During the race from Herborn to Paderborn, our crew led our group with our T26 Tank. After the breakthrough we moved so fast that many times we passed their roadblocks so quickly that they never got to fire a shot at us. We destroyed a
lot of enemy equipment without suffering a lot of damage.
At Paderborn, we had to cross a large open field as we approached the town.This was another hard battle where we had many tanks knocked out. After fighting our way across the open field, we headed toward the railroad station, where we encountered many snipers and troops with panzerfausts (bazookas). Many of our tanks were out of action by this time.The crews took shelter in the railroad station as the battle raged on. We kept changing our position to avoid the panzerfausts which were coming from behind the bank of a raised roadway that led to a bridge over the railroad tracks. We kept shooting high explosive shells into the trees lining this road, trying to get the shell to explode in the trees and scatter shrapnel down on the enemy.
Finally, after a long period of this, we were hit on the muzzle brake of our 90mm cannon with a panzerfaust. This hit caused the 90mm to fire and put a lot of smoke and fire inside the tank. Our tank commander thought the tank was on fire and burning up, so he ordered everybody to abandon tank. Once out of the tank, we were crawling along the hedge row, where the German snipers and machine gunner were trying to pick us off. After we realized the tank was not actually burning up and, except for the hole in the muzzle brake, was ok. So, we quickly got back into the tank and back into the battle.
As we continued firing on the panzerfaust teams, our tank commander looked behind us and saw a Mark V coming toward us about 50 yards away. The tank commander ordered me to turn the gun to the rear, which I did and fired the 90mm, hitting the Mark V in front between the driver and assistant driver, knocking the tank out and killing the assistant driver. The rest of their crew bailed out and ran away. 1 fired over the head of one of them with our machine gun. He fell in the street and kept watching our tank. Finally, he got up and ran down the street. I didn't want to shoot him in the back so I left him go.
After a while, our crewmen, who were in the railroad station, saw the German tank and thought he was going to fire on them. They were relieved to find out that we had already knocked the tank out. After we knocked this tank out, the Germans faded away and the battle for Paderborn was over.
Some months ago there was an article in our 3rd A.D. Newsletter giving credit to a fighter pilot for knocking out the last German Tank in Paderborn. I believe we destroyed the last German tank, so if the article in the newsletter referred to the one by the railroad station, then the crew from the T26 from E Co. 32 A.R. should have been given credit. At any rate, after we destroyed this tank the battle for Paderborn in our area was over. T26 Crew at Paderborn:
Tank Commander - Robert Early, Fountain, Minn.
Gunner - Clarence Smoyer, Lehighton, Pa.
Tank Driver - Wm McVey, Jackson, Mich.
Asst. Gunner - was replacement - don't remember name
Asst. Driver - Homer Davis, Moorehead, Ky.