On 7 December 1974, Frank Woolner
wrote to me. His opening paragraph referred to Pearl Harbor and
is of no importance to this document, but the following paragraphs
of his letter, if condensed, would deprive the reader of the
flavor of Frank's request to me. Quoted in full, they may explain
why it has taken me so long to reach a decision to attempt as
complete an account as I can put together with the help of other
members of the team who saw the project through to completion.
Woolner's questions cannot be answered in a few words. Here is
"Okay, it's a long time ago. Now I am getting copies
of the new 3AD publication [Spearhead Newspaper] out of
Germany, and although I have told these scissorbills on three
separate occasions that I wrote only the narrative history of
Spearhead In The West, they continue to give me credit for scribbling
the whole bloody thing.
"I think it's high time for me to write a newsletter
piece for our own association newsletter and set the facts straight.
"It seems to me that a Major Murray Fowler was responsible
for the second half of the book, the after-action report. I know
Davison was the cartographer, and Meth the cartoonist - with
an assist from Garner.
"Please set me straight on the original conception. Who
decided we needed a history? Who should be credited for specific
work on it? Who did the final editing and wrap-up? I know you
were the ramrod, but there must have been others who labored
hard and long. Let's give them full marks.
"From what I hear and read, that book is now considered
a sort of collector's item, one of the best - if not the best
- of all combat' division histories. Sure, I am proud of my contribution,
and I am sure you are proud of the fact that you pushed it to
"Let's once and for all set this minor point of history
straight. Give me all of the background information you have
and I will prepare an acknowledgement. We owe that to old soldiers,
broke in the wars."
The Third Armored Division's last day in combat was April
24, 1945. We took up our role of occupation duty with division
headquarters at Sangerhausen on the following day, after being
relieved by the 9th Infantry Division.
On the 13th of May headquarters moved to the southern outskirts
of Darmstadt and soon after that highpoint veterans started going
home. It is quite likely that sometime in May serious thought
was given to publishing a history - probably sparked by Brigadier
General Doyle O. Hickey or Colonel John A. Smith, Jr.
Now, as the various fighting formations initiated unit histories,
it became evident that there was considerable interest in the
subject throughout the division. This immediate post-war interest
naturally was welcome as a message of pride at division headquarters
- but execution depended on conquering the difficulties of composition,
printing, and distribution. If it was to be done, we wanted it
Spearhead In The West, the combat history of the Third
Armored Division, was not and is not a philosophic reflection
composed after the troops came home and the war was ended. It
is a factual summary of a complete record compiled as of 2400
hours each night on the basis of reports received from combat
groups, as well as administrative units, during the previous
24 hours. Thus, the focus of interest in the composition of the
record of accomplishment of the living and of the dead of the
division was necessarily concentrated on the division and its'
staffs in whose offices reposed the primary materials for the
A number of ways to finance this history were considered.
One was to organize a historical association and to raise funds
by subscription. To test this idea a questionnaire was circulated
to all units to determine the demand for copies, assuming various
prices per copy. The writing under this plan could be done either
in Europe before transfer to another theatre of war or by contract
with personnel willing to undertake the work on return to the
United States. We learned later that these options were adopted
by some divisions with which we had been associated in action.
We had published two pocket-sized booklets for distribution
to our division's troops in Europe. The first, "Call Me
Spearhead," was written immediately after the Siegfried
Line crossing, and it was printed in Paris. The second, "Spearheading
With The Third Armored Division," covered the entire route
in brief, and was printed in Germany. Both were produced by the
While the debate was going on over the larger project, it
was learned that a history book could be published under similar
authority, but two questions had to be answered. Could we get
the proposed book ready for publication before key personnel
were to be rotated home or the team was moved from Europe? If
so, could we get the necessary materials?
Paragraph 2, Sec V of ETOUSA Cir. 86, 25 June 1945 contained
the authority, but with a qualification:
"The publication of unit newspapers, magazines, periodicals,
and/or unit histories or stories in pamphlet or book form by
divisions or similar units of the field and air forces and by
Communication Zone Sections is authorized, within the limits
of availability of paper and printing or other reproduction facilities."
In considering this option it was necessary to provide for
mailing copies of the book to all personnel of the division,
which indicated that 25,000 to 30,000 copies would be required.
