4th Armored Division Stuart tank knocked out by a mine in a Coutances street on July 30th 1944

MOHLt James H. Fields
Rank and Organization, First Lieutenant, US Army, 10-AIR, 4-AD
Place and Date, Rechicourt, France, Sept 27, 1944.
Fields Entered service at Houston, Texas
He was born in Caddo, Texas GO #13, Feb 27, 1945.

Citation. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, at Rechicourt (France). On Sept 27, 1944, during a sharp action with the enemy infantry and tank forces, Lt James Fields personally led his platoon in a counter-attack on the enemy position. Although his platoon had been seriously depleted, the zeal and fervor of his leadership were such as to inspire his small force to accomplish their mission in the face of overwhelming enemy opposition. Seeing that, one of the men had been wounded, he left his slit trench and with complete disregard for his personal safety attended to the wounded man and administered first aid. While returning to his slit trench he was seriously wounded by a shell burst, the fragments of which cut through his face and head, tearing his teeth, gums, and nasal passage. Although rendered speechless by his wounds, Lt Fields refused to be evacuated and continued to lead his platoon by the use of hand signals.

On one occasion, when two enemy machine guns had a portion of his unit under deadly crossfire, he left his foxhole, wounded as he was, ran to a light machine gun, whose crew had been knocked out, picked up the gun, and fired it from his hip with a such deadly accuracy that both the enemy gun positions were silenced. His action so impressed his men that they found new courage to take up the firefight, increasing their firepower, and exposing themselves more than ever to harass the enemy with an additional bazooka and machine gunfire. Only when his objective had been taken and the enemy scattered did Lt Fields consent to be evacuated to the battalion command post. At this point, he refused to move further back until he had explained to his battalion commander by drawing on paper the position of his men and the disposition of the enemy forces.

The dauntless and gallant heroism displayed by Lt James Fields was largely responsible for the repulse of the enemy forces and contributed in a large measure to the successful capture of his battalion objective during this action. His eagerness and determination to close with the enemy and destroy him was an inspiration to the entire command, and are in the highest traditions of the US Armed Forces.

MOHPvt James R. Hendrix
Rank and Organization, Private, US Army. Charlie Co 53-AIB, 4-AD
Place and Date, near Assenois in Belgium on Dec 26, 1944
Hendrix entered service at Lepanto, Arkansas
He was born in Lepanto, Arkansas GO #74, Sept 1, 1945

Citation. During the night of Dec 26, 1944, near Assenois (Belgium), he was with the leading element engaged in the final thrust to break through to the besieged garrison at Bastogne when halted by a fierce combination of artillery and small arms fire. He dismounted from his half-track and advanced against two German 88-MM guns, and, by the ferocity of his rifle fire, compelled the gun crews to take cover and then to surrender. Later in the attack he again left his vehicle, voluntarily, to aid 2 wounded soldiers, helpless and exposed to intense machine gunfire. Effectively silencing 2 hostile machine guns, he held off the enemy with his own fire until the wounded men were evacuated. Pvt Hendrix again distinguished himself when he hastened to the aid of still another soldier who was trapped in a burning half-track.

Braving enemy sniper fire and exploding mines and ammunition in the vehicle, he extricated the wounded man and extinguished his flaming clothing, thereby saving the life of his fellow soldier. Pvt Hendrix, by his superb courage and heroism, exemplified the highest traditions of military service.

MOHSgt Joseph J. Sadowski
Rank and Organization, Sgt, US Army. 37-TB, 4-AD
Place and Date, in Valhey, France on Sept 14, 1944
Sadowski entered service at, Perth Amboy, New Jersey
He was born in Perth Amboy New Jersey GO #32 Apr 23 1945.

Citation. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Valhey (France). On the afternoon of Sept 14, 1944, Sgt Sadowski as a tank commander was advancing with the leading elements of Combat Command A, 4th Armored Division, through an intensely severe barrage of enemy fire from the streets and buildings of the town of Valhey. As Sgt Sadowski’s tank advanced through the hail of fire, it was struck by a shell from an 88-MM gun fired at a range of 20 yards. The tank was disabled and burst into flames. The suddenness of the enemy attack caused confusion and hesitation among the crews of the remaining tanks of our forces. Sgt Sadowski immediately ordered his crew to dismount and take cover in the adjoining buildings.

After his crew had dismounted, Sgt Sadowski discovered that one member of the crew, the bow gunner, had been unable to leave the tank. Although the tank was being subjected to a withering hail of enemy small arms, Panzerscherck and Panzerfaust, grenades, and mortar fire from the streets and from the windows of adjacent buildings, Sgt Sadowski unhesitatingly returned to his tank and endeavored to pry up the bow gunner’s hatch. While engaged in this attempt to rescue his comrade from the burning tank, he was cut down by a stream of machine-gun fire which resulted in his death.

