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A War Story

A War Story

 
My story is not about a heroic action or even a stressful feat but it is an incident I'll never forget nor will the others involved.
 
I was with the 513th Regiment when we took the town of Flamierge after a tough battle that lasted six or seven hours.  Several of us, including Captain Wing, our company commander, ended up in a slightly damaged house by the side of the road at one end of town.  As we walked a bit and started feeling cold since most of us had shed our overcoats during the battle, someone announced that he could hear what sounded like a tank coming up the road.
 
It was a tank alright but instead of the white star we expected to see on its side we saw a black cross with white trim.  It was a medium size tank maybe a Panzer and it stopped smack in front of a window where we could see it not more than 30 feet away.  A German, apparently the tank commander, stuck the upper part of his body out of the turret and looked down the road through field glasses.  Another GI and I started to raise our M-1s but Captain Wing motioned to us not to shoot and said almost in a whisper, "let Duncan shoot it with the bazooka."I loaded the bazooka for Duncan with the only round we had left and he fired point blank hitting the tank squarely on its side.
 
The round went off with a loud bang but it must not have done much damage since, in a split second, the observer went back into the turret and the tank took off in reverse at top speed.
 
Captain Wing grabbed a German rifle and rushed out the door, followed by two or three of us.  We all shot at the speeding tank but rifle fire was to no avail and the tank fell out of sight.
 
In retrospect, although I still wish so much that we had been able to knock out the tank, I think perhaps we were lucky that it was not damaged enough to render it unable to run but able to turn the turret toward us.
 
Source: Letter received from Joe Quade, April 22, 2010

By Hector HERRERA

"HQ" Company
513rd Parachute Infantry Regiment
17th Airborne Division
Campaign
Battle of the Bulge,
Belgium