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Reflections of a Tank Company Commander (World War II Oral History Audiobooks) Audio CD – 2010
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Harlo J. "Jack" Sheppard went overseas in World War II as the motor officer with the 712th Tank Battalion. When Captain James Cary was wounded by a booby trap on the battalion's first day in combat, Sheppard took his place as commanding officer of the battalion's Company C. The company had three platoons of five medium Sherman tanks, as well as its own maintenance section. On his sixth day as company commander, July 10, 1944, Sheppard filled in for an injured tank commander during the battle for Hill 122 in Normandy. A shell struck his tank in the gunner's periscope two feet from where Sheppard stood with his head outside the turret. He was patched up in an aid station and made it through the rest of the battalion's 11 months in combat, minus a week in the hospital for "battle fatigue." He re-enlisted after the war, was in Germany during the Berlin airlift, and also served in Korea. Aaron Elson interviewed Jack Sheppard in 1993 for his first book, "Tanks for the Memories: The 712th Tank Battalion in World War II." A couple of years earlier, Jack began writing a memoir because his children kept asking him to put down the events of his life, "especially what happened during the war." During the interview, Elson read from the memoir into my tape recorder, and Jack kept interrupting and elaborating. The interview spanned two days, and filled five 90-minute audiocassettes and about 20 minutes of a sixth. Jack Sheppard spent 11 months in combat as a company commander, re-enlisted and became a motor officer in a tank battalion during the Korean War. He stayed in the Army and was in Germany during the Berlin Airlift. This five-hour, five-CD audiobook gives an intimate look into the decisions of a company commander during World War II.