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The Kassel Mission, Part 1

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Release Date: 09/23/2019

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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Episode 21: Hill 122, Part 3: The motorcycle (kettenrad) show art Episode 21: Hill 122, Part 3: The motorcycle (kettenrad)

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

On July 10, 1944, four Sherman tanks of the 712th Tank Battalion came to the rescue of an infantry battalion that was surrounded on Hill 122. After breaking through the German lines and leading an infantry company off the hill, all four tanks were knocked out, three of them bursting into flames. For more about Hill 122, check out the audiobook The Middle of Hell in the ecommerce store at aaronelson.com and the print book "They Were All Young Kids" at amazon.

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Hill 122 Part 2: Louis Gerrard show art Hill 122 Part 2: Louis Gerrard

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

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.

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Hill 122 Part 1 show art Hill 122 Part 1

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

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. . 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.

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Episode 18: The Kassel Mission Part 2: George Collar show art Episode 18: The Kassel Mission Part 2: George Collar

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

In this episode of War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It, we take a detour from the hedgerows of Normandy and the banks of the Moselle River, and hitch a ride on a B-24 into the dangerous skies above Germany. This interview was recorded in 1999 and there is some background noise on portions of the tape. Running time: An hour and 25 minutes.

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The Kassel Mission, Part 1 show art The Kassel Mission, Part 1

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Sept. 27, 2019 is the 75th anniversary of one of World War II's most spectacular aerial battles. What should have been an easy mission ended in tragedy when 35 B-24 bombers were ambushed by as many as 150 German fighter planes.

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The Barroom Brawl show art The Barroom Brawl

War As My Fathers Tank Battalion Knew It

Phenix City, Alabama was off limits, but that didn't stop tankers and paratroopers from going there. Tank driver George Bussell and tank commander Reuben Goldstein took part in a brawl at Ma Beachie's, an iconic establishment in a city described in a government report as the "wickedest city" in America. But first, a couple of anecdotes about a friendly fire incident and a mad gunner, both of which will be elaborated on further in future episodes of War As My Father's Tank Battalion Knew It.

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While visiting a village in Germany where my father's tank battalion lost several men near the end of the war in Europe, I learned of a spectacular aerial battle that took place in the area. Sept. 27, 2019 is the 75th anniversary of that battle.