Herman C. Kopplin

Eau Claire Soldier in Ordnance Work With Army in Italy
WITH THE FIFTH ARMY, Italy—Private First Class Herman C. Kopplin, son of Mrs. Molly Kopplin, 707 Gray Street, is serving in Italy with a section of the Fifth Army's 476th Ordnance Evacuation Company, which does everything from frontline wrecker service to right capsized locomotive engines. 

The company, which has been overseas almost 15 months, spent considerable time in North Africa, cleaning up the Tunisian battlefields at the end of that campaign. Hundreds of tanks, half-tracks, and other armored vehicles, both friendly and enemy, he said, had to be hauled back to dumps for salvage. 

After four grueling months on the Southern Italian Front, where difficult retrieving operations were performed in mud waist-deep, the outfit served on the Fifth Army's Anzio beachhead. 

The company is split up into three major units, including a transporter unit, a T2 tank retriever unit, and a wrecker unit. The transporters use a massive vehicle for carrying 40-ton tanks and gun tubes, and the tank retriever, which is itself a General Sherman tank, equipped with a boom and a winch, is used for retrieving heavy, armored vehicles that have been shot up or bogged down in the spongy Italian soil. 

Seven ten-ton wreckers are constantly alerted for hauling damaged tactical or combat vehicles from the field back to the salvage dumps. The company, which retrieved wrecked vehicles for the British for more than two months, performs most of its work after dark. 

Many of the retrieving jobs carry the men up within "smelling distance" of the Jerries and, frequently, have drawn their fire.