Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), 351st Infantry Regiment
Capturing 3 Nazi Strongpoints Wins DSC For Lt. J. T. Lamb, of Knoxville
Staking American courage and ingenuity against advantages in numbers, weapons and positions held by the Germans, First Lt. John Thomas Lamb, Infantry, of 1813 Lilly Avenue, accomplished a mission for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism, the Army announced today.
The action for which Lieutenant Lamb received the DSC occurred more than a year ago in Italy, the Lieutenant, husband of Mrs. Paralee D. Lamb, is a native of Loudon but was reared by Mr. and Mrs. E. S. Brown, with whom his wife lives at the Lilly Avenue address, since the death of his parents.
Lieutenant Lamb also holds the Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster, and has been awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge for exemplary conduct in action against the enemy between his embarkation in December, 1943, and return to the states the following September.
The 29-year-old Infantry officer rose from the ranks through Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga., and became a rifle platoon leader in the 88th Infantry Division. He served in that position until twice wounded, resulting in his relief from action.
Lieutenant Lamb was graduated from Knoxville High School, attended the University of Tennessee for a year and was later graduated at the University of Georgia, where he studied forestry. Prior to entering the Army, he was employed in forestry work at Natchez Trace State Park in West Tennessee.
Lieutenant Lamb told how he won the Distinguished Service Cross, one of America's highest military awards:
"Near Tufa, Italy, on March 30, 1944, our company's advance was held up by a concentration of fire from three fortified stone houses which the Krauts had converted into strongpoints. Besides machine guns, the Jerries were using rifles, machine pistols and mortars. They held the houses in considerable numerical strength. But those houses had to be knocked out.
"I volunteered to take out a patrol in an effort to accomplish that mission. The job looked mighty rough but I had no trouble getting volunteers to accompany me.
"It was a small patrol--only five men. For fire power, we had a Browning automatic rifle, a Tommy gun, the M1 rifles and my carbine. All of us carried as many hand grenades as we could handle without slowing us up.
"We had to move cautiously until we got close enough to the first house to charge it. I ordered the BAR man and the riflemen to cover me, took the Tommy gunner with me, and, dashing around a corner of the house, kicked open a door and took the German machine gun crew by surprise. We killed them off.
"A grenade chucked through a rear window of the second house caused the Krauts enough confusion to enable us to take care of that strongpoint with rapid fire and a couple of more grenades.
"We moved on, then to the third house, and by this time there was no surprise possible, so it was a matter of outshooting the Germans.
"We wrecked all three positions, killed at least a dozen Germans, and took a number of prisoners. As a result of the elimination of those three strongpoints the company was able to continue its advance and we captured the town of Tufa."
Killed Five More Nazis
Lieutenant Lamb added:
"The capture of Tufa came later, however. Our troubles hadn't ended with the reduction of three fortified positions. The patrol was trapped in the enemy lines and the action brought Krauts converging o us from all directions. A hot fight took place before we were able to detach ourselves from the enemy, but, thanks to the coolness and good marksmanship of my men we were able to shoot our way out of a situation that was by all odds the toughest I ever experienced."
In the action at Tufa, Lieutenant Lamb estimated that he killed at least 10 Germans. In other engagement he slew five other Nazi soldiers who he regards as "certainties" as well as a number of "possibilities."
Both times the lieutenant was wounded he was hit while leading his platoon of riflemen in attacks. The first time he was injured by a German machine gun bullet, he was put out of action only briefly. The second time, a mortar shell fragment caused a more serious wound.
Lieutenant Lamb has been assigned to the Army ground forces "Here's Your Infantry" demonstration unit, which will tour the nation in support of the Seventh War Loan drive.
"Capturing 3 Nazi Strongpoints Wins DSC For Lt. J. T. Lamb, of Knoxville." The Knoxville Journal (Knoxville, Tennessee), May 11, 1945, p 1. Downloaded from Newspapers.com.