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Ding Dong Dell...GMC's......


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I came across this lovely cameo written by Pascal Sobas relating to one GMC truck, and a cigar smoking black guy, chomping on a cigar!


The scene is Paris WW2:



My parents didn't do anything heroic during the war. They just endured, like millions of others all over occupied Europe. Time passed — four long, painful years. Then freedom came back, brought in by the "Yanks." It was a time of rejoicing in France. But it was also a time of starvation and lack of everything. War had passed over the country and was rolling toward Germany. And it had taken all that was left with it. The only ones who had plenty of everything were the Americans. They not only had food, Lucky Strike cigarettes and chocolate, they had gasoline. More precious than gold then in fuel starved France. So my stepfather Pierrot and a few of his ole' buddies decided to get some. They knew a man who knew a man who knew someone. Contacts were taken, money was passed along and one fine morning this US Army GMC gasoline truck pulled up in front of Pierrot's bicycle shop. -"Out of it came a big black guy with Sergeant Stripes, chomping on a cigar," recalled my stepfather. "Here's the gas, said the Sergeant." "OK, let us pump the gasoline and . . . " "


You don't get it, replied the Sergeant, the truck comes with the gas. Have a nice day." And with these words he walked away to the nearest Metro station and disappeared forever. And Pierrot and his buddies found themselves the quite embarrassed owners of an official stolen US government vehicle loaded with several hundreds of gallons of official stolen US government gasoline, sitting on Boulevard Marcel Sembat. The truck had to vanish. Fast. In the backyard of the bicycle shop was a well. A medium size well and they decided to dismantle the truck and throw the pieces in it. They probably could have sold the spare parts but Pierrot admitted they were scared out of their wits. Four years of Nazi occupation tends to make people like that.


A GMC truck is solidly built. It went quite smooth for the bodywork and the engine, but when it came to the chassis, the transmission axles and differentials it became a different matter. Besides, the well was full to the rim with the rest of the truck. So they undertook to saw off the axles and the chassis with hand saws. That's all they had. They had torches but no acetylene of course. "Strong stuff these GMCs." Pierrot used to say. It took eight of them the whole night to finally reduce the chassis and the axles to more manageable pieces of scrap metal. They destroyed more than a dozen saw blades in the process — not to mention the blisters.


After that episode, that night was remembered as "the night when we sawed off that GMC truck." My heartfelt thanks to that anonymous Sergeant. What he did may not have been honest, but what he sold Pierrot and his friends that day helped some people to stay warm and eat.


Pascal Sabas



The full story can be found here:




Aint war hell

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