On July 10, 1944, four Sherman tanks of the first platoon, C Company, 712th Tank Battalion came to the rescue of a 90th Infantry Division battalion that was surrounded by German paratroopers. After breaking through the German lines and leading an infantry company off of Hill 122, the four tanks kept going. The infantry, having sustained heavy casualties, dug in at the base of the hill. Soon all four tanks were knocked out, three of them bursting into flames. In this episode, we hear from Lieutenant Jim Flowers, the platoon leader, and Sergeant Judd Wiley, a tank commander. For more about Hill 122, check out The Middle of Hell at aaronelson.com and "They Were All Young Kids" at amazon.
Monday, October 28, 2019
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
The story of the First Platoon, Company C, 712th Tank Battalion in the battle for Hill 122 contains many universal themes that run through the stories of World War II veterans: survivor's guilt, fate, courage, heroism, irony, among others. Hill 122 Part 2 is excerpted from a 1993 interview with Louis Gerrard and his brother Jack. The gunner in Captain Jack Sheppard's tank, Lou lost an eye when his tank was hit and played dead while German soldiers searched him and took his watch. A 17-CD oral history "epic," The Middle of Hell, is available in the ecommerce section at aaronelson.com and in my eBay store. I hope you'll explore some of the other episodes of War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It.
Friday, October 18, 2019
The destruction of the First Platoon, Company C, on July 10, 1944 -- four tanks knocked out, three of them "flamers"; nine of 20 crew members killed, several wounded, two captured -- was a defining moment in the history of my father's tank battalion. Lieutenant Jim Flowers would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross after leaving parts of both legs "on a piece of bloody French real estate." The next few episodes of the War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It podcast will include interviews with survivors and people directly related to the battle. Narratives from my interviews are in the book "They Were All Young Kids," are available in print and for Kindle at amazon, and a 17-CD audio epic, "The Middle of Hell," available in the ecommerce section of aaronelson.com. Thank you for listening.