He Watched World War II Through a Sherman Tank. This Is What He Saw.

He Watched World War II Through a Sherman Tank. This Is What He Saw.

Warfare History Network

History, Europe

And what a view it was.

Key Point: Irving Bromberg fought from North Africa to Sicily to Normandy to the heart of Germany behind the gun of a Sherman tank.

Private First Class Irving Bromberg saw a huge puff of smoke erupt from the German tank’s cannon muzzle as it headed straight for his M4 Sherman tank. The round streaked past and missed.

Bromberg sat next to the driver in the bow gunner’s seat manning a .30-caliber machine gun. His turret gunner fired the tank’s 75mm cannon, also missing, but the American cannon had an advantage: an automatic breech-loader. The spent shell quickly popped out of the breech and the loader shoved in another round. The gunner fired a second round before the German could reload. The second round blasted the enemy tank.

The Americans kept firing. The loader called for more shells, and Bromberg passed them up. The German tank stopped but it did not catch fire. Then its crew bolted out of its hatches. “Get them!” the gunner shouted to Bromberg, who squeezed his machine gun’s trigger and sprayed fire into the enemy, killing them. Bromberg’s tank sped off. The brief tank battle in the Tunisian desert in the spring of 1943 was Bromberg’s first.

Although Bromberg wore the triangular 2nd Armored Division shoulder patch, he was serving as a replacement with the 1st Armored Division, which had taken heavy casualties during the six-day Battle of  Kasserine Pass in late February.

After the mauling, the division went back on the offensive, pushing the Germans east. So desperate was the division for replacements that Bromberg did not know the rest of his crew. “I didn’t even know where I was,” he admitted.

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