Original German WWII Tank Identification Flag USGI Signed 60th Infantry Regiment Bring Back Trophy

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a historically incredible wonderful condition original German WW2 Swas Panzer tank identification flag that measures approximately 30 x 37.5.

It has been signed by 16 U.S. Soldiers and we have been able to identify T/Sgt Curry C. Howell who enlisted in the Army in July of 1942 and was assigned to Company E of the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. He died on September 9th, 1944 just after the "Go Devils" crossed the Meuse River on their way through the Siegfried Line. Reference found at this website: Decaturville County Honor Roll

As Howell’s name appears on this flag along with another soldier Bruno Kleashna, who we know to have also been KIA in the fall of 1944 (see document image), we can safely conclude that the signatures recorded on this flag pre-date September 9th, 1944.

The amazing aspects of this flag are the 16 signatures of USGIs who were all members of Company E of the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. They read as follows (names in bold are unique and were identically matched in the WW2 archive registry):

• Chuck Jackson, Neffs, Ohio
• Willard W. James, Willsboro, N.Y.
• Harvey Knepel, Granville
• C.T. Brandon, Lafayette, Indiana
• M. Borsuck, PA (Michael)
• John Grimkowski
• Jerry, UVA
• Curry C. Howell, Bath Springs, Tenn. (KIA)
• Milton Kidd, Cuthbert
• Thomas Hermes, Dickinson, North Dakota
• Bruno Kleashna Bic, 421 15th st N. Virginia, Minn (KIA)
• Grib B John L, Gerogestown, S.C.
• Walter Fix, Rossford, Ohio
• James Curtis, Niles Michigan
• ER, Michigan
• James E. Jordan, Conway S.C.

Loads of further research potential here: we have confirmed the enlistment records of Knepel, Borsch, Grimkowski, Howell, Hermes, Kleashna, Fix and Howell.

It should also be noted that Second Lieutenant John E. Butts, of Company E, 2nd Battalion (their commanding officer) received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions in the Normandy Campaign during World War II. His name does not appear on this flag. Lt. Butts Medal of Honor citation reads:

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Co. E, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: Normandy, France, 14, 16, and June 23, 1944. Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y. Birth: Medina, N.Y. G.O. No.: 58, July 19, 1945.

Heroically led his platoon against the enemy in Normandy, France, on 14, 16, and 23 June 1944. Although painfully wounded on the 14th near Orglandes and again on the 16th while spearheading an attack to establish a bridgehead across the Douve River, he refused medical aid and remained with his platoon. A week later, near Flottemanville Hague, he led an assault on a tactically important and stubbornly defended hill studded with tanks, antitank guns, pillboxes, and machinegun emplacements, and protected by concentrated artillery and mortar fire. As the attack was launched, 2LT BUTTS, at the head of his platoon, was critically wounded by German machinegun fire. Although weakened by his injuries, he rallied his men and directed 1 squad to make a flanking movement while he alone made a frontal assault to draw the hostile fire upon himself. Once more he was struck, but by grim determination and sheer courage continued to crawl ahead. When within 10 yards of his objective, he was killed by direct fire. By his superb courage, unflinching valor and inspiring actions, 2LT BUTTS enabled his platoon to take a formidable strong point and contributed greatly to the success of his battalion's mission.

History of the 60th infantry regiment in WW2:
After the First World War the 60th Infantry was inactivated in South Carolina in 1921. A generation later, in August 1940, war in Europe resulted in a rapid expansion of the U.S. Army. The 60th Infantry was reactivated and assigned to the 9th Infantry Division.

The 60th Infantry spearheaded the November 1942, Allied invasion of French Morocco at Port Lyautey during Operation Torch, crediting each member of the unit that made the amphibious assault landing the arrowhead device. The landing under fire laid the basis for its nickname 'Scouts Out'. At the time of the invasion, there was great confusion among the Navy coxswains about the landing sites. They either placed the infantry units in the wrong sector, or put them on the beaches very late. The 60th Infantry, for example, landed at 05:30, 40 minutes late, giving the defending Vichy French time to organize. The 60th Infantry's 1st Battalion landed 2,800 yards north of their assigned beach, and were engaged by French light tanks once ashore. Its 2nd and 3rd Battalions were strafed by French planes. Company E, 2nd Battalion, was stopped completely at a strongpoint, the Port Lyautey lighthouse. The 2nd Battalion's eventual objective was to take an ancient fortress called the Kasba. Once the landing points were completely secured, engagements were fought between small units and opposing batteries. The 60th Infantry culminated its successful North African campaigns with a defense on 18 April 1943 (Easter Sunday) against a massive German attack.

