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30th Infantry Division, Old Hickory

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Ruud, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Cas

    Cas Member

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    Yes I did and yes it was, been busy today so hadn't had time to reply

    Looked at the company roster, can anyone tell me what the letters and number mean in the four collems ?
     
  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I don't what format you are looking at. Rosters are not always alike. If you could type an example in, I'm sure I could decipher it for you.

    Usually it's name and home of record, followed by the date he joined the outfit; jd 1 July 44 (joined 1 July 44) followed by events; WIA 1 Aug 44 (wounded in action 1 Aug 44) followed by various awards PH= Purple Heart, BS = Bronze star, etc.
     
  3. Cas

    Cas Member

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    The link that Slipdigit posted was one to an Excel document.

    This is the info on one of the adopted graves at Henri Chapelle, what does 1, 38 and 155 mean, all other abreviations are clear to me.
    [TABLE="width: 871"]
    [TR]
    [TD]Rogers, Harold[/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [TD]Pfc[/TD]
    [TD]14019049[/TD]
    [TD]120th,[/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [TD]MIA KIA 01/13/1945[/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [TD]PH[/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [TD]1,38,155,

    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    They are references to the source of the information on the soldier. Looks like they have been seperated from the doucment.
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Speaking of the Dutch resistance...

    This photo was taken in Heerlen, just east of Maastricht. The 1st and 3rd battalions of the 117th were there, and so it's quite possible my father met these brave men.
     

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  6. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Here's another picture from Maastricht. They are being strafed by an American or British plane, and shooting back.
     

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  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    This photo was taken in France towards the end of August. Old Hickory are a tough looking bunch, aren't they? The man in the middle is my father, PFC Francis J. Rogan, Dog Company, 1st Bn., 117th.
     

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    LoriAnn and Slipdigit like this.
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It's my day off and it's raining sideways outside - typical for the coastal rain belt of Alaska! I'm pulling together data and pictures and keep coming across things that I want to share in this thread.

    This letter was written after the war and is self-explanatory.

     
  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Mr. Marion is very proud of that letter. We put a copy of it in the book.
     
  10. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Mr. Marion might be amused with these pix as well. My Dad said they were proud the Germans dubbed them "Roosevelt's SS" until after Malmedy and the Ardennes when they didn't care to be associated with the SS any more

    View attachment 17776 .
     

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  11. Cas

    Cas Member

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    I have seen this photo somewhere, is this published anywere ?
     
  12. Cas

    Cas Member

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    Great photo Keith ! Any clues where in Maastricht this was taken ?
     
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The pictures in France and Maastrich are both in unit history books, but I don't have time to dig through and see where right now. I got the digital versions on the web from one of many sites that have public domain photos from the war. I have an enormous collection of 30th Division photos tucked away on a bus link, most of them painstakingly dug from government and public domain sites looking for anything relating to the 30th.

    I don't know where in Maastricht that photo was taken. The 30th were pretty used to being strafed and bombed by American Jugs and British Typhoons. For a period in August, the 120th IR actually issued orders to their AA crews to shoot at any Jug or Typhoon they sighted. A lot of men were killed by allied fighter-bombers.
     
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Old Hickory mentioned several times that they were strafed and/or bombed by US and British aircraft. He was bombed on consecutive days around Christmas, 1944, by aircraft that was supposed to be bombing the St. Vith area, a few miles to the southeast from where the 30th Recon was, Malmedy. A few days before that, on the 16th, they were strafed as they drove from Kerkrade to Malmedy. They were well into the rear at the point, as they were coming off of R&R.
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It's easy to blame the "fog of war" for that, but artillery observers were able to tell the difference between allied and German formations... At Mortain, one unit of the 120th was bombed and strafed by allied fighter-bombers ten times on a single day!
     
  16. Cas

    Cas Member

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    Not only the 30th had trouble from friendly shelling. The (i believe) 667th Graves Registration Co. was shelled by own (US) artillery in the vicintiy of Sittard because the US forces thought the convoy was a German convoy making an assault to the frontline.
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It was pretty rare for units to get shelled by friendly artillery, though it did happen. However, air attacks from friendly units were almost a daily occurrence during some periods of the war. There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest reason was the delay between operations on the ground and air corps knowledge of those operations. In effect, the air corps were almost always at least 24 hours behind the curve on knowing where the lines actually were.
    This left the 30th Division particularly vulnerable since they were one of the spearhead divisions for nearly every campaign in the ETO. They were generally always ahead of the "front lines" that the air corps were aware of. Even when the air corps were aware of the lines, the guys flying the planes were often unaware of where they actually were. It's easy enough to mistake a landmark (a bridge, a river, a village) for a similar landmark a few miles away.

