Hellcat News, (Godfrey, Ill.), Vol. 36, No. 5, Ed. 1, January 1983 Page: 3 of 26
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the inevitable rooster and his
harem, and on many walls there
were pictures of men in uniform,
just as often German as French.
As many shirts got washed
through negotiations in Penn-
sylvania-style "sprechen sie
deutch" as in "parlez-vous fran-
This was the Bitche area . .
Fortress Bitche, which held out
first against the Germans and
now against the Americans, never
to be taken by frontal attack.
There were land mines, all jeep
floors were sandbagged five inch-
Trench foot appeared in the
battalion, also the "GI's". The first
AAAIS observation post went out
on lonely vigil . . and almost got
left in a swift night withdrawal.
Pulling into Bining, A Battery
men noted a smattering of small-
arms fire being exchanged be-
tween ground troops and a sniper
in a church steeple. A few hun-
dred rounds of machine gun bul-
lets and two score 37mm HE
shells silenced the sniper per-
For three weeks in the line, the
ack-ack's were "poor relations" as
the Luftwaffle stayed out of the
air. Men were going to bed at 6
and 7 o'clock every night, there
was nothing else to do. 23 Dec-
ember brought reports of strafing
on other parts of the front, and
that night the capture of some
enemy paratroops outside the
battalion's area resulted in post-
ing extra guards through the
tense hours of darkness. Christ-
mas day brought mail . . bushels
of it . . the first since England.
Still no planes came. Guns swung
across empty skies as their crews
speculated on whether the Luft-
waffe was really kaput. It was 29
December at Dieuze, before a
shot was squeezed off at a plane,
and that was at the unsatisfactory
target of a P47 Thunderbolt which
had unwisely jettisoned its bombs
near the 572nd defended area.
Gunners assumed that the P47
was one of those they had been
warned about . . captured and
used by the enemy for sneak
bombings. It was riddled but not
downed. Next day the jettison
point was changed.
"Bed Check" Charlie dropped in
regularly to visit the close croup-
ed battalion at Dieuze, trying to
draw fire and reveal troop con-
centrations. Here the men got
their first real baths at a hot
water shower unit in Sarrebourg.
So far the score was one sided,
favor of the enemy. Two 572nd
men had been killed, and their
comrades were to see two more
die, suffer 7 wounded, lose a pair
of halftracks, five trailers, and
equipment of forty men before,
near the end of January, the first
enemy planes would fall before
Helltrack guns. In the snowy
month of January, the men of the
572nd were to come through some
of the toughest fighting the Hell-
cat 12th would see. Heroes were
made in January.
One episode which became Hell-
track legend began when A Bat-
tery's mess truck got slugs for
breakfast as the enemy opened up
a counter attack near Achen
through the morning fog. Out in
front of everything stood a lonely
M-16 halftrack, squared away to
meet the spearhead of any attack.
This spearhead happened to be a
Tiger tank. When the Tiger had
lurched to within 150 yards of the
track, the gunner in the turret let
loose with a noisy blast of fifties .
. . about as effective as four cap
pistols against the massive armor
of the biggest of all German
tanks. The Panzer commander
must have figured that the men
with the light guns were either
crazy or backed up by heavier
fire, for he buttoned up, turned
and hightailed for home. While
the impertinet track held the line,
the rest of the force picked up and
retired 4,000 yards to a safer
position to fight off the attack
they expected to come. It never
H ELLCAT N EWS
526 ELTON STREET
RIVERHEAD, NY 11901
Phone  727-5336
Max Schwartz — Div. Hq.
Glenn H. Brobeck — Div. Hq.
Woody W. Shuster — Div. Trns.
Arthur R. Tzeses — Div. Hq.
Lloyd B. DeLuca — CCA
Gamewell D. Gantt, Jr. — Div. Arty
James E. Thomas — Div. Hq.
Anthony M. Appio — MP
As we are now in the new year,
we wish all members of the
association a most happy, prosper-
ous and healthy one.
