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US Army

750th Tank Battalion in the Bulge

750th Tank Battalion in the Bulge
 

The 750th Tank Battalion had the lowest percentage of vehicles abandoned in combat on the western front and as a result was chosen to share in the honor of occupying the former Nazi citadel in Cologne.

 
Sergeant Eddie Oryll, who was killed in action during a German bomber raid while we were repairing one of our M-4 tanks, and I were assigned a half track.  We would accompany the battalion maintenance tank retriever and assist in retrieval of our 750th Tank Battalion unit tanks which were damaged by the enemy.
 
One of my jobs was to check for enemy placed booby trap in the abandoned M-4 tanks and deactivate them if possible!  Most of the time it was the better part of valor to slip a block of dynamite and blow up the tank with the German booby traps; as it was virtually impossible to deactivate the ingenious German booby traps.  Captain Shiner our battalion maintenance commander would give me the command to blow the tank with a block of dynamite when I noticed the trip wires and explosive which had been placed in the tank.  If you pulled on a wire or cut a wire, the explosion would be set off.

Photo: Mike Altamura and his half track "Skunk Hollow"

 

During World War II, soldiers would name their planes, tanks and half tracks.  Some were named after girlfriends, mothers, home towns, etc.  Sergeant Eddie Oryll and I decided to name our half track "Skunk Hollow" after the home town of the 1940's newspaper cartoon characters' (Little Abner and Daisy Mae) fictional home town.  Each 750th Tank Battalion letter company A, B, C, D, headquarters and service company vehicle's name had to start with the alphabet letter of that company.  Ours was "S" (Service company)

 

Since the three of us were assigned to the half track and often went for weeks without baths, clean clothes, and passed gas often due to the Army food and "K" rations, we decided that "Skunk Hollow" not only described our situation but also fit the aroma that prevailed in the confined front seats of the half track.  After the war, I was once asked by a friend, "How was the war,"  I replied, "It stank."

 

Source:Bulge Bugle, November 2001

Sgt Michael V. ALTAMURA

Service Company

750th Tank Battalion

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium