Joining the National Guard

Great Britain

North Africa

Sened Station

Faid Pass

Tunisia

Changing Command

Fondouk and Meeting Patton

Moving to the Mediterranean

Italy

Anzio to Monte Cassino

Monte Cassino

Being Wounded

World War 2 and Modern Warfare

North Africa

Kasserine Pass and War's End

Final Memories

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Joe Boitnott was born Monty Joe Boitnott in April 1921 and raised in Maxwell, Iowa. Boitnott’s mother was a housekeeper and his father was a farmer. He had two sisters who were ten and 12 years older than him and were married when he was growing up. Boitnott’s mother and father divorced in 1936 and he moved in with his sister and her husband in Des Moines. Boitnott finished his secondary education and joined the Iowa National Guard. His friend joined the National Guard and he joined for the discipline and money. Boitnott rode the streetcar downtown to sign up for the National Guard with his friend. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to sign up and Boitnott had to have his sister sign the papers to make it official because he was only 17. Commanding Officer Lightfoot requested the papers right after the holidays and Boitnott only had a short period of time to have his sister sign the paperwork. Boitnott passed the physical and he was told he was going to be a machine gunner due to his size. He became a .30 caliber water cooled machine gunner. Boitnott went to Fort Des Moines for training and went to Camp Ripley, Minnesota for maneuvers during the summer. Boitnott had another six months until High School graduation. At this time the Japanese were on the war path with China and Hitler was on the path to Czechoslovakia and Poland. Boitnott and his friend who signed up with him were federalized in February 1941 for the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry. His friend got out but Boitnott stayed in. The machinegun Boitnott was supposed to train on was still in Newton, Iowa. In February 1941 they were mobilized, got selective service people and were sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana for training. Boitnott stayed in training for all of 1941 until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December. Then they were loaded on trains for Fort Dix, New Jersey. They traveled with the shades down so people could not see inside and the troops could not see out. Joe Lewis was training to fight at Fort Dix against the German fighter Max Scmeling. They took the 164th Infantry Regiment away from North and South Dakota and sent them to California. They left the 133rd, 135th, and 168th Infantry [Annotators Note: 133rd, 135th, and 168th Infantry Regiments], the 109th Medical [Annotators Note: 109th Medical Battalion], the 109th Engineers [Annotators Note: 109th Engineer Combat battalion], 151st Field Artillery, and the 175th Field Artillery overseas. They also had the 1st Armored Division in route to Northern Ireland and later Scotland for amphibious training. Roosevelt was giving lend lease to the British and Boitnott’s Division was the first lend lease. They trained near the Windsor Castle and Loch Lomond area in Paisley and Barrhead in Scotland.

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Monty Joe Boitnott was supposed to deploy to Scotland on the Mariposa but the ship caught on fire while it was being refitted for troops. The men were delayed ten days to two weeks. Boitnott sailed on the SS Barnett to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Some of the troops landed in Antrim, Ireland which was adjacent to Belfast. They spread out over the countryside and Boitnott saw that the Germans were bombing the British every night but the Irish kept the lights burning so the Germans did not bother the Irish Republic. Boitnott and the troops stayed in Quonset huts and occasionally they would take mock grenades and roll them through the huts to see how alert the men were for training. The women’s huts were blocked off and blacked out. Boitnott trained with gas masks and on his machinegun with moving targets. They had to account for the live ammunition and could not be wasteful. The shells had to be accounted for. That was the training until they went to Scotland. The 1st and 2nd Battalions, 168th [Annotators Note: 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division], were asked to form special training for Rangers trained by British Commandos. One British major named Major Brooks had no legs. He would move around on bicycle wheels and used his arms efficiently. The machine gunners had to scale castles with grappling hooks and ropes and make mock landings on Inverness. The weather was usually gray and soggy and after multiple days of training the troops were allowed free time to go to British Canteens. The WASPs [Annotators Note: Women Air Force Service Pilots] and WAVES [Annotators Note: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service] were busy training to shoot German aircraft out of the sky because they would fly by and bomb the area around the same time every night. The damage was minimal where Boitnott was training. They lost some of their personnel to the Rangers through volunteering. The 1st Armored Division, the 151st Field Artillery, 109th Medical, and 109th Engineers [Annotators Note: 151st Field Artillery Battalion, 109th Medical Battalion, and 109th Engineer Combat battalion] were assigned to Boitnott’s Combat Team. They got the 176th [Annotators Note: Boitnott is likely referring to the 175th Field Artillery Battalion which was attached to the 34th Infantry Division in May 1942] added to the combat team about February 1943. The men were shipped out in different groups. The 133rd and 135th [Annotators Note: 133rd and 135th Infantry Regiments] shipped out of Ireland and England. The 168th shipped out of Greenock Bay at the Winchester Castle on a British ship. Boitnott knew it was not going to be good wherever they went. Around this time Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill were meeting together as the Big Three. Boitnott did not know there was another task force leaving Newport News, Virginia with the same destination. Boitnott and the troops heard a rumor that they would not be met with much resistance because General Clark had made arrangements with the Vichy French through underground channels for safe landings but that was not true. Boitnott went across the Atlantic past Spain. They entered the Straits of Gibraltar on 5 November [Annotators Note: 5 Novemebr 1942] but did not know their destination. The next morning they got hit by about two squadrons of Italian bombers. One of the troopships was sunk but most of the men were saved. On the second day a major approached Boitnott and asked if they could take a .30 caliber machinegun and lash it to the side of the troopship. They lashed the tripod together and trailed the wires so the gun would not jam with a field of fire only about 40 degrees.