To determine the feasibility of the project, General Hickey dispatched
Colonel Smith and me to European Theatre Headquarters (ETOUSA)
at Frankfurt-am-Main to explore the matter. The result was favorable
- the project would be approved and assistance given in locating
paper and other supplies, and companies capable of setting the
type for offset reproduction, offset printing and binding. General
Hickey's decision was to get the job done in Germany at no cost
to division personnel. So work was started in earnest during
the last week of June, 1945.
The remaining problem was - who could produce the book? Fortunately
we had talent available who, despite eligibility to return home
under the point system which had been published about that time,
were willing to stay to do the work.
With the decision made to proceed, we faced an important issue
of style. Should the book be an expansion of the popular writing
style used by Dugan and Woolner in the two pocket-books or should
the complete story be scholarly and well documented? Advocates
of the newspaperman's style maintained that the book was for
the men and their families - a record of what they had done,
with as much detail of individual exploits as could be captured.
The historian's approach would produce a document based on official
records and would be made as accurate as it could be made. The
final decision was to do both, as all recipients of Spearhead
Division of the writing effort was no problem. Major Haynes
W. Dugan, assistant G-2, was a professional newspaperman and
had been press relations officer during combat, and Sgt. Frank
M. Woolner had been the principal gatherer of action stories
to be sent through channels to hometown newspapers. Dugan had
received a number of commendations on the quality and quantity
of this material. Dugan and Woolner had produced the two pocket-books,
so much material was available in the G-2 files for this part
of the book. As this work was getting under way, Dugan learned
that his father was seriously ill. Dugan was needed at home,
so he was ordered to go, and Woolner assumed full responsibility
for this section and remained on the job until the writing was
completed and printers' proofs were read.
Major Murray H. Fowler, a member of Lt. Colonel Wesley A.
Sweat's G-3 staff and under Sweat's supervision, wrote the Official
Record of Combat which was based largely on G-3 after action
reports and staff journals. Fowler's painstaking effort provided
a general account of division and unit, as opposed to individual
activities. As indicated above, some of the planners of the book
thought this part was not the way to do the work. The compromise
solution, approved by General Hickey, paid off, as correspondence
after the war, quoted below, indicates. Major General Robert
W. Grow, our last commander, suggested that copies of the history
be sent to certain officers in the Pentagon. One of these was
Kent Roberts Greenfield, a professional historian, who at that
time was a Lt. Colonel Infantry and Chief, Historical Section,
Army War College. His letter to me soon after receiving the book
contains two paragraphs:
"Thanks very much for sending us a copy of Spearhead
In The West. There are several features of it which impress
me very favorably. The selection of pictures is superior. What
I have read of the text is high grade writing. The addition of
the G-3 Supplement, with operational map sketches, seems to me
an excellent idea. I should think such a book as this would be
an invaluable possession to anyone who fought with the 3rd Armored.
"One of the pictures I should like very much to have
for use in our volume on training in 1941 under GHQ is the one
of a crew using a wooden gun at Camp Polk (p. 42 lower right).
Could you tell me how to get hold of a glossy print, or a negative,
of this picture? We should be very grateful."
I responded to the request by giving him Davison's address
in Germany. Davison must have sent it on to Woolner who supplied
the picture (he is one of the men in it) as I learned from another
letter from Greenfield which included this paragraph:
"As we show the history of your division to various officers
at the headquarters, which, under General Devers, is rich in
armor, it has received many compliments. Just now the C/S, General
Hasbrouck, is looking at it."
Two other references to official citation of our history seem
appropriate at this point.
"Other headquarters published unofficial histories. Many
of these tend to be little more than mementos for members of
the command, strong on photographs, personal anecdotes, and a
well-earned pride of unit accomplishment. Notable exceptions
are the Combat Record of the Sixth Armored Division (Commanded
by Major General Robert W. Grow), the 314th Infantry Regiment's
Through Combat, the 3rd Armored Division's Spearhead
In The West, Robert L. Hewitt's Work Horse of the Western
Front: the Story of the 30th Division, and Conquer, the
Story of the Ninth U.S. Army, 1944-1945.
The above paragraph is taken from the Bibliographical Note,
p. 707, Breakout and Pursuit by Martin Blumenson in U.S.
Army in World War II, European Theatre of Operations, Office
of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1961.
Another reference is found in Charles B. MacDonald, The Siegfried
Line Campaign, in the same history series, 1963. On Page
73, which has a picture captioned "Task Force Lovelady passes
through the dragon's teeth near Roetgen, 15 September",
footnote 20 reads:
"The 3rd Armored Division story is from official records,
plus an authoritative unit history. Spearhead In The West
(Frankfurt-am-Main: Franz Joseph Heurich, 1945)."
