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#26 APO472

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:10 PM

Well I have to agree with JGawne on this one. There were (to the best of what I have been able to research in 30+ years) 3 different GRS places around Bastonge. These are from one of them. By "dumb luck" # 2 was discovered less than 18 months ago. AND NO! I DON"T HUNT GRAVE PITS! I was there with a Veteran of the 101st and #2 surfaced while they were doing construction in that area. People would be "floored" with what we saw and left and didn't take.

#27 gwb123

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:34 PM

I am reading this and wondering if I am the only one who has a discomfort level with such finds.

I am not being critical of those who are recovering these items, and I am sure they are being handled with respect.

But these are not items from battlefields or foxholes. The consensus seems to be that these are from a graves registration point.
These are the material remains of men who died in combat. Somehow that just puts a different spin on it for me.

I am curious why these items were not interred with their owners... rings, jump wings, etc. Items damaged by bullets... I understand
why they would be discarded. But I don't understand why other items were pulled and separated, and then discarded into what we
are calling a dump site. If they were not to remain with their owners, then why were they not returned to the next of kin?

This "find" is a mystery, and a sad one at that. It raises questions that have not been answered since 1944.

#28 RustyCanteen

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:38 PM

Gil, I agree.

It's history, but a reminder that history is more than words or uniforms; people fought and died making it.

#29 patches

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:13 AM

img1525990757.jpg

It's pretty save to say that this GI tag with the German unit was placed on grave marker for a Soldier of the 116th Panzer Division. The unit, Panzer Grenadier Ausbildungs und Ersatz Battalion 1 was from what I can tell a Depot unit of the 179. Reserve Panzer Division, it was in April/May 1944 combind with remnants of the 16.Panzer Grenadier Division, that division was recently mauled in heavy fighting in the lower Dnieper river area in the late winter of 1944, it suffered heavy losses before in the late summer to the fall in the South Eastern Unkrain withdrawing to the Mius River and later in Zaporozhye, so it was combind with the 179. Reserve Division to make a full Panzer Division which received the number 116, thus the German unit that was put on this GI tag must have been copied from the dead Germans Indentity Tags.

These tags for those not familar with them normally carried the German Soldiers Training Depot Battalion, the unit he first undertook training with after entering the Army, he was not giving a new one when he left the depot and arrived at his unit at the front, he would only have the ID tag upgraded with his current unit if he lost his Tags or they were damaged and had to be replaced, in either case, then he would have the unit he was in stamped on these replacment tags. Naturally these German "Dog Tags" if found were a bedevilment for front line American and British officers and NCOs because in the main these didn't properly ID the unit that they were up against, that information had to be found in Soldbuchs, but I gather most Front line GIs, officers and men alike didn't really know how to read a Soldbuch, that was left up to the higher intelligence people at battalion or more likly Regiment.

The Germans had bit of a problem themselves in telling what info was stamped on GI tags, though not as drastic, like they always thought that the Tetnus innoculation headings stamped on the tags, the T with what were the last two digits of the year they were givin their shots were part of the American Soldiers Identifcation Number, usually to the point of offically listing the T headings as a part of the full ID number of the Captured or killed GI in official war diaries, also in putting this on grave markers that the Germans erected over the American graves.


By the way, we see black magic marker have been applied to somethings, if you don't mind telling,what has been redacted on this tag?

Edited by patches, 24 December 2012 - 12:20 AM.


#30 jgawne

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:53 PM

There are a couple of different kinds of trash this could be. And pretty much anything with blood or damage on it was specifically not to be sent home as it would upset the families. Some was sent, more often not. There also was not as much checking the blown up andmud and blood coated remains as one might think for items. The GRS folks just did what they could, and got them in the ground, especially when things were busy.

I suspect this stuff may have been the remains left over after the bodies were disinterred, and moved to a more permanent grave. Without going into the details, which are mildly gruesome, before re-interring the bodies or preparing them for shipment home, they cleaned them up and stripped off all the old uniforms, blankets, etc. they were burried in. This reminder (known as the slurry) was dicarded in a nearby pit. No one ever thought anyone would actually want the stuff.

#31 manayunkman

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 07:00 PM

I sure would like to hear more from Jim023Haarlem

Do you know what this area is ?

Can we see more of the tags ?

How was the area found ?

It looks like my backyard in Pa. how can you tell this is Bastogne ?

#32 APO472

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

I sure would like to hear more from Jim023Haarlem

Do you know what this area is ?

Can we see more of the tags ?

How was the area found ?

It looks like my backyard in Pa. how can you tell this is Bastogne ?

I think it is what I call area #1. Near the 326th Med which I will leave at that. I have already sent a LETTER to AM (with photos) to see if he agrees. Anyone who knows Bulge research will know who AM is and no further need to share here.

#33 patches

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 09:21 PM

There are a couple of different kinds of trash this could be. And pretty much anything with blood or damage on it was specifically not to be sent home as it would upset the families. Some was sent, more often not. There also was not as much checking the blown up andmud and blood coated remains as one might think for items. The GRS folks just did what they could, and got them in the ground, especially when things were busy.

I suspect this stuff may have been the remains left over after the bodies were disinterred, and moved to a more permanent grave. Without going into the details, which are mildly gruesome, before re-interring the bodies or preparing them for shipment home, they cleaned them up and stripped off all the old uniforms, blankets, etc. they were burried in. This reminder (known as the slurry) was dicarded in a nearby pit. No one ever thought anyone would actually want the stuff.


I,m in agreement with this jgawne, this sounds the most plausible, these burials took place all over the place in Italy, areas of France, Beligium, and later in Germany, after a spell towards the end of the War these burials were disintered, and moved to the permanent Military Cemetaries that were being built, in Belgium, we have inexample Hamm, this buried detritus of war seen here would to my mind would have been done at the end of the war, note that Dog Tags where put on the markers or buried with the body, this was to ID the body, the other tag was filed away as proof of a KIA, DOW.

These tags here that have been dug up I,m pretty certain were those that were nailed to a marker. When disinternment was carried out the bodies themselves bed sheets and all were just placed in standard coffins and transported to the permanent cemetary, they would not been cleaned or anything like this simply because by that time the bodies would already be in a stage of decomposure right, heck I doubt the bodies were not even checked for additional items that might be in any pockets, the GRS troops just wanted to get on with what most certainly was a horrible duty. A Tag that might have been buried on the body was left on the body too, it was not removed, what was removed was the tag if one was nailed to a marker. These ones found in the topic are from what I think, such tags, there were no need to keep them, the mans name was noted from both the Graves Registration Units official records, IE unit date of birth date of death and the name written on the temporary marker or if Tag was placed instead of the info being written on the marker, then the tag, all the man's information was then firmily attached to the coffin and then sent on it's way to say Hamm.

No idea though on the German GI tag, there is something on it redacted in the photo, it may be his name. the unit of course is not the unit he was in when he was killed though. The Garbo tag poses alot of questions as well, what are your thoughts on Garbo?

#34 bobgee

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:18 PM

Any more on this fantastic find? Am I seeing the top of an M1 helmet with an NCO stripe it? Bpbgee

#35 doyler

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

Any more on this fantastic find? Am I seeing the top of an M1 helmet with an NCO stripe it? Bpbgee


Bob

Looks like a liner.In one of the pics you could see it protruding out of the side of the dig.I saw it earlier and was hoping to see more pics

Edited by doyler, 29 December 2012 - 07:29 PM.


#36 manayunkman

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

I sure hope to hear more from the author of this topic.

#37 patches

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

I sure hope to hear more from the author of this topic.


I noticed a few days ago he was following/browsing the topic, but as we see, made no additional quotes.

#38 manayunkman

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:46 AM

Everything about this topic is mysterious to me.

#39 TCSchultz

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:39 AM

In the fourth photo of the Dogtags in the case I was able to ID another one of the tags as belonging to the following KIA as it's a match for his serial number that you can make out as well as his name.

PVT Frank M. Valerian
ID: 32055201
Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Hometown: Essex County, NJ
Status: KIA

From his stateside Headstone Application he was killed 12 Dec. 1944 and he was a member of the 603rd Graves Registration Company which is an odd twist in that everyone so far here has thought that these items came from a dump site for a cemetery.

Name: Frank M Valerian Birth Date: 17 Feb 1919 Death Date: 24 Dec 1944 Cemetery: Mt Olivet Cemetery Cemetery Location: Bloomfield, New Jersey

Here's some information on his unit as well from the web:

"603rd Quartermaster Graves Registration Company, I was with the unit all through WW II, landing in Normandy
the second day, my platoon, the Third, was attached to the 90 Infantry Division, the First
Platoon was attached to the Fourth Infantry Division, The Second Platoon was attached
to the Ninth Infantry Division, and the Fourth Platoon was attached to the 82
nd Airborne Division, with Sgt. Elbert Legg of the Fourth Platoon landing with the Division, via Glider,on D-day 6 June 1944, and starting the Bloseville Cemetery for the 82nd on 7 June 1944.
TheCompany was assigned to the First US Army during the entire war and attached to the
Seventh, Eighteenth, and Fifth Corps at different times during the War in Europe.

We established Ten Temporary US and Enemy Cemeteries during WW II in Europe. We
also did battlefield recovery of US, Allied and Enemy dead, operated Division and Corps
Collecting Points for US, Allied and Enemy Dead. In addition, during the War and after
the war we did isolated burial recoveries. Which was going out locating graves of deceased
military, where the military, enemy and civilians had made temporary burials. This included
investigating downed aircraft reports and recovering remains from these crashes.



#40 TCSchultz

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:43 AM

Quick correction is that he was killed 24 December 1944.

#41 KevinS

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:37 AM

The topic starter is also active on a Dutch forum where I am active too. There were a lot of problems on the forum because people tried to blackmail the finder of these items for some, to me, unknown reasons?? I replied to the topic on the Dutch forum that you guys here probably knew where they found the items and I got attacked by PM's because people thought I was trying to steal ''their'' place. I'm not even active with a metal detector :wacko: ...The finder sent me a PM too that I was lying about everything and that nobody could know where ''their'' place was but after I replied to his PM I never heard of him again...