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Monty Joe Boitnott found out through mock ups and charts what their destination and code name were going to be before they landed on 8 November [Annotators Note: before landing in North Africa on 8 November 1942]. Before the men lined up and went down the rope ladders to the landing vessel they were told to drink a mug of rum. Boitnott had never had a mug of rum or any alcohol other than beer. Half of the group was sick by the time they were in the landing craft. Half of the landing party landed on the wrong beach, about a quarter of a mile from the destination point. Their destination was downtown. Another unit had to take the harbor area and two groups had to take different airports with one of them being the Mason Blanche Airport. Boitnott’s job was to set his gun on the pavement in front of the post office with a field fire of about two blocks. Colonel Doyle got a bullet between his eyes from a sniper coming from a kasbah. They determined where the shot came from and Boitnott fired his gun at the roof. He unloaded about two boxes of ammunition to clear the roof of everything and anything. They assembled outside on the second day and got their objective. The Mason Blanche Airport was secure and they were getting British airplanes for support. The men assembled in some olive groves and awaited further orders. They stayed in the area until Thanksgiving of 1942. Their vehicles were coming ashore from landing craft and not docks because they were not secure in Casablanca and Oran. The American Navy had to sink five or six French destroyers. [Annotators Note: Boitnott references his dog barking]. The second wave to secure the dock area ran into problems in Algiers because the jetties were saturated with explosives and could not be cleared. Boitnott and his troops met their objective then started moving out after Thanksgiving. The British were bringing in troops because they could not depend on the Italians. Darby’s Rangers [Annotators Note: 1st Ranger Battalion] were supposed to get a port town about 50 miles from the Atlas Mountains in Tunisia. Boitnott went to Tebessa, Algeria where they were bringing in P-39s, P-38s, British Spitfires, and Seafires. They stayed for two or three days and they were still not fighting as a division. The first division Boitnott saw come into Tunisia was the 3rd Infantry Division, along with parts of the 9th Infantry Division. The men were still in pieces under British Command. They had a general in charge of a corps but did not have operational command. The Air Marshall was Sir Arthur Tedder and the Ground Force Marshall was Sir Harold Alexander. They gave orders to Mark Clark, who was later the 5th Army Commander, and the division commander Major General Ryder. Boitnott did not fight together as a division until later. The first big battle was to cut the line to the port city where the Germans were gathering supplies. By the time Americans landed in Africa Hitler had taken all of France.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott did not know his operational situation other than he was to cut the lines to stop the Nazi troop supplies. They captured mostly Italian soldiers, not German soldiers. The lieutenant colonel was killed in the process but Boitnott does not know how because Boitnott was not in the general area. Colonel Doyle was killed right next to Boitnott while he was giving firing orders. The British taught the Americans how to mount their guns on the concrete so they would be stable. Every vehicle had a .50 caliber machinegun mounted on it because they were getting strafed and dive bombed by the Germans. The second night they were driven to an area and then had to walk farther across the highway to fight. Boitnott was fighting with Companies B and C at Sened Station. The personnel were constantly being lost to sickness and disease. Sened Station was a railway station where they cut off Hitler’s troops with Marshall Montgomery [Annotators Note: British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery]. He was having a hard time battling the Tiger tanks with bad weather in February. The aircraft could not fly because of weather conditions and the men could not leave the main roads. German mobility was greater than American mobility. The encounter at Sened Station was mostly Italians who were sitting behind their artillery. The riflemen and infantrymen captured the Italians. Boitnott was there to support the companies. Boitnott’s machinegun was set up on a creek bank. He found out about his targets through a phone but sometimes grenades would fly over to identify a target. Boitnott did not like to fire his machinegun at an unknown target to save ammunition. The ammunition was loaded one to three, one high explosive, one AP [Annotators Note: armor piercing], and one tracer. Boitnott supported the infantry. They did not fight as a division yet, only in battalions. They captured 45 to 50 and killed more. Boitnott could not count the number of people who were murdered.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott rested after Sened Station. The groups that were supposed to move toward the port did not make it and the men retreated back to Constantine, Algeria. They got more troops and enjoyed the warm springs in the area. They saw the historical and biblical sites in North Africa. Colonel Drake led the attack on Sened Station. Later they moved forward to Constantine and regrouped, then went in a task force under his [Annotators Note: Colonel Drake's] command. The road led through the Dorsal Mountains and was a mile wide versus the Atlas Mountains that lead to ports on the east side of Tunisia. The objective was the ports to cut the German troops off and isolate them so they could not be supported through Tunis. There were a lot of German forces in 1943 instead of Italian troops. Boitnott fought with the French for a couple of days and served as support. Colonel Drake had a problem at Faid Pass. The troops did not have enough ammunition or manpower and the German resistance was mobile. The German tanks alerted the troops long before Boitnott could see them. Every panzer had an automatic weapon with about 40 men surrounding each tank. Boitnott remembered losing a lot of men but does not remember exactly who was with him or what group he accompanied.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott and his squad ended up near Chimoy [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling] off the main road. One spearhead encircled Faid and troops went through Kasserine around Valentine’s Day [Annotators Note: 14 February 1943]. The 4th Armored Division lost four or five tanks and a lot of artillery. Boitnott only had three boxes of ammo left which was around 600 or 700 rounds. They had no food or water. [Annotators Note: Tape skips] The 133rd [Annotators Note: 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division] was in the front when the men began to retreat. Bointott pulled back about 20 miles. They burned everything as they retreated. Boitnott was not at Faid but he heard about the action from his friends. General Patton’s son in law [Annotators Note: General John K. Waters] was captured at that time. [Annotators Note: Interviewer stops the tape for Bointott to look at maps and other documents]. By this time they still had not fought as a division. The objective was to go to the east and cut off ports. Mobility was terrible and the supply line was long into the Tunisian area. Boitnott believes that fighting in separate companies and divisions affected the victories and losses and command changes were very frequent. The weather caused minimal to no support other than to foot soldiers. The mud caused tanks and heavy artillery to stay behind. The flame throwers the troops received were old. The Germans had bigger tanks and the soldiers did not have anything to defeat the tanks.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott fought in bad weather and only received support when the skies cleared. The Junkers would be knocking the air force out of the sky. The last big battle was spearheaded by the 133rd [Annotators Note: 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division]. They lost a lot of equipment and what they did not lose they burned so the Germans could not have it. Between February and May [Annotators Note: February and May 1943] they were getting man power from selective service in the United States. Sir Harold Alexander brought ground forces in Africa with new commanders. Omar Bradley took over for Patton in Algiers. The 45th [Annotators Note: 45th Infantry Division] from Oklahoma, the 46th [Annotators Note: actually, the 36th Infantry Division] from Texas, and the 82nd Airborne Division all came to North Africa. Boitnott took the Mateur Valley [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling] after heavy fighting. There were 250 troops in barbwire enclaves as prisoners that Boitnott had to guard and another part of the outfit had to help load landing craft for the amphibious invasion of Sicily [Annotators Note: the tape stops and begins again mid story]. Boitnott and his troops were being assisted by the French, Darby’s Rangers [Annotators Note: US 1st Ranger Battalion] and the British Command but the main thrust of Hill 609 was made by the 133rd. The move took about a week and cost a lot of casualties. Boitnott and the reserve took several weeks to clear the valley and they picked up three or four prisoners at a time during late April. They were turned over five or six times for replacements by the time it was over. The Air Force could not fly because of bad weather. Still, orders to move came around 18 February. Boitnott had two or three boxes [Annotators Note: of .30 caliber machinegun ammunition] left with eight men. He had to protect his own gun and position. Boitnott knew when the first elements were coming because the ground shook. The last thing Boitnott remembers is the commander saying they were going to withdraw and move back to reassemble.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott moved from Kasserine to Fondouk where he fought his first battle with his company. Within a couple of weeks they had a new commander named Butler in the 168th [Annotators Note: 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division]. The 133rd [Annotators Note: 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division] advanced before Boitnott and fought a night battle. This was the first time in the whole campaign that they all fought together as a unit. The battle took about five days. [Annotators Note: Boitnott gets his book to give to the interviewer and there is a pause while the interviewer reads over information]. The battleground was covered in debris and the roads were full of potholes. Quentin Reynolds covered the correspondence at the time and sent back typical propaganda from the war front. He falsified information to make the battle sound more exciting and the troops sound braver. Boitnott knew he falsified information and created his own stories by burning buildings because Boitnott was nearby and watched Reynolds do these things. All of this occurred before Ernie Pyle arrived from the New York Times. The only way to stop the German tanks was to knock a track off because they were buttoned up. If a track was knocked off then grenades could cause more damage. Boitnott met Patton after they had been in Constantine. It was typical desert weather when Patton pulled up and sent a letter to all commanders that all GIs had to wear their helmets and neckties. Patton went up to Boitnott and told him to go get his necktie and helmet on and Boitnott told him to go screw himself because it was over 100 degrees outside. Patton’s aid threatened him and Boitnott was scared straight. The uniform did not last too long because the soldiers rebelled due to the heat. The men had to take malaria pills and water pills.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott was at a bomber base in Algeria. There were no air bases in Tunisia because almost all of the bases were in Algeria. Men were usually stationed around the base but the supply lines got shorter. Boitnott ran out of supplies quickly until May because the lines were almost stopped. The British taught the Americans how to successfully fight the Germans with limited supplies with sandbags and windshields and trip wires to hit bumpers. The worst memories came from the heat, loss of food and running out of water. The Red Ball Express finally brought supplies but it was a three day trip. Boitnott knew how to carry supplies and threw his gas mask in the Mediterranean during his first amphibious landing. The men had to run back to the ration truck and collect their own rations when the weather was too hot or the fighting was too bad. Boitnott was in historical and biblical areas where famous battles had been fought. He did not go into Italy until September 1943. They never had massive amounts of equipment because of the terrain. They were losing too much manpower that it would have been a disadvantage. Boitnott loaded on an LST to go to Italy because of the heavy equipment and landed on the second day.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott loaded transports with over 250,000 prisoners. Some of the prisoners were kept in North Africa for labor, some were sent to the United States and some were sent to England. The 36th Infantry Division landed in Italy first down near Naples on both sides of Palermo. They thought they would have the docks in Naples but the Germans put armor on that side and pushed forward. Boitnott was supposed to go to shore at Naples but the 36th made the initial landing. Boitnott landed two days later with a British unit. Montgomery [Annotators Note: British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery] went into Sicily with Patton and moved upwards until the Italians surrendered. Mussolini tried to escape with his mistress in the northern area. Some Germans shot the Italians but the rest of the war included real Germans. Part of the way through the fighting in Italy the Americans landed in Northern France. The 1st and 9th [Annotators Note: 1st and 9th Infantry Divisions] were taken to England. The 1st Armored Division stayed with Boitnott and the 85th, 88th, and 92nd Divisions [Annotators Note: 85th, 88th, and 92nd Infantry Divisions] came into Italy. The 100th Infantry Battalion of Hawaiians and Japanese was sent to Southern France under General Patch. They took the 45th [Annotators Note: 45th Infantry Division] from Sicily and brought them to Italy. The troops had Hitler surrounded in Italy and France and Stalin had the Eastern Front. The day before the Normandy invasion was the day that Boitnott took Rome. They moved through Rome and moved forward to the big ports and that is where Boitnott’s outfit captured the Big Bertha rail gun. The 133rd [Annotators Note: 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division] captured the rail gun and captured a port above Rome. Boitnott left the 34th Division and was placed in a composite group in Naples then moved to the 99th Bomb Group. Then the war ended. When Boitnott came back to the United States he was given 120 days to decide if he wanted to stay in the military or leave. Boitnott did not want to fight anymore but he did not make a decision until after the 120 days. He did not return to the United States until the middle of June [Annotators Note: June 1945]. Boitnott was a K9 in the Korean War and he was in fueling. He would refuel the jets and then make lunches for the pilots. Boitnott was given NCO of the month.

