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Capt. Sid Cohen

S-4 Officer, 702nd Tank Battalion

 

I served with these honorably discharged personnel…as a Captain with the 702nd Tank Battalion which was attached to the 80th Infantry Division of General Patton’s 3rd Army.

 

At Nancy, one of our half-track vehicles was equipped with a large flame thrower and fuel tanks.  We awaited the arrival of General Patton to demonstrate the ability to throw a large flame in order to knock out a pill-box of the Siegfried Line.  General Patton was deeply disappointed with the demonstration and jumped into his jeep and exclaimed “I can piss a hotter stream further than that!” 

 

We continued the fighting East and South of Luxembourg.  Approximately the second week of December my entire tank battalion of 54 Sherman tanks was alerted to pull back, traveling some 42 hours West up to Saarbrucken and Metz, and then participated in the Battle of the Bulge in that country.

 

Subsequently General Patton started for Berlin, Germany knowing full well that SHAEF gave permission for the Russian army to enter Berlin first.  His command was “Fuck the Russians.  WE are going into Berlin!”  We kept going until our fuel was completely used up.

 

My 54 tanks were sitting ducks in the woods in Germany.  I received a secret message from Colonel Talbot to take fourteen trucks and trailers to a certain coordinates where a German supply train had been captured and to fill the empty “Jerry-cans” with fuel, return and gas-up our tanks.  I went to the decoded message’s coordinates and had my Staff Sergeant, Peter J. Yaremich fill two cans and directed him to take one to ordinance back in the rear and get a written report on the octane rating.  When I discovered that it was 72 octane, I did not follow Colonel Talbot’s order.

 

The next morning, my colonel stood me at attention well over a half-hour, and lashed into me for disobeying a direct order-threatened to court-marshal me in the field of battle and give me a dishonorable discharge to send me back to the States.  Had I filled our 54 tanks with less than 92 fuel octane they would have been out of commission for at least two weeks.  Enough said.

 

Colonel Talbot’s Silver Leaf was preserved, as well as possibly several hundred of our tank men.  I was not court-marshalled but awarded a Bronze Star Medal.  My colonel begged me to stay in the peace-time army with him.  I thanked him and said that I would like a try at the outside world.

 

 

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