|Roy James Christianson|
|Eau Claire Man in Tank Unit at an Invasion Base|
|HEADQUARTERS, EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS --
Seventy-seven soldiers from Wisconsin are in an armored unit that never
leaves the ground, but they are as well-acquainted with the importance
of pre-battle "briefing" as their brothers in the Air Force
These tank men, in their pre-invasion program, are becoming experts in every tank job. The gunner knows the radioman's job, the radioman knows the tank commander's job, and so on down the line. Any crew member can take over any other member's job, if the need should arise.
And lessons derived from the campaigns in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy are being applied here in preparation for the coming assault from this direction.
Officers are making sure that each member of the crew will know the exact mission of his individual tank. That's where the pre-battle briefing experience comes in. Each tanker is becoming a proficient map reader. When possible, he is shown the ground he must cover, the obstacles he must surmount, and the potential traps he must avoid. This is done when observation posts and sufficient time exist.
Soldiers manning the medium tanks are receiving intensive instruction in indirect firing. Tank guns are used like field artillery pieces, with forward observers directing the fire at targets which the tankers themselves cannot see.
Teamwork with infantry and artillery units is the secret of success by an armored unit, with the tankers delivering the power blow, "The Sunday punch."
Wisconsin soldiers in the unit include: Corporal Robert Edwin Anderson, 22, 612 Bolles Street, Eau Claire; Corporal John Pawlowski, 28, Withee; Staff Sergeant Edmund A. Bautch, 34, Route 2; and Private First Class Roy James Christianson, 27, Whitehall; Corporal Daniel L. Shaw, 32, Sparta; Corporal Orville Peter Reck, 28, Arcadia; Corporal Melvin Arnold Pliner, 26, Elroy; and Private First Class Andrew J. Barrieau, New Richmond.