Brest, Naval submarine pens, Sept 18th 1944
Posted 31 August 2008 - 09:03 AM
Posted 01 September 2008 - 12:54 AM
Now what about that pouch on the photo ? MP40 pouch ?
Yep! MP40 pouch for sure, probably on belt. It seems he also has captured German binoculars in case (on his back).
Charlie, I would be glad to see your grandfather shaving kit!
Edited by cutiger83, 02 September 2014 - 01:42 PM.
Posted 04 November 2009 - 10:07 AM
Helmet & belt
I was very inspired by your display. I remember the green helmet liner and utility belt my father, a 29er, brought home and I’d play with. I also remember a green ammo box that he used for a tool box.
Your site describes a battle outside the pens. He was in a battle outside of the port city. He had come down from the area of St. Lo. He was a 17-yr-old. Much of the time, he was “on point.” That meant he would be sent into the fields surrounded by hedgerows and when he got shot at, he’d drop to ground. His unit behind him would then shoot in the direction of the muzzle flashes and smoke.
Nice way to visit France.
SS Troops Mow Down Green US Troops
As he got close, he encountered SS troops, as your site describes. He said they fought fiercely. On the way, when he up on the hedgerows, he saw several Germans trying to flank his men. When he raised his arm to alert his men, he was hit on the arm by machine gun fire. Got a Purple Heart. That was the only official thanks he got, except for one of his men who told a panicked medic that he would shoot him if he didn’t treat my dad. He was patched up and sent walking on his own to the rear. The wound had exposed so much “meat,” as he had recalled to me, that everyone so-equipped, would hit him with morphine, thinking he wasn’t going to make it. He later found that that to a large degree the only guys in his company to make it back alive were those who, like him, were wounded. I don’t think it was much of a degree. Those losses weighed heavy on him for the rest of his life. So much so, that when offered an expense-paid trip to Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, he could not go. Fifty years after the landing, some force inside him prevented him from going. Think about that, next time you see a soldier coming home from the Middle East.
My father never told me much about this until decades after his return. I told him one night while I was visiting him that I would not leave until he told me all about his experiences.
Almost 2 years later after hospitalization and rehab, he returned. He took a job with a major chemical company that sent him to serve with a segregated department of minorities; his status was as a wounded vet and didn’t deserve placement with other healthy individuals. The hospital saved the limb, but his hand lost most of its strength and dexterity. As the century of our greatest generation was turning into a new one, he passed on in a VA hospital with “his men.” Looking back, if he could feel himself slipping away, he might have smiled a bit, because he was finally going to see his 29ers again.
Even though I am a professional writer, I have never written about this. To say your site, collections and comments were inspiring is a huge understatement. Please let me know if you know of any more details of the battle for Brest. I do have copy of the “29 Let’s Go” book.
Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:07 AM
Proud29erson: Thanks you so much too for your post an this amazing testimony of the battle experience of your father. I should ask you if you know in which unit he served with (Company and regiment) and the date he was WIA so I can point out the area where he was wounded. Curiously, but as many people around Brest sayed it too, you mention SS troops.
I guess this term SS came by the fact those German soldiers were young, really tough soldiers, and also depicted (by civilians and also soldiers who met them) as great fans of Hitler! How many times while visiting to old farmers, they referred as SS troops, just to make an opposition with the German occupation army who (coastal navy etc.) who were not so rude and in some way showed more humanity... In fact, those elite soldiers were tha Famous Fallschirmjagers (paratroopers). They did well in their job at Brest and in all other places they fought, like St Lô.
If you don't have read it yet, I just can give you two very good books about the 29th at Brest. First is "American in Brittany" by Jon Gawne (H&C publisher). Jon is a forum member here, and he is also the son of a veteran of that battle. Jon's father was also badly wounded during the battle of Brest). The book is just very good, as any of his books to say the least...
A second book "From Beachhead to Brittany" is all about the 29th division at Brest. It is the last book of Joseph Balkoski, author of famous "Beyond the Beachead", and Joe is The 29th Historian!
If you get some more info about the unit of your father, I'll try to be of more help to you.
Anyway, all the best to you and thanks again for your message here!
Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:43 AM
Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:47 AM
I am speechless.....simply amazing and a real tribute to the 29ers who were on the receiving and giving end of so much combat during their march into the Reich! Fantastic!
Posted 05 November 2009 - 07:21 AM
Small quizz to You John:
Did you ever see this old car before??? Photo is taken Sept 18th in front of the sub pen after it's capture,
I want to add those two photos taken at the 8th Infantry Division CP before the main US attack of August 25th. A few German parlementaries have crossed the lines (in the same car shown above) to give a message to general Stroh. According to what I have heard those German officers (LW and KM) parlementaries went to visit US CP to tell the US that Germans POWs had received bad treatments from French partisans (probably those POW from FJR7 who were liberated by a FJ commando at Brasparts...). So they asked the US forces to take care of POWs and respect the Geneva convention.
So we know this car survived the one month battle and was captured in the sub pen. Don't know what happened to it after but just dream to the day I 'll find it in the old barn (along with the German officer's uniforms ...)
Posted 08 February 2014 - 07:07 AM
Great mannequin! it looks so much like the picture of the men in Brest.
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