From Providence, Rhode Island
comes dues, booster and an
accompanying note from George
and Eileen Grimshaw (Div Hq/
G-2). They write . . . Greetings
again from "The Biggest Little
State in The Union". We spent a
week late in September at our
time-sharing Villa in Fernwood,
PA and made a "pilgrimage" to
the Sheraton in Stroudsburg and
toasted you all "for old time's
sake". Brought back happy mem-
ories of our Eastern Chapter
reunions. George, who is Grand
Knight of the Our Lady of Fatima
Council Knights of Columbus, as
well as Treasurer of Republican
Ward Committee, still managed to
place in the Golf League at
Hospital Trust National Bank
where he continues to toil as
Buildings and Properties Officer.
At present we are both involved
in the forthcoming State and
Municipal elections. Our 3 sons
are still single and happy. Peter,
the eldest is in graduate school at
Rhode Island School of Design in
the Art Education Dept. Christ-
opher, #2 son is attending the
University of Massachusetts and
Brian, our youngest recently join-
ed the Eckhart Wilderness Found-
ation as a counselor to disturbed
teen-agers. Our two cottages at
Gaspee Point on Narragasett Bay
took a lot of our time this year but
are becoming doll houses thanks
to lots of T L C!
In closing they inform your rep
that Eileen has a cousin who lives
in a neighboring community,
Shoreham, L. I., just a stone's
throw from Riverhead, who they
plan to visit soon and will call and
get together with us. We're look-
ing forward to this and also hope
you are making plans to attend
the Eastern Chapter Reunion in
Stroudsburg. They wish God's
choicest blessings to all "Hellcats"
through the holidays and always.
David Aston (Div Hq/CCA)
sends dues and booster from
Gouldsboro, ME. He writes that
he retired from the Army in 1974
and has a small place here on the
coast of Maine. He would like to
know if any CCA types are in the
New England area that he could
get in touch with. He adds that he
reads every copy of the HCN from
cover to cover and hopes some
day to make a reunion. He closes
with the 'best to all'.
Dues, booster and a note comes
from Max Schwartz (Div Hq) sent
from Tamaqua, PA. Max writes
that he enjoys reading the HCN.
Apologizes for missing the St.
Louis reunion this year as some of
us still have to work for a living
so that our friends Charles Dan-
ton and Julie Bernstein can get
their checks on time. However, he
and wife Blanche hope to make
Johnny Shibley and Rob-
ert L. Crawford, C-17th.
John visited the Crawfords
in Kansas City, this past
the Eastern Chapter Reunion this
year as they had a great time last
year. They also are looking for-
ward and hope to make the Nash-
ville reunion for a second honey-
moon. They had their first one
there in '42. He hopes to see lots
of his friends in Nashville.
Julius "Ed" Bernstein (Div Hq/
G-5) renews membership and adds
a booster dues asking to reinstate
a "lost" Hellcat. A note informs us
that he is enjoying his retirement
- both of them, and that they have
"doubled their pleasure" as the
TV commercial goes. Ed retired
from Federal Civil Service on
April 7th, 1978 and on August
3rd, 1982 when he reached his
60th birthday. Ed retired from
the U. S. Army Reserves in the
grade of CWO-3 with over 38
years service, putting in over 30
years in Civil Service. He and
wife Mickey are planning a trip to
Europe and Israel this year going
the Space Available route on U. S.
Air Force planes.
Recently they had a pleasant
visit with Mrs. Eleanor Zimmer-
man, widow of Albert Zimmerman
(92 Recon) at her home in Rancho
Bernardo (north of San Diego).
Al's grave is in Riverside, (Ed's
home,) in the Riverside National
Cemetery. They visited his grave
on Veteran's Day and placed
flowers on it. Ed further states
that A1 was active in the West
Coast Chapter of the 12th and
attended many reunions. They
have invited Eleanor to be their
guest at this year's West Coast
Chapter reunion to be held in
February in Carlsbad-by-the-Sea,
CA - a resort community just
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Twelfth Armored Division Association (U.S.). Hellcat News, (Godfrey, Ill.), Vol. 36, No. 5, Ed. 1, January 1983, newspaper, January 1983; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth410032/m1/3/?q=12th%20Armored%20Memorial%20Museum&rotate=90: accessed April 5, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum.