Cornelius Ryan WWII papers, box 006, folder 45: John Polyniak

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116/29 Box Seven [?OLC?]

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Balto Md MD 21 LL For Cornelius Ryan Book about D-day GREEN 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 0? THEM, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS. What is your full name ? John Polyniak What was your unit and division? Co C 116th Inf 29th Div. Where did you arrive in Normandy, and at what time ? Omaha Beach about 7:30 AM What was your rank on June 6, 1944? Sgt What was your age on June 6, 1944? 23 Were you married at that time? No What is your wife *s name? Cleo R. Did you have any children at that time ? No What do you do now? Accountant When did you know that you were going to he part of the invasion? A few weeks before the invasion As we were well guarded in a marshalling area, all we did in study maps and sand landscapes of the beach we were to enter 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 beginning of the trip was peaceful while we were on the larger ship I didnt pay too much attention of what was in store for me with all the training and expectations we all sort of felt proud of the job we were to do My thoughts were back home thinking of the past and what the folks back home were doing and how they would take this occassion We didnt know at the time that it would play such a big part But I + the rest of the squad were very proud to be a part of the event *What were the rumors on board the boat, ship or plane in which you made - J 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 ). We heard all sorts of rumors on what to expect some said fire on the water others gas on land but we were prepared for anything While we were on the ship we didnt care too much but once we ---were placed into LCVP's then we realized what a difference it made The rumors seemed to come true as the water was rough and being seasick I + the others didnt seem to care what happened But upon the approach of the land we seemed to realize that the rumors were false

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- for Cornelius Ryan 2 - Your name------John Polyniak 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? We were fortunate as we had but one injury on the landing a gunshot wound of one of the fellows in the knee and later in the morning a artillery shell burst in the air and hit a few more but no one killed the 1st dau Do you remember any conversations you had with them before they became casualties? Yes We had a few boys from my home town and we discussed that whoever was fortunate to get thru all this firework was to deliver the -- messages home and--- --- tell of the occassion Were you wounded? Yes Do you remember what it was like--that is, do you remember whether you felt any pain or were so surprised that you felt nothing? I had been shot in the right hip and it felt like a pin prick Then the right leg began to get numb but it was more of a surprise than anything else before I relized that my injury was serious

Do you remember seein or hearing anything that seems funny now, even though it may not have seemed funny at the time?

Do you recall any incident, sad or heroic or simply memorable, which struck you more than anything else? The 1st evening on the beach as we came inland we were dyging in for the night My buddy and I were dyging in and I dug in the 1st time as I lied down from exhaustion on my back as my buddy was digging I --- kept looking in the hedgerow above us and it looked so green and full and I wondered didnt say anything to my buddy but got my gun with bayonet and probed into the hedge and to my surprise 2 German sitting there with plenty of ammunition they could have destroyed both of us but they didnt Just by faith they didnt and I made sure that they got safely back to our prisoner of war

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