Raymond R. Polk

source: The SHIELD of Phi Kappa Psi. March, 1945

The attack was methodically carried out, and by 1040 our objective was obtained by the first and second wave. The control of all leading elements was exceptionally good under conditions which lent to confusion, for enemy small arms fire was heavy, and their artillery fire was extremely heavy, and also the infantry were not employed at the proper time. At 1100, Company "D" was committed to hold the ground west of Chambrey, covering the elements and screening the task force's right flank. While the lead elements waited there for elements of the 35th Division to come up and secure this hard-won obiective, the enemy artillery became intense, and our sharp-shooting Assault Gun Platoon was called up to nullify direct fire weapons to our left front in a well defiladed position; they consequently poured merciless fire on the positions with excellent observed results. At 1330, the task force withdrew to its forward rally point prepared to support the doughs in the event of an enemy counter-attack. The artillery fire continued to rain on our vulnerable positions, but finally at 1940 the battalion went into reserve and assembled in the vicinity of Pettencourt, while Company "C" remained in position to cover the withdrawal of the force and to support the 35th doughs as they perfected their defensive positions on the objective. Then, at 2340 Company "C" was relieved and returned to the battalion assembly area. Its mission had been accomplished, but the battalion had suffered greatly in so doing; our casualties were four killed in action, 24 wounded, and a vehicular loss of 2 tanks destroyed. But the greatest blow was the loss of Captains Polk and Bland who died in the heroic performance of their duties, and Major Brown, who had two tanks shot from under him and was seriously wounded while trying to get to the third. There were countless acts of heroism during this costly action; it would take pages to recount one tenth of them. There was the Recon Platoon intrepidly blowing paths through a mine field under terrific artillery fire: there was Lt. Olan Hafely, who took over "A" Company, when Captain Polk was killed, and successfully led it to its objective, and who was all the while seriously wounded. These are only two of many.


Second Battalion Officers
source: Paul Warp collection


Company A of the 68th Tank Battalion, in support of the infantry, was assigned the objective of assisting in the capture of the towns Lesquivit and Plougastel. An interesting sidelight of this action occured when the CO, Captain Polk, found himself in front of a huge wine and cognac store; but heavy German fire prevented him from investigation the discovery. Not to be dienied, Polk returned to reap the fruits of victory only to find that German artillerymen had zeroed in on the building. This battle of the wine shop ended with nothing but broken bottles and a frustraded Captain.

Source: The Super Sixth, Hoffman


Second of the left: Lt. Raymond R. Polk 
D company Officers Co/Battalion Commander Jan. 1943
source: Paul Warp collection


So, retaining the composition of task forces, and under the control of CCA, Task Force Davall marched to the vicinity of Plouvien. The Recon Platoon went forward and found the town clear of enemy; the column turned west just south of town and proceeded to its bivouac area, but before we had cleared this turning point, fighting broke out in the streets. We later found out that an enemy force of a bout 1500 members of the 265th lnfantrv Division had approached Plouvien from the Northeast, unaware that we were there. Captain Polk was Johnny-on-the-spot; he saw that the column's safe passage at this critical point was seriously menaced. So, quickly he took a section of his medium tanks into the town proper and contacted there a mixed group of 44th and 9th AlB doughs, but no accompanying Officers, so he immediately took command of the situation. He organized a tank-dough Task Force and drove through the town until fire from enemy mortars, artillery and machine gems became so severe that farther advance was impossible. In the meantime, Lt. Col. McCorrison, CO of the 44th AlB had arrived on the scene, and it was decided that Col McCorrison would press the attack in the original direction while Captain Polk took a light Task Force around and whacked the krauts from the west. Captain Polk, having sent for an additional section of medium tanks, fought his way around through the west side of town and pushed in the enemy right flank. The kraut force, finding itself pinched in between the two attacking forces, withdrew from town and retreated up the road, at which point our fighter planes dove into view and worked them over. Needless to mention, for his display of courage and his initiative and aggressiveness Captain Polk was awarded the Silver Star.


source: Paul Warp collection


The fields, The Colonel and the Polks
source: Paul Warp collection


Raymond R. Polk

Captain, U.S. Army

Service # ?

68th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division

Entered the Service from: ?

Died: October 1, 1944

Buried at: ?

Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart