From Dominic Rizzo, Web Staff  Feature Index      NEXT

French Journalist & Illustrator Remembers the 3rd Armored

  "More tanks drive past, laden with more troops -- I shout 'OK! OK! Hello boys!' Soldiers answer me, cool and collected, shaping a victorious 'V' with both fingers ... They belong to the 3rd American Armored Division." - André Perin in Libérés

  ABOVE: A water-colored drawing depicts tanks of the 3rd Armored Division in Northern France approaching the Belgium border. Eye-witness André Perin, then a journalist in his early 20's, recorded this event and much more in his wartime journals.

Words & Illustrations by André Perin
A small selection from his book Libérés published in 1986 in France.
See selcted English translations further below on this page.


As a retired journalist, illustrator and advertising writer, Perin came from France in 1988 to attend the 3rd Armored Division Association reunion in Scottsdale, Arizona. He brought with him complimentary copies of Libérés (Liberation) including an English translation of the text. Perin had met many 3AD WWII veterans prior to 1988 in Europe when they were on group tours.

Our appreciation goes to 3AD WWII veteran Dominic Rizzo (486th AAA Bn) for providing us a copy of Perin's book & translation from that 1988 reunion.

Perin's gratitude over the liberation of France in 1944, which he witnessed as a kind of roving free-lance civilian journalist & artist, has remained passionate over the years. But, most of all, it was his contact with the 3rd Armored that stayed closest to his heart. He makes that clear in Libéré, now long out of print and in the ranks of a collector's item. The book contains 46 water-colored drawings, and the text, in handwritten form, are excerpts from his 1944 wartime journal of the American arrival.

(that also help to explain the illustrations in this section)

"Among my 18 wartime journals, the Liberation is the one I like best ... a time of restored freedom and of a revived France ... this journal is a candid 'THANK YOU' to the Americans."

"All that morning, numerous German trucks loaded with women and luggage have been driving past, comes FROM PARIS ... The German officers, buttoned up tight in their uniforms, bend over maps, glancing around with anxiety."

"Occasionally, a heavy tank drives past with a deafening rattle of chains ... machine guns patter, bombs explode and people are flung down ... bullets whizz past, a house collapses in smoke ... and suddenly everything is quiet ... But then a gunshot once more! The Germans are shooting; the Americans shoot back, as -- here they come! Hurrah, France! Hurrah, America! Bravo!"

"A small aircraft is flying over me [3rd Armored Piper Cub]. White stars have been painted beneath the wings; surely the pilot can see me. I wave at him, both to greet him and to tell my French identity -- A Frenchman, happy to be freed. He understands me and goes on his way."

"A command car [3rd Armored] draws level with me. An officer asks how far Belgium is. I say '6 kilometers.' In the passing vehicles, I can hear either Morse Code or radios. Orders would come out of a tiny speaker fixed on a dashboard."

"Enthusiastic neighbors, friends, and relatives watch the train of our liberator's tremendous army -- women kiss soldiers, toss bunches of flowers. Cigarettes, chocolate, biscuits and corned beef are lavishly shared out in exchange. Even a farmer is given a pound of butter!"

"A jeep stops. The driver speaks fluent French. His three helmeted comrades look delighted by the population's warm welcome. They jot down a few words and write down their addresses [in America] on my war journal. We shake hands, and the jeep starts again; a last wave -- I've never heard from them again, BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET THEM!"

"Nearby explosions remind us that the war is not over. Shells burst ... we flatten ourselves against a wall. The American soldiers, who know better, pay no attention to these explosions. Their vehicles drive past unruffled."

Return to Top

Feature Index      NEXT