While we were sitting in that cellar, I could tell
that something was wrong. I suppose it was a premonition, and I
wasn't the only one who felt it. A lot of us had been together for
a long time. Somehow or another we could tell beforehand whether
a job was going to be easy or hard. I was thirsty, but water couldn't
quench my thirst. I wanted a cigarette, but every time I lit one
up I didn't want it anymore. I tried to eat, but the food had no
taste. When I went up to take a look at the river, everything was
calm and quiet; nothing could be seen and nothing could be heard.
The only thing I saw was smoke coming from the chimney of a little
house in the town across the river. A few hundred yards south of
us was a blown bridge. One company was going to cross near it. Lieutenant
Virgil McAlpin, the battalion S-2, walked out on the bridge and
had driven his jeep along the river bank, but no one shot at him.
. . .
At about 1:00 A.M. on March 28, 1945, the 80th Division started
the trek across the Rhine River. The first boats carrying Company
E and Company G shoved off from slips and docks on the Mainz riverfront.
The river was about five hundred yards wide at the spot we had
to cross. When the first wave was halfway across the river, the
Krauts opened up with their 20mm and 37mm antiaircraft guns and
their machine guns, small arms, and artillery. The men kept paddling.
. . .