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[12th Armored Division Patch]    "Hellcat News" - 12th Armored Division
Excerpts from divisional newspaper printed in Germany shortly after V-E Day.


[12th Armored Division: Hellcat News: May 1945: Heidenheim, Germany]

2 Corps CGs Laud Division For Actions

Maj. Gen. Roderick R. Allen and officers and enlisted men of the division were commended recently by Maj. Gen. F. W. Milburn, commander of the XXI Corps, for their "spirit, aggressiveness, and valor" in the Battle of Germany while attached to the Corps.

In his commendation, Gen. Milburn said:

"To you and to all the officers and enlisted men under your command I wish to express commendation and appreciation for the spirit, aggressiveness, and valor with which the 12th Armored Division so successfully performed its every combat mission while operationally attached to this headquarters from 31 March 1945 to 5 May 1945.

"From your initial action in Forbach and Styring Wendel through the attack and capture of Wurzburg and Schweinfurt where you gave magnificent assistance to the 42nd Infantry Division, the turn south, the capture of Feuchtwangen, to the seizure of the bridge over the Danube at Dillingen, all tasks were accomplished with a dash and ex pertness that bespoke superlative leadership and initiative on the part of all. These qualities continued to be outstanding as you continued on to the east, effecting the crossings of the rivers, Weilach, Lech, Isar, and Inn.

"These are accomplishments in which the entire 12th Armored Division may take deep pride and that always will reflect great honor upon the organization."

More Commendations

Forwarding the commendation to men of his command, Gen. Allen said: "It is with the most sincere appreciation of your efforts and with the utmost pride in your accomplishments that I, who was privileged to command you in this operation, forward this so richly deserved commendation to each officer and enlisted men of the 12th Armored Division and attached troops"

Gen. Allen and the 12th also were the recipients of a commendation from Maj. Gen. Walton H. Walker, commander of the XX Corps, to which the outfit was attached while operating as the "mystery division" in the Third Army. Gen. Walker said the manner in which missions were accomplished was "in keeping with the high traditions of the service."

Col. Bradley Leaves 12th

Maj. Harry E. Malcolm, division ordnance supply officer, has been appointed division G-4 to replace Lt. Col. John M. Bradley, Jr., who has been transferred to SHAEF Headquarters to become chief of the building materials section of the industrial production control.

With the 12th since its activation Col. Bradley was commissioned in January, 1931, and was ordered to active duty in June, 1940. A native of St. Louis, Mo., he attended St Louis University.

Supply officers of the division held a farewell party for Col. Bradley in Heidenheim on Tuesday night.

Maj. Malcolm received his commission on July 30, 1942.

Doughnut Girls Still Making The Rounds

Prepare to eat doughnuts with your chow at least once every two weeks from now on.

Miss Jane Umstad, captain of the Red Cross Clubmobile attached to the division, has announced a schedule whereby the girls, operating as two crews, will visit every unit in the 12th every fourteen days.

One complete circuit has already been made since the division came off the line. To accomplish the job, each crew had to roll a distance of about 1,500 miles in order to service all units.

Besides Jane, there are the Misses June Lindner, Marguerite M. Palmer, Lois Stone, and Grace Dotson.

USAFI Courses Still Available

Courses in the U. S. Armed Forces Institute are still open to GIs, the I. and E. Section pointed out this week, with a temporary restriction on enrollment in certain courses due to shortages of materials.

Both enlisted and officer personnel may take advantage of the four types of study programs offered by USAFI. Special provision is included in the education program now being set up to form USAFI classes in addition to the organizational schools, providing enough men are enrolled.

Many courses are planned to award high school or college credits. Others are for the advancement of the individual on a self-teaching basis. The USAFI provides means of determining what is needed to get high school or college diplomas, or for testing the educational experience of the individual.

In most instances a large part of the cost for enlisted men will be shared by the Army.

Unit I. and E. officers will aid those desirous of studying under the USAFI program to obtain the most beneficial courses.

4 More Win Silver Stars

A 17th AIB half-track gunner who lost his life while voluntarily covering his platoon's retreat to safety, has been awarded the Silver Star, posthumously.

S/Sgt. Norman D. Smith, of Monaco, Pa., was cited for his supreme sacrifice at Althausen, March 31, when his platoon was pinned down by accurate enemy fire.

Silver Stars went to three other Hellcats for gallantry in action.

Capt. Ogden R. Fox, commander of Co C, 66th AIB, was named for holding a precarious position against superior enemy forces.

"Staff Sergeant White successfully repulsed the counter-attack." Thus reads a citation with the Silver Star awarded to S/Sgt. Glenn R. White, of Co B, 43rd Tank Bn, who held his tank in position in the face of a strong enemy counter-attack, although it had been twice hit by panzerfaust and once by anti-tank fire. His bravery enabled his company to secure the town of Ettleben, April 8, according to the citation.

