Original U.S. WWII 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion Grouping - Bronze Star with Citation

Item Description

Original Items: One-one-of-a-kind set. Corporal John E. Tobiczyk ASN: 12030656 from  Oneida County, New York was assigned to the Reconnaissance Company of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division during WWII. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor in Action and fought in all multiple campaigns including, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardenner-Alsace and Central Europe, spending nearly two years in overseas service.

On a rainy 7th September 1944 at about 17:00 John saved the life of his platoon leader, 1st Lt. William V. Desforge (o-885765). The Reconnaissance Company contacted enemy and had a fire fight near Serre-Les-Sapins, France. They killed several and captured 20 enlisted men and 3 officers. They also knocked out one personnel carrier and captured one intact. 1st Lt. Desforge was wounded in the face and Pfc John Lesdom was wounded in the right leg, both men were hospitalized.

This action earned him a Bronze Star. His Citation (the original is included with this set) reads as follows:

APO No. 3

Original U.S. WWII 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion Grouping - Bronze Star with Citation

May 1945

SUBJECT: Award of the Bronze Star Medal

TO: Corporal John E. Tobiczyk, 12 030 656
Reconnaissance Company, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion

Under the provision of Army Regulation 600-45, you are awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valorous conduct in action against the enemy:

CITATION: JOHN E. TOBICZYK, 12 030 656, Corporal (then Private), Field Artillery, Reconnaissance Company, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion. For valorous conduct in action against the enemy on 7 September 1944, at about 1700 hours in the vicinity of Fronois, France. When his platoon commander had been seriously wounded by enemy small arms fire only 50 yards distant, Corporal TOBICZYK, despite the hazard, ran through a veritable hail of small arms fire to the wounded officer's position. He noted a jeep was needed so he dashed over a knoll, across an open field, into a town, secured a jeep and drove it over an exposed road to the wounded officer. He accomplished all this despite constant aimed enemy fire. At this point, with the aid of another soldier, he loaded his officer, into the jeep and drove him to tho safety of the town. This action saved the officer's life as his wound was extremely severe. Residence: New York Mills, New York.

Brigadier General U. S. Army

G0 181
27 May 1945

Included in this fantastic tank destroyer grouping are the following items:

- OD wool Field "Ike" Jacket with all original insignia including Third Infantry Division patch on right shoulder, Tank Destroyer patch on left shoulder, 4 ribbon bars including Bronze Star, ETO with 2 campaign stars, Good Conduct , European-Africa, Middle Eastern Campaign with two battle stars, and WWII Victory Medal, armored collar insignia, French Fourragere shoulder cord and 3 overseas bars on left cuff denoting 18+ months of overseas service. Matching trousers.

- Bronze Star Medal In Case

- Original Bronze Star Citation on Their Infantry Division Letterhead

- Loads of original amazing wartime photos showing Tobiczyk with his tank crew!
- Officer's overseas wool garrison cap.

- Various unattached medals and patches.

- Copies of documents extracted from NARA (National Archives) of Tobiczy's service in WW2.

Tank Destroyers are some of the most desirable of WWII U.S. army groupings due to the fact that relatively few battalions were created.

The 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion was a battalion of the United States Army active during World War II. It was the first of the newly formed tank destroyer battalions to see combat, and the only one to fight as a "pure" tank destroyer force. It also has the unusual distinction of being one of the few American units to fight in all three major campaigns against NSDAP Germany (North Africa, Italy and Northern Europe) and to have participated in four assault landings (Torch, Avalanche, Shingle and Dragoon).

Formation and North Africa
The battalion was formed in 1941 as the 1st Infantry Division Provisional Antitank Battalion, and on 15 December, was redesignated as the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, in line with the renaming of the anti-tank force. It deployed to Europe with the 1st Division in 1942, and landed in North Africa as part of Operation Torch. The battalion then saw service in the Tunisia Campaign as an independent unit, equipped with M3 Gun Motor Carriage and M6 Fargo tank destroyers.

On 23 March, it was engaged at the Battle of El Guettar, where it broke up an attack by strong elements of the 10th Panzer Division, destroying 37 tanks and receiving the Presidential Unit Citation. This has the interesting distinction of being the only time a battalion would fight in the way envisaged by the original "tank destroyer" concept, as an organized independent unit opposing an armored force in open terrain.

Following the North African campaign, it re-equipped with M10 tank destroyers. It landed at Salerno with Operation Avalanche in September 1943, attached to the 36th Infantry Division; at the end of the month it was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, with whom it would serve for the remainder of the war. With the 3rd, it landed at Anzio in Operation Shingle in January 1944, crossing the beaches virtually unopposed and taking up positions on the right of the beachhead. It saw action during the push to expand the beachhead and then the bitter defense against a German counterattack; on the 29 February, it was employed as part of an active defence by the 3rd Division, repulsing attacks by three separate divisions. It entered Rome in June 1944.

France and Germany
The battalion then landed in southern France as part of Operation Dragoon on 15 August, pushing up through France with the 3rd Division, where Staff Sergeant Clyde Choate of the battalion was awarded the Medal of Honor in October 1944. During the move into southern Germany, on 26 January 1945, two tank destroyers of the battalion participated in the engagement for which Lieutenant Audie Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor. It saw heavy action at the Colmar Pocket, destroying 18 enemy tanks and receiving a second Presidential Unit Citation, and was re-equipped with the M36 tank destroyer after this. It crossed the Rhine in March, fought in the capture of Nuremberg in April, and finished the war in Bavaria.

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