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Company D, by John Anderson

History of Company "B", 707 Tank Battalion


Howard K. Thomson

Written 6 January, 1990


FORT KNOX Company "B" started out as company "H" of the 81st Armored Regiment of the 5th Armored Division, on August 28, 1941, stationed at Fort Knox. There were a few men in the company then and the details of the day was guard duty, hauling coal to the company streets to the coal boxes.

The tents were of the pyramid type, four men to a tent, with a potbelly stove in the center of the room. The coal was not the best, as it would soot up the chimneys and send sparks out on the canvas, burning holes in the tent. We were always on guard against fires.

It was while stationed here that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The guard was doubled that night, in the middle of the U.S.A., Why? But that is the Army.

The daily routine was some tank driving, K.P. duty, and a detail to fire the boilers, so there was hot water in the mornings for the men to wash, shower, and shave.

Some of the men got home on furloughs, but mostly marking time till February. The tents were cold during the winter months, and the canvas cots would let cold air up from the bottom. So we put newspapers down first then our shelter-half, then our blankets, in order to keep warm.

February came and we loaded on a train for Camp Cooke, California. We had guards ride on the flatcars with our equipment and vehicles, Two men rode each flatcar. We were told to carry our gas masks along. We soon found out why, when we would go through the tunnels in the mountains the black smoke and soot would almost choke you to death.

Each morning we would dismount and do our calisthenics in some town or other on the way. We had a roundabout way of going, never knew which town was next.

Outside of Denver, Colorado, about fifty miles up in the mountains, the coupling came apart or broke, and the train was without heat. It got cold in the coaches, but the poor men who were on guard outside almost froze to death in the snow, which was about four or five feet deep.

We were there almost till morning, when an engine came and made the necessary repairs.

After in the mountains, we came to a town of Roseville, California. The grass was green and the flowers were in bloom, we thought this was the place for camp. But after our exercise, we were on our way again. We finally reached the west coast to the ocean, then south. Finally coming to Camp Cooke, the wind was blowing and the sand flying, but it was better than the mud of Fort Knox, Kentucky.


The barracks were not finished yet, open areas. We spent time cleaning window in the barracks while waiting for our complement of men and equipment to arrive. We only had wheel vehicles and light tanks. The motor pools were finished but the maintenance sheds were without shelves, so we salvaged lumber from the trash dump in order to have a place to put our tools. After we got our quota of men and equipment, our training started, which was cleaning of the guns, vehicles, tank driving, and firing of the guns on the firing range.

We had Lt. Ball, which was a retired Regular Army Officer, assigned to our company. He was giving calisthenics, and he asked if we would rather go on a road march instead, which all of the men agreed. So he marched us out past the Battalion Headquarters to a road that was about a mile long, lined with trees. When we got on the road he said "Double-Time", and off we went. About half way down, he said "Pour it on". He could run like a deer. The rest came struggling in later to the end of the road. When all of the men were there he said "Fall-IN". The same thing going back.

The next morning he asked "Anyone want the road march", no one was in favor. He was an older man, but in much better shape than the men of the company.

It was a damp climate next to the ocean, we changed to our summer outfits in July. Then in August we loaded on the train again for the Desert Maneuvers.

While at Camp Cooke many hours were spent training the men to drive the wheeled vehicles first and then the light tanks, one group after another. The last would be a road march, both day and night. How we got through without leaving the roads at night with just blackout lights on the tanks.

While here a Submarine was to have fired on to the coast of California, near Santa Barbara. We sent our light tanks out with only the thirty caliber guns mounted, the thirty-seven mm guns were not installed yet. It was a wild goose chase. But the men got to drive on the highways.

The barracks were blackened out at night from then on until we left. We had outpost to guard at night and the only way to get there was by half track. One night the guard thought they heard a noise like maybe the Japs were landing, only to find out it was the Sea Lions.


When arriving on the desert near Rice, California, the temperature was like 120 degrees, one could fry an egg on the deck of the tanks. We could only fill the gas tanks three fourths full, as the gas would boil in the tanks. Never lost any vehicles due to fire. The first days were spent laying around in the shade of the flat top buildings or under our tents, in order to get used to the temperature.

We had many convoys through the desert, mock battles and scrimmages with the light tanks at first. We had water bags made of canvas, which we hung from the outside of the vehicles and the air movement could cool the water.

Due to the sand, the air cleaners on the engines would suck in sand, and after about two or three hours, the air cleaners would have to be cleaned and new oil put in the reservoir of the air cleaners. Sand would also get in the clutch and they couldn't shift gears. We were always cleaning out the sand.

Due to the high temperatures, the men in the tank could stand the heat until we stopped, then they would have to leave the vehicles, as there was no air movement through the vehicles.

At first we had light tanks, but after some time, we started to draw Medium tanks. All of the maintenance Sgts. and the Crew chiefs met in the Desert Center to learn about the operation of the medium tanks, later they would relay the information to the mechanics.

It was not all training, as we would have lizard races on our time off. The race was of two boards about ten or twelve feet long, set in the sand about a foot apart. We would put a string with a number on their tails. The lizards were harmless. We then bet on which one would cross the finish line first. The darn things would almost cross the line then turn and go the other way. If you ever saw a bunch of men bending over and yelling, you knew it was another lizard race.

On one convoy we made, thinking it would be another convoy out in the middle of the desert, we traveled towards Blythe, California. When we came over the mountain, it was all green down in the valley, due to the irrigation of the crops from the water out of the Colorado river. What a sight after being in the sand of the desert. We stopped at the river bank and went in for a good swim and bathed in the water.

The maintenance crew traveled in a Half Track, and the sand and rocks raised havoc with the tracks, we had trouble with that all of the time.

The engineers built a pontoon bridge across the Colorado River and one of the companies were to cross it. But that was a disaster, as the current was so swift when the tanks got on the bridge, it tilted and dumped the tanks in the river. They had divers come from California to swim down and hook cables on the tanks. It took a long time before they got them back on shore and the men inside drowned as they were trapped inside.

While on the desert, many engines of different kinds were used in the tanks. In the light tanks we had Guiberson diesel aircraft engines. They were okay if kept at full throttle, if lugged occasionally they would blow the cylinder head, also the Seven Cylinder Continental aircraft engine.

In the medium tanks, the Wright Nine Cylinder aircraft engine, too would blow a cylinder head if the engine was not turned over before starting, due to oil seeping down in the cylinder. The engine would perform the best at full throttle. If it was idled for a time, the spark plugs would foul up and then have to be replaced.

General Motors twin six diesel had less horsepower than the aircraft engines, but would perform much better. But on the desert the sand would get in the air cleaners much faster, due to the fact that diesel engines use more air than gas engines. We also had Five Dodge engines mounted in a circle, performance was great, but too much adjusting to keep the engines synchronized, so all would pull together. Later we had a Ford V8 with six inch stroke and six inch pistons, developing 500 horsepower. It was about the best engine so far, but they would sure guzzle the gas.

We trained on the desert until October of 1942, then we loaded the vehicles and equipment on the train for Camp Cooke, California. When we left there the temperature had dropped down to almost frosty conditions in the mornings. It was good to be back in the barracks again, after sleeping out in the open on the sand.


We had a Hollywood film crew come out and take pictures or film of the tanks. We thought it was for a training film, to be used to show how to camouflage the tanks in the bivouac areas. But when we were in England, the war was going on in North Africa, and after the show at night, they would show News Flashes of what was going on at the front. We thought that was great, until one night the film was of the tank convoy in California at Camp Cooke coming up from the beach to the barracks through the scrub oaks. Everyone yelled "CAMP COOKE". After that we didn't stay for anymore news flashes from the front. Our Government sure could put out a lot of Propaganda.

Our training was much the same tank driving, cleaning of the arms, and firing the different guns, and many inspections until February of 1943. We again loaded on the train for "Tennessee Maneuvers". Before moving to Tennessee the men were allowed to go home on furloughs.


On arrival in Tennessee, there was snow on the ground. We were hauled out to the woods, and told to bed down for the night. The next day we put up tents made of two shelter halves, all in a line to form a row along each side of the company street. It was cold sleeping on the ground. So the next day men carried straw from a nearby field and put that down under our bedding on the ground in order to keep warm. That lasted till inspection, and we were told to get rid of it, the officers had to do the same. Many caught colds and some were sent to the hospital.

Later on we were on three day problems, consisting of road marches, and many mock battles. We had a chicken fry before leaving. One of the officers and a couple of the men went out to some farms and bought fryers, they brought back a couple of crates of live chickens. We were divided into groups, some to kill, others had to pull the feathers while others had to clean and dress them. It turned out O.K., but some of the men had never seen a chicken with it's head pulled off, and it would flop and jump around. From there we would bivouac at different places in the area. One was what we called "tick hill", at Shelbyville and Readyville. The ticks seemed to crawl on the lighter skin people more than the darker ones.

When we cleaned the vehicles, we drove them right onto the streams, as the bottoms were of solid rock. If the streams were deep enough, the men would go for a swim after cleaning their vehicle. The bridges were not the best as the tanks were very heavy.

One night-march we were to cross the Cumberland River at midnight, on a pontoon bridge, dark as pitch, and when our company came to cross, they wanted to see how much the bridge would settle. Our vehicles were only a foot apart. We were told to unlace our shoes and unbutton our coveralls, in case something should go wrong. They had Naval Divers there to rescue us in case of an emergency. What a sigh of relief when we got to the opposite bank, nothing happened, but the bridge sank eight inches.

We were on our way again the next morning, when a tank blew a bogie wheel. We the maintenance crew were in the act of changing it when we heard a young boy of about ten years old ask if we had our breakfast yet. We told him no and he left. About a half an hour he came back with a plate of fried eggs, ham and bread. We were not supposed to take anything except from the kitchen, but we ate our breakfast right there.

After we ate we asked him if he would like to see the inside of the tank. He crawled up and into the tank, we let him traverse the turret around, and when he came down, we could tell he really enjoyed it, as the smile was from ear to ear. We asked the boy "how many bushels the corn around there would make to an acre". He said "You mean how many gallons to an acre". We all got a hearty laugh from that.

The little old houses were built about two feet off the ground and on posts. The floors had cracks that we could see through to the ground. The chickens would roost underneath, and in some places the pigs were there too.

It was a large area where we traveled, Nashville on the north, Tullahoma on the south, and through other cities like Shelbyville, Sparta, and Smithville. Many of the fences were built of rocks and the people didn't think too highly of us when we knocked the fences down with the tanks during our mock battles.

Later on in the summer, we again loaded our equipment on the train for Pine Camp New York.


While here at Pine Camp, we were redesignated 707th Tank Battalion, Per Par 4 General Orders #24, Hq. 5th Armored Division, Pine Camp, N.Y., dated 19 September 1943. Organizations of the former 3rd Battalion, 81st Armored Regt. are further redesignated as follows:

	     OLD DESIGNATION                         NEW DESIGNATION

	Hq. 3rd Bn. 81st Armored Regt.		Hq. 707th Tank Battalion

	Hq. Co. 81st Armored Regt.              Hq. Co. 707th Tank Battalion

	Co. G 81st Armored Regt.                Co. A 707th Tank Battalion

	Co. H 81st Armored Regt.                Co. B 707th Tank Battalion

	Co. I 81st Armored Regt.                Co. C 707th Tank Battalion

Service Company 707th Tank Battalion and Company are activated effective 20th September 1943. By Order of Lt. Col. Ripple.

The training was about the same as usual, but the snow was on the ground now. But now known as Co. "B" 707th Tank Battalion, the training was more intensive, over and over till the men would perform without thinking about it. Like turning the key in your car when you get in it.

We had calisthenics every morning until towards the end, we had a forced march. If all the men would pass the finish line by a certain time, we wouldn't have to take the exercises in the mornings. It was a struggle to get some of the men across, but others in the group would help them by carrying their pack, even by taking them by the hand, we won out.

The officers thought we were a determined bunch of men. On one occasion, we had a group of Cadets, from West Point Military Academy, come to train with the tanks and crews. During the talk one morning, on of the Cadets made the remark that "the war should last at least seven or eight years, so he could make a higher rank". That was the wrong message to a bunch of draftees, that would be in for a year and a day. We told him he ought to be hanged for making a statement like that. It caused quite a stir in the company, talk was to Court Marshall the whole group. It simmered down, but the drivers were told to give them the roughest ride they could give them. They were a bunch of sore Cadets when they left our company.

We were issued winter clothing, the talk was that we would train in northern Michigan, in the cold and snow. We were told how to dress with this clothing and had a lecture out in the snow one morning. Some who didn't dress according to instructions, started to shiver, and the officer in charge asked them if they had their cotton under clothes on, that was a no-no. The clothing was lined inside and out with fur and the sleeping bags were filled with down of some kind. But luck was with us, as we moved to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, instead.

Some of the men rented a room, apartment or some had a house together, that way they could have their wives come and stay. The married men could get passes to leave camp. Others would get passes to go to Watertown, a larger town near the camp. Some would get too much to drink, and cause trouble in town, and the Military Police would bring them back to camp.

We had one in the company that was always in trouble so he was sent to the Guard House. He thought he was a privileged character as his father was top brass back home. He had to turn in all of his belongings to the supply room, carry his bed and stack it all in the supply room before leaving. He was transferred out of the company after that.

On our off time and weekends, the men left in the barracks would play cards, Poker, Pitch and Pinochle and some would shoot dice, sometimes they would be broke the same night after they got their pay. They would want to borrow money from the rest. Some of us loaned them money and if they borrowed a dollar we would make them pay back two. They thought we were robbers, but we figured if they could throw away their money that easy, they could pay. On payday we would wait after they got paid and would collect from them.

A number of the men got the Flu or Pneumonia and were sent to the hospital. Between the time we left the barracks riding in an open jeep and then waiting to be admitted to the hospital, we felt like dying. The nurses would come through and take our temperatures, and for three days we were on liquid diets. The last day we were so hungry we could almost eat our bedding. The fourth day we were back on regular diet and go to the mess hall. After about a week in the hospital, we were getting ready to be sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. We though maybe the company would move without us, and we didn't want any part of that, being transferred to some other company.

When we loaded the tanks on the train for Camp McCoy, they had to be blocked and nailed down and wired down, but on the way near Buffalo, N.Y. one of the tanks came loose and was cross ways of the flatcar. The train had to stop and uncouple that car and switch to the siding. It took a couple of weeks before it got to our camp. It was getting colder all the time.

Co. B : Table of Organization and Equipment

Company Equipment

15 Tanks in the Platoons (3) with 75mm Guns

1 Tank Company Commander

1 Recovery Vehicle (Maintenance)

1 Half-Track

1 2 1/2 Ton Truck (Kitchen)

1 2 1/2 Ton Truck (Supply)

3 Jeeps : 1 CO., 1 Maintenance, 1 Communication

The preceding list of Men and Equipment was the same as what would be assigned to us overseas. We had some men transfer out and new men assigned later. But this list would be about the same as we got when we got to England.

The training amounted to maintenance of the vehicles most of the time, trying to get the engines started as it was near zero and the frost would form about 3/4 inch on the inside of the tank armor. The auxiliary motors would get a work out charging the batteries and that was not enough, we still had to pull the tanks around to get them started. We spent the majority of the time just trying to keep warm. We were allowed three day passes and some furloughs from here, not knowing it would be our last before going overseas. The rumor was to move to northern Michigan, to train in the cold and snow, but was changed and in January we turned in the equipment and were shipped to Camp Miles Standish, near Boston, Mass.


While here we were on stand-by getting ready to embark for Europe. It was a restricted area, not to talk with men of other outfits. Not to write home where we were, as it would be censored out. Just tell them somewhere in the east. A slip of tongue could sink a ship. Later a number of men would draw K.P. duty in the mess halls. The mess halls were very large and could serve hundreds in a very short time.

We would go to a show or theater at night as there wasn't much else to do.


Then in February we loaded in trucks and were hauled to the port in Boston to be loaded on a ship. We loaded on the 11th of February and set sail the 12th. It was the largest convoy of Armored men to cross the Atlantic. The third day out we hit rough water from a storm. A large number of men got seasick. The waves were so high that the life rafts were washed overboard, off the side of the ship. The ship was called the USS EXCHANGE, it was a small ship and we called it a banana boat.

About half way across, on afternoon, we noticed the rest of the convoy was moving out ahead of our ship and we asked the Naval Crew "what was the matter". They told us the Propeller Shaft broke, due to traveling so slow in the convoy. A Destroyer kept a circle of about 1/2 mile away. What a feeling, setting out in the middle of the ocean by ourselves, with just a Destroyer to protect us. About midnight we knew they had fixed the shaft, as the engines were really humming.

The next morning at day break, we were back in our original position. How they could maneuver in the dark and get back in place seems a wonder, but that's what the crew is for.

A couple days before landing in England, some one put out an order that the men were to give blood, for the blood bank. It caused some uproar among the men as we didn't know what was in store for us ahead, no blood was drawn.


When we got to England, we anchored off shore for a day and a night, before going into the harbor to unload. It was foggy and rainy, which England is noted for, the liquid sunshine. We were stationed near a town called Brighton (?) that may be correct, at least between London and Bristol, England.

Here we drew new tanks and equipment and the training started all over again. The tanks and equipment had to be cleaned, in fact we used so much gas that we posted a guard around our motor pool, so no one would smoke, or it would set off a fire or explosion and half of England would have been blown off the map. We had many road marches out to the firing range. Driving on the opposite side of the road took quite some time to get used to. Ten minutes to the hour on the road marches, we would have a break and the kids would gather around asking for any "Gum Chum". If we had any we would give them some, otherwise we would give them "Orange Marmalade", which they accepted with a smile. Then one day we took the wrappers off the cans of spinach, that didn't go over so well.

It seemed like the Battalion always sent the companies too much and we gave it away.

We had many arguments with the English people about their "Hedgerows". We told them they would be self-supporting if they tore them out and farmed all of the ground. That was a no-no, as it was handed down from generation to generation, so no one should change the system. We also told them as we cut all of the barrage balloons loose, the island would sink, as it was covered with tanks, and equipment, plus many ammunition dumps, which we were using as a supply base, for later use across the channel.

Our night passes and three day passes were given out to the towns around the area. Trouble would break out between the whites and the blacks. Finally there was nights just for the whites to go to towns and other nights for the blacks to go to town.

The currency was in Pounds, Shillings, and Pence. We taught ourselves the money system by playing Poker. During the month of May the different combat outfits, supplies and anything connected that way, were getting ready for loading on ships, L.C.I. - L.C.C. to cross the channel for D-Day on June 6, 1944. Our Battalion lacked Amphibian Training, which was a Pontoon put around the tanks, with a propeller to go to shore. We stayed, training replacements, to be sent over later. We listened to the radio for the news on D-Day, as our troops landed on Omaha and Utah beaches in France.

It was a bloody and costly battle trying to get to the beach. We stayed in England until almost the end of August, when we loaded on a L.S.T. to cross the channel, landed on September 1, 1944, moved in a short distance from Omaha Beach, where we bivouacked for some time.

While here we watched the Bulldozers push the mountain down into the water to make a larger landing area, so to get the supplies in easier.

There is a large cemetery at Omaha Beach and we checked the names, and some had been in our training as replacements, between June and now Sept.


In this bivouac, we loaded extra tank-trucks on the back decks, to be transported to the front line, when we moved up. October 1, we departed bivouac at La Ferte Mace, traveled 72 miles to the area of La Ville-aux-Nonsins, we spent time on maintenance of the vehicles. We left there and traveled 85 miles to Bonneuj. Departed there to Guise, France, a distance of 101 miles. Crossed into the Belgium border to Marche, distance traveled 116 miles. October 6, 1944 departed to Elsenborn, Belgium, traveled 56 miles. October 7th our time was spent maintenance of vehicles and setting up the area. October 8th, usual field duties. October 9th, making preparations to go into position.

Company "B" on October 10th, left bivouac area with Assault Gun Platoon attached to 229th FA. Position : 2 miles east of Krinkelt. October 11th Assault Gun Platoon shelled enemy positions in the vicinity of the Siegfried Line. October 12, the 1st platoon of Company "B" moved back near Elsenborn to receive assault training with 110th Inf. Regt. Assault Gun Platoon. With attached Howitzers shelled the enemy positions in the Siegfried Line. October 13, 14, and 15 usual duties. October 16, Assault Platoon with attached Howitzers, fired 100 rds. of harassing fire on targets in and behind Siegfried Line. October 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, usual field duties. October 23 and 24 preparations for movement to new area. October 25th left bivouac area at Elsenborn, Belgium to Hahn, Germany, distance of 35 miles. October 26, no activity. Unit engaged in setting up new area.

October 27th Company "B" moved into position. Attached to 110th Infantry Regt. October 28th Company "B" moved into new position. October 29, 30 and 31 no activity. November 1st, Company "B" in reserve, attached to the 28th Division Artillery, prepared to supplement artillery with indirect fire. Company "B" November 2nd, fired 320 rounds supplementary fire. Mortar platoon fired 64 rounds of smoke and 30 rounds HE on right flank mission.


Entered Hurtgen November 4th, Company "B" fired rounds on their indirect fire mission. November 5th Company "B" was alerted and relieved from their indirect fire mission to reinforce and relieve Company "C" in the Germeter-Vossenack fight.

Two platoons of Company "B" were moved into the tank park at Germeter just before dark. Company "B" was to assist and effect withdrawal of Company "C" to the Battalion as soon as practicable. November 6th, at approximately 0630 one platoon of Company "B" moved to the NE side of Vossenack to assist the Infantry (Co. "G", 112th Infantry). Heavy small arms fire was encountered from the woods to the east. Fire was returned by our tank MGs, but our infantry started to withdraw. Heavy mortar and artillery fire was also experienced, generally from the north and left flank. At this time Captain Granger, Company "B" commander, and the Battalion moved from Germeter into town, as there was no enemy infantry visible to 1st platoon, which had one tank knocked out and one man wounded, was allowed to withdraw. Captain West was killed when he e xposed his head outside the turret while discussing the situation with Captain Granger. All of Company "C" tanks were to return to the tank park in Germeter.

At 1100, after heavy artillery concentrations, German infantry attacked from the north of Vossenack. This attack was repulsed by tank NE and NG fire. Lt. Novak, Company "C" who had been with his disabled tank since November 3rd, accounted for approximately 20 German infantry and while firing from his disabled tank. At this time our infantry had withdrawn as far as Germeter. A friendly air strike, in spite of displayed panels, strafed our tanks. Throughout the day Company "B" tanks received heavy direct fire from both Bergstein and Schmidt; during the air strike enemy artillery ceased firing. Enemy tank in the vicinity of Bergstein (3300) drew fire from six Company "B" tanks. The enemy withdrew without any casualties. During the day three tanks were lost by direct fire and indirect fire. Another enemy attack at 1430 repulsed with heavy losses to their infantry. One platoon of Company "C" called from Germeter to act as outpost for the night, as ordered by the division.

Company "C" remaining (7) tanks assisted two platoons of Company "B" in their counter-attack. Lt. Keming assumed command of the company after Captain West's death. On Battalion order, Captain Granger was placed in command of composite "B" and "C" companies. Assault Gun Platoon supported Company "B" in Vossenack and Company "A" in Kommerscheidt, fired 222 rounds. Lt. Anderson, Company "B'', acting as FO in the Vossenack area. Company "B" at Vossenack and remaining Company "C" tanks assist infantry to fight off enemy attacks and infiltration.

Part of Vossenack reoccupied by enemy. Long range TD fire against our tanks. Fire returned but results not known.

Our losses : Tanks - 1 Company "B" hit by 88, 2 Company "B" damaged.

November 7, during the night and the 2nd platoon, Company "B", which had been left near the bivouac was ordered to Germeter. Captain Granger and his platoon leaders, after a conference with the Infantry Bn Commander and the Commander of Combat Headquarters, organized a coordinated counter-attack to regain that portion of Vossenack east church, reoccupied by the enemy during the previous day.

Attack jumped off at 0800 after a preliminary concentration of artillery into the area occupied by the enemy. At 1330 the combat assault had reached their objective at the east end of Vossenack with about twelve engineers. During this action between 400 and 500 prisoners were taken. The platoon of tanks stayed on the objective until 1700, waiting the arrival of reinforcing infantry, as the enemy had started to infiltrate from the woods. Tanks were withdrawn to the vicinity of the church and artillery fire was called for into the infiltrated area.

At 1900 reinforcing infantry arrived, the artillery was lifted (2nd 109th Infantry) once again we reoccupied the entire town of Vossenack. Tanks were allowed to withdraw to our tank park at Germeter to resupply and refuel. During this action four more tanks were damaged and knocked out due to jammed turrets and thrown tracks. In the period 2nd to 7th of November, Bn Main. assisting Company "C" Maint., recovered and delivered four Company "C" tanks and three of Company "B" tanks to Co. Maint. Recovery at all times was exceedingly difficult due to enemy artillery and direct fire. Because of these conditions it was decided to not recover any more from the east end of Vossenack. In addition all crews remaining in knocked out tanks were ordered to make way into Germeter by the best means possible.

		Our losses :

			1 killed (Company "B"), 3 wounded

			Tanks (Company "B"), 2 by artillery fire

			(Company "B"), 2 damaged tracks

		Estimated damage to the enemy :

			500 captured with infantry Company "B"

			40 killed Company "B"

November 8, upon request of the infantry, 1st platoon of Company "B" moved into Vossenack at 0700. No enemy activity other than sporadic enemy artillery fire. Vehicles were dispersed as outposts. At 0815 approximately six enemy tanks opened fire from the vicinity of Schmidt. Range approximately 2000 yards. The 1st platoon engaged the enemy tanks with AP ammunition and it is believed on tank was destroyed. Request was relayed through Captain Granger for the ADs, TDs did not deliver effective fire and withdrew. Artillery fire was also placed in the woods where the enemy had withdrawn, artillery results unknown. Also engaged tanks with smoke. Through the assault gun platoon, heavy artillery was placed in the wooded area where the enemy tanks were last seen. Artillery fire was also placed on gun flashes in the vicinity of Schmidt. Visibility was good. Throughout the day the enemy continued to pour heavy fire into the Vossenack area, but no infantry attacks.

Tanks were withdrawn to the Germeter assembly area throughout the day. Part of the remaining platoon of five tanks went into Vossenack to assist in adjustment of artillery fire, but also withdrew to the Germeter assembly area. At 1545 Company "D" CO was ordered to Germeter assembly area with one platoon of tanks. Captain Ellison, Company "D" CO, was to assist Captain Granger in control and coordination of the Vossenack situation. Captain Ellison was to relieve Captain Granger if necessary. The Assault Gun Platoon continued to support composite Company "B" in Vossenack area. Lts. Anderson and Quarrie were attached as FJs throughout the day. After conferring with Captain Granger, Lt. Johnson was ordered to proceed into Vossenack at daylight with three tanks to act as outpost and to call for remaining tanks if any enemy infantry attack or attempt was made to infiltrate into Vossenack. All elements of the division were alerted all night, preparing for the enemy counter-attack, also for withdrawal of Kommerscheidt troops. Nine medium tanks in Germeter-Vossenack area to repel any enemy counter-attack.

		Our losses:

			1 killed Company "B"

			1 tank knocked out Company "B"

November 9th, tanks under Lt. Johnson, Company "B" were withdrawn from the town at 1100. During the day Division Medics had arranged a truce in order to evacuate dead and wounded from canyon between Vossenack and Kommerscheidt. At the request of the Medics, tanks were ordered to remain out of Vossenack unless enemy attacked. This was done for the rest of the day to assure no violation of the medical truce. Lt. Johnson and one gunner were evacuated by the Medics for combat exhaustion. Visibility very poor during the day.

November 10, Companies "C" and "B" has their forward CP Germeter, each with six tanks on call and are using them on outpost duty in Vossenack. Company's tanks are on call from the infantry, to be used against possible counter-attack and give infantry support. Between the 7th and 10th of November, 7 medium replacement tanks were issued to Bn. crews made up from Company "B" and Company "C" evacuated personnel. Three tanks committed by Company "B" on the 9th of November, saw no action. November 11, situation remains the same -- Companies "B", "C", "D" remained on call from the infantry in Germeter, 1 platoon on alert at all times.

November 12, 13, 14, 15th, no activity, but still standing by in Germeter. November 16th, Company "B" still have one platoon in Germeter. November 17, 18th, Company preparing to move.

November 19th, Company "B" was relieved at 1715 today by elements of the 709th Tank Battalion.


November 20th, moved out to Derenback, distance traveled 78 miles. November 21, Companies left bivouac area to their new destination Company "B" to Pintache, Luxemburg. Company now engaged in setting up in their new locations, training replacements and carrying out maintenance on vehicles.

November 22, Company carrying on training schedules and 1st, and 2nd schedules of maintenance on vehicles. Personnel going on 48 hour and 3 day passes to Paris and Arlon, France. Company reorganizing, drawing supplies and equipment, cleaning of the equipment. Bivouac in dwellings. First time since England.

November 23, 24, to 27th no change. 28, 29, and 30th company engaged in training and maintenance of vehicles.

From the 1st of December to December 16, 1944 usual schedule of training. During this time some in the maintenance crew were awarded the Bronze Star, for actions at Vossenack, for retrieving the tanks at night, had to pull one tank back through the churchyard and a cemetery a short distance to escape the enemy fire, which was very heavy at the time.

A German tank moved into town. After we left the CP, our radio receiver was not working we didn't get the message to come back.

On the way back to the CP at Germeter, rounds would hit off to the right side about 30 yards, why we didn't know, maybe a building in the way. After all the pulling and jerking trying to get the tank over the rock wall around the church, and then on the road, the cable broke, one in the retriever jumped out and stumbled into a shell hole, for luck, as an enemy round exploded nearby. We got hit with dirt, but no damage to the face, we replaced the cable and we were on our way back.

While here we were billeted in a house upstairs, and the native people lived downstairs. About bed time they would come up and give each one of us a jigger of Schnapps, we were treated very good.

For a light we used kerosene lanterns, filled with gas, as there was no kerosene available, it worked but wouldn't try it today.

December 16 we happened to be in the CP room and the CO was talking to a higher officer from Battalion HQs when he left he said "Good hunting", in other words everyone was on their own. We were assigned two men to a house or building to fight from in case of attack. We were overrun just after dark. We jumped from the upstairs back window and escaped over the hill to Wilverwiltz, met a jeep there that was to go to Pintache. We told them it was in German hands and they hauled us to Merkols, where some of the rest of the men were. The next day part of the maintenance crew was assigned to a Half-Track, which we used for the next few days.

We found a map of the area, which we took with us, it came in handy to find our way out through the enemy line, the night of December 19th.

December 1 - 15th, 1944

Battalion was attached to the 28th Infantry Division. All companies are engaged in the following unit training schedule. Subjects stressed are Tank Crew Drill, Gunnery, 1st and 2nd Echelon Maintenance and care and cleaning of equipment. Forward observation training was conducted by division artillery for selected personnel. Flame thrower training was given to Bow Gunners and Tank Commanders. Demonstrations as to the use and effectiveness of the flame-throwers was given to all medium tank crew members.

All Assault Guns in the Battalion were placed in one platoon and attached to Division Artillery and are in position at Hoscheid with the mission of firing indirect fire in call from Division Artillery.

Reconnaissance platoon reconnoiters routes of approach and assembly areas for use in case of alert. These plans are approved by the Division.

December 16th, 1944

Battalion alerted by Division G-3 at 0700. "A" and "B" Companies attached to 110th Infantry. Companies to move on regimental order. 1st platoon "B" Co. ordered to proceed to Buckholz to assist 109th FA Battalion whose positions had been run over by an enemy attack. 2nd platoon placed in defensive positions around Pintsche and one section of the 3rd platoon was ordered to Bellingen to defend the town. The 1st platoon arrived at Buckholz at 0900 and retook the town by 1030.

At 1145 received orders from CO 707th Tank Battalion to proceed to Hosingen, platoon proceeded to RJ (82054) meeting strong infantry on the way. Arrived at RJ 1300. Encountered strong enemy infantry and bazooka fire in the vicinity of 81257 at 1500, platoon leader engaged enemy in fore fight and requested CO for reinforcements. At 1600 reinforcements arrived and the 7 tanks proceeded on mission. Platoon proceeded through Holthaum and set up defensive positions in Consthum.


	Our losses:

		Personnel - 3 enlisted men wounded, 1 killed.

		Tanks - 1 tank out of action.

	Estimated damage to enemy:

		Vehicles - none.

		Personnel - 525 killed and wounded, 30 captured.

December 17th, 1944

1st platoon of "B" Co. still holding Consthum. Beginning at 0630 enemy attacked the town with infantry and armor, these attacks were successfully driven back. The platoon was successful in driving off two more attacks of the same type during the day.

At Hoscheid, Battalion assault platoon plus 3 tanks of the 3rd platoon, "B" Co. were attacked by enemy infantry at 0630. Combined assault gun and tank strength repulsed three enemy attacks during the day. This force was completely surrounded by 1830, all vehicles low on fuel and ammunition. CO assault platoon ordered to withdraw his force to Lipperscheid and refuel and resupply, arrived at 2100. All vehicles reserviced by 2400 and received orders from Bn. CO to withdraw to Wiltz.

Meanwhile 2nd platoon, Co. "B" which consisted of 2 tanks, and Co. HQs, "B" Co. were in defensive positions around Pintsche; these positions were overrun at 2130 from a strong attack by enemy infantry and armor supported by artillery. Remaining personnel withdrew to Wilverwiltz, where they were consolidated in the defense of Headquarters. All combat vehicles at Pintsche were lost.


	Our losses:

		Personnel - 14 wounded, 5 Officers and 111 Enlisted men MIA.

		Tanks - 16 Medium, 17 Lights, 

		2 2 & 1/2-ton trucks, 

		2 H-Ts, 
		1 2T-2, 

		Recovery vehicle, 

		2 1-ton trailers and 

		4 1/4-ton C & R vehicles.

	Estimated damage to the enemy:

		Vehicles - 6 tanks Mark IV & V class 

		2 SP guns (88mm).

		Personnel - 1254 killed and 202 PoWS.

December 18, 1944

Combined assault platoon and 3rd platoon "B" Co. less one section arrived in Wiltz at 0500 and were ordered by Division to take up position in vicinity of Erpledange. These positions were occupied by 0530.

1st platoon of Co. "B" still in vicinity of Consthum, had withheld two strong enemy attacks by enemy infantry and armor during the morning. At 1200 platoon leader received orders from the Battalion CO to withdraw to Wiltz. Arrived in Wiltz with 3 remaining tanks at 1500, and ordered to take up defensive positions on the high ground in the vicinity of 709532, positions occupied by 1600. The combined assault platoon and 3rd platoon of "B" Co. less one section were reinforced by one Co. of "C" Engineers at 0600. This force fought off continual heavy attacks by infantry and armor throughout the day and inflicted heavy losses to the enemy personnel and vehicles. This action held up the enemy and forced them to withdraw their armor. This combined force was ordered to withdraw all vehicles at 1700, so that the bridge at 713541 cold be blown. The tanks were withdrawn and took up defensive positions in the vicinity of 712589 and remained there during the night.


	Our losses:

		Personnel - 4 EM wounded, 2 Officers and 24 EM MIA.

		Tanks - 7 Medium

	Estimated damage to the enemy:

		Personnel - 460 killed or wounded.

		Vehicles - 1 Mk IV tank 

		1 Half-track 

		1 (H) MG 

		1 Mortar and 

		1 ammunition dump.

December 19, 1944

At 2400 on order from the Battalion CO all Battalion vehicles and personnel in the Wiltz area were ordered to withdraw to Boulaide, column breakthrough and Battalion CO ordered vehicles turned around and he attempted to lead the column back through Wiltz. The road was closed in this direction by enemy tanks at 707527 thus completely surrounding the column. Battalion CO ordered all vehicles destroyed and personnel were organized into groups and instructed to proceed to Boulaide and join the rear elements of the Battalion.


	Our losses :

		Personnel - 2 wounded, 150 Officers and 131 Enlisted Men MIA

		Vehicles - 4 Medium Tanks (75mm) 
		6 Medium Tanks (150mm) 

		11 Half-Tracks 

		14 1/2-ton C & R 

		3 2&1/2-ton trucks.

	Estimated damage to enemy:

		Personnel - 250 killed and wounded, 190 Prisoners.

		Vehicles - 1 staff car 

		1 MKIV damaged.


We started out and walked a short distance to a road. Down the road ahead another group of our men had run into a roadblock. We stopped with 30 men in our group, we decided to bypass the roadblock by walking through the timber. Sgt. Cook had a compass, and Sgt. Thomsen had a map of the area, which was our way of getting back through the lines.

We walked a short distance and came to a stream, we followed it for some distance so the Germans wouldn't hear us, as we had only our sidearms and a few rounds of ammunition and some hand grenades. We thought to bypass the roadblock rather than fight our way through. We would sight an object or a tree in the distance in a SSW direction and go for it. Some laces in the pines it was so dark that we held hands in order to keep together. Our steel helmets were always catching in the branches, when we stopped the word was sent down the column to leave them on the ground and just wear the liners, which proved to be much better. We stopped for breaks now and then, not for long as we were anxious to get out of there. At a break about daybreak the men wanted to sleep for awhile, some fell asleep as they hit the ground. We slept for about thirty minutes, word was passed down the line to wake all the men, but the two on the end of the line were not awakened. We didn't know this until the next break, so we had twenty-eight left in our group.

We traveled under the cover of the trees, one place the Germans fired shells that exploded in the air, but we were far enough away so it didn't bother us. About two thirty in the afternoon, we came to an opening that we had to cross, so we traveled down a road towards town. On the road the Germans had killed many of our men sometime before, as the men were still warm in their vehicles. When we got into town, a lady came out and wanted to know how we got there, as the Germans had just been through ahead of us. She had us come inside and gave us bread and milk. That was the first some of the men had to eat or drink since the day before, as some had rations in their pockets. She told us to go to the intersection and take the road up the hill, and we could bypass the Germans.

At the junction a French reconnaissance vehicle stopped and said, "To wait and they would go back and get a truck for us". Which it did, and hauled us to Arlon. We stayed there overnight, joining some others of the Battalion. The next day we were hauled to the town of Neufchateau, where we were put on outpost guard with about thirty men, with a .30 cal machine gun, bazooka, and our sidearms, and told us to stop anything that came that way. While here, we saw one morning a German jet come in and drop two bombs on the town, missed our Battalion HQs and CP.

A number of the men were captured at Wiltz, Lux. after destroying the equipment. Albin O. Thompson was in a group that was marched to Limburg, Germany. They were packed in boxcars for 3 days and nights, no water or food, ended up north of Berlin at Stargard, Germany. From there they were on the march most of the time, stopped at 3 more prison camps and ended up at Altergrabow in bad condition from starvation. Altergrabow was liberated 3rd of May 1945. Left T4 Kamla at the second prison camp they were in - he was in bad shape, so were many of the others.

T4 Ira Corneillier was in a group that was hit in an air raid in Bitburg, where he lost a leg. Spent most of his time in a prison camp on his back in poor health. Liberated in May by the 45th Infantry (Nurnberg). Discharged from the Army January 26, 1946 from the Percy Jones Hospital.

Sgt. Wm. Taylor, Henry Sullivan, Merton Jessen, Bivens and a man from Headquarters, left in a group of 100, by the 21st of December their group had dwindled to the men above. This group was to head west, but were captured later.

Also one night we saw a dogfight between our fighter plane and a Jerry. Our plane won out as the Jerry flew off after a number of swoops and turns.

We stayed on this guard until the end of the month, and on December 31, 1944 at 1700 Lt. Col. H.S. Streeter joined the Battalion and assumed command. The Battalion was relieved from Roadblock and Patrol duty and alerted for movement, and departed Neufchateau.

During the next three months, the Battalion was attached to other outfits. Company "C" was assigned to different outfits and stayed on the line until the 15th January 1945, then rejoined the Battalion.

We were stationed at Epernay, France in the French Army barracks. 22 Jan 1945 enlisted men assigned and joined from the 17th Replacement Depot.

For the next two months we were on training schedule. In between times we had new tanks, H-tracks, wheel vehicles and equipment issued.

7th February 1945 companies engaged in first and second echelon maintenance and cleaning of new, and carrying out training schedule.

10 February 1945 Battalion received 3 Officers and 124 Enlisted Men for reinforcements.

14th and 15th Battalion drew 22 Medium Tanks, some with 75mm and some with 76mm. No change in the training schedule.

15th to 27th February, 1945 Battalion drew 50 Medium, 4 Medium Tanks, 105 Howitzers, 22 Light Tanks. Company "B" on the small arms range.

