On 10 July, 1944, four Sherman tanks went to the aid of an infantry battalion that was surrounded at the top of Hill 122 in Normandy by elite German paratroopers. The plan was for the tanks to create a path through the almost jungle-like tangle of trees and shrubbery and for a company of infantry to follow close behind, creating an opening that would let the rest of the battalion break out.
The plan seemed to be working as the tanks crashed through the German defenses on the steep front slope of the hill. At the bottom, the tanks crossed a road, climbed over a hedgerow, crossed a field, climbed another hedgerow and kept on going.
It was late in the afternoon when the first shell struck Lieutenant Jim Flowers' tank and caromed off, with a sound he would compare to "a big bell ringing." Within moments, all four tanks were knocked out, three of them burning fiercely. Nine of the 20 crew members were killed, several wounded, and two both wounded and captured. For Flowers and his gunner, Jim Rothschadl, their ordeal was just beginning.
This is the story of that battle as told by Flowers and several of the surviving members of his platoon.

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