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Our job was to get targets

Heroes Remember

Our job was to get targets

We had like these five radios. We only carried five shells. Our job wasn't to fight, our job was to get targets. We only fought if we were caught doing something. So we would take our tank and mix with the Germans who would put a bombardment on or at night we'd sneak in with them and we'd be camouflaged and the Germans thought that we were part of their group too because I could talk a little bit of German and if somebody was, you know, our driver, at night you don't see, you bump somebody and somebody would tell you something in German, well you just say, “Achtung, Heil Hitler,” and they thought you were a German officer so they didn't bother you. See, they thought you were the officer giving them a command. Well, I hit the officer, I got to get away from here. So we'd sneak in with them and move out and hide wherever we could - if it was in a small bush thing or some hill then we'd put our thing so you couldn't see it and then we'd get out of our tank and crawl around and have a walkie-talkie and we had a military artillery guy with us, officer, that as soon as we got, he would get the trajectory, the coordinates so to get the right bombardment. That's artillery language for how to target your target, test and adjust or something like that. Then they would bombard these guys. We didn't travel too much, only when we had to because we would run out of petrol, out of gas. We had to save our gas. There was no service stations to pick up and we didn't know where our guys were for a long time. And you'd get these targets and the Germans were really good at picking you up as soon as you put your wireless on because at that time it was all Morse code, and they'd start bombarding us so we'd have to move around to get away from there. But see, they were targeting us because we had the walkie-talkie. Not like, they were big things, clumsy things. You don't get that today. They would try and get that so we'd move around, and sometimes we'd walk around for miles in the hedges, crawling into bushes, and stuff like that, on your belly. You'd look up and here's a snake looking at you, and you'd say, “Gee, this is where I come to get shot or get bit by a snake?” Oh yeah, they're trying to get us. They know where they are, because they have the same thing. They knew that we were infiltrating... sometimes a mile, sometimes more. You'd try and get your targets during the day and move somewhere at night because you knew sooner or later they'd get you. They know that somebody in that area's got some kind of a message going. This operator, our operator, would put it on, the whole, the British, the Americans, would all get that same message and they would use their method of attack or what kind of bombardment or shelling or maybe they sent a little plane in there to catch them with. Some pilot come in with a... ‘cause they're always waiting. Everybody was trying to get into one another's territory to get the best targets.

Mr. Senycz and his crew’s main job was to get targets; they only fought if they got caught.

John Senycz

Mr. Senycz was born August 22, 1920 in Colhurst, Alberta. His parents were both of Polish descent, born in Czechoslovakia, and moved to Canada to work in the coal mines. At age two, his father died and his mother remarried. Mr. Senycz joined the Canadian Army 4th Division Tank Corps in 1942 and was shipped overseas to England. It was during the Battle of Falaise that his tank got hit and the crew of five soldiers was badly burned. Because of the severity of Mr. Senycz’ burns, he was transported to Basingstoke hospital in England for rehabilitation. With the many burns and scars, Mr. Senycz underwent three to four years of plastic surgery to his face. On September 18, 1945, Mr. Senycz was discharged from the Canadian Army from the orderly room in Vancouver, BC. He later married, moved to Calgary, Alberta, and raised a family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Senycz
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
4th Armoured Division

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