Nick Paikos, of Tipton, recently received a letter and an interesting article from Pfc. Arnold Easterwood, who is with the, Sixth armored division in Germany. Pfc. Easterwood is sending Mr. Paikos a German gun. He previously sent him two parachutes.
The article Pfc. Easterwood sent Mr. Paikos told of the Sixth armored division celebrating its third anniversary in February on the line. The division was activated Feb. 15. 1942. at Ft. Knox, Ky., and trained at Camp Chaffee, Ark., in maneuvers, in Louisiana, on the California desert and at Camp "Cooke, Cal., before arriving in England the latter part of February, 1944. The Super Sixth has caputed more Nazis than there are members of the division according to the article. They have traveled more than 1,000 miles, while their tanks have put approximately 2,500 miles on their odometers.
In six months of combat, ten members received distinguished flying cross, 441 silverstars, 737 bronze stars, and 15 earned direct battlefield commissions. The most heroic bit of action in the division's combat history occured in the Saar in the Frehch Nied river area.
Two imporatant bridgeheads were established at Han-sur-Nied and Sanry mainly through the gallantry of a small group of individuals who braved German tank atillery, mortar and small arms fire, to cath the bridges intact before the Germans could dynamite them.
Heroic Act Performed.
At Han-sur-Neid, Lt. Daniel L. Nutter
of Waukesha, Wis., and T/5 Charles Cunningham, Columbus, O.,both of the 25th Armored engineer battalion, rode across in a medium tank racing to catch the bridge intact, jumped out and cut the wire leading to demolitions. After the heroic act had been performed, Nutter was killed as he ran back towards the west side of the bridge, being carried to the bank by Cunningham under murderous fire.
Tanks of the 68th tank battalion rumbled across at Han under the command of First Lt. Vernon L. Edwards
, Collinsville, Edwards braved the fire of artillery, tanks and flak guns to save the bridge, neutralizing two rocket launchers teams with his machine gun ont the way across as he exposed himself from the turrent of his tank. He was killed by a sniper, leaving the tank defense of Han-sur-Neid the responsibility of S/Sgt. Everett E. Tourjee, Catskill, N.Y., as silver star winner.
The enemy used every weapon they could muster to rain hellish fire on the bridge, causing casualties to infantry of the 80th Division, and the Ninth armored infantry battalion. After smoke was laid to screen the vision of the Nazi gunners, Col. John L. Hines, Jr., White Sulpher Springs, W. Va., commanding officer of CCA and son of the former chief of staff of U.S. army, went forward and organized doughboys to get them across to reinforce the infantry and tanks that already had negotiated the reacherous span.
Col. Hines was awarded the Distingulshed Service Cross for outstanding leadership which had an important effect on divisions crossing the Nied River, the most difficult barrier between the Sielle and the Saar. Nearly all bridges in this area had been blown up by the Germans, whose idea of complete demolition was the placing of as much as 1500 pounds of dynamite under a culvert the size of a dining table. Col. Hines came upon one bridge which was undamaged, but was under artillery and small arms fire so intense that a company of doughboys had dug themselves in along the banks without attempting a crossing. Hines went from foxhole to fox hole, tapping soldiers on th shoulder, asking that they follow him across the bridge. When the wistle blew, about 20 responded. Col. Hines was shepherding them over when a shrapnel fragment of" finger-end size lodged in his cheek. He could have evacuated himself as a casualty, but accepted only first aid and continued to rally the Yanks until the bridgehead was firmly established. It was four days later be fore he found time to have the shell fragment removed.
Five Receive DSC's
While this courageous action was occuring, elements of CCB had bridges blown almost in their faces at two places before Lt. Col. Donald C. Williams, Kansas City, M., division engineer, and First Lt. Fredrick D. Titterington, Glenn Falls, N.Y., 25th engineers found the span near Sanry intact. With Sgt. Ray McCrary, Ft. Smith, Ark., T/5 Francis A. Bolton, Philadelphia, Pa., and T/5 Paul K. Smith, Monroe, Tenn., protecting him as he drove a half-track down to test the surface of the bridge. Titterington rode half way across, then dismounted. Reaching under the swollen river, he saved the bridge by cutting the lead wires and backed the half-track safely across the west side. For this action Hines, Nutter, Titterington, Edwards and Cunningham awarded DSC's.
Another DSC was won the next day by Capt. Clarence E. Prenevost. Red Lake Falls, Minn., commander of Co. B. 15th Tank Bn'., who was shot through the chest while leading his dismounted tankers in clearing a minefield. Knocked off hisfeet, he resume his platoon leaders on the attack of two towns to widen the Sanry bridgehead before allowing himself to be evacuated. At Landroff, two days later, Maj. (then captain). Daniel E. Smith, Memphis, Tenn., 68th tank battalion, commanded a small force that held off four enemy counter attacks during one night. The last was made in battalion strength supported by tanks and preceded by artillery and succeeded in getting into the town in force. The hand-to-hand fight that ensued lasted five hours until daylight, but Smiths group still held the upper hand despite being outnumbered. Smith, who received a DSC, killed one German with his bare hands who turned out to be the officer commanding the attackers; another died In his grasp when a fellow-tankef shot him saying: "I don't know who is who, captain, but tell me when to infire and Ill take a chance. A jus-third, who bit Smith on the hand, died when Smith clubbed' him with the butt of his pistol.
The Tipton Daily Tribune
22 Mar 1945, Thu • Page 5
Captain Clarence Ernest Prenevost
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Armor) Clarence Ernie Prenevost (ASN: 0-1011637), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company B, 15th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division. On 11 November 1944, Captain Prenevost commanded leading elements of the 15th Tank Battalion as part of a task force which had secured a bridgehead near *******, and was attacking to the east to seize the towns of **** and **** . When leading tanks of Captain Prenevost's command were forced by direct enemy anti-tank fire to take positions in fields to cover the advance of a supporting armored infantry platoon, he personally accompanied the infantry on foot in order to reconnoiter more suitable tank positions. On reaching a place between two woods where the road crossed an open space of several hundred yards an extensive enemy mine field was discovered which blocked any further advance of the tanks. Captain Prenevost ordered the infantry to a position near the road and then with the aid of several of his men began removing mines. While so engaged he was shot through the chest and knocked to the ground. Despite his wound he arose and continued to remove and direct the removal of the enemy mines until a lane had been cleared through the field for his tanks. As he emerged from the far side of the mine field he noticed that the infantry was pinned down by intense enemy fire and that a number of them were wounded. Despite his own injury, he assisted in the removal of the wounded and directed the withdrawal of the infantry. Even then Captain Prenevost did not permit himself to be evacuated until he had completely described the situation to his platoon leaders and turned his command over to his executive officer. His personal bravery, heroic determination and unswerving devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States.