Don Moore's

Sgt. Andy Pace fought in Battle of Bulge during big German push on Western Front in WW II

In U. S. Army, World War II on October 10, 2012 at 4:38 am

Sgt. Andy Pace of Port Charlotte, Fla. is pictured at 19 in 1943 after graduating from boot camp at Fort Polk, La. He served with the 58th Armored Infantry Battalion, part of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in World War II. Photo provided

Andy Pace of Port Charlotte, Fla. served as a member of Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army in World War II. He was a battalion radio operator for Headquarters Company, 58th Armored Infantry Battalion, 8th Armored Division.

“After landing at South Hampton, England in October 1944 we sailed across the English Channel and went to Le Harvre, France. Our first combat missions was a town in the middle of France,” the 89-year-old former infantry sergeant explained. “We hooked up with Patton in November 1944, about a month before the Battle of the Bulge.

“We got involved in the Bulge when the Germans broke through the 94th Infantry Division’s lines. That’s when Patton came up with the ‘Red-Ball Express’ that moved supplies for his army. He got that up and running and from there on he kept right on going through Germany.”

What Pace recalls most about the war that winter was the cold and snow that made the fight even more miserable.

“You always carried one or two extra pairs of socks in your shirt with you. The only way to keep your feet from freezing was to keep ‘em dry. That’s where the socks came in. When you’re feet got wet you switched your wet socks for dry ones,” Pace explained.

“We had snow up to our ears. You couldn’t put your bare hand on a vehicle or you’d never get it off,” he said. “The ice and snow was so bad we had to put rubber blocks on the tanks’ treads every few inches to keep them from slipping on the ice.

“The Airborne guys would jump on the back of our tanks where the engines were to keep warm. It was the same way with our halftrack. The engine was always going because of the radios we carried.

Andy Pace reaches the end of the line in Czechoslavakia for himself in Patton’s 3rd Army. This is where they both wrapped up their fight against Hitler in World War II. Photo provided

“The ‘foot sloggers’ would use our engines to warm up a bit,” Pace explained. “They would put their C-Rations on the halftrack’s exhaust to heat up their canned food.”

One thing armored units learned not to do was spend much time parked in the middle of a crossroad in enemy territory.

“All the crossroads were zeroed in by German artillery. Almost immediately a German 88 shell would land in front of the lead American tank. Then a second round would hit the ground just behind the tank. At that point you’d better take your tank and get out of there because the next 88 round would be right on.

“Being the battalion radio operator I was a half-mile to a mile behind the front lines in my halftrack. We carried three radios: I had one radio for local action, another for our 8th Infantry Division and a third radio for air action,” Pace said.

He remembers how pleased the Dutch people were that we had arrived and run the Germans off. After the war the Dutch ambassador would often show up at their annual 8th Armored Division Reunions to thank them for the part they played in liberating Holland during the Second World War.

“On VE-Day (Victory in Europe) we were in Dusseldorf, Germany. It was at this point there was talk of us having to finish the war in the Pacific,” he said. “They dropped the A-Bomb on Aug. 6 and a few days later the war was over,” Pace recalled.

“Thank God for Gen. Patton and President Harry Truman. I wish we had ‘em both back. We wouldn’t have the problems we have today,” he observed.

Back home again in 1946 in New Haven, Conn. about the time he was discharged from the Army.                 Photo provided

“I was on furlough on the French Rivera enjoying myself when they dropped the Atomic Bomb. “I didn’t have enough points to go home right away,” Pace said. “I didn’t get to go home until February 1946. I went back to Le Harv were I took a Victory Ship back to New York City.

“It took us 13 days to make New York from France. We were met by the Salvation Army at the dock and taken to a big mess hall were we were given steak and beer,” he said. “From there I went to Fort Devon, Mass. where I was discharged from the Army.

“I tell everybody, ‘They didn’t call us The Greatest Generation for nothing. We did what we had to do,’ ” the old soldiers said with pride.

“After the war I got married and went to business school. Then I worked for 10 years making car tires,” Pace said. “After that I joined the U.S. Postal Service in 1952 and worked for the Post Office until 1989 when I retired as the postmaster of the office in Milton, Mass.”

He and his wife, Agnes, moved to Port Charlotte in 1993. On Nov.17 they will have been married 65 years. The couple has one son, Andy, Jr., who lives in North Haven, Conn. He is the international sales manager for a firm that manufactures stainless steel tools.


Pace’s File

Name: Andrew Pace
D.O.B: 2 July 1923
Hometown: New Haven, Conn.
Currently: Port Charlotte, Fla.
Entered Service: 17 March 1943
Discharged: 13 Feb. 1946
Rank: T-5
Unit: 58th Airborne, 8th Armored Division
Commendations: European-African Medal, Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon, American Theater Campaign Ribbon, Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal
Battles/Campaigns: Battle of the Bulge, European Campaign
Spouse: Agnes
Children: Andy, Jr.


This story was first published in the Charlotte Sun newspaper, Port Charlotte, Florida on Monday, Oct. 8, 2010 and is republished with permission.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be republished without permission. Links are encouraged.

Click here to view the War Tales fan page on FaceBook. 


About these ads
  1. Andy, I was a radio operator for the 2nd platoon of Co. ‘C’, 58th AIB. I do not know if we conversed during the war or not. I am also the webmaster (retired) of the 8th Armored Division website at http://www.8th-armored.org/index.htm. If you have never seen it you might be interested since we have many pictures, stories, AAR’s etc. Okey Taylor

    • Okey – there’s a strong possibility Andy Pace does not follow this blog, and possibly not on the internet. Please contact Don, the author of these interviews at donmoore 39 at gm ail. com but put it all together asking him to contact Andy for you – for you to get in touch with him. Tell him Mary gave you these instructions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 461 other followers

%d bloggers like this: