Lafayette G. Pool
|Lafayette G. Pool|
Lafayette G. Pool in 1949
July 23, 1919|
|Died||May 30, 1991(aged 71)|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Rank||Chief Warrant Officer 2|
|Unit||3rd Armored Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II
Lafayette G. Pool (July 23, 1919 – May 30, 1991) was an American tank-crew and tank-platoon commander in World War II and is widely recognized as the US tank ace of aces[page needed], credited with over 1,000 kills, 250 German prisoners of war taken, 12 confirmed tank kills and 258 total armoured vehicle and self-propelled gun kills, all of which took place in a combat career that covered only 81 days in action from 27 June to 15 September 1944 with three different Shermans. He received many medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Fourragère, and the Légion d'honneur.
Pool served with Combat Command A (CCA) of the US 3rd Armored Division in France between June and September 1944. He successively commanded three Sherman tanks, an M4A1, and two M4A1(76)Ws, all of which bore the nickname "IN THE MOOD" I-III. The first lasted from 23 June until 29 June, when CCA attacked for the first time at Villiers-Fossard. Pool's M4A1 was hit by a Panzerfaust causing him and his crew to bail out of the stricken tank. The second lasted from around 1 July 1944 to 17 August, when Pool was leading CCA in the process of clearing remaining German forces from the village of Fromental. This tank was knocked out by friendly fire of a P-38. The third and last was destroyed on the night of 15 September while CCA was attempting to force the Siegfried Line at Munsterbusch, southwest of Aachen. The tank was hit by an ambushing Panther, and while Pool was trying to back his damaged Sherman up, the Panther hit it a second time. The second round caught the tank on the edge of a ditch and flipped it over. The same round blew Pool out of the commander's hatch, seriously slashing open one of his legs with a shell splinter. The leg was so badly mangled that it had to be amputated. As a result, Pool would not return to amateur boxing after the war. He kept the same crew throughout the war, with CPL Wilbert "Red" Richards as the driver, PFC Bert Close as the assistant driver and bow gunner, CPL Willis Oiler as the gunner and T/5 Del Boggs as loader.
After 22 months of rehabilitation and being fitted with a prosthesis, Pool opened a filling station and garage at his home in Sinton, Texas, followed by several other businesses, before he enlisted in the Army and was sent into the Transportation Corps. With the intervention of General Allen, he finally managed to "come home" to the 3rd Armored Division where he would be an instructor in automotive mechanics. He retired from the Army on September 19, 1960 with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Second Class at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. Afterwards he went to business college, followed by a job as a preacher for $25.00 a week. He also coached little league.
In popular culture
- Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters – tanker ace of aces for the World War II Allies
- Forty, George (1997). Tank Aces: From Blitzkrieg to the Gulf War. Motorbooks Intl. ISBN 0750914475.
- Woolner, Frank (September 22, 1944). "TEXAS TANKER". YANK Magazine. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Sewell, Stephen. "DETECTIVE WORK: LAFAYETTE POOL'S THREE TANKS". 3AD.com. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "Lafayette Pool - Introduction". 3rd Armored Division History Foundation. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
- 33rd map
- Sewell, Stephen. "EXPLODING A FEW MYTHS ABOUT WORLD WAR II ARMOR". 3AD.com. Retrieved 30 November 2014.[dead link]
- Porter, Marion (September 25, 1949). "Tank Hero of World War II, Minus A Leg, Returns to Duty With 3rd Armored". Louisville Courier-Journal.
- Kleffman, Dean; Kleffman, Nan (1998). "THE FORGOTTEN TANK ACE: Staff Sergeant Latayette G. Pool, an American to Remember". Journal of Military Ordnance (March, 1998). Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Pool, Lafayette G. "MY PUPS". 3AD.com. Retrieved 30 November 2014.