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20th Armored Division

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by Krystal80, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. cherokeekid1979

    cherokeekid1979 recruit

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    Hey Ive done some history on the 20th Armored here is a web site that might help ya out it did me. 20th Armored Division it has names of each division
     
  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Natman references that link back in post #16. If you have come across any more useful information in your research, I hope you will post it. Be sure to check the previous posts to avoid duplication. :) By the way, you should go to the New Member section and introduce yourself formally.
     
  3. DSWOFFORD

    DSWOFFORD New Member

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    Greetings to all 29th Armor relatives, friends and survivors.

    My Father is Lt Harry Swofford, Jr, Commander 1st Platoon, Co A, 9th Tank Batallion, 20th Armored. He surely is one of the highest ranking officers alive and rising close to Commanding Officer of the Company at least, but the Batallion. He plans to live to be 100, so he might make it. I know the entire story of the 9th Tank Batallion as I have an oral history on Dad on about 7 Casette Tapes that I made in the 80's. I know most of the stories. Up until about five years ago, he attended (I went with him on numerous occassions) the 20th Armored reunioins and about ten years ago, made his own trip to Europe to retrace his route. He was a Dachau for instance and was assigned to assist the 42 and 45 Infantry division take control of the Nazi facilities, but the bridges were out and his tanks could not get across the river. When his Company recieved their revised orders to go onto Munich, he said they drove by the place and were overcome by the stench of death. He later did ford the river in Zaltzburg. The pivture of the tanks crossing the river just beside the bridge in May were his tanks. I also have some private pictures in that same situation. He bought a camera just as they were proceeding out of Belgium into Germany. He said the stores were beginning to open up again and one day in a small village, the tanks had stopped to refuel and he walked into a store and bought a Zies camera and all the film the guy had. He got the negs developed after VE day but never had them printed. I did. Interesting shots.

    The website www.20tharmoreddivision.org is in terrible condition and needs someone who knows how to handle those things. I'm not sure we can get the passwords to do that or find out where the ISP is. Someone should look into that. As information becomes avaialble, we should have a place to reposit it and organize it all. Dad has about 200 pictures he took along the route which I would be glad to post if I could.

    Oh Krystal, I think Frank Pederson was one of Dad's driver's for a while in Company A. Your aunt gave you just about every identification availlable for the Batallion but let me know what you find out.

    It would be good if we could have one more reunions of all who could come but get families together for connections. That last that were held were at Ft Campbell Ky where the 20th Armored was decommissioned. They know how to have these reunions and they also have a great museum.

    Dad still thinks of his days in Germany as some of his finest and has started to talk about them a lot lately.

    My regular email is dons@DASAonlilne.com if someone would like to contact me directly

    Don Swofford
     
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  4. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Welcome Don,

    Thank you for sharing parts of your father's story. I hope you will be able to connect with some other family members of 20th AD veterans. However we have not been very successful in holding the attention of those who have found us. If you check back often (or set a Notification) and post occasionally we might generate more traffic here.

    Regarding the 20th AD website, while the web design is dated I think somebody is paying to keep the web address and the site hosted. I see hope there. Have you tried to contact the webmaster? Many members here share your concern that priceless information could be lost if that website disappears.

    You might have to post up to five messages here before you get the ability to upload an image but we would love to see what you have. Feel free to shoot the breeze anywhere here.

    Hope to hear more....
     
  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Welcome to the Forum, Don. You are certainly welcome to share anything from your father's service. We have a section of the Forum reserved for that very purpose: What Granddad (or Dad!) did in the War. If you need any help with posting photos, just let us know. And please let your father know how much we appreciate his service.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Hi Don. Glad you could join us. Krystal hasn't been around for a while, so I think following Tommy's advice is a good one. Start your own thread in the forum Tommy suggests and tell all that you can. Post often and have fun.
     
  7. hepcat1963

    hepcat1963 New Member

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    Hi,

    My name's Rich, and I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area. My late dad was in the 20th Armored Division, CCB, 65th Armored Infantry Battalion. He & his platoon were directly involved in Task Force 20's action at the SS Anti-Tank facility on the outskirts of Munich on 29 - 30 April, 1945. In the hours that followed, both Munich and Berlin would fall, Hitler would die, and scarcely a week later the German High Command would sign the Instrument of Unconditional Surrender.

    My wife & I attended the 20th Armored Division's final reunion last Veteran's Day (2013), held in the vicinity of Fort Campbell, KY, where the Division was created & trained 70 yrs earlier, in 1943. While a number of Vets remain mentally fit & physically active (even as they hover close to 90), obviously the majority are in ill health or have already passed on. For that reason, the Association officially disbanded at the end of that tremendous event.

    I can address your question about the 20th Armored Division Assn's website. It was established and maintained by Assn president Jeff Nichols, his late dad having been in the 20th AD also. In its prime the website was an amazing treasure trove of information, from unit rosters, to action histories, and far more. However it fell into disrepair a few yrs back. As it happens, I emailed Jeff today re his thoughts on making all that info available again via some alternate (or renewed means). I hope that will be an option, not only as an ongoing testament to the brave men of the 20th, but so posterity can continue to learn of the accomplishments of their ancestors.

    Thank you,
    Rich
     
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  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Rich, I hope you will continue to work with Jeff on preserving the 20th AD Assn.'s records. Perhaps something can be worked out with a library or foundation to take over maintaining those historical documents. One example is the 100th Infantry Division Association which arranged with the Marshall Foundation to maintain their historical records online. Granted, their collection is mostly unit histories and veterans' stories, but the principle is the same.

