Segment 9

Annotation

As they got closer to Hammelburg, they were attacked by German Hetzers [Annotator's Note: German light tank destroyer Jagdpanzer 38(t)]. It was the 1st time they had been attacked by Hetzers. The unit was caught in a column. Everything happened very quickly, the tanks did not have an opportunity to fire back. The 1 assault gun on the top of the hill could see what was firing on them, but the other tanks could not. He lost a number of his tanks and halftracks at this point. Zawada was knocked out of a halftrack in that area [Annotator's Note: NWWIIM volunteer and Interviewee Bob Zawada]. He had been a replacement in the unit. Few people stayed around. They were able to get out of the ambush and Baum ordered the remainder of his men to fan out and make a frontal attack on Hammelburg. Baum was relieved when they made it to the camp, but it was short-lived after seeing the 1,500 POWs. The camp didn't have much German protection. Waters [Annotator's Note: Lt. Col. John K. Waters] came out, but was shot by a German guard and was taken back in. Baum was stunned by the sight of the POWs. The POWs were in terrible shape. He had no idea how many men were in the camp, he was told they had to rescue 300. But he got a hold of himself. Despite his personal feelings, Baum was in command and he had to take control of the situation. He spoke to the troops and explained the situation. He had to tell the prisoners that he could not get all of them back; he did not have enough men and vehicles. Colonel Goode [Annotator's Note: Colonel Paul Goode] was Commanding Officer of the camp and he also had to talk to the POW mob. Baum was overwhelmed with the situation.

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