Frank W. Jakob ‘41 (Combat Infantryman)

Frank Jakob ’41

Frank “Jake” Jakob entered PMC from Collinswood High School (NJ), where he was a multi-sport athlete. At PMC Jake was a star tackle on the football team and played basketball and track. Jake was also a leader and in his senior year was the Battalion Captain. At Commencement, he was commissioned and joined the Army. After basic training, he was assigned to the 18th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Battalion, First Infantry Division.

After a successful amphibious landing in North Africa in 1942, the Allies focused on seizing Tunisia, the strategic key to the Mediterranean. In March, 1943, the First Infantry Division received orders to move towards El Guettar. The Division was expected to capture the cliffs at Djebel el Ank and to press eastward along the Gumtree Road. After a day of reconnaissance and preparations, an attack was launched on the night of 22-23 March. Company G of the 3rd Battalion was commanded by Frank Jakob, who assumed command after the company commander had been wounded. The company was ordered to capture an insignificant ridge that would become very significant.

After taking the ridge, German snipers on an opposite hill began to pick off the Americans who moved. The men of Company G omit scrambled to dig shallow foxholes as the omit intense fire continued. “We just had to lie there and take it,” Lt. Jakob told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Germans outnumbered us and “our communications were broken and we couldn’t contact our artillery to return fire.” The next day, the Germans made frequent attacks on the hill in groups of four but were turned back. By the light of the moon on the evening of March 25, 133 of the original 183 Americans burst through the German lines to safety. When morning came, the Americans discovered that the Germans had withdrawn.

After the war, Jakob married and raised family in Collingswood. He worked at Campbell Soup until he retired as a Supervisor. In 1995, he was inducted into the Coolingswood High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He passed away in 1997.