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442nd regimental combat team medals
The men of the th did it in two days, chasing the Germans up the inland road toward Florence and meeting little resistance until they neared the valley directly before Belvedere.
There they were stopped by a brace of mm cannon and several self-propelled guns. The German artillery was also holding up a battalion to the right of the th. This battalion was trying to use a crossroad, but the Germans had it zeroed in. Division sent orders for the th to stop while division artillery tried to clear out the Germans. When the barrage was over, the th was pulled out and the nd was sent in to assault the German positions. The nd made an initial breakthrough, but that was all.
They pushed the nd out of the valley and pinned the outfit down in an exposed and highly uncomfortable position in a wheat field. Meanwhile the German artillery had moved back and was still stopping the battalion on the right of the nd. Back in their bivouac areas, the men of the th heard what was happening to the nd and began to get itchy. The enlisted men unconsciously began to clean and oil their guns; the officers brought out their maps and began to think.
Finally they held a semiofficial meeting and delegated Capt. Sakae Takahashi of B Company to go to the brass hats and tell them the outfit wanted to do something.
When the captain got to the colonel and started to speak, he was cut short. The mission was simple.
The Battle Of Belvedere
All the battalion had to do was to infiltrate the German positions in the valley, the hill that Belvedere was on and the town itself; to encircle and capture the town, and cut off the main road out of Belvedere that runs north to Sasseta and Florence. That was all. Division intelligence said the position was being held by an SS battalion, which had an OP in the town directing artillery and mortar fire on the nd and the battalion on its right.
A and B Companies of the th were assigned to assault positions, with the rest of the battalion in reserve. The jump-off was at hours. By both companies had infiltrated completely around Belvedere and were behind the town at a farm called Po Pino.
The rest of the battalion dug in among the olive groves at the edge of the valley. Commanding B Company was the same Capt.
Yeiki Kobashigawa was to take the town; the 2nd Platoon under Lt. James Boodry, a former Regular Army dogface from Boston, was to move on the main road leading out of town and cut it off; the 3rd Platoon under Lt. Walter Johnston of New York was to cover the northern position of the company. The heavy-weapons platoon was to move with the 2nd Platoon and cover the road north to Sasseta.
Kobashigawa broke his 1st Platoon into three squads, two of which encircled Belvedere on each side while the sergeant led his squad into town.
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Seikichi Nakayama. Then the squad moved cautiously into town. It was quiet, and the men were almost up to the modern three-story Fascist headquarters when two German machine pistols opened up on them. They ducked behind some houses and settled down to work. Kobashigawa and two men, loaded with grenades, moved toward the big building under cover of the others.
One of the men was hit, but the sergeant and the other man got to the house next door. They tossed four grenades in the window, and the machine pistols were through. Four Germans came out of the building, and the covering fire killed three and wounded one. That left about 20 Germans in the building. They started to retreat the back way and out of town toward the valley. They fought from house to house and then ducked over a ravine and down into the valley.
The two squads encircling the town caught some of these Germans coming out of the ravine. The platoon could also hear the noise of a battle opening up to the right.
Kobashigawa decided to dig in and call for mortar support before jumping the farmhouse. The heavy-weapons platoon had discovered a nice reverse slope and set up there to cover the road to Sasseta. The platoon was about to open up on some Germans trying to make a getaway when the point squad of the 2nd Platoon, preceding the weapons platoon, arrived at the edge of the hill and practically ran into the four German s that had been firing on the nd and its flank battalion.
The Germans had just moved into this new position and were preparing to fire. They never did. Boodry, commanding the platoon, had Cpl. Hidenobu Hiyane, communications man, get the weapons platoon on the radio. Nakahara and gave him the essential data. Their conversation must have sounded terrifying if any Germans were listening — it was conducted in a personal code, combining Hawaiian dialect with Japanese and American slang. The plan worked all right.
While Lt. Boodry and his platoon moved in on the German battery with carbines and M1s, the weapons platoon cut loose with its mortars.
In five minutes 18 Germans had been killed and all four of the s were out of action. The Germans knew they were encircled now and tried to make a break up the main road toward Sasseta. Takahashi ordered the 3rd Platoon to move up and cover the flank of the 2nd Platoon. He told both rifle platoons and the weapons platoon to hold their fire until the Germans made a break, which sooner or later they had to do. And they did. Seventeen of their amphibious jeeps loaded with Jerries swung out of an olive grove and headed hell-bent for Sasseta.
The three platoons let them get onto the road and then let them have it. All 17 jeeps were knocked out. Two light machine guns manned by Sgt. Yoshimoto and Sgt. Nakahara accounted for most of the damage, and the riflemen picked off the Germans as they ran from the jeeps. Right after that, four German trucks filled with men broke from the olive grove and tried to swing around the knocked-out jeeps.
The first two made it, but the other two were stopped. Boodry picked out one driver with his carbine, and one of his riflemen got the other. The trucks piled up in the middle of the road, blocking it effectively and preventing any further German escape. The rest of the Germans retreated to the grove and dug in. The sergeant was good and sore about not getting his mortar support and kept calling for it, but the mortars were needed somewhere else. Takahashi had decided to make a frontal attack on the farmhouse with the 3rd Platoon.
The captain also sent a request back to battalion for more ammo. The supply was running low. When the Germans in the farmhouse saw the 3rd Platoon moving toward them, they opened fire. The 3rd returned the fire, aided by elements of the 1st and 2nd Platoons, and moved in and around the farmhouse.
There mascara botox felps a German half-track there, with two Germans working its machine gun. Toshio Mizuzawa, who had plopped a rifle grenade into the back seat of a jeep earlier in the day, scored another basket when he dropped one into the half-track and rendered it highly ineffective.
This was enough for the occupants of the farmhouse. They came out with their hands up. One of the prisoners spoke English and asked Lt. These are Japanese. Japan has surrendered and is fighting on our side now. Hitler no good. Roosevelt good. He relayed this information to Capt. The captain sent an urgent call for A Company and ordered the 3rd Platoon back to the reverse slope to join the weapons platoon, leaving a patrol to scout the area.
The patrol consisted of Sgt.