    Please let us know what eventually happens with the records. We would love to play even a small part in preserving the history of the 20th Armored Division.
     
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  9. hepcat1963

    hepcat1963 New Member

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    Thank you! (I'm not sure if I'm replying correctly, lol.)

    Happens Jeff & I are now discussing my taking over & perhaps creating a new 20th site, as the program in which his was created is now technologically obsolete. After 15 yrs, he also has a tremendous collection of archival materials, which he will be donating to the Pratt Museum at Fort Campbell (which we toured as part of last year's visit). I understand they're planning to expand into a new facility.

    To your kind offer of assistance, if you have any info or ideas on creating a free (or at least very cost effective) website, that would be outstanding. There are several books / documents which Jeff can avail as PDFs. Plus I'd like to offer useful links (such as the Natl Archives), and a Guest Book if that's easily done. Eventually it would be great to include a photo uploader(?).... and 20th AD swag fulfillment (T shirts, mugs, etc.) for the forever faithful, lol! :)

    Thank you!!
     
  10. JMD62

    JMD62 recruit

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    Hello Guys,

    This is all very encouraging to read since my Dad was also in the 20th Armored Division, 65th Armored Infantry Battalion. I've been trying to put together as much information as possible for myself, and also to pass on to my sons. It's been fun connecting some of my Dad's stories and photos to events described online in various sites. A new website would be great for additional information, but it would also to be a good place for all of us interested in the 20th to connect.

    I'm happy for Don that his father is still with him, there aren't many left from this great generation. : )

    Thanks!
    James
     
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  11. hepcat1963

    hepcat1963 New Member

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    Hi James,

    Thanks for your post, and also for your PM today, to which I hope to respond more fully this weekend. Do you know which Company (or task force, or Munich-area action) of the 65th your dad was in?

    Unfortunately, due to the obsolescence of the original program, rescuing the 20th's existing web content doesn't appear very feasible. Hence my thought is to reuse (or else redirect from) the existing web address, and start fresh. At least at first, it won't be as sophisticated as the original site, if nothing else hosting a handful of PDFs of available printed materials on the Unit. As mentioned earlier I'd also like to include photo sharing, a guest book, and more. At day's end, my desire is to provide a 'virtual' home for the 20th once again, where folks can learn about the Division, and as you so aptly put it, convene, share, and enthusiastically interact. In that sense it could serve as our collective, virtual "living room" where we can all hang out, lol. In the last couple of days I designed (on paper) the look and functionality of the site, and I like it a lot.

    Remains to be seen as to whether all this will come together, but I have a hunch it could. Will keep you all posted.

    Best regards,
    Rich :)
     
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  12. JMD62

    JMD62 recruit

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    Hey there Rich,

    I can't say for sure which task force he was in, but he did have a photo which he told me was taken during a battle scene. It looks very much like the fields around the SS Barracks. He also had a Presidential Unit Citation which if I understand correctly, was awarded to task force 20. One other thing caught my attention the other day after reading an account by Capt Guy Chapman Jr. He described a Sgt., who on April 30th, had found a paymaster's satchel full of German Marks in the SS barracks ready for payday. My dad told me almost the same story! He wasn't the Sgt, but may have been with him. He used his share after hostilities ended to buy a bunch a goodies in Paris for his sister. Just a possibility : )

    I think any efforts to put information online would be greatly appreciated and helpful, no matter how simple or sophisticated the website. Like you said, it would be a great place to hang out too and share stories. I'm enjoying this research and look forward to learning more about my dad and all the great men of the 20th : )

    Thanks!
    James
     
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  13. hepcat1963

    hepcat1963 New Member

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    Awesome story, James!! I hadn't heard that one. My dad mentioned situations (I gather @ the SS barracks??) where the Germans lit out so quickly that our GI's found their coffee and breakfasts still steaming, lol.

    Too bad u didn't make it to the 20th Reunions, which ended last year. You'd a met an amazing bunch 'a guys. I know 2 65th vets, and learned a little about a lot, if that makes sense. The PDFs I want to post on the site should give beginning researchers a far better (if somewhat broad) understanding. I'm pretty stoked. Hope it works out! :)
     
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  14. Natman

    Natman Member

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    I applaud your efforts to revive/maintain the 20th AD website and wish you the best. Far too many sites dedicated to various units have gone off line in the last few years. I've worked for several years alongside the owner of the tank destroyer website and I'm proud of what we've accomplished to preserve their history and make it available to the public. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had when someone writes in looking to learn about a relative and you're able to help.

    Stick with it, you'll get there!

    Steve
     
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  15. Natman

    Natman Member

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    The 65th AIB was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation, description as follows:

    28 Apr-1 May 45, WD GO 55-46,
    Co B; Antitank Platoons of Co A and Co C, only.
     
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  16. hepcat1963

    hepcat1963 New Member

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    Natman, where can one find such info online?
     
  17. JMD62

    JMD62 recruit

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    Hey Rich,

    I would've loved to attend one of those reunions and talk to all of those heroes. I'm with you on the little about a lot, it was that way with my Dad, just lots of little stories, not really tied together :D I wish I would've thought about the questions I have now back then. I just wanted to hear about the fighting at the time.

    Your .pdf's will be great to read, can't wait!

    Thanks!
    James
     
  18. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Download the Unit Citations and Campaign Credit Register, July 1961, pdf (link is on the left) here: https://archive.org/details/PAM672-1
     
  19. hepcat1963

    hepcat1963 New Member

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  20. hepcat1963

    hepcat1963 New Member

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    Great, thank you! I look forward to checkin' it out :)
     

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