KNAUSS, Niles Hartman 1st Div Pa 38 Box 12, #1 Easy Red On Beach Dead [crossed out} LCI was hit with a phosphorus shell men on bottom of boat burning. Through them over side. Never saw again. [end crossed out]
Remembers a man turning around and look at him, shaking his head. Helmet had a hole in front, also back. Bullet had gone around lines, shreaded spare socks.
Allentown, Pa PA38 O - E
For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-Day
THOUSANDS OF MEN, ON LAND AND SEA AND IN THE AIR, PARTICIPATED IN THE INVASION OF NORMANDY BETWEEN MIDNIGHT JUNE 5, 1944 AND MIDNIGHT JUNE 6, 1944. IF YOU WERE ONE OF THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.
What is your full name? Niles Hartman Knauss
What was your unit and division? Co. "C" 16th Inf. 1st Div.
Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time? June 6th 1944 7:00 A.M. Omaha Beach
'What was your rank on June 6, 1944? P.F.C.
What was your age on June 6, 1944? 21
Were you married at that time? No What is your wife's name? - None Did you have any children at that time? - No
What do you do now? Test Operator - O2 Generators
When did you know that you were going to be part of the invasion? November - 1943
What was the trip like during the crossing of the Channel? Do you remember, for example, any conversations you had or how you passed the time? The trip was O.K. I played cards and wrote letters home, went to briefing's on Air Photo's of the day before.
What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made the crossing? (Some people remember scuttlebut to the effect that the Germans had poured gasoline on the water and planned to set it afire when the troops came in). Don't remember
- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name N. Knauss
Did you by any chance keep a diary of what happened to you that day? No.
Were any of your friends killed or wounded either during the landing or during the day? Yes - plenty
Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? Yes. What?
Were you wounded? No Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were you so surprised that you felt nothing?
Do you remember seeing or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it did not, of course, seem amusing at the time? Yes, one fellow (Steber of Reading, Pa) looked around at me, shaking his head, his helmet had a hole dead center in the front and also dead center in the back where the bullet went around his liner, it tore his spare sock's all to shreads. Continued on separate sheet.
Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic, or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? Our boat (L.C.I.) PA 26-15 was hit with a phosphorus shell. The guy's on the bottom of the boat burning. We through them over the side. I never seen any of them again. A guy with half his head shot away sitting by a tank trap talking to himself Taking machine gun nest that had to be taken again because Germans sneaked back.
- for Cornelius Ryan 3 - Your name N. Knauss
ln times of great crisis, people generally show either great ingenuity or self-reliance; others do incredibly stupid things. Do you remember any examples of either? thing's I mentioned on extra sheet #2b A guy by the name of "Little Ben" from "A" Co. blowing a hole in the wire and getting a burst of machine gun fire though his helmet.
Where were you at midnight on June 5, 1944? On the coast Guard boat PA26 (Chas Chase)
Where were you at midnight on June 6, 1944? 2 miles in from the beach fighting to take a German stronghold.
Do you know of anybody else who landed within those 24 hours (midnight June 5 to midnight June 6) as infantry, glider or airborne troops, or who took part in the air and sea operations, whom we should write to? Walter Orlowski - Trumbarsville, Pa. John Hoffman - Hazelton, Pa. Fred Erben - N.Y. N.Y. Steve Ogelia Altona Pa. Bill Ellis Detroit, Mich.
PLEASE LET US HAVE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE BOOK. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL CONTINUE YOUR STORY ON SEPARATE SHEETS IF WE HAVE NOT LEFT SUFFICIENT ROOM, FULL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT WILL BE G!VEN IN A CHAPTER CALLED "WHERE THEY ARE NOW; YOUR NAME AND VOCATION OR OCCUPATION WILL BE LISTED.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.
Frances Ward Research, The Reader Digest
N. Knauss Sheet #2 A
When we were behind the stone breaker a while my buddy (Walter Orlowski) said let's get the hell out of here. We went through a hole blown in the wire. He went first and I followed. When I went through I seen he was trying to say something to me. He was standing by a building on the beach. When I got to him I said "what did you say?" He said; I was trying to tell you to watch out for the mines! I looked back and seen them about a foot apart and all "S" mines. I felt my heart in my [crossed out] throught [end crossed out] throat.