Segment 5

Annotation

Baum remembers some of the men in his division. He talks about his feelings towards Creighton Abrams. Abrams was the 37th Tank Battalion commander. Cohen and Abrams had great respect for one another, so their divisions fought together on several occasions. Abrams led by example, was a tactician and was aggresive. He could get a soldier to do anything because he was so respected. If Abe [Annotator's Note: Abrams] had asked Baum to kiss his butt, he would've done it. He told the tankers that during artillery attacks, they didn't have to button up [Annotator's Note; close all of the hatches] as long as they trusted the protection of the infantry; this exposed them more, but gave them better vision and made them more aggressive. This was 1 of the things that married the 10th [Annotator's Note: 10th Armored Infantry Battalion] and the 37th [Annotator's Note: Abrams' 37th Tank Battalion]. Harold Cohen {Annotator's Note: Lt. Colonel Harold Cohen] was from Spartanburg, South Carolina and was an apparel manufacturer before the war. He went to military school and OCS. According to Baum, Cohen was street smart. He adjusted well in different situations and became a very good Battalion Commander. Baum recalls the 1st time he heard about the Hammelburg Raid. He was laying in his halftrack to keep warm when he was called to headquarters. He stood by listening to the decisions being made by Patton. It was initially recommended to lead in a combat command. They decided to send in small task forces under Cohen's command, but Cohen had piles. Patton thought Cohen might be a Goldbrick [Annotator's Note: loafer or in this case, faking illness] because he was Jewish; Patton had a touch of antisemitism. But he saw that Cohen was not lying. Patton ended up assigning the job to Baum. Stiller [Annotator's Note: Major Alexander Stiller, aide to Patton] went along for the ride, but Baum made sure that he knew who was in command. He did not want Stiller taking control of the mission. He knew something was not right with the mission. He was told that they were going to liberate 300 POWs. In reality there were 1500 POWs there. Patton told Baum that if he pulled off the mission he would give him the Medal of Honor. Baum said he did not need to bribe him, that he had his orders. Their mission was to get there, not to engage the enemy, but to do it discretely.

$60.00
Product: 

All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at digitalcollections@nationalww2museum.org if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at http://ww2online.org/faqs.