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Lafayette G. Pool
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'M4A1 Sherman 76, 3rd Arm. Div, 33rd Arm. Rgt., Belgium, September 1944'
camouflage by Ayy_Lmao | download here

Lafayette G. Pool was born on July 23rd, 1919, in Texas, USA. He joined the army as a tanker, and was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division which was fighting in France at the time. This deployment, however, only lasted from June to September of 1944 (83 days), and Pool and his crew lost 3 Sherman tanks during that time, each of them named “IN THE MOOD”, numbered I, II and III. However, they made up for it by having destroyed over 250 tanks, SPGs, and armoured vehicles, and amongst them at least 12 Tiger Is and Panthers.

Pool and his crew faced a total of 21 full-scale engagements, often forming the spearhead of the attack due to their skill, as well as because of Pool’s insistence to be sent to the front lines. This, however, quickly resulted in their first lost tank. “IN THE MOOD I”, it was destroyed by a Panzerfaust rocket, number II was hit by friendly fire from a P-38, rendering it useless. Their third destroyed tank would prove to be their final combat mission. In one of Pool’s memoirs, he vividly writes about his memories of that incident, on the 15th of September.

While trying to enforce the Siegfried Line, they were ambushed by a German Panther, superior in firepower and armour to their Sherman. The Panther’s first shot clearly penetrated the Sherman’s armour, hitting the ammo rack. Without time to properly aim, their own shot ricocheted off the Panther’s frontal armour. Pool recalled shouting: “Back it up, Baby!” (‘Baby’ being the nickname of his driver) before losing consciousness.

It was later discovered that the Panther had fired a second shot, destroying the ammo rack and sending the crew hurtling out of the tank. Amazingly, they all survived. Two of them, however, Pool included, had to have a leg amputated, which ended their fighting career.

Pool received many medals for his service to the army, including Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart. He also received the Belgian Fourragère and the French Légion d'honneur. Interestingly, he did not receive the Medal of Honor, which the Army Board classified as an “Infantry award”, because it would not be fair on the crew (even though they didn’t mind).

His life after the military was rather dull. He changed several jobs in a few years, until returning to the 3rd Armored Division to serve as an instructor for recruits. After that, he completed a business college, before finally deciding to take up preaching as a profession.

Whatever his career choices may have been later in his life, it is undeniable that Pool was one of the best tankers of WWII.

Author: Sergej “NuclearFoot” Hrustic
Pictures courtesy of www.3ad.com

With an upcoming Update, we will inculde the 'In the Mood' decal to War Thunder, which was painted on Pool's tank.

Decal created by Branislav 'InkaL' Mirkov

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