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537th AAA AW Bn in Action

Report on a small-unit action by Battery D, 537th AAA AW Bn from “Antiaircraft Artillery Notes,” HQ ETO, No. 3, November 1944:

Subject: Gallantry in Action.
Source: Antiaircraft Section, Headquarters Twelfth Army Group.

a. Another outstanding example of individual gallantry, again from Battery D, 537th AAA AW Bn, has come to our attention.

b. On 10 August 1944, the crew of Gun #4, First Platoon, which was emplaced about 7 miles north of Le Mans, France, were excitedly told by two French civilians that several Germans were hiding in a nearby wood. Two details were organized to round up the Germans. One of the details, consisting of T/5 Albert T. Cascio with two other members of the crew, started out across open fields in the direction of the woods. The other detail took a circular course to approach the woods from the flank.

c. As T/5 Cascio and his detail were crossing one of the fields and were about 100 yards from a heavily wooded hedgerow, without warning a volley of small arms fire came from the hedgerow, forcing the detail to drop quickly to the ground for protection. Without regard for his personal safety, T/5 Cascio rose to a kneeling position and fired a burst of thirty rounds from his sub-machine gun into the hedgerow. Upon completion of the burst, and although he could see an enemy machine gun pointing through the hedgerow, Cascio remained in a kneeling position and demanded that the enemy surrender or be shot. Immediately thirty Germans began to filter through the hedgerow. One of the enemy still held his machine pistol. T/5 Cascio motioned for him to drop the weapon, but instead the German brought it up in a menacing fashion; whereupon, Cascio fired another burst, killing the holder of the machine pistol and wounding four others who were coming through the hedge. This treatment seemed to have an immediate reaction on other Germans still in the hedgerow, as they now began to pour through the hedge, this time with their hands up. The final count showed four (4) officers and sixty-two (62) enlisted men captured.

d. During this whole incident, T/5 Cascio’s two assistants were protecting his flanks. The other detail arrived just as all resistance ceased and took over the prisoners, while T/5 Cascio and his assistants went into the hedgerow to search for any of the enemy who had not surrendered. None were found.

e. A considerable number of enemy hand grenades, ammunition, rifles, pistols, machine pistols and four (4) light machine guns were found in the hedgerow. It is believed that had not T/5 Cascio displayed such boldness, initiative and outright courage in ordering the enemy to surrender that he and his fellow soldiers would have been wiped out and convoys would have been subjected to serious attacks and delay.

f. T/5 Cascio was awarded the Silver Star for the above achievement, and was afforded the additional honor of having it pinned on by General George C. Marshall during a recent 90th Division ceremony.


The People of Missouri Can Take Pride

Battleship USS Missouri from All Hands, Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, October 1945.


On 29 Jan 1944, the Senator from Missouri, Harry Truman, spoke at the launching of the nation’s mightiest battlewagon, the USS Missouri. He said: “The time is surely coming when the people of Missouri can thrill with pride as the Missouri and her sister ships sail into Tokyo Bay.”

Battleship USS Missouri

MISSOURI, flanked by destroyer, steams into Tokyo Bay. Astern is the Iowa.

Eighteen months later, the Senator had become President and the Missouri was destined to play an even more dramatic role than had been anticipated either during her launching or during the months of bitter fighting when she helped devastate the Jap war machine. For it was the Missouri that was selected for the formal surrender signing.

The $100,000,000-dreadnaught is an apt symbol of the great role played by the Navy in the defeat of Japan. The equivalent of an 18-story building in height—with seven of these stories under water—the Missouri helped batter Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Tokyo area.

The Missouri, like other American capital ships, suffered from a Kamikaze hit. On 11 April a Jap suicide plane crashed into her superstructure and then hit her starboard side aft. The resulting fire was quickly extinguished and the Missouri did not even alter her course.

By the middle of July, when the Navy prepared for what was to be the final blow at Japan, Admiral Halsey chose the Missouri as flagship of the Third Fleet.

The 45,000-ton man o’ war—she is the same class as the Iowa, New Jersey and Wisconsin—is the fourth warship of her name. The first was a side-wheeled frigate completed in 1842. She was destroyed by fire while anchored in Gibraltar in 1844. The second Missouri was a Confederate iron-clad steam ram.

The third of that name, a 12,500-ton battleship, put to sea about 40 years ago and aboard was a young midshipman named Bill Halsey, today the Admiral in command of the Third Fleet. She was scrapped in 1922 under the Washington Treaty.


Germans Surrender in Czechoslovakia

U.S. Army video of German troops surrendering in Czechoslovakia in 1945:

  • Part 1 — German soldiers, wagons, and trucks surrender. U.S. soldiers inspect abandoned German equipment and artillery. Wehrmacht soldiers in a Schwimmwagen are directed forward by U.S. soldiers.
  • Part 2 — German general discusses surrender with American officers. German prisoners, including several women, are loaded into an American truck.
  • Part 3 — German prisoners march through town to assembly point. German bicycle troops move past. German prisoners assembled. German vehicle and artillery dump.
  • Part 4 — Surrendered German horses, wagon, and trucks. Men of the U.S. 97th Infantry Division.
  • Part 5 — American jeeps pass column of German vehicles. German vehicles assembled in a field. German columns, including Sdkfz 250 and Sdkfz. 251 halftracks, move past civilians in a town.

WW2 Kubelwagen German Artillery Surrenders German Column WW2 German Motorcycle Rider German WW2 Wagons Krupp Protze Officers of 97th Infantry Division Sdkfz 250 Halftrack Sdkfz 251. Halftrack Surrender Wehrmacht Cars Wehrmacht Surrender