Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 13 Page 14
Prelude to Percolate Easy by the 117th's Anti-Tank Company leader Lt. Bob Peters:
History of the HQ. CO. 3rd Battalion, 117th INF., 30th Division:
September 1st, 1942 Charts
Percolate Easy is the Master Thesis written by Capt. William P. Buttler, the S-1 and S-2 of Crank, the 117th's 3rd BN. It was written in June 1947 and is one of the most exciting documents I've ever read of 30th history. Of course, my father served with the 3rd battalion so it has extra meaning to me. If you have a particular date of interest, I can scan the pages and email to you. I will also make an entire copy available to be mailed and returned. I ask only for help with postage. In the near future I'll include comments from Lt. Robert Peters who is mentioned often in the manuscript. I sent a copy to him and he is graciously sending along his thoughts. I have no idea if Mr. Buttler is still with us. If any one can help, I'd appreciate knowing....and so would Mr. Peters. Percolate Easy takes its name from a simple but effective strategem used by regiment to indicate that an attack was due. When a battalion staff officer answered the ring of the field telephone carrying a call from Regimental HQ, the only words needed for the latter to order an attack for the following morning were "Percolate", followed by the word indicating the hour for jump-off. A word beginning with "E" designated 8:00...thus "Easy".
Quoting Mr. Buttler
I sent a copy of Percolate Easy to Robert Peters who was referenced many times by Mr. Buttler in the manuscript....."PETE". He sent me these observations:
I have received a copy of "Diary and Log for
the Medical Department 30th Infantry Division" as recorded by Tec 4 Wilson E.
The copy arrived via A.T. Sandy Jennette, Jr. and Charlie Howell who is the son-in-law of Dr. A.T.(Sandy) Jennette, dentist for the 30th Division. The entire journal is 330 pages. I have scanned many of the most detailed pages for you to read. Some pages are rather light and if need be I can rescan and send to you. This is tremendous 30th history and contains many quotes from German prisoners. The files are Adobe PDF and scanned using Adobe Acrobat 9.0. Below is a photo of Dr. Jennette and a photo of Dr. Jennette and his replacment Capt. Hank Goodall.
Capt. Goodall took over the dental duties in March, 1945. News of Dr. Jennette transfer is on Feb. 25th in the journal.
30th Medical Department Journal.....Part 1 (Adobe PDF file)
30th Medical Department Journal.....Part 2
30th Medical Department Journal.....Part 3
30th Medical Department Journal.....Part 4 (Great information on Bergen-Belsen concentration camp train discovered at Farsleben and the surrender of Gen. Dittmar!!)
Another incredible story. George
Schneidner of the 3rd Bn HQ, 120th IR contacted me with the following email:
Reference is made to the photos on your website, specifically the third one from the left on the top row entitled "Nazi soldiers "help" check for mines near Haulthausen on March 25". This is of special interest to me because I was in 3rd Bn., 120th Inf. 30th ID and on March 25 I detonated a land mine with our Assistant Battalion Commander's jeep. The ABC, Capt. Ralph Christy and an L Company runner, Ralph Storm were both killed. I won't go into any further details except to say that I have a photo of the destroyed jeep taken immediately after the encounter. I was not aware that a photo had been taken until after the war when I received a copy from someone from my company. I think we called him "Whitey" - a Polish guy from Chicago. I have compared the photos and am sure that both photos are from the same location. Your photo shows remnants of a destroyed jeep off to the left. I believe that my jeep has been bulldozed out of the way. In my case, we had come from the left down a slight grade on a gravel road to direct troops through a break we had made in the German line. On the way down we encountered our tanks moving forward at our request. Note that a tank is observed going up the grade to the front. We encountered the first tank with no problems, but as we approached the second tank it hit a mine with its left track without incident as the explosion was on the outside of the track. At this time we were on a line of mines and detonated one with the right rear wheel. My two companions were blown straight forward and I was blown out the left front landing directly behind the tank that had detonated the first mine. A detonation five seconds earlier would have placed me in the path of our own tank. Our battalion personnel then enlisted German prisoners to probe for remaining mines. After I struck the second mine a third was detonated without incident. The probing with the Germans successfully recovered another 7 or 8 I believe. It was believed that one more remained and our battalion commander who was pretty upset after losing his assistant ordered our soldiers to shoot the Germans if the last mine detonated and killed an American. I cannot vouch for the authenicity of that order. I thought that you might be interested in these coincidental photos. A copy of my photo has been sent to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in Valis Gate New York............George F. Schneider
The first photo is on my website....the second sent by Mr. Schneidner:
Mr. Schneider also included this story in his autobiography:
Our troops had now moved ahead and we followed. A break had been made in the German line and Capt. Christy told me to take one of the runners with me and return to the rest of our company still at the farmhouse and guide them through the opening. Storm volunteered as well as Ken Bedford who was standing nearby. After a short discussion it was decided that Storm would accompany me. Before we could leave Capt. Christy decided to come along. He sat in the front seat and Storm sat in back over the right wheel. The pontoon bridge was now completed and tanks were rolling across in large numbers. We had already radioed for tanks to assist us in advancing through the break in the German line. As we traveled down a gently slopping gravel road we could see the dust from approaching tanks. As we approached the first tank Storm said his last words, “Beaucoup dust.” The second tank was approaching us and, when it was about 10 feet from us it struck a mine with the outside edge of its left track. Most of the German mines were teller mines and were shaped like a large two-layer cake. These were their most destructive mine, and being made of metal and packed with powerful explosives, they were lethal. These could be detected with mine detectors and the road had been swept by our antitank group and declared clear of mines. The one detonated by the approaching tank was made of plastic and could not be detected with a mine detector. It was an elongated box packed with 10 pounds of explosives and often contained a timer so that several vehicles could pass over it without detonating it then later on it would explode and create disruption perhaps in a rear column. We had traveled this road on our way to the front and had avoided tripping any mine so these obviously had timers on them or else all vehicles had miraculously avoided them.
