"Button Up" Phillips

      Phillips was the radio operator for lt. Burns and, as such, was seated in the right front seat of the M-8. This position is entered by first ascending the front section, usually by grabbing the barrel of the 37 mm gun and lifting oneself up. He then lets himself down into his respective position. The driver also gets into his place in the same manner.

        When enemy fire is encountered, or even suspected, these two frontal positions are secured by" closing the hatch". The top cover ( which is ¼" thick) has a U-bolt handle and is closed by grabbing this handle and pulling it down over the head. It is hinged and swings outward when the hatch is open. The front portion of the hatch cover is one - inch thick and contains a very thick periscope in the center. It is hinged and swings forward when not in use. Closing this is by means of a round rod welded to it, and using the rod to leverage it into position. The driver and radio operator then observe through the periscope.

         Phillips was a guy who very quickly earned the nickname of "Button - Up Phillips". If ever a German soldier was suspected of being in the vicinity, Phillips was to be found "buttoned up".

         As was quite frequently the case when we captured a town,( this occurred often as we were ahead of the infantry) our orders were to search each home and building, and bring in all prisoners. Our interpreter, Charlie Staudinger was born in Stuttgart, Germany and was fluent in German and would talk to the Germans we captured.

        Well, this particular day, we brought in several prisoners ---- even "button-up" came down the street with one. The German then began talking to Charlie and later Charlie told us what the German had said. The German had been sleeping on some hay in a barn. Phillips had opened the door, saw the German sleeping and prodded him awake with his rifle. The German, as a natural response of being awakened so quickly, immediately grabbed his rifle lying beside him. This so startled Phillips that he threw his gun onto the hay and shouted "don't shoot". The German then laid down his rifle and said (in German)" for me the war is over" we saw them coming down the street, German in front, Phillips behind, holding his rifle as if having made a" big capture".

----- Mason ( Mickey ) Hardin Dorsey


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