Sunday, June 16, 2024

Attorney General Henry Names Special Prosecutor Assigned To Crimes On Philadelphia Public Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

 HARRISBURG — June 14, 2024. Attorney General Michelle Henry announced the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute crimes on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) public transit system in Philadelphia, as mandated by Pennsylvania Act 40 of 2023.

Act 40 was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor in December and required the Office of Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to “investigate and institute criminal proceedings” for violations of law occurring within SEPTA.

On Friday, the Commonwealth Court ruled the Act is constitutional. The Office of Attorney General had advised the court on June 11 that it would be making the appointment Friday, and the opinion allows that appointment to proceed.

Michael Untermeyer, Esq., (seen in the above photo) of Philadelphia, has been appointed to fill that role.

Untermeyer most recently worked as an attorney in private practice. He has fifteen years experience as a prosecutor, including serving as special counsel to the Office of Inspector General, Deputy and Senior Deputy Attorney General, and as an Assistant District Attorney. Additionally, he has four years experience as a hearing examiner for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Act 40, as written by the legislature, required potential candidates to: reside within Philadelphia County; have at least five years of criminal prosecution experience in Pennsylvania; not have been employed by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office or the Office of Attorney General in the past six years, among other requisites.

“We worked diligently to follow the mandates of Act 40 to fill the position, first by posting the opportunity, then interviewing applicants to ascertain if they fit the specific criteria established by the law,” Attorney General Henry said. “We selected a candidate who expressed a commitment to public safety while possessing the qualifications required by Act 40.” 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Celebrating Flag Day 2024

 When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the colonists weren’t fighting united under a single flag, notes 

Instead, most regiments participating in the war for independence against the British fought under their own flags. In June of 1775, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to create the Continental Army—a unified colonial fighting force—with the hopes of a more organized battle against its colonial oppressors. This led to the creation of what was, essentially, the first “American” flag, the Continental Colors.

For some, this flag, which was comprised of 13 red and white alternating stripes and a Union Jack in the corner, was too similar to that of the British. George Washington soon realized that flying a flag that was even remotely close to the British flag was not a great confidence-builder for the revolutionary effort, so he turned his efforts towards creating a new symbol of freedom for the soon-to-be fledgling nation. 

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress took a break from writing the Articles of Confederation and passed a resolution stating that "the flag of the Unted States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white," and that "the union be 13 stars, white in blue field, representing a new constellation." 

Over 100 years later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary of that degree by officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day. 

Note: My beautiful and wonderful daughter pleased her patriotic father by being born on June 14th, Flag Day, in 1987.  

Above is the Jasper John painting Three Flags.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

My Crime Fiction: 'Black Horse Pike'

 The below short story originally appeared in American Crime Magazine.

Black Horse Pike  

By Paul Davis

The bartender in a small dark roadside bar on the Black Horse Pike in South Jersey introduced himself to us as Bob as he served my friend Tony Rocco a beer and a vodka on the rocks for me. 

Tony told the bartender that I was a writer and he was a photographer as we were offered menus. We ordered meatball sandwiches along with our drinks, and Bob said he was glad we were drinking, as he had been a bartender for forty years and he didn't trust a man who didn't drink.

“No problem here,” Tony told him. 

Coming from South Philadelphia, we were taking the Black Horse Pike to Atlantic City, which was the old way before they built the New Jersey Expressway. The Black Horse Pike was the road to "downashore," as we called it when we were teenagers in the 1960s. We took the Black Horse Pike as Tony wanted to make a stop at the home of one of his relatives.

We were on our way to Atlantic City to cover the trial of a South Philly mob guy later that week. The notorious mobster had been arrested by the Atlantic City Police at a diner as he was pounding away on a gambler who was behind on his payments. 

As the local newspaper's crime columnist, I was going to Atlantic City to cover the trial and Tony, one the local paper’s photographers, accompanied me.  

We ordered a second round of drinks and Bob again told us of his mistrust of non-drinkers.

“You’re a writer," Bob said. "You want to hear a story while you're waiting for your food to come out?”

“Sure,” I replied.

“Well, about fifty years ago a thin man with glasses, a meek-looking guy, kinda shy, came in and sat at one of those tables. Ole Joe, the old bartender then, left the bar and went over to the table to take the man's order. The shy man hardly looked up as he ordered a cheeseburger in a low, hesitant voice.

“The bar was nearly empty except for the shy man and a group of six local boys. Young tough guys and bad boys, you might call ‘em.”

“Want a beer or something to drink with your cheeseburger?” Ole Joe asked the shy man.  
“No,” the shy man said softly. “Just a glass of water.”

“Mister,” Ole Joe said, “This is a bar, you know.” 

“Your sign outside reads Bar and Grill. I’ll just use the grill part if you don't mind.”

“OK,” Ole Joe said. 

The group of young men heard the exchange between the shy man and Ole Joe and they laughed loudly.  

One of them yelled out. “Get him a soda pop,” Another yelled out, “Get him a glass of milk.”

The shy man ignored the insults and taunts.

After the shy man had finished his cheeseburger in silence, he got up from the table and went to the bar. He asked the bartender how much he owed him for the cheeseburger.

“Well, Ole Joe told him $30 dollars.” 

“Why so much?” the shy man asked Ole Joe.

“The boys over there said you was picking up their tab too,” Ole Joe said. 

The shy man turned slowly towards the group of small-town toughs and then turned back to the bartender. “I never agreed to that,” he said softly. 

“Listen,” Ole Joe said quietly, leaning in, “Mister, it might be better to just pay.” 

The shy man told Ole Joe to call the police.

“They won’t get here in time, and I don't want to see you get hurt or my place smashed up, so just pay up, OK.” 

“Do what I said,” the shy man in a soft, calm voice.

“The local boys were all drunk and having fun and they sure was brave in a group of six,” Bob said. “Dummy Number One and Dummy Number Two got up from the table and approached the shy man at the bar. 

"Hey,” Dummy Number One said to the shy man. “Why ain’t you paying for our beers and food?” 

“Pay your own bill,” the shy man said softly without turning to face the two young men.

“Now Ole Joe was in the army in World War II, and he thought he saw everything,” Bob explained. “But when Dummy Number One grabbed the shy man's jacket, Ole Joe saw a blur of arms and as swift as you can imagine, Dummy Number One was on the floor screaming about his broken arm.” 

Bob said the shy man also dropped Dummy Number Two to the floor as the rest of the pack charged him. 

“It was all so quick that most of the bad boys didn't know what hit them,” Bob said. “But they was all on the floor with broken bones or just plain knocked out." 

The shy man then said to Ole Joe, “Didn't I tell you to call the police? 

“Yes, sir,” Ole Joe said as he picked up the phone. 

“Well, it turns out that the man was shy, but not meek. He was some kind of soldier who was in Vietnam, and he sure knew how to fight close up and all.” 

“It goes to show you,” Tony said. “Don't judge a book by its cover.” 

“Yeah,” Bob the bartender replied. “And don't trust a man who don't drink."

Tony and I laughed. 

"I ought to know,” Bob said. 

“How so?” I asked.

“I was Dummy Number Four.”

© 2020 Paul Davis

Monday, June 10, 2024

Mexican Cartels Targeting Americans In Timeshare Fraud Scams, FBI Warns

The FBI warns that Mexican drug trafficking cartels are targeting Americans in timeshare fraud scams.

The FBI has seen a rise in scams targeting timeshare owners. In this kind of scam, criminals con these part-time property owners into shelling out hefty sums of cash, all under false pretenses related to their timeshare properties.  

Its primary choice of victim—older Americans—technically makes timeshare fraud a form of elder fraud, or crime that aims to make older Americans part with their money or cryptocurrency. The FBI aggressively investigates such crimes to safeguard a particularly vulnerable population from scams, said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Paul Roberts, who leads FBI New York’s Complex Financial Crimes Branch. 

“Timeshare fraudsters aim to suck their victims dry, with devastating consequences to victims’ financial futures, relationships, and physical and emotional health,” he said. 

You can read the rest of the information via the below link:

Mexican Cartels Targeting Americans in Timeshare Fraud Scams, FBI Warns — FBI 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Missing The Boat

As I’ve noted here before, I grew up in South Philadelphia not far from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where the USS Kitty Hawk was commissioned in 1961. 

My late father, a former WWII Navy chief and UDT frogman, took me to see the commissioning of the U.S. Navy's new aircraft carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk, when I was a young boy. I recall the grand ceremony that launched the new, majestic warship, with banners flying, bands playing and people cheering.  

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1970 when I was 17. I reported to the USS Kitty Hawk after two weeks leave after graduating from Boot Camp in 1970.

Prior to shoving off to Southeast Asia for the aircraft carrier’s 5th Vietnam War cruise and serving on “Yankee Station” in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam, and visiting port of calls in Hawaii, Subic Bay in the Philippines, Sasebo, Japan and Hong Kong, the aircraft carrier was undergoing a major overhaul in Bremerton, Washington.  

With memories of the new carrier that I saw at the commissioning in my head, I was somewhat disappointed as I looked up at the ship and walked along the port side of the ship tied to the pier.

The aircraft carrier looked to be in major disarray. The Kitty Hawk was undergoing an overhaul, and the ship was being taken apart and put back together.  

But things soon looked up. Rather than being assigned to mess cook duties, a rough and dirty job, like other new sailors, a petty officer in personnel who hailed from Philadelphia took pity on me and assigned me to Special Services. I performed a variety of duties there, but my main job was to assist in the running of the shipboard TV and radio cable throughout the ship. The Kitty Hawk was the first warship to have cable TV and radio.

After some weeks aboard the carrier, I took a break one day and left the ship to go for a hot dog and a soda. When I returned to the pier sometime later, I discovered that the aircraft carrier was gone.

I was in shock. I sat down on a shipping crate, looked at the vacant pier and pondered my fate. I heard much talk about the carrier sailing to San Deigo once the overhaul was completed, but I didn’t recall anyone saying that this day was the day.

I thought of what the penalty was for missing ship’s movement, which I knew was a serious offense. I was worried. I was a seaman apprentice, “lower than whale shit,” as the saying goes. Could I be busted in rank? Tossed in the brig? Kicked out the Navy?

But mostly I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to be ridiculed and thought of as a stupid “Boot.”

I thought of myself as a street-smart South Philly kid, and although I had only been in the Navy a few months, I thought I knew a lot about the Navy. I learned a good bit about the Navy from my Navy veteran father, my many conversations with former and active-duty sailors, and from my voracious reading about the Navy.

Yet here I was sitting on the dock of the bay like the Otis Reading song, wondering where my ship had gone.

I was about to turn myself in to the first Navy chief I saw, when I saw the Kitty Hawk coming back.

 I was elated.     

The tugboats helped the carrier return to the pier and backed the aircraft carrier in, stern first. Apparently, the carrier had pulled out to go to wider water so the ship could maneuver and then return to the pier and be tied up on the starboard side.   

As my terror subsided, a joke ran though my head - the ship's captain realized I was not aboard, and he turned the carrier around to come back and get his missing seaman apprentice.  

I then thought of the expression, “missing the boat.”

For a brief awful time, I thought I did in fact miss the boat.

I would not tell anyone this story for 20 years.

You can read my other sea stories, vignettes, and humor pieces via the below link:    

Paul Davis On Crime: Sea Stories: Vignettes, Short Stories And Humor Pieces About My Time In The U.S. Navy 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Revealed: Ian Fleming’s Orders To D-Day Spies

Jack Blackburn at The Times in London offer a piece that reveals the orders issued to the WWII British intelligence group 30 Assault Unit for the D- Day invasion by Royal Navy Commander Ian Fleming, the future creator of James Bond (seen in the above photo at Royal Naval Intelligence HQ). 

You can read the piece via the below link or the below text:

Revealed: Ian Fleming’s orders to D-Day spies ( 

When troops landed on D-Day, some had an ulterior mission. Most were aimed at liberating nearby settlements but GCHQ has uncovered orders issued by the creator of 007 to a covert commando.

The listening service’s historians have found and released the orders that Ian Fleming — who would go on to write the James Bond thrillers — signed and issued to 30 Assault Unit, the covert unit he established to conduct intelligence operations during the Second World War.

In a highly detailed briefing, Fleming directed the men to go to various locations in France and elsewhere to find “items of immediate operational importance in the prosecution of the war against Germany”. These items included material relating to the Enigma code.

There was also a note about “new weapons or devices” that the Germans might have been developing. The desired intelligence items are listed as sufficiently important that they justified special operations and casualties.

The documents are testament to the thoroughness of British intelligence-gathering. At some points, the men are directed to individual rooms or even objects where the sensitive material was expected to be found.

