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36thIDAlex

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Posts posted by 36thIDAlex

  1. Hey all! 

     

    So today myself and a fellow librarian agreed to begin a small personal project which I think might be useful for the community. My university contains a free inter-library loan program which allows us to request almost anything from almost any instutiton across the country, includign many military and government libraries. We thought it might be a good idea to find what all books, unit histories, or reports might be available contain full or partial rosters for units involved in the war.

     

    We were thinking like division level but I know some regiments published their own books which contained rosters as well. What we are hoping to do is request as many of these as we can in hopes of scanning and publishing the lists somewhere online so that researchers, collectors, and historians can get some decent access to ones that are available. I know there are a few sites out there but I know they are works in progress as well and some seem to fall off at times. 

     

    My question for the folks on here, is what books you might know that contain lists like these? Sometimes they are full rosters, other times lists of medal recipients, occasionally it might be a list of organization members. Anything that might help us start putting together units lists is what we would hope for and any help or suggestions is appreciated!

     

    Best,

    Alex

     

     

  2. Today we have a really nice uniform group from a pretty hard to find infantry division.

     

    Robert Lloyd Dresser was born to a musical and rather classy family in Akron, Ohio. His father, Clarence Dresser, served in Italy as a member of the 332nd regimental band of the 83rd Division during the great war and returned home to become a trumpet player for the Vaudeville shows in the city. A year after his parent’s marriage Robert was born and as the depression hit, his status as a single child became certain. While his early years were full of music, learning to play many instruments from his father, he began to see less and less of him as the economic crash hit his family. Now working in one of Akron’s many growing rubber factories, Robert watched his once lively and entertaining father slog his way through a long factory job in order to make ends meet.

     

    As he grew older Robert became a bit of a quiet and studious person. Performing very well academically, his first job came during high school as a bookkeeper and librarian at the Akron Public Library. The job did not last long, however, as he received his draft notice in 1942 and soon shipped off to Camp Blanding, Florida where he did his basic and joined the first soldiers of the newly reformed 66th Infantry Division. With his library experience, Dresser trained as a rifleman first but became a clerk and staff for the regimental headquarters of the 262nd Infantry Regiment. He followed the division around the United States for several years until the day finally came for all members to begin the trek overseas.

     

    Arriving in England in November of 1944, the 66th was planned to become a replacement division for the many troops who had been engaged since D-Day. On Christmas eve the division loaded onto two transport ships, the S.S. Leopoldville and Cheshire, and made their way to the French shore. Dresser, along with regimental headquarters and the first battalion of the 262nd, resided on the Cheshire while the rest joined the 264th on the Leopoldville. 5 miles out from Cherbourg, Dresser and the men of the Cheshire awoke to loud clamor and explosions coming outside their ship. Rushing to the deck, they saw the burning and slowly sinking Leopoldville churling over in the channel, the result of a German U-Boat torpedo which met the hull. Taking on what survivors they could, Dresser and the rest were forced to leave behind thousands of GIs before making a second trip back to the slowly sinking ship. In all, almost 800 soldiers died in the attack, many from Dresser’s own unit.

     

    Now soundly on the mainland, the 66th received what would become its defining role during the war. Replacing the 94th ID in northern France, they were assigned to begin operations to crush the German stronghold around Lorient, St. Nazaire, Royan, and La Rochelle. These important ports were home to many German naval facilities including several U-Boat pens. As the allies pushed further during the invasion, however, the nearly 100,00 German troops guarding these coastal facilities were left surrounded and isolated, held in place by changing Free French, US, and British forces. When Dresser and the 66th arrived in the winter of 44-45, the allies finally decided to strike back and close the pocket in retaliation for the offensive in the Bulge. Now holding a 112 mile front, the “Panthers” sent patrols day and night along the line to slowly but surely eliminate strongholds of enemy resistance. Despite lacking reinforcements and the type of support enjoyed by the main army, the Germsn fought back hard and gave the 66th a hell of a fight. The combat continued for several months but really began to lighten up by March and April. ON V-E Day, the German officers of the final, now miniscule, pocket, met commanders of the 66th and Free French forces in St. Nazaire to announce their formal surrender.

     

    During the period of combat, Dresser served primarily in his role as staff for the 262nd regiment. While he had his share of artillery bombardments, patrols, and close calls, he was luckily able to keep a pretty low profile by overseeing the strategic operations for the regiment. As they had arrived so late, Dresser and many of the Panthers had to serve their time of occupation duty from France to Austria. Eventually he was granted return home where he married and settled down, spending many years as a purchaser and inspector for the Wadsworth Sash and Door Company but never forgetting his time overseas as a Panther.

     

    In all, a really cool uniform from a pretty hard to find division. I really had no idea what the 66th did before researching this uniform but they had a very interesting story, which makes sense why they were only awarded a single campaign star for Northern France. I haven't been able to find many photo examples of 66th uniforms with DUIs and most of them I do find tend to only use the divisional ones. It was hard to find a photo of the 262nd DUI as I believe they didn't get official pins until after the war, which may explain the common use of divisional insignia. The ribbons are all plastic covered as well. I just wish we could ban size 34 jackets as they never fit on my mannequins.

     

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  3. Here’s a close up of the PT Boater and a link to the group. All came locally from his estate.

    The armor/7th army uniform belonged to an M4A1 (76) Sherman radio operator/assistant driver/MG Gunner of the 782nd Tnk Bn who was heavily wounded after his tank was shot twice by panzerfausts

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    Here’s the link to my group of the boater

    https://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/341140-extensive-pt-boat-uniform-grouping-mtb-ron-33-37/

  4. Hey all, I decided to take some family portraits of my uniform collection before I head off to school this year. All pieces are IDd, named, and researched. Most have photos of the veterans as well. Only ones not included are a few pieces of named field and a few named non-WWII uniforms. You might see an infantry theme as I am attempting to collect a named uniform from each infantry division of the European theater.

     

    Enjoy!

     

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  5. Hey everyone. I recently expanded my 36th ID collection with a neat piece from a pretty hard to find unit. Major El Roy P. Master was a graduate of West Point and fought from Algeria to Germany with the 443rd Anti-Aircraft Battalion (attached to the 36th ID from Salerno onwards), earning a Bronze Star and 9 campaign stars in the process. I've typed a bit of his story below. It’s a lengthy read but honestly a very interesting story from a oft-overlooked AAA unit that had a very distinguished fighting career.

     

    El Roy grew up the son of an auto mechanic in the small industrial town of Robesonia, Pennsylvania. A proud Boy Scout, he was happy with life until his mother passed away while he was still a boy. Saddened by her loss, he began seeking out greater aspirations than his hometown and after graduating high school, received a congressional appointment to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Part of 4th Company in the class of 1942, El Roy enjoyed his studies and grew excited at the prospect of war on the horizon. In his senior year, his desires came true, and before long El Roy would join as an artillery officer in Uncle Sam’s army.

     

    Immediately following graduation El Roy was sent to Camp Davis, North Carolina where he officially transferred into the Coastal Artillery Corps and began training for anti-aircraft and special artillery battery tactics. Only spending a month or so in the specialized school, the army saw El Roy as a potential candidate to join some of the first forces in Europe. In July of 1942 he moved to D Battery of the newly created 443rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (self-propelled). He proved his worth and prowess to the company commander and after a month of service was promoted to 1st Lieutenant as XO of the company.

