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Just received Grandpa's service records. A few questions....

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by mynameismatt, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. mynameismatt

    mynameismatt New Member

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    Hi all, thanks for looking. My Grandfather served in the 88th in WWII. He never spoke of his time in Italy, and threw his medals away after he returned home. My father and I decided to see if we could get his records. Luckily, they weren't completely destroyed in the fire and we received 46 pages. Pretty cool stuff. I would like to make a display for my Dad for father's day with some information on his dad along with replacement medals.

    Already off hand, we learned that he was in the 349th, Company M and he received a good conduct medal, Euro/African/Med campaign medal, CIB, and 3 bronze service stars. It appears he was discharged as a Corporal.

    I do have a couple of random questions, if you would take a look:

    1. I see no reference to a WWII victory medal in the paperwork. I was under the assumption that all U.S. soldiers who participated in WWII were awarded this? Would he have received one even if there is no apparent paperwork for it? (would it be wrong of me to get one for him now?)

    2. We know he was in company M. I've read that generally M companies in Infantries were always "Heavy Weapons." He did tell my dad that he manned a .30 1919, so that would make sense. Would a Heavy Weapons company be used differently than "normal" company? Also, Would he still have been issued a weapon of his own?

    2. What exactly are these files? I received about 8 of them. They appear to be some sort of transfer papers? Do the "chads" in the paper mean anything?

    [​IMG]

    Thank you so much for your time! I Really appreciate it!
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I would guess that yes he got the victory medal, that he likely might have been issued a side arm (pistol or carbine), A "Heavy weapons" Co. might in a pinch be used as a line Infantry Co. and the unit is the 538th Replacement Company.
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I'm not sure about the card, since I've never seen one before. My guess, from looking at it, is that the card helps NARA locate the morning reports for the unit. I believe the chads are just the way the machine reads the card. Did you get morning reports for the unit? if so, these cards are just locator ones. All this is guesswork on my part, but it makes sense (at least to me).

    By the way, welcome to the forum.
     
  4. dobbie

    dobbie recruit

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    the unit is what we used to call a "repple depple" Its the replacement station which soldiers process through on the way to their permanent party assignment.​
     
  5. Buten42

    Buten42 Member

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    Any soldier who serves even one day during the war-regardless where- earned the Victory Medal.
    The medal wasn't authorized until 1946 so it didn't show on the records of the men who were discharged in 45 and some even in 46.
    If you fill out a SF180 and send it to NARA and ask for a replacment set of his medals they research the records and send you a set.. Your father is next of kin, so they will be free..
     
  6. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Wow. It's been a while since I've seen a punch card. Before there were flash drives, CDs, floppy disks (or personal computers for that matter), there were computer punch cards. Here's a video that shows how they work:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaVwzYN6BP4
     
  7. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    The 88th Division was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm, which would also not be shown on his records. Here's a copy of the GO 43:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Member

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    Matt.

    88 US Inf Div were one of two assaulting Divisions at the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. They were part of II (US) Corps and attacked alongside 85 US Inf Div. On the right of II (US) Corps were 99,000 men of the French Expeditionary Corps.

    After three futile attacks on the formidable Gustav Line between Jan-Mar 44, the Americans and French launched their attacks on 11 May 44 from the far bank which had been secured for them by the X (BR) Corps on 17 Jan 44. The attack was a slog and huge casualties were incurred but it worked and the right flank of the Gustav Line caved in.

    88 US Inf Div drove hard and reached VI (US) Corps at Anzio just prior to the breakout from the beachhead on 23 May 44.

    Given that this was a green and untried formation, they did very well.

    Regards

    FdeP
     
  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Each regiment had 3 battalions - 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Each battalion had 4 companies with letter designations. A, B, C and D would be the 1st battalion. E, F, G and H would be the 2nd battalion. I, K, L and M would would be the third battalion (J wasn't used because it was too easy to confuse it with "I" in written communications).

    The first three companies (A, B, C) were rifle companies, while the 4th, D, (or M in 3rd battalion) would be mortars and heavy machine guns. The machine guns were generally assigned to support the rifle companies and where they were placed was dependent on which company was holding the most dangerous sector or which company was leading an attack, etc. The mortars as well, might be moved to support a particular company or divided evenly among them all depending on the situation.

    It was a very flexible arrangement.

    I'm not sure if a heavy machine gunner would have a carbine or other rifle. He'd certainly have a .45.
     
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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  11. Steve Petersen

    Steve Petersen Member

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    My father-in-law was in a heavy weapons company (M) in the 339th Infantry of the 85 Division. His regiment actually went on the line with the 88th, relieving one of the 88ths regiments on the left flank of II Corps in Italy. That was March of '44.
     
  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    It is a small world. My great uncle's TD Company C was attached to the 337th & 338th of the 85th during the 4th Battle of Cassino. Here's a great map from HyperWar that shows the relative positions of the 85th and 88th Divisions as well as their respective regiments as of 11-12 May 1944.
     

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