Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by missconduct, Sep 3, 2012.
I'm hoping I'll get lucky, but I won't hold my breath.
I did some browsing of the above documents. The 13th Armored Division was clearing out the Ruhr Pocket up to 18 April 1945 when organized resistance ended. There were no casualties reported on 18 April 1945 so it is possible Edward Gruss was wounded earlier and died in the hospital. The IDPF should clear that up.
It would also be nice to know what Company he served in. It appears Combat Command "A" (CCA) of the 13th AD split into two Task Forces, DELNORE and SATT (named after the TF commander)
TF DELNORE is covered in the 46th Tank Battalion documents, above, but only had Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) and C Company 46th Tank Battalion.
25 March 1945
Task Force DELNORE: HHC, Co C 46TB; Co C 67AIB
CCA Reserve: Co D 46TB
[page 2 of 92]
TF SATT is covered in the documents linked to below (67th AIB) and had A, B, and D Company of the 46th Tank Battalion.
8 April 1945
Task Force SATT: HHC, Co A, B 67AIB; Co A, B, D 46TB
[page 5 of 51]
After action report 67th Armored Infantry Battalion, 13th Armored Division, April 45 thru 4 May 45. :: World War II Operational Documents
Very good info, E. The IDPF will likely identify his Company, too.
You guys are so incredibly helpful! I can't thank you enough. I did find an interesting piece of info recently, but not too sure what to make of it. Was he attached to another group? I need your opinions because I have no idea what any of this means. Please share your views.
World War II Divisional Combat Chronicles
I'm not sure of your question, but the various postings for the ETO probably had little to do with daily operations. They only indicate what larger elements the group was attached to. If there is another thing you don't understand, just ask. Good luck with your continuing task.
Thanks. Honestly, the whole structure of the military confuses me. Not to mention, how groups were constantly being moved from one larger element to another. I'm having a difficult time following all of the different units, divisions, and well, Hell, the numbers in general. I hope I'll be able to figure out IDPF when it arrives.
No problem, any time you want something clarified just ask. We will have to use some complicated military jargon to make our posts clear to each other, but you can just ask what does this mean to me.
You really should start a plain text file where you can copy and paste stuff you think might be useful (note where you found it) and include your own summaries and explanations. You can also do this on paper (or both), if you prefer, but a text file would let you cut and paste stuff to post on the forum.
That link is a nice overview of the 13th Armored Division. Below is a straight cut and paste, it loses some formatting but is still readable.
The hierarchy of units from top to bottom is
Combat Command (Armor), Regiment (Infantry)
Task Force or Team (Armor) - temporary type unit named for commander
Crew (Armor), Squad (Infantry)
I bolded the sections of particular interest to you, middle of April 1945. Through this period the 13th AD was assigned (commander name in parenthesis):
SHAEF (Eisenhower) -- Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces
12th Army Group (Bradley)
First Army (Hodges)
XVIII Airborne Corps (Ridgeway) -- read "eighteen airborne corps"
In a future post I, or someone, will go over the units below Division.
I am beyond excited!!!!!
View attachment 27598
That is great. Where did you get it? It's great stuff. I can understand your excitement. Wait until the others see it.
Wait, you can see the attachment? I keep getting an error.
It opened up for me on my laptopas a pdf file. I can't open it on my nook, probably because I have no reader. It's still a spectacular find.
I don't have much family left, but I do have an uncle in Baltimore who was able to provide me with that document. I'm still hoping to find a photo, but that is unlikely.
Wow, that's touching.
I imagine the pain of his death made impossible any celebration for his achievement.
A soldier's medals and awards are often a reflection of the high regard his outfit had for him.
(so I remember, the citation does say he was in B Company, 46th Tank Battalion"
I don't recall if you had looked up his enlistment record online, here:
NARA - AAD - Display Full Records - Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records)
The important thing is his enlistment date of 12 February 1941, so he was a pre-Pearl Harbor draftee. His service in the US is probably long and complicated even before he got to the 13th AD. He must have scored high on the Army aptitude testing to go from Grammar School education to Tank Mechanic -- or showed a particular talent in training.
Keep an eye out for group company photos. I've seen some surface for other tank battalions.
I hadn't seen that record, I appreciate your posting the link. I've been trying to find out what company he was with for weeks, I'm glad the document included that info. I had also not noticed that he had only an elementary school education. That whole side of the family(my father's) were all pretty brainy though, scientists, lots of PHDs, that sort of thing. So I suppose he may have been, as well. I can't imagine not having a higher education in this day and age. Wow.
That was an excellent find! If he was from a small town, I would suggest trying local newspaper archives from the period. They often will have photos of local servicemen. I'm not sure if that was the case in larger cities like Baltimore.
Other than "none", Grammar school was the lowest ranking provided, but the next higher was "one year high school", so his education was not as bad as it might seem. Plus the Depression had a lot of boys leaving school early to help the family income.
Before diving back into the military research, I'll let you know, you can obtain a photo of his grave marker from the Battlefield Monuments Commission, info here:
American Battle Monuments Commission
Alternatively you could ask one of the Dutch members of the forum. If they are able, I am certain they would be glad to take some digital photos for you.
View attachment 17642
Someone was kind enough to send me this.
After explaining that no, someone didn't "blow up his tank", I really understood how courageous an act it was that my uncle undertook. He was a mechanic who volunteered to go on foot, with only 3 other guys, to assault an enemy battery of FOUR 88mm, and all of it without any infantry to support them or tanks to protect them.
To think, I had assumed he was killed fixing a tank. I'm humbled. He was heroic. Nobody knew. How could we ever know, if his mother didn't tell us? I doubt if there was anyone else who knew, it may have been just her.
I had originally wanted to make sure he and all of the others who participated in the war were not forgotten as their numbers dwindled. I want to do that EVEN MORE now!
I had to double check, but the Bronze Star citation does not seem to indicate he was wounded or killed in that action. Hopefully the IDPF will provide particulars on when, and by what, he was wounded then we might tie that to information in the After Action Reports.
He was heroic in a real soldier sense -- I'm sure Hollywood could make more of that citation than was the case. American soldiers weren't known for deliberately suicidal actions -- that is, unless the chips were really down. I suspect his attempt to knock out the German guns involved getting their crews to surrender by surprising them from an unseen route. Plenty of valor in that act alone.
I was a little surprised to read he was a Tank Mechanic in a Medium Tank Company. I would have thought maintenance functions would be at battalion or higher (always learning something new here). I did some checking around and found a Table of Organization for 1944 (the 46th TB was probably under an older T/O dated in 1943). But assuming few changes, there was a Maintenance Section of one officer and nine enlisted, including five Tank Mechanics (three Tech-4 and two Tech-5). They had one Tank Recovery vehicle (a modified tank), one half-track and one jeep (peep to the armor outfits) plus trailers.
Google searching "army" "tank mechanic" "1944", I found this veteran's memories:
"My tank was my home' - Morning Call
Wow, that was quite a story. It sounds like the tank guys had a pretty rough time of it.
I hadn't noticed that the report hadn't mentioned any kind of injuries, etc. I'm very intrigued. Is it normal for an omission such as that on this kind of document?