The GOYAs, The Gingerbread Men and Cannes

Doyle/Stewart points out in the 509th’s unit history ‘Stand in the Door’ that, “The 509th was back in action on 20 August. The Battalion was going into an attack near Cannes. The men got their gear and piled into waiting trucks…Cannes was the major objective.”  On the night of 23 August “On our left the 1st Bn. 551st Prcht. Inf. fought its way until it reached the Les Termes-Mandelieu road. We were now in a position to advance on Cannes itself.”
In an interview with Kieth Carqueville, Mr. Richard Field (Dick), B Company of the 551st, mentioned the terrible night the 551st faced outside of Cannes as they were taking very heavy shelling. “It’s a helpless feeling because you can’t even shoot back. The artillery is coming in and there is nothing really that you can shoot at to try to defend yourself. It was fairly an open area and we had a little dry streambed we tried to take cover in. We lost quit a number of men that evening.” He went to mention that he was hard of hearing and was sure it was due to that night. Midway through the artillery barrage Mr. Field said the Germans started shooting huge railroad guns at them, that when they hit the ground and exploded, you would actually be lifted off the ground. “The next day we went down to the coast and we liberated Cannes…”
Doyle/Stewart went on, “The march toward Cannes continued, with entry time at 1700 hours. Meanwhile, someone must have passed the word that “the Americans are coming,” because as the paratroopers advanced, more and more people turned out along their route. The 509th’s unit history continues: “The Combat Team again split up into two columns, one composed of the 1st Bn. 551st Prcht. Infantry, the other of the 509th Prcht. Inf. Bn. To make the entry as impressive as possible, we loaded as many paratroopers as we could onto the backs of the tank destroyers…The 1st Bn. 551st Prcht. Inf., which followed us in the column across the Siagnes, turned north at the outskirts of Cannes and took up a position around Mougins. Our plan was to then make contact between our two battalions, along the Antibes-Mougins-Grasse Road, and with the 1st Special Service Force in Grasse along the Mougins-Grasse Road.”

Link to Mr. Field’s Interview: