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unterhund

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  • Location
    Hampden, Maine, U.S.A.
  • Interests
    History, weapons, movies, Buddhism
  1. Words fail. "Osprey quality" indeed. I presume that I am not alone in my appreciation of your research and your artwork. Historians in the future will appreciate them also.
  2. As with the previous member who has posted on this thread, I also traveled on the Rose as a dependent. Aboard her, my mother, sister, and I sailed to Germany in July of 1962 to join my father. Dad was a career infantryman who had gone six months ahead of us to his posting in Wurzburg, and later Aschaffenburg, as an officer in the 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Division ("Cottonbalers"). He ultimately commanded the 2nd Battalion of that regiment. I was 7 years old when we crossed the Atlantic, and the trip was very exciting, especially the life boat drills. What a great time and setting for a little boy to spend the next three years--West Germany during the Cold War. I was often surrounded by soldiers, nearly all of them saluting my Dad, as APCs and tanks clattered by. The Cuban Missile Crisis and JFK's assassination occurred while we were in Germany and were two of many times when Dad got up in the night, laced up his boots and joined his men on alert, not returning from the field for weeks. Thanks for posting the pictures from the brochure, they really gave me a rush of nostalgia.
  3. I'll probably have to post them in whatever forum is appropriate, as the size of the collection defies a shadow box or album. Dad was fortunate in the sense that he wasn't assigned to the 17th Infantry until late July of 1943. Consequently, he missed the terrible fight for Attu. His future battalion, the 3rd of the 17th, suffered high casualties on Attu, especially during the final "Banzai" charge. He had been serving at Camp Adair in the 104th Division, his first assignment since OCS, but he couldn't stand all that training, the "hurry up and wait" factor, so he requested a transfer to an overseas unit four times. His request was finally granted in June of 1943 and away he went to the Aleutians. He commanded the 4th platoon of K Company, 17th Infantry, during Operation COTTAGE, the assault on Kiska, Operation FLINTLOCK, the assault on Kwajalein Atoll, and Operation KING II, the liberation of Leyte in the Philippines. During KING II, he suffered malaria and schistosomiasis and was evac'd to a hospital in January of 1945. He rejoined his platoon for the last weeks of the mop-up, and then was kicked upstairs to be the battalion motor transport officer in 3-17s headquarters company. Despite this assignment, he was one of the first men in his battalion to go ashore for Operation ICEBERG, the assault of Okinawa. During that fight, his headquarters company was almost overrun by Japanese in the midst of their May counter-offensive. He lost many friends in the holocaust on Okinawa. He rarely spoke of what happened to him during the war, it's only diligent research that has revealed the details of his service. The clues were in his mementos and old records, which I found in footlockers in the basement after my Mom died. A cousin bequeathed to me after his own death a collection of letters that Dad wrote during the war to his big brother, my uncle. They chronicle his progress from bewildered draftee to seasoned 1st Lieutenant. I supplemented those with info from books and on-line to recreate the whole epic.
  4. Thanks, friends. I figured it was more of a souvenir than something he actually wore. Dad was never one to wear an insignia or a decoration to which he was fully entitled. He had plenty that he actually earned to wear instead. His career lasted from March of 1941 through April of 1968, starting out as a Private and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, the whole time in the infantry. He "only" saw combat in World War II in the 17th Infantry, but that was plenty. Of the six officers in his rifle company during the war, he was the only one not wounded or killed. I'll be posting more of his memorabilia in the future.
  5. Hello all. I recently found this patch among my late father's mementos. He served in the 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division during World War II. His division was assigned to V Amphibious Corps in Hawaii in the fall of 1943, prior to Operation FLINTLOCK, the invasion of Kwajalein Atoll. It appears to have never been worn. if I recall correctly, members of a corps wore their division patch as their SSI unless they were in the corps' staff. I can only imagine how he got this patch. I'd appreciate it if anyone can instruct me as to the regs regarding corps patches and just who would wear them. At first I didn't know what the patch was, but during research this morning regarding V Amphibious Corps, I discovered an illustration of the patch and at last determined what significance it had for my Dad. I consider myself quite fortunate to not only have had a father with such notable service in the war, but also a father who maintained a large collection of memorabilia.
  6. espeed, those are wonderful pictures. My research has focused largely on the 3rd Battalion of the 17th Infantry, but I would be happy to address any questions you might have. I have some knowledge of the 7th Division's early days 1940-43, and of the fight for Attu, but my father joined the regiment on Adak in July of 1943, as a replacement platoon leader after Operation LANDCRAB. I can tell you a fair amount about the subsequent campaigns. If you have not read them already, you should check out "The Capture of Attu," "Island Victory," and Love's "History of the 7th Division in World War II." These books were the starting point for my research. The exigencies of time have removed the original picture to which I referred, so I attach it here.
  7. Hello friends. I have revived this topic after much research. My project, the telling of my late father's service in WWII, is still underway. Five years have passed, involving countless hours poring over photos, letters, mementos, and records. I have learned a bit more about the photo. It does NOT depict members of the 7th Division, but rather, members of the 3rd Battalion, 87th Infantry, loading onto an LCM assigned to the attack transport USS Zeilin. Here's an interesting detail: although the 87th mountain soldiers had their own prized rucksacks, they were ordered to wear the old-style haversacks for the water-borne portion of Operation COTTAGE, because some officer found a regulation that required all infantrymen in an amphibious operation to use the haversack. Other photos and films of the embarkation on Adak Island prior to COTTAGE show 87th troops wearing the haversack, and also carrying their rucksacks. See "Packs On," a book about the 10th Mountain Division, pg. 21, for this esoteric detail. The 87th Infantry was to be the first unit ashore at Kiska at H-Hour on D-Day, preceded by members of the 1st Special Service Force and the Alaskan Scouts, who marked the beaches and cleared some of the numerous boulders on the shore. Dad's unit, the 17th Infantry Regt., followed shortly after the 87th, passing through the mountain troops and moving further into the hills in the center of the island. I found Dad's maps of Kiska, one of them marked with a pencil line indicating his platoon's course over the island in search of the Japanese. As is well-known, the enemy had evacuated Kiska over two weeks previously. Unfortunately, the fratricide/amicide on Kiska was initiated by panicked members of the 3rd Bn., 87th Inf., in the evening of D-Day on Kiska, August 15th, 1943. It's possible that some of the men in the photo were victims. The "fog of war" was both metaphoric and real on Kiska. Radio communications were compromised by magnetic interference and wet weather, in addition to the radio silence required in the early hours of the operation. Veterans recalled that high winds and naval gunfire also obscured the passwords and challenges. All the men in COTTAGE had been appraised of a large enemy force that, based on the prior fight for Attu, was expected to be vicious, devious, and unwilling to surrender, hence there was a great deal of apprehension in the ranks of the assault force. Additionally, the 87th had never trained above the battalion level prior to its deployment to the Aleutians, and the regiment's doctrines were somewhat different than that of the other components of the operation. The 87th arrived on Adak too late for the large rehearsal landings for COTTAGE on nearby Great Sitkin Island. The photographer, Lt. Commander Horace Bristol, had been a long time LIFE photographer and gave up his job for a commission as one of the first members of the Steichen unit. Thanks to all here for indulging me; I wanted to correct the mistakes in my prior posts and give illumination to the photo.
  8. Further research indicates that this General Stewart is indeed the individual I mentioned in the previous post. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the 7th Division's days at Fort Ord under General Stilwell, Stewart was a Lieutenant Colonel and the C.O. of the 75th Field Artillery Battalion. At that time, the 75th FA Bn was still horse-drawn, one of the last horse-arty units in the Army. They gave up their horses in mid-1942. It seems that General Stewart never lost his love for horses and carried it to the 7th Division's occupation of Korea in the fall of 1945.
  9. A correction to my post from yesterday: CARILLON was the code name for the entire atoll; PORCELAIN was the code name for Kwajalein Island itself.
  10. Many, if not most, of the helmet nets used by the Army's 7th Infantry Division for Operation FLINTLOCK on Kwajalein were woven by local Hawaiian women and given as gifts.
  11. That's very nice work GITom1944. I appreciate being quoted. The B/W panels were indeed meant to prevent incidents of fratricide. Some of the participants for Operation FLINTLOCK, the invasion of Kwajalein Atoll, had been on Kiska Island five months before when "friendly fire" from fellow infantrymen took the lives and also wounded several members of the 87th Infantry Regt. I have a copy of General Corlett's standing orders for Operation COTTAGE, the invasion of Kiska, and ironically, it indicates that similar panels were issued for that operation as well, in addition to very large fluorescent orange panels for squads to deploy on the ground. But they were either not used or were not visible in the fog of that island when some panicked members of the 87th fired on each other. The fratricide on Kiska was an unfortunate start to an otherwise splendid record of the 87th in subsequent European campaigns. The B/W panels were used by the 32nd and 184th Inf. Regts. on Kwajalein Island (code-named CARILLON) on February 1st-4th, 1944, but not by the 17th Inf. on January 31st on CARLOS and CARLSON Islands, nor by the 17th Inf on BURTON Island on February 3rd and 4th. The panels were discarded by the 32nd and 184th Regts. afterwards and not used in the 7th Division's fights on Leyte and Okinawa. As might be obvious, I've done a bit of research on the service of the 7th Division during WWII, primarily focusing on the 17th Infantry Regiment, in order to learn more about my late father's experiences. Operation FLINTLOCK was considered at the time to be an important event and called by many "the most perfect amphibious operation of the war," but with the passage of time and the death of most of the veterans, FLINTLOCK rarely appears in the short versions of Pacific War histories. My old man would have been gratified to see your model.
  12. My Dad was a rifle platoon leader in the 17th Infantry Regiment during Operation COTTAGE and kept a number of mementos from his WWII service. Among them are an "oilskin" ATF9 patch and a copy of General Corlett's general orders for the operation. The orders state that all personnel were to wear the "long knives" patch on both left and right shoulders of their jackets and on their shirts. Corlett was a detail fanatic during planning, a reputation he had since at least World War I. He had some concern about accidental fratricide, which I believe was one of the reasons for ordering the patch to be worn on both shoulders. The general orders also warn about being "trigger happy" and suggests several passwords that could not be pronounced by Japanese personnel, e.g, "lollipop" and "long limb." Alas, Operation COTTAGE is best known as an example of fratricide; on Kiska, the "fog of war" was literal as well as figurative, and the great anxiety among those units who had no prior combat experience (the 17th Infantry was the exception, having endured the frigid bloodshed on Attu) may have contributed to the needless deaths in the 87th Infantry Regiment.
  13. I've got one of those that my Dad picked up on Kiska during Operation COTTAGE. As most know, the Japanese had evacuated more than two weeks before the Allied invasion, leaving only a couple dogs behind. An Air Force pilot who was among those dispersing the leaflets later said, "We dropped thousands of those leaflets on Kiska, but the dogs couldn't read."
  14. My father was a rifle platoon leader in the 7th Division's 17th Infantry Regiment during WWII. At least some of the helmet nets worn by the 7th Div. dogfaces during Operation FLINTLOCK on Kwajalein Atoll were hand-woven by civilian women in Hawaii and given to the division before the operation. The men were issued paint and instructed to paint their helmets themselves in a camouflage pattern. The colors were a shade of green and a mustard-yellow. Most of the men retained the nets and the painted helmets for Operation KING II on Leyte in the Philippines and Operation ICEBERG on Okinawa.
  15. The lyricist was Air Force Colonel William O, Eareckson, who, prior to the Kiska assault, actually went ashore during the battle on Attu Island in the company of General Simon Bolivar Buckner and was slightly wounded while venturing a bit too near the front for someone in his position. Regarding the song, many members of ATF9 called themselves "Corlett's Cutthroats," or "Corlett's Long Knives." Although the 1st SSF had their own V42 daggers, the other infantrymen in the assault force had no issue blade beyond their bayonets, and a newspaper account written from Adak Island before the operation noted that "all" the infantrymen had each found "widowmakers," or "hunting knives" prior to the assault. My father was a rifle platoon leader during Operation COTTAGE, and I love to find any material related to it. I presume Colonel Shisler was one of the Marines in General H. M. Smith's training contingent who accompanied the doughboys to Kiska. Thanks for posting this.
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