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Monty Joe Boitnott was on tour [Annotators Note: on an overseas tour of duty] for 16 months. The only member of Boitnott’s family who wrote to him religiously while he was away was his niece. Boitnott spent some leisure time dancing with a friend of his down at the casino. He was set up in a dairy farm barn in Anzio. A German on patrol would ride a bike down the canal path with a radio on his back and would signal through the radio. Boitnott called direct fire at him and killed three or four over a ten day period. The man was radioing positions for machinegun artillery. Boitnott was moved from the dairy farm to an old viaduct where he had to cover a road junction between Salerno, Anzio, and Nettuno. Boitnott had to lay a burst of 40 to 50 rounds of indirect fire on troops passing through. He did this until they pushed off Anzio. The American divisions split after Rome and the engineers left torpedoes on the roads behind them. The Americans had the left and right flanks of Rome. They declared martial law but missed two German Field Marshalls who left in a hurry. Boitnott did not see any more Germans until they got about 15 to 20 miles south of Florence, near Pisa. The Americans cleared the port town near Civitavecchia. Then they moved up the peninsula. The Battle at Monte Cassino left the fields and lands completely bare. Boitnott’s outfit had the old Italian barracks. The Germans flooded the Rapido River and the 36th [Annotators Note: 36th Infantry Division] could not make it through so they called Boitnott’s outfit. Since the area was flooded there were no large vehicles or heavy artillery. The 133rd [Annotators Note: 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division] took over the town below the Abbey. Boitnott was on the right flank. The Americans were pulled back and they bombed the Abbey for about two days. The stone houses and walls were destroyed. The 133rd was fighting house to house and the men were pulled back over 1000 yards when the bombing began. The whole Cassino area was left with nothing but rocks.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott was wounded when he was bringing supplies on a mule and a mortar shell hit the path. The mule went over the side and Boitnott was hit in his shoulder. He was bleeding on his entire side and felt like someone had branded him. He felt like there were little specks all over his body. Boitnott did not receive any medical help until four or five hours later and then the medical team just poured a packet of sulfonate on him. All of the equipment was recovered later but the mule was dead. Boitnott did not get to the hospital which was in an old school. Ernie Pyle was at the school over the Rapido River. Boitnott was back there after the second day. The mule took the brunt of the impact. Boitnott had a chance to be a platoon lieutenant but he just wanted to stay a squad leader so he could control no more than six or seven men. Different men in Boitnott’s outfit got promotions when Boitnott denied his. Dominic and Thatcher got promotions after Italy and Dominic started out in Boitnott’s squad. Thatcher was Boitnott's platoon sergeant for the machinegun squads and later had two machinegun squads and a mortar squad. [Annotators Note: Interviewer changes the subject asking if the war has changed Boitnott]. Boitnott told people that his job was to kill people during the war. The sound of trains passing sounded like artillery fire. Boitnott knows he killed a lot of people but he thinks that people should be able to turn their feelings off because they cannot carry the weight forever.

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Monty Joe Boitnott would like to be thought of as being in the largest and bloodiest war and they won. However, Boitnott still is upset about when Roosevelt signed a pact with Stalin. Roosevelt sent supplies to Britain in the late 1930s and Boitnott and soldiers with him knew they were going to Ireland after being at Fort Dix. Boitnott became a Republican after Roosevelt signed a contract with a dictator. [Annotators Note: Boitnott talks about modern politics and modern warfare for a bit]. Boitnott believes the Americans were dragged into the European war. The Germans did not bomb Pearl Harbor so the Pacific Coast should have been the larger priority. Boitnott was in Italy when he found out the Germans surrendered. His commanding officer, who was later Chief of the Air Force, allowed men to fly in the B-17s and take pictures of the devastation. Boitnott notes that Americans today would not condone the civilian massacres by bombings like Americans did during the war. Dropping napalm and fire bombs caused cities to be wiped out. The guns used in modern wars are .50 caliber sniper rifles that Boitnott said were not allowed in the war. The amount of equipment carried now is much heavier than what Boitnott carried. Boitnott carried one canteen in Africa. Men would bring bottles of booze back from Cairo for the men to drink. Boitnott stuck with his beer. [Annotators Note: The tape stops and starts again] Boitnott got a Thompson submachine gun off a dead man and he carried four or five grenades with him at a time. The trailer on the truck Boitnott rode in had two or three Thompsons, a German Schmeisser [Annotators Note: the German MP38 and MP40 submachine guns were referred to as Schmeissers], and a British Tommy gun [Annotators Note: Boitnott is likely referring to the British Sten submachine gun].

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Monty Joe Boitnott never got the Garand rifle in his outfit. The first things they got did not even have a bayonet but the riflemen had them. Boitnott just had a regular automatic pistol. If Boitnott had to go back he would not do it again because the factories in America were great at producing ammunition and planes and made great money but Boitnott only made about 100 dollars a month while he was getting shot at. Boitnott lost personal hygiene and it took a toll on his health. He wore the same uniform for months. Boitnott had a cot to sleep on every night in the Army Air Corps but he never had a shelter half and would tuck his rain coat into his back belt for protection. He would lie on the ground or next to a garbage pit in case of an air raid. They would dive into anything from latrines to garbage pits. At the time, Boitnott saw North Africa as a success when he saw all of the prisoners that were captured. The prisoners were in barbed wire enclosures and the Americans would drive a truck and throw rations over the top. On VE Day they had bulldozers come in and make a great big hole where they set all of the German and Italian weapons on fire. The engineers set the aircraft on fire but kept some planes to study. Boitnott and the men had events with food and dancing girls until they were moved back. When Boitnott was told to move back and retreat he was never sure about the outcome. The commanders kept changing so Boitnott was confused about how all these different commanders were able to keep control. Boitnott did not fight as a unit until Italy. The Americans had to sweep the road around Sened Station and many men died because the Germans lined the roads with mines. The first aircraft Boitnott saw that was American was a P-38 with British Spitfires and Seafires that came off the carrier. The German tank was knocked out by the Air Force but Boitnott was not sure what their main target was.

