Snipers. Duel under the hot Norman Sun. We had moved up, and a small group of us were supporting an attack on a village in front of Caen, I cannot remember its name, all that I remember that it was on the high ground that rose up slightly in front of Caen. We were to pass through after the first wave of infantry and take up the attack and drive on. Mustering the platoon amongst some trees on the edge of a ripe cornfield. German wounded and prisoners were already filtering back, I stood there and happened to have a Bren machine gun over my shoulder and watched as three young Germans approached, two of them with their arms round a comrade, supporting him, he was a handsome young blond German and stripped to the waist, with a neat round bullet hole right through the centre of his stomach. As I stood there, an officer gave the order to move out and said to me “get out through the cornfield to that high ground on the left, ready to give us covering fire as we move in “. A beautiful sunny day, I slowly and very cautiously made my way out into the open and immediately captured a German in the corn, a poor specimen, he had no interest at all in the war, (who can blame him) all that I could get out of him was “minen minen” and he pointed in the direction of where I was going, he was terrified! Who isn’t? I pointed out the way and sent him back on his own with his hands on his head. Mortar fire came down in bursts of three or four at a time, just a little normal “hate” The corn was ripe and just about chest high, setting off again, I tried to run and keep my head down, as I got deeper into the corn I was singled out by a very persistent sniper. Each time I raised my head above the corn this sniper had a go at me, it was there that I discovered that a rifle bullet, as it goes by, near your head, makes a loud cracking noise. A few hundred yards to go he was very determined to get me, time and time again he tried. Now, I had the feeling that it had started to develop into something personal, he was so set on getting me that he ignored others! To my left, standing in the corn, was a Guards Armoured Sherman tank, giving covering fire in support of the attack. I watched with amazement as a Guards officer came striding up through the com, very smart, the tank commander got out of the tank and saluted the officer and they stood talking for a while. “Yea Gods” it reminded me of a Giles cartoon. For heavens sake! Here we are full-scale battle going on with vicious shell and mortar fire; this blasted sniper trying get me and in the middle of it, two Guardsmen saluting each other. When I reached the brow of the hill in the cornfield I must have been out of his line of fire, he did not bother me any more. Snipers were always a problem and I am sometimes amazed that they were allowed to kill and then surrender. I did not fire at anybody and did not have a clue where the Enemy was supposed to be anyway. Snipers were a continuing problem, they were very good at their job and we were always on the watch for unusual shapes in trees and hedgerows. The battle for the village was hard fought and at a time when the war had become very bitter, this was the period when it was reputed that not many prisoners were taken, the origin of this was the shooting in cold blood, by the I2th SS Panzer Division, the Hitler Youth, they murdered both Canadian and British prisoners. Then there were reputed instances of Germans offering surrender under a white flag, when approached to accept their surrender, another of them would pop up and cut down our men with machine gun fire. After taking the village there were many casualties from both sides, all of them propped up against an earthen bank where we had set up a field dressing station. It was the practice to treat all wounded the same; indeed, it was not uncommon to see a Jerry on one end of a stretcher and a Tommy on the other.