I went over to England, and I wound up with company A, 15th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division. We were at a gun range when we heard that our troops had landed in France. On D plus 5, we landed at Omaha Beach and then proceeded up to an area near Lorieat, France. Lorieat was occupied by the Germans, but were surrounded in the sea by naval vessels and on land by soldiers of different units: Infantry, Tankers, Artillery. We stayed there through July, then we were told we were moving out on our way to Germany.
Since Company A had an armorer, I was in a medium tank doing the job of loading ammunition (shells) for the 5mm on our tank. The 6th Armored Division and the 4th Armored Division became part of the 3rd Army under General Patton.
We were told we were on our way to capture Brest, which was heavily guarded by the Germans. We ran into resistance several times and were delayed by the Germans using aircraft bombing roads and artillery fire. By August 9th, the enemy was commpletely routed and surrendered the remaining force. We had come over 23 miles so far and now we had to wait for gas and also to take prisoners to the rear. We were having a hard time with the tanks due to the terrain. We were told that we would be attacking early the next morning, which was October 1, 1944.
We were at the airport at Nancy, France. The tanks were about 100 yards apart when suddenly our tank got hit by an 88mm fired by the Germans. We had been filling the 75mm with shells that burst over them and shrapnel rained down causing wounds. The 88mm shell hit a gas line inside the tank and there was a loud bang and fires everywhere.
The three of us inside the tank had burns and wounds by shrapnel. The driver and assistant driver bailed out over the front of the tank and rolled around to side of the tank and away from the Germans. Our tank commander pulled the gunner out of the tank, and then me. He had a piece of pipe driven through his leg, yet pulled the two of us up and then we laid on the ground behind the tank away from the Germans. I had 3rd degree burns on my face, left arm and shoulder, and left hip had shrapnel. My tobacco pouch in my left hip pocket was full of shrapnel or otherwise I would have had more damage to my hip and side.
The medic drove up to the tank in a half-track (they came after the Germans stopped firing). The tank behind us got the gun that hit our tank. They put stuff on my face, bandaged it so I could not see a thing , also put salve and bandage on hip. We, the wounded, were taken to a field hospital and then transferred to a hospital in Paris, France.
We honor you, Edward Albert Perry.
(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)