We were fortunate indeed that at division headquarters we
had men with talent and experience in publishing. The natural
leader of this production team was T/4 Glen A. "Reprobate"
Davison who in private life had been a designer of college and
high school year books and was thoroughly familiar with the requirements
of offset printing. The realistic dust wrapper, story-telling
end papers and other art work carry the signature of Cpl. John
Garner. The end papers are proof that an old Chinese saying,
"One picture is worth a thousand words," is accurate.
PFC Harry Meth added a light touch here and there with his cartoons,
as well as assisting in drafting and composition. T/4 Robert
L. "Mac" MacHose assisted Davison throughout on operational
sketches and other draftsmen's work. These men departed as their
work was completed.
I think it fair to say that all of the team played some part
in the selection of pictures from a large collection. These were
the work of 1st Lt. Thomas S. Noble, Jr.'s U.S. Army Signal Corps
Unit assigned to the division's 143rd Armored Signal Company,
T/5 Marvin H. "Mad Russian" Mischnick of the divisions's
G-2 staff, and Sgt. Woolner who, a peacetime journalist, carried
his own camera and snapped thousands of photos from Camp Polk
to the end of the European campaign.
Two other indispensable members of our team must be mentioned.
T/Sgt. Gerhard S. Schachne (now Sharon) who was a member of Mil
No. 418-G and had distinguished himself while serving with Lt.
Colonel Yeomans in the 83rd Recon. Bn., joined our little group
as interpreter and performed other duties as required. He was
with the Colonel when he was killed during our last days of combat.
PFC Carl C. Bonebright, who was low on points and therefore not
eligible for demobilization, was assigned to Colonel Sweat and
me as driver of the sedan put at our disposal when the division
was inactivated. On one occasion, returning from Frankfurt on
the autobahn to Heidelberg, it was Bonebright's skillful driving
that kept us from going over the embankment when a steering knuckle
parted. Field expedients in the form of Colonel Sweat's belt
(in Model-T days it would have been baling wire) held us together
in slow motion until we reached a motor pool.
The writing was well along by the time the division was ordered
to move its headquarters to Aalen. About this time General Grow,
after his 6th Armored Division was deactivated, arrived to take
command of the 3rd Armored for what proved to be the last days
of its WWII life. It may be said here that we had been living
under the usual cloud of rumors that we would be moved to the
Pacific Theatre of operations for the assault on Japan. It was
this situation prior to V-J Day that caused us to adopt the title
Spearhead In The West as we thought there might be a sequel
- Spearhead In The East. After V-J Day the uncertainty
that remained was whether we would be ordered home as a unit
to parade up Fifth Avenue or would be inactivated where we were.
General Grow did his best to convince higher headquarters that
we should go home as a unit but to no avail.
General Grow took a keen interest in our history project.
Before leaving Darmstadt necessary papers had been forwarded
to the Belgian authorities to support the award of the Fourragere
1940. Time was getting short with no indication of action. Space
had been reserved on appropriate pages to report the award and
to tell the brief story of our inactivation ceremony. General
Grow knew a colonel at our military mission in Brussels and telephoned
him to explain our problem. In a memorandum dated 25 October
1945 to Chief of Staff (me) on the subject "Status of Awards,"
General Grow reported that all data was approved and in the hands
of the Government of Belgium and that orders might be issued
prior to deactivation if pressure was continuous. In the same
paragraph General Grow ordered: "Send G-3 to Colonel John
B. Sherman, Military Mission, Brussels." My pencil note
records that G-3 [Colonel Sweat] "left 25 0930 Oct.'45."
Enroute to Brussels, Colonel Sweat, who was a perfect delegate
for this mission, met 1st Lt. Daniel D. Brod in the Carlton Hotel
in Frankfurt. Brod, a member of one of the division's military
intelligence teams, was returning from a short leave under orders
which permitted him to join Colonel Sweat to act as an interpreter.
In Brussels it was learned that the award would be made and that
the colors with a color guard must be present for the ceremony.
While Colonel Sweat stood by in Brussels, Brod returned to Aalen
where division personnel selected the tallest, finest looking
color guard ever assembled and the party went to Brussels. The
Fourragere was presented on 3 November 1945 and Colonel Sweat
brought enough back with him so all present in the inactivation
ceremony on November 9 were properly equipped. For the record,
here it is interesting to note that Seventh Army's General Orders
Number 632 ordering inactivation of the division at Aalen, Germany
on 10 November 1945 is dated 25 October 1945.
