Other Memorable Incidents
A further incident I witnessed was when a US Sherman tank got bogged down in the paddy during broad daylight. A second Sherman manoeuvred as close as he could and then crew members got out in full view of both sides to connect a chain and pull it clear again. Why the Chinese did not engage them remains a complete mystery.
The Commonwealth Division had an RAF unit that maintained some Auster spotter aircraft. These were piloted, very bravely in my opinion, by Royal Artillery officers, who flew at a relatively low speed over the Chinese lines. I happened to be in the AP to witness an Auster receive a direct hit, which removed most of one of its wings. This section fell slowly to the ground, turning over and over as it did so. The fuselage descended much faster and I was greatly relieved to witness the pilot land by parachute.
However the 25 pounder FOA (forward observation officer) promptly got a salvo of smoke shells to cover the lower forward slope of the enemy’s hills and an infantry patrol successfully rescued the pilot before the Chinese could capture him.