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The Fourth of July, 1944

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Release Date: 07/04/2019

"What Do You Want, To Live Forever?"

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

In this episode of War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It, Lieutenant Jim Gifford touches upon some of the major events in the history of the 712th Tank Battalion. These include the hedgerows of Normandy, the moonlight battle with the 106th German Panzer Brigade, and the taking of Maizieres les Metz.

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The Road to Falaise show art The Road to Falaise

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

The independent 712th Tank Battalion spent 311 days in combat from Normandy to Czechoslovakia, and earned a reputation as the "armored fist" of the 90th Infantry Division. This episode of War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It follows Lieutenant Jim Gifford of C Company from his arrival as a replacement in Normandy to the Falaise Gap on August 18-19, 1944. Warning: This episode contains some graphic descriptions.

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Valentine's Day show art Valentine's Day

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Sometimes a veteran's wife would sit in on an interview, or I'd be chatting with a couple at a reunion of my father's tank battalion, and it was only natural at some point to ask the couple how they met. These are their stories.

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Lieutenant Warfield's Widow show art Lieutenant Warfield's Widow

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Before Harry and Meghan, as royal scandals go, there was Princess Diana, and before Diana, there was Wallis Warfield Simpson, for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the throne. All the fuss about Meghxit got me to thinking about Lieutenant Marshall Warfield, who was a cousin of Wallis Warfield Simpson. This episode largely departs from the stories of combat and contains excerpts of my interview with Lieutenant Warfield's widow, Olga.

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Hill 122 Part 9: The Turning Plow show art Hill 122 Part 9: The Turning Plow

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

In this episode, which concludes the series on Hill 122, Lieutenant Jim Flowers is reunited at the 1995 reunion of the 90th "Texas-Oklahoma" Infantry Division with Claude Lovett, who led the platoon that rescued him and Jim Rothschadl; and Dr. William McConahey, who treated their wounds and later wrote about Flowers in his book "Battalion Surgeon."

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Hill 122 Part 8: Hill 122 Part 8: "It says here hand to hand combat ... that's me."

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Many podcasts have background music. In this and a couple of other episodes, the background music is provided by a radio or TV playing in the next room. It's annoying, but only a minor distraction from the compelling events being described. In Part 8 of the Hill 122 series, you'll hear from Michael Vona, Clarence Morrison and Kenneth Titman, whose tank was one of four that were knocked out in the battle. Vona gives a chilling account of hand to hand combat. For more information, please visit aaronelson.com.

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Hill 122, Part 7: A Side Trip to Anzio show art Hill 122, Part 7: A Side Trip to Anzio

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

When Myron Kiballa received the letter from his family telling him his brother Jerry was killed, he had just gotten out of the hospital after being wounded at Anzio. Reading the letter, he said, was like entering the Twilight Zone. For more of the story of Hill 122, visit aaronelson.com/the-middle-of-hell. There will be more about Hill 122 in the next few podcast episodes. First, though, let's hear about Anzio.

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Hill 122, Part 6: No Man's Land show art Hill 122, Part 6: No Man's Land

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Lieutenant Jim Flowers and his gunner describe the two days and nights they spent in no man's land waiting to be rescued and fearing they wouldn't. But first, we solve the mystery of how a fellow named Rothschadl grew up on an Indian reservation. For more on the battle of Hill 122 involving the first platoon, Company C, of the 712th Tank Battalion, check out They Were All Young Kids in print or for Kindle at amazon, or order the audio epic "The Middle of Hell" in the ecommerce section of aaronelson.com.

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Hill 122, Part 5: Jim Flowers' statement show art Hill 122, Part 5: Jim Flowers' statement

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

This episode of War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It begins with a description of a letter gunner Jim Rothschadl wrote to his younger brother from his hospital bed, and concludes with a statement Lieutenant Jim Flowers wrote from his hospital bed after being recommended for the Medal of Honor (he received the Distinguished Service Cross). There will be more from my interviews with Flowers and Rothschadl in the next episode.

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Hill 122, Part 4: Survivor Guilt show art Hill 122, Part 4: Survivor Guilt

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Tank commander Judd Wiley describes a harrowing week of combat leading up to the battle for Hill 122, in which nine members of the First Platoon, Company C, 712th Tank Battalion were killed. Among them were the tight-knit crew of Wiley's Sherman tank, a day after he was injured and evacuated. For Wiley's full interview, and interviews with several survivors of the battle, check out "The Middle of Hell" in the ecommerce store at aaronelson.com, or "They Were All Young Kids" in print and for Kindle at amazon.

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More Episodes

July 4th came a day early in 1944 with a massive artillery barrage in preparation for an assault on the Haye du Puits sector of the Normandy campaign. The 712th Tank Battalion suffered numerous casualties on its first day of combat. Lt George Tarr became the first officer in A Company to be killed. Sgt. William Schmidt was the first member of C company to be killed. In this episode, Jim Rothschadl, a gunner in C Company, talks about the meaning of the Fourth of July, and Stanley Klapkowski describes the death of Sergeant Schmidt.