Culin, Curtis Grubb “Bud” and “Hedgerow Buster”.

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Culin, Curtis Grubbe “Bud”. “Hedgerow Buster”, born 10-02-1915 in Cranford, Union County, New Jersey, USA the son of Curtis Grubb Culin (1890-1979) and his wife Elizabeth Madella, born Merriam, Culin (1888–1983). Curtis was a World War II soldier credited with the invention of a hedge-breaching device fitted to Allied armored vehicles during the Battle of Normandy.  As they moved inland after the D-Day landings, the Allies found their tanks were unable to operate easily or safely in the Normandy bocage countryside. Instead of breaking through the thick, high hedges the tanks rode over them, which exposed their thinly armored undersides to attack while their own guns could not be brought to bear.

The Czech Hedgehog (in Czech rozsocháč)  is a static steel anti-tank obstacle made up of pieces welded together at right angles, deployed by various armed forces during World War II. It comes from the friesian horse, a wooden defensive device for fighting against the cavalry.These hedgehogs are effective at preventing tanks from crossing a line of defense. They retain their effectiveness even if knocked down by a nearby explosion. The barbed wire sometimes covers the Czech Hedgehog, making it much more difficult to move the infantry.While it can provide a small amount of protection to enemy infantry, it is generally much less effective against fortified defensive positions than mechanized units

A native of Cranford, New Jersey, Culin was serving as a tanker with the 102nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (New Jersey National Guard, the “Essex Troop,” 2nd Armored Division) when he came up with the four-pronged plow device created from scrap steel from a German roadblock.  When attached to the front of his tank it was successful in rapidly plowing gaps in the hedgerows. Military historian Max Hastings notes that Culin was inspired by “a Tennessee hillbilly named Roberts”, who during a discussion about how the bocage could be overcome said “Why don’t we get some saw teeth and put them on the front of the tank and cut through these hedges?” Rather than joining in the laughter that greeted this remark, Culin realised the idea’s potential and put together a prototype tusk-like assembly welded to the front of a tank. In due course this was demonstrated to General Omar Nelson “Brad” Bradley, who “watched in awe as a hedgerow exploded … to make way for the Sherman bursting through”. According to Hastings, Culin, “an honest man”, attempted to give credit to Roberts but this was forgotten in the publicity surrounding the invention. Hastings concludes: “[Culin] became a very American kind of national hero”.

Bradley ordered that as many Sherman tanks as possible be fitted with the device. By the launch of Operation Cobra, some 60 percent of First Army tanks were so equipped.

Operation Cobra was the code name for the World War II operation in which the Allies forced a breakout from their beachhead seven weeks after the Normandy landings. US General Omar Bradley had planned the operation. The operation consisted of large-scale aerial bombardment followed by an infantry attack to break through the defences. The operation served to change the intensive infantry fighting in Normandy to mechanized maneuver warfare across France.The operation was launched on 25-07-1944. Gradually, the Allied troops gained momentum and broke through the German positions. Two days later, most of the German resistance had been broken. The operation was successfully completed on July 31. The Allies continued to advance towards northwestern France, while in Normandy they had virtually surrounded a German army with the pocket of Falaise.

Four months after his invention, he lost a leg to a land mine in the Huertgen Forest.The Battle of Hürtgen Forest was a series of battles fought from 19 September to 16 December 1944, between American and German forces on the Western Front during World War II, in the Hürtgen Forest, a 140 km2 (54 sq mi) area about 5 km (3.1 mi) east of the Belgian–German border. It was the longest battle on German ground during World War II and is the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought.  The overall cost of the Siegfried Line Campaign in American personnel was close to 140,000.

When Curtis returned to the United States, he became a salesman for Schenley Industries, Inc., liquor distributors.


Culin received the Legion of Merit and a public memorial to Culin and his invention can be seen in his home town of Cranford, NJ. Culin was mentioned in one of the last addresses by Dwight David Eisenhower as President of the United States, in a January 10, 1961, speech to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers:

Death and burial ground of Culin, Curtis Grubb “Bud” and “Hedgerow Buster”.

  Curtis Culin married Bernice Enright in 1945. They lived in New York City, where he worked for Schenley Industries.[7] “Curtis Grubb” is a third-generation family name arising from Patriot ancestor Colonel. Curtis Grubb. Curtis was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution Eisenhower repeated this story about Sergeant Culin in 1964 in a television interview with CBS correspondent Walter Cronkite on the 20th anniversary of the D-Day invasion taking place in the actual hedgerow country of France.

Bud Culin died young age 48 on 20-11-1963, in Greenwich Village, New York County (Manhattan), New York, and is buried at the Cemetery Westfield, Union County, New Jersey, VS.

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