With the inactivation of the division and the publication
of the history not completed, our work unit which was reduced
now to Colonel Sweat, Davison, Schachne, me, and our driver Bonebright
needed a home and authority to complete our project. General
Grow, with the full support of Lt. General Geoffrey Keyes, Commander
of Seventh Army, arranged with Major General Withers A. Burress
for our assignment to Hq. VI Corps. These arrangements were confirmed
in paragraph 2 in a Third Armored Division order of 26 October
1945 , which reads as follows:
"The above named 0 and EM are atzd Govt MT to travel
to Frankfurt, Germany and such other places as may be necessary
to complete the history of the 3d Armd Div."
Para 3 reads: "Auth: VOCG VI Corps, APO 46 dtd 25 October
45." All of this was by command of General Grow. So on the
10th of November 1945 five of us moved to Esslingen, Germany
and were housed and fed by VI Corps.
While in Aalen, two other officers contributed to the project
in a most significant way. When the contracts were arranged in
Frankfurt for printing and binding (the latter in Stuttgart),
arrangements were made for the making of the paper for production
of 30,000 copies of a history estimated to be about 250 pages
in length. The paper had to be trucked from the mill south of
Heidelberg to Frankfurt where each sheet had to be hung like
an old fashioned diaper to dry before it could be put on the
presses. In addition to this major trucking operation our headquarters
company, then under Captain Gibson, whose family lived across
the street from mine in Urbana, Illinois when I was in high school,
had to haul briquettes to Frankfurt to keep the plate makers
warm enough to work. Sweat and I contributed our cigarette rations
as further inducement to progress. While the main ingredient
was the paper for the 250 pages, we also had to locate the special
paper for the end papers in the book: linen and cardboard for
the cover, ink of several colors, glue and linen thread for the
binding and scrap paper for making the boxes in which the books
were to be mailed. Captain Milton Giffler, of our order of battle
team who could speak German and was a good sleuth, made a substantial
contribution in locating these supporting materials.
One of the principal supplies required was film for making
the offset printing plates. This was in short supply and when
some was ruined in carrying it from Aalen to Frankfurt in a poorly
winterized jeep in bad weather, we faced a critical moment in
our time table. I have a vivid recollection of Colonel Sweat's
skill as a negotiator in loosening up a source of supply of this
critical item. Printers had only enough plates to set up one
press run of 16 pages at a time. Another division had used the
same printers and had "liberated" the plates they had
required, so the printer was reduced to enough for only one press
run. This was why we were not able to arrange for additional
printings when the 3rd Armored Division was reactivated as a
training division at Fort Knox.
As printers' proofs came from the presses, Colonel Sweat and
I went to Frankfurt and took up officers' quarters in the old
Carlton Hotel opposite the railroad station and read the proofs
and prepared the two pages of errata which you find in the back
of the book. We had read the typed copy before it went to the
printers. We found different spellings for the same places, failure
to include a place on the map to which reference was made in
the text and other types of errors none of which could be corrected
on the plates from which the pages were printed. We adopted one
map scale as the authority for spelling in the lists which were
printed. We had some discussions as to the need for this, but
the praise from the Army historians seems to justify our effort.
As an aside, I am told that all first editions suffer similar
problems. An author has a mental block, or a type-setter makes
a mistake. The error escapes proof-readers and is printed. The
addition of errata helps, and if the work is valuable enough
to be reprinted, then errors are corrected in the second edition.
We were right under the gun. We tried to be accurate.
Our binder was in Stuttgart and the box maker was not far
away. Another trucking operation brought printed sheets and boxes
together at the binders. Here we found that somebody had made
a mistake - the boxes were too tight for ease in packaging and
had to be split open on one side and then sealed after insertion
of the books. We may have measured less paper per book, omitted
consideration of the dust jacket, or the box maker may have made
an error. After 30 years, I do not know what caused this discrepancy,
but the binders solved the problem.
A print order for the history, as I have noted above, was
for 30,000 copies. A press over-run of 300 we insisted on taking
gave us a problem of dispatching 30,300 copies before we could
say we had finished the job and were free to go home. In preparation,
we had arranged through Division Personnel (Lt. Colonel Robert
M. Gant, Division Adjutant General, was still with us when this
was started) to prepare address labels for all personnel on unit
rosters, including addresses of next of kin for all KIA cases.