For instance, one document tells the men: “It is reported that the secret books are kept in a light metal chest in an office in the [U-boat] pens: the door is marked only with the name ‘Oberschreibersmaat Fritz Frank’ without reference to his employment.”

In the Second World War, the role of 30AU (or Number 30 Commando) was to go ahead of the Allied forces and then behind enemy lines. Throughout the conflict, they performed vital work in different theatres of war in securing Nazi codebooks, ciphers and battle orders.

On D-Day, they landed on Juno and Utah beaches and proceeded inland; five were killed and 20 were wounded near Sainte-Mère-Église. It had been known that one of their targets was a radar station at Douvres-la-Délivrande, which held out for 11 days. The commandos were also charged with examining suspected V1 rocket sites. However, it now appears that they may have had many more targets.

The documents, marked “Top Secret” and “Bigot” (British invasion of German occupied territories), say that the men are to gather “All code books, cyphers and documents relating to signals, radar and communications: the ‘spools’ [wheels], junction boxes and indications of settings used in connection with the German ‘ENIGMA’ cyphering machines.”

The targets are listed in numerous French sea and river ports, such as Nantes, Bordeaux, Boulogne and Dunkirk, as well as targets in other countries along the north European coast.  How far they got with this list is not clear. It is known that they took part in the liberation of Cherbourg in June before racing toward the ports at Rennes and Brest in August. They then executed a series of operations in Le Havre and Dieppe. All those places appear on the list, and perhaps yielded vital intelligence for later in the war.

Whether the intelligence was as pinpoint accurate as it appeared remains to be seen, and it seems that Fleming and his colleagues had their doubts. They said the intelligence should be graded no higher than C, making it fairly reliable. The report is dated April 15, 1944, but there was a hope that corroboration would occur during the invasion

“Interrogation of prisoners in the field and up-to-date aerial photographs will probably be the only reliable cross-checks,” it said. 

Note: You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on Ian Fleming and the 30 Assault Unit via the below link: 

Paul Davis On Crime: My Piece On The 30 Assault Unit, The British WWII Commando Group Created By Ian Fleming, The Creator Of James Bond

And you can read my Washington Times On Crime column on the new Ian Fleming biography via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: Ian Fleming: The Complete Man: My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Nicholas Shakespeare, The Author Of The New Biography Of The Creator Of James Bond 

Friday, June 7, 2024

In Philly, Even The Cops Get Robbed

Broad & Liberty ran my piece on the armed robbery of two Philadelphia police officers.

 You can read the piece via the below link or the below text:

Paul Davis: In Philly, even the cops get robbed (

In Philly, Even the Cops Get Robbed

By Paul Davis

 Although I believe Philadelphia’s new mayor and police commissioner have made a good start to turn back the tide of lawlessness in the city — with or without the cooperation of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry “Let ‘Em Loose Larry”’ Krasner — a couple of recent crimes illustrate that they still have their work ahead of them.

The cases I refer to are the assault and robberies of two off-duty police officers. If an armed off-duty cop can be assaulted and robbed on the street, what chance does an average citizen have? 

Last month, an off-duty Philadelphia police officer was robbed and shot at in Kensington. The police reported that the off-duty cop was standing by his car when a man armed with a gun came upon him. The cop handed over his valuables and then ran off. The armed robber chased the cop and fired shots at him. The cop turned and fired back. The armed robber then got into a car and drove off. 

The police don’t know if the armed robber was hit by the cop’s bullets, but thankfully, the cop, a seven-year police veteran, received only minor injuries. 

Also last month, another off-duty cop was assaulted and robbed of his personal gun on the 2100 block of West Oxford Street as the officer was trying to go home after work.

A car and a rowdy crowd from an after-hours club that poured out into the street were blocking traffic. The officer, an eight-year veteran, got out of his car and asked the crowd to clear the street so he could get by. The off-duty cop was then assaulted by one of the men in the crowd. The cop identified himself as a police officer, flashing his badge.  

The man who attacked the officer brandished a gun and a second man, who was reportedly 6’8’’, joined in with others on the assault on the officer. A shot was fired but no one was injured. 

The police then arrived on the scene and the crowd dispersed.  

I reached out to a veteran detective I know and asked him what he thought of the robberies of off-duty cops.

“Hey, cops are human too,” the detective said. “If a bad guy gets a drop on a cop, or they are attacked by a gang, they are just like any other victim, even if they are armed and carry a police shield.”

The detective told me he deals with victims of armed robbery and other violent crimes all the time.

“It’s a sad duty, but I have to question these victims, shook up and traumatized as they are. These violent events, which only last a minute or two, will affect them adversely for the rest of their lives. Even a hardened cop will be affected if victimized, maybe even more than the average Joe.”   

The detective said people should be aware of one’s surroundings at all times. He suggested that people should not be distracted by looking at their cell phone while walking the street. Bad guys are attracted to distracted people in the way a shark is attracted to blood in the water. 

“Always trust your instincts,” the detective said. “If something doesn’t feel right, get the hell out of there.” 

Over my many years of covering the cops, I’ve heard a good number of police officers offer advice on how to avoid being the victim of armed robbery. 

One should also show confidence when walking down a street. This sends a message that you are not likely to become a victim, and the crook might even think you are carrying a legally concealed handgun. (A cop once told me that crooks fear armed citizens more than armed cops, as the citizen is more likely to open fire quickly). 

Be alert. Take the time to see who is walking around you. Look out for suspicious people. Try to walk on well-lit streets and populated areas. Avoid shortcuts up alleys and through parking lots and garages.

When walking towards your car, or from your car to your residence, have your keys in-hand. 

Certainly, never openly show large amounts of money, excessive jewelry and electronic equipment, which will tempt an armed robber.

Don’t use an ATM machine at night if you can help it. Predatory armed robbers lay in wait for potential victims to withdraw money at night in lonely places.

Remember that there is safety in numbers, so always try to walk with a friend or a group of friends.

Anyone with information about the robbery and assault of the two off-duty police officers, or any crime, should call the police. To submit a tip, call or text 215-686-8477. You can also email a tip at

According to the Philadelphia Police Department, if you are reporting a crime in progress or require emergency service, dial 911. If you’d like to submit an anonymous tip to the police, you can do it via phone, email, or using an online form.

Include as much information as possible, such as the physical address and the names of the people involved. If you would like someone to follow up with you directly, include your contact information. 

