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68 US Army Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Division still listed as missing

Discussion in '☆☆ New Recruits ☆☆' started by Trish, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Active Member

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    In all probability his next of kin received his medals and awards. That was also where his personal effects would have been sent.

    There rosters can be incomplete so don't worry that his name isn't listed as receiving the Bronze Star. So many men were wounded that it would be nearly impossible to compile a division roster listing them all.
     
  2. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    I wish I would have started doing family research much much earlier since his wife lived until 2001. I did come across a cousin who is the grandson of Hermans dads brother but he said he had only heard of him. I am going to just research as much as I can about his unit to try and at least trace the steps during ww2. I know they landed on the beach 6 days after as they were doing more training. That is what I read anyway. I don't know any of his wifes family as I cannot find anything on her but on find a grave someone put her on there. Thank you for all your help. I hope my questions aren't bothering anyone. So many brick walls. I know he enlisted at ft Benjamin Harrison in marion indiana
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    In a sense Trish, yes they did. Every company was required to complete a "Morning Report" every morning...thus the name. In theory the company clerk worked with the company first sergeant to document personnel changes due to casualties or transfers of personnel. However, practically speaking, in many cases they were often completed later in the day, the day after, or sometimes weeks later, after especially intense combat. It especially became problematic when key personnel, like officers and NCO's were among the casualties. Thus, for example, most of the morning reports for the units engaged on OMAHA on D-Day were compiled no earlier than 7 June...and some much later than that. Sorting between MIA and PW could be particularly problematic. The Geneva Convention of 1929 required party nations to notify each other of the names of personnel captured as soon as possible, but that often took months. For example, the 90th ID reported 454 MIA and 320 PW through 24 June 1944 in its daily cumulative reports to First Army, but those were reconciled at the end of the war as 76 MIA (declared dead) and 594 PW (returned to military custody). A report of MIA often was "last time seen alive" and occasionally reports of death were sometimes exaggerated.

    Sadly, if he never was treated by the VA system he would have no records with the VA.
     
  4. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    Thank you. How did they determine who were taken prisoners? Did the german army inform who had been captured? Were the infantry soldiers only foot soldiers? The question about VA records was pertaining to my grandpa john w ward.
     
  5. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

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    My apology to Trish for rewriting history. I'm not completely innocent, since I should have done some intensive research before posting as you must have. But in my humble defense, I have a book titled "Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces 1941-1945" by Richard W. Smith, which gives a very brief summery of the action of the particular division that wore a particular patch. I simply paraphrased the part on the 315th so the OP could do more research in case they were interested. Really had no intention to "rewrite history" in a single sentence.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the requirements of the Geneva Convention required notification. Typically, it was a form postcard sent through the Red Cross in Geneva. The Germans were actually reasonably good about the notifications, but as I said before the actual process could be anywhere from a few weeks to months before next of kin were notified of a change in status from MIA to POW.

    Infantry were primarily riflemen, but in a battalion of three rifle companies, only about 270 of the 900-odd men were technically riflemen as their primary duty, but most all the 900 were Infantry branch. Yes, they were all considered "foot soldiers", but the way they went into battle varied. In the armored division the infantry were also armored, carried in half-tracked armored personnel carriers to a position where they dismounted and moved to contact on foot...most of the time. Parachute Infantry went in by parachute and then walked...Glider Infantry were delivered by gliders and then walked.

    Anyway, yes, if your grandpa John was treated by the VA after the war there is a good chance they may have some or all of his personnel records.
     
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  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    No apologies necessary, since you did not do any such thing. The defensive battles of Hatten-Rittershofen began under the command of the 79th ID. I didn't realize until just now that in giving the order of battle for the 79th ID I somehow forgot to include TF Linden (222d, 232d, and 242d Infantry, 42d ID).

    That is probably more accurate than the precis given by the OP. The 1st Battalion, 242d Infantry of TF Linden was not "routed" from its position. They held it under increasingly fierce German attacks from 0500 hours 9 January, until they were relieved at 0200 hours on 11 January by the 2d Battalion, 315th Infantry. In the process, the battalion, which began with 33 officers and 748 EM in the line, suffered casualties of 22 officers and 493 EM, was awarded a PUC and one of its soldiers, PFC Vito R. Bertoldo of the Battalion Hq & Hq Company, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his near single-handed defense of the Battalion CP in Hatten on 9 and 10 January. Pretty good for "green, poorly trained troops" in their first major engagement. The 14th Armored Division did not take control of the Hatten-Rittershoffen sector until 13 January, to begin the counterattack to clear the German foothold in Rittershoffen and reestablish contact with the 2d Bn, 315th Inf foothold in Hatten.
     
  8. Buten42

    Buten42 Member Patron  

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    Thanks Rich , I'm actually going to do some reading on this division, they definitely deserve a lot of respect.
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    No problem, it was an odd situation given the front the 79th ID was defending with nominally only a few of its own battalions, which is why the divisional task forces were assigned to it. Clarke's Riviera to the Rhine is a decent starting place, but sadly contains some errors given its troubled genesis. One of the most interesting is that one of the 14th AD battalion commander's death is prominently featured, but unfortunately after publication CMH received a letter from him noting that the rumor of his death was greatly exaggerated.
     

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