Goss and his boats were assigned to conduct their landings at the sector of the Normandy coast designated “Omaha Beach.” As their three small boats made their way across the dark and storm-tossed English Channel, one of the two engines cut off on the boat that Goss was on. As he inspected below the deck where the engines were located, he discovered to his horror that the left engine had pulled loose from the fitting that turned the propeller shaft. This created a gap in the hull where water was rapidly seeping into the boat.
While the sailors were bailing water, he frantically searched for something to stem the flow of water. Since it was night, they weren’t allowed to use flashlights on deck because they might attract the attention of German reconnaissance aircraft. Goss closed the hatch cover over him and then used a flashlight to search the engine compartment for anything that would prevent the water from entering the boat. Miraculously, he found some coiled packing material sitting on top of the fuel tank. At first he thought it was a snake but, when he realized what it was, he stuffed it into the gap around the propellor shaft and successfully plugged the hole. They were now able to continue their journey using only one engine. Goss's boats were able to maintain sufficient speed to keep up with the convoy and they arrived at Omaha Beach at mid-day on June 6th.
Since the invasion had begun several hours earlier, by noon the shore was awash in damaged equipment and dead bodies. As it turned out, Omaha was the most heavily defended of the invasion sectors. The Germans were able to fire on the beaches from heavily fortified defensive positions on the bluffs overlooking the shoreline. The mission of Goss’s three LCMs was to deliver explosives to the combat engineers who were trying to destroy the mines and obstacles that the Germans had placed in the water to deter the invasion.
Obviously if one of his boats had been hit by German fire while it was loaded with high explosives, it would have instantly detonated, killing all on board. They spent the next four days delivering the explosives and were able to do so without any mishaps or loss of life. Since they had no food or water, they had to get their provisions from larger boats. When the engineers had taken all the explosives that they needed, Goss ordered his three boats out into deeper water and attached ballast to the explosives and threw them overboard believing that the salt water would soon render them harmless. After they disposed of their dangerous cargo, they helped ferry wounded from the beach back to the hospital ships.
If these soldiers are the supermen of Hitler, then I've been misled.
When a storm came up, Goss lashed the three boats together and let the storm blow them into shore. They secured the boats and took their tents and bedrolls onto the beach, dug foxholes, and went to sleep for the first time in nearly a week. They remained on the beach for almost two weeks at a “survivors’camp” and helped out in any way they could. They were always mindful of the danger of the German mines that had been buried before the invasion. Occasionally they would hear an explosion and knew that someone or some thing had tripped a mine. As soon as he could, he wrote his parents about his impressions of France and the enemy:
Just a few words to let you know that I’m still okay—thanks to your prayers. I know you are anxious to hear about the invasion but I will tell you when I see you—France looks no different from any other place—green grass, trees, sun-shine, and people. I went sightseeing yesterday and saw many interesting sights —One was the prison camp—If these soldiers are the supermen of Hitler, then I’ve been misled —Most of them are kids sixteen to nineteen years of age and a few old men too old to be in the army. Most of them were Poles, Russians, Frenchmen and other nationalities. I don’t believe that these men are Hitler’s first line troops because they look pretty sad and their fighting isn’t so good.3
After two weeks, Goss and his men were ordered back to England. He and several sailors were told to take one of the damaged landing craft back to Plymouth. The boat was in such poor condition that, during the 24-hour crossing, he wondered whether or not they were going to make it to port before the boat sank.
I was minding my own business there in France when I received a message that I was to be ready to leave for England in two hours as an officer in charge of an L.C.I. which was being towed back—so I get my tooth brush and socks and take off. I never was so glad to see any place as I was England that morning—what a hectic 24 hours that was—crossing the English Channel in a ship that was full of shell holes and there was a storm in the channel—so we had a tough time—I really thought my ability to swim was going to come in handy—But we made it and here I am waiting for further orders.4
Those orders came when he and another officer were told to select 75 sailors, outfit them in olive-drab army gear, and get ready to return to France for a secret mission. Every one of the fifteen sailors that had been with him during the D-Day invasion volunteered for the mission even though they knew that it would be hazardous. Although he was touched by their loyalty, Goss would not let them volunteer because he felt that their service at Normandy had earned them the right to go home without further risk. Several of them had wives and several more had wedding plans and he did not want them exposed to more danger.