Edward W. Shimko
Technical Sergeant - Hq Company 1st Bn. - 325th
Glider Infantry Regiment
SWORN STATEMENT OF TECHNICAL SERGEANT EDWARD WILLIAM SHIMKO WITH REFERENCE GLIDER LANDING IN VICINITY OF CAEN, FRANCE ON 7 JUNE 1944
My glider load was loaded with
equipment the day before we took off, that is, on June 6th. It was
inspected and found satisfactory by the glider pilots that day.
It was loaded properly and everything was loaded as it should be.
We had 22 boxes of AT rifle grenades, 36 rounds of 81 mm mortar
ammunition and an 81 mm mortar in it. There were 13 men and pilot
and co-pilot to ride.
On June 7th, when we took off
we had no trouble on the take-off part. When we were about 300 feet
high, being in the air about 10 or 12 minutes, the nose came up
about 2 or 2 ½ feet. When it had opened that much we grabbed
it, pulled it back a little, and prevented it from opening any further.
The co-pilot called the tug plane and had the plane to slow down.
That enabled the glider to go along all right. We got ropes and
lashed the nose so it could not open any further. We also relatched
the nose in place, but it came undone again. However, the ropes
held it so it could not open any more than about six or eight inches.
After the nose had come undone
the second time we were brought back to Ramsbury Airport, the place
from which we had taken off. There they wired the latches together.
Then we took off again.
While at the airport, before our second take-off I talked to the
tug pilot, and he said he knew the course. The glider pilot was
Schuller. The co-pilot was John H. Hampton, APO133.
The second time we took off we
went on over to Normandy. We landed north of Caen. The coordinates
of the spot where we landed are : CAEN-FALAISE, Scale 1:100,000,
Sheet 7F (405.5-173.5), about 3 miles north of Caen.
We came in over the coast of France from north to south to our landing
area. We were going at an air speed of about 160 miles per hour,
at an altitude of about 50 to 75 feet, just over the tree tops.
We were being fired on all the way from the coast to the landing
area. When we were cut the glider gained altitude immediately in
order to slow down before landing. We were cut by the tug pilot
just after the plane had made a 180 degree turn, about 3 miles north
of Caen. We landed to the east.
We landed in a field were there
were mines, but I don't believe we went over any in the part of
the field where we happened to land – at any rate none went
off. We cut thru some barbed wire, however, on the landing, which
cut up the glider somewhat. At the time we landed it was 0713.
Immediately after landing we
scattered and stayed still a few minutes to see what would happen.
After that we made a reconnaissance of the immediate vicinity and
found no Germans right around there. They had left when we came
in. There were trenches all around, about six or eight feet deep
and underground living quarters about every 500 yards. Having found
no Germans in the immediate vicinity we unloaded the glider and
put the equipment and ammunition in hedge rows in the area where
we took up a defensive position. I placed guards on the road and
went out on patrol with two mens to see where we were and what was
around in that area. On patrol we found German artillery. We were
fired on, then went back. I had told Sgt. Callier to take over if
I didn't return within a designated time limit. I went out on another
patrol in another direction and encountered artillery again. After
that I figured that we must be two or three miles behind the German
front lines, which must be to the north of us. I talked about this
with the Pilot, the co-pilot, Sgt ? Callier and the others.
We still didn't know where we were.
At about 1000 I went with a patrol of two men to the north, and
got to Lion-sur-Mer. As we entered the town the town was being shelled
by the British from the sea. The Germans left as we came into the
town. We worked our way up to the beach to see if we could make
contact with allied troops. There were no landings being made then.
The British spotted us and started to fire at us from the boats.
We went back at a run into the town. We were shelled in the town.
We took three bicycles there
and went back to the unit. Back at the unit the guards had taken
a Frenchman who spoke English. He was going back to Caen when he
was taken. Thru him and the escape kit map I located our exact position.
The Frenchman stayed there with us until we left, or just before
we left, When we did go, about 1400 we went to the east of Periers-sur-le-Dan
and on toward Luc-sur-Mer. We had decided to go to that place as
the Frenchman had told us that the English held that place. How
we didn't let the Frenchman knew that's where we were going.
Moving up toward Luc-sur-Mer
we found the German front lines in the vicinity of Periers-sur-le-Dan.
We came up behind their lines at that point. They fired on us with
small arms, mortar and light artillery. We were pinned down for
about seven hours.
At about 2300 we crawled back
to a wooded area where we made a defense for ourselves. The fighting
died down at about 2300.
The next morning, the 8th, the
British were shelling around that area. When the British let up
on their artillery firing at about 0930 I went with 2 men on patrol
and met British marine commandos at about 1100. A British major
and an American Lt. Colonel were with them. The American Lt. Colonel
must have been a liaison officer of air corps. They asked us about
the enemy and then went on into Lion-sur-Mer. They told us to go
to Luc-sur-Mer, where we would find the forward echelon of some
We went there, rested and got some rations. This was the 8th.
At Luc-sur-Mer we were told to
go to a spot west of Bernieres-sur-Mer where some British were landing.
We went there, and tried to get some transportation to our unit.
Nothing was available. We talked to a British Naval officer and
he said he would take the pilot and co-pilot back to England. One
of the boys, Pvt. Ibanez went to a British hospital there.
We left that day, June 8th, to
go west, to Courseulles-sur-Mer, where we were picked up by British
Mps. They put us on a truck and said we would be taken to a British
assembly area. We couldn't find the assembly area, so we went to
a Canadian supply battalion. There we acted as guards for two and
a half days, then left, walking, to the west. We left that place
on the 11th.
On the 11th we went to St. Come
de Fresne, where we met a British unit where we stayed the rest
of that day and the next day and night.
Then on the 13th we started west
again, walking. We hitch hiked our way to Bayeux. That town was
in the hands of the British at that time. From there we went on,
hitch hicking, to the 1st Army headquarters, near Vierville-sur-Mer.
We stayed there the night of the 13th.
The next morning, the 14th, we
got a truck to Ste. Mere Eglise.
From Ste. Mere Eglise we were sent to the 82nd A/B Division by jeep
loads. The 82nd A/B Division Headquarters was then at or near Etienville.
From there we were transported by truck to our regiment, the 325th
that same day, the 14th. We got back to our company that day. There
were 12 of us at that time.
Edward W. Shimko (June
1944) Charles A. Carrell, Lt. Col., Inf.
Map of Normandy showing distance between designated LZ and real landing spot Mission Galveston - 7th June 1944 - Serial #34 - Chalk #50
Map north of Caen showing the location of the landing of the CG-4A Mission Galveston - 7th June 1944 - Serial #34 - Chalk #50
Extract of S-2 journal 325th GIR acting the return of T/Sgt Edward W. Shimko and his men
Statement of T/Sgt. Shimko transcribed before.
8 June 1944 - Men of the 325th GIR walking through Courseulles sur Mer, going west to join their unit in the Cotentin Peninsula. On 7th June they landed in their CG-4A Glider near Bieville Beuville, 70 kms East of their dedicated landing zone.