FOREWORD

If perchance in the post-war world you encounter a man who says that he fought in Europe with the 745th Tank Battalion, salute him and offer him a drink- -for you have encountered one of the best soldiers in the world. You have encountered a man who has contributed a great deal toward ending the conquests of the Nazis and bringing peace to the world. You have encountered a man of whom the entire army is proud.

The 745th's record speaks for itself. It participated in the heart of every major battle of the 1st U. S. Army in Europe, providing the armored support for the famous "Fighting First" U. S. Infantry Division- -of which there is no finer.

The 745th began pushing on D-Day, June 6, 1944, when it crossed the blood-splattered beaches of Normandy, and continued pushing until the German capitulation on May 8, 1945. During those eleven months the 745th saw some of the roughest fighting In Europe, and they still were aggressive and forceful to the end.

Following the expansion of the beachhead came the breakthrough at St. Lo, repulsion of a German counterattack against our armored columns driving southward, closing the Falaise Pocket and then the drive across France and Belgium to the Siegfried line, hesitating only to clean out the Mons Pocket at the France-Belgium border. After the mopping up of Aachen came the bloody and heart-breaking drive through the Hurtgen Forest to the Roer River, the Battle of the Ardennes, the drive from the Roer to the Rhine, then the expansion of the Remagen Bridgehead and the sweep around the Ruhr Pocket and another neatly laid trap, the Harz Pocket. Even as the bewildered and beaten enemy fled, the 745th continued in pursuit and followed him into his final lair of resistance in Czechoslovakia, whipping and slashing him until the final capitulation.

The man you have encountered has paid a price- -a price of blood and sweat and tears. He has seen his comrades fall beside him. He has attacked the enemy relentlessly and thrown back the enemy's every thrust. He has spent many a miserable hour waiting, hoping, praying.

The man before you is not a hero- -because no man considers himself as such. He cannot tell you a true picture of his experiences, and the ribbons he wears upon his breast are incapable of doing so. On these pages we shall attempt to portray in a small way the picture of his experiences.

We salute him- -the best damn soldier in the world.

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