Here we made an error which caused us some trouble when the time
came to mail the books. We had used gummed labels and should
have used ungummed labels as the binder would have found it easier
to handle the latter type. In preparation for mailing, Sweat
and I, with Schachne's assistance, sorted the labels by states
and major cities so the books could be put in the mail bags by
destination to avoid rehandling in the United States. Davison
had been released on January 27, 1946 when the printing was completed
and the first few days' deliveries from the binders were mailed.
In the sorting process we found it necessary to separate quite
a number of stuck labels and to re-address a few of them. As
each of the books was bound, we took the labels to the binders
and observed, with some satisfaction, the sacking and delivery
to the army post office mail truck. This mailing by states and
cities of individually addressed books totalled about 28,000.
Personnel with insufficient time to qualify for return to
the states had been transferred to units remaining in Europe.
To reach them, we took 150 copies to Lt. Colonel Raymond E. Dunnington
of the 486th AA for men in his command still in Europe, 100 copies
to Lt. Colonel Walter B. Richardson and Major John K. Walker,
Jr. for men in their area near Heidelberg, and 60 copies to Lt.
Kubelius of the 23rd Engineers who had gone with other engineer
personnel to the 16th A. Engr. Bn. Lt. Colonel Edward S. Berry,
who was at 1st Armored Division Headquarters, accepted responsibility
for distribution of 400 copies and put us in touch with officers
of the 58th AFA who could assure mailing of 400 copies to 991st
FA personnel who had supported us so well and so long in our
campaigns across Europe. We also made sure that personnel, including
the general, of VI Corps received copies in recognition of the
help we received from them.
During the final stages of our work, we had hoped to hear
of favorable action on recommendations for a Presidential Citation
for the entire division and awards for other units by France
and Belgium. Every time we visited Frankfurt we checked with
the awards branch, but with no satisfaction before we went to
press. (The division citation, we learned later, was turned down
along with all others from the European Theatre.)
We also had another objective in our visits to ETOUSA. We
were convinced that our division, because of its distinguished
record, would be reactivated in a short time, as actually did
happen - first as a training division at Fort Knox and later
as an active combat division reassigned to Germany. We tried
to get somebody to agree with us and take custody of several
hundred books to hold in storage for distribution at least to
the cadre of the reactivated division, but nobody would listen.
This plan had been part of our estimate for the job, so when
this effort failed we had a quantity of books to distribute before
we could say we were finished. The solution was to send multiple
copies to unit commanders and others we thought might receive
requests for copies. We did not have secretarial help, so we
could not write letters of explanation to each of these persons,
but we were confident that they would understand. We sent 72
copies to Colonel Sweat's home and 48 to my Illinois address,
as I did not know where I would be living when I got resettled
at the Securities and Exchange Commission which had moved to
Philadelphia for the duration. We guessed correctly that we would
be principal targets for persons who heard about the history
and did not receive copies. Failure to leave correct forwarding
addresses with unit personnel officers probably accounted for
some failures of delivery.
General Hickey, who was stationed in the Pentagon immediately
after the war, sent requests he received to me after he exhausted
his supply, and the Adjutant General of the Army forwarded all
inquiries he received to me as I was the official historian of
record. I filled these requests until the supply was exhausted.
I had saved one clean copy which I presented to General Burress
when he, Burress, as commander of the reactivated division, spoke
to us at our reunion in St. Louis in 1955.
In addition to individual mailings to division personnel, we
sent copies to our friends in England, to all war correspondents
accredited to our sector, three copies each to 61 general hospitals
in the United States, single copies to 43 universities and colleges
with ROTC units, and to the libraries of principal cities in
the United States, army service schools, service journals, general
staff officers in Washington and last, but certainly not least,
the President of the United States. The last delivery of books
mailed from the binders was made 12 February 1946.
Before we could say we were free to leave Germany we had to make
sure all bills incurred for our project had been approved for
payment through proper channels. We hit a snag on one bill for
the boxes. We took this in to VI Corps Hq. for approval and failed
to get it. The officer we approached had been in another armored
division which had organized an historical association and so
was not disposed to see us get a job free even though we showed
him the authority under which we worked. We left and headed for
Seventh Army Headquarters where a senior warrant officer read
the circular we had with us and said, "Sure, I'll approve
the bill." That was the last financial obligation cleared,
so we could relax.
