THE DAY OF THE PANZER
A Story of American Heroism
and Sacrifice in Southern France
Jeff Danby
About the Author:
Jeff Danby was born in 1963 in Pontiac, Michigan.  As the son of a high school
history teacher, Jeff grew up in a house full of books—which he read voraciously.  
He went on to get a B.A. Degree in History (with Honors) from DePaul University
with a concentration in 20th Century America.  He also attended DePaul’s School of
Law for one year before leaving in good standing.  While at DePaul, Jeff was an
illustrator and cartoonist for the school newspaper,
The DePaulia.  

After college, Jeff honed his investigative and analytical skills as a health and life
underwriter for eight years at various insurance companies. After marrying and
starting a family, Jeff became a stay-at-home father and a freelance artist creating
commissioned portraits and greeting cards.  His portrait of Abraham Lincoln won
“Best in Show” in a 1995 Springfield, Illinois area-wide art show.  His works have
also appeared on Upper Deck Hockey cards.           

In August 2000, Jeff set out to uncover and preserve a few details of the war service
of his late grandfather, 1st Lt. Edgar R. Danby.  Through the website for the Society
of the Third Infantry Division, Jeff was put in touch with Dave Redle, his grandfather’
s wartime captain and the former commander to B Company of the 756th Tank
Battalion.  Redle told Jeff about a hard-fought battle involving L Company of the 15th
Infantry Regiment and his grandfather’s tanks at the town of Allan in southern France
on August 27th, 1944.  Intrigued, Jeff contacted Michel Seigle, a citizen of Allan.  
Michel helped Jeff find local documents and living eyewitnesses to the battle.  The
framework to a fascinating small unit action emerged and Jeff began seeking additional
documents, witnesses and participants.    

In August 2001, Jeff and his father, Russ, were invited to visit Allan France.  While
there, the town held a reception in their honor and Jeff was able to walk the battlefield
and interview several other witnesses—including the wartime mayor of Allan, Georges
Almoric.     

Over the next three years, Jeff fully immersed himself into this research, making visits
to the Armor School Library at Fort Knox, Kentucky; the U.S. Military History
Institute at Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and several trips to the National Archives in College
Park, Maryland; in search of all pertinent After Action Reports, Unit Journals, Maps,
and Photos.  By meticulously studying and cross referencing Morning Reports, Jeff
was able to reconstruct the complete southern France rosters of several Third
Division units including Company L of the 15th Infantry Regiment and Company B of
the 756th Tank Battalion.  Through that effort, he was able to locate and interview
over thirty living L Company veterans of the Southern France Campaign and the
families of many others who had since passed away.  Veterans of the supporting tanks
and other attached units at the time were also interviewed extensively.  Seeking every
last detail, Jeff attended many veterans’ reunions, including those held annually by the
Society of the Third Infantry Division, The 15th Infantry Regiment Association, and
the 756th Tank Battalion Association.  To insure the accuracy of the expanding story,
Jeff had his outlines and manuscripts regularly proofread and reviewed by many of the
key veterans and participants of the action.   

In May 2004, Jeff began writing the first draft to the book.  That same month, he was
invited to speak before the Society of the Third Infantry Division and witness the
dedication of the National World War II Memorial.  In August, Jeff and his wife,
Melinda, traveled again to southern France—this time to participate in several 60th
Anniversary celebrations and to rendezvous with veterans of the Third Infantry
Division on a battlefield tour.   Jeff arranged for the group to stop at Allan, where the
veterans were honored by the mayor and townspeople.  

By May of 2006, Jeff’s final book draft was finished—complete with original maps,
drawings and graphics. All the veterans to whom he sent copies have enthusiastically
endorsed his work.  Rudy Jantz, a radioman in L Company at the time, commented
that it “reads like you were there.”  Others have praised the writing style for flowing
“like a novel,” with descriptions as vivid as “a movie,” and a storyline every bit as
gripping as Ambrose’s WWII classic “Band of Brothers.”  Ed Dojutrek (now
deceased), the former historian for the Society of the Third Infantry Division,
glowingly observed:  “I have never come across a military history book so highly
detailed.”  

In September 2006, Casemate Publishing LLC, a world renowned publisher of military
books, accepted Jeff’s work.  Casemate was only the second publisher that Jeff
approached and the first to actually review his manuscript.   

Jeff currently lives in Ohio with his family. He has done several local lectures about
the book and the Southern France Campaign. Jeff is an avid recreational hockey player
and youth hockey coach with a Level 4 USA Hockey certification.  He is an active
member of the 756th Tank Battalion Association and maintains the organization’s
website (
www.756tank.com).  He also maintains memberships in the Society of Third
Infantry Division, and the 15th Infantry Regiment Association.