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Posts posted by 36thIDAlex

  1. 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.
























    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






  3. 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.

  4. 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.



  5. I recently did some more close ups of the 36th display in another thread

    Redid my grandfathers display with a homemade mannequin



    Earlier try with the Bulge displays


    And a flyer display I had for a few months



    Big fan of black hosery on metallic colored faces

  6. Hey everyone. Halfway through the summer and many months of quarantine through has given me plenty of time to reorganize or change around some displays. Thought I would show off some of the changes.

    First ive developed several types of table displays theming around the Air Corps, the Battle of the Bulge, and the 36th division. I tried to make the table a sort of main point for the room as it is the farthest from the door and at the end of the walk through the room.

    I’ve also added a lot of wall decorations to go along with the various displays I have up at any given time. The flags have been redone as well and a massive new one has been added behind the bed

    The corner has also changed and now houses my main air corps display, as my focus has now been returned to the infantry divisions of the ETO.

    Currently the U Shape stretching from the footlocker to the entertainment center display is all themed around the 36th ID



    The rack slowly dips. Will probably need to do something about that at some point.



    A Navy Wall was added





  7. I promise it wasn’t me...

    Haha In all honesty I have used some twist flameless wax melters with limited success in eliminating odors. I would untwist them all the way for max scent and then put them in plastic bags with uniforms or in close proximity to displays. When I had that uniform I let it air out for a couple days in the sun and it helped for awhile but obviously did not last.

  8. Man, this is one of the most eye appealing focused collections I've seen!  The assortment of uniforms, jewelry and paper items is superb and I bet the hunt for such things is super thrilling. I collect a lot of similar stuff but with a focus toward the 34th ID.  I actually have that same Italian made "1944" bracelet but the links are in a different order.  No doubt a great souvenir for the dog face who fought in the MTO. Do you reenact too by chance or purely collect/put on displays?    

    Thanks for the comment, it is a lot of fun focusing on the unit and makes every find that much more special. That bracelet is one of the things that belonged to my g grandfather who was with the 142nd, he was only in Italy for the last few weeks of the last campaign but bought several Italian made souvenirs while he was there. i reenact as well, primarily the german Fallschirmjager but I have a 36th ID impression as well
  9. 55 minutes ago, milsurp_scout_14 said:

    Due to the 36th infantry patch, I'm leaning towards the idea that 'TMI' and the cartouche are from the Texas Military Institute. Likely the name was a student. The 36th was out of Texas, and it's possible this belt was used by a JROTC student, who got the patch and sewed it on (all pure conjecture). The cartouche looks vaguely like the same shield shape with lines running through it, as the school's logo.


    I think that is a decent guess, or at least something that was at one time used by the school. I would think it odd to see a student do something like that and wonder if perhaps it was reissued to the 36th when they were gearing up to ship off and maybe stayed in their service until someone did that in occupation or if it was given back when they returned home. The Texas Military Forces museum had not seen anything like it, although it would not have flown in combat, again leading me to occupation or NG.



  10. Fantastic!!! Particularly I love the 142nd Infantry display, if you don't know about the battle of Castle Itter which they were apart of you should definitely read about it! 

    Thanks for all the comments y’all! And as for the 142nd display, all of that belonged to my g grandfather. It’s my prized possession and what got me kicked on the T Patchers. There’s actually a few of his medals missing and a few more theater made items that my grandfather still has. If you look for the post about “Delmer Koonter” in the groupings section you can see his story and the items up close.
  11. Got around to setting up a 36th Infantry Division display once again now that I’ve gotten some new pieces in. All uniforms are named and IDd. I’m particularly happy about the new small items I’ve been able to pick up with help me fill out the display and the walls behind it. It’s a fun division to collect and I hope I can continue expanding as time goes on.


    I’m always looking for more uniforms and smalls from the division, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’ve got anything!






















  12. I mainly collect uniforms but find lots of smalls in my day to day collecting. To compensate for this, I have developed a sort of “natural” display which focuses around mannequins with uniforms that are surrounded by natural or related smalls that look as if someone has thrown them on a desk and forgotten about it. This is an easy way to display smalls that night not otherwise warrant being displayed independently but helps make a more thematic and fuller display. If you can find newspapers, pictures, magazines, or other pieces with great graphics that go along with a theme, it’ll only enhance the display to hang those behind it.

    I also make display cards for every uniform which shows some of the basic research and photos I have of the veteran whose uniform is being displayed. I find those to be really fun to have.

    A Battle of the Bulge themed “natural” display

    Here’s an Air Corps one

    Other iterations

    This one had ETO on the left and PTO on the right

    Sometimes you can use entire groupings for a “natural” display

    And here’s some of those cards, you can get a cheap laminator of Amazon and they’ll look great with hanging uniforms as well


    An example of a larger card, I print these out in 4x6 and buy these cheap plain plastic frames from Walmart. They blend in well and leave the focus on the information.

  13. Just got in a great belt my friend found for me at the Oklahoma show. It’s a 1942 about BAR ammo belt in field-worn shape, but the most interesting part is the original snowback 36th ID SSI sewn onto the left side.


    I’ve not been able to find specific pictures of the division doing this but I’m guessing it might have been a late war or occupation thing. The stitching is hand done and using original organic thread. The patch itself covers the clasp and shows a good amount of wear from the button closing and opening on the patch.


    The belt is also named to a “C Grady” which I have not been able to look into yet. There are some other stamping that look like “TM1” and some weird cartouche above the name.


    In all, a very unique and cool ammo belt that was obviously well used through the war and probably afterward in occupation. Very happy to add it to my 36th collection.















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