Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Assault


As mortar rounds began impacting the eastern edge of Kreuzau, 2nd Lt. Stephen Hernandez and Cpl. John Myerson reached S/Sgt Brad Woodstock's tank, 'Catamount.' Woodstock was low in his cupola, head just above the top rim.

"What are you guys doing here?" Woodstock asked incredulously as the two infantrymen scrambled up onto his tank.

"Does your radio work, we can't reach our company or any higher echelon, we need artillery and we need it now!" Hernandez had to yell to be heard over the crash of mortar bomb explosions.

"Yeah my radio is good, where do you want the arty? On the edge of the Drover Heath?" Woodstock guessed.

"Yes, as much as you can from there to the eastern edge of the town!"

"Hang on, L.T.!" Woodstock dropped back down into the interior of the tank. After a few moments he popped up again. "Any friendlies in that area?"

"Negative, they're pulling back to the MLR in the center of town!" Hernandez answered.

Woodstock again dropped into the tank, no doubt because it was quieter than outside. Moments later the mortar fire stopped. Hernandez had a bad feeling about that.

"Arty's on the way in two minutes!" Woodstock popped out and informed Hernandez.

At that same moment, Myerson was tugging on the lieutenant's field jacket, Hernandez turned to look. Myerson handed him the walkie talkie while yelling, "It's Gentile, they've got Kraut assault guns to the south, Stump says they disabled one, but there seem to be two others, he needs tanks!"

Hernandez got on the radio, "Stump, you there? It's Hernandez!"

"Yeah Sir, I'm here, can we maybe get a tank or two down here? We're still on the outpost line. The Krauts are kinda milling around like they don't know what to do. I lost my f**king bazooka!" Stump yelled into the radio. It made Hernandez nervous that Sgt. Gentile sounded rattled.

He turned to Woodstock who nodded and said, "I heard you on the radio L.T., I've got Harrell and Boyd heading that way, Stump should be able to see Boyd right about now, it'll take Harrell another couple of minutes!" Sgt. Woodstock was back in the turret, on the radio.

Hernandez was on the radio again with Gentile, "You see a tank, great! That's Boyd, Harrell's right behind him, you've got tactical control down there Stump, those tanks are yours!"

Woodstock popped up again and yelled, "Arty says shot out! Can your guys spot?"

"Negative Woody, tell 'em to fire for effect, lay it on as fast as they can and as much as they can!"

Unteroffizier Manfred Klügmann, commanding 2nd Platoon, had his driver pull up next to the stopped StuG, the platoon commander of the three armored vehicles was out of his hatch, field glasses in hand, trying to see through the ground fog.

"Why have we stopped? We should be in the town by now!" Klügmann was screaming with frustration. He already had one of his halftracks off the road, mired in the mud. It was too warm to attempt to go off the road, even the halftracked vehicles couldn't handle this much mud. This was farm country and the fields were very soft. He needed this damned road to get his men into the town.

"An enemy Panzerjäger¹ team disabled my lead vehicle, I'm not going another inch until I know what's ahead of me! Damn it! What was that?" Obergefreiter Anton Krausse, commanding the StuG platoon ducked as he heard the crashing of artillery not far away. The fog was lit by the explosions which seemed to be east of Kreuzau. "Is that ours?" he yelled over at Klügmann.

"Nein! Sounds like Ami 105s!" Looking down into his vehicle he yelled, "Wolfgang, get on the radio to 1st Platoon, what's going on over there?"

At that moment Klügmann heard a muffled curse from the StuG commander, he looked over and saw that Krausse had disappeared into his vehicle. A moment later the big cannon on the StuG barked, nearly deafening Klügmann.

Sgt. Kenneth Boyd, commanding the Sherman named 'Box o' Nuts,' winced as something hit his tank and screamed off into the fog leaving behind a shower of sparks and a crease in the left side turret armor.

"Jesus! What the Hell was that?" He heard his loader scream over the intercom. Then he heard, "Damn it, I'm hit."

Pvt. Cody O'Neal was hit, the StuG round which had glanced off his side of the turret had caused a slim piece of steel to spall off the inside of the turret. That piece of steel was now protruding from his tanker's jacket. He could feel it in his arm, as he reached over and yanked the steel out, it stung like Hell. But wasn't really a big deal.

"You okay, Cody?" Pfc. Lawrence Bradley, the tank's gunner, yelled over at him.

"Yeah, yeah, just a big splinter, I'm okay, my jacket kinda slowed it down."

Boyd now saw a German StuG roughly 600 yards to their front, "Target assault gun! 600 yards, 12 o'clock!"

"Got it!" Bradley yelled, followed by, "ON THE WAY!" as he stomped on the pedal trigger on the floor of the turret basket.

Obergefreiter Anton Krausse screamed in agony as he felt his legs pierced by hot steel fragments. He pulled himself out of his hatch onto the roof of the vehicle. As he slapped the flames out on his trousers, his gunner, Gefreiter August Koch came up out of the same hatch. His head was bloody and he was shaking his head as if he was stunned, he managed to gasp, "Hubert's had it, the round came through next to his head, he doesn't have a head anymore. Dear God, we're all going to die out here."

"Calm yourself, August, where's Oskar?" Krausse turned to his right and saw the loader's hatch slam open. Panzerkanonier Oskar Albrecht came out of the hatch a moment later, carrying the vehicle's StG 44 machine pistol. Krausse realized that in his panic to get out of the vehicle, he had completely forgotten that weapon.

"She's starting to burn, Anton!" Though Koch was bleeding like a stuck pig from a gash on his forehead, he was struggling to get the driver's hatch open, though Panzeroberkanonier Hubert Hering was quite dead, Koch was not going to leave his friend to burn.

As Koch and Krausse pulled Hering's headless corpse from the driver's position, Albrecht was keeping watch with the StG44. They all nearly jumped out of their skins when the cannon on Gefreiter Viktor Hanneman's immobilized vehicle barked, not twenty meters in front of them.

This time 'Box o' Nuts' wasn't so lucky. The fog had shifted, revealing Boyd's tank to the StuG which Dumas and Flowers had disabled. The round which hit them had hit the pavement just in front of the tank, then ricocheted up into the belly of the tank.

Cpl. Jon Riggs, the driver, and Pvt. Anthony Potter, the assistant driver, were both badly wounded when the StuG round slammed into the tank's transmission and sprayed metal fragments throughout their compartment. The loader, Pvt. Cody O'Neal, was hit again, this time in the legs.

Tank commander Sgt. Kenneth Boyd and the gunner, Pfc. Lawrence Bradley, were untouched, Bradley was looking back at Boyd, his only way out of the tank was through the commander's hatch and Boyd was still standing there. Bradley could smell smoke.

"Sarge, what the Hell do we do?!?!" Bradley screamed.

"Man your f**king gun, Larry. Target, assault gun, two o'clock!!"

As Bradley leaned into his gunsight, he felt the turret moving, Boyd was using the commander's override, so Bradley sang out, "I got it Sarge, I got it!!" As the enemy vehicle came into his sights. He stomped on the floor trigger and screamed, "ON THE WAY!"

The last round ever fired by 'Box o' Nuts' screamed across the intervening space between the Sherman and the immobilized StuG IV commanded by Gefreiter Viktor Hanneman. That round hit the side of StuG 313 just above the road wheels on the left side of the vehicle.

Penetrating the thinner side armor, the 75 mm round went into the crew compartment of 313 and killed the gunner, Gefreiter Leo Grasshoff, and commander instantly, the round going through the commander's lower torso, with spalling from around where the round had penetrated shredding the gunner.

The round continued through the commander and hit the breech of the vehicle's cannon, shattering as it did so. Multiple fragments hit the loader, Panzerkanonier Michael Günther, crippling him. He was alive, fully conscious, but he couldn't move. A small fire began to burn inside the crew compartment near an ammunition rack.

The driver, Panzeroberkanonier Bodo Baumer, was wounded, but not badly. Unfortunately his hatch mechanism was now jammed, he tried desperately to get it open, then tried to crawl back through the main crew compartment to get out of one of the top hatches. As he struggled to move Grasshof's body, a high explosive round in the vehicle's ready ammunition stowage cooked off.

The resultant explosion killed the two remaining crew members and scattered pieces of 313 all over the road and the fields next to it.

"Where the Hell is Sgt. Cruz?" 2nd Lt. Hernandez was now on the MLR² taking stock of the situation. His platoon sergeant, S/Sgt Jack Wilson, had done a head count. Most of 1st and 3rd squads had checked in, 1st squad had three men missing, 3rd had two missing and one wounded man. Both squad leaders, Katz and Gentile, were in the position, getting their men ready for the coming attack. Sgt. Cruz's 2nd Squad had six men missing, including the squad leader, Sgt. Enrique Cruz.

Cpl. John Chapman looked at his lieutenant, he and Privates McBride, Higgins, Perkins, Webb, and Stanley were the only men from 2nd Squad to make it back to the MLR. Sgt. Cruz and Privates O'Neill, Genovese, Adkins, Grant, and Hudson were nowhere to be seen.

Cpl. Chapman gasped out, it had been a frantic run back to the MLR, "Sir, Sgt. Cruz ordered us back here, he said he wasn't running from the goddamned Germans, he ran from them in North Africa, he wasn't running again. He took the rest of the guys off to the left, said he was going to hit the Krauts in the flank."

"Hit them with what for Chrissakes?!" Hernandez asked.

"L.T., they've got Grant's grenade launcher, Higgins and Stanley had a bazooka and ammo for it." Pvt. Frank Genovese piped up, he had wanted to go with Cruz but had been ordered to stick with the rest of the squad's B.A.R. team.

"All right, damn it, Chapman, take your guys over to that building, set up the B.A.R. on the second floor. From that corner you can see down both streets which kinda go east. Got it?"

Chapman led his men over to that post as the rest of the platoon settled in to firing positions in some substantial, though badly damaged buildings along the west side of a small town square.

"If they come Top, they gotta come this way." Hernandez said as he settled himself behind a pile of shattered masonry.

"Yeah L.T., remember the f**king Alamo."

The attack of Klügmann's 2nd Platoon was stalled, two knocked out StuGs were now completely blocking the road. Reluctantly he ordered his men to dismount. They would advance on the village on foot. Hopefully the fog would cover their approach. He noticed that it was fully light out now, the clouds were still thick, and low as near as he could tell, but he wanted to get into the town and close with the Americans before the sky cleared and the Jabos showed up!

Leutnant Sauer was further to the rear than he cared to be, but as a company commander he needed to take a broader view of things. Right now the reports that were coming in were mostly confused, and mostly bad.

Klügmann's platoon had had to dismount and was heading in on foot, two of Krausse's StuGs were out of action, Krausse himself was missing. No one had seen him since his vehicle had exploded. The StuGs had killed one Sherman, Klügmann had reported seeing it burning on the edge of Kreuzau.

But what concerned Sauer now was that he had heard nothing from Haasen's 1st Platoon. In fact, after the Ami artillery barrage he had heard nothing from his 3rd (Heavy) Platoon either. He looked to the west and to the southwest with a great deal of frustration, the fog from the melting snow was still thick, though a light wind was starting to move it in spots. Fortunately the freezing drizzle had stopped, it almost felt like spring.

"Peter!" He yelled for his driver, also a sniper, to bring the Kübelwagen up, "Spieß, you're with me. Christoph, radio still functioning?"

"Off and on, Sir, the atmospherics are bad today. Short range is fine, long range is in and out."

"All right lads, let's load up, Peter, head for 3rd Platoon's position."

Sgt. Enrique Cruz had four riflemen in the basement of a ruined building perhaps twenty yards behind the east facing outpost line. He and Pvt. Marc Grant were forward of that line, in a roadside ditch with a bazooka. Cruz would handle the bazooka, Grant would load. Grant had actually volunteered to load for Cruz.

"You hear that?" Cruz murmured, "Kraut halftrack, coming down, real careful like. Be ready to load another round, then we head back to that hole beside the house we checked out. Quickly!"

"Gotcha Sarge." Grant was nervous, but having seen Cruz in action, the man had to have ice in his veins, Grant didn't feel nearly as bad as he had last night, shivering in a ruined building, nothing to eat but cold C-Rations, no fire, water in his canteen tasting like metal, not water.

Now here he was, with his crazy Puerto Rican sergeant, waiting to kill a German halftrack. He tensed, there it was, nosing out of the fog perhaps twenty yards away. Cruz shouldered the stovepipe and squeezed it's trigger.

The bazooka round whooshed out towards the target, hitting it in the middle of the armor plate in front of the engine. The rocket burned through that armor in mere fractions of a second, destroyed the engine, blowing off the hood plates as it did so. The halftrack clattered to a stop and began to burn.

When the anti-tank rocket hit the halftrack and blew the engine out, Obergefreiter Eduard Simon and Grenadier Uwe von Weber, who was driving the vehicle, were both killed instantly by fragments of the engine blowing into the driver's compartment. The man on the MG 42 on the roof of the vehicle, Grenadier Hans Egner, was badly wounded in both legs by those same fragments. The squad leader of 1st Platoon's 1st Squad, Obergefreiter Heinz Leonhart, was also badly injured when a piece of the vehicle's dashboard flew up and crushed his throat. He died choking as his squad abandoned the now burning halftrack.

Obergrenadier Michael Lingenfelter, the squad's assistant leader, quickly rallied the survivors of the squad. Due to the fog, he couldn't see a damned thing to his front, nor very far to either flank. "Werner, run back and report to Feldwebel Haasen, tell him the road is blocked, we'll have to go in on foot, go!" Grenadier Werner Siegmund scrambled to the rear to carry out his orders, hoping that the halftrack behind them could see him and not run him over!


Leutnant Sauer's car rolled out of the fog onto a scene of utter chaos. Two of the 3rd Platoon's halftracks, a mortar carrier and one of the Stummels, were burning wrecks. The Drillings were nowhere to be seen, and most of the men had run back into the cover of the trees when the American artillery bombardment had began. They had stayed there when the guns had stopped.

Sauer found the platoon commander, Oberfeldwebel Ernst Mayer, propped up next to the wreck of an infantry halftrack, both of his legs were crushed and bloody, the left one turned at an unnatural angle at the knee. It was clear the man was dying, Sauer knelt next to him.

"Ernst, what happened?"

The man blinked his eyes as if to help him focus, he was in a great deal of pain, in addition to his crushed legs, he could feel that something inside of him didn't feel quite right.

"Herr Leutnant, the Ami artillery started hitting short of our position while we were hitting the forward edge of town with our mortars, they..." he grimaced, with his left hand he reached for his lower tunic, trying to pull it down to look presentable to his company commander.

"Easy Ernst, take your time."

"As soon as we had expended our rounds, the Americans walked their rounds right on top of us. The infantry were nearly untouched, except for the poor bastards who were in this one." As he said that, he tapped the halftrack's road wheels which were closest to him.

"I think this was Wolfram's vehicle, direct hit by what had to be a 10 cm round or better, killed everyone aboard." Mayer coughed, a trickle of blood ran down one side of his mouth.

"A bunch of my boys ran away, Sir. They're good boys, but this was their first combat. They're not tough like the lads I had in Russia and Italy. Good boys, but green, damn it, Sir, they're so green." Mayer closed his eyes.

Sauer thought the old Oberfeldwebel was gone, but Mayer opened his eyes again and said, "Don't be too hard on 'em Sir, they're good boys, good lads, just need a little..."

Mayer slumped to his left, unmoving, eyes still open. Sauer checked, but his 3rd Platoon commander was dead, his little command shattered around him.

"Sir?" Hauptfeldwebel Klaus-Peter Keller, the Spieß, tried to get Sauer's attention. "We need to get up to Haasen's platoon, lead them in. I think his attack has stalled, I hear no firing to our front."

Sauer stood, he took off his cap and ran one sleeve of his camouflage jacket over his face. Mayer had just joined 5th Company, but Sauer had taken an instant liking to the man. Now he was gone, gone like so many others he had known.


Sauer turned to bark at the man, had he no feelings, no time to spare for a dead comrade, but it wasn't Keller who spoke, it was his radioman, Grenadier Christof Schmidt.

"What is it Schmidt?" Sauer snapped.

Schmidt handed Sauer the radio handset, "It's Major von Lüttwitz, the Americans have crossed the river in force north of here. South of Düren, they're headed for the Rhine, Sir, there's nothing to stop them."

As he took the handset, Sauer looked at Keller, who nodded and went forward to find Haasen.

"Sauer here." he spoke into the handset.

"Manfred, Jürgen, the Amis are headed for the Rhine with strong tank and infantry forces, retaking Kreuzau is meaningless now, fall back to the Rhine, fast as you can my boy, fast as you can. Von Lüttwitz, out."

Sauer handed the handset back to Schmidt, "Radio the other platoons, have them fall back to last night's assembly area. We're retreating. Again."

"Jawohl, Herr Leutnant." Schmidt walked back to the Kübelwagen as he radioed the other platoons. He sensed that his commander wanted to be alone at the moment.

"Sir, I've got Cruz on the walkie talkie!" Myerson handed the small radio to Hernandez.

"Sgt. Cruz, where the Hell have you been? Over."

"Sir, the Krauts are falling back, don't know why, but they are heading back the way they came. Over."

"John, get over to Woodstock, see if he's got contact with..."

He noticed a man in tanker's coveralls come jogging down the street, he recognized the man, it was Pfc. Roger Blaisdell, Woodstock's assistant driver.

"L.T.! S/Sgt Woodstock says to tell you that there's been a major crossing of the Roer north of us. They've got a pontoon bridge set up not three miles from here. You guys wanna ride on our tanks? He's already radioed the tracks on the other side of the river, those five guys were shitting their pants wondering what was going on down here. They'll meet us at the bridge."

"Where is this bridge Private, did Woodstock mention any place names?" Hernandez was already pulling out his map. S/Sgt Wilson took the opportunity to start getting the platoon assembled in the square along with the surviving tanks. Looks like there wouldn't be an Alamo after all.

"Sir, S/Sgt Woodstock said the place was called Rollsdorf, or something like that. Can I get back to my tank now, Sir?" It was obvious that Blaisdell didn't like being out in the open.

Hernandez checked his map, didn't see any Rollsdorf, ah, here it is, Rölsdorf. "Yeah, take off Blaisdell, tell your sergeant I'll be up to see him in ten minutes. We'll get everyone assembled and get the Hell out of here."

As the platoon got ready to leave Kreuzau, Hernandez thought to himself, "Yup, no Alamo, no Battle of Nieuwpoort³ either." Hernandez, far more conversant with Spanish history than with American, thought both historical references were apt, though he knew more about the latter. The bottom line was that his platoon would live to see another day.

Now to get his men to the Rhine, then across that river, then maybe, just maybe, they could all go home.

¹ Anti-tank team
² Main Line of Resistance
³ In the last stages of the Battle of Nieuwpoort, the Spanish regiment commanded by Alonso Maiolichino was refused surrender by the Dutch who held them accountable for previous massacres of prisoners of war. The unit consequently made its last stand and was wiped out. (Source)

Link to all of The Chant's fiction.


  1. Shifting fortunes of war, Sarge. Fluid and confused are appropriate to the situation. Good initiative on the part of the NCO's.
    Arty made the difference too, as it usually does.
    First comment I've been able to post in several days
    Boat Guy

  2. Nothing like fog to turn total chaos into totally complete chaos.

    1. Things are bad enough when you can see what's going on, throw in fog and things get scary!

    2. Nothing like fog to add to the fog (of war) and make everything really... foggy.

  3. Box o' Nuts is junk, with a shattered transmission, but what about the crew? Three wounded, and two intact, at last report, and the smell of smoke as they fired that last round. Did they make it out? I know, I know...we'll get a better tally on the body count next installment...but I can't help but wonder if those guys are still out there bleeding, or burning. Damned near too real to not become emotionally invested, Sarge!