The high award also was given to Sgt. Thomas E. Boos, of Co C, 17th AIB, for his actions when his half-track exploded and burned as the result of enemy fire. Sgt. Boos saved a panic stricken comrade whose clothing was afire, and directed the remainder of the squad to safety. He rendered first aid to the wounded, until ordered to the rear by his platoon leader.

12th To Stage Three Weekly Radio Shows

Beginning Friday, June 1st, the division will inaugurate a series of three weekly, recorded radio shows -- one half-hour variety show and two 15-minute music and vocal programs -- to broadcast over the 7th Army Station.

It will be the half hour show which will have its first airing at 2000 Friday circling to Cpl. Bernard Sackett, Division SSO, entertainment technician.

Each week the three shows will be recorded in the area of some unit in the division so that eventually each battalion will get to see the "live" show.

First cutting of the three shows, an hour's entertainment, will be held in the Heidenheim Concert Halle at 2000 Thursday, 31 May. Everyone able to attend is invited.

Music for the shows will be provided by the division band and all other personnel appearing on the program will be drawn from units within the division. Any man with radio experience interested in appearing on the program should contact Cpl. Sackett at SSO.

U.S.O. Shows Coming

Good news for everyone is the fact that next week there will be two U.S.O. shows touring the division area. One unit is composed entirely of French personnel while the other comes to us from the U.S.A.

Soon to make the rounds of the division is a special recording machine complete with 200 hours of the finest radio programs in the U.S.A. The recordings feature the outstanding bands of the nation and also some of our leading comic and variety artists.

Movies Circulate

In the meantime, movies are still being circulated throughout the division at such a rate that every man should have available to him at least one picture a week, if not more.

The 12 films now making the rounds of the division include: "Woman in the Window" with Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett; "To Have and Have Not" with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall; "Meet Me In St Louis" with Judy Garland; "Sunday Dinner For a Soldier" with John Hodiak and Ann Baxter; "The Thin Man Goes Home" with William Powell and Myrna Loy; "Experiment Perilous" with Hedy Lamarr and Paul Lucas.

Also on the list are "Winged Victory" with Lon MacAllister and Jean Crain: "Christmas in Connecticut" with Barbara Stanwyck; "None But the Lonely Heart" with Cary Grant and Ethel Barrymore; "Ministry of Fear" with Ray Milland; "Here Comes the Waves" with Bing Crosby and Betty Hutton; and "Carolina Blues" with Kay Kyser and Ann Miller.


Herrlisheim Toughest Job, Say Men of CCR

Which was the toughest job the division performed in combat? Which was the best? In the following article are the opinions of men of CCR. What men in the other combat commands think about it will be told in subsequent issues of Hellcat News.

By Pfc. George Schulman

A small Alsacian town situated on the table-top terrain a stone's throw from the Rhine River will forever be remembered by the tankers and infantrymen of CCR as the scene of their most difficult combat action, according to a recent poll taken of men of the 17th AIB and 23rd Tank Bn. The town of course was Herrlisheim.

This operation, the most costly in men and equipment to the two battalions, became a yardstick by which all other operations were measured.

Opinion as to the best job performed by the two battalions was a bit more varied, almost very operation receiving at east one plug.

The concensus:

S/Sgt. Henry B. Sadlo, C Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Herrlisheim. Pfc. Walter H. Steininger, A Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive after crossing the Rhine.


1st. Sgt. William J. Kelly, A Co, 3rd: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive to the Rhine through Trier and southeast to the river.

Sgt. Morey H. Gephard, A Co, 23rd: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive to the Rhine.

Pfc. Donald J. Eckrich, Hq Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Day battalion drove 60 miles down the autobahn to the foot of the Alps. (See story on Page 2).

Sgt. Charles A. Witham, Hq Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive which carried Bn from 3rd Army sector to the Rhine.

S/Sgt. Max Bowman, A Co, 23rd: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Breakthrough to the Rhine.

T/4 Jack E. Rapps, A Co, 23rd; Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive to the Rhine.

Sgt. Clyde Robertson, A Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Colmar operation.

Pvt. John H. Korver, A. Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive through hills to Ansbach.


1st Sgt. John Griffin, Hq Co 23rd: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive to the Rhine.

T/4 Edward Trinque, A Co, 23rd: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Breaking up of the enemy counterattack which developed out of Herrlisheim.

T/5 Edwin J. Fucshtman, A Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- The last drive which carried the battalion into the Alps.

Sgt. Christian Wahl, Hq Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive to the Rhine.

T/Sgt. Edward L. Bellett, Hq, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Day Bn moved down the autobahn 60 miles to reach the edge of the Alps.

T/5 Ernest Wallander, A Co, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive to Rhine.

T/5 Charles Hatch, A Co, 23rd: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Drive to Rhine. T/5 Robert Clark, Hq, 17th: Toughest job -- Herrlisheim; best job -- Sixty mile drive down autobahn in one day.


Medics There As Needed

Charged with the responsibility of providing second echelon medical support to division personnel, the 82nd Medics earned the praise and respect of every casualty in the 12th during its days of combat.

Theirs was the task of transferring casualties from the medical companies' clearing stations where the wounded were either transferred again to an evacuation hospital or given emergency treatment if need be.

And even though the medic is a neutral, protected by the Geneva Convention and denied the right to carry arms, the battalion lost four ambulance drivers, the kitchen crew of one company, and two others through strafing and sniper fire. There were also some men who were captured or wounded.

Killed By Sniper

One First Lieutenant was killed by a sniper at Gaukonigshofen while driving a wounded Kraut to the rear in his peep. Another lieutenant, who was later liberated, was ambushed and captured while on his way to a battalion aid station.

But perhaps the most outrageous violation of their right to safety occurred near Kitzenken when a German pilot strafed the plainly-marked medical tents of A Co., then with CCA, killing one medical officer and seriously wounding one officer and four enlisted men.

In combat, the battalion, which is commanded by Lt. Col. Sidney J. MacLeod, operated with one company assigned permanently to each combat command.

Used Split-Echelon

By employing the split-echelon system, the companies were able to furnish the commands with uninterrupted medical service regardless of how swiftly the spearheads rolled. One treatment station would remain in operation while the other leap-frogged forward; when the latter was setup the former would move forward.

As with other units in the 12th, supplies was a serious problem until Chief Warrant Officer Walter C. Desmond, division medical supply officer, found a solution which earned him the Bronze Star. Desmond created a rolling drugstore, mounted on a truck, which was complete with spacious cabinets and refrigerator and fully stocked with medical supplies.

Division Diary

By Pfc. Seymour J. Greenwald

Remember during the last days of combat when you averted your head, pretending that you didn't see the Jerry who wanted to surrender, so that you wouldn't have the problem of marching him to the rear. Well, he eventually cornered somebody. For example:

Lt. William Koppy, A Co, 119th, took shelter in the doorway of a nearby house during a mortar barrage. Feeling a light tap on his shoulder, he turned around to find himself the captor of six Krauts. In accordance with SOP, his carbine was in his peep down the road and he was unarmed at the time.

And Orville O. Sarles, reporter for Btry B, 493rd, notifies about S/Sgt. Mel Roy Farrand, forward observer from his outfit, who was also tapped lightly.

Only this time it wasn't the shoulder and it wasn't a Jerry. The battery made a brief halt in the Bavarian mountains one snowy night and Farrand was resting comfortably in his foxhole when he felt something on his helmet. Turning nonchalantly, Farrand looked into the piercing eyes of a French Arab who was feeling the shape off his helmet to find out if he were friend or foe. And that huge knife in the Arab's hand wasn't for slicing salami, either.

Along the line of prisoners, there's the deal of utilizing them for a little bit of "arbitin." Sgt. Samuel F. Broskey, acting mess sgt. of C Co, 134th, discovered that his helpers worked best under the supervision of one of his Polish KP boys.

S/Sgt. John C. Tarwater, Div Hq Co, dopped into four repple depots on his way back to division after being released from the hospital. Repple depots can be recognized as covered with rosters putting you on guard one day, KP the next, guard the next, ad infinitum. Passes every night, however, from seven until eight, minus travel time.

On the wall of the house occupied by the CP of B Co, 43rd, in a gilt frame that once displayed the face of one of Charlie Chaplin's numerous imitators is a chicken leg. Beneath it is the legend: "This chiken bone was touched by an American Girl." One of the Red Cross doughnut girls, who remained for supper once, ate the meat on the leg.

59 Miles In 7 Hours Is Speed Record Of 17th

By Cpl. Jack N. Schwartz
Co C, 17th AIB

Fifty-nine miles in seven hours through enemy-held territory was the speed record set by the 17th AIB on May 2, near the close of the war in Europe. It's a feat the 17th believes is unequalled in ground warfare.

Starting from Starnberg on the Wurm See at 0600, the battalion made its last contact with friendly forces in Dorfen on the Lech river at 0800 hours. That afternoon at 1500 the drive halted at Pfraundorf, 59 miles away.

Spearheaded by Co C and supported by a platoon of tanks from Co C, 23rd Tank Bn, the unit met spotty resistance on a secondary road until reaching the Autobahn. It was here that the speed typical of an armored d vision was brought into full play. At times two half-tracks were traveling abreast at top speed down Hitler's super four lane highway. Due to the excessive speed, the half-tracks of the 2nd platoon, which were leading, several times lost contact with the tanks.

Use Leap Frog Play

For a period of one hour the unit traveled 25 miles, utilizing a leap-frog play. The forward track would dash to an underpass or bridge, a few men would dismount, check the bridge for mine or explosives, cutting the wires, and wave the next track on to the next bridge or underpass. Bypassing destroyed bridges and underpasses, the tracks sped along the highway, firing at the startled and surprised enemy who were trying to escape the assault by driving away in their vehicles, running across open fields, or by trying to hide in brush piles, wooded areas, or foxholes. Only twice during the entire push were our troops stopped, and then only momentarily, as four enemy aircraft flew over at different times for the purpose of strafing the column. One plane was brought down, and the others were driven away without a single man being wounded.

Statistically, the unit pushed 59 miles in 7 hours, capturing over 5,000 prisoners, including 5 generals, numerous enemy vehicles, and a large amount of enemy supplies and equipment. During the entire operation, no casualties or equipment was lost to enemy fire.

Tactically, the drive was a huge success because the enemy was taken completely by surprise and was not given a chance to prepare defensive positions.

Easter Sunday Was Big Day For 119th Engineers

If they live to see a hundred more Easter Sundays, men of one squad of B Co, 119th Engrs, will never forget Easter Sunday 1945.

Assembled in a large field awaiting the order to move up, the men tensely ate their "C" rations. At the same time their thoughts turned to other Easter Sundays when egg hunting or the showing off of new clothes was the thing to do. This Easter Sunday, however, would bring a different type of hunting.

Hardly had the men finished eating than the order came. It was Staff Sergeant James V. Ryan, later to receive a battlefield commission, who brought the news.

"Well, here we go again," remarked one of the boys, "up front with Mauldin."

After moving down the autobahn for about a mile, the engineers passed a group of tanks mounting doughboys -- still no road in sight which would take them to the bridge. The halftrack continued for another two miles when the boys decided that things were too quiet. The realization began to come home to the men that they had missed the road for which they were looking.

It was machine gunner Johnnie Borges, one-time division bantam-weight champion, who first saw them -- Jerries dug in on both sides of the road.

Enemy Opens Fire

Surprise was on the side of the enemy and it was they who opened fire first.

A hail of burp gun fire tore into the track driving the surprised engineers to the bottom of the vehicle. Only two men were hurt slightly, thanks to the protective armor.

Pvt Clyde E. Clevenger was the first to recover from the surprise. He brought up his M-1 and blazed away. The rest of the men soon followed suit. Their fire stopped the burp gun and pinned the Krauts down in short order.

Meanwhile, Cpl Stanley F. Kosiorek, the driver, threw the track into reverse and backed it away from the enemy position at top speed. As the vehicle moved backward, one Kraut popped his head out of his hole. It was demolition man, Cpl George Rojavige whose straight shot made the head drop back into the hole.

After retreating a safe distance, the men dismounted and continued to pour a withering fire at the Jerry position. At the same time, Sgt. Ryan ran down the road to point out the enemy to approaching tankers.

The tanks immediately fanned out and threw a tremendous cross fire at the Krauts. Those of the enemy who were able, took to the woods. Under cover of this fire, the engineers returned to their original area.

Said one of the men, "I think we were up front a little past Mauldin that time."


37 Days Was All It Took

In little more than a month the 12th Armored Division, good right fist of the American Seventh Army, punched most of Bavaria off the German map and drove from the Rhine clear across the alpine border of Austria.

Major General Roderick R. Allen's armor had won glory in Alsace and Lorraine as far South as the Colmar Pocket and North into the Siegfried Line. It had been spearhead for Patton's Third Army dash encircling the Saar, then reverted to Patch's Seventh for the final push across the Rhine.

From then on in there were 12th Armored units in action every minute until the final German collapse along the Austrian frontier 37 days later.

Great Blow At Dillingen

It was at the Danube bridge at Dillingen that the 12th struck one of the great blows of the war by seizing the span, cutting wires to nine 500-pound bombs and much dynamite, then pouring troops across to rob the enemy in the "redoubt" area of vitally needed time. Dillingen bridgehead was considered second in importance only to Remagen.

Where demolitions had been completed, our engineers built new spans. They threw a 228-foot treadway across the Lech in record time on 30 April, then boarded over a nearby railway viaduct to keep a double stream of traffic on the move.

Here and there the Germans had prepared defense lines, but opposition was mostly in concentrated doses from units dug into very favorable positions. During the drive the enemy threw at the 12th everything in the book from panzerfaust and sniper fire to planes and heavy artillery. During the defense of the Danube bridgehead ack-ack half-tracks claimed six planes shot down on the single day of 23 April. During one week in April 47 enemy tanks were kayoed.

Hundreds of towns capitulated without a shot, greeting the Hellcats with white flags flying. Scores of others in which the Germans chose to fight were blasted to rubble. When ground action looked too costly, the artillery with its observation-plane eyes, and deadly Thunderbolts operating from German airfields the 12th had captured, were called in to clear the way.

Everybody Helped

All-important if less spectacular, supply trains kept the food and the ammo and the gas pouring up to the front. Signalmen stretched lines of communication clear across the Nazi fatherland. Ordnance kept the wheels turning. MPs shuttled incredible numbers of prisoners to the rear -- on 5 May alone they evacuated 21,742 captured enemy soldiers. Administration men kept the division a cohesive unit in contrast with the disorganization and confusion through which the Hellcats kept surging.


Loud cheers greet the appearance of "fresh vegetable soup" on he menu of Headquarters Company, 134th Ordnance Battalion. What the 'customers" don't know is that Staff Sergeant Leo F. Wenisch of Springfield, Minn., their mess sergeant, brews the delicacy from the much despised of meat-and-vegetable hash plus plenty of water.

Tanker Shows He's Hot Shot In Anybody's League

Putting a stream of machine gun fire down the mouth of a German bazooka at 260 yards has earned Cpl. Walter Warrenski of Huntingdon, N. Y., a reputation as a tank gunner. Warrenski, gunner in a medium tank of the 43rd Tank Battalion, went into action when the driver, Sgt. Ollie Parazoo, spotted a couple of Krauts aiming a rocket launcher at their tank. Thirty calibre fire from his co-axially mounted machine gun went right down the mouth of the enemy bazooka exploding the shell and killing the gunner. The other German surrendered.


To First Sergeant:

23rd Tank Bn - Purvis B. Griswold.

To Master Sergeant:

Div Arty - Clarence A. Curry.

To Technical Sergeant:

Div Arty - Raymond J. Sacharski.

Hq (FE-Mil Govt) - Max Beers.

To Staff Sergeant:

493 AFA Bn - Marion F. Davenport.

134th Ord Maint Bn - Harold A. Ewing.

23rd Tank Bn - John P. Hopf, Patsy Biscaro, William H. Cordrey, Leo D. Nelson, Alvin R. Kruse, Robert D. Tays.

To Technician, Third Grade:

134th Ord Maint Bn - Albert C. Cross, David H. Dow, Donald F. Reichardt, True R. Scott, William G. Carmody, Morris J. Fortin, Harold G. Hains, John J. Hoyt, Arthur B. Johnson, Jack E. Leicher, Gerald L. McLean, Frank B. Neitzke, Jr., Albert Schmidt, Mike J. Steffan, Jr., Edwin E. Stevens, Roy J. Stevens, Ronald E. Wilcox.

Hq. (RE-AG) - Charles A. Lee.

To Sergeant:

23rd Tank Bn - Bennie M. Sanders, Stephen Pehanich, Nelson C. Bargeman, Frank M. Conway, Edmund R. Casey.

134th Ord Maint Bn - William T. Myers.

493rd AFA Bn - Thomas J. Moorhead.

To Technician, Fourth Grade:

23rd Tank Bn - Harris E. Miller, James H. McManus, Gerald J. Connors.

134th Ord Maint Bn - Kenneth D. Sibrel, Martin Hale, Stephen Ziobro, Benjamin Cohen, Milton W. Fabula, Orville T. Jacobson, James L. Killian, Jr., Frederick A. LeFavour, John F. O'Neil, Robert F. Paggen, George L. Rice, Asa E. Secord, Jack W. Sturman, Joseph Syrnick, Gordon F. Toepke, Daniel L. Truesdell.

To Corporal:

23rd Tank Bn - Allen L. Linster, John R. Lund, Robert C. Miller.

To Technician, Fifth Grade:

23rd Tank Bn - Martin P. Ricker, Elmer R. Daub, James R. Beckley, Donald D. Dietz, Harold A. Ketterer, Charles H. Hatch, Jr., Joseph Mester.

493rd AFA Bn - Dale W. Hall, Paul H. Shepard, Jr.

134th Ord Maint Bn - William C. Bonner, Louis G. Mathern, Jr., Donald E. Queller, Donald L. Truesdell, Willard Baker, Louis J. Glatz, III, Lawrence Lindhardt, William A. Rockett, Glenn Widmer, Norman Aronson, Czelaw J. Barna, Colon S. Johnson, Buster Lanear, Edward D. Livingston, John L. Mills, Donald B. Olson, Dominic J. Potenza, Donald E. Pierce, Garet V. W. Shepherd, Gordon C. Witter.

To Private, First Class:

134th Ord Maint Bn - James J. Gerard, John C. Komarek.


Recently promoted to the rank of major were: Richard C. Harvey, and James D. Stephens, both of Military Government; Walter W. McDonough, of CCA; Carl C. Morgan, Jr., Div Arty, Ralph P. Shaw, Jr., 43rd Tank Bn.

Promoted to captain were: George T. Daughters, Military Government; Edward J. Albertie, CCA; John A. Brown, 495th AFA Bn; Thomas F. Johnston, 43rd Tank Bn; Sherman E. Kaplitz and James L. Todd, 66th AIB; Ernest H. Garneau, John C. Lee, and John L. Mowatt, 23rd Tank Bn; Laughlin, 714th Tank Bn.

