With the 11th Armored from the Battle of the Bulge to VE Day
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: Indiana University Press
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Map 4. First and Second Drives to the Rhine River: February 7 to ...
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When J. Ted Hartman became a driver in an M4 Sherman tank in the 11th Armored Division, he joined a relatively new branch of the U.S. Army. While the army was forward-looking in certain areas before World War II, this was not the case with tanks or armor tactics. In 1919, in the drawdown of U.S. forces following World War I, the Tank Corps was abolished. The National Defense Act the next year assigned the tanks...
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I enlisted in the Army Reserves on May 18, 1943, a few days after graduating from high school with the plan to enroll in college and at least begin my higher education. Just eight weeks later, on July 22nd, I was called to active duty. From the day I entered the army until I was discharged, I made it a habit to write a letter to my...
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As a newcomer to the process of writing a book, I must first say faithfully participated in the reading and re-reading of the manuscript over the Internet. As a best-selling author, Wayne knows many of the pitfalls new writers encounter and is willing to share them with those of us who are less knowledgeable. Throughout the authoring...
1 The Army Beckons
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...was at war and the United States was deeply involved in that war.It was an accepted fact that every male would be called into one oft he armed services upon reaching the age of 18. Early that year, all of the boys in my class were invited to take the A-12/V-12 examination given by the army and the navy. When those of us taking the examination scored above a certain level, we would qualify to...
2 Basic Training at Camp Roberts
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Camp Roberts, California, where it pulled onto a siding that took usdirectly into the camp, arriving at 6 a.m. Army trucks met us andtook us to the barracks of the 51st Field Artillery Battalion. The first part of the process for us was to be interviewed to see if we had any special skills that would determine where we might be assigned. I...
3 ASTP at the University of Oregon
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...reached Oakland, we swung our duffel bags (which held all of our earthly possessions) onto our backs, climbed off the train, and set out to end the railroad car that we were to board for the next segment of our trip. When we asked for directions, we were directed out to the freight yard.
4 Camp Cooke
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...sergeants (cooks) to be in charge of our entire group. The mess ser -geants set up kitchens in two baggage cars and fed us our meals enroute. We even had a doctor on board who conducted daily sick call...
5 Going Abroad
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...California, for six months. After this period of intense training, bivouacs, combat simulation, and several inspections by high-ranking generals, the 11th Armored Division was declared ready for overseas movement. Somehow we had become melded together...
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...day, so several of us went to the village church for the morning ser-vice. The church was a handsome stone building dating back to thethirteenth century and had been consecrated by Thomas � Becket. The pipe organ was hand pumped and nicely tuned. We enjoyed the Church of England service and noted the similarities between it and the Episcopal service...
7 Forced March across Northern France
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While on board the LST, we were told that our orders were to go to L’Orient and St. Nazaire, cities on the southwest coast of France, where we were to contain or eliminate an isolated pocket of German troops. Since these cities were on the Atlantic coast, the Germans had been able to bring in necessary supplies by ship and thus hold...
8 Entry into Battle
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Once in the forest at Poix Terran, near Sedan, France, we assumed responsibility for guarding the Meuse River from Verdun to Givet, a distance of 160 miles. Although there was a theoretical battle line between the German and Allied troops from Alsace in the south to Holland in the north, sizable distances along this line existed in which there was no active fighting. One such area was that segment along the Meuse River to which we were assigned...
9 The Ambush at Noville
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...Belgium, we were ordered back to the battlefront on January 12th, 1945. By this time,the battle line was slightly north of Bastogne, not far from where it had been when we were relieved nine days earlier. Our orders were to move north to the village of Villeroux. There had been more snow and freezing rain and the roads had become extremely icy, so our tanks were sliding in all directions...
10 First and Second Drives to the Rhine River
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...west of Bastogne, for a rest. After three days, we were ordered to the northeast of Noville in a forest that had previously been occupied by the Germans. It was evident that they had been there for some time from the spent German rifle shells and the foxholes. The...
11 Bloody Easter
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...historic old city. We were staying in beautiful homes, as nice as many in the United States, and had discovered fine wine cellars in many of them, so we were in no rush to leave. The time came, them though, for us to relocate closer to the point where we were to cross the river and establish a foothold on the east bank. This group included elements of an infantry division who crossed...
12 Bayreuth to Grafenwohr
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...enthusiasm, as we could see the continuing collapse of the German army. We moved south thirty-three miles, a shorter gain than usual, and stopped in a roadside field for the night. After a peaceful stay, we started a drive toward Pfersdorf, meeting only light resistance.
13 Release of Concentration Camp Prisoners
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...out by 8 a.m., but suddenly we were told there would be a delay of several hours. By now we were in east central Germany, where we were meeting more resistance. Often we had such delays and rarely knew why. We accepted the fact that it was usually for a good reason.
14 The Fierce Battle for the City of Regen
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...and served a delicious breakfast of French toast. The mess section was composed of four men who rode in a two-and-a-half-ton GMC truck with their stoves and equipment. They were armed with only light weapons and passed dangerous spots many times to bring hot food to 140 men in Company B. They deserve great credit for their dedication and fearlessness.
15 The Intensity of the Drive Continues
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...through us to take the lead. We were happy to see them, as this meant that we would be able to give up the point. It also meant that the engineers had �nished constructing a bridge over the Regen River, so supplies and other support systems could come through. Many signs pointed to an approaching VE Day, and we were getting anxious. However, there was no way we could discontinue our offensive drives until we received the cease-fire...
16 Mauthausen, Gusen I, and Gusen II
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where we joined the other companies of our battalion. We were assigned houses to stay in, which meant the inhabitants had to move out. Our chaplain arrived, so we had church services in the local Protestant church. In contrast to the low attendance at Camp Cooke and in England, a surprisingly large group was there. As we were coming back from services, guns started going off. We were fearful that some sort of counterattack was starting.
17 Mass Surrender and Death March
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...were to accept the surrender of an entire German army corps coming from the East that had refused to obey orders from our command headquarters to surrender to the Russians. They were determined to be taken prisoner by the American army. When we reached Gallneukirchen, we made... a huge circle in the same �eld on the outskirts of town that we had used previously. We placed our tanks around the periphery and put the Germans in the center of this circle. This arrangement allowed
18 Adjusting to Peacetime
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...from the 11th Armored Division to an unattached tank battalion—that is, not part of an armored division—after being in Kremsmunster just three weeks was typical of this confusion. And, of all things, the battalion to which we were transferred was quartered in the barracks at Linz from which we had just moved. One of the nice features about Linz was that they had a ¤ne municipal gym where we could take showers...
19 Waiting to Go Home
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...make it succeed. There had not been a need for anything like this forover two generations, so experience was lacking. The decision from a higher command to transfer eight of us from the 11th Armored Division to an unattached tank battalion—that is, not part of an armored division—after being in Kremsmunster just three weeks was typical of this confusion. And, of all things, the battalion to which we were transferred was quartered in the barracks at Linz from which we had just...
20 Belgium Remembers: Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge
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My wife and I were invited to attend by Docteur Jean Lewalle, a friend we had met at several international orthopaedic surgery meetings. He and his wife Nicole hosted our visit, and we stayed with them at their home outside Brussels. Jean was 14 years old and living in Liege, Belgium, during the World War II battles...
21 Belgium Revisited, May 2000: Belgian Memorial Day
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...that this tank was from one of the battalions of the 4th. Recently, historians from the Cercle d’Histoire de Bastogne studied the location of the field from which the tank was recovered and found that the only American division that had been in battle in that particular area was the 11th Armored. A ceremony was planned for Belgian Memorial Day, May 30, 2000, to dedicate the tank to its correct identity. I decided to go to Bastogne for the event...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 21 b&w photos, 7 maps
Publication Year: 2003