Home | Historical Information | Organization & Equipment | Vehicles & Markings | Photos & Videos
Insignia | Awards | Casualties | Training School | Contact Me | Website Map


U.S. Armor Strikes In Mountain
Region Against Gothic Line

Staff Correspondent

   WITH THE 5TH ARMY AT THE GOTHIC LINE, September 17 (Delayed) – Everybody knows that tanks can't fight in the mountains, except the tankers of an outfit here who have been fighting in the mountains since the Allies began their assault on the Gothic Line.

   True, they're not sweeping across these extremely high hills in anything like the fashion they expect to once the line is cracked, but you should see some of the places these big babies get into. The tanks, as often before in the Italian campaign, are being used as direct fire weapons in light artillery style and the men who are handling them are so overworked that they keep running into regimental headquarters for new missions.

   Capt. Gayle Stockdale, Enterprise, Ore., has a company of the rolling fortresses splashed across the countryside in several of our secondary forward positions, some on mountain slopes, some in the draws, and some sitting right on top of the high ground as if they had been dropped there by parachute. From these positions they whack inot the pillboxes and machine gun nests with more than ordinary results.

   To get into one tank commanded by Lt. "Dinty" Moore, St. Paul, Minn., you have to wind your way through a trail that has even the most versatile peeps groaning and gasping. There is one angular turn, cut into a hillside around which a peep cannot be driven in a continuous arc. But the driver must stop, back up, and start again. Yet Lt. Moore's tank made it. At another point in the loop-the-loop former mule path, the peep passengers must all sit on one side for ballast so that the vehicle won't overturn and tumble into the valley. At still another place the descent is easily a 45-degree angle for a stretch of nearly 20 yards.

   Back in the States, laughingly points out Lt. Howard Dean, Bennington, Vt., a liason officer, they claim that tanks can't do better than 35 degrees. These guys ought to come out here.

   After your peep has slowly slid down hills, crawled through farm fields, spanned creeks and climbed up the mountains as far as tires and wheels will permit it, you get out and walk further until you come to the top of a 2,000 foot hill. The position is so good, Lt. Jack Calladay, Washington, D.C., uses it as an artillery observation post.

   That's where Lt. Moore's tank is boldly ensconced and that is where his gunners, Cpls. Waldo Kolondyk, Albany, N.Y., and Tiny Tassisch, Omaha, Neb., and Pfc. Raymond Clayton, Webb City, Mo., take turns at Jerry about 2,500 yards away.

   It took one and a half hours for Sgts. Guy Richison, Dayton, Ohio, and Clarence Ison, Cincinnati, Ohio, to drive the tank up from the valley, and that's terrific time considering how they had to put the tank through narrow passages and cut a good deal of the road themselves, bulldozer fashion. It took four hours to dig the tank into position and camouflage it. This tank is only an example of what the others are doing, although admittedly a prime example.

Stars And Stripes, 19 September 1944

752nd Tankers Fight Private War
During 300 Days in Italian Line

   WITH THE 5TH ARMY, March 7 – Fighting its own private war against the Krauts, the 752nd Tank Battalion has supported five American Infantry divisions with commendable impartiality since being committed to action with the 5th Army last May.

   As a separate battalion, the 752nd has been in the lines for nearly 300 consecutive days without ever having pulled its tanks behind the "light line." From Fondi, through Rome, across the Arno and into the Apennines, the battalion has hammered the Germans relentlessly and with outstanding success.

   The 752nd men first joined the fight below Rome after 21 months of training in England, Tunisia and Southern Italy. They operated the Armored Force training school in Tunisia, then the Armored Command training school a few miles south of Naples. Occasionally the tankers griped about their rear echelon role. They winced when combat men referred to them as "Schoolteachers."

   But long since, both the ancient gripe and the nickname have passed into limbo. The 752nd men now talk with pardonable pride of their Kraut score. The battalion’s verified list of enemy destruction explains the kind of fighting they’ve had: 1,400 Germans killed and 484 captured; 11 German tanks knocked out and three disabled; and destroyed 21 pillboxes, 41 wheeled vehicles, and 64 machine guns and artillery weapons.

   The 752nd’s accomplishments have necessitated 55,000 rounds to date. Their armored fighting vehicles each are surmounted by one of three cannons, 105mm’s, 76mm’s, and 75mm’s. The crewmen also keep machine guns, grenades, and carbines close at hand. A variety of battle situations are within their scope.

   A few days following their opening tank scrap below Rome, they helped seal off and take prisoner a pocket of 600 Germans with the 1st Special Service Force. The Fortress of Colle Ferre was first penetrated by 752nd tanks, those of Lt. Sherwin R. Clinton, Chicago, and his Reconnaissance Company.

   At Rome’s city limits, a well aimed 88 missile smeared the front of one tank, blasting the crew chief out of the turret. Picking himself up, Sgt. Bill Roller of Cashmere, Wash., scrambled into his tank, lifted out his trapped comrades, and in a neighboring tank an hour later, he resumed his advance to Rome.

   Thick wilderness undergrowth and farmland hedgerows often provided concealment when the tanks sneaked as close as 30 to 100 yards from enemy outposts during last summer’s drive north of Rome. In one such episode, Sgt. Ned O’Neill, Lansing, Mich., met Kraut grenades and machine gun fire but held his ground to break up the counterattack outside the hillcrest village of Scansano. Later for an act that cost his life, Sgt. O’Neill was awarded the Silver Star posthumously.

   Before shoving off toward Pisa, the 752nd wrote into its history four battles it won’t soon forget: Roccastrada, Cecina, Rosignano, and Leghorn.

   The day 1st Sgt. Edwin W. Cox of Tacoma, Wash., became an officer and won a Silver Star for a previous deed, was the same day he destroyed two Mark VIs at 50 yards, and with his platoon inside Cecina, killed 40 Germans.

   The fight for Leghorn was less bitter for the 752nd, but the reward was great. Captured: one full-stocked Kraut brewery.

   Lt. Col. Hyman Bruss, Van Nuys, Calif., is commander of the 752nd Battalion. His unit has won overseas: 23 Silver Stars, 51 Bronze Stars, one Legion of Merit, and 120 Purple Hearts. Ten men received field commissions.

   The battalion was activated about four years ago at Ft. Knox, Ky. Pacific Coast men originally filled its ranks, and first training was received at Fort Lewis, Wash., and Camp Young, Calif.

Stars And Stripes, March 1945

Allied Troops Enter Bologna

YANK Staff Corespondent
(Excerpts from Article)

The Red Bull [34th Infantry Division] men drove in along Highway 65, spearheaded by the 2d Platoon, Co. K, 3d Bn., 133d Regiment. After this platoon came tanks of the 752d Tank Battalion and two TDs. As the tanks and TDs rolled past the houses outside Bologna, their guns swung to cover the buildings, and Jerries kept jumping out to surrender.

As the troops pour into the city, the Italians all ask about Berlin. Has Berlin fallen yet, they ask, and then they smile more broadly and say, "no more bombing of Bologna, yes?" They are more reserved in their welcome than the Romans were when the Allies marched into the Eternal City, but whenever a citizen stops a soldier to talk, a crowd gathers about them.

GIs with lilies and lilacs stuck in their gun muzzles and with lipstick traces left on their dusty faces drive down Via Rizzoli, waving gift bottles of cognac and vermouth. They shout "you're goddam right, vive - vive yourself, too," and the delighted Italians eat it up.

The Bolognese make the first day of liberation a grand festa. Everybody laughs and everybody is everybody's friend today. The bells in Bologna's famous towers peel steadily and it all seems as thought the war has ended - and it has, to a great extent, for Bologna.

YANK Mediterranean Edition, 11 May 1945

Verona Victors

   The 88th's 351st Regiment captured Verona, the setting of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Along Highway 11, troops rode the armor of the 752nd Tank Battalion and the 805th TD Battalion to take Vicenza, east of Verona.

   During the offensive, whole enemy units surrendered to the 88th. These outfits included two German field hospitals, an ordnance dump and an engineer bridge dump, and a company of Nazi Czech warriors. With equipment captured in the bridge dump, the 88th built a bridge across the Adige River.

   The offensive that preceded the German surrender moved so fast that Division headquarters entered towns before all resistance had stopped.

Stars And Stripes, 7 May 1945

752 Tankers Win Unit Citation
For Po Valley Action

   Citation streamers and the honor of wearing the Distinguished Unit Badge were awarded to the members of the 752 Tank Battalion by Maj. General Charles L. Bolte, Commanding General of the 34th Infantry Division, in simple but impressive ceremonies held in the Battalion area in the vicinity of Soleschiano, Italy, on September 19, 1945. The award, first of its type to be made to a separate tank battalion, was made for the outstanding work of the battalion during the Po Valley campaign which concluded the war in Italy and presaged the collapse of German resistance in Europe.

   The 752 tankers opened the spring offensive known as the Po Valley Campaign with the 34th Infantry Division, with which it fought its way through the heavily defended winter line in the hills south of the Po Valley. Spearheading the drive on Bologna in support of the 34th, the tankers were the first American troops in that city, with Capt. Gayle Stockdale, of B Company, 752, commanding the first tank to enter Bologna, shortly after 6 o'clock in the morning of April 21, 1945.

   Transferred from the 34th to the 88th Infantry Division after the fall of Bologna, 752 drove north, forcing the crossing of the Panora River on April 23 and at the same time destroying a large number of enemy vehicles and other equipment, and capturing over 400 prisoners.

   The unit advanced rapidly and supported the Po River crossing of the 88th Division, after which it pushed north to spearhead the capture of Verona after heavy fighting. In the heaviest fighting of the Po Valley campaign, 752 fought its way into the city of Vicenza in a daring night time advance with infantrymen of the 88th.

   With Vicenza captured, the tankers pushed ahead and participated in the taking of Feltre, and at the close of the campaign on May 2, was well into the Italian Alpine district in the vicinity of Bolzano.

   During the whole of the campaign, the 752 Tank Battalion was led by Major (now Lieutenant Colonel) C. M. Woodbury, known throughout the Fifth Army sector as "The Iron Major." Since the close of the campaign in Italy, the 752 Tank Battalion has been stationed in the Venezia-Giulia area of northeastern Italy where it has been attached successively to the 10th Mountain, and the 91st and 34th Infantry Divisions on duty in this sector.

34th Infantry Division "Red Bulletin," 21 September 1945

Gen. Bolte Attaches Citation Streamer
to 752's Standard

   Major General Charles L. Bolte, Commanding General of the 34th Division, is shown above attaching the Distinguished Unit Streamer to the standard of the 752 Tank Battalion at a presentation ceremony held recently near Soleschiano, Italy. In addition to the streamer, individual members of the battalion were presented the Distinguished Unit Badge by General Bolte.

   The award, first of its kind ever awarded to an individual tank battalion, was made for the outstanding part played by the 752 during the Po Valley campaign in northern Italy. Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) C.M. Woodbury, better known as "The Iron Major", commanded the 752 Tank Battalion throughout the lightning campaign which crushed all German resistance in Italy and helped considerably in spelling the doom of Nazism in all Europe.

   The 752 tankers blasted their way out of the Apennines and were among the first American troops to enter Bologna the morning of April 21. Then attached to the 88th Division, the tankers forced a crossing of the Panora River, spearheaded the drive on Verona after very heavy fighting, entered Vicenza in a daring night maneuver and helped in the capture of Feltre. The end of the war on May 2 found the men of the 752 battling well within the Italian Alpine sector in the vicinity of Bolzano.

Stars And Stripes, September 1945

Back to Top of Page