Along the lower level there was a smoke screen to try and hide movement along Hwy #6 and the rest of the valley. I would say this was pretty useless and hindered the attacker more than the enemy when the wind shifted. Also the enemy was on a higher level than what the smoke reached.
Now back to the Pignataro gun position. Our guns were really dug in as our gunners knew we were being watched from the mountain to our right rear so gun pits and slit trenches were dug deep with lots of earth piled all around. About this time, while the gunners were digging in, along came the tanks of the BCD's who up to this time had not, except for the odd crew, ever seen a shot fired by them or one incoming. A few troopers took it upon themselves to remind the gunners that they were ten mile snipers and were they digging to China. Our chaps said in return we know what shellfire does to the human body. The troopers thought they would save the work and did not dig, but this will change as the story unfolds.
I think about this time I was sitting under the back of the RHQ office truck reading a letter from Audrey Bakrud, a prairie girl. It was a hot May day so I was in the shade. The letter reading and daydreaming was broken with mortar shells landing to my left not too far away so when the next few shells landed and the splinters hit the side of the truck, I decided not to run for the house as I would likely get hit. So I lay on my stomach with my left arm up shielding my head. A few more shells landed sending a few pieces whistling through the air. Well the next shell came in and it hit the front right wheel of the truck. I remember the great blast of the exploding shell and seeing the dust and flash and finding myself up on my knees rather deafened but able to move my head. Now I knew I must have been wounded but was pretty numb. Then a trickle of blood ran down my left cheek. With that, I came alive and shot into the RHQ house coming in on an angle that Chuck Watson to this day wonders how I did it. Padre Fraser met me at the door and, in fact, i nearly ran him over. The Padre said what happened. I replied too damn hot for me but I did not lose the letter I was reading. Opening my hand the letter was a crumbled sweaty wet piece of paper. Watson said what happened?? I said they really hit your office, Our Medical Officer said let me have a look at the cut on your face. My reply was look after the Signal corporal from our attached RCCS first as this young quite hefty young man had his buttocks and legs full, of probably a couple of hundred pieces of shrapnel. If this young man is still alive I suspect doctors are still getting pieces out of him. Doc Strashin said he is okay I will attend to you . So he put a piece of tape on my left cheek bone. I suppose by attending my little wound first he was letting the morphine take effect on the corporal, or giving him a feeling he was not too bad off. Which I assure you this corporal had more than his share. Apparently a mortar shell exploded at the top edge of his slit trench, Had he been lying on his back, I'm sure he would have been killed .
Memory plays tricks on a person and you forget what happened next and after all these years some times you get the cart before the horse.