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Interview on experiences in World War II

View at Kansas Memory

Creator: Logsdon, John

Date: April 5, 2005

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211401

Biographical sketch: At the age of twenty-four, John Logsdon was drafted into the Army. He was assigned to basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky to an armored school. His first assignment was the Mojave Desert, where he started out as a Second Lieutenant as a Platoon Leader with five tanks. When he got overseas he was promoted to First Lieutenant and then Captain and took over the whole company, Charlie Company, 35th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, Third U.S. Army under George Patton. He was in five battles in Europe and North Africa, "from start to finish." His first invasion was D-31 in France, thirty-one days after D-Day. They were a highly mobile unit, self-supporting and self-standing, the saying goes that "the Third Army could travel on empty bellies but if they got hungry they could eat their belts." John met Gen. Patton when they were in England and he came to their motor pool as they were working on the tanks and stopped and talked to him. An armored division is a "breakthrough division," so they were always out in front, "with nothing ahead of them but the Germans." His battalion had been pulled out of the main battalion because they only had eight tanks out of fifteen that were running. They were putting new engines in and changing tank treads in about eight inches of snow one night when they got word they were to move out at 0400 and go to Bastogne. He told the Colonel, "how in the hell are we going to do that? Only have eight tanks and two of them are down." The Colonel said, "Logsdon, we're going to move out at 0400 with or without you," and he said, "Yes, sir." The snow was deep and the roads were terrible but they were the first division in to relieve the 101st Airborne. The Battle of the Bulge he described as the "cruelest and meanest things" he ever saw. Because of the weather the Air Force couldn't go up and they had no air support. It was one of the worst battles he was in and doesn't know how he got through from "beginning to the end." He describes the Concentration Camp that they liberated at Buchenwald, the silos and the stench of dead bodies. It is something that he will never forget. John received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, ETO 5 Battles, Pres. Citation, WWII Victory Medal, Am. Campaign, Am Defense, and French Croix De'Guerre. He also had two hitches in the National Guard which added to his longevity so when he got out he went to Wichita and helped organize the reserve. At one time during his tour he was given R & R and went to Paris and thought it was such a beautiful city that he later wanted to take his wife to visit, which they were able to do. He bought his home in Wichita with the GI bill and worked in the department store field.

Summary: Captain Logsdon was drafted into the Army (Armored) in 1942 and served until 1945 in the 4th Armed Division 35th Tank Battalion. Interviewed by Judy Walker on Apr 5, 2005, Logsdon talked about military experiences in the Second World War. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Ellis County Historical Society (Hays) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-03-05  DVD 

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