The 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry earned the regiment's and the 9th Division's, first Presidential Unit Citation for its actions on 23 and 24 April during the Battle of Sedjenane. The Germans hit the 2nd Battalion from all four sides with two infantry battalions supported by artillery. After a four-hour attack that failed, the Germans left 116 dead, 48 wounded, and many prisoners in American hands. During the 60th Infantry's drive along the Tunisia-Algeria border, the regiment captured a German general's diary which gave the regiment its nickname, the "Go Devils". In his account of American actions against the Germans, the general wrote, "Look at those devils go!" The 60th Infantry thereafter became known as the "Go Devils". During the battle Sergeant William L. Nelson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

During the Allied invasion of Sicily, the 60th Infantry continued its victorious ways, culminating in the famous Silent March ("Ghost March"), where the regiment infiltrated enemy lines and broke open the last of the German resistance. On 5 August 1943, the 60th Infantry landed at Palermo, Sicily. Their first combat action there was the first of the infiltration they would make in Sicily. The 60th Infantry flanked the city of Troina, which forced the German artillery protecting their infantrymen in the city to withdraw, allowing other U.S. divisions to easily swallow up the Germans in the city. Next, the 60th Infantry chased the retreating Germans east towards Randazzo. The pursuit was hindered by a number booby traps, demolitions, anti-tank and personnel mines, craters and blown bridges. Regardless, the 60th Infantry completed its flanking movement around Randazzo, which allowed the 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, to take Randazzo and open the road to Messina which was taken on 17 August. Rest and further training followed for some two months. On 11 November 1943, the 60th Infantry embarked for Winchester, Hampshire, England.

On 11 June 1944, the 60th Infantry debarked at Utah Beach on the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, France. On 12 June, driving hard toward the St. Colombe in France, the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry completely outdistanced the rest of the 9th Division. For a time, the 60th Regiment was believed to be lost. Actually, its 2nd Battalion had overrun the German defenses in the face of murderous fire and had cut the main highway to the northwest. Instead of withdrawing, the battalion set up a bridgehead on the Douve River and held the position for seven hours until the rest of the 9th Division caught up to them, thus facilitating the cutting of the peninsula. Due to this demonstration of rapid penetration and maneuver, the "Scouts Out" motto originated for the 2nd Battalion. "Scouts Out" is the official greeting of the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry.

In France during June 1944, the 60th Infantry once again led the way for the 9th Division as it spearheaded the American advance out of the beachhead that cut the Contentin Peninsula. While the 39th and 47th Infantry Regiments of the 9th Division secured the vital Port of Cherburg, the 60th Infantry cleared Cape La Hague, northwest of Cherbourg, where Medal of Honor recipient Second Lieutenant John E. Butts was killed. At the pivotal crossing of the Douve River, Lieutenant Butts earned the Medal of Honor and the 2nd Battalion earned its second Presidential Unit Citation. Following the breakout at St. Lo, the 60th Infantry rushed south during Operation Cobra and helped relieve the battered 30th Infantry Division, that had been surrounded by the Germans in their own counterattack (Operation Luttich). Next, the 60th Infantry turned east and helped in the closure and clearing of the Falaise pocket. Continuing east, the 60th Infantry crossed the Marne, Aisne, and the Seine Rivers in a matter of days. Next the 60th Infantry entered Belgium and made its second combat crossing of the Meuse River. In this action, Medal of Honor recipient, Lieutenant Colonel Matt Urban was wounded for the seventh time after having gone AWOL from a hospital to rejoin the 2nd Battalion and lead them in combat.

After the bitter and bloody struggle in the Huertegen Forest, the 60th Infantry fell back to the Monschau area where its efforts won it a third Presidential Unit Citation in the snow and bitter cold of the Battle of the Bulge. The 60th Infantry then was the first to capture the Schwammanuel Dam on the Roer River. Continuing south, the regiment was one of the first to cross the Rhine at Remagen. After expanding the bridgehead, the regiment shot northeast, where they helped seal and destroy the Ruhr Pocket. Continuing northeast, the 60th Infantry advanced toward the Harz Mountains, where for the first time the regiment had attached to them a platoon of black volunteers. While destroying a German roadblock, one of the volunteers, Private First Class Jack Thomas, won the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism. After relieving the 3rd Armored Division, the 60th Infantry held that line until VE day, and met up with Russian soldiers soon after. For their actions in Central Europe, the regiment was awarded a fourth Presidential Unit Citation. The 60th Infantry was inactivated in November 1946 while on occupation duty in Germany.

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