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Harassing Fire

Heroes Remember

So we used to go up there and we'd spend 72 hours up there and then we'd go back to the guns, you know, observing and firing and, but just to keep the war going, really, through the winter, you know. And then we had harassing fire positions, what you call HF positions. We had three of them and they were in different places. We rarely fired from our proper gun position because, although the Germans knew where it was cause they sent over photographic planes, you know, spy planes, and they used to dive and come zipping over your gun position. They knew where we were, and we had some shelling there, fortunately, missed us. But for proper firing, we would go up for two, three days to these harassing fire positions. They were very elementary, they were just holes dug in the ground for the guns and pre-prepared, you know, and we'd move into one and we'd fire for, there for two or three days, 72 hours, whatever it was, and it had its own little slit trench for command posts, you know, covered with wood and stuff and earth and, very elementary, and we would fire from there for two or three days and then go back and then we would send another group out, "Fire from over there" or "Fire from over there." So we had three of them in our battery, and I guess other batteries, other regiments had other different ones and, so that, and sometimes they could be rough. Christmas Day was very rough, because this place we were in was on the crest of a valley, I guess it was the same Reichswald Valley, you know. I never did see a map, a total map of the territory so I always had to guess where we were, you know, just going from our locale almost and, you know, being low down, you didn't get to really look at the overall picture that, that much. So, anyway we were, I was in the signal truck. We had one of these HUP, I don't know what it stands for but they were a square truck and it was filled with radios and communications equipment, and another signaller and I were in there manning this thing and our, and our command post, the gun post, you know, where the tannoys were and everything, and the Colonel of the Regiment was there and the Battery Commander and they were all dug in there. It wasn't very big, you know, it wasn't this big, you know, this little place, and covered and one little entrance, or exit.

Mr. Field talks about a Harassing Fire Command Post and about getting pinned down by enemy fire.

Richard (Dick) Field

Mr. Richard Field was born in Toronto, Ontario, on November 11, 1924, where his father was an accountant for Brazilian Traction Light and Car Power Company located in Toronto. After hearing stories from his grandfather and friends about the service, Mr. Field and his father enlisted in 1943. Serving as a Gunner in the Royal Canadian Artillery, Mr. Field went to the continent after the summer of 1944, and landed at Dieppe. Having witnessed battles such as the Battle of the Bulge, which was, on record, the coldest battle fought during the Second World War, encounters with German POWS and the German SS, nothing stirs up memories such as the moving story about the Highland Light Infantry returning from battle, wearily marching on to battle, serenaded by the haunting melody of the bagpipes. Mr. Field returned home to Toronto and married his high school sweetheart, however, the war never left the dreams and thoughts of Mr. Field, who still, quite frequently, is plagued by dreams and nightmares of life on the front.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Richard (Dick) Field
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Northwest Europe

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