     

    The 443rd was a special outfit, specially tasked with using and testing the army’s new T-28-E1 AAA halftracks. With the growing influence of air power in military ground actions, the army hoped to develop an effective and powerful gun that could move under its own power. Based on the M3 half-track chassis, the T28 featured a 37mm M1 anti-aircraft gun and two .50 caliber Brownings on a rotating platform. This was one of the first mobile AAA platforms to be adopted by the army in large numbers and one of the most prominent to be used in the North African theater. El Roy and his company were given T28s in the summer of 1942 and grew proficient enough in their operation that they were tasked with joining General Patton for the invasion of Morocco that November.

     

    After a rough ride to Africa, the 443rd made it to the port of Lyautey in French Morocco alongside the 3rd Infantry Division and got their first taste of combat against the French air forces. El Roy and his men did their job, effectively eliminating all sources of aerial opposition for the American troops. The first kill was even credited to El Roy’s company as they knocked out a French dive bomber while en route to the beach in their landing craft. The American forces knocked out most of the French military defenses and by November 11th, the French had surrendered. The army did not stop there, however, and the 443rd was pushed along to Casablanca to shore up the assault against the city. On the way the unit was pestered by French snipers, planes, and vehicles. Once the city was captured El Roy and his company were sent to join the 9th Infantry Division for defensive duty where they fought off several night bomber raids. The 37mm cannon on their halftracks, however, was able to handle every enemy the battalion came across. The T28 gained a reputation as a successful gun platform and the 443rd, as a well-oiled machine.

     

    As Casablanca and the French territories fell under Allied control, the 443rd regrouped in preparation for the assault in Tunisia. Assigned to the 1st Armored Division, the men began their trek across the blistering African desert and mountains to join the Americans for the defense of southern Tunisia from Rommel’s forces. El Roy’s company specifically was sent to defend the Ousseltia valley where it successfully held off German assaults, saving nearby French and British forces. ME-109s and JU-87s became the enemy of the 443rd, with the Luftwaffe playing endless games against the AAA to attack the nearby allied ground forces. Even so, the 443rd held their own and their position earned the nickname of “The Hornets Nest” to the German pilots. Despite the onslaught, the German attack was eventually halted and the valley held.

     

    A quote from a C Company member summed up the actions well:

     

    “During the day we were constantly on alert for planes and we moved in blackout at night, to new positions. Everyone was worn out but we kept awake. I can still see those planes overhead. We fired and fired. We were scared! There were raids every 20 minutes and we thought the day would never end. They kept this up for days but did little damage as we kept knocking them down. They began to respect our guns and stayed out of range. But those 88 mm shells! The whole crew was really afraid of them. No sooner did we move to new positions than the Germans would start shelling us and we leaped into our foxholes, saying our prayers.”

     

    Throughout the desert campaigns, El Roy and the 443rd men endured many evening sandstorms when the fine sand and grit sifted into eyes, nose, food and clothing, and sand clouds were churned up during all vehicle movements. Gun crews had to constantly clean and grease the 37 mm guns, the .50 cal. machine guns and small arms. Parachute silk was cut and used as neck scarves to try to keep the sand out of clothing. Water was at a premium and baths were a forgotten luxury except for those rare occasions when old Roman baths were discovered, such as those at Constantine and Gafsa. The battalion spent most of its days amongst the 1st Armor shooting down dozens of 109s and Stukas of Rommel’s desert Air Force. Playing crucial roles at Faid and the Kasserine pass, without the 443rd, it is doubtful the 1st Armored could have been as successful against Rommel under constant Luftwaffe firepower.

     

    Proving their mettle under the African sun against Rommel, the 443rd became known as a crack AA unit amongst the American Mediterranean forces. As generals began planning for the invasion of Sicily, El Roy and his men were specially chosen to join the assault forces. After some much needed refit and repair, El Roy and the battalion joined the 3rd Infantry Division for the assault on Sicily. With airfield day priority for the invading infantry, the 443rd was tasked with defending several small airfields from German strafing and bombing attacks, and did so successfully. As the advance continued, the 443rd often followed the attacking troops and got some of the best treatment from the happily liberated Sicilians. After the initial German air power had been dealt with, the campaign was pretty smooth for the AAA men.

     

    While recovering from Sicily, the 443rd got word that they would soon be joining the 36th Infantry Division in the fall of 1943. They had heard of the division’s exploits at Salerno. First seeing action with the unit during the Naples-Foggia campaign, the AAA distinguished themselves for their defense of the division artillery units at Mt Maggiore. With the infantry heavily engaged in the uphill battle, the Germans sent wave after wave of ME-109s, FW-190s, and medium bombers to destroy the 36th artillery pounding their own ground troops. The 443rd refused to let it happen, during nonstop in the face of direct anti-personnel strafing and bombing attacks, shooting down over a dozen German craft and fending off many more to protect the vital artillery. Several men of the battalion were awarded the Silver Star for these actions.

     

    The Italian campaign was spotty for the AAA. Air attacks were much less frequent and intensive as they had been in Africa and the Luftwaffe had primarily been driven to attacking by night due to American air superiority. The 443rd continued supporting the 36th throughout, however, and marched through Rome on the day of its liberation with flowers and wreaths adorning their many half tracks.

     

    Eventually El Roy and the troops made their way to mainland Europe following the establishment of the beachheads in Southern France. It was fighting through the breakout of Dragoon that the 443rd began changing its tactics to adapt to an evolving battlefield. With German air power now fairly limited and both M16 and the original T28 halftracks bolstering the battalion, the troops began training for infantry support tactics. Using new ammo and methods to act as defensive strongpoints or offensive heavy weapons. This new style of thinking saw El Roy and his company closely linked to the various infantry regiments of the 36th in support of major operations throughout France and Germany.

     

    Below is a pretty interesting account of the ground assault tactics in use in the Rhineland and German campaign.

     

    “Their first opportunity came when each of the four line batteries provided a gun section to fire across the Vologne River into German positions in the Bois Boremont while the 143rd Infantry attacked Bruyeres from the south and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team attacked from the forest and hills on the west. The enemy must have been surprised and dismayed when several kilometers of hillside in front of them suddenly belched 37mm and .50 cal. fire at irregular intervals throughout the three days of the attack. Even though the 443rd guns were firing from one flank of the attack the Germans reacted by firing their artillery at the 443rd gun-tracks. In spite of the enemy shells falling around them the 443rd men continued to fire upon call from the Battalion Fire Direction Center, manned by the 443rd Operations Officer and Operations Sergeant. Their fire was of enormous value in supporting the attack. Much SP and artillery fire was diverted from the attacking infantry and enemy observation was greatly hindered by air and tree bursts over German positions. Many of the enemy defenders were so unnerved by the rain of lead that they were still unable to function effectively when the first 143rd infantrymen reached their positions. Since that initial ground support mission, 443rd gunners have fired again and again in support of the 36th Division Infantry.

     

    Battery D’s first platoon fired into Laveline de Bruyeres early one morning and received mortar fire in return. However, they were rewarded by seeing their shells start a fire which increased in intensity and culminated in an explosion just before dawn. The 443rd men, returning from their mission, were bemoaning their bad luck, believing that they had blown up the only distillery in the valley. They were considerably relieved when they later learned that they had blown up an ammunition dump.”

     

    The 443rd men found joy in their new role, despite firing large guns five feet off the ground in a lightly armored vehicle. Firing directly at a target rather than a plane “did something” to the 443rd guys and really upped their attitudes from boring work of firing pot-shots at the 3-5 fighters they saw a week. This work continued up through the drive into Germany. Occasionally a fighter would be shot down, including a few ME262s on occasion, but their major role was supporting the division infantry for the final push.

     

    At the conclusion of the war the 443rd found its much needed relief. In near constant action for over 3 years, El Roy and his men enjoyed their time in Munich before heading back home. During their time in France and Germany El Roy had been promoted to Captain and received the Bronze Star medal for his valiant efforts in leading the transition of his company from AAA to ground support in countless assaults. Sadly he left his home unit of so many years to oversee occupation with the 19th AAA group before heading home in late 1945 for a brief visit before heading back to Germany as a Major to command further organization of AAA units for long-term occupation duty.

     

    El Roy left the army in 1946 a long-seasoned veteran, having saw action from Morocco to Munich. He returned home to Pennsylvania and married his sweetheart before settling down in Reading. For work, El Roy joined the Textile Machine Works as a lowly engine technician and in less then 10 years had made his way to president of the entire company, the largest producer of textile machines in the nations. He served on the board of American bank and spent his free time golfing and hunting. He and his wife also became avid antique collectors and had gathered one of the largest collections of fine art in the east coast. Upon El Roy’s passing in 2008, where this jacket was acquired, his antiques sold for over $2,000,000.

     

    I am very proud to now take care of this uniform from a salty and well-seasoned T-Patcher. With 9 campaigns stars and three invasions under his belt, he is easily the most impressive in my collection. I hope you all enjoyed his story and the overlooked story of the 443rd AAA, a truly under-appreciated but important piece of the army advance from the Mediterranean to Germany.

     

    -Alex

     

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    A T-28 of the 443rd in North Africa

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    A battalion M16 near the Moselle

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    A long-surviving T-28 of the 443rd guarding the St. Raphael air base during Operation Dragoon

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  6. Hey all, hope it's not too terrible a Monday. Today I thought I would share with you the story of really neat uniform I received from a surgical technician of the 310th Regiment, 78th “Lightning” Division.

     

    William Densmore Barnett Jr. was born to a small family in the rural farming community of Walden, Vermont. The son of a WWI veteran, William and his family held a proud military tradition dating back to the founding of the country. Despite this, William did not intend to serve and instead spent his days farming and working as an apprentice carpenter in Marshfield. As war broke out, however, even rural Vermont was not immune to the draft. William received his notice and joined the US Army in September of 1942.

     

    Handy with small tools and filings from his carpentry days, the army somehow presumed he would be a good fit for the medical corps and received training as a surgical technician before joining the medical section of the 3rd Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division. Not as eager as his ancestors, William attempted to receive a discharge claiming he needed to rejoin the civilian force as a vital worker on his family farm. The army deemed the need for medics greater and denied his request.

     

    William and the 78th left for England in late 1944 and eventually arrived in France in November. The division was meant as a relief to the heavily battered allied forces that had served since D-Day, first seeing active combat time on December 1st while replacing the 1st Infantry Division near Entenpfuhl. The 78th did not get much time to settle in as less than two weeks later Rundstedt’s massive winter offensive put the 78th on the defensive, forcing them to hold their section of the Siegfried line against a strong German attack. The division went on the offensive towards the end of January and began pushing deep into Germany.

     

    During this period of advance, William earned his Bronze Star Medal. Alongside his regular job as a surgeon for the battalion medical section, William managed the records and files. During an attack, enemy fire destroyed and heavily damaged much of the important medical records that detailed the injuries and deaths of the battalion’s soldiers. Knowing these records were vital to the awardence of proper awards, payments, and pensions, William went out of his way to carefully piece together the records from scraps in order to compile and reconstruct the paperwork for the regimental casualties. It was for his efficiency and devotion under combat conditions to ensure the men of his unit received their due compensation for injuries sustained in action that he was awarded the Bronze Star.

     

    Not long after, William earned his Presidential Unit Citation and Purple Heart for actions leading up to and after the Remagen Bridge. Following the 9th Armored’s advance across the bridge, the 310th was technically considered the very first infantry battalion to cross the Rhine. William, sadly, did not make it that far to earn that title. Just a few days before the battalion reached the Rhine, they stumbled across Euskirchen, an important road, rail, and communications center for the German army. The battalion began its attack through the muddy, flat, plowed terrain with M4 Shermans leading the infantry. Preparing for their biggest battle yet, William and the men of the medical section had prepared a medical outpost for the suspected casualties. They were right, and throughout the day they were inundated with wounded GIs. The Germans had prepared strong defenses throughout the city and fought tooth and nail, with near constant artillery fire battering the men of the 3rd battalion. While I cannot confirm whether William was acting as a combat medic at this time or was still near the outpost, an artillery shell landed near him and left him with several pieces of shrapnel across his body. Thankfully, he was able to be stabilized and sent to the rear for more intensive treatment but did survive the wound.

     

    William rejoined the unit a month or so later for the final push, ending the war near Wuppertal. Having come so late to the fight, most of the 78th was forced to stay for occupation duty. Eventually William was sent to the 12th Armored with whom he returned home, spending the rest of his days as a farmer before retiring to Williamstown.

     

    I was very happy to get this uniform, as it is an excellent example on my quest to get a named uniform from each European infantry division. The uniform itself is a standard Ike but features some really beautiful plastic coated ribbons and Presidential Citation. It is interesting to note that he wears the WWI occupation ribbon instead of the proper WWII version. He was also awarded both the PUC and MUC, as you can see worn by other members of his platoon in the group photo. The best part, however, is the plastic 310th Regiment DUIs pinned onto the collar. Overall a really solid uniform from a cool unit which I am very happy to have in the collection.

     

    -Alex

     

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  7. Very professional looking. And great job integrating the boxes into the display. How did you do your write-ups for the display?They look like museum quality.
     
    Friar

    So the title card I just made up and the other two are his Silver Star citations. They look good in the picture and are actually just a very fine card stock. I printed a gold square and then glued a second slightly smaller piece that contained on the citation to give it a border.
  8. I always love seeing the variety from these threads.

    Here’s my only helmet with the original netting still, it was found locally. It belonged to Captain William F Edinger of the Quartermaster Corps. He joined in early 41 and served stateside until he was sent to join Eisenhower’s top-level staff for the planning of Operation Overlord. He was one of thirteen QMC officers given complete access to the plans and strategies of the landings as he was in charge of organizing the logistical flow of supplies for the assault troops and the logistics afterwards once a beachhead was secured. After the invasion he worked with SHAEF for a few more months before transferring as chief clerk of Field Services for the QMC, meaning he oversaw the operation of all field and frontline supply stations for the corps. He would’ve had to perform lots of duties on the front in this role which is likely why the liner still looks fancy (from his HQ days) but the shell is very salty and netted. After the war he came home and worked with German POWs but put his helmet on the shelf to save exactly it as he had it in the ETO. The shell a 1942 dated FS FB with a St. Clair rubber liner and the original cargo netting. Both the shell and liner are stamped with his name.

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  9. In honor of National Purple Heart day, I wish to share with you all the story a heroic veteran of the 36th Infantry Division. He was a dual Silver Star recipient and 3 times awarded the Purple Heart, the final time losing his right leg.

     

    Charles R Martin was born in a small rural parish of northern Kentucky to a farming family. As he grew, the charm of the Kentucky countryside fell from Martin and he moved in with an aunt living in the big city of Cincinnati, Ohio. Old enough to work on his own, Martin found a job working as a pin boy at the Price Hill Exchange/Red Richmond Bowling Alley in the west end. It was here that he picked up a knack for bowling and before long found himself playing at some of the biggest tournaments in Ohio. Martin was also a pitcher for the local Acme Baseball Club and became one of Ohio’s young sports stars, considered one of the state’s best up and coming bowlers by the time the war hit.

     

    In early 1943 Martin came home to his appointment with a draft notice. Spending the first half of his year training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, Martin soon found himself on his way overseas where he joined the famed 36th Infantry Division in December of that year. Trained as a machine gunner, Martin was sent to the 142nd Infantry Regiment’s heavy weapons company, D Company, where he began as an assistant gunner and ammo carrier for a .30 machine gun team.

     

    With only a few weeks in the company under his belt, now PFC Martin received his first wound in action while assaulting the San Pietro line in early December. While moving to assist a friendly machine gun, Martin’s leg and foot were ripped by a burst of German MP40 fire, leaving him struggling on the ground as his company retreated. He lay there for the majority of the night before medics found him, but not before frostbite set into his feet. Martin was brought off the line and spent several months in the hospital before rejoining the company for the Italian spring offensive.

     

    Martin’s next story of heroism comes int he weeks after the second invasion of France in the cleanup of Operation Dragoon. Just over a week after the initial landings, the 142nd IR was tasked with surrounding and eliminating a strong pocket of German resistance. While the regiment was successful in securing their lines, the inevitable German counterattack came quickly on the 25th of August to break and push through the American lines. Repelling the first attack, the Germans attacked once again on the 26th to smash the battalion. A battalion of German infantry with the support of several tanks (believed to be Panzer IVs) crossed the river near Darnes. The T-Patchers quickly drew into an attack position and called upon two of the regimental tank destroyers for support. Martin’s machine gun team was advancing to support a rifle platoon beginning the attack when all the sudden the German infantry and tanks opened fire. The rifle platoon built a defensive line around Martin’s machine gun where he assisted his comrades to put the gun into action and supply a constant feed of ammunition. With the battle going nowhere, Martin decided to act. Grabbing his carbine and a handful of rifle grenades, he dashed across the open to the German position, killing several of them in the process. Somehow unhit, he ducked into cover as a German panzer advanced. Remaining staunchly in his position, Martin began launching rifle grenades at the tank, disabling it and finally destroying it. By this time the tank destroyers had arrived and knocked out another panzer alongside Martin’s. With their armor support seriously diminished, Martin’s company pushed further and ran the Germans from the area. For his heroism in attacking the German line and successfully eliminating a German tank which contributed greatly to the success of the attack, Martin was awarded the Silver Star Medal.

     

    Now quite the figure in the company, Martin headed his own machine gun squad as first gunner and led the platoon for the continuous drive into France. In late September the regiment was given the task of taking the German fortifications at Hill 827, a hill mass near Tendon. For three long days and nights all three battalions were heavily involved in the attacks on the hill where German tanks, artillery, and infantry had been well fortified. It was on one of these assaults that Martin earned his second Silver Star.

     

    The battles around Hill 827 were full of strategic planning and counter-maneuvers. During one of these troop movements the first battalion was tasked with crossing a highway to prepare for an attack. The problem was that the highway was fairly exposed to attack. To account for this, the company commander sent Martin’s MG team ahead of the unit to cover the advance. Things went smoothly for the first two crossing companies, however, as the third began its movement enemy soldiers and machine guns hidden in ambush opened fire and began tearing the company apart. Martin immediately began returning fire, but the company was already thoroughly disorganized and on the retreat. Taking advantage, the Germans began to advance in hopes of cutting the battalion in two. PFC Martin was not about to let this happen. Despite calls to draw back and reposition himself, Martin stayed firm on his defelade and continued pouring fire into the onrushing German forces up until they began climbing the embankment to get him. Now firing at point blank range, Martin continued suppressing the enemy forces even when a German hand grenade went off beside him, blowing his helmet off and peppering his leg with shrapnel, and his foot was torn apart by the rip of a German machine gun. Martin stayed in his position and delayed the attackers until the battalion had reorganized and advanced to clear he road of hostile forces. For his crucial actions in saving the entire battalion from certain defeat, Martin was once again awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.

     

    Martin spent over a month in the hospital recovering from the wounds he received at hill 827, but returned the company as a new platoon leader with all the perks and prestige. He fought valiantly with the company through the Vosges hills and into the deep snow of the Colmer as the winter set in. By early January, in an attempt to divert American forces from the Bulge, the German army launched a counteroffensive across the 7th Army front. The 36th was called into action and sent to secure the line along the Franco-German border. Immediately on the move, Martin’s battalion was sent on a 40 mile motor march under blackout conditions. Sharply cold with snow falling all around them, the men of the 1st Battalion, 142nd moved onwards until they set up a decent line near Lemberg. As both sides were unaware of the other’s line, patrols were sent out by each to feel out the strength of the opposition. On one of these patrols, Martin and his MG team came under attack by a German patrol. The attack was brief but a well-placed hand grenade left Martin’s right leg shredded into pieces. Too far from the American lines, Martin’s men were forced to retreat without him, leaving him stuck beside his machine gun bleeding heavily. He lay there for over 77 hours before another German patrol came across his position. Taking him into their possession, the German soldiers brought him behind their lines and immediately sent him to a field hospital where his leg was necessarily amputated. Martin was stuck moving from German hospital to hospital before being finally found by the 36th almost two months later in March.

     

    Martin sent a letter home warning of his injury, but made sure that his bowling buddies knew he was still out to get them. While this leg injury meant the end of his army career, being sent home many months later in late 1945, he by no means let it get the best of him. Martin continued playing baseball with other war amputees and still upheld his bowling record even from a wheelchair. For ten years, however, he dealt with the pains and treatments for his injuries at a VA hospital in Cincinnati. In a newspaper article written on Martin in 1955, a reporter described Martin as “with nothing but a smile on his face. Upon his tongue there is never anything other than a quip, perhaps slightly ribald, perhaps clean as a whistle. In him there is only a vast consumption of life as life is lived. Martin never complained about his disabilities, instead, becoming the life of the ward hall always seeking to cheer up his fellow hospitalized veterans With crazy antics and stunts in his wheelchair.

     

    In 1949 Martin was invited to a special ceremony on Army day where he was presented a special decoration set of medals from US Army general Walter Krueger at Xavier College in Cincinnati. Hailed as a local hero, Martin remained humble about his service. He continued his work managing the bowling alley, marrying later in life with a few kids, but was left alone after a divorce and passed away on his own in 1981.

     

    Private First Class Charles Martin is one of the most exemplary and heroic men of the 36th Division I have ever come across. His love for life, men, and country is clear across his military records and news articles recounting his life. I am extremely proud to preserve his story through these medals, which I strongly believe to be the decoration set awarded by General Krueger at Army Day 1949. I hope you all have enjoyed his story and take today to remember the true valor and sacrifice of the men and women in America’s armed services.

     

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  10.  

    Hey everyone, I recently purchased a nice grouping of cased medals belonging to a decorated 36th division veteran and I was trying to figure out a good way to display them as I plan to keep them for a long time.

     

    The set Includes name-etched Silver Star, Bronze Star, And Purple Heart medals along with their ribbons, lapel pins, and coffin boxes. I am hoping to build a display to properly show all these pieces in conjunction with a photo, description, and valor citations of the soldier.

     

    I’ve attached some schematics I’ve drawn up for use with a deep riker mount that I could make up. I’d love to see how y’all do it, mount or not, so please share, I’d love to hear some suggestions!

     

    Xs are the medals and the cites are the citations

     

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  11. 9c32c0fc381e5176f042aacf0d513919.jpg

    While not an exact shade match, yours tends to make me think of the tealish blue that became popular with the postwar NG. Considering it retained close to the original style, if its not just a repaint someone tried to pass off for sale, it was probably a late 40s or early 50s helmet.

  12. The style is correct for the “thin” T Patch helmet, but the color and lateness of the production makes me think if it is legit, it is likely some sort of NG piece. Like the others said everything but the shell is pretty whack. Here is a photo of the color on an original T Patch helmet owned by another collector. Yours looks to be a brighter blue even in your last non-adobe photo which was more common after the war.

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    7cdb1c27fccae62484f49c8221a7a1b1.jpg

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