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Last week I was glancing through The Sun and noticed an obituary on Mr. Clyde Logsdon. He passed away at the age of 93. I only met Mr. Logsdon once when I was kid over 40 years ago. If I remember correctly, he wasn’t a very tall man but for some reason his demeanor and presence stuck out in my mind when others didn’t. He just seemed a manly sort of man.
The obituary made a small comment on his military service. But what little it said was a mouthful if you know history.
You see, Mr. Logsdon was a member of the 95th Infantry Division during the battle for a city in France called Metz. Metz was the lynchpin that had to be taken for the invasion of Germany to succeed and, in turn, end World War II in Europe.
The 95th Infantry Division is one of the most storied units of World War II. It was part of the Third Army under the legendary General George S. Patton. Patton was nicknamed “Blood and Guts” for good reason. His fighting doctrine could be summed up as “attack, attack, attack.” He never retreated. Patton commanded many armies during the war but none more famous than the Third Army that constantly outran their supply lines in a mad dash across Europe toward Germany.
I quote from the World War II Third Army After Action Reports when I say “The Third Army liberated or captured 81,522 square miles of territory. An estimated 12,000 cities, towns and communities were liberated or captured, including 27 cities of more than 50,000 in population. Third Army captured 765,483 prisoners of war. 515,205 of the enemy surrendered during the last week of the war to make a total of 1,280,688 POW’s processed. The enemy lost an estimated 1,280,688 captured, 144,500 killed, and 386,200 wounded, adding up to 1,811,388. By comparison, the Third Army suffered 16,596 killed, 96,241 wounded, and 26,809 missing in action for a total of 139,646 casualties.”
The legacy site of the 95th Infantry Division said “It is in World War II that German defenders gave the Division the nickname, “Iron Men of Metz,” after units of the 95th crossed the Moselle river and fought a fierce battle and captured the city of Metz. Metz had been a strong fortress since 451 A.D. and the Division’s capture of it was the only instance in history that the fortress had ever been overcome by a military assault. War correspondents called the Soldiers of the 95th ‘The Bravest of the Brave.’ The Division had left behind a history of heroism and bravery and accolades of friend and enemy, ‘Iron Men of Metz,’ ‘The Bravest of the Brave.’ But it had also left behind 6,591 officially recorded casualties.”
The Metz was the only place that seemed to stump General Patton during the war. The city was defended by a series of concrete and steel interconnected forts dug into the ground that housed cannons that could fire shells up to 150mm. The bunkers had walls 7 feet thick in steel reinforced concrete in its “weakest” spots. The turrets for the cannons were make of steel domes similar to the strength used in battleships. It was then surrounded by a deep dry moat and barbed wire. It was tough to see the forts from the air as they were dug in. Even when shells shot or bombs dropped from the air on them from almost point blank range, they just bounced off and left little damage.
The German’s manning the fortifications included some of Hitler’s most fanatical troops led by one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite general, Hermann Balck.
It was understandable why he was Hitler’s favorite. Historynet.com called General Balck the “greatest German general no one ever heard of. In December 1942, Hermann Balck wiped out a force 10 times his size in the most brilliantly fought divisional battle in modern military history.”
The Germans had great men, a historic leader and fantastic fortifications at Metz.
The U.S. had the Third Army with the 95th Infantry division.
The battle for Metz lasted a little over two months and involved some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II. It ended with hand-to-hand combat and some 55,000 men were killed, wounded or went missing.
Mr. Logsdon not only was part of the 95th but evidently was decorated with the Bronze Star with a “V” device on it for valor. The Bronze Star is the fourth highest decoration given for combat. The heroism exhibited by his actions included at one point rescuing wounded soldiers from behind enemy lines. Mr. Logsdon put his own life at risk, when he wasn’t called to do so by duty, in order to save the lives of others. I’m sure those nameless others went on to become husbands, fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers just like he was.
Well, I guess that’s about it. It’s something that I thought you would want to know about a guy that walked around us for some 93 years.
But I have one question for you.
If the 95th was called the “Bravest of the Brave,” then what would that make a soldier like Mr. Logsdon who won a Bronze Star for heroism while a member of them?
A better man than us.
So to his surviving children David Logsdon of Nashville, Tenn., Bettye Wright of Louisville and Kathy Not Mattingly of Lebanon I have to say you had one incredible dad and I am sorry for your recent loss.
He was a giant of a man.