,
The Regina Rifles,
with support from the tanks
of the first Tsares
became the first allied unit to
secure a beach head on D-Day.
Many of the men,
many of my friends,
paid for the victory
with their lives.
Of the one hundred and
ten men of 'A' Company,
only seventeen of us
made it off Juno Beach.
Lieutenant Grayson!
What now?
Get the men,
let's go.
Yes sir.
This footage of Canadian
troops storming Juno,
was amongst the first images
of D-Day seen around the world.
On that day our troops pushed
further into France
than any other allied Army.
The battle of
Normandy had just begun,
but within a year,
Hitler would be defeated.
Of the sixteen thousand
Canadians who landed on D-Day,
almost one thousand men
were killed or wounded.
Sometimes I wake my
wife up with my talk.
So she tells me in the morning,
but yeah I dream a lot.
I talked to a fella
this morning down there.
Same thing,
it never leaves us.
I can close my eyes and,
and just see pictures.
I've tried to forget and
it's been over
sixty years so
a few things fade away,
but then something happens or
questions are asked that ah,
relive the situation.
Some terrible things
way back in there.
That we just
don't talk about.
I don't know, just
a feeling I have,
that I was supposed
to be there.
And I was.
Well I'm glad
I was there, but
I don't want to go back.
Where do I start you know?
I gotta start thinking back.
Y-you come up with that saying,
it's hard to remember which,
what you,
tried to forget.
I took part of
the biggest Armada
that ever sailed the sea.
Ah, you could almost
walk to f-France.
Jump from one piece of
equipment to another.
I was ah,
section leader,
and I was in 'B' Company...
...And it was with,
I had twelve platoon.
And ah,
that's twelve men,
you were just like a,
their Father or p-pretty well,
it was quite a responsibility.
You know the big
adventure for us?
To leave
a-and be out
on our own
really in
a sense.
So I-it was
exciting for us.
It was sort of, it felt
it was a duty to do.
That was ah,
there's so many men,
out of work,
they had nothing and
what else could they do
if the government isn't going
to do anything for you?
Join up.
I Took my first
opportunity to go and join.
I have a brother who
was killed, in Italy.
I was mad,
swore I'd get me a,
kill me a German.
We're all there for
the same reason.
We had to be.
In this thing together, and
the quicker we get out of it,
the better you know?
It was really quiet,
there was nothing said,
just one of those
things, if you,
you had this job to do and
you just kept it to yourself.
Well I think a lot of thinking
and a lot of praying.
oh, we had to
sleep some but we -
you didn't sleep that much
with that on your mind
knowing the -
what might happen,
what could happen.
The night before,
we got instructions to
write our last letter home.
I was married,
young, just,
just just married.
Very young and very -
and who do you
send the letter to,
your mom and dad?
Or your wife?
I addressed it to all of them.
That's a hell of a
letter to have to write.
That channel, I don't
know if you know it,
but it can be rough
at the best of times.
But it was very rough.
Horrible rough.
Everybody including myself
was sea-sick right now.
The big ah...
the destroyers and
the ah, battleships,
opened up a tremendous
crescendo that -
that's why I'm wearing two
hearing aids now.
We had to crawl down,
I don't know how many,
maybe twenty or thirty feet,
on these scramble nets,
and you had to be
very careful because
the water was so rough
that when the waves come
it would lift the landing
craft a way up and,
and then let it down and
you had to make sure that
you didn't get
squashed between the
landing craft and the ship.
Right behind me,
the Battleship Rodney sat,
and every time
the gun was fired,
the recoil eh?
And every time
you came forward,
he sent a twenty foot wave.
That little barge
I was on just went
twenty feet up and
twenty feet down.
I'll never forget it.
And I think maybe that's
why I was so damn sick,
I didn't give a damn if I
made it to France or not.
We had bottles
of rum...
and it was passed
along both sides,
and ah, everybody
took a swig you know,
and when that
one went empty,
another one came on.
We're, I don't
wanna use this word,
but we were more
than half pissed
when we hit the beaches.
There was lots of a fellas,
that had trained for two years
and never touched the beach.
They were dead before they
ever touched the beach.
I watched when they hit a mine,
and I just happened to be
looking that way and
all of a sudden
everything just big,
big explosion.
They just went blank.
And two, you could
see two bodies
goin up in the air.
There was the ah,
I don't know if you ever
saw them and they were,
they floated and they and
they had curtained on them,
and they floated in so far.
Floating them with
a forty ton tank,
with a couple a,
three or four air bubble
and coupla struts
and you know,
not a good move.
The whole thing got hit
with a big wave or something
and down it would go.
Next went down,
the same thing.
Too much heavy water.
Way too rough.
Wiped out right there.
Twenty-five men,
five tanks.
Off of that tank
carrier that we were on,
there was five didn't
make it and our tank did.
You're scared stiff,
and you can't tell
it to anybody.
Everybody feels like you do.
You, that's a-it's a
helluva situation really.
You know?
You're scared stiff.
And you just wondered,
if, is,
is this it?
That moment,
is, is when you
realize then,
you realize then
it was for real.
I've always said,
you either,
grew up that day,
or you didn't grow up at all.
You were trained,
just as soon as
that door opened,
you jumped out into the water,
and you headed for the beach
just as quick as
you could get there.
In case they had their
guns aimed at you well,
they could just kill
all you before you,
as you were coming out.
The first fellow,
he got up and...
He got hit, and he fell
off into the water.
And the second guy he,
he got hit in the arm
and he laid on
the gangplank there,
and then it was my turn.
I was the third guy out.
Well they had to holler
at me a couple of times,
cause I was,
I was petrified,
I couldn't move you know?
When you get up to
your chest pretty well,
and you get a big wave and
you it pushes you forward,
and then when it back,
it pulls you back again.
It was really
hard to get ahead to
get onto the beach.
I waded past a couple of
bodies already floating.
I hit the ground running,
I could see the
sand kicking up
where the bullets
were hitting them.
And I just kept
running like hell.
I was too stupid
to be scared.
If you get hit well then,
that's the time
to start screaming.
These guys were peppering us,
they had concrete
pillboxes all over.
They had their...
Smizer and T42,
fast, a fast fast
belt fed gun.
Just a 'sbrrrmpf',
like that.
'sbrrrmpf' they were fast.
[gun fire]
At the time where you get hit,
it's more of a shock,
it doesn't hurt,
but I couldn't stand up,
I couldn't run,
I couldn't walk, I,
the only way I could
maneuver is crawl.
Or wait till the tide
pushed me up a little.
Cause the tide was
coming in all the time.
I was scared.
I tell ya,
I was really really scared.
But you had to go forward.
I bet, bet there's
eight or ten people
layin there face
down in the water.
Regina Rifle boys.
Shot right on the beach,
You can't stop and
pick those guys up.
It wasn't pretty.
Never forget it.
I reached the ah,
I could
see everything unfolding
like a giant landscape,
in front of me there.
I could see guys
running around.
Guys screaming,
guys crying.
One man was waving a bible
and screaming for his mother.
I seen like this tank,
what they call a flail tank,
big chains in front of it,
turning and they're
blowing up the mines
as they
go up the beach.
So I followed him up
the beach, went on.
When we got tracks on France,
we just drove
maybe a couple of
tank-lengths out
of the water,
all of a sudden
I hear this, ping,
like a sniper's shot,
and we looked around,
we saw this church steeple,
that's where he's at.
The order was,
I'm still here,
"Gunner, driver's
left, steady on.
Church Steeple.
You're on,
got it.
when ready."
We took care of him and um
from then it was go forward.
Our section would have to
clean out this one pillbox,
that was our,
particular job.
We didn't want to be
together because
of a shell hit,
we'd, we'd all
get killed so we,
had to kind of
space ourselves out.
You just kept going till
you hit that first line.
[gun fire]
We threw in a hand
grenade first,
and just as soon as that
explodes you rushed in
the back door and then
the thing you just
sprayed it,
sprayed it,
anything that
moved with bullets.
And the a-h-h-and
ah, that was it.