Paul Davis, a Philadelphia writer and frequent contributor to Broad + Liberty, also contributes to Counterterrorism magazine and writes the “On Crime” column for the Washington Times. He can be reached at

Tom Selleck As General Eisenhower in 'Ike: The Countdown To D-Day'

As yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, I rewatched Ike: The Countdown to D-Day, a 2004 TV movie with Tom Selleck as General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the D-Day invasion. 

The film, which originally aired on A&E, covers General Eisenhower at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force planning the most complicated military landings in history. 

We see General Eisenhower deal with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the British King and Queen, and prickly and proud generals such as Patton, Montgomery and de Gaulle. We also see General Eisenhower deal with his staff and make some of the toughest decisions a general has ever made.  

Tom Selleck, best known for portraying Thomas Magnum, a former Navy SEAL and private investigator in Hawaii on Magnum P.I., is excellent as General Eisenhower. 

With his head shaved and sans his famous mustache to better resemble the late general and future president, Tom Selleck offers what is perhaps his finest role.  

I enjoyed watching the film again and I salute General Eisenhower and all of the brave military members who participated in D-Day.   

I’m curious to read what Tom Selleck has written about the movie in his new memoir.

You can watch the film via the below link: 

Ike: Countdown to D-Day | Full Length Movie (Tom Selleck, James Remar, Timothy Bottoms) (  

Thursday, June 6, 2024

My Crime Fiction: 'Moretti The Money Man'

 The below short story originally in American Crime Magazine. 

Moretti the Money Man

 By Paul Davis

I recall when some years ago I was having dinner at a South Philadelphia restaurant with my wife and a man about my age yelled out my name and thrust out his hand to shake mine.

“It’s me, Billy Moretti,” the man said. “Do you remember me?”

I replied that I did in fact remember him, and I asked how he was doing.

Moretti told the buxom blonde he was with to go to the Ladies room, and he would join her at the restaurant’s door in a few minutes. She smiled at us and walked off. Moretti grabbed a chair from another table and placed it at our table and sat down.

I remembered Billy Moretti as a shy, skinny kid with thick coke bottle glasses who was from our South Philly neighborhood. He was what we called in the late 1960s a “square” kid - what would probably be called a nerd today. He didn’t drink beer or whiskey or smoke pot on the corner with us, but we all knew him, and we liked him. 

Moretti was from a poor family, so he worked two and often three jobs at the same time. He was a hustling kid back then, but despite his tough life, he was a happy-go-lucky kid.   

The man who now sat at our table was still skinny and still wore thick glasses, but I suspected the frames were expensive, as he wore an expensive suit and tie, and sported a diamond pinky ring and a Breitling watch.

He told me that he read my weekly crime column in the local newspaper, and he often told his friends that he grew up with me.

I mentioned that he looked good, and he appeared to be doing well. He grinned and complimented me on my beautiful wife and my Rolex Submariner diver’s watch.

“Looks like you’re doing good too. I’m into finance now and I work with Sal Sabatella,” Moretti said. “Do you remember him?”

I did indeed remember Salvatore Sabatella. Sabatella was a capo, a captain, in the Philadelphia-South Jersey Cosa Nostra crime family.

“Slippin’ Sal,” I said. "How is he?”

 “Well, he don't like being called that no more, but he’s good. I work with Sal at Reeder’s Real Estate in Center City. You heard of them? I’m the money man.”

We then spoke of some of the other guys from the neighborhood, many of whom had passed on. Moretti rose from his chair, shook my hand again and said it was good to see me again.

“You too.” I replied.

After Moretti left, I explained to my wife why Salvatore Sabatella, a beefy six-foot bruiser, was called “Slippin’ Sal.” He earned that nickname back in South Philly in the 1970s when he slipped on the wet sidewalk in the rain and fell and shot an innocent bystander rather than the actual target of a mob hit. The bystander survived, but Sabatella was sentenced to prison for some years. After he was released, he moved up in the mob.

“But he’ll always be “Slippin’ Sal” to me and a lot of other guys.”

I thought of this encounter with Moretti when I was called by an FBI special agent who told me of a forthcoming indictment of Sal Sabatella and a half-dozen others in a RICO racketeering case. He emailed the indictment to me the next day. I looked at the charges and the names, and I was saddened when I saw William Moretti was one of the indicted suspects.

I met with the FBI special agent at a local bar, and we talked about the indictment. He told me that Sal Sabatella was charged with extortion and other racketeering crimes, as he threatened Michael Reeder, the real estate tycoon, and demanded to be made a silent partner in Reeder’s firm. Sabatella also used the real estate firm to launder his ill-gotten money from his loan sharking, illegal gambling and other criminal activities.

Reeder, who was suitably frightened of Sabatella, gave in and made the mobster a partner. At first, he welcomed the infusion of Sabatella’s cash into the firm, which he invested in acquiring more property. And he welcomed Moretti into the firm. Although Moretti did not have an accounting degree, he was good with money, and he advised Reeder on how to launder Sabatella’s money and how to invest in profitable ventures.

But as time went on, Reeder regretted doing business with the mobster. Sabatella was more and more demanding of money and perks, including a luxurious private office at the firm’s headquarters. Sabatella did not exactly fit in. Sabatella was loud and obnoxious, and he made crude advances towards the female staffers, and he insulted Reeder and other senior members of the firm.

Reeder asked Moretti to speak with Sabatella about his bad behavior. Moretti warned Reeder that speaking to Sabatella would not be a wise or safe thing to do as the mobster had a vicious temper.

Things came to a head when Sabatella crashed a meeting Reeder was having with a property owner named Wallace Newly. Reeder was making the man an offer on his valuable property, but Newly was not interested in selling the property.

Sabatella stood over Newly and told Reeder the man needed a good incentive. With that, Sabatella punched Newly in his face. Newly fell out of his chair and Sabatella then delivered a couple of well-placed kicks to Newly as he lay on the carpeted floor.

Reeder tried to stop Sabatella and he received a severe smack across the face from Sabatella.

Sabatella walked out of the conference room, stating, “Now that’s how you do business.”

Moretti rushed in after Sabatella left and helped Reeder pick Newly up. Reeder apologized profusely for the attack. Newly pushed him away and walked out of the conference room.

Newly called for an Uber and asked the driver to take him to the federal building. He rode an elevator up to the FBI’s office and reported his attack by the notorious gangster.

The FBI special agents fanned out and arrested Sabatella, several members of his Cosa Nostra crew and Moretti.

I wrote about the indictment and the arrests in my column in the local paper.

The day after my column ran, I received a call from the FBI special agent who had informed me about the indictment. He told me that Billy Moretti had been found dead. His body was discovered in his parked car outside of a South Philly dinner.

Apparently, Sabatella didn’t think his soft money manager would be able to do a prison stretch, and fearing that he would cooperate against him, Sabatella ordered a hit on Moretti. He was found with three shots to his head.

I felt bad for Billy Moretti. He made money with Slippin' Sal and lived a good life, but he took a chance with his life when he decided to work with the viscous and heartless mobster.  

The FBI special agent said to me, “I hope Moretti the Money Man has enough money to pay for his own funeral.”

© 2024 By Paul Davis 

Note: You can also read my other short crime fiction via the below link: 

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Fiction Stories 

Voyage To Victory: Novelist And War Correspondent Ernest Hemingway On The D-Day Invasion

In honor of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, below is novelist and Collier's famed war correspondent Ernest Hemingway's magazine piece on the D-Day invasion:

No one remembers the date of the Battle of Shiloh. But the day we took Fox Green beach was the sixth of June, and the wind was blowing hard out of the northwest. As we moved in toward land in the gray early light, the 36-foot coffin-shaped steel boats took solid green sheet of water that fell on the helmeted heads of the troops packed shoulder to shoulder in the stiff, awkward, uncomfortable, lonely companionship of men going to a battle. There were cases of TNT, with rubber tube life preservers wrapped around them to float them in the surf, stacked forward in the steel well of the LCV(P), and there were piles of bazookas and boxes of bazooka rockets encased in waterproof coverings that reminded you of the transparent raincoats college girls wear.

All this equipment, too, had the rubber tube life preservers strapped and tied on, and the men wore these same gray rubber tubes strapped under their armpits.

As the boat rose to a sea, the green water turned white and came slamming in over the men, the guns and the cases of explosives. Ahead you could see the coast of France. The gray booms and derrick-forested bulks of the attack transports were behind now, and, over all the sea, boats were crawling forward toward France.

As the LCV(P) rose to the crest of a wave, you saw the line of low, silhouetted cruisers and the two big battlewagons lying broad-side to the shore. You saw the heat-bright flashes of their guns and the brown smoke that pushed out against the wind and then blew away.

"What's your course, coxswain?" Lieutenant (jg) Robert Anderson of Roanoke, Virginia, shouted from the stern.

"Two-twenty, sir." the coxswain, Frank Currier of Saugus, Massachusetts, answered. He was a thin-faced, freckled boy with his eyes fixed on the compass.

"Then steer two-twenty, damn it!" Anderson said. "Don't steer all over the whole damn ocean!"

"I'm steering two-twenty, sir," the coxswain said patiently.

"Well, steer it, then," Andy said. He was nervous, but the boat crew, who were making their first landing under fire, knew this officer had taken LCV(P)s into the African landing, Sicily and Salerno, and they had confidence in him.

"Don't steer into that LCT," Andy shouted, as we roared by the ugly steel hull of a tank landing craft, her vehicles sea-lashed, her troops huddling out of the spray.

"I'm steering two-twenty," the coxswain said.

"That doesn't mean you have to run into everything on the ocean," Andy said. He was a handsome, hollow-cheeked boy with a lot of style and a sort of easy petulance. "Mr. Hemingway, will you please see if you can see what that flag is over there, with your glasses?"

I got my old miniature Zeiss glasses out of an inside pocket, where they were wrapped in a woolen sock with some tissue to clean them, and focused them on the flag. I made the flag out just before a wave drenched the glasses.

"It's green."

"Then we are in the mine-swept channel," Andy said. "That's all right. Coxswain, what's the matter with you? Can't you steer two-twenty?"

I was trying to dry my glasses, but it was hopeless the way the spray was coming in, so I wrapped them up for a try later on and watched the battleship Texas shelling the shore. She was just off on our right now and firing over us as we moved in toward the French coast, which was showing clearer all the time on what was, or was not, a course of 220 degrees, depending on whether you believed Andy or Currier the coxswain.

The low cliffs were broken by valleys. There was a town with a church spire in one of them. There was a wood that came down to the sea. There was a house on the right of one of the beaches. On all the headlands, the gorse was burning, but the northwest wind held the smoke close to the ground.

Those of our troops who were not wax-gray with seasickness, fighting it off, trying to hold onto themselves before they had to grab for the steel side of the boat, were watching the Texas with looks of surprise and happiness. Under the steel helmets they looked like pikemen of the Middle Ages to whose aid in battle had suddenly come some strange and unbelievable monster.

There would be a flash like a blast furnace from the 14-inch guns of the Texas, that would lick far out from the ship. Then the yellow-brown smoke would cloud out and, with the smoke still rolling, the concussion and the report would hit us, jarring the men's helmets. It struck your near ear like a punch with a heavy, dry glove.

Then up on the green rise of a hill that now showed clearly as we moved in would spout two tall black fountains of earth and smoke.

That is the only thing I remember hearing a G.I. say all that morning. They spoke to one another sometimes, but you could not hear them with the roar the 225-horsepower high-speed gray Diesel made. Mostly, though, they stood silent without speaking.

I never saw anyone smile after we left the line of firing ships. They had seen the mysterious monster that was helping them, but now he was gone and they were alone again. I found if I kept my mouth open from the time I saw the guns flash until after the concussion, it took the shock away.

I was glad when we were inside and out of the line of fire of the Texas and the Arkansas. Other ships were firing over us all day and you were never away from the sudden, slapping thud of naval gunfire. But the big guns of the Texas and Arkansas that sounded as though they were throwing whole railway trains across the sky were far away as we moved on in. They were no part of our world as we moved steadily over the gray, whitecapped sea toward where, ahead of us, death was being issued in small, intimate, accurately administered packages. They were like the thunder of a storm that is passing in another county whose rain will never reach you. But they were knocking out the shore batteries, so that later the destroyers could move in almost to the shore when they had to come in to save the landing.

Invasion Coast Dead Ahead

Now ahead of us we could see the coast in complete detail. Andy opened the silhouette map with all the beaches and their distinguishing features reproduced on it, and I got my glasses out and commenced drying and wiping them under the shelter of the skirts of my burberry. As far as you could see, there were landing craft moving in over the gray sea. The sun was under at this time, and smoke was blowing all along the coast.

