Major "Bobcat" Smith is Looking for Small Nazi Commanding Officer
Ada Man Wanted To Go Faster Because He Wanted More Nazis
By MARJORIE KITCHEL (News Staff)
Because at Major Walter B. “Bobcat” Smith, son of Mr .George Smith of Ada, the boys in the Sixth Armored Division think that "Ada" should be printed just a little heavier on the maps. But Walter hasn't taken much time to think about that—he still has a little unfinished business with a certain German captain.
According to the story ‘"How Superman Died" by Robert Richards, United Press Correspondent, in the May 12 Colliers, when Major Smith and First Lieutenant Jerome R. Tichy of New York City, took the city of Friedberg, one German captain escaped, and they want him.
The Sixth and Fourth Armored Divisions were fighting, inside Offenbach, just across the Main River from Frankfurt. The Sixth was pretty mad. A mortar shell had fallen near one of the favorite officers, ripping away half of his face and both eyes. They would not forget. "Bobcat" Smith was madder than the rest. Two days before the Germans had shelled and burned his beloved tank "Daisy Mae": he lost everything he had except the clothes on his back, and was forced to go in a jeep.
Wanted To Hurry
The twenty-five year old Ada major wanted to hurry, he was afraid all the Germans would be captured before he could take any. But his fears were allayed when the Germans came from everywhere surrendering as the Shermans raced four abreast down the Frankfurt-Berlin Reich Autobahn to Berlin.
In Colliers, Richards said, "Colonel Harry Hanson, of Washington D. C., was leading the collumn, by-passing towns which offered resistance, leaving them for the infantry to clean up later. Friedberg which, is approximately twenty miles of Frankfurt, suddenly loomed ahead. As the tanks swung toward the town, the Germans opened ﬁre with deﬂected 40-mm ack-ack guns. 'Those are mean babies when they are shooting at you', Bobcat Smith said. 'Reckon they might go through a tank'."
Changed His Mind
“Three hundred Germans in the ﬁelds, outside the town jumped up and surrendered, but Hanson, in accordance with his policy swung south and made no attempt to enter the city proper. Bobcat Smith pulled past in his jeep and he looked over at the blazing 40-mms. He thought about the officer who had both eyes blown out at Offenbach and about his lost tank, ‘Daisy Mae'.”
He pulled off and looked back while the tartka raced by, and the temptation was too great. He met up with Lieutenant Tichy and they decided to go back and capture Friedburg. On the way they picked up two German officers for interpreters.
At the first sign of opposition the lieutenant yelled in German, "Will you surrender?" and they did. They went immediately to German headquarters and Bobcat Smith came straight to the point with the Gerrrian captain who was in command of the troops within the city. “Said Bobcat Smith, (quoting from Colliers) 'I want you to surrender to save both of us trouble.’ The German captain replied, ‘I think that’s a good idea. Major."
Other officers around the place seemed eager to surrender with the exception of one other captain who was in command of some troops outside the city. He wanted Major Smith to let him get his troops out of the city and fight it out with them. But Major Smith and Lieutenant Tichy were without troops and anyway they didn't want any foolishness—they were mad.‘
The two German captains argued, exhibiting scars and yelling at each other in German, Bobcat and Tichy got al little impatient and gave them until 12 o‘clock noon to decide. (According to the United Press story of March 30) the men began to surrender and the captain when last seen was leaving with a pistol in one hand and a burp gun in the other.
“He was gone when we looked for him which was a great pity,‘ Smith said. I was going to wait until one minute alter 12, when the truce was up, and then personalily shoot him!"
And in a letter written to his mother on April 20, he was still hoping to gett another chance at the little German captain. This reporter still wants to know if in the seventeen remaining days of the war, he accomplished his desire.
Star, Purple Heart
In his "Story of the Sixth Armored Division from Brest to Bastogne", the commanding officer, Major General Robert W. Grow tells of another earlier heroic incident starring Major Smith (then Capt. Smith), who wears the Silver Star tor gallantry in action and the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
“Reconnaissance patrols were sent out to represent General Patton's Third Army in making contact with General Patch's Seventh Army coming iup from the south.
“Before the division assembled in the Seille River area, CCB. attached to the 35th Division, already had written the ﬁrst chapter of that campaign with an effectively executed attack near Manhoue, Armancourt and Lanfroiourt, 22. Sept.
Kayoed Armaucourt Defenses
"Most of the damage was inﬂicted on the 1,000 Germans defending Armaucourt. The town was contested only until Capt. Walter G. "Bobcat" Smith, Ada, Okla., with the 68th Light Tank Co., supported by Tank Destroyers, delivered a "one-two"punch. TDs stood back and blasted away with delayed-fuse shells at buildings. When Germans sprang out to escape, Co. D mowed them down with machine gun ﬁre from light tanks. They killed 182 and captured 310. The knockout plan was the brainchild of Lt. Col. Ralph H. McKee, Shawnee, Okla., CCB exucutive officer.
Praise In Citation
On May 10, Mrs. Julia Smith received the citation saying that the Silver Star had been awarded to her son, Major Walter G. Smith (then Captain Cavalry Armored) United States Army. For gallantry in action in France, Luxembourg and Belgium during the period 21' July 1944 to 1 February 1945.
As company commander he has aggressively and gallantry led his troops in every attack in whih his Battalion was engaged. At France on 15 August 1944 he gallantly led his company to flank a known enemy position to such an extent that the capture of an entire Division Headquarters was assured; at xxx France on 11 November 1944 his company was among the first to cross the xxx River; at xxx and xxx Belgium, he dismounted from his tank and braved intense fire to find enemy targets and destroy enemy equipment. His courageous leadership has been an inspiration. Entered the military service from Oklahoma.