SAS OP Pistol 1944 capture americans


In the last stages of my father's Operation Pistol patrol during the last leg of its journey he and his men were on the top of Koecking Bois ridge and still within the German positions by about a mile. The Americans were below in the valley and were planning to take the Koecking Bois ridge by assault. The ridge was thickly wooded with pine trees and a foresters track runs along through it wide enough to take a vehicle. As he descended the ridge at night his party bumped into some German cooks who were carrying food to their front line positions. These men turned out to be Serbs. They dropped their containers and put their hands up on being challenged.

My father recognised he could not shoot them as they were in the middle or very near the German defensive positions. The Serbs pointed the way to the Americans. The S.A.S watched the serbs run off and they themsilves moved on. Early the following morning my father found himself at the botton of the ridge but as Germans were billetd in the nearby villages he realised he could not seek shelter there. He had some way to go yet to reach the front lines and so he approached a farm situated at the bottom of the ridge in the valley bottom, and stayed the night there.

The following day he went out onto the land dressed as a farm worker and pretended to hoe the crops. My father came from a rural area in the UK (near Goole in Yorkshire) and indeed had married a girl whose family owned a farm so he knew how to look the part. He noticed more German infantry moving into Koecking Bois.

That night my father decided to make his break through to the Americans.

In my father's patrol was a Polish SAS man called Joseph Lyczak. Lycak confirmed from a polish immigrant/slave worker which villages were occupied b the Germans. To avoid these placws my fathers first task was to march across fields and get across a canal. He found the canal and crossed at a remote crossing point used by farmers with their vehicles and cattle.

He and his men pushed foreward towards where he thought the Americans might be located. He heard german voices in the front line positions but these were fairly widely spread apart. He told me that it was his plan to walk towards the enemy voices as near as possible and the veer off in order to find the gaps.

When the first morning light was up my father's party spotted a position whose machine gun was tracking them. They dropped down and decided to send half their small party around th back of it. At a given time my father stood up and shouted to the position which he thought was german. The SAS from the back ran foreward and captured two Americans. they were from the fourth armored division.

Dads party was taken to be interrogated by a Colonel Clarke of 4th Armored. My father gave the Americans tank positions, HQ positions and other facts. later the Americans launched an assualt on Koecking Bois and took the ridge after some fierce fighting. See my fathers written report on wikipedia - look for Operation pistol.