Language selection


Strafing an Enemy Troop Truck

Heroes Remember

Strafing an Enemy Troop Truck

We weren’t many miles into Normandy, as you know, but on our side the trucks were bumper to bumper, bumper to bumper. They were coming in off that Mulberry Harbour, you know, and they were out. They were bumper to bumper, that’s how you could tell on our side of the line. They were forever provisioning us, you know, for more troops coming ashore and everything and building up strength there. As soon as we got over the line, you’re lucky if you could see one. Then if you were lucky you could see one lurking under a tree or sometimes in a little bit of forest, little bit of woods or something. But the roads were empty. Low and behold, a German army truck came down the road, in broad daylight, no trees to hide under, going like blazes. And I couldn’t believe it, of course, they were just doing anything to get back and I couldn’t believe it. So I went down, turned around and went down head on as he was coming towards me and it was an open truck at the back full of men and several of them were pounding on the roof of the cab, because I guess the driver may not have seen me but they were pounding on the roof of the cab and I opened fire and oh it was vigorous. The truck immediately… cannon shot, I used all machine guns too. We had four machine guns, used all that and it rolled into the ditch to its’ left, wasn’t a very big ditch but it rolled in and the men it went over like once the truck, with the men on it but a number of men still got up and ran across. They really had nothing to run to because there were hardly any trees or anything, there were farm buildings a bit off to quite a bit side of the road but they got off and some of them were running, some of them were limping and some of them were crawling. And so I went another round and I went back and fired at them. I just sort of at the bulk of them, and, of course, a whole bunch of them went down and everything. And, oh it was sickening. Anyway, I let it go at that and we went back.

Mr. Smith describes strafing an enemy troop truck and its occupants, and being sickened by the experience

Roderick Smith

Roderick Smith was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in March, 1922. He was the second of four children. His father, who had served in the First World War, was a land surveyor. Mr. Smith had been fascinated by propaganda leading up to the Second World War, so he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 following the completion of his Senior Matriculation. After pilot training in Canada, he was selected for overseas flying duty. His first tour of duty was on Malta and Mr. Smith’s impressive list of enemy aircraft destroyed began here. He was also shot down himself while on this tour. After returning to England, he joined 401 Squadron piloting new generation Spitfire 9's. Mr. Smith was in action on D-Day, and later did strafing runs in German held France. Later at Nijmegen, he destroyed several more enemy aircraft, including the shared kill of a prototypical ME-262 jet fighter. Mr. Smith retired with the rank of Flight-Lieutenant, DFC and Bar, with thirteen destroys, 1 shared and ½ possible to his credit.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roderick Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
401 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: