Transcribed from a newspaper clipping found with the effects of Joseph Pansarasa's sister, Louise Pansarasa
A news dispatch to The Journal this week from the headquarters of the Fifth Army in Italy, tells how PFC Joseph Pansarasa, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Pansarast of Center street, together with seven other Third Division infantrymen, recently withstood a 24-hour attack on the Allied Fifth Army's Anzio-Nettuno beachhead by two German tanks and fifty enemy infantrymen and repelled them with heavy casualties.
Private Pansarasa was one of the five Americans who survived the battle without being wounded. Their Browning automatic rifleman was killed after he had killed fifteen of the enemy. The other two defenders were wounded.
German and American forces had vied on even terms for several days for possession of House 5- as it is called on military maps- in the Third Division sector of the beachhead. Then the Americans had captured it long enough to fortify the place Booby traps ere wired in the north side of the house. The other side held for an outpost, was defended by the local soldier and his comrades.
One night fifty German infantrymen and two tanks advanced against House 5. The tanks closed in first and opened fire on the first floor. As the first projectile from a tank gun ripped through the house downstairs, the the Fifth Army infantrymen placed themselves at upstairs windows and laid a defensive fire on the attackers.
A hail of German bullets constantly hammered at every opening into the house. One American, armed with a carbine, returned the fire by use of the forward observer method. That is, he lay on the floor and held his carbine up on the sill of a window, correcting his aim according to observations made, from another point, by one of his comrades.
Under a thunderous barrage from the tank guns, the German infantry advanced into the house and fought their way into the house and fought their way to a point half-way up the stairs to the besieged second-story fortress. There their advance was checked by a volley of hand grenades tossed smack into their faces from the head of the stairway.
The German tanks, evidently deterred from leaving by nearby anti-tank and artillery emplacements, couldn't adjust their annihilating fire on the second story of the house from such close range because they couldn't elevate their guns enough.
The fight continued all that night and throughout the following day, the Americans pouring lead through second-story windows at the Germans outside and holding off those who had come indoors with grenades tossed downstairs. When nightfall came again, the tanks and about ten German infantrymen- all of the enemy left alive- retreated.
Besides Private Pansarasa, four other defenders came out of the battle uninjured. They are Private First Class Elvin E. Myatt of York, South Carolina, who assumed command during the siege of House 5; PFC Milford L. Reed of Voere, Ind., second in command for the defense; PFC Charley R. Humphreys of Wallings, Tenn.; and Private Glenn P. Clingan of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Lieut. Colonel John C. Toffey of the Third Division, who promised Myatt, the leader of the group, that he would soon be "wearing more stripes" as a result of his part of the action, investigated and verified the facts of the battle.
On Monday afternoon the parents of PFC Pansarasa were advised by a telegram from the war department that the young soldier is reported missing in action in the Italian war area, and the family is anxiously awaiting further word that he has either returned to duty with his unit or definitely reported as a prisoner of war.