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Historical

Heavy Artillery Raining Down All Around Us - A WWII Vet's Personal Account

91-year-old World War II veteran George Hansen from Clovis, California, recalls a night during the war when his squad came under heavy mortar fire while on their way to a town to capture German soldiers.

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"Funny how fast you can dig a hole when you think there's a shell coming."

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Photo Credits : (GettyImages)
Keystone Hulton Archive
TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

The captain said we're going to go across this little valley, and capture these Germans hopefully. And so on the way into that town, nothing happened but we got into town and he says okay get out of your vehicle and dig foxholes and we did, funny how fast you can dig a hole when you think there's a shell coming and we no sooner got our foxholes dug then the shells started landing all around us and one of them landed about oh, five feet from me which was the foxhole with one of my friends, and it hit right on the edge of the foxhole. Pretty soon the shells quit coming and one by one my buddies started popping their heads out of their foxhole, except this one guy that was about four feet from me and you can see where the shell landed right on the edge of the hole and he didn't come out and the guy says, okay Hansen you gotta go look and see whats left of him there. So I'm getting out of my foxhole and just then he pops his head up and I'll never forget what he said, he said a miss is as good as a mile. And what happened the shell landed and the shrapnel all flies out horizontally to the right and left but if it had been a couple of inches closer he would have been like hamburger.