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Edward William Gruss Technician Fourth Class, U.S. Army Service # 33003315 46th Tank Battalion, 13th

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by missconduct, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Yes I imagine life in a tank company was rough. Any unit on the front line such as infantry, tanks, mechanized cavalry, others had a particularly difficult life and dangerous war. But out of an 8 million man Army less than 2 million were ground combat troops. It was a massive logistic effort to move, supply and maintain that first and last modern, mechanized and truly national Army.

    The air war and the war at sea had their own terrors. But if you are interested in learning more about life in the tank companies I would recommend "Tank Driver" by J. Ted Hartman, he was with the 11th Armored Division in the Ardennes and Germany. If you have an Amazon account you can read excerpts online.

    While soldiers had it tough their path was clear. I think many soldiers would agree that the courage of these gentlemen should be equally remembered and honored.

    The Tragedy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi by Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern | The New York Review of Books
     
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  2. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Over the past few years I have turned into quite a history buff. I think it started after reading about the USS Indianapolis(which had fascinated me since I was a kid), which sparked my interest into a raging inferno. I have read, quite literally, hundreds of books about WWII. I'm actually surrounded by them as I type, but I have read very few on the subject of tank or armored warfare. At least from the American point of view. Offhand I know I've read at least 2 written by German soldiers, but can only think of one by an American. I fully intend to read all of the books you have recommended. Thank you!
    Discovering I had an Uncle who served during the war(my father served during the occupation, then continued through the cold war in linguistics) was like discovering I was royalty. Lol. I worked in the film industry as a make up artist for many years and have worked with many a movie star, Clint Eastwood, for example. None made me more starstruck than the veterans I've been lucky enough to meet. So you can imagine my excitement.
    Regarding the information contained in the Bronze Star record, what you said about the lack of details it contained got me to thinking. So I forwarded it to my father in law(graduated West Point '67, Airborne Ranger, Vietnam Vet) to get his opinion. It was

    "It doesn't say how he was wounded or how many times, but they were severe enough for him to die a few days later. It doesn't even say exactly what he did to earn the Bronze Star, but it must have been significant because it's unusual for an enlisted man (not an officer) to be awarded the BS.That's all I can get from the award write-up. Unfortunately, it was poorly written."

    So I guess I'll just wait and see what I can get from the records when I receive them. I have some new reading to keep me occupied now though. ;)
     
  3. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    I think the write-ups for citations are intentionally vague. I can only speculate on the reasons.

    I think it would be odd to leave out the mention of a wound. That information would tend to add to the reason for the award.

    The citizens soldiers (officers and enlisted) of World War II got to set their own standard for awards, after all, it was their Army of the United States (AUS). As I said before an award often reflects the high regard a soldier had from his outfit.
     
  4. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Really? Weird. I wonder why. Hopefully the info regarding his death will shine a light on the reasoning. I'll post it as soon as I receive it. I also wonder if that may be one of the reasons his mother fell apart after his death. I don't think she ever told anyone anything she knew about it. The copy of his award info was obtained by my aunt in 1/2005 when she went to the NA in DC and my uncle included the note she wrote that accompanied it. In it she says that the info had to be declassified for her to obtain the copy, she mentioned the fire, but also commented that the records for men that were KIA were not stored at the St Louis fire location and that was why she was able to get a copy. She also goes on to say that she was going to research the days from 4/16/1945 to 4/18/1945 to see if she could figure out what happened. She also made a comment about every question answered just generates another question. I thought that was kind of strange. As far as I know, that is the only info she was able to gather.
    I didn't think this was going to be as unusual as it is turning out to be or that there was anything strange about a Tec/4 being awarded a Bronze Star. I'm so completely and utterly confused. Maybe its just because it was so close to the end of the war and there was a lot of paperwork that had to be completed, his death was just kind of left under detailed?
     
  5. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Jules-Your mention that it's strange for a T/4 to be awarded a Bronze Star caught my eye. I see it's based on your father-in-law's comment in post #42. I have to disagree with him based on the extensive research I've done on tank destroyer units. Bronze Star awards are not uncommon for the enlisted men in these units. Perhaps he was referring to a BS for Valor, although we know there's no mention of that in the citation? If Edward was indeed wounded on the 16th in connection with the events in the citation, I agree it was poorly written. That could be a result of it having been written almost two months after the fact and by the parent division which may not have had full documentation of what happened. I sure hope you get some good information from the IDPF! Just my random thoughts!
     
  6. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Thanks. I was thinking the same thing, regarding the lack of information when the document was written. There was a lot going on at that time, so I'm sure its quite possible for details to slip through the cracks.
     
  7. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Are any of you guys familiar with something called, "Task Force Delnore" or the "Rose Operation"?
    View attachment 17723
     

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  8. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Lt. Col. Delnore was the CO of the 46th. If you look at the first page of text (Narrative Summary After Action Report, dated 8 May, 45) in the link in Post #3, there's an explanation of Task Force Delnore.

    I found the following about the "Rose Operation", something I did not know:

    "Major General Maurice Rose (1899-1945), commander of the First Army's legendary 3rd Armored "Spearhead" Division, was the highest-ranking American Jewish officer ever killed in battle, and the only officer in World War II whose death sparked a War Crimes Investigation. This, the first and only biography of Rose, recounts the dramatic story of his life - from his childhood as the son of a rabbi, through his experiences in World War I and the U.S. cavalry, to his meteoric rise as America's answer to Rommel. In 1943, Rose negotiated and accepted the surrender of the German Army in Tunisia, the first large-scale surrender to an American force during World War II. At the Battle of Carentan in June 1944, he saved the 506th Parachute Infantry (of Band of Brothers fame), and might very well have saved the entire Normandy beachhead from a catastrophic German counterattack. His brilliant, daring, and aggressive defensive tactics during the Battle of the Bulge prevented an enemy breakthrough to the Meuse River and beyond, thereby frustrating the German advance.
    Rose commanded the longest single-day armored drive in history - more than 100 miles, a record that still stands. He also led the greatest encirclement battle in American history, capturing 350,000 enemy troops in the "Ruhr Pocket." Renamed the "Rose Pocket," this battle remains the only major World War II battle to be named for an American officer."

    The above is from a description of the book: Major General Maurice Rose: World War II's Greatest Forgotten Commander, published in 2003.
     
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  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    You beat me to it, Steve. I was going to post this.
    To protect our long left flank against possible counterattacks in strength was a big task. The 78th Division extended its zone farther eastward along the Sieg and the 4th Cavalry Group and 8th Infantry Division moved in to relieve elements of the 1st Division still farther east, while the 86th Infantry Division took over the defense of the Rhine's west bank, a task from which VII Corps was soon relieved.
    As the 3d Armored columns closed on Paderborn, they encountered increasing resistance from enemy strongpoints, roadblocks, and stubborn opposition in defended villages. While First Army was breaking out of its bridgehead, troops of the Ninth U.S. Army had crossed the Rhine north of the Ruhr and were now driving east toward Paderborn, paced by the tanks of the 2d Armored Division. A link-up of the two American armies in this area would be a crushing blow to Germany, for it would isolate one of the Reich's largest industrial areas and the thousands of troops defending it. And so thousands of SS troops, the elite of the Wehrmacht, were thrown into the battle as the enemy attempted to stabilize his defenses and to hold Paderborn's important road center, to keep his Ruhr escape route open.

    On March 31st the United States Army lost one of its great battle leaders when Major General Maurice Rose, commanding the 3d Armored Division, was killed in action near Paderborn. General Rose had commanded his division since the Normandy breakthrough, and it was under his leadership that it had earned its nickname of the "Spearhead Division". The great work and brilliant success of the division reflected the ability and spirit of its leader. Because of the importance of the attack in which he was leading his division when he lost his life and to honor his personal courage in battle, VII Corps and First Army adopted the name of the "Rose Pocket" for the operation which isolated the Ruhr.

    While the 3d Armored Division was driving north to close the pocket, the 104th was following closely in the eastern part of the Corps zone, and the 1st was moving more slowly against stiffer resistance farther west. Intelligence was received of a proposed enemy attack to break out of the rapidly closing Ruhr trap by a tank-and-infantry drive east in the vicinity of Winterburg. The attack to the north was therefore suspended for one of the regiments of the 104th Division, and it deployed to the northwest to counter the threat. With characteristic Timberwolf speed, our troops seized the enemy's line of departure before he could attack, and for the next four days beat back all enemy attempts to penetrate the VII Corps ring in that area.
    (Bold mine)
    [​IMG]

    Major General Maurice Rose, 3d Armored Division, Killed in Action, 31 March 1945
    From The Rose Pocket
     
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  10. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Yeah, I was aware of General Rose being killed and wondered if the "Rose Operation" was related. The book I referenced is supposed to tell the "real" story about why he was killed, sounds like there was/is some controversy about it.

    There's a description of what happened on the Wiki page for Gen. Rose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Rose
     
  11. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    You guys are awesome! Thank you! I've been trying to figure that out all day.
     
  12. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Great find on the list of awards and casualties for the 46th TB.

    Photos of the 13th AD at Camp Beale, California can be found on this site.

    13th Armored Division - 496th Armored Field Artillery Battalion

    I extracted the attached photo of the 46th Tank Battalion. I would guess the date to be either Oct 1943 or Oct 1944. Activation Day being the anniversary of the 13th AD activation.