3rd March, 1945 Battalion assigned to the XXII Corps as of 1 March, 1945.

8th March, 1945 Battalion received 4 Medium Tanks with 76mm.

11th March, 1945 all Companies on the firing range, carrying out firing schedule until the 17th of March. Left for Camp Marguerite. Carrying out training schedule, 26th of March preparing for movement to firing range.

27th March left Epernay to the range. All Companies firing Bazookas and the rifle and Carbine grenade.

29th March 1945 Tank Companies and the Assault Gun Platoon on artillery range firing direct and indirect.

30 March 1945 Tank Companies fired all heavy caliber Tank guns on the range.

31 March 1945 Companies carrying out 1st and 2nd echelon maintenance in preparation for movement. Battalion attached to the VIII Corps per Troop Assignment Order #A128, TUSA, dated 31 March, 1945.


1st April 1945 Battalion moved to bivouac near Fremont, France - distance traveled 85 miles. Battalion attached to the 76th Infantry Division.

2nd April 1945 Battalion moved to Wittlich, Germany - distance traveled 85 miles.

3rd April 1945 Battalion relieved from assignment to the 15th USA and assigned to TUSA effective 1 April per Par 6 Troop Assignment Order #73, Headquarters 12th USA Gp. dated 24th March. Left Wittlich, Germany at 0730. Arrived in bivouac area near Nastatten, Germany at 1720. Distance 87 miles.

4th April 1945 left area at 0730, arrived in new area near Gurnberg, Germany at 1620. Distance traveled 85 miles.

5th April 1945 left Gurnberg at 0730, arrived in town of Schwarzmha Sel, Germany. Distance 74 miles. "B" Co. in Seifertlausen. Battalion attached to the 65th Infantry Division for operations.

6th April 1945 Battalion carrying on 1st and 2nd echelon maintenance and care and cleaning of equipment. Released from 65th Infantry Division and attached to the 89th Infantry Division.

7th April 1945 Battalion moved to Stockhausen, Germany at 1700. Company "B" attached to 353rd Infantry and moved to the town of Rodicken.

8th April 1945 2nd Platoon Co. "B" with the 2nd Battalion, 354th Infantry cleared the town of Rodicken and Frierichroda against heavy small arm and A W fire. Balance of Company joined the 2nd Platoon in Frierichroda for the night.

9th April 1945 Co. "B" assisted Infantry in clearing the town of Englesbach against heavy resistance. 1st Platoon, Company "B" knocked out one MK IV Tank. Co. CP set up for the night in Georgethal.

10th April 1945 Co. "B" in support of the 354th Infantry advanced to the east in the vicinity of Ohrdruf and Espenfeld.

11th April 1945 Co. "B" supported the Infantry in the vicinity of Siegelback, Marlishausen, and Wullersleben. Co. lost two tanks in fight for Wullersleben from direct 88mm fire.

14th April 1945 Companies "B" and "C" arrive at Saale River, crossing made and Companies took up positions on the east side for the support of the Infantry.

15th April 1945 Co. "B" moved to Grosskumforf against slight enemy resistance.

17th April 1945 Co. "B" jumped off with the Infantry and advanced to the town of Scnomfels against slight resistance.

18th April 1945 Co. "B" arrived in Silverstrasse, 1 Platoon in defensive position in Getnansdrof, 2nd and 3rd Platoons in support of the Infantry in sector.

19th April 1945 Company performing much-needed maintenance of vehicles.

20th April 1945 no change.

At the end of the period, Company "B" was stationed at the town of Plantz, Germany - a short distance from the Czech border.

We stayed here until May 8, 1945 - the day the Germans surrendered, VE Day.

VE DAY MAY 8, 1945

Being in Russian territory of Germany, the Russians gave us nine days to move out, and then changed that to three days. We thought we would have to fight the Russians; Maybe we should have and that might have solved a lot of problems later, like the Berlin Air Lift and many others. We had to have a road priority to move on the "Autobahn", back out of their territory. There were eight lanes of traffic going out, but only two lanes going into battle - not much sense.


We moved to many towns and times. One town was Nuremberg, Germany in the courthouse - we billeted there. The War Crimes Trials were held there. We could look out our windows and see the captured German Generals in another wing of the building.

In June of 1945, all of the men who had 85 points or better could go home. The points were accumulated by the battles fought in or Purple Hearts. It took all of the old men out of the Company and the others had to fill their places. This writer was two points short, so was appointed to be acting 1st Sgt. from Maintenance Sgt. About that time the ratings were frozen, and some had to fill positions higher, but with pay staying at the previous rate.

Our first Company formation, after 1st Sgt. J.B.Cook left, we had a formation and open ranks for inspection, then Present Arms and Order Arms. One soldier left the clip in the gun and it fired a round. His punishment was to dig a hole six by six by six, bury the spent cartridge, and cover it up again. Some never learn and are out of line.

In July and August we moved to different towns such as Molesscheben, Unter Neubruin, and many others. We ended up in the town of Schweinfurt, Germany. While here, many of the men were transferred out - the low point men - and were on orders to go to the South Pacific, as we were still fighting the Japs. Then came the dropping of the Atom Bomb on the islands (? - ed.) of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945 Then victory came September 2, 1945 in Japan and the South Pacific.


After V.J. Day, we had men from other outfits assigned to our Company making preparations to go home. There were mountains of paperwork before leaving as to where the equipment was. Some captured or lost in battle or turned into a large Air Force base in Germany.

In September we moved by train to Le Havre, France to the beach to board a Liberty Ship for home. Our ship made it across the Atlantic Ocean in seven days, setting a record for that kind of ship. We landed in Boston, Mass. and then to Camp Miles Standish, where the 707th Tank Battalion was inactivated on October 8, 1945. We stayed here for a few days, till we got orders to move by train to an Army base near our home town, which was Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Here we turned in our extra clothing, got dental inspections, health checks and finally the discharge from the Army.

This writer was discharged at six o'clock, October 16, 1945, and by midnight was at home for good - after 4years, 4 months, and 3 days.