Personnel of Division Headquarters Forward Echelon and Division
Headquarters Company deserve a word about the 60-page booklet
sent to each of them. [Website Staff note in 2004: It is unclear
what "60-page booklet" Barr is referring to at this
point.] This was conceived and executed while typesetting and
printing was proceeding on the main project. Woolner provided
the text, Davison the design, and the whole was put together
by them with the help of Schachne, PFC Gerard Braunthal and others.
The German workmen in all of the establishments working on Spearhead
In The West followed the custom of taking a holiday from
before Christmas to after New Year's Day. During this period
Sweat, Davison (who could ski), Bonebright and I got on a quota
for a Swiss tour which took us to a ski resort (among other places)
at Christmas time. Most of the snow had been melted by hot winds
from Africa (a sirocco). but Davison found some in deep ravines.
Sweat and I had a new experience of a ride through the village
in an open sleigh during a light snowfall.
It pays to have friends in the right places at the right times.
General Grow as my first Cavalry ROTC instructor when, as a Captain
at the end of World War I, he was assigned to the University
of Illinois to organize a cavalry unit there. General Geoffrey
Keyes, commanding Seventh Army at Heidelberg while the work described
here was being done, was a brigadier general commanding Combat
Command No. 2 in our Camp Polk days. He was one of our most effective
and understanding regular army officers in the training of reserve
officers who were destined to play important roles in combat.
General Roderick R. Allen, commanding 1st Armored Division at
the time of our story, was Colonel commanding the 32nd Armored
Regiment at Camp Polk in which Colonel Sweat was then a captain
and a company commander.
Schachne had been released with our final shipment, and Colonel
Sweat and I had determined to return to England to visit friends
we had made there and to go to Scotland so I could face my family
of Scottish ancestry when I got home. 1st Armored Division orders
dated 11 February 1946, by command of Major General Allen, on
authority VOCG Seventh Army 11 February 1946 granted us a furlough
to the United Kingdom for ten days plus travel time effective
on or about 14 February 1946. We still had the sedan and Bonebright
to drive, so we packed up and headed for a channel port by way
of Nuremburg where General Leroy Watson was in command of the
enclave in which the trials were held. We had a pleasant visit
with him, gave him a copy of the book, then on to Bamberg where
we saw some of our old friends at U.S. Constabulary Headquarters,
then to Paris and the port.
We returned from UK to Paris for a short stop, then to LeHavre
to board SS Colby Victory for New York and Camp Kilmer,
where Sweat headed for Fort Bragg for separation and I to Camp
McCoy, Wisconsin. Bonebright returned to Paris with the sedan
and further duty in the E.T.O.
OUR WORK MET WITH APPROVAL
How would our book be received by our division's veterans
and their families? We felt we had done a good job and hoped
for a good response. It came almost at once in various ways.
I have cited some War Department praise. By coincidence a letter
General Grow wrote on 11 February 1946 reached me after my return
home. In a subsequent letter his opening paragraph says:
"Delighted to hear from you since your return and to learn
that you and Sweat finished your job. This history is excellent
and a great credit to all of you. It will become more valuable
as time goes on."
Woolner wrote a long letter on 11 March 1946 of which one paragraph
"I've had a number of letters from veterans of the 3rd -
all praising the book. It does look grand, although I've noted
a few minor mistakes in printing. Davison's layout is beautiful,
and the art work is even better than I thought it would be. My
friends seem to think that the dedication is 'prima'. I was afraid
that it might be too sticky."
On September 3, 1946, General Hickey wrote that he was hearing
from veterans who had not received copies of the history, but
he started the paragraph with a couple of sentences I want to
"First off, I want to tell you that I think the job you
and your assistants did on the division history excels anything
I've seen put out by any other unit. I've received a great number
of letters from division and higher commanders to whom copies
were sent in which they said most complimentary things."
A letter, dated June 28, 1946, from Davison, then still on
duty in Germany - in addition to other duties, gunbearer for
General Curtis LeMay who commanded Ninth Air Force in support
of ground troops in Europe - has this to say about distribution
of the book:
"I have had no requests for books. From one end of the
States to the other, almost everyone had received their book.
I told the rest that if they didn't get a copy within a month,
write me. So far no requests, so I presume all got them. It surprises
About a year after the above notes were written I was in a
dining car returning from Memphis to Washington. A soldier came
up to me with a copy of the book in his hand open at the page
where my picture appears. He said, "Sir, isn't this you?"
