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HUGE grouping from an Artillery Mechanic of the 36th Infantry Division’s Ordnance Company -Lots of Photos


36thIDAlex
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Very happy to finally share this group after getting it at SOS last year, an insanely complete set from an artillery mechanic of the 736th Ordnance (Light Maintenance) Company of the 36th Infantry Division.

 

The group belonged to Walter Sikonowiz, of Auburn, New York, who was a cadre member of the division shipping off with them to Africa and serving through all of its campaigns. His primary job was a mechanic in the Artillery and Large Guns section, meaning he was responsible for repairing and maintaining all non-small arms guns of the division. some of the types he describes working on are 57mm AT guns, 105mm howitzers, 155mm howitzers, 81 and 60mm mortars, M8 GMCs, T-30 GMCs, M7 Priests, pack howitzers, and much, much more. The true star of this group is a set of handwritten diaries that he kept notating every single day of the war, giving us an extremely intimate look at the operations of his company and of the divisional ordnance companies at large. Beyond this, he was an avid photographer and took hundreds of photographs throughout his travels in Europe

 

Interestingly, he wrote the citation for one of his Bronze Stars on the last page of his third diary which is uniquely given for modifications he made to the division’s mortars:


Walter Sikonowiz had made a modification on a 60 and 81 M.M. Mortar sliding bracket. This modification has made the sliding bracket last twice as long as the original manufactured type. Under most hazardous combat conditions, continual wear contacted this sliding bracket. Due to this reliable modification, this continual wear had been eliminated. A securer grip is made on the sliding sleeve by this modified bracket, thus also ensuring complete accuracy under hazardous combat conditions. This modification has also saved twice as much work in Ordnance repair. For this meritorious achievement, a Bronze Star has been presented

 

Some subject matter of photos: Marlene Dietrich singing for the division, knocked out Tigers, Panzers, and Italian SPGs, abandoned ME-262 and BF-109s, many axis and allied artillery pieces, POWs, amphibious assaults, field photos, and many more.

 

In all, a super fantastic grouping to a very forgotten 36th Division unit. I highly recommend looking through the article on my website for full and even more versions of photos, more captions, my article based upon his diary entries, and copies of the diaries themselves for any interested!

 

https://www.36thdivisionarchive.com/pa-36-sikonowiz

 

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This is an absolutely incredible grouping. Would love to see more of his pictures (I'll have to check out your site), as you can see the personality of the vet. Well done!!!!

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What a fantastic grouping. Those photos of the KIAs are pretty shocking. That paratrooper helmet would have made a great souvenir. How/why did you get into collecting this unit? I've seen several people collect this unit in particular. Being in Louisville, you're in prime territory for the SOS. I'm trying to convince my wife to move to Bullitt or Jefferson County at some point.

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Thanks all for the comments thus far, it really is a time capsule of a grouping and one I am add to my 36th Collection. As for @Big Iron, I collect the 36th as my great-grandfather served and was wounded with I Co., 142 IR during the liberation of Selestat in December 1944. His entire combat career was with the division and finding his large grouping is what got me into collecting at all. I currently have around 25 to 30 named and identified uniforms from the division and many more groupings, medals, helmets, and misc items that are for the most part all identified, except some random loose items. I run my website as an archive to preserve division history and records so that they are publicly accessible for research and use.

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