    1. In the confusion I kinda lost track of Box o' Nuts myself, but I'll follow up on that in the next installment.

      2nd Platoon had a number of guys missing as well, we don't know what happened to them yet. Where's Judd Maxwell's .30 cal team, there is much to be sorted out.

    2. Just another aspect of the realism you weave into your tale, Sarge. Anyone who's been mixed up in that kind of cluster f*ck is very familiar with the necessary after battle assessment, figuring out the who, where, how and why the fs of it all. Having been a squad leader, it was just natural impulse for me, seeing the officers' rush to rendezvous at the bridge, to stop and say, "hang on L T, we've got guys we gotta try to account for yet!" Yeah, there are some officers that pay attention to the small details, but more often it seems they're so focused on the 'big picture' that the lesser nuts and bolts of organization completely elude them. That's what the NCOs are for, as you know, to keep 'Command' in tune with all the working parts...and keep the butter bars from sticking their heads up at the wrong time, or shooting themselves in the foot. (Full time job sometimes!)

      One or two shitbird privates under you, and a number cruncher war college strategist over you can really keep things interesting. Most important guy to have good coms with? The radioman. When the L T loses his marbles, the guy running his radio will either add to the confusion, or will help to sort it out. The unit can still function without a working lieutenant, but not without a functional radioman.

    3. All it really takes is one shitbird private (airman in my case) to take up most of your time.

      But yes, know what you mean. The guy with the radio is very important.

  4. The literal fog of war contributes greatly to the figurative - whoever adapts best will have a better outcome.
    As Patrick just said, emotionally invested, indeed! The presence of the Stug's had me worried, glad they were taken care of.
    One typo, Sarge, when Cruz was talking to Grant: "Be ready to load another road..." should be "round" I think

    1. Fixed that, good eye.

      StuGs are good in defense, in the attack though they're somewhat limited. Make the fields nice and muddy under the snow, keeps the vehicles road-bound. The StuGs could handle it, but they were there to support the infantry in halftracks.

      Sauer really underestimated that single American infantry platoon, his own men were inexperienced and the fog just added to the confusion. I wonder how many of the men in 5th Company are holding back, not wanting to die in what they know in their hearts is a losing effort?

      We shall see...

    2. Well, in OAFS' defense, the roads sound pretty crappy, so... load another road...

  5. Another fine installment, and as always, too short. Just want to keep reading and reading. Glad I got to read Lex's Rhythms series all at once after the fact. This waiting for the next "episode" is sometimes frustrating at best. It does keep us coming back though. Keep it up, you're doing good.

    1. That frustration you feel? All part of the realism. We're getting it the way those guys did out in the field, brief periods of intense conflict, in between extended periods of routine, and boredom. The down time, the waiting and wondering what's going to happen next(and when!), has probably driven as many people nuts as has the actual combat. Easier to teach soldiers how to fight than it is to teach them how to wait for the fighting to begin.

    2. Patrick - Hours of boredom punctuated with seconds of intense terror!

  6. Another riveting account. I, too, am emotionally invested in these soldiers.

  7. Yikes. It's like the final battle in the movie "Excaliber" with forces swishing in and out of fog banks and he who hits first usually wins.

    One thing the halftracks on either side did not have was overhead cover from splinters, so the American proximity fuses that the cannon cockers loved to use would have played merry hob with any of the -251s, whether they be plain Jane troop carriers or AAA units or what.

    And trying to get out of a burning StuG? Not happening. There's exposed ammo everywhere in those things, and the hatches are not people friendly.

    Just hope the field police aren't right behind the Germans, else there will be a larger toll on them.

    Confusion, fire, fog, death from above. Already had the flood which knocked out the original bridge. The only thing missing was an unmarked mine field. Or one of those awesomely pretty moments as someone stumbles into an abandoned rose garden or something.

    Great job. Suspense... it's killing me.... Arrrrgh...

    Any word from juvat? Is he alive or is he a corpse-cicle?

    1. Juvat is alive and well, already has his Monday post locked and loaded.

  8. Sarge The realism is such I think your Muse is a veteran from one side or the other!

    1. I read way too much and have a vivid imagination.

  9. Aaarrggh.......forth and back, forth and back....who's left alive?!? Like Mary, the suspense......where's the Pepto? Good writing Sarge.

  10. I know, this is an Army story, by and Air Force guy, but we sailors have a fitting term.
    Which means "well done." Again.

    And once more, your use of images adds immensely, and is worth the time and effort it takes to find them to fit (or sometimes drive) the story line.
    John Blackshoe.

    1. With three Navy kids (and two Navy sons-in-law), I'm familiar with the term. Equivalent to aviation's Sierra Hotel.

      Thanks JB!

  11. Great installment! Waiting (im)patiently for the next.

  12. This is the start of Operation Grenade? With the lineup of Ninth Army, and British-Canadian forces, when Grenade became Blockbuster, we could see Kowalski again!

  13. Another hit outta the park, Sarge! I read it, and it's almost like a movie in my head....

  14. And so the battle passes to another field and the sacrifice of all seems for naught. The wastage of war.

    Excellent depiction of what must be the confusion of battle.

  15. Brutal stuff Sarge, but good writing. Being stuck in a halftrack or tank as it cooks off or just burns has to be one of the more tragic ways to die in a war. Long, slow, painful, while you panic until you're dead.

    Sorry to put that horrific image in everyone's head, but remember that war is definitely hell.

    1. That's the way it was, trying to sanitize it is futile.

  16. Hi, spent formative youth at Amvets Post 38, Walter J. Fufidio, Silver Star WWI. All the Dad's were WWII vets, Grunts, GIreene, Flyboys and Squids. Learned a lot of weird things when they were willing to talk. Like how to kill with a knife, windage compensation, spotting Jap booby traps and how to make your own, intricacies of the Norden bomb sight, knots, use of an entrenching tool for other than digging holes, shelter halves, gas mask pouch makes a great grenade holder, how to carry a load on your body, fire starting, map reading, how to dig a latrine and where, fields of fire and suppression, water proofing your gear, cleaning a weapon, making a bed, caring for shoes and boots, known distance estimation, how not to be seen, cover versus concealment, M1918 Browning and Ma Duece - Queen of the battle field, how to fire a Thompson, BAR uses in close jungle settings etc.

    One comment on the tank firing, we were told that one shot one kill (which seems to happen a lot in your stories) wasn't how it was. As relayed to us kids it was send one and beat cheeks to next position to send the next. You didn't sit still for them to shoot back. Also use of the M2 for infantry suppression.

    Some of the teachers: Mr Mueller was with Patton's 3rd army as a Sherman loader, Uncle Sal 82nd Airborne was with the first group across the Remagan, Uncle Marty was Iwo fifth wave, Uncle Al was a B-17 bombardier, Cousin Red was at Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Okinawa and Dad retook the Philippines with MacArthur. All gone now.

    Spin Drift

    1. It is fiction, not a primer on tank warfare.

      Sounds like you grew up around the same type of folks I did. They are sadly missed.

    2. One thing that has amaze me with tanks even if most of them were not one shot one kill.

      So many hits could be at 1000 yards without the aid of computers

      It was some thing though as a baby boomer every mail that I knew in the 50s was a World War II vet.

      Dad 82nd airborne. Line uncle in the Navy on the Murmansk run and then later in the south pacific. Another uncle in the Marines in the Pacific station Donna cruiser.

      Even the one and I had that everybody said was a bitch volunteered in the WACs.

      Remember them? They were still in when I was in in the early 70s but the end was near.

      Then when I was in as a male you were either 4F, in the military or in Canada.

    3. Good optics is the key to getting hits at long range.

  17. Freaking spellcheck. Well I got to get to sleep

    1. It isn't spellcheck that's killing you, it's autocorrect. I always turn that off.


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