Anyone that
ha-that was had a gun
and and wave it around
there was no hope for him.
It's either you or him.
Sergeant Snider said
the first guy he shot,
he had given up
and kept hollering,
"comrade, comrade!"
And he said,
"I shot him anyway."
He said, "There was still a
lot of fight left in him."
He said.
You know it's a
hard thing to say
but they said that there
was no way we could
take prisoners
because there was
no place to put them.
If there a German come
out, it didn't matter,
you disposed of him,
that was just it, till,
cause you had to clean
everything out of the way
so the next wave of soldiers
could come through.
And ah, that's ah,
the way it was.
And ah, how we ever got off
there without losing a man,
[gun fire]
Some Germans,
they were medics.
And I said, "first you're
going to do my men.
And he says
He wouldn't do it.
And I says,
"and you gonna do me first."
And I told him,
in german,
"ich bin ein Jude',
you know, I'm Jude -
and you're gonna do
what I tell ya. Or else!"
And I, there was a native guy
standing beside me,
and said, "lift your rifle,
aim at his head,
when you hear the word
'nein' coming from him,
don't wait for me, just
shoot the sonofabitch.
Don't wait for any orders."
And boy he was just ready to go,
you know he was...
And this guy started
to shake he was,
he was really
scared of Natives.
He, he said, "okay,
okay, you know,
all of a sudden
he spoke English.
You don't even
think about it.
The thing is,
you've been
trained so long that,
"destroy your enemy!"
anyone you can,
and it,
you have no emotions
at all really.
But it's after,
I find it harder now,
to think he was a human
being, just like I was.
The only thing,
he was doin,
the same thing
I was trained to do.
Protect his country,
or protect
what he was supposed
to protect.
It was a while before,
finally the shooting stopped,
and that's when
my work started.
My job as pay-clerk,
was to record the,
the dead,
the pay had to stop the
minute a man was dead.
Everyone wasn't
going to pay an extra
nickle if they had to.
There were
sixty-three bodies,
lined up on one side.
And the burial
parties removed the
lower half of their dog-tags.
They put em in a box,
and brought them over to me.
My job was to enter
the name of the person.
I knew most of them.
Some of the men
I knew very well.
When I finished my job,
I went back to the seawall,
I sat down,
and I started to cry.
I never...
I never cried so
much in all my life.
Finally the paymaster
came over and says,
"it's time for us to move on."
And that was,
that for D-Day.
You know sometimes you wonder,
"what the heck
am I doing here?"
Ya know?
I don't have to be here.
You know going through
this, and then you,
you liberate a
village, and then,
these people come out
from I don't know where.
They come out and then
you know why you're there.
Read the history books,
and the Americans won the war.
Oh sure, they,
they put a lot into it,
alright but,
the Canadians are
the ones that took the brunt
of a lot of
the ah, ah, attacks.
And the Canadians were
always put in
that position, that -
because they were
so good at it,
they were given that job.
Maybe it's just the
way the Canadians are,
when they get a job,
they go ahead and do it.
They say "well, w-we, we
gotta do it, let's do it!"
They thought we were
just a bunch of farmers.
but those farmers
turned out to be
good fighting men.
In fact,
we're the first regiment
to reach our objective.
You know it's all
over, you come home.
Uh, you sit up in
bed some night
and y-y-you'll
l-live a little bit
more of it too.
Your wife kinda gets
tired of this
you jumping out of bed and
walking around the room
and come back in
in a bit, you know?
I-I don't know, ah,
I'm glad I was there.
I'm glad I witnessed it.
I'd a felt terrible if I -
if I hadn't taken part and
did something, you know?
Everybody pulled
it was only Joe,
and Sam and
Pete and Harvey.
I feel sorry for
the little guy
and ah,
there was lots of
them in the Army.
That was all they
had you know?
We stand for two minutes.
What did they stand for?
Sixty-five years.
Their whole life.
We, we came back,
we've enjoyed
we had a home,
had a wife
and children,
They didn't have any of that.
But how often do
we think about it?
How often do we
think about our
freedom really?
You know?
How often do you think
about your freedom?