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Storming Utah! A 90th Division D-Day Artillery Liaison Officer Uniform

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M A U R I C E H. Smith was born in Illinois in 1917. He graduated from the University of Illinois receiving his B.S. and M.S Degrees in Geology in 1939 and 1941. While attending the University, he was a member of ROTC and the Caisson Club for Field Artillerymen in training. Upon graduation he was employed as a geologist for Shell Oil. On December 28th 1941 he entered the Army. Having a background in Field Artillery he was sent to Fort Sill for training and was commissioned on January 12, 1942. He was one of the original members of the 90th Division and helped to reorganize the Division at Camp Barkley, Texas. He continued to serve as an officer in C-Battery, 915th FA Bn until he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment as their Artillery Liaison Officer. He spent his entire time in combat with this Battalion. He landed on Utah on D-Day which is reflected on his discharge and also in his personal narrative I was able to obtain. He remained fighting through the Normandy and Northern France campaigns until he was WIA during a German artillery barrage near Groulette, France on September 14, 1944. He was also awarded a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service during his time with the 359th.

After his recuperation from his wounds, he joined several Replacement Battalions and Depots until shipping home with the 2nd Reinforcement Depot in December of 1945.

After his discharge in March of 1946, he continued on in the US Army Reserves in North Dakota rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He worked for the North Dakota State Geological survey until he very unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack at the age of 45 in 1962 on his drive home from work.

This uniform came to me from an antique dealer in North Dakota named to Capt. Smith. Through a combination of National Archives documents and documents he submitted to a library in Illinois I have been able to piece his story together.

Especially great are over 25 V-mails sent home to his wife and his entire 11-page combat narrative that he wrote in October of 1944 while recuperating from his wounds in England. A true wealth of information about the 90th Division in Normandy and the early days of their campaigns.

I will let the photos tell the rest of his story! Interesting pinback artillery officer insignia that I haven't seen before. Thanks for looking everybody. I hope this one can find a good home someday in a 90th or D-Day collection displayed alongside his fellow Utah Beach Kraut-Stompers!

 

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Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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Hello,

That is quite a uniform. With great history. Nice purchase.

 

Dave


Collecting WWI 26th Division Machine Gun and Infantry related Helmets, Equipment, Groupings, Photos and Dog Tags!


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I thought I would display the first page of his narrative detailing June in Normandy post-14217-0-98945200-1435022047.jpg


Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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That's quite the uniform you've got there. Congrats,,,,


Check out my online collection of dog tags... http://historicdogtags.com LOOKING FOR DOG TAGS.... CIVIL WAR, WWI, WWII, KOREAN WAR, AND VIETNAM.PM ME IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING! I WILL LET YOU KNOW IF IM INTERESTED.THANKS,USDOG

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Nice group! Interesting that the 90th received invasion credit.

 

Kyle


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Several units in the 359th were attached to the 4th Division. Except for a few companies in this Regiment, the entire Division landed on June 10th. So just a handful of men were awarded the Arrowhead.


Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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Capt Smith writes it as the 90th's Advanced Party. Thanks for your positive comments guys! It's a truly unique cut-down. Not a sign of any other patches on this one besides the 90th


Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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Wow, this is the kind of of research you dream of finding for an ID'd uniform! And to a verified D-Day vet as well. Outstanding group and beautiful cut-down jacket!


Always searching for items from 83rd Div (WWII), 3rd Div (Korea), and anything related to the Civil War in Arkansas or Missouri! Will buy or trade!

 

In memory of Pvt Roland L. Gates, Co G, 2nd Bn, 15th Inf, 3rd Division. KIA 15 June 1953 defending Outpost Harry.

 

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Thanks guys! I don't think there is much more I can uncover about this veteran. What a story!


Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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Hi

 

 

Great Utah Beach grouping....

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Regards

 

 

Tom


THE OVERLORD COLLECTION


a virtual museum at theoverlordcollection.co.uk

www.m-1helmets.co.uk

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Very good find and good work on the research also. How lucky you are to find a cut down officer jacket then to find out he was one of very few men from that unit that made the D Day invasion. I would have to say that's a rare find and you have all the proof that he was part of the invasion. It's just a great uniform and a great find.

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Thanks! I was shocked to see the D-Day confirmation in his paperwork!


Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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nice Illinois related dday idd uniform

thanks for showing

Brandyn


Always looking 33rd infantry division items as well as named items from Illinois but particulary Northern Illinois especially northwest Illinois

 

 

 

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What makes this grouping additionally interesting is what he was awarded the Bronze Star for. After retreating from Mortain, the Germans were eventually completely encircled in the Falaise Gap by August 17, and the 90th Division Artillery (along with tanks and other divisional/independent artillery battalions) literally annihilated those caught there over the next 4 days. During that time Lt. Smith was likely directing part of the fire that rained down on them. Great grouping!


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You couldn't be more spot on! The majority of Capt Smith's narrative of the war focuses on these days. I need to scan the 11 pages and post them with the group that way all can read his remarkable story.

 

He writes, "now in a third frantic try, the Germans were attempting to smash through American held ground. The 90th Division was dug in on ground in positions that command the routes the Germans would use in order to escape to the east. My own artillery Bn plus a lot more had registered and were prepared to deliver heavy concentration of fire in any targets that appeared in that sector"

 

Smith states about the barrage when the Germans appeared that the Krauts were "like a boxer who suddenly finds himself in the ring with paralyzed hands" and says they suffered accordingly.

 

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Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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Several units in the 359th were attached to the 4th Division. Except for a few companies in this Regiment, the entire Division landed on June 10th. So just a handful of men were awarded the Arrowhead.

First off, you have done some great research on Capt. Smith. I as well know quite a bit about him and his time with the 90th after speaking with many of the men he served with. He was a solid officer who took his job of "protecting the infantry" very seriously. He worked very closely with Capt. Hobby McCall, S-3 for 2nd Bn 359th, (I have his uniform on display at the museum) and was a favorite of the company commanders he would be assigned to support.

 

Just to clarify, the 1st and 3rd Bns of the 359th, and a small Advance Party landed on D-Day. The 2nd Bn of the 359th landed on June 7th after their transport struck a mine and sunk. Some of these men landing at Omaha and Utah beaches depending which boat they were rescued by. The remainder of the division landed on June 8th and then entered combat on the 10th. All members of the division that came from England with the 90th received the Invasion Arrowhead award. Only replacements to the division would not receive it. So it is actually very common to find this device on 90th uniforms.

 

Hope that tidbit helps out in future research for you all.

 

Respectfully,


Tyler Alberts
Historian
90th Division Association / www.90thdivisionAssoc.org
&
Owner
Combat Reels
US Signal Corps Film Footage / www.combatreels.com

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Thanks for clearing that up Tyler!


Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


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More I look at this group and read about the divisions involvement in the invasion the more I like the group. Just shows there were a lot of people who made that invasion possible. And most of them are never given the credit they deserve for it. Finds like this is what I love about this hobby. Stuff like this shows up and gives you a whole new understanding of a event that you thought you knew about.

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The invasion reminds me of the writings of Sun Tzu (The Art of War). When you put troops in a combat position where they must fight or die, there is no choice but to fight.


Visit My 76th Division Collection Website!

http://76thdivisioncollection.blogspot.com/

Always looking for 76th Infantry Division Items and Information!!

385th, 304th, and 417th Infantry Regiments : 355th, 364th, 901st, 302nd Field Artillery Battalions

301st Medical and 301st Engineer Battalions


donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

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