Fred K. Blaylock
At nine thirty on the fifth of August, CCA resumed its westward trek under the command of Brig. General James Taylor. Then east of Merdrignac, Company "C" was fired on by organized sniper fire from a trench system. , The company immediately returned fire, killing five enemy, and wounded many others. When the head of the column reached Huelgoat, Lt. Col. McCorrison was ordered by the Division Commander to clear the town, and two platoons of Company "A" were ordered to support one company of the 44th in accomplishing this mission. This force closed on the enemy in two directions and drove them into the northern end of the town. At this point, resistance grew very stiff, and the task force came to grips with the enemy at close quarters. One tank was hit by Panzerfaust fire at a very close range, and was set on fire. However, the tank crew remained inside and continued to machine gun the krauts until the heat became unbearable; crawling out of the vehicle they found themselves su;rrounded by Wehrmacht troops who called to them to surrender. Unanimously they refused, and immediately opened fire on the group in the face of overwhelming odds, and almost certain death. Technician 5th Grade, Santo De Nunziato, Fred K. Blaylock, were cut down by machine gun fire. Nunziato was immediately killed and Blaylock died of wounds later in the hospital.
Source: Unit History 68th Tank Battalion
Company D, 28-May-1943
source: Paul Warp collection
VILLAGERS HONOR YANKS KILLED IN OBSCURE WORLD WAR II BATTLE
PATRICK MCDOWELL , Associated Press
Aug. 3, 1991 6:10 PM ET
PARIS (AP) _ In the summer of 1944, as U.S. tanks charged across western France toward Brest, 10 Americans died in an obscure battle in two villages in Brittany. On Monday, the villagers will dedicate monuments to their dead liberators. The campaign for the belated honors was led by a Frenchman who never forgot the fighting and a U.S. veteran determined that others won't.
''You can't give much more than they did,'' said the American, retired Army Col. Robert D. Dwan, 71, of Tucson, Ariz. ''I'm not on a crusade or anything, but I think these people should be recognized.''
Dwan was a platoon leader during the armored push from the D-Day beachheads in Normandy to capture the port of Brest. The honors he helped win are for the soldiers killed at Heulgoat and Poullaouen, 300 miles west of Paris.
The battle took place on Aug. 5, 1944, as the lead tanks of the 6th Armored Division rolled through the wooded countryside to Heulgoat, a village of 2,000 people. The tanks ran into minefields, stalled and came under German rocket and artillery attack. Eight men were killed, mostly by machine-gun and sniper fire as they fled their disabled tanks. ''We thought it was just going to be a skirmish,'' said Mike Pappas, a sergeant who survived. ''We lost eight good boys that day, and three tanks destroyed.'' In nearby Poullaouen, two soldiers rushing new maps to the tank commanders came under machine-gun fire. Both were killed.
Pappas, 72, born in New York City but now a resident of Richmond, Va., is among nine family members and comrades expected to attend the ceremonies. They were contacted by Dwan, who spent two years investigating the deaths at the request of retired French schoolteacher Georges Cadiou. Cadiou was 10 when the tanks clanked past his farmhouse at Huelgoat. He never forgot the battle, nor the GIs who gave him his first chewing gum. ''They also have me a packet of three Camel cigarettes in K-rations,'' he said. ''I still have them.'' After coming across faded pictures of the battle a few years ago, Cadiou decided Heulgoat and Poullaouen should erect monuments to the Americans. But the villagers weren't sure about the dead men's names. Cadiou contacted Dwan, who was known to Brittany historians for determining the identity of a GI killed in the village of Treguier. Dwan obtained service records, tracked down members of the tank units and located relatives to piece together the details. ''It takes a lot of digging,'' said Dwan. ''On one guy, I couldn't get anything for two years.'' Town officials voted funds last winter to erect simple granite obelisks with the names of the GIs.
Why did it all take so long? Cadiou says simply that no one thought of it before. A series of recent World War II anniversaries prompted the French to reflect on the conflict, he says. France is dotted with hundreds of monuments in memory of American troops who died during both world wars.
As the 50th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion approaches, U.S. officials expect veterans to seek greater acknowledgement of dead comrades.
''For many of these people, the 50th anniversary is going to be the grand finale,'' said Lt. Col. Merlyn Pugh of the American Battlefield Monuments Commission.
The Heulgoat GIs are: Pvt. Ewell B. Bennett of LaGrange, Ky.; 2nd Lt. James L. Durden of Montgomery County, Ga.; 2nd Lt. John W. Schnepp, hometown unknown, of New Jersey; 1st Lt. Herbert Wieder and Cpl. Santo DeNunziato of Brooklyn, New York City; Cpl. Fred K. Blaylock of Beulaville, N.C.; Sgt. John H. Seidenburg of Philadelphia, and Sgt. Charles Bair of Punxsutawney, Pa.
In Poullaouen: 2nd Lt. Philip E. Higginbotham of New York, and Pfc. John D. Gemmill, hometown unknown.
Awarded for actions during the World War II
(UNCONFIRMED - Citation Needed): Fred K. Blaylock, United States Army, is reported to have been awarded the Silver Star under the below-listed General Orders, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the 6th Armored Division during World War II.
General Orders: Headquarters, 6th Armored Division, General Orders No. 32 (1944)
Action Date: World War II
Division: 6th Armored Division
Fred K. Blaylock
Private, U.S. Army
68th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division
Entered the Service from: New York
Buried at: Hallsville Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery
Beulaville, Duplin County
North Carolina, U. S.
Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart