Heroes: the Army
"...We didn't do any celebrating on this Christmas like we used to back in the States. We were all very cold but all we thought of was to keep the gun firing at the Germans. This was Hitler's Christmas present adn I didn't mind giving it to him..."
Samuel Olin Channell
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Btry C, 516th Field Artillery Btn.
- Dates: 1944 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1924
- Entered Service: New York, NY
PFC. Samuel O. Channell
Btry C, 516 F. A. Bn.
Samuel Olin Channell, circa 1944
WORLD WAR II "POSITIONS ON THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE"
516th FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION
Capt. John J. Devlin, Commanding Battery "C"
ASSIGNED AS FOLLOWS:
Rouen, France Area "X"
10 December 1944
11 December 1944
14 December 1944
14 December 1944
18 December 1944
19 December 1944
St. Truiden, Belgium
20 December 1944
22 December 1944
23 December 1944
24 December 1944
25 December 1944
21 January 1945
22 January 1945
1 February 1945
2 February 1945
27 February 1945
28 February 1945
2 March 1945
3 March 1945
4 March 1945
5 March 1945
6 March 1945
7 March 1945
16 March 1945
17 March 1945
25 March 1945
26 March 1945
27 March 1945
28 March 1945
29 March 1945
30 March 1945
31 March 1945
1 April 1945
2 April 1945
3 April 1945
8 April 1945
9 April 1945
12 April 1945
13 April 1945
17 April 1945
18 April 1945
29 April 1945
30 April 1945
2 May 1945
3 May 1945
5 June 1945
6 June 1945
7 June 1945
8 June 1945
Pfc. Samuel O. Channell
Btry C, 516 F.A. Bn.
APO 339 c/o PM
New York, New York
Samuel O. Channell. Date and Location Unstated.
Left United States (a) from Camp Shanks, New York Mon. Sept 25, 1944 enroute to Germany. Left Camp Shanks Sept. 25, 1944 by train. Arrived in New Jersey at 42st ferry. Took ferry across (b) Hudson River to 46th St. pier N. Y. City. Arrived and boarded ship, Acquaintia on 25th Sept. staying on board ship 2 days before sailing.
Started sailing (c) Sept. 27th at 6:15 am and landed at Glasgow Scottland Oct. 6th staying on the boat for 2 da. doing K. P. and M. P. duty. Left ship Acquantia on the 8th of Oct at 2:00 pm and then ferried to Glasgow boarded
(a) I rec'd one pass to N. Y. City while in Camp Shanks. Didn't see much of the city as it was late when I arrived there. Had my picture taken with some of the boys. Bought a book for J------, didn't have time to get anything else.
(b) The Hudson River is very pretty, the scenery along the Hudson was marvelous
(c) We had a nice calm voyage all the way to Glasgow, Scottland. Didn't encounter any enemy subs. Some of the boys got sea sick but I stood the trip very well.
I ate so much corn beef and boiled potatoes on this trip that I never want to hear of them again, or at least for sometime.
train. Train leaving Glasgow at 3:15 PM and stopping along the way for coffee and doughnuts from Red Cross. Riding train all night and up to noon on Oct 9th stopping at (c) Broadstone, England.
We stayed in Broadstone for 6 weeks and one day. Leaving Broadstone Dec. 5th at 2:30 AM by truck, (b) riding to Waymouth, which is close to the English Channell. Staying there for 2 days. Boarded a L. S. T. at 2:30 PM Dec. 7th. Staying on a L. S. T. in port for 2 nights and a day. Left port Dec. 9th crossing Channell, which took one day to cross. Staying on board all
(c) Broadstone, England was a rich little town. Several retired Navy and Army officers made their homes there. The people were very friendly and were always doing things for us boys. We were just like garrison soldiers. The sooner we get away from this chicken s- -- the better. The English girls kept company with American Negro soldiers, that turned me against English girls.
(b) The two days that we were in Waymouth we had nothing to eat but C rations which were beans and meat. I never got so tired of anything in my life before. My how they stuck to the stomach.
(c) Crossing the English Channell was the roughest ride that I ever experienced. I felt a little sick, stayed on my bunk missing several meals. I had to hold on with both hands to keep from falling off the bunk. I was on the top bunk, two men below me.
night at the mouth of the Seine River (a) in France.
On the morning of Dec. 10th we were in the port waiting for an escort to take us up the River Seine. There were mines and sunken ships and bridges which were bombed and laying in the river. They would prove very dangerous in we tried to get through without an escort.
Goinig up the Seine River which proved to be very interesting, we saw several large castles and beautiful scenery. German equipment destroyed and laying all along the river.
We arrived at Rouen (b , France at 5:30 Dec. 10th, boarding truck and riding to area X in Rouen, staying in Rouen for 1 day and 1 night.
(a) The meals on this voyage up the Seine were very good. The U. S. Navy feeds better than the Army by far.
I pulled K. P. duty twice on this trip.
(b) We stayed in tents while we were in Rouen, eating field rations. Rained quite a bit and our tent leaked making it most uncomfortable.
leaving Rouen (a) by truck at 7:00 Dec 19th, drove 50 mi into France and arrived at Novelle. It was raining awful hard. We had to pitch our tents in the mud and water. We stayed in this hell hole for 10 days freezing our feet which were wet continually. At last we rec'd march order and on Dec. 20th we left Novelle by truck, riding all day and then reaching (b) Cambriai, France and staying all night at the city hall, which was very crowded. Got my first beer that night.
After eating breakfast next morning we took off at 9:30 am by truck and rode all day and up to 9:30pm stopping at a (c) Belgium castle for two days. We stayed in this castle sweating out the V-2 which were coming
(a) This is the place where my toes got frost bitten. We set our tents up in an apple orchard. The ground being very muddy and cow tracks full of water.
(b) The city hall was crowded but at least we had a roof over our heads.
(c) We heard our first buzz bomb just before reaching the castle. It sounded like a plane with the motor missing.
over and very low. (a) Leaving the castle on Dec 23rd at 8:00 am riding by truck all day going through Holland, and then into Germany arriving in Palenburg, Germany at 1:00 on the 23rd.
While eating chow (b) this day we were attacked from the air, by German dive bombers. We suffered no casualities but our AAA boys shot 2 of the planes down.
We put our gun (c) into firing position and never fired one round at this position.
On Dec. 24th while me and my buddy (Tom Sardullo) were in a slit trench having a fire in a ration can which had gas in it
Thomas P. Sardullo (Tom)
(a) The people along the road, especially the children, run along the convoy with bottles of beer waiting to give them to us. They were sure glad to see us.
(b) This was the first enemy planes that we had encountered. It didn't take long for me to find cover.
(c) The weather in Germany now is very cold. We had no stove and had to keep from freezing the best way we could.
exploded, trapping me and Tom in the hole. We finally got the fire out, but it sure smoked up our clothes and body. Every one was laughing at us the next day which was Christmas. I guess we were black as coal.
We moved from this position on Christmas (a) day, to Ubach, Germany, firing our first round at the Germans. It was very cold and we slept in slit trenches which were always caving it. The concussion of the gun making the sides of the slit trenchs fall in. It snowed a bit at this position. We saw several enemy planes shot down not far from our gun. We always kept our guns very well camoflauged so that these raiders could not find them.
(a) We didn't do any celebrating on this Christmas like we used to back in the States. We were all very cold but all we thought of was to keep the gun firing at the Germans. This was Hitler's Christmas present and I didn't mind giving it to him.
3rd Gun Section:
Sgt. George R. Yannetti, Cpl. Roy K. Bjerketvedt, Cpl. Carl F. Zeisler, Pfc. Samuel O. Channell, Pfc. George H. Gayda, Pfc. Louis A. Lettow, Pfc. Joseph R. McCreary, Pfc. Leonida Matioli, Pfc. Thomas P. Sardullo, Pfc. Jack H. Simon, Pfc. Clarence E. Stevens, Pfc. Sherman Suckno, Pfc. J. Uram, Pvt. James R. Langton -- Driver T/5 Glenn E. Hennis. (Sam is top row, second from the left. Tom Sardullo is top row fourth from the left.)
We stayed at Ubach from Dec. 25th to Jan 7th, 1945.
Leaving the 7th (a) of Jan. moving 2 mile and putting our gun into a better position to hide it from the German planes. The name of this town was Merkstein. We fired for two armies and it kept us pretty busy.
Leaving Merkstein Jan. 21-45 and arrived at Immendorf at 10:30 am Jan 21st.
More German planes (b) strafed us on this move. We suffered no casualities. We stayed here from the 21st Jan. to the 3rd of Feb. We fired a lot of rounds there for the 102 Inf. (c) of the U. S. and British 2nd Army. We were in the 13th Corps. On Feb. 3rd moved to Straeten, Germany firing across the Rhur River. We stayed here to the 27th of Feb. The Germans sent over V-2 & V-1 continually.
(a) We slept in a house at this position. 1/2 the crew at the gun for 24 hr and the other resting in the house. We sure appreciated a roof over our heads for a little while.
(b) Our AAA boys sure knocked the planes out of the sky.
(c) We sure blasted a lot of pill boxes that were holding up the advance of our Inf.
Several German planes were shot down by our AAA.
Tom got caught out in the field as the German planes came over but was not hit. We all had quite a bit of fun kidding Tom. we had quite a bit of counter battery at this position, but we suffered no casualty. One of our boys lost his life by (a) a shoe mine (our first casualty). We left Straten on Feb. 27th and arrived at Heinsberg set our gun into firing position but did not fire. We stayed at this position for 2 days. Leaving Mar. 1st, crossing the Rhur River and staying at a small town for a two day rest. Leaving there the 3rd ared arriving in Hellenkirk taking rooms in a farm house which made the German
(a) This boy as we were cautioned not to wander away from the gun, as there were mines all around us, but paying no attention to the warning walked out into the mine field, tramping on a shoe mine blowing one of his legs off. He was crawling away and another one hit him in the stomach blowing him into
family mad. (a) We fired quite a number of rounds here for two days. Leaving Hellenkirk Mar. 5th. Done lots of firing at this position.
Several (b) enemy planes came over, some were shot down. We also captured 3 German soldiers who were hiding in a barn close to our mess. One was an officer.
Leaving Linfort Mar. 17th arriving (c) at Moors (Moers). The same day we fired a harrasing fire up until the crossing of the Rhine and these we really opened up. It was the greatest artillery barrage in history. The sky was light up for miles. There was a continuous rumble for
(a) Every time we fired the gun, the plaster on this farm house would come down. It sure looked like a wreck when we left.
(b) I saw my first German jet propelled plane here. That baby sure was traveling fast.
(c) We set our gun up in Moers next to a lumber yard. The weather was warm and we played ball and horseshoe.
about 3 hrs. This was the crossing of the Rhine by the Inf. 30 Div. 75th and 79th.
Leaving Moers the 26th of Mar. crossing the (a) Rhine River over one of our made bridges arriving in an open field (26th) which we called Hedge row. Firing for 2 days for the Inf. Enemy planes came over the ack ack was so thick that we wore helmets while trying to sleep.
Leaving Hedge row, March 28th arriving in a wooded area advancing about 5 mi. We fired for the 75th & 79th Inf moving out of the wooded area Mar. 30th into a muddy field about 5 or 6 mi. Staying there for (b) 2 days but could not fire our gun because it was broke down.
(a) There were several dead German soldiers along the road and near our position.
(b) The other guns in our Battery fired. They got the command to fire at will, something that we were very seldom to and I hated to miss it.
moving April 1st to Gladback (a) where there was a large defense plant which was bombed all to Hell. Didn't fire at this position (only a few rounds.) Leaving this place April 3rd, and moving into Essel (Essen?). (b) We fired into the Rhur pocket continually. At this position four Polish slave laborers volunteered to pull KP at our kitchen for the duration. They sure are good boys and do plenty of work.
Leaving there on April 12th arriving at (c) the slave labor camp the same day. We fired a lot into the Rhur pocket. The Inf. was closing in on the Germans very fast.
We left this camp April 14th arrived in Bochum. Set
(a) There wasn't a thing left standing in this factory. It covered acre upon acre.
(b) We had pretty fair rooms in Essel, a cook stove which we used.
(c) This slave labor camp where we had rooms was full of bed bugs. You could see them in the day time crawling on the walls. We were issued bug powder and that took care of them.
our gun up but didn't fire a round.
Looks like things are pretty well over. The pocket is just about closed.
Leaving Bochum April 17th arriving in Buer, we started working for the M. G. (a)
Leaving Buer April 30th arriving in Reimsloh. Still working for M. G. Left Reimsloh May 3rd arrived in Versmold May 3rd.
(a) At Buer while working for the M. G., two of our boys got hold of some poison acoh and drank it, thinking it was good. They lost their lives, dieing the next day.
No more entries...
Landing in Scotland
M. Gladach, Holland
The materials depicted on this page were reprinted with kind permission of the family of -- Samuel O. Channell.
We, at the World War II Stories - In Their Own Words web site wish to offer to the late Mr. Channell our most profound THANK YOU for his poignant story of his personal experiences -- during World War II and especially for allowing us to share those memories. We will always be grateful for Mr. Channell's contributions to the war effort and to the countless other men and women who put forth their "finest hour".
Original story transcribed from a submitted story received on 15 March 2008.
Added to web site on April 11, 2008.
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National World War II Memorial
September 5, 2002.
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Updated on 11 January 2012...0725:05 CST