The tank struck the mine on its far left end and most of the explosion was expended on the roadway. The tank suffered no damage and never slowed down. Antitank mines were not necessarily designed to destroy tanks. To disable a tank by blowing off or damaging one of its tracks was the purpose of a mine. By thus disabling movement of the tank it became a sitting duck for an antitank gun to finish it off. My first reaction from the explosion 10 feet away was to stop but before I could react I had progressed to a line in the road where a string of mines had been laid. I hit one with the right rear wheel and was blown over the steering wheel and to the left front. Capt. Christy was blown straight forward and landed about 75 feet away. He was killed outright. Storm landed half way between Capt. Christy and the wreckage and had one leg completely blown off. He had been sitting directly over the blast. I saw him sitting in the road holding his stubby thigh while still conscious. Our medics had set up our aid station in a farmhouse only a few yards away. They looked up at the sound of the first explosion just in time to see us detonate the second mine. They later told me that they saw me take off over the steering wheel and into the air like a toy balloon. They reached Storm in a fraction of a minute but were unable to save him. An ambulance at the aid station rushed him to a field hospital but he died before reaching the hospital. The medics carried me to the aid station and gave me a bottle of wine while they patched me up and waited for another ambulance. Other than having my back badly bruised I survived in pretty good shape. I had cuts and scratches on my arms and head and my face was peppered with sand grains and gravel from the road. The concussion had blown off my helmet and my hair had taken a sand shampoo and was standing on end. My watch was stopped at 1:41 PM and the day was Palm Sunday. I’m sure that my mother was praying for me about the same time back in Ohio.
Mr. Schneider's entire story can be found at the following link under "Diaries":
I obtained the following photo taken July 10th, 1944 on the
road between St. Fromond and St. Lo. The more I inspected it the more the
German tank in photo looked familiar. I was then able to match the knocked
out German Panzer IV with the next photo. The second photo is a common one
with its description:
I have actually found two descriptions for this photo: 1. Two of the four destroyed Pz.IV's from 6./SS-Pz.Rgt.2. The insignia-the combat rune of 2.SS-Panzerdivision "Das Reich" is easily recognizable. This shot was taken on July 9th, 1944. A tank from Task Force X is going past them. 2. On July 9th, 1944 a column of Sherman tanks drove past two type "J" Panzer IV's belonging to the 2nd SS Panzer Division near Saint Fromond, during the time when the Germans were attempting to block the American advance towards St. Lo. The two tanks had been put out of action by the men of the 117th Infantry Regiment. The insignia of the 2nd SS, the "Runes of Combat" can clearly be seen on the left of the rear hulls of the two tanks.
Runes of Combat insignia.
My quess...and it is a guess...is that the German Panzers were knocked out by Shermans of the 3rd AD, Combat Command B. And since this was in the 119th zone, may have been assisted by them and not the 117th. The 117th was the first unit in this area followed by the 119th. May account for the confusion. BUT...I would appreciate any assistance in clarifying this action. I have included excerpts of the action and maps.
If anyone in France can obtain a TODAY photo of this location it would be much appreciated also. I think the tell-tale high stone wall may be a give away of its location. I included yellow arrows on maps to help with possible location.
And here are the TODAY photos!!!! Special thanks to Stéphane Letessier , Normandie/France AGAIN!!! He also provided great Mortain photos.
From 119th History book.
Some additional information I dug up: It appears that Task Force X was the one that encountered the German counterattack. The enemy was composed of I. and II./Gren.-Rgt 984, Pi.-Btl. Angers, the scouts from Fus.-Btl.275 supported by the Panzer IVs of 6./SS-Pz.Rgt.2 under SS-Obersturmfuhrer Karl-Heinz Boska. E Company of the 119th Inf. Reg. was in positions near the church at St. Fromond-Eglise and found itself in line of the attack. Col. Alfred Ednie's HQ was nearby. They killed two Grenadieres by a burst from a BAR and several were hit. Lt. Breatice, platoon commander, was wounded as were others. Tanks then slugged it out with four Panzer IVs destroyed. One of them lost its turret. As the attackers withdrew a Pz.IV had to be abandoned at a bridge. It was left intact.
Captain Edward M. (Mike) Hardy, Headquarters Co....120th Infantry Regiment.
Liberation of Norbeek, The Netherlands....great photos and map!
Norbeek memorial to the 30th's liberation.
Tribute to Everette Goins...click to link.
Hobbs Letter to Division
Tribute to Frank Denius of the 230th Field Artillery Battalion....click to take to site.
Tribute to Freeman Horner of the 119th IR, Co. K....click to take to site.
Link honoring Roy Booher, 119th Co. K
Link honoring T/5 Richard Courchaine, 823rd TD
Link honoring Wilbert Conover, 120th, Co. I
1st Lt. Frank Warnock, 117th, Co. D at Stavelot, Belgium