Haschke, Albert T. (692nd)

Albert T. Haschke 1Albert T. Haschke

Biography: Albert Thomas Haschke was born on January 22, 1908, in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska. He was a twin to Adolph and one of twelve boys and four girls born to Francis “Frank” Haschke and Wilhelmina Poeffel. His parents were both in Austria before immigrating to the United States. Adolph attended St. Anthony’s Catholic School through the grammar level before leaving to help on the family farm

Albert and his brother later worked on the Kleve ranch. Albert later moved to Arizona, working as a churn drill operator for the Phelps Dodge Corporation who were in the copper mining business.

Service Time: Albert’s brother Adolph had already served in the military and was recalled to service on January 7, 1942. Albert decided to enlist and was inducted on April 4th. 

Twins Deployment Article

Albert was sent to Camp Hood, Texas and received training in the tank destroyers, eventually being assigned to Company B of the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, which was the same unit that his brother Adolph was serving in. The 692nd trained within the U.S. at a number of military facilities including Camp Gordon, Georgia, where the unit had been activated and then Camps Bowie and Hood, in Texas, followed by Camp Phillips in Kansas.

Adolph A. Haschke 2Albert and Adolph Haschke 1


In the photo at left, Albert is on the left. In the photo on the right, Albert is also on the left.

Albert would serve as a driver on a Tank Derstoyer crew. The unit participated in maneuvers in Tennessee before going to Camp Campbell, Kentucky, and then Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, for final preparations before shipping overseas. They were initially designated as a self-propelled battalion, but in March of 1944, they converted to a towed battalion, utilizing 3″ anti-tank guns.

Albert T. Haschke 4The 692nd shipped out from the New York port on September 12th, 1944, aboard the HMS Scythia, and arrived in England on the 22nd. The next day they departed for France, arriving at Cherbourg on the 23rd, but didn’t disembark until the 25th. They entered the line near Wustwezel, Belgium, about October 28th and fought along the Siegfried Line, in the vicinity of Stolberg, beginning in November.

They occupied defensive positions along the Roer River during the Battle of the Bulge and converted to the M36 tank destroyer in February, 1945. The 692nd supported the drive from the Roer to the Rhine River in late February and early March, and helped capture Cologne, Germany. The following information was collected from interviews with both Jack Myers, who was the TD’s gunner and Robert “Bob” Link, who was the unit’s assistant driver. Portions from each interview have been used to provide a more complete account of the incident.

It was on March 3rd that they received orders to take a position on the outskirts of the city in the event that they would need to defend it from possible counterattacks. The TD Commander, William J. Busby, directed his men to move into the back yard of a German family but there were tree branches in their new position that hindered full movement of the turret and the barrel of the main gun. Albert and Bob quickly moved to exit the unit and cut the branches but Albert was wearing a souvenir Russian pistol, which got caught on the hatch opening. Albert called out and said he was “hooked up and can’t get out” so Bob crawled back in and pulled the pistol out, freeing him. As Albert exited the TD and may have begun trimming the tree, a terrible artillery barrage began with a shell hitting near the TD. This caused shrapnel to hit the top of the TD and a fragment to pierce Albert’s helmet, seriously wounding him. The Commander and Jack immediately jumped off the TD and pulled Albert to cover but sadly, Technician 5th Grade Albert T. Haschke, later died of his wounds.

Albert T. Haschke 2Albert was temporarily buried in the cemetery at Henri-Chapelle in Belgium but was later brought home, in November of 1947, and buried in the St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Cedar Rapids, Nebraska. The 692nd continued on to Munich by the end of the month and received credit for the campaigns of Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Although Albert was no longer with the unit, he would have received credit for his participation in both the Rhineland and Ardennes campaigns. He would also have received the Purple Heart posthumously.

Killed In Action – Article

Memorial Announcement

I want to thank Albert’s great-nephew, Allen, for providing the information and photos for this tribute. I also want to thank Albert’s niece, Margaret, for her help with information and photos. Thank you to Find A Grave contributor Shelley Towey for the use of the grave marker photo and special thanks to Albert’s crewmates, Jack Myers and Bob Link, for their input on the tribute.

Albert T. Haschke 3In addition to Albert and Adolph, four other brothers were serving in the military, Richard was in a bombing squadron, Gilbert was an air radioman, Eddie was in the artillery and Frank Jr. was in the Navy.

Six Brothers in Miltary Service