Promoted to first lieutenant were: Owsley C. Costlow, David W. McBride and Robert A. Von Doenhoff, 23rd Tank Bn; Paul E. Clabaugh, 134th Ord Maint Bn; George C. Eblen, aide to CG; Allen B. Canfield and Lee F. Ghormley, 66th AIB; William R. Ference and John L. Jacobs, 56th AIB; Christopher T. Garvey, Jr. and William W. Turley, 714th Tank Bn; Joseph Shandrey, 152nd Sig Co; Donald K. Probert, Tns Hq.

The first time a tank in the assault gun platoon of Hq Co of the 17th used the 105 howitzer on their new medium, they tossed the shell, firing indirect, right into the mouth of a cave where the Krauts had an 88.

12th Men Free French Big-Wigs

By Cpl. John G. Mayer
Co. B, 23rd Tank Bn.

American troops, soldiers of the Wehrmacht, and a handful of French personages slated for death by the SS, fought side by side in an alpine castle on the last day of the war in Bavaria.

Among the 14 French notables rescued by tankers of the 12th Armored Division were former Premier Edouard Daladier, aging General Maxim Weygand who commanded the French armies when the Germans broke through into France, tennis star Jean Borotra and his wife, and a sister of the present chief executive of France, General Charles de Gaulle.

Also in the strangely mixed pro-and-anti-Nazi group were former premier Paul Reynaud; General Maurice Gamelin, former commanding general of all the French armies; Mrs. Weygand; Colonel DeLaRoque, former French fascist leader; M. Caillaux, former member of the government; Leon Jouhaux, French labor union leader; and Michel Clemencau, son of the World War I statesman.

Top heroes of the scenario-scrap were Lieutenant John C. Leo, Jr., commanding officer of Company B of the 23rd Tank Battalion, and his gunner, Corporal Edward J. Szymcyk.

Across the Border

Their saga began the afternoon of May 4 shortly after their platoon took Kufstein, just across the Austrian border, after knifing through a well-defended roadblock. Into the town came a German major, under a flag of truce, who said that he was in position to surrender a large force of enemy troops and 14 notables once connected with the pre-Petain governments of France.

All, he said, were at a castle in Litter, eight kilometers away. Lee and Szymcyk immediately left with the major but when they arrived, the German colonel in command refused to surrender.

Back in Kufstein, Lee picked up his reinforcements -- two tanks from his own outfit and five more from the 36th Infantry Division's 142nd Battalion. With Lee and Szymcyk went Lieutenant Harry Basse, Santa Ana, Cal., maintenance officer and the tanks' crews. At the town of Worgl the force paused. Lee, leaving the others behind, took his own medium tank with five volunteers, said goodbye to his rear-guard, and rumbled on to the castle, the faithful major trailing in his car.

Then began the classic defense of the ancient "schloss", which had not known battle since the days of crossbow and boiling oil. The defenders numbered 41 -- there were 20 soldiers of the Wehrmacht (German regular army), 14 French men and women, and seven Americans.

At 4 o'clock on the morning of May 5, a small force of SS men launched an attack up the slope toward the castle. American rifles and German light machine guns teamed up to beat them back.

Tennis Star Helps

"Jean Borotra was the spark of the defense," Leo recalls. "He volunteered to jump over the castle wall and make his way to Worgl to summon help. It meant a run across forty yards of open field before he could reach cover. I refused."

But half an hour later things started looking tougher, so Lee permitted Borotra, whose name ranks among the immortals of tennis history, to make what was a brave but futile dash. Soon after he left tanks of the 36th were sighted far away.

Guessing that they hadn't received Borotra's message and regarded the castle as simply another German stronghold to be blasted out of the way, Lee and Weygand quickly teamed up on an American 30-calibre machine gun and opened fire sending long bursts crackling into the woods well ahead of the approaching tanks.

"It worked," Lee said. "Later I found that the tankers had their heavy guns trained on the castle ready to fire when they recognized the sound of the American 'thirty' and decided it was a signal rather than a threat."

So the possibility of being killed by their own rescuers was averted for Lee and his men, who included, in addition to those already named, Technical Sergeant William E. Elliott, Corporal Edward J. Seiner, and Pfc. Herbert G. McHaley, Linton RFD 1, Ind.

Sgt. Glenn E. Shermann of Cameron, Mo., served as radioman and gunner on Elliot's tank. Pvt Joseph Wall, Selma, N.C., was left to guard the bridge alone all night, armed only with a carbine, and took a number of prisoners.

The SS, however, had no compunctions about blasting away at the castle. Their 88 shells crashed through thick walls into several rooms, wounding a German.

Last Fight on Front

At 3 o'clock on the afternoon of the 5th, the cautiously-advancing tanks of the relief force, led by Elliott and Sherman, after 16 hours pounded through the opposition and arrived at the castle like mechanized cowboys in a new-style Western movie. Lee's saga was ended. His tank, "Besotten Jenny," as she was fondly dubbed by the Negro troops, was kaput. All the infantry peeps were filled with notables. So Lee and his heroes climbed onto a truck loaded with German prisoners and rode ingloriously back to their outfit. They arrived just in time to hear the radio broadcast that all German troops in the south had agreed to stop shooting that day at noon. Theirs had been the last fighting on the whole southern front.