The map that Andy spread on his knees was in ten folded sheets, held together with staples, and marked Appendix One to Annex A. Five different sheets were stapled together and, as I watched Andy open his map, which spread, open, twice as long as a man could reach with outstretched arms, the wind caught it, and the section of the map showing Dog White, Fox Red, Fox Green, Dog Green, Easy Red and part of Sector Charlie snapped twice gaily in the wind and blew overboard.

I had studied this map and memorized most of it, but it is one thing to have it in your memory and another thing to see it actually on paper and be able to check and be sure.

"Have you got a small chart, Andy?" I shouted. "One of those one-sheet ones with just Fox Green and Easy Red?"

"Never had one," said Andy. All this time we were approaching the coast of France, which looked increasingly hostile.

"That the only chart?" I said, close to his ear.

"Only one," said Andy, "and it disintegrated on me. A wave hit it, and it disintegrated. What beach do you think we are opposite?"

"There's the church tower that looks like Colleville," I said. "That ought to be on Fox Green. Then there is a house like the one marked on Fox Green and the timber that runs down to the water in a straight line, like on Easy Red."

"That's right," said Andy. "But I think we're too far to the left."

"Those are the features, all right," I said. "I've got them in my head but there shouldn't be any cliffs. The cliffs start to the left of Fox Green where Fox Red beach starts. If that's true, then Fox Green has to be on our right."

"There's a control boat here somewhere," Andy said. "We'll find out what beach we're opposite."

"She can't be Fox Green if there are cliffs," I said.

"That's right," Andy said. "We'll find out from a control boat. Steer for that PC, coxswain. No, not there! Don't you see him? Get ahead of him. You'll never catch him that way."

We never did catch him, either. We slammed into the seas instead of topping them, and the boat pulled away from us. The LCV(P) was bow-heavy with the load of TNT and the weight of the three-eighth-inch steel armor, and where she should have lifted easily over the seas she banged into them and the water came in solidly.

"The hell with him!" Andy said. "We'll ask this LCI."

Landing Craft Infantry are the only amphibious operations craft that look as though they were made to go to sea. They very nearly have the lines of a ship, while the LCV(P)s look like iron bathtubs, and the LCTs like floating freight gondolas. Everywhere you could see, the ocean was covered with these craft but very few of them were headed toward shore. They would start toward the beach, then sheer off and circle back. On the beach itself, in from where we were, there were lines of what looked like tanks, but my glasses were still too wet to function.

"Where's Fox Green beach?" Andy cupped his hands and shouted up at the LCI that was surging past us, loaded with troops.

"Can't hear," someone shouted. We had no megaphone.

"What beach are we opposite?" Andy yelled.

The officer on the LCI shook his head. The other officers did not even look toward us. They were looking over their shoulders at the beach.

"Get her close alongside, coxswain," Andy said. "Come on, get in there close."

We roared up alongside the LCI, then cut down the motor as she slipped past us.

"Where's Fox Green beach?" Andy yelled, as the wind blew the words away.

"Straight in to your right," an officer shouted.

"Thanks." Andy looked astern at the other two boats and told Ed Banker, the signalman, "Get them to close up. Get them up."

Ed Banker turned around and jerked his forearm, with index finger raised, up and down. "They're closing up, sir," he said.

Looking back you could see the other heavily loaded boats climbing the waves that were green now the sun was out, and pounding down into the troughs.

"You wet all through, sir?" Ed asked me.

"All the way."

"Me, too," Ed said. "Only thing wasn't wet was my belly button. Now it's wet, too."

"This has got to be Fox Green," I said to Andy. "I recognize where the cliff stops. That's all Fox Green to the right. There is the Colleville church. There's the house on the beach. There's the Ruquet Valley on Easy Red to the right. This is Fox Green absolutely."

"We'll check when we get in closer," Andy said. "You really think it's Fox Green?"

"It has to be."

Ahead of us, the various landing craft were all acting in the same confusing manner—heading in, coming out and circling.

The Tanks Were Stymied

"There's something wrong as hell," I said to Andy. "See the tanks? They're all along the edge of the beach. They haven't gone in at all."

Just then one of the tanks flared up and started to burn with thick black smoke and yellow flame. Farther down the beach, another tank started burning. Along the line of the beach, they were crouched like big yellow toads along the high water line. As I stood up, watching, two more started to barn. The first ones were pouring out gray smoke now, and the wind was blowing it flat along the beach. As I stood up, trying to see if there was anyone in beyond the high water line of tanks, one of the burning tanks blew up with a flash in the streaming gray smoke.

"There's a boat we can check with," Andy said. "Coxswain, steer for that LC over there. Yes, that one. Put her hard over. Come on. Get over there!"

This was a black boat, fast-looking, mounting two machine guns and wallowing slowly out away from the beach, her engine almost idling.

"Can you tell us what beach this is?" Andy shouted.

"Dog White," came the answer.

"Are you sure?"

"Dog White beach," they called from the black boat.

"You checked it?" Andy called.

"It's Dog White beach," they called back from the boat, and their screw churned the water white as they slipped into speed and pulled away from us.

I was discouraged now, because ahead of us, inshore, was every landmark I had memorized on Fox Green and Easy Red beaches. The line of the cliffs that marked the left end of Fox Green beach showed clearly. Every house was where it should be. The steeple of the Colleville church showed exactly as it had in the silhouette. I had studied the charts, the silhouettes, the data on the obstacles in the water and the defenses all one morning, and I remember having asked our captain, Commander W. I. Leahy of the attack transport Dorothea M. Dix, if our attack was to be a diversion in force.

"No," he had said. "Absolutely not. What makes you ask that question?"

"Because these beaches are so highly defensible."

"The Army is going to clear the obstacles and the mines out in the first thirty minutes," Captain Leahy had told me. "They're going to cut lanes in through them for the landing craft."

I wish I could write the full story of what it means to take a transport across through a mine-swept channel; the mathematical precision of maneuver; the infinite detail and chronometrical accuracy and split-second timing of everything from the time the anchor comes up until the boats are lowered and away into the roaring, sea-churning assembly circle from which they break off into the attack wave.

The story of all the teamwork behind that has to be written, but to get all that in would take a book, and this is simply the account of how it was in a LCV(P) on the day we stormed Fox Green beach.

Right at this moment, no one seemed to know where Fox Green beach was. I was sure we were opposite it, but the patrol boat had said this was Dog White beach which should be 4,295 yards to our right, if we were where I knew we were.

"It can't be Dog White, Andy," I said. "Those are the cliffs where Fox Red starts on our left."

"The man says it's Dog White," Andy said.

In the solid-packed troops in the boat, a man with a vertical white bar painted on his helmet was looking at us and shaking his head. He had high cheekbones and a rather flat, puzzled face.

"The lieutenant says he knows it, and we're on Fox Green," Ed Banker shouted back at us. He spoke again to the lieutenant but we could not hear what they said.

Andy shouted at the lieutenant, and he nodded his helmeted head up and down.

"He says it's Fox Green," Andy said.

"Ask him where he wants to go in," I said.

Leading in the Seventh Wave

Just then another small black patrol boat with several officers in it came toward us from the beach, and an officer stood up in it and megaphoned, "Are there any boats here for the seventh wave on Fox Green beach?"

There was one boat for that wave with us, and the officer shouted to them to follow their boat.

"Is this Fox Green?" Andy called to them.

"Yes. Do you see that ruined house? Fox Green beach runs for eleven hundred and thirty-five yards to the right of that ruined house."

"Can you get into the beach?"

"I can't tell you that. You will have to ask a beach control boat."

"Can't we just run in?"

"I have no authority on that. You must ask the beach control boat."

"Where is it?"

"Way out there somewhere."

"We can go in where an LCV(P) has been in or an LCI," I said. "It's bound to be clear where they run in, and we can go in under the lee of one."

"We'll look for the control boat," Andy said, and we went banging out to sea through the swarming traffic of landing craft and lighters.

"I can't find her," Andy said. "She isn't here. She ought to be in closer. We have to get the hell in. We're late now. Let's go in."

"Ask him where he is supposed to land," I said.

Andy went down and talked to the lieutenant. I could see the lieutenant's lips moving as he spoke, but could hear nothing above the engine noise.

"He wants to run straight in for that ruined house," Andy said, when he came back.

We headed in for the beach. As we came in, running fast, the black patrol boat swung over toward us again.

"Did you find the control boat?" they megaphoned.


"What are you going to do?"

"We're going in," Andy yelled.

"Well, good luck to you fellows," the megaphone said. It came over, slow and solemn like an elegy. "Good luck to all of you fellows."

That included Thomas E. Nash, engineer, from Seattle with a good grin and two teeth out of it. It included Edward F. Banker, signalman, of Brooklyn, and Lacey T. Shiflet of Orange, Virginia, who would have been the gunner if we had had room for guns. It included Frank Currier, the coxswain, of Saugus, Massachusetts, and it included Andy and me. When we heard the lugubrious tone of that parting benediction we all knew how bad the beach really was.

As we came roaring in on the beach, I sat high on the stern to see what we were up against. I had the glasses dry now and I took a good look at the shore. The shore was coming toward us awfully fast, and in the glasses it was coming even faster.

On the beach on the left where there was no sheltering overhang of shingled bank, the first, second, third, fourth and fifth waves lay where they had fallen, looking like so many heavily laden bundles on the flat pebbly stretch between the sea and the first cover. To the right, there was an open stretch where the beach exit led up a wooded valley from the sea. It was here that the Germans hoped to get something very good, and later we saw them get it.

To the right of this, two tanks were burning on the crest of the beach, the smoke now gray after the first violent black and yellow billows. Coming in I had spotted two machine gun nests. One was firing intermittently from the ruins of the smashed house on the right of the small valley. The other was two hundred yards to the right and possibly four hundred yards in front of the beach.

The officer commanding the troops we were carrying had asked us to head directly for the beach opposite the ruined house.

"Right in there," he said. "That's where."

"Andy," I said, "that whole sector is enfiladed by machine gun fire. I just saw them open twice on that stranded boat."

Target for Machine Guns

An LCV(P) was slanted drunkenly in the stakes like a lost gray steel bathtub. They were firing at the water line, and the fire was kicking up sharp spurts of water.

"That's where he says he wants to go," Andy said. "So that's where we'll take him."

"It isn't any good," I said. "I've seen both those guns open up."

"That's where he wants to go," Andy said. "Put her ahead straight in." He turned astern and signaled to the other boats, jerking his arm, with its upraised finger, up and down.

"Come on, you guys," he said, inaudible in the roar of the motor that sounded like a plane taking off. "Close up! Close up! What's the matter with you? Close up, can't you? Take her straight in, coxswain!"

At this point, we entered the beaten zone from the two machine gun points, and I ducked my head under the sharp cracking that was going overhead. Then I dropped into the well in the stern sheets where the gunner would have been if we had any guns. The machine gun fire was throwing water all around the boat, and an antitank shell tossed up a jet of water over us.

The lieutenant was talking, but I couldn't hear what he said. Andy could hear him. He had his head down close to his lips.

"Get her the hell around and out of here, coxswain!" Andy called. "Get her out of here!"

As we swung round on our stem in a pivot and pulled out, the machine gun fire stopped. But individual sniping shots kept cracking over or spitting into the water around us. I'd got my head up again with some difficulty and was watching the shore.

"It wasn't cleared, either," Andy said. "You could see the mines on all those stakes."

"Let's coast along and find a good place to put them ashore," I said. "If we stay outside of the machine gun fire, I don't think they'll shoot at us with anything big because we're just as LCV(P), and they've got better targets than us."

"We'll look for a place," Andy said.

"What's he want now?" I said to Andy.

The lieutenant's lips were moving again. They moved very slowly and as though they had no connection with him or with his face.

Andy got down to listen to him. He came back into the stern. "He wants to go out to an LCI we passed that has his commanding officer on it."

"We can get him ashore farther up toward Easy Red," I said.

"He wants to see his commanding officer," Andy said. "Those people in that black boat were from his outfit."

Advice from a Wounded Ship

Out a way, rolling in the sea, was a Landing Craft Infantry, and as we came alongside of her I saw a ragged shellhole through the steel plates forward of her pilothouse where an 88-mm. German shell had punched through. Blood was dripping from the shiny edges of the hole into the sea with each roll of the LCI. Her rails and hull had been befouled by seasick men, and her dead were laid forward of her pilothouse. Our lieutenant had some conversation with another officer while we rose and fell in the surge alongside the black iron hull, and then we pulled away.

Andy went forward and talked to him, then came aft again, and we sat up on the stern and watched two destroyers coming along toward us from the eastern beaches, their guns pounding away at targets on the headlands and sloping fields behind the beaches.

"He says they don't want him to go in yet; to wait," Andy said. "Let's get out of the way of this destroyer."

