Robert 'Bob' H. Harwood

BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Army

HOMETOWN
Gause, TX

HONORED BY
John C. Burkhardt, SVC MOPH, Chapter 1919, Austin, Texas

ACTIVITY DURING WWII

ENLISTED IN THE ARMY ON FEBRUARY 7, 1942 AND ASSIGNED TO BASIC TRAINING AT FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY. NEXT HE WAS ASSIGNED TO THE 6TH ARMORED DIVISION AT FORT CHAFFE, ARKANSAS. HE WAS SOON PROMOTED TO SERGEANT AND IN CHARGE OF 16 MEN. AFTER TRAINING IN LOUISIANA AND CALIFORNIA THEY WERE SENT BY TRAIN TO NEW YORK. NEXT THEY TRAVELED ON THE USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT TO GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, WHERE THEY TRAINED FOR THE INVASION OF FRANCE. THE 6TH ARMORED DIVISION LANDED ON OMAHA BEACH, JULY 19, 1944, AND WERE POSITIONED TO TAKE PART IN THE 'BREAKOUT' FROM NORMANDY. HE WAS THE SENIOR MAN IN THE 3RD PLATOON, COMPANY C, 44TH ARMORED INFANTRY BATTALION. ONCE THE 'BREAKOUT' BEGAN THEY WERE ORDERED TO TAKE THE SEAPORT OF BREAST, FRANCE. ON AUGUST 8, 1944, THEIR 2,500 MAN COMBAT TEAM CLOSED THE APPROACHES TO BREAST AND ENCOUNTERED 90,000 GERMANS, RATHER THAN THE 5,000 THAT INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATED. THE GERMAN COAST ARTILLERY WAS REPOSITIONED AND KNOCKED OUT EVERY VEHICLE IN HIS COLUMN, INFLICTING HEAVY LOSSES. GENERAL PATTON THEN ORDERED THEM TO BYPASS BREAST AND TO REDEPLOY TO LORIENT, FRANCE. FIGHTING WAS SO INTENSE THAT OFFICERS LASTED ONLY A COUPLE OF DAYS, LEAVING HIM IN CHARGE OF THE PLATOON. NOVEMBER 15, 1944, HIS COMPANY WAS UNDER ATTACK BY A FORCE OF 'HITLER JUNGEND' ;SOON HIS 34 MEN WERE REDUCED TO NINE. AFTER BEING WOUNDED HE LEAD HIS PLATOON IN AN ATTACK AND WAS WOUNDED AGAIN. ONCE AGAIN HE LEAD HIS PLATOON IN AN ATTACK AND AIDED IN CAPTURE ON SEVENTY PRISONERS. AFTER THE MISSION WAS OVER AND HE HAD BEEN WOUNDED A THIRD TIME DID HE SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. HE WAS AWARDED THE SILVER STAR AND PURPLE HEART MEDAL.