But there's a postscript: a few days later Lee's promotion to Captain was announced and his men have all been cited for decorations.


Engineers Beat Officers In Softball Twin Bill

Headquarters Co, 119th Engr Bn, successfully opened its softball season recently by defeating the Officers in a double-header, 110 and 5-4.

First game batteries for Head-quarters Company were Gillan and Goodman pitching, Saeloff catching, while the Officers had Rike and Ryan on the mound with Gardner behind the plate. Second game batteries found Gillan and Firden hurling for Headquarters Co with Brown doing the receiving. The Officers countered with Cutler and Martin pitching and Craig catching.

Holding the spotlight for Headquarters Co were Morris Goldman, George Earhart, John Hanson, and Ray Manger. Capt. McCall and Major Bensel starred for the Officers.


The 92nd Cav Rcn baseball team, last year's league winners, won its opening game against the 572nd AAA outfit. The cavalry defeated the ack ack boys by the score of 7 to 5. The game was highlighted by the hitting of 1st Sgt. Jensen and 1st Sgt. Mason for the cavalry and the AAA respectively. Cpl Brekke pitched the entire game for Recon.

The 92nd is willing to book games with any outfit in the division. Call Niner Two and ask for Sgt. Rothenberg.


Lieut. William Rosgen, B Btry 493rd, a former professional angler, is feeding section after section of 493rd men with trout fished from streams in the 12th's area. He improvised his fishing rod from a bamboo pole, wire, and a champagne cork. Twenty-one inch trout is the order of the day.

13th FA Cuts Policing Duties of 12th In Half

Addition of the 13th FA Brigade and its attached units to division control has cut the policing area nearly in half, according to G-3.

12th elements will remain in combat command organization, moving to new locations only when Seventh Army directs, pending receipt of orders concerning the future of the 12th.


Unit censorship of letters and cablegrams came to an end in the division this week under a Seventh Army directive declaring it no longer necessary. Base censorship will continue.

Unit officers will continue to censor packages.


HELLCAT NEWS is published weekly by enlisted men of the 12th Armored Division for the officers and enlisted men of the division. News, features, photographs and art material accepted from members of the division. No payment made. HELLCAT NEWS uses Camp Newspaper Service material. Republication of credited matter prohibited without permission of CNS, 205 East 42nd Street. New York City.

This paper is printed in Germany by the Division Public Relations Office under auspices of the G-3 Information and Education Section. It has been cleared by G-2 and may be sent through the mail

Public Relations Officer: Capt. John H. Morgan.

Editorial Staff: Sgt. Arthur Martin, editor; Pfc. George J. Schulman, Pfc. Seymour J. Greenwald and Pfc. Stephen A. Malis, staff writers.

Mechanical Staff: Sgt. William L. Busby, Cpl. Donald A. Dickinson.

Athletic School Conducted for CCA

A highly successful, four-day athletic school, conducted for units of CCA under the direction of Major Lester M. Reiss, former special service officer and two technicians, Cpl. Walter Lanfranconi and Sgt. Eddie Yount, has just been brought to a conclusion with the awarding of athletic certificates to 50 officers and enlisted men.

Each of the four days of the school was divided into a lecture period in the morning and a period of practical work in teaching and playing games in the afternoon.

To stimulate interest, four squads were formed and on the last day a track meet was held.

Especially chosen for their ability to instruct in athletics, the following men attended the school: 1st Lt. J. Dhenizoch, 2nd Lt. Walter M. Biewerton, Lt. Robert A. Aranson, Sgt. Frank DeMarco, Sgt. Tony Lamarra, S/Sgt. George Maley, Sgt. Jack A. Thomson, T/Sgt. John V. Simpson, T/5 Robert Nelson, Pvt. Donald Loth, Lt. Hammond, 2nd Lt. Joseph Pavia, 2nd Lt. Derwin C. Tressler, 2nd Lt. Robert S. Blair.

T/Sgt. Sam Liberto, Sgt. Michael Vikertosky, S/Sgt. John L. Sabala, S/Sgt. Daniel Firden, T/5 Raymond Salkloff, S/Sgt. Stephen Haydusck, S/Sgt. Randolph D. Darden, Sgt. Franklin Robinson.

1st Lt. A. Lanfield, 2nd Lt. Lawrence J. Ferolie, 2nd Lt. Charles J. Roach, 2nd Lt. Warren Tracy, 2nd Lt. James E. Sonnie, Sgt. Jerome S. Katz, Cpl. Charles Roehrig, Pvt. Lawrence Cole, Sgt. Julius Emmi, T/4 Francis S. Dinoto.

2nd Lt. Plymount A. Rehel, 2nd Lt. R. H. Hager, 2nd Lt. John A. Larson, S/Sgt. Henry S. Royea, Cpl. Carl V. Dietrich, T/5 Sydney Goodman, T/5 Eddie Steinride, Sgt. James V. Adams, Pvt. Leo McVey, S/Sgt. Ted Sokolski and Pfc. Dice.

Recon Mechanics Nab Krauts With Wrenches, Blow-Torch

Curiosity may have killed a lot of cats, but it didn't have any harmful effects on a maintenance crew of the 92nd Recon. The crew, Cpl. Arden Watts, of Bloomsburg, Pa., Sgt. W. H. Kinnon, of Pleasantville, Ill., Staff Sgt. Elmer Messenger, of Bayard, W. Va., Cpl. Denzel Ridenaur, of Alton. Ill., and Sgt. William Billieu of Texarkana, Texas, were speeding along a recently captured stretch of road in an effort to catch up with their column when one of them noticed two strange vehicles following closely.

The crew snatched every available weapon including wrenches, jack-handles, and a blow-torch -- Messenger had the only gun -- and investigated. They found the trucks crammed to the tailboards with fleeing Nazis, who surrendered meekly enough, probably unnerved by the odd assortment of adapted "weapons" with which the maintenance men were menacing them.

Steady Bunk Fatigue Is Out For Hellcats

It's "routine military duty" for those GIs not interested in either the sports or educational programs, it was announced this week.

The I. and E. interest poll, now being tabulated, shows a wide range of choice in both phases, with an unexpected sprinkling of questionnaires totally negative.

Church Services

Catholic and Protestant Services will be held at the following times and places:

Protestant Services

Sunday 27 May -- Heidenheim, 1100; Geigen, 1330; Taxis, 0900; Lauingen, 1330; Dillingen, 1100; Wertingen, 0900; Ellwangen, 0900; Fachsenfeld, 1100; Aalen, 1100; Schnaitheim, 0900; Burgau, 1400; Krumbach, 1600; Augsburg, 1000; Zusmarshausen, 1400.

Catholic Services

Heidenheim, Sunday, 0830, Mass; Wednesday and Friday Mass, 1900; Wednesday and Friday, Confessions, 1800; The Church of St Mary.

Aalen, Mass, 1030, Sunday; Lauingen, Mass, 0915, Sunday; Wertingen, Mass, 1115; Ellwangen, Mass, 1600.

Final Group Goes Home On Rotation

The rotation program in the 12th ended with a flourish this week, as amazed Hellcats took off for the States after learning they were transferred outright to their various reception centers.

A total of 114 enlisted men and five officers have been sent home since February 12 under the different forms of rotation.

With the order to transfer the final quota, the AG department also was instructed to drop from the rolls men in all previous groups, none of whom has had time to return to the division.

While one tanker was returned under a special provision following the loss of two brothers in battle, most men were reinforcements with about 30 months' combat experience and are eligible for point discharges.


Field grade officers of the division and several visiting generals were guests of Maj. Gen. Roderick R. Allen, the division commander, at a supper party last Sunday night.

Among visiting generals were Maj. Gen. Milburn, XXI Corps commander, and two members of his staff, and the commanding generals of the 100th and 63rd Divisions and 13th FA Brigade.

Headquarters Company To Present Follies

A slapstick, musical show, following the "Hellzapoppin" pattern entitled the "Defense Platoon Follies" will be presented at the Concert Hall in Heidenheim at 2030 Tuesday, May 29, by members of the Division Headquarters Company. Everyone throughout the Division is invited to attend.

Music for the evening, according to Pfc Victor N. Thompson, director of the show and sax player in the band, will be furnished by a four man combination. Besides Thompson there will be Pvt. Bob Mackey, guitar, Pfc Lee Snow, drums, and T/5 L. Lepsch, piano.

Other members of the cast include Pfc. Harry Ford, Pfc. Ronald Jones, Bill Leal, Pfc. Duane Dixon. Pfc. Dever Good, T/5 Matty Matulis, T/5 Herbert R. Stein and Sgt. Charles Danton.

Puppet Strippers On Tap For CC-B Show

A strip-teaser and a fan-dancer are to be unveiled in the variety show expected to go into production about June 4 for all units of CCB.

Under the direction of Cpl. Louis J. Chambs, construction of stage and sets are being done by Pvt. Robert Ness and Pfc. Donald Quick. Sewing of costumes and draperies is the job of T/5 Orville Nestatte. All are members of CCB HQ Co.

Oh yes -- it will be a marionette show, and the dancers, as well as the jugglers, trapeze artists, skaters, and so on, will be of papier mache and wood, about 20 inches high.


A seven-act vaudeville show was presented recently by the 66th AIB at Ellwangen to an overflow GI crowd. Headlining the show was the singing of Ernest Harvey and the dancing of Claude Atkins, both from the 66th's Provisional Company.

The United Nations 17-day Food and Agriculture conference at Hot Springs, Va., was attended by delegates from 44 countries, representing an estimated 1,600,000,000 people, or three-fourths of the world's population.


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