The gallant and noble sacrifice of his life in the aid of his comrade, undertaken in the face of almost certain death, so inspired the remainder of the tank crews that they pressed forward with great ferocity and completely destroyed the enemy forces in this town without further loss to themselves. The heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Sgt Sadowski, which resulted in his death, inspired the remainder of his force to press forward to victory and reflect the highest tradition of the armed forces.

Narrative

The 4th Armored Division landed across Utah Beach, France, on July 13, 1944, and entered combat on July 17, taking Coutances with CCB on July 28. It took Avranches and captured the Sée River bridge on July 30 then drove south to cut off the Brittany Peninsula as it reached Vannes on August 5. After investing Lorient on August 7, it entered an evacuated the city of Nantes on August 11 and took Orléans with CCA on August 16. By August 31, CCA had reached the Meuse River at Commercy and Pont-sur-Meuse and established bridgeheads.

80-IDRelieved there by the 80-ID on September 2, 1944, the division crossed the Moselle River near Lorey against heavy opposition with CCB as CCA crossed into the Dieulouard Bridgehead stopping strong German counter-attacks during September 11 to September 13. CCB forced the Marne-Rhine Canal at Crevic and Maixe against strong opposition on September 15 and CCR moved into Lunéville the next day. In a series of tank duels, the division mopped up the Arracourt region from September 19 to September 22 then a German counter-attack overran CCA lines on September 25 and the division lost Vic-sur-Veille and Moncourt, then withdrew the next day from Juvelize and Coincourt.

26-IDThe Battle for Hill 318 was fought on September 27-28 with heavy losses, but a day later, the division finally defeated the German attempt to take Arracourt. The division then went over to the defensive line from Chambrey to Xanrey to Henamenil until October 11. On October 12, the 4-AD was relieved by the 26-ID for rehabilitation.

26-ID12-ADOn November 9, the division attacked and reached Fontenay which was taken by CCB on November 11. After suffering heavy tank losses to a German counter-attack that retook Rodalbe on November 12, the division advanced against strong opposition to capture Dieuze and recaptured Rodalbe on November 19.

CCB crossed the Saare River at Romelfing on November 24 and cleared Baerendorf in house-to-house fighting, checked a German counter-attack there the next day, and took Wolfskirchen despite flooded streams by November 27. The division then cleared its zone of responsibility, and next opened the attack on Saare-Union on December 1, which was taken the following day by the 26-ID. The division fought the Battle of Bining on December 5 and 6 and was relieved by the 12-AD on December 7.

10-ADIn response to the German Ardennes counter-offensive the division moved 150 miles as it assembled in the vicinity of the Belgian town of Arlon on December 20, while CCB reached the Bastogne area and contacted 10-AD. On December 22, the division took Martelange in the drive to relieve Bastogne, fought the Battle for Chaumont, December 23-25, and seized Bigonville in heavy combat on Christmas Day. CCR pushed through Assenois and Bastogne on December 26, and the next day, vehicles from the division entered the city and ended the siege. On December 29, CCA opened the Arlon-Bastogne Highway.

35-ID6-ADThe division then held the corridor into Bastogne and gave fire support to the 35-ID, helping to clear Lutrebois on January 2, 1945. CCB attacked toward Noville on January 9, and the division attacked through the 6-AD toward Bourcy on January 10. The division then maintained defensive positions, clearing Hosdorf on the Our River in a local attack February 2.

80-IDCCB attacked through the 80-ID at Geichlingen on February 22 and seized the bridge over the Pruem River at Sinspelt intact the next day. As CCA crossed the Pruem at Oberweiss on February 25, CCB established a bridgehead across the Nims River at Rittersdorf. The following day it seized the high ground north of Bitburg but was unable to clear Erdorf on the Kyll River.

5-IDOn February 27, CCA took Matzen and CCB captured Fliessen. The division assembled near Bitburg on March 3, and attacked through the 5-ID on March 5, reaching the Rhine River on March 8 where it regrouped and mopped up. The division then attacked out of the Moselle Bridgehead at Treis on March 15 and reached the Nahe River at Bad Kreuznach on the following day. It moved to the Rhine River at Worms on March 20 and crossed four days later, driving through the bridgehead there to reach the Main River near Hanau a day later. It took an undefended Darmstadt same clay.

On March 28, the 4-AD attacked across the Main River at Grossauheim and crossed the Werra River at Creuzburg on April 1. The division took Gotha on April 4, and reached the Saale River south of Jena which it crossed on April 12 to establish bridgeheads over the Zwick Mulde at Wolkenburg on April 13. The 4-AD withdrew to corps reserve on April 19, and attacked again on May 6 through the Regen and Freyung Passes in Czechoslovakia. Forward elements were at Pisek when hostilities ended May 8 1945.

1944, an US soldier holds Oscar, the mascot of a signal company of the 4th Armored Division, in Fenetrange, France

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