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Monty Joe Boitnott thought the strategy was ill advised at Kasserine Pass because they knew the enemy was coming. They should not have done it in length but in depth [Annotators Note: he is referring to their defensive positions]. The 80 tanks were coming down the road and could not come down the mountain. Boitnott had two or three boxes of ammo because they had not gotten supplied from Faid which they were also backing up. Their commanding officer was named Captain Hoffman. The Americans were spreading mines but Boitnott did not think it was enough. His firing pattern was supposed to cover 200 yards. The advance element was tanks with 50 Germans riding on each one and halftrack motorcycles with 15 to 20 people on each one. When he got his orders the left flank was already withdrawing and the Germans were already through the pass with the mines going off. If anyone lay on the ground they would be able to hear the tanks coming because the engines were rattling the ground. They had more than 12 hours advance notice with information on the Germans coming. Boitnott never saw any elements of the 34th [Annotators Note: 34th Infantry Division] being captured. He only saw the 133rd [Annotators Note: 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division] retreating which was when Boitnott withdrew and reassembled. [Annotators Note: Interviewer discusses what will happen after the interview]. Boitnott thinks it is extremely important that World War 2 is taught in schools because it changed geography forever. Boitnott does not understand the Franco War in Spain [Annotators Note: the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939] where Hitler helped defeat the Rebels but then the leader disappeared into Switzerland. The Americans had shipping and ports controlled and when North Africa was quelled Montgomery was in Tunis. The Americans were outnumbered by the Germans but Boitnott was unsure how many British troops were in North Africa. Most of the men are older than Boitnott now. Most members that still come to the reunions are now wives of the deceased. Of the original group from Des Moines there is almost no one left. Boitnott’s best friend who was captured is now dead. Boitnott believes in about five or six years there will not be anymore veterans left.

Annotation

Monty Joe Boitnott killed groups of men that were mostly Italian with his machinegun at Sened. He also killed Frenchmen at the kasbah. They ran about 250 rounds in one case and the people he saw die fell like columns because of the amount of firepower. Boitnott had 15 killed or wounded and captured four or five all by surprise. Boitnott’s position was known up at Anzio and he had a 75mm on a track inside a shed nearby. When Boitnott was shot at the men with the 75mm supported him. The torpedo impact felt like an earthquake. Boitnott felt like the men would be overrun at Kasserine. They had minutes to go to their first withdrawal area on verbal command. Boitnott knew men that were captured including Colonel Drake but Boitnott was near a watering hole at the time. They went through a few lieutenant colonels in the first six months in Africa and Boitnott believes some were overeager. One was hit in the air and another hit by a sniper. Boitnott thought he was going to be a prisoner because of all of the equipment. The pivotal point was Carawan [Annotators Note: unsure of spelling] because all of the roads led to the train station. Boitnott had elements of the 34th Infantry Division nearby and a battalion of artillery up the hill. They had to withdraw when German troops came instead of Italian troops. The Air Force killed large numbers of troops when the German planes were shot down. Boitnott did not know about Qatar until after it was over and the Americans had captured large numbers of Italians. The Italians were chained to the artillery lines so the gun position did not change. Boitnott had spoken about his experience to the British and they screwed up his personal facts. [Annotators Note: Camera pans to an old photograph hanging in Boitnott’s home.]
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