    Given he entered the Army in Feb 1941 and the 13th AD was not activated until Oct 1942, it is impossible to say where he was or what he did before he went to the 13th AD. He could have served with one of the low number armored divisions. It is even hard to say when he arrived at the 13th AD. He could have been there from the very beginning as "cadre", slightly later as a "filler" or arrived later still as a replacement before the 13th AD shipped overseas.

    Googling "tank mechanic" "army" "1944" I found a veteran's story that indicated Tank Mechanics were trained at Ft Knox, Kentucky for 14 weeks.

    A short synopsis of the 13th AD in training. Occasionally Googling his unit, his job and locations might yield something surprising.

    Oct 1942 - Activated at Camp Beale, Calif.
    Sept 1943 - Division reorganized; 2d Bn, 46th Armored Regiment reorganized as the 46th Tank Battalion
    Dec 1943 - moved to Camp Bowie, Texas
    Jan 1945 - staged Camp Kilmer, NJ. for embarkation
    Jan 1945 - arrived L'Harve France
     

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  13. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    Thanks, Earthican, I've seen the photos and Google every day. The whole Rose Operation had me stumped though. Particularly because the history notes that he was KIA not DOW. The only other info I have about him, was from family, who said he was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. I haven't been able to confirm or dismiss his participation. I haven't been able to pinpoint the exact date he was deployed to the ETO.
     
  14. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Jules, I forgot to ask where you got the page with the awards/casualties that you attached in post #47?
     
  15. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    The info about the 46th is a little more than halfway down.
    46th History
     
  16. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    I think I may have pieced together a little more on the circumstances in relation to my uncle's death. It is highly possible that he may have received wounds, from which he died, or killed in action due to "friendly fire". Its unfortunate regardless of how he died, but after deciphering the chickenscrtach that was the report for the 46th, I am leaning toward that as being the cause. I'm sure if his IDPF arrives, it will confirm my suspisions. You guys have been such a huge help, I thought that I should share.
    Thanks.
    I'll let you know if I find out more.
     
  17. Natman

    Natman Member

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    What info in the 46th report are you basing your idea on? I saw "friendly fire" mentioned on the 10th.

    Here's a link to a site which will help you with all the coordinates in the report: The "Coordinates Translator" On this page, go to the box that says "British Cassini Grid" and use the little arrow-that will give you a list of grids, choose the "Nord de Guerre Grid". Go to the box directly below (above the "Convert" button) and type in "wF6649" which will take you to Algert, the last town mentioned on the 10th. All of the coordinates thru these April pages of the AAR will be entered the same way, small "w" followed by large "F" and the numbers (either four or six digits). You can follow where they were using this site. Many times the location will not be in a town.

    Have fun!
     
  18. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I feel the need to caution against expecting too much from the IDPF. The majority of the documents will have to do with the disposition of his remains and his personal effects. It is likely there will also be copies of correspondence between the Army and the next of kin or family representative. It is not a certainty that all your questions about his death will be answered. In fact, it could very well muddy the waters or, better yet, generate more questions. At least, that is my experience with the ones I have reviewed. I would be very surprised if it provided any info at all as to whether or not his wounds were sustained by "friendly fire". On the other hand, you never know until you receive it. ;)
     
  19. missconduct

    missconduct Member

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    I'm really not very concerned with HOW he died, just THAT he died. if I am able to learn a little more about what he did, who he was, and how he ended up where he is now would be something special to me, personally. My main focus is that I had an uncle who served my country, gave his life for my country, and well, to be blunt, died for me and everyone around me. So my original motivation has not changed. Regardless of how much time has passed, we all should still be greatful and should never forget, never ever forget ANY of the men who served. Ever.
     
  20. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Exactly, having a personal connection is an entry point. Once you learn about the experience of one you will be able to understand many others. But you will always be surprised by the different twists in each soldier's story.


    When I suggested you obtain the IDPF, it was because you had nothing else to go by. Since other information has turned up, the IDPF is not that important. Though there is some doubt about what actually happened from 14 to 18 April 1945.


    I think there is a 95% chance Edward went overseas with the 13th AD so his story coincides with their journey. If you wanted to confirm that, you could check to see if there were any Rosters for B Company, 46th Tank Battalion in 1944. You would have to hire a researcher to check the files in St Louis.

    Access to Morning Reports and Unit Rosters

    Whether any Rosters exist is unknown until someone looks. They were compiled irregularly and filed irregularly. I have not seen anyone on this forum report any success in finding a Roster, though that website says they exist.


    Also the Morning Reports from 14 to 18 April 1945 might be of interest if the IDPF does not clarify the situation. Though a MR might only indicate "seriously wounded and evacuated".
     

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