2LT Edward Brodowski
8th Armored Division - Company A, 80th Tank Battalion
KIA 31 March, 1945
Buried at Margraten, Netherlands
The Father of Bruce Brodowski
-- Bruce Brodowski --
Why daddy did you not come home?
The Second Platoon accomplished its mission of taking Kirchhellen. The Third Platoon with Ed Brodowski relieved the Second Platoon at 1700 and took up defensive positions in
the town. Kemp could hear the gun fire and knew it was ours by the sound of the guns. Kemp left the basement of a farmhouse and down the column to Brodowski’s tank. Brodowski
looked down and yelled "Kemp, you're suppose to be dead. You better go tell Capt. Peterson." Kemp went to Peterson's tank and when Peterson saw him, he said "Kemp you're supposed
to be dead." They then went back to the basement of the farm house to get the rest of the wounded men.
On Thursday March 29th at 0630 the Third Platoon with Ed Brodowski moved out of Kirchhellen with Company "B" of the 58th, and moved to Zweckel, a distance of 9 miles without
meeting any stiff resistance.
Also, the First Platoon and Company "C" moved out of their positions at 0600 outside of Overhagen, proceeded through Zweckel and engaged the enemy on the outskirts at approximately
1430. At this time, tanks of the third Platoon went out on reconnaissance in an attempt to find an easier route of advance. They were forced to abandon the mission after being
subjected to heavy direct fire for a considerable length of time because of heavy enemy concentrations in that area. The column retreated to a defilade position in the town for the
night. The German 180th Volks Grenadier Division and the 116th Panzer Division withdrew to set up new defensive lines running through the fortress town of Rocklinghausen.
There was a Panzer Tiger out there and we knew it. It was down the road blocking our forward progress. Kemp was supposed to drive lead tank for Lieutenant Kaz, even though his tank
was destroyed on March 28th. Capt. Peterson gave the order to Lt. Kaz to send a lead tank and the second platoon out against the enemy. Lt. Kaz. told Capt. Peterson that he did not
want to go head on against 2 AT (anti-tank) guns and a reinforced Panzer Grenedier Regt. He told Peterson that it was suicide. It was then that Capt Peterson decided that Ed Brodowski
would lead off. On that 29th of March, Peterson gave command of the Second Platoon to Sgt. Brodowski. S/Sgt. Edward Brodowski was moved over from the Third Platoon.
It was Friday March 30. Around 1600 on that Good Friday, Brodowski's platoon was moved up to support an Infantry company. It was thought that the enemy had a defense in that area
and an attack was made to break through it. Brodowski lead the attack on an area of houses and was met by a barrage of direct and indirect fire from enemy positions. It was a suicide
mission. Lt. Kaz knew it and we knew it. Ed delivered a withering fire at the Grenadier ground troops surrounding the "Tiger." As the attack neared the town a camouflaged German tank
hit the right track of his tank and disabled it. Brodowski gave the orders for his tank drivers to abandon the tank. Then he slipped down into the gunner's seat with McStay as his
ammo loader. He knew there was no way that his 76mm could match up against the superior armor and firepower (88mm) of the "Tiger." He could have bailed out to come back another day.
He could have saved his butt in hopes of returning to his wife and unborn child, BUT that Hard Headed Pollock, Ed Brodowski was not going to back down against any damn Kraut. There
was a chance that he might get lucky and do some damage. Picking out the place from where the German tank had fired, he directed three rounds from his tank gun at the German tank
before his tank was hit again. This time in the turret on his side. S/Sgt. Brodowski, Tank Commander, was instantly killed doing what he was trained to do. To fight for freedom.
There was a news story published in the Miami Herald on February 4, 1985 that reads as follows:
THE SON HE NEVER KNEW
Published in Miami Herald
February 4, 1985
Somewhere in Germany in 1945, close to the end of the war, a tank is hit, a soldier dies. His pregnant wife awaits his safe return in New York State only to receive the dreaded
telegram - killed in action.
Several weeks later his son is born, the son he never knew.
It never seemed unusual to me that Dad wasn't there. Mom never remarried and I guess she told me early in life that Dad was buried in Holland.
When I was old enough to understand, Mom sat me down and showed me Dad's picture, his belongings that were returned, the silver star and purple heart. Somehow, now, these don't seem
to be an adequate substitute for a Dad.
I often wonder what we would have done together. He liked deer hunting, as attested by the mounted deer head hanging in his mother's dining room. Ah, those weekend hunting and fishing
Just me and Dad. Or maybe we would have thrown a baseball around in the summer; or a football; or played basketball or tennis. Yeah, tennis! I remember his old wooden tennis racket
gathering dust in the attic. He would have taught me tennis and we would have played together. Just me and Dad.
Someday a man will be standing in front of a grave in Holland with a flower in his hand, a lump in his throat, and a tear in his eye. And it will be just me and Dad. The dad I never
knew. And the flower will be left behind by the son he never knew.
Love you, Daddy