On March 6, 1945, Sgt. Jim Bates, a First Army Signal Corps
photographer attached to the 3AD, shot a now-famous 48 seconds
of 16mm footage showing the destruction of a German Mark V Panther
tank in the cathedral square of downtown Cologne. The Panther
was struck by three 90mm rounds from an M-26 Pershing tank of
E Co, 32nd Armored Regiment, 3AD. Minutes before this encounter,
the Panther had destroyed a 3AD Sherman tank, killing three of
its five crewmen.
Bates was positioned on the mezzanine of a bombed out office
building about 100 yards from the Panther as events unfolded.
Shot at the standard 24 frames per second with relatively grainy,
b&w, 16mm film, the image quality was susceptible to any
jarring, hand movement, or subject movement. As a result, a number
of frames suffered from blurring or mis-aiming, which is understandable
in a combat situation. Bates won a Bronze Star that day for his
photography, based primarily on this remarkable movie sequence.
The crew of the Pershing of E/32 AR:
Commander: Sgt Robert Early
Gunner: Clarence Smoyer
Asst. Gunner: John Deriggi
Driver: William McVey
Asst Driver: Homer Davis