#42 ludwigh1980

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:01 AM

Personally, I think this sort of relic hunting should be taboo. I relic hunt my self here state side and find this offensive. WW2 is still very much on the memory of the U.S. with vets still alive. I personaly think that personal belongings of deseased U.S. servicemen should be off limits especially dog tags. The recent spike in popularity of WW2 militaria (and subsequently value) has done this. I would be quite irate if I saw someone digging up a relic that could be identified to a relative that was killed and then displayed in some private display case. That goes for any soldier personal belongings that are found no matter what side Allied or Axis. Should be turned in a returned to country from wince the soldier came, with the hope that it can be returned to the family.
My two cents,

Terry in Colorado

#43 KevinS

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

Terry, I also know relic hunters who did return ID'ed messtins or dogtags they found to the Vet himself or to his family and they couldn't believe their eyes when they got the items back so it depends on the finders. Only thing I read on the Dutch forum is that the finder of these items wants to research the dogtags and wants to keep them all together..

Edited by KevinS, 12 January 2013 - 10:54 AM.


#44 manayunkman

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:57 AM

Please forgive me Terry but did you contradict yourself by accident ?

I quote:

Personally, I think this sort of relic hunting should be taboo. I relic hunt my self here state side and find this offensive.

That said.

Being school trained as an archeologist and having been on several Greek and Roman digs I have no problem with unearthing these items.

I find it fascinating and educational.

My problem is how it is handled.

It is clear that these guys are not professional archeologists.

I think some of us on the forum see it more as grave robbing.

Though I can't wait to see and learn more I wish it was being done by the proper authorities.

As far as anyone knowing where this site is I would think it rather impossible to pin point it.

All those trees look the same to me.

#45 hink441

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

Personally, I think this sort of relic hunting should be taboo. I relic hunt my self here state side and find this offensive. WW2 is still very much on the memory of the U.S. with vets still alive. I personaly think that personal belongings of deseased U.S. servicemen should be off limits especially dog tags. The recent spike in popularity of WW2 militaria (and subsequently value) has done this. I would be quite irate if I saw someone digging up a relic that could be identified to a relative that was killed and then displayed in some private display case. That goes for any soldier personal belongings that are found no matter what side Allied or Axis. Should be turned in a returned to country from wince the soldier came, with the hope that it can be returned to the family.
My two cents,

Terry in Colorado


Well said, I agree completely. I think the difference between WW2 relic hunting and US Civil War relic hunting is the time frames. There are still people walking the Earth that fought and bled during WW2. I have relatives that did not come back from the European Continent. I really don't want to see my KIA Grandfather's recovered Dog-tags being sold on e-bay. Just my opinion.

#46 ludwigh1980

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:53 PM

Hello, well since I own the ground I relic hunt on (a Colorado Mining Ghost town) and ranch land that produces arrow heads once in a while, I see it a bit differnt. I can assure you if I found U.S. Army relics from official grave recovery operation I would donate them to proper chanels. Public lands both Federal and State (Colorado ) have been off limits for several years. Roman, Greek, or Egyptian, Neolithic, Native American relics and archeological artifacts present an impossible challenge to determine linkage to surviving relatives, excluding DNA. In this case these dog tags are identified to an idividual that existed or died less than 70 years ago. If not still living they are, for the most part, still apart of some-ones living memory. People get in an uproar when ever some-one disturbs Native American Ruins in the Four corners, defaces an ancient pictograph or digs on a National Battlefield illegally, wanting the person imprisoned for life. Each of these archeological sites provide minimal impact on people living today. They might provide enjoyment for one that is interested; a scholar, a researcher, or even a tourist. It might provide a tiny bit of insight into a time long ago but does it really impact anyone in the now in regards to health, longivity, quality of live, etc.
These relics as pictured in this post are very recent and represent tragedy and loss, hardship and suffering. Sorry, I don't see this the same as coinshooting around on one of my properties and certainly falls into the legal definition of sacred items. I see no difference from these items and a U.S. Navy vessel that was sunk during a naval engagement in international waters.

However, different country, different laws.

#47 KevinS

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:12 AM

I really don't want to see my KIA Grandfather's recovered Dog-tags being sold on e-bay. Just my opinion.


Hink, I really get your point BUT couldn't all the military items we buy on Ebay, named or not, be from a KIA soldier?

#48 hink441

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:07 PM

Never mind. This one is a little too sensitive for me to comment on. I am going to bow out of this discussion.

Chris

Edited by hink441, 13 January 2013 - 12:14 PM.


#49 patches

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:13 PM

Just for the sake of it, if I had to guess where this site is, I'd guess that the site is around Houffalize.

#50 USMarineCorps

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

I presume they found this stuff at Foy ( near Bastogne ) as there was a temporary grave site there at that time.

Frederik


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