"How long is he going to wait?"

"He says they have no business in there now. People that should have been ahead of them haven't gone in yet. They told him to wait."

"Let's get in where we can keep track of it," I said. "Take the glasses and look at that beach, but don't tell them forward what you see."

Andy looked. He handed the glasses back to me and shook his head.

"Let's cruise along it to the right and see how it is up at that end," I said. "I'm pretty sure we can get in there when he wants to get in. You're sure they told him he shouldn't go in?"

"That's what he says."

"Talk to him again and get it straight."

Andy came back. "He says they shouldn't go in now. They're supposed to clear the mines away, so the tanks can go, and he says nothing is in there to go yet. He says they told him it is all fouled up and to stay out yet a while."

The destroyer was firing point blank at the concrete pillbox that had fired at us on the first trip into the beach, and as the guns fired you heard the bursts and saw the earth jump almost at the same time as the empty brass cases clanged back onto the steel deck. The five-inch guns of the destroyer were smashing at the ruined house at the edge of the little valley where the other machine gun had fired from.

"Let's move in now that the can has gone by and see if we can't find a good place," Andy said.

"That can punched out what was holding them up there, and you can see some infantry working up that draw now," I said to Andy. "Here, take the glasses."

Slowly, laboriously, as though they were Atlas carrying the world on their shoulders, men were working up the valley on our right. They were not firing. They were just moving slowly up the valley like a tired pack train at the end of the day, going the other way from home.

"The infantry has pushed up to the top of the ridge at the end of that valley," I shouted to the lieutenant.

"They don't want us yet,"' he said. "They told me clear they didn't want us in yet."

"Let me take the glasses for Hemingway," Andy said. Then he handed them back. "In there, there's somebody signaling with a yellow flag, and there's a boat in there in trouble, it looks like. Coxswain, take her straight in."

We moved in toward the beach at full speed, and Ed Banker looked around and said, "Mr. Anderson, the other boats are coming, too."

"Get them back!" Andy said. "Get them back!"

Banker turned around and waved the boats away. He had difficulty making them understand, but finally the wide waves they were throwing subsided and they dropped astern.

"Did you get them back?" Andy asked, without looking away from the beach where we could see a half-sunken LCV(P) foundered in the mined stakes.

"Yes, sir," Ed Banker said.

An LCI was headed straight toward us, pulling away from the beach after having circled to go in. As it passed, a man shouted with a megaphone, "There are wounded on that boat and she is sinking."

"Can you get in to her?"

The only words we heard clearly from the megaphone as the wind snatched the voice away were "machine gun nest."

"Did they say there was or there wasn't a machine gun nest?" Andy said.

"I couldn't hear."

"Run alongside of her again, coxswain," he said. "Run close alongside."

"Did you say there was a machine gun nest?" he shouted.

An officer leaned over with the megaphone, "A machine gun nest has been firing on them. They are sinking."

"Take her straight in, coxswain," Andy said.

It was difficult to make our way through the stakes that had been sunk as obstructions, because there were contact mines fastened them, that looked like large double pie plates fastened face to face. They looked as though they had been spiked to the pilings and then assembled. They were the ugly, neutral gray-yellow color that almost everything is in war.

We did not know what other stakes with mines were under us, but the ones that we could see we fended off by hand and worked our way to the sinking boat.

It was not easy to bring on board the man who had been shot through the lower abdomen, because there was no room to let the ramp down the way we were jammed in the stakes with the cross sea.

I do not know why the Germans did not fire on us unless the destroyer had knocked the machine gun pillbox out. Or maybe they were waiting for us to blow up with the mines. Certainly the mines had been a great amount of trouble to lay and the Germans might well have wanted to see them work. We were in the range of the antitank gun that had fired on us before, and all the time we were maneuvering and working in the stakes I was waiting for it to fire.

As we lowered the ramp the first time, while we were crowded in against the other LCV(P), but before she sank, I saw three tanks coming along the beach, barely moving, they were advancing so slowly. The Germans let them cross the open space where the valley opened onto the beach, and it was absolutely flat with a perfect field of fire. Then I saw a little fountain of water jut up, just over and beyond the lead tank. Then smoke broke out of the leading tank on the side away from us, and I saw two men dive out of the turret and land on their hands and knees on the stones of the beach. They were close enough so that I could see their faces, but no more men came out as the tank started to blaze up and burn fiercely.

By then, we had the wounded man and the survivors on board, the ramp back up, and were feeling our way out through the stakes. As we cleared the last of the stakes, and Currier opened up the engine wide as we pulled out to sea, another tank was beginning to burn.

We took the wounded boy out to the destroyer. They hoisted him aboard it in one of those metal baskets and took on the survivors. Meantime, the destroyers had run in almost to the beach and were blowing every pillbox out of the ground with their five-inch guns. I saw a piece of German about three feet long with an arm on it sail high up into the air in the fountaining of one shellburst. It reminded me of a scene in Petroushka.

Landing on the Beach

The infantry had now worked up the valley on our left and had gone on over that ridge. There was no reason for anyone to stay out now. We ran in to a good spot we had picked on the beach and put our troops and their TNT and their bazookas and their lieutenant ashore, and that was that.

The Germans were still shooting with their antitank guns, shifting them around in the valley, holding their fire until they had a target they wanted. Their mortars were still laying a plunging fire along the beaches. They had left people behind to snipe at the beaches, and when we left, finally, all these people who were firing were evidently going to stay until dark at least.

The heavily loaded ducks that had formerly sunk in the waves on their way in were now making the beach steadily. The famous thirty-minute clearing of the channels through the mined obstacles was still a myth, and now, with the high tide, it was a tough trip in with the stakes submerged.

We had six craft missing, finally, out of the twenty-four LVC(P)s that went in from the Dix, but many of the crews could have been picked up and might be on other vessels. It had been a frontal assault in broad daylight, against a mined beach defended by all the obstacles military ingenuity could devise. The beach had been defended as stubbornly and as intelligently as any troops could defend it. But every boat from the Dix had landed her troops and cargo. No boat was lost through bad seamanship. All that were lost were lost by enemy action. And we had taken the beach.

There is much that I have not written. You could write for a week and not give everyone credit for what he did on a front of 1,135 yards. Real war is never like paper war, nor do accounts of it read much the way it looks. But if you want to know how it was in an LCV(P) on D-Day when we took Fox Green beach and Easy Red beach on the sixth of June, 1944, then this is as near as I can come to it.