By Jennifer Martin - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The draft brought GW Guynes to the Army Rangers in May 1943. His first stop after training was north Africa.
"We'd do special jobs. We'd go in at night. We would make raids. And in these raids we would hit and run. Hit and run. All of our work was behind the line. We never go out and do actual battle. We would just do a special hit and run and go back to our camp.
We never took prisoners. We had little small, machine guns. Either a Tommy gun or an M1 rifle. We even had flame throwers and those kind of small weapons. We would knock out what we was sent there to do and then we'd go back to our base."
From Africa, the 3rd Ranger Battalion moved on to Naples, Italy. They fought back the Germans and continued honing their fighting skills.
"We fought under fire. They put oil on water and set the water on fire. And you had to learn to go under water. When you came up you would splash the water and it would knock that fire out of the way just long enough for you to get your breath and go back under and go under that fire.
We was on LSTs with steel and when we made Anzio beach head, we had none of that kind of thing. Of course we had plenty of fire from guns and all kind of big machines and all that kind of stuff.
I was first scout, because the first scout when we made that first beach head at Anzio, went berserk. And they told me, "Knock hell out of him, Guynes." Well, I didn't have to. That poor boy done gone crazy. And he couldn't make it. And from then on I was first scout. I was 2nd scout up until then."
It was in Anzio, he has one of his most horrific memories of war.
"I was in the front because I was first scout and I noticed a little section of weeds up in front of me and I looked up there and pinpointed my gun up to the area where the weeds was wiggling. And a little kid stuck his head up. Must have been 12. And he come up with a gun and I could not shoot my gun. I had my gun right on him. And he was just about to kill us. And I knew I had to kill him and it was the hardest thing I ever done in all my born days."
A fellow soldier had to pull the trigger.
"I literally saw the bullet hit that little kid right between the eyes and he fell right at my feet. I never in all my born days seen anything like that."
The rangers were tasked to help the soldiers in the 3rd Army who were being bogged down by the Germans. They were captured in the process.
"I was a prisoner of war from the outside of Rome.
We worked. We cut wood part of the year and planted saplings in the other. And we worked from daylight until dark and sometimes those days lasted 12 hours. And they fed us 3 potatoes. They would bring cooked potatoes out in front of us and they would reach down with a scooper and they would pick up three potatoes, no matter what size they were and that was your ration for the day. Three potatoes and once a week they would give you a ration of bread."
He would stay a German prisoner for more than a year. After he was liberated by General Patton's troops, Guynes returned to the States. He was discharged in December 1945.
"It was the Lord, with me all the time, leading me all the way."
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