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Researching information on US Army reports/AAR/etc.

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  • Researching information on US Army reports/AAR/etc.

    Good evening !

    My name is Fabien, I am a French student, and I am currently looking into an event that occured on August, 7th in Hennebont (Near Lorient, Brittany, France). There are two accounts of the event as recorded in a post-war interview and a book about the 4th Armored :

    "Meanwhile C/25 had advanced on a parallel route to the north of the main column and had become engaged with a battalion of Georgian Horse Cavalry. While it contained this force by attacking from the east, C and B Companies of the 37th attacked from the south completely destroying it. The lead horses of this battalion, its field trains, and most of its personnel were caught in a sunken road by C Company which drove through the force in column. After it had passed through, it was necessary to use a tank dozer to clear the road of the bodies of men and horses and wrecked equipment before the lighter vehicles of the command could pass through."

    "As the fight along the riverbank raged, B/37 and C/37 were leading a flanking attack toward the same bridge, via the town of St. Gilles. As they advanced, they ran smack into the 281st Ost Cavalry Battalion. Undoubtedly it was a strange scene, as the modern machines of war came face to face with the vestige of another era. The cavalry were guarding this approach to the bridge and dared to stand in between the Fourth Armored and its next objective. It was a fatal mistake for the Russian. As the lead Shermans approached, some of the Mongolian soldiers dismounted and scurried up the six-foot high banks that rose from both sides of the road, returning fire as they sought positions on the high ground. Many of the horses were spooked and stamped down the road directly towards the American ranks that blocked the way. Machine gun and high explosive fire from the tanks ravaged man and animal alike. Horses that were not cut down by bullets galloped at full speed into the front of the lead tanks, and then crumpled beneath the shadow of the 75mm guns. The 37th Tank Battalion cut a deadly swathe down the road to St. Giles, leaving in its wake a scene of absolute devastation. It was not without cost, however, as the commanding officer of C/37, Captain Dale Smith, was killed, along with his 1st Sgt., James Hagemeister. Sergeant Whiteside of B Company was also killed, and Lt. Bohn wounded. As other unites followed behind the 37th Tank Battalion, the remains of the men and horses that littered the road became less and less recognizable as the threads of tanks, halftracks, and sef-propelled guns turned the road into a sea of trampled bone and flesh. The sides of the road streamed with the intermingled blood of the Russian soldiers and their steed."

    I have basic information on the place where this event took place, but I am looking for more detailed information (Number of people killed, AARs, etc.). The thing is that I have no idea as to where to look for such files. I cannot imagine that there was no paper-trail, as the CO and 1st Sgt of C/37 were killed during the action and as this was "a bloody mess", but is this paper-trail still around somewhere ? That's the question.

    As I will be studying in the U.S. next year I would like to visit archives where this king of material would be held. I would therefore appreciate if you guys could point me to the right direction !

    P.S. : The units involved were from the 4th Armored Division, B and C Company of the 37th Tank Battalion, and C Company of the 25th Reconnaissance Squadron (Mech).

    Thank you,
    Fabien.

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