Pictures to follow
''Objective WXYZ,'' was a group of farmhouses and
outbuildings that was the scene of a memorable D Day fire fight.
In 1944, the farm buildings and Manoir at Mesieres had been pressed into service
as a barracks complex for German artillery men, manning the St Martin guns.
On American maps they were simply given the designation "WXYZ."
Today, there is nothing along this bucolic country road to recall for the
traveler the events of 6 June.
Yet here, Staff Sergeant Harrison Summers, 1st Battalion, 502nd Parachute
Infantry, fought almost single-handedly to capture the barracks.
Summers had been given fifteen men to accomplish his mission, one that really
called for a battalion effort.
Strangers to Summers and coming from different units, these men had little
stomach for the fire fight the sergeant was about to begin.
Trusting that his example would inspire his men, Summers raced over to the first
building, kicked in the door, and sprayed the room with his Thompson submachine
The handful of survivors burst out of the rear of the building, looking for
cover further down the road. Summers, now covered by Private William Burt with a
light machine gun, broke into a second house and shot its six defenders, and so
it went from house to house.
Two officers who joined him were taken out by German fire almost immediately.
Private John Camien, carrying an M-1 carbine, pitched in later.
The rest of Summers's squad provided some covering fire from the ditch
paralleling the road. But it was largely Summers's fight. Building after
building fell to the intrepid sergeant.
The finale came after five hours of fighting, when Summers and Burt set the last
barracks building on fire with bazooka rounds and tracers, flushing the eighty
or so German defenders into an open field where fifty were killed.
When asked how he felt, Summers, dragging on a cigarette, replied that he didn't
feel "very good. It was all kind of crazy."