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Rhine River Crossing VIA Eng's

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O.K. you Engineers. Just saw some pics recently on http://www.dogfacesoldiers.org/

on the Rhine River Crossing of which I was one of the 7th Inf Reg. dogfaces. Now,

just what were the outboard motors used on these "Ferries" ? Looks like Evinrude 33

or 50 H.P. Quads. Anyone have any ideas? And how cranky were they to keep running? Must have had a specialized group to keep them going and roughly how many

of "them" were used in wartime. I was into outboard racing in the late 40's and early

50's so very interested and pics do not show detail.

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Been trying to find out more info for you regarding the outboards. Dang, that is a tough field. Haven't given up though...

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Maybe try this guy's site. He seems to have everything here on antique motors. Maybe he can shed some light on the subject.




There's a whole section of Evinrudes.

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Harold Whiting just wrote to me today and said I could probably find out info on the outboards from the O'Barrs. So I will write to them tonight to see what answers they can give us.


Thanks Harold! B)

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Just received close to 1000 pages from the National Archives this morning. Talk about manna from heaven. Anyway...


While doing a quick perusal through the docs from the 540th, I ran across this and thought you'd like to see it. This concerns the Rhine River crossing and the equipment allocation for said operation.


Each rgt received the following equipment:


48 - storm boats

48 - 55 HP motors

42 - double assault boats

42 - 22 1/2 HP motors

4 - Infantry support raft sets

1 - heavy ponton raft

5 - cable sets

61 - Dukws

2 - utility boats

35 - mortar carts


Upstream River Defense:


4 - cable set

4 - mine barriers

15 - Dukws


Chemical Smoke Generator Company:


10 - Dukws

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Marion: Many thanks. Will have to make you a honorary Cotten Baler Dogface for all

that work you did.

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I would be very honored. I am now an honorary member of the 101st Airborne Division and would be tickled pink to have Cotton Baler behind my name! :pdt20::heartpump: Let's hear it for Dogfaces! Hip-hip-hoorah!

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You notice I'm new here, but I'm excited about being a part of this forum. Marion, thanks for inviting me. I saw this post and thought I'd share a photo from the 35th ECB's crossing of the Rhine. The 35th supported the 87th ID during the assault. The following morning, they put their storm boats into operation for ferrying heavy equipment and supplies.





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Hey Shawn:


I'm glad you accepted my invitation. I know you will fit right in. A warm welcome!


The photo is great. Thanks for posting that here.


I noticed that you said that the 35th ECB supported the 87th. Well Shawn you are in luck because we have the 87th right here on our site. We have three memoir pages for


James Hennessey



John McAuliffe



Henry John Compton Sr



Jim is a member of our forum and I am also in constant contact with John. You will see both of their names on the main site and the forum.


Henry's story was supplied to me by his grandson, as he is no longer with us.

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I sent this post to James Hennessey and John McAuliffe. I got the following email letters back from John along with some photos. Seems John and Shawn have been corresponding for a few years. Great!


Here's the first email:


Dear Marion,

Thanks for forwarding the question about the "ferries" and types of motors used on these storm boats for the Rhine River Crossing...March 24, 1945

In June 1993 I wrote a column in the Golden Acorn News 87th Div. Periodical. It was a report of the Engineers who brought the 87th Div. across the Rhine at two points, BREY and RHENS....Later crossing was made at BOPPARD on Ponton bridge...by trucks, tanks etc.. I will copy a few lines from the report here, which I got from the the Carlisle Barracks, PA


35th Engineer Combat Battalion



Cross 347th Inf. Reg't 87th Div. and supply them until a bridge was completed over the Rhine River.


Co. B

Attached 1 platoonCo.A H&S provisional platoon (20 men 1 Officer)


Attached 1 platoon Co.A H&S provincial platoon (20 men 1 Officer).


Less two platoons

Attached. Storm boat section 87th Engr. Hvy. Ponton Bn. Inf. Support

Raft Section 527 Light Ponton Co.


16 Storm boats/32 motors

4 Infantry Support Rafts/24 motors

85 Assault boats (734 paddles)

40 reserve assault boats received 24292


Then it gives The Plan....prior to crossing.Assault Phase....Supply Phase....The EXECUTION.....

RHENS SITE.....BREY SITE ..... Summary etc....

As for myself being in the 81mm mortars. we walked about a mile at 2:00am to the boats.and were brought over the Rhine in the storm boats driven by a motor.....The initial crossings by Rifle Companies paddled themslves in smaller assault boats....They got hit prettty badly by 20mm guns from opposite shore.

John M-347

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Letter two:


Dear Marion;


Thanks again for the lead to the 35th Engrs.....I have been communicating with Shawn Umbrell for the past three years and the storys of his grandfather in the 35th Engrs. Our 87th Div. also fought at Pironpre, Belgium a bit after the 35th were engaged there...We have a monument with a plaque on a huge bolder at Pironpre, designating the 87th Div. as a Liberator of this town and others nearby at Moircy, Bonnerue, St. Hubert....I gave Shawn the orders of the 35th Engrs (Carlisle Barracks Reserach)...about their support group in the 347ths (My Regiment) crossing of the Rhine River at RHENS and at BREY; where I crossed over, Mar. 25th 1945.

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John at the dedication of the Pironpre monument, June 1996 Tour.


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John at the plaque at Boppard am Rein, June 1996....where a ponton bridge was erected for vehicular crossings....The initial crossings were at RHENS and BREY; by the 35th Engrs.




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