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Fury/Death Traps

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by Buten42, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    In the book Death Traps by Belton Y. Cooper, he relates a story of heroism by a tank crew member that is very familiar to the last scene of the movie "Fury". Since no names are recorded, and his source is stated as "as reported", I give little credence to the story itself, but I wonder if the movie director heard this same story and adapted it to the film? here's the story:

    “In the fighting around Hastenrath and Scherpenseel, the tankers, without adequate infantry support, performed almost superhuman acts of heroism to hold on throughout the night. It was reported that one of the tankers, in his tank on a road junction, was the only surviving member of his crew but was determined to hold his position at all costs. A German infantry unit approached, apparently not spotting the tank in the darkness. The lone tanker had previously sighted his 76mm tank gun down the middle of the road. He depressed the mechanism slightly and loaded a 76mm HE. As the Germans advanced in parallel columns along each side of the road, he fired. The HE shell hit the ground about 150 feet in front of the tank and ricocheted to a height of about 3 feet before it exploded.

    The shock took the Germans completely by surprise. The American tanker continued to fire all HE he had as rapidly as possible, swinging the turret around to spray the German infantry, who were trying to escape into the fields on both sides of the highway. Loading and firing the gun by himself was extremely difficult, because he had to cross to the other side of the gun to load and come back to the gunner’s position to fire.

    After exhausting his HE and .30 caliber ammunition, he opened the turret and swung the .50 caliber around on the ring mount and fired again. He continued firing until all his .50 Caliber ammunition was exhausted, then he grabbed his .45 submachine gun from the fighting compartment and opened fire with this. After using al the ammunition from his Thompson and his pistol, he dropped back into the turret and closed the hatch.

    He opened his box of hand grenades and grabbed one. When he heard German infantry climb onto the back of the tank, he pulled the pin, cracked the turret hatch slightly, and threw the grenade. It killed all the Germans on the back of the tank and those around it on the ground. He continued to do this until all the grenades were gone; then he closed the hatch and secured it.

    By this time, the German infantry unit apparently decided to bypass the tank. From the vicious rate of firing, they must have assumed that they had run up on an entire reinforced roadblock. When our infantry arrived the next day, they found the brave young tanker still alive in the tank. The entire surrounding area was littered with German dead and wounded. This, to me, was one of the most courageous acts of individual heroism In World War II.”
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I read that book 25 or so years ago. I don't remember the story.

    I'm not a big fan of Cooper and his learned assessments. Without an attribution, I would take it with a grain of salt. An action like that surely would have been worthy of a MoH.
     
  3. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    I agree with your assessment completely Jeff. Think it must have been a WWII armored urban legend that just kept getting more added to it. Cooper used it for filler.
    The book is about the exploits of the 3rd Armored in Europe. I find it interesting because my brother was in the 2nd Armored and followed about the same course (as did the 30th ID).
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It just did for me. Sorry, don't know what the problem is.
     
  7. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I just tried it again, and it worked. I guess I wasn't holding my mouth right.

    Thanks for posting the link, Richard.
     
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  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC Box 9 and 10 have the Armored Regiment AAR in them. Its not real intuitive, but it works. It helped me quite a bit in writing up the Duel at Cologne Cathedral in For Purpose of Service Test.
     
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  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    You have good memory. Box 8 is the 32nd AR, and Box 9 is mostly the 33rd AR and 486th AAA Bn. My interest was with the 32nd, but I couldn't help checking all the other folders. With the NARA and EPL inaccessible, it scratched my research itch.
     
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