Podany, Frank S. (636th)

Frank S. Podany 5Frank S. Podany

Biography:  Frank Steven Podany was born on April 4, 1916, in Clarkson, Nebraska. He was the son of Frank J. Podany and Louise M. Marsoun and attended Staton County Country School through the grammar level. He then worked in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). His enlistment record indicates he also had experience as a farm hand.

Service Time: Frank entered the service on February 25, 1942, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After his basic training, he was assigned to the Reconnaissance Company of the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion and functioned as a mechanic. During his training on January 27, 1943, he qualified as an Expert with the machine gun.

The unit trained at a number of military facilities including Camp Blanding, St. Augustine, Florida and Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. The 636th was stationed there from October 1942 to February 1943. From Camp Edwards, the unit traveled to the A.P. Hill Military Reservation in Virginia and then moved to the New York port where they would ship out on April 2, 1943.



They arrived at Oran, Algeria, on April 13, 1943. They boarded ships again and landed at Paestum, Italy, beginning on September 13th. Elements performed artillery missions, guarded the Fifth Army Command Post, and trained British troops on the M10 Tank Destroyer and TD doctrine in October and November.

Frank-S.-Podany-1.pngThe 636th reentered the line at the Mignano sector in late November, supporting the assault on San Pietro and later the Rapido River crossing in January, 1944. They entered the Cassino sector in February and then transferred to the Anzio beachhead in May, entering Rome on June 4th.

The photo on left shows Frank in his coveralls and in the middle of Camp, probably taken while still in the U.S., during training. The right photo may have been taken overseas. He’s working on an M3 half-track.

The 636th boarded ships again and landed in Southern France on August 15th and were the first unit to enter Lyon and reach the Moselle River in September. Engaged in the Vosges Mountain region beginning in October, they relieved the 601st TD Bn in Strasbourg in December. They battled the German Northwind offensive in January and February, 1945, before converting to M36 Tank Destroyers, beginning in late February.

During their last actions, they struck Siegfried Line defenses near Wissembourg in late March and crossed the Rhine with the 14th Armored Division in April. The 636th finally dashed toward Nürnberg and ended the war in southern Bavaria near Tegernsee. Frank received credit for the campaigns of Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland and Central Europe.

Frank shipped back to the U.S. on November 16th, arriving on the 27th. He left the service on December 3rd, at Fort Leavenworth. He held the rank of Technician 5th Grade.

Frank S. Podany 6Frank returned to Clarkson and took up farming as his occupation. On May 4, 1948, he married the former Josephine A. Dolezal who was born in Clarkson and was the daugther of Albert Dolezal and Anna Hanzl. The new couple would remain in Clarkson and have three children, Darrell, in 1949, Frank in 1957 and Beverly in 1961.

In his spare time, Frank played drums in a polka band. He also gardened and played cards. He was a member of the VFW and the St. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church. Frank passed away on February 11, 2000, and was buried in the Clarkson Catholic Cemetery in Clarkson, NE.

I want to thank Frank’s granddaughter, Marie, for providing the photos and information used in this tribute.



Frank S. Podany 4