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Thread: Beheaded US Tankers

  1. #1
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    Default Beheaded US Tankers

    Wierd topic title I know.

    I am doing some research for a friend, her mother lived in Stavelot and met some American tankers in the second liberation. Their names were Jimmy Truett and Ernest (Ernie) Bayless. She was told that when they left town they were beheaded by wires strung across the road. Now I know the wire across the road trick was used but I have never heard of an incident in the Bulge. I have put the names in the American list of the fallen and nothing comes up, I even checked by unit for likely candidates and nothing. She is sure it was Jan 45 so I think CCB of 9th armoured the most likely candidate. I also looked at 112th Infantry Regiment but nothing.

    Anyone any ideas or is it just an Urban myth ?

    Whilst checking 112th Infantry Regiments (28th Infantry Division) loss records I came across the fact that at least 20 men died (missing or buried at sea) on the 7/8/9 November 1945 (the late date attracted my attention). Has anyone any info on what must have been a heavy loss for a unit 6 months after the end of the war in Europe (they are buried in Holland).

    Thanks

    Paul

    31. SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division


    "War does not determine who is right - only who is left."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by ptimms View Post
    Wierd topic title I know.

    I am doing some research for a friend, her mother lived in Stavelot and met some American tankers in the second liberation. Their names were Jimmy Truett and Ernest (Ernie) Bayless. She was told that when they left town they were beheaded by wires strung across the road. Now I know the wire across the road trick was used but I have never heard of an incident in the Bulge. I have put the names in the American list of the fallen and nothing comes up, I even checked by unit for likely candidates and nothing. She is sure it was Jan 45 so I think CCB of 9th armoured the most likely candidate. I also looked at 112th Infantry Regiment but nothing.

    Anyone any ideas or is it just an Urban myth ?

    Whilst checking 112th Infantry Regiments (28th Infantry Division) loss records I came across the fact that at least 20 men died (missing or buried at sea) on the 7/8/9 November 1945 (the late date attracted my attention). Has anyone any info on what must have been a heavy loss for a unit 6 months after the end of the war in Europe (they are buried in Holland).

    Thanks

    Paul
    Were they in the same tank?

    Assuming that the tank(s) involved allowed a crew member such as the driver to have his head out where a wire could decapitate him, a single wire wouldn't get a driver with his head out and the commander in the turret because the gun, or possibly turret if gun reversed, would snag it .

    There could be two wires at different heights, but this still requires two crew members to have their heads out at the same time.

    If two tanks, the following tank was hardly likely to proceed after the first commander was decapitated, but maybe it's possible if a driver was decapitated and his vehicle continued.

    Despite that, as just about every imaginable disaster occurred in that war, it might have happened.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    I know that some US jeeps were equipped with these anti-wire devices, never heard about tanks using something similar though. I don't know if wires were attached at roads to behead enemy soldiers or if they were just for communicational reasons.
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    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post
    I know that some US jeeps were equipped with these anti-wire devices, never heard about tanks using something similar though. I don't know if wires were attached at roads to behead enemy soldiers or if they were just for communicational reasons.
    I knew a Yugoslav partisan who put wires across roads in Yugoslavia in WWII. The only communication purpose they served was to tell German troops they weren't welcome.

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    I knew a Yugoslav partisan who put wires across roads in Yugoslavia in WWII. The only communication purpose they served was to tell German troops they weren't welcome.

    And the Germans, feeling unwelcome, would often get upset and lose their heads over this.

    As far as the wires strung across the road, they were probably more for jeeps than tanks. I think a sniper is far more effective at offing an exposed American tank commander or tank destroyer crewman.

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Hey, these were rhetorical masterpieces in those two last posts!
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    And the Germans, feeling unwelcome, would often get upset and lose their heads over this.

    As far as the wires strung across the road, they were probably more for jeeps than tanks. I think a sniper is far more effective at offing an exposed American tank commander or tank destroyer crewman.
    The bloke I knew said they were aiming at motorcyclists, because their vehicles gave them no protection.

    They'd wait with the wire covered in a scrape on a dirt road and attached to a tree or whatever on one side, to let unwanted targets pass over, then erect it and fix it to a tree or whatever on their side when a lookout signalled that a German motorcyclist was approaching.

    Then they'd run away, before de shit hit de fan!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    The bloke I knew said they were aiming at motorcyclists, because their vehicles gave them no protection.

    They'd wait with the wire covered in a scrape on a dirt road and attached to a tree or whatever on one side, to let unwanted targets pass over, then erect it and fix it to a tree or whatever on their side when a lookout signalled that a German motorcyclist was approaching.

    Then they'd run away, before de shit hit de fan!

    I wonder if there are any "Headless Motorcyclemen" ghost stories in the lore of the former Yugoslavia?

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I wonder if there are any "Headless Motorcyclemen" ghost stories in the lore of the former Yugoslavia?
    Dunno, but down here there's an apocryphal story in various versions which essentially involve a sheet of roofing metal flying off a truck or trailer and decapitating a following motorcyclist. In the more florid versions the headless biker zooms past the truck and causes the truck driver to have a heart attack.

    I am sure this is a true story as I have heard it many times, such as from blokes who knew a bloke whose brother in law got it from a bloke whose mate worked in the factory that made the paint for the roofing metal.

    (This story is not as good as the other oft-told one about a pretty female television newsreader taken to hospital with a milk bottle or other object stuck in her nether regions due to a tryst gone wrong, although I prefer the version where she falls off the seat at the bus stop and her pelvis shifts and locks her partner in her so that they have to be surgically separated.)

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Wow, i was expecting to read something like Japanese soldiers beheading tankers. I wonder what other scary stuff happened during the war. I though wires were just to keep out the bad guys out not to behead them!

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by SS Ouche-Vittes View Post
    Wow, i was expecting to read something like Japanese soldiers beheading tankers. I wonder what other scary stuff happened during the war. I though wires were just to keep out the bad guys out not to behead them!
    I've heard worse actually. And indeed, wires were used as both obstacles and booby traps.

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by SS Ouche-Vittes View Post
    Wow, i was expecting to read something like Japanese soldiers beheading tankers. I wonder what other scary stuff happened during the war. I though wires were just to keep out the bad guys out not to behead them!
    Piano wire garottes, used by various Allied special forces types, sometimes nearly beheaded people. I don't think they could sever the cervical spine, but perhaps they did.

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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    I don't think the wire trick would work real well with a tank, too many things sticking out and or up to make it reliable. Plus, they had to have their heads out for it to work. The wire trick was really aimed at people riding in jeeps. Remember many of the jeeps at that time had no windshields mounted on them, so they were vulnerable to this tactic unless, as Flame posted, they had that wire-cutter device installed in front. I understand this sort of thing continued for some time after the war was over in occupied Germany due to the activity of "insurgents".
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    i heard that ppl in jeeps got beheaded but never a tanker

  15. #15
    colonel hogan Guest

    Default Re: Beheaded US Tankers

    Quote Originally Posted by ptimms View Post
    Wierd topic title I know.

    I am doing some research for a friend, her mother lived in Stavelot and met some American tankers in the second liberation. Their names were Jimmy Truett and Ernest (Ernie) Bayless. She was told that when they left town they were beheaded by wires strung across the road. Now I know the wire across the road trick was used but I have never heard of an incident in the Bulge. I have put the names in the American list of the fallen and nothing comes up, I even checked by unit for likely candidates and nothing. She is sure it was Jan 45 so I think CCB of 9th armoured the most likely candidate. I also looked at 112th Infantry Regiment but nothing.

    Anyone any ideas or is it just an Urban myth ?

    Whilst checking 112th Infantry Regiments (28th Infantry Division) loss records I came across the fact that at least 20 men died (missing or buried at sea) on the 7/8/9 November 1945 (the late date attracted my attention). Has anyone any info on what must have been a heavy loss for a unit 6 months after the end of the war in Europe (they are buried in Holland).

    Thanks

    Paul
    wow what a story i have never that story before!

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