World War II Veteran
Lieutenant Robert Winford Smitherman
Dad, a PFC and Robert, a 1st Lt, showed up as replacement soldiers at
the same time during the push-off from Anzio near a small town called
Artena about 30 miles south of Rome Italy. This was the 28th of May
1944. They were assigned to Company G, 2nd Bat, 7th Infantry Regiment,
3rd Infantry Division. They fought from here to the outskirts of Rome
and arrived in Rome on the 5th of June as part of the liberation of
that city. The Italian people went wild with celebration and it must
have been an unbelievable experience to be part of it.
a couple of weeks the 3rd was pulled out of Rome and readied for the
invasion of Southern France. They hit the beaches on 15 August under
fire. Their landing craft hit a mine and out of about 30 men on board
everybody was instantly killed except Dad, Robert and one other
soldier. They made it ashore and for several days there was just them
from their squad. I think the rest of the squad also hit a separate
mine. There were three landing craft destroyed all together. It was
just them until more replacements became available.
fought as part of the 7th of the 3rd northward across France
participating in numerous fights. Dad was made a squad sergeant and
Robert was the platoon Lt. They witnessed the big massacre at
Montellimar and fought through the city of Besancon in early September.
They then fought together through the Vosges Mountains in Lorraine,
France during late September and October. Dad earned a silver star
there near a small town called Vagney under Robert's command.
was wounded in late October. When he came back to the unit in December
he reported to Robert again. Dad was wounded again in January but only
minor. Fighting continued as part of the big battle of the Colmar
pocket. It was a German defensive position on the west side of the
Rhine. The Germans defended it fanatically until February. From what
I've read the fighting at the end was just crazy. I think everybody
just about went nuts.
Robert was killed on 25 January 1945
by a boobytrap. It had been concealed on a fence gate. Robert open the
gate and was killed instantly. It was just after he told the platoon to
be careful of boobytraps. He died at my father's feet with a huge hole
in his chest. Never knew what hit him. My Dad is still upset about it.
I found a picture of Robert recently and sent it to Dad to confirm. It
- Stephen Jacobs
IF YOU HAVE ANYMORE INFORMATION ABOUT ROBERT W SMITHERMAN OR HIS
FAMILY, PLEASE EMAIL ME SO I CAN FORWARD THE INFORMATION TO STEPHEN