World War II Army veteran Bill Shannon, a Hometown Hero

Bill Shannon, a Hometown Hero
Bill Shannon, a Hometown Hero

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On April 18, 1945, the 69th Infantry Division edged their way to the outskirts of Leipzig, Germany.

"We just finished lunch and they came in to rile up the tanks: 'We're going in, we're going in the city.' So, here we go…and boy they slaughtered us," said World War II Army veteran Bill Shannon, 87.

Shannon says nearly 200 men went in from Company F. Fewer than 70 came out alive.

"Our turnover was terrible. Our causality rates were terrible. Some of the guys would come in and would get hit the next day," Shannon said.

Shannon said he did not make many friends during the war for a reason.

"You didn't get too friendly with very many people because the next day they may be gone," he said.

He recalls bullets whizzing past his head and all around him.

"The bullet had gone through my K-ration and my crackers were crumbs!" he said.

Shannon said there is no explanation for how he survived that legendary three-day battle.

"It missed the tank by just a little bit, went right behind us and exploded out there. The concussion from that shoved me up into the handles in that .50 caliber. I bruised a rib," he said.

Although that fierce fight claimed the lives of many infantrymen, Shannon was not the only one who walked away virtually untouched.

"It just grazed the left side of his temple," Shannon said, speaking of his friend. "It went in his helmet and out his helmet and he's lucky to be alive, too."

Shannon was also battling one of the harshest winters of all time.

"Half of us had frozen feet. That went on for about 5 weeks. I spent my 19th birthday in a foxhole in Luxembourg with frozen feet."

Despite his sufferings, Shannon said at least he came home alive and in one piece.

"For ten years after I was in the army, when my feet get a little too cold, it still hurt badly. But I didn't lose them and a lot of the guys did."

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