I admitted it was, and asked how he happened to have the history,
He had liberated a copy from the general hospital from which
he had just been discharged. There should be two left unless
they disappeared the same way!
One thank-you note I received I prize very much. It came from
O. W. Mendell, the Master of Branford College, a residential
unit of Yale University in which I was a fellow at one time.
He was also Dean of Yale College, an undergraduate subdivision
of the University. Commander Mendell during WW-II was first Chief
of Instruction and later officer-in-charge of the Air Combat
Intelligence School. He wrote and privately printed its history
under the title, The Life and Times of the Air Combat Intelligence
School. I sent him a copy of our history. He wrote on June
"Your letter and your book were both enthusiastically
welcomed. The book makes mine look like the academic twilight
of an aged dean. I've never seen a more complete coverage - especially
in the pictures. The story is tremendous. You certainly have
a lot of proud memories."
This is from a distinguished classics scholar and a dean in
a great university.
As has been said above, General Hickey and the Adjutant General
of the Army, as well as others, forwarded requests for the book
to me. I answered all the letters by hand and said I was sending
the book. When my supply ran out, Colonel Sweat sent up some
that he had left after requests to him died down. I am sure my
correspondents of nearly thirty years ago will be pleased if
I share their thoughts with the readers of this accounting.
We received one request to be put on the mailing list before
we started mailing. It came from a sergeant in a AAA group in
Germany. He said his brother had been killed in action when serving
in the 36th AIR. He wrote:
"It would be a great source of comfort to my mother if she
could receive a copy of the division's history, when it is printed
as a memorial of her son and of the outfit with which he fought
up to his death."
We wrote that we had mailed a copy to his mother and would mail
him one in a few days.
One request forwarded by the Adjutant General came from a sister
of a sergeant killed in action near Cherain, Belgium. She was
a resident of Philadelphia living near the S. E. C. offices to
which I had returned six months before. I talked to her on the
telephone, learned the story - as the letter had only expressed
an interest in the division - and made an appointment to deliver
the book. She then asked if her father could have one too, as
she would like to keep a copy. When the father put his request
in writing, it was honored too.
A local veteran's office in California helped an officer of the
45th Armored Medical battalion get my address. His thanks of
September 30, 1946, read:
"I am in receipt of the history of the Third Armored Division.
I can only repeat what a grand job I think has been done in producing
such a book. I know the value of the book will increase through
The Librarian of King's School, Bruton, Somerset, wrote:
"On behalf of the school I should like to thank you very
much for the gift of the book telling the heroic story of the
3rd. Armoured Division. This is not an occasion for effusiveness,
but I would like to say how very warmly attached all of the people
of this neighborhood are to you and your men, and we shall never
forget the kindness and hospitality which you showed to us."
A request from the mother of another 36th AIR casualty resulted
in a book being sent to her. A sincere thank-you note asked for
help in finding members of her son's unit who knew him. With
the help of others, some leads were furnished.
Another request came from a former sergeant and now a vigorous
and active member of our New England contingent. His letter was
"I fought with the 3rd Armored Division, and after VE Day
was transferred to a tailor shop. My buddies have a book on the
3rd Armored Division. I would like to get one too."
An inquiry received through War Department assistance brought
this thank-you note. I quote only one of its paragraphs:
"Thank you very much indeed for the really grand book, Spearhead.
I cannot pretend to tell you how pleased I was to receive it.
It brings back so many recollections of some of the finest men,
a few of whom it was my privilege to meet at Warminster with
David, who was to me, one of the finest of them all. The book
helps to bring back some wonderful memories of him, and I shall
prize it for many years to come, and when my small son David
is old enough to read and understand it, I am sure he in his
turn will appreciate the efforts behind the compiling of such
a book and the history it tells."
A young lady, whose "very dear friend" served with
this division and was killed in action, accomplished her mission
by writing the War Department. She wrote:
"I cannot express my feelings in words how much I appreciate
your sending me this book. I shall read it from cover to cover
and treasure it always."
This should be enough to show that publishing our history in
Germany, with delivery to all members of the division so soon
after V-E Day, was a wise decision by General Hickey. Comments
like these I have just quoted are the most satisfying reward
the production team could have asked. I have written this story
in first person only as the representative of the team that conceived
and executed the writing and publishing of Spearhead In The