    There's really no way to tell an allied soldier from a German soldier from the air. Yet, they often attacked allied armor formations as well, which I find inexcusable. They should have been able to tell the difference between a Sherman and a Panzer, yet they frequently couldn't.
     
  18. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I would think it would be easy to mistake friendly vehicles from the enemy while in the air when strafing.

    The CO of the 30th ID's 30th Cav Recon Troop was badly wounded and three others were killed when they mistakenly identified German armored vehicles for their own around 11:30 pm on 2 Sep 1944 near Tournai, Belgium at a T intersection. It was an east-west road with a T to the south. The 30th Recon had come up from the south and turned to the east. The 30th Recon HQ platoon was still at a crossroads, waiting on the 125th Cav Recon Sqdn, which was due at any time. The three other platoons of the 30th Recon that had turned east were several miles down that road. No Germans were thought to be in the immediate area, especially to the west.

    The men of the HQ paltoon heard vehicles coming toward them from the west and an officer and a senior NCO dismounted to talk to the approaching vehicles, as the CO moved up in his jeep from fruther down the southern road. They discovered too late that the other formation was Germans. The other officer and the NCO were shot down in the road and an M-8 was hit, killing an enlisted man and wounding another. The CO's jeep came under machine gun fire and the CO and his driver bailed out. The CO was hit badly but the driver escaped unharmed. The CO never returned to the unit.
     
  19. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I suppose a truck looks like a truck and a halftrack like a halftrack, but many vehicles, especially tanks, have enough differences that a pilot has little excuse to make a mistake. Artillery Observers rarely made such mistakes, even though they were generally observing from much longer distances than pilots.
    I've dug through thousands of documents on the 30th and these allied air attacks happened over and over again in every engagement.

    I think part of the problem is that there were no repercussions for these mistakes in the air corps. If an artillery observer made such a mistake, he'd be broken and sent off to some supply depot or something. When gun camera footage of pilots attacking allied units was discovered, they did nothing at all to him. Like most men, these pilots were extremely competitive and they often didn't take the time to properly ID a target before shooting.
     
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The Monster of Oberempt.

    On February 26th, the 1st Battalion (Curlew) of the 117th was given the job of clearing the town of Oberempt. Company C, with some heavy machine guns and mortars of Company D, was given the task of hitting the right flank of the town which was known to be heavily defended. They jumped off at midnight and began moving towards the town. At about 4:30 am near the neighboring small town of Steinstrass they were supposed to rendezvous with some tanks of the integral 823rd Tank Battalion but nobody was there. Captain Stoffer (CO of C Company) called Colonel Frankland at Battalion to inform him of the snafu, but as they spoke Stoffer heard the tanks approaching in the gloom and said "Wait a minute, Colonel. Here they are now."
    Two tanks and two half-tracks were in the midst of the infantrymen before anyone realized they were Mark V Panthers. The Germans apparently realized that these were GI's at the same moment. All Hell broke loose. One man commented later "I could have reached out and touched that telephone pole (gun) when he swung it around at me." A confused fight developed. The German infantry aboard the half-tracks jumped out in the middle of swarms of GI's and were quickly killed. And just at this moment, the promised tanks of the 823rd arrived and finally took out the two Panthers. Lt. Hart, a platoon leader of D company, a gangly and friendly young man whom everyone loved, was killed in some way that my father would never talk about. I always assumed he was run over by a tank, but I don't really know. Captain Stoffer of C Company was badly wounded and designated a Lt. Johnson to take command.

    There were a number of wounded and killed and a number of prisoners to deal with so when they continued on to Oberempt, they went with only two platoons of C company along with the machine gunners and mortarmen of D. They quickly flanked the the defensive position in front of the town and engaged the Germans from the rear. The tanks were held up at the front of the town by Panthers and one or more jagdpanzers. A number of tanks were lost. About two or three blocks back the infantrymen found a strange and enormous German armored vehicle parked on a street. The hatches were open with the crew sticking out trying to see what was happening. They shot those men and somebody fired a bazooka and destroyed the right tread. The rest of the crew surrendered.

    This was the monster of Oberempt - a Sturmtiger. One of the "Wunderwaffen" that would turn the war around for Germany. Only a dozen or so made it out of the factory and this was the first one captured or killed by the allies. It weighed 75 tons and fired enormous 380mm Naval mortar/rockets weighing 830 pounds that could level an entire block. If I understand the mechanism correctly, the shell was launched like a mortar and then when it was 1000 meters or so out, rockets engaged which could propel the shell out to about 6000 meters (4 miles?).
     

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