Posted on August 26th, 2017 by:

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By Earl Mazo

Stars and Stripes Staff Writer

In the Carentan Sector, France—A sergeant with an American tank unit fighting as infantry support in this sector was an uninvited guest at a German meeting, and before his departure he disrupted the speech-making, destroyed an enemy tank and killed or wounded 75 of his astonished hosts.

The “gate-crasher” was Sgt. John C. Abrams, of Brownsville, N.Y., whose tank happened upon a company of Germans gathered around a Mark VI panzer listening to a speech. Abrams demolished the enemy tank with his first cannon shot, and then with machine-gun fire and high explosive shells inflicted many casualties.

m4 sherman american tanker and infantry

An M4A1 Sherman on the Attack in Normandy

A tank officer of the same unit, 2/Lt. Albert J. Gable, of Chicago, directed his tank team through a day-long battle despite the loss of a finger before going into action. The finger was caught in a hatch door as he went into the line. Refusing aid, Gable wrapped his hand as best he could and proceeded to shoot up hedgerows, machine gun nests and other German emplacements.

Another tanker, Sgt. Morrow S. Apgar, of Loveland, O., rescued a wounded infantryman who was pinned down by machine-gun fire in an open field, driving over him, then pulling him up into the tank through the escape door on the bottom.

Another tank commander in his unit, Sgt. Anton E. Konjeczny, of Wausau, Wis., rescued his injured driver from the vehicle after it had been disabled in battle. During the day, Anton had accounted for at least one German pillbox and had shot up an ammunition dump, anti-tank mines and numerous German gunners’ nests. His tank was still under intensive fire when he pulled his wounded driver out and dragged him to safety.

S/Sgt. Thomas K. Rutledge of Cerrogordo, Ill., spotted a MK IV sneaking around a hedgerow to outflank his organization. With his first shot, Rutledge wiped out the German tank and its crew.

Throughout the fighting, infantry and tanks worked almost as one. Pfc. William Jeffries, of Abilene, Kan., an infantryman, went to get help in wiping out a particular bothersome German machine-gun nest. He dashed up to an American tank and banged on the side. The commander “unbuttoned,” took Jeffries aboard to direct him, then wiped out the machine-gun nest.

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