736TH TANK BATTALION MEDIUM (SPECIAL)
The Battalion was activated at camp (Fort) Rucker, Alabama on 1 FEB43 with a caddre of 100 non-coms, mostly from ft Knox, Kentucky. 40 raw recruits from Ft McArthor, California with no training were just issued uniforms and put on the train for Alabama.
The unit was gradually brought up to strength by more recruits from Ohio and Kentucky. Most of the enlisted men were in the 18-19 year old group and the outfit was later named the "Kid Battalion."
The Battalion CO was Lt. Col. William Dodge, S-2 was Capt. (Maj) George Callison, S-3 was Capt. (Maj) Maurice Rahe, and S-4 was Lt. (Capt) Mordie Garber.
We departed Rucker on 21JUN43, arriving Ft. Knox 23JUN43.
At a Battalion formation the CO announced that the Battalion would be reformed. No furloughs of passes until futher notice and our mail would be strictly censored. At a later formation in a locked and guarded theater we were filled in on operation Leaflet and the CDL Tank. The code name at the factory was "T10 Shop Tractor" and all correspondance was referred to as "CASSOCK."
A large group of men were sent to STG (Special Traning Group) at Hays school on cedar creek in the eastern end of the Ft. Knox Military Reservation. Training on the operation of the Leaflet Tanks that the men immediately Christened "The Gizmo."
The Gizmo was a special device mounted in a modified tank turret whick put out 13,000,000 candlepower by an electric arc light. The device had a specially designed mirror which was parabolic in the vertical plane and elliptical in the horizontal plane.
The light a\passed through a 2 inch wide, 24 inch high slot. Colored lens were also used to make distance hard to judge when looking into these very bright flashing lights. The flashing cause the pupals of the eyes to change at a rapid rate futher hendering the enemy.
The Gizmo would light the sky nightly so a more remote training area had to be found.
4SEP43 Ft. Knox was left behind, a few days later the tanks and men unloaded at the little station of Bouse, Arizona. The tanks were driven 37 miles out into the desert to a place called Butler Valley, an isolated valley, completely surrounded by mountains and miles from any habitation.
Before the 9th Armd. Gp. finally shipped out the Camp held 8,000-9,000 soldiers, 6 Tank Battalions, 701, 736, 738, 739, 740, 748th. The 554th Heavy Ordnance CO. The Field Hospital was the 150th. An Engineer CO, a Quartermaster CO, plus a Quartermaster Laundry back in Bouse.
We departed the desert about 26MAR44 for POE at Camp Shanks, NY and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth, landing at Greennock, Scotland on 6MAR44 where intrained once again in a hidden valley on the Linney Haven Peninsula.
May 28 2000 12:57:38:000AM