Clare W. Leipnitz

CPL. CLARE LEIPNITZ
Corporal Clare W. Leipnitz, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Leipnitz, 220 Fourth Street, has arrived safely somewhere in India.

He entered the service as a photographer in the Signal Corps on March 2, 1942.

He received his basic training at Camp Crowder, MO and also trained at Camp Gordon, GA; Camp Rucker, AL; Camp Blanding, FL; and Camp Forrest, TN.


Story of Jungle Fighting in India Is Written by City Man
T/5 CLARE W. LEIPNITZ
A first-hand account of the jungle fighting in India, where trails of Japanese and Allied fighters have been criss-crossing in a tangled web that has kept home-front strategists guessing as to who was straddling whose supply line, is given in the CBI Roundup, an American Army newspaper published in Delhi, India. 

The story, datelined Hukawng Valley, was written by Technician Fourth Grade Richard Spencer and Technician Fifth Grade Clare Leipnitz, motion and still photographers, respectively, for the Army Pictorial Service. 

Leipnitz is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Leipnitz, 220 Fourth Street and was linotype operator and staff photographer for the Leader and Telegram before entering service. The article in the CBI Roundup states that Spencer and Leipnitz "were dispatched on what was recognized to be a particularly hazardous mission of photographing the Chinese Tank Corps going into action for the first time."  

It continues:  

"Everything went all right until dusk on March 3, at which time a detachment of Japs got behind the element of tanks with which the photographers were traveling, an incendiary shell ignited the elephant grass on both sides and, from then on, all night they were under mortar, machine gun and artillery fire. Three Americans were killed and nine wounded. Approximately 10 Chinese were killed and 30 wounded. The Japs lost about 200 killed, and the photographers came out unscratched." 

The story by Spencer and Leipnitz follows: 

On the morning of March 3, we joined a party of Chinese tanks and left with them on what was supposed to be a surprise thrust around the Jap flank to cut off their supply line from behind, and, if possible, catch their artillery and knock it out. 

Earlier in the morning, the first two elements had preceded us along a road cut through the jungle by armored bulldozers operated by American Engineers. When we had traveled about seven miles, we stopped along the road to await orders for the third element to move up and go into action.

Grass Set Afire
A little over an hour went by before anything happened; then we heard some machine gun and 37mm fire not far ahead. So we walked from the wrecker on which we were riding up ahead a short way to a tank operated by an American crew to see if there was any word over the radio as to what was happening.

The first two elements had contacted some enemy resistance. Shortly thereafter, the firing died down, and orders came back for our outfit to move forward. We had only gone a few hundred yards, coming into a large open area covered with tall, dry elephant grass, much of it dry, when one shot was fired, an incendiary, which set off the grass, thereby sending up a cloud of black smoke, a beautiful target for artillery and it certainly wasn't long in coming.

The first wasn't too bad, 75s, but they were mostly pretty far over us, although a few fell short, and we had a little shrapnel flying around, which luckily caused no casualties, because those of us not in tanks stayed underneath the trucks.

Then Lull Came
After about an hour of this, there came a lull, and we moved forward again, past still-smoking shell craters and kept nervously waiting for more shells. They didn't come for a while. We readied another open area, about a half mile forward, as it was getting dark. That first shelling was only an overture to the symphony that was played now. The Japs were there in person, and everything, including the kitchen sink, came at us.

Reconnaissance cars and tanks, with Chinese infantry riding them, swung off on either side of the road into the grass to engage the enemy. For the next several hours, the symphony rolled and thundered. Everything from small arms fire and knee mortars, up to and including 150 millimeter howitzers, threw our old American steel back at us.

Through and over this, we could hear the roar of our tanks' engines and the steady clatter of their 37s. Whenever the heavier stuff would let up for a few seconds, the snapping of rifles and Tommy guns would remind you of Chico Marx's piano playing—funny but, at a time like that, those thoughts come to your mind and others, too.

One chap, lying out there with his face buried in the ground, prayed steadily, "Lord, you made us, you can save us." He will never forget that shelling. It was his first and it killed and wounded several of his buddies. All through this holocaust, litter and first aid men worked in the open, as nobody had time to dig in. They patched up men laid open by a steady rain of shrapnel and machine-gun bullets. 

When daylight finally came, the shelling had eased off and we were able to dig in, but there wasn't much  more. The Japs that weren't killed had shagged out of there, and only a few snipers remained. Shortly before noon, we got orders to return to the base. We weren't sorry. That stretch in hell was rough.


Sgt. Clare W. Leipnitz Has Adventures as Photographer
CLARE W. LEIPNITZ
Clare W. Leipnitz, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Leipnitz, reside at 220 Fourth Street, Eau Claire, has had a series of thrilling experiences while in the China-Burma-India Theater, including a recent promotion to Technician 4th Grade. 

Sergeant Leipnitz is a combat photographer and worked with the famous Chinese 22nd and 38th Divisions in their successful push in northern Burma. At first startled by the roar of the 75s, the clatter of machine gun fire, and the zing of snipers' bullets, Leipnitz finally found himself helping litter bearers at night, after it became too dark for picture taking. 

He covered the first tank action in the Mogaung Valley and has photographed such notables as General Joseph W. Stilwell, Lord Louis Mountbatten, and the lovely, vivacious Paulette Goddard, when she visited the front. 

Employed by the Eau Claire Leader and Telegram and the Davis Photo Art Company,  prior to entering the service, Leipnitz has learned enough Chinese to carry on conversations with them. "I usually ask how old they are and how many wives arid children they have," he commented. 

Leipnitz, who has been in the CBI for nine months, has watched the Ledo Road, Brigadier General Lewis A. Pick's famed Army highway, shoot across the mountains of Indo-Burma on its way to join the Burma Road, so that much needed supplies can be transported to our beleaguered Chinese allies.

Leipnitz is a graduate of the Eau Claire High School.


Three Eau Claire soldiers Meet in Burma
Left to right: Sergeant Clare W. Leipnitz, Private Ralph W. Anderson, and Private First Class Harold Reed pose in front of a large tree near their quarters in Burma. The picture was taken several weeks ago.
Private Ralph Anderson, a Burmese boy, and Sergeant Clare Leipnitz scan columns of The Eau Claire Leader for news of the home front.
Three soldiers from Eau Claire, Sergeant Clare W. Leipnitz, Private First Class Harold Reed, and Private Ralph W. Anderson, met recently in Burma, where the above pictures were taken.

Sergeant Leipnitz is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Leipnitz, 220 Fourth Street.  Anderson is the son of Mrs. W. W. Anderson, 333 Summit Avenue, and Reed is the son of Mrs. Harold Reed, Second Crossing.  All have been in the India-Burma Theatre of War more than a year and have been in service more than two years.

Sergeant Leipnitz is Signal Corps photographer.  Anderson went overseas with an Engineer Corps unit and was transferred to the Signal Corps in India several months ago.  Anderson and Leipnitz, former fellow employees and Reed, also an Eau Claire man, enjoyed their unusual reunion in Burma, according to letters home.  Leipnitz and Anderson had Christmas dinner together.

Leipnitz and Anderson were employees of the Eau Claire Press Company when called into service, the former, a linotype operator and press photographer for several months, and the latter a telegraph editor for the past 15 years.