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HI.. I NEED HELP - 692nd Coast Artillery (AA)

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HI Everyone! Great to be a member. :direct:

 

I did a google search on the 692nd Coast Artillery Battery (Anti-Aircraft) (Automatic Weapons) (AB) 5th ARMY

 

I found this site, and it was mentioned. Everyone seems to be here to learn or research.

Well I am trying to Publish an article for The Toledo History Museum in Ohio. I am doing research on a the first Toledo Ohioan Killed in WW2. I know he died Jan. 16th 1943. But there was not much noted action in North Africa at that point. I sent for military records but i guess they were all destroyed in a fire in the 70's. His name was Roman " Bud" Frankowski. It there are any documents supporting action during early Jan. 1943.

 

I have looked at the national archives online... local archives here in the city etc. I just want to know how he died... or have an idea of the kind of action he was involved in.

 

I have been unable to find any living family.. :armata_PDT_19: .. other than a great newphew ( trying to find his phone number).

 

There is a VFW named after him, but they know very little. The history of this man is with people who have already passed on. My next step will be to contact reunions and see if anyone knew him.

 

Please if anyone can help please e-mail me... or respond. Thank you so much. :banghead:

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HI and a warm welcome. Let's see what my efficient company and I can come up with!

 

There is one post in our forum that mentions them being 5th Army, but that would be after the fact, because he passed on in Jan 43.

 

http://208.109.212.45/forum/index.php?showtopic=491

 

==========================

 

The following is from this page: http://www.usswashington.com/dl08no42b.htm

 

 

...The tincan follows Bell’s lights to the port’s merchandise pier, and goes alongside like an excursion boat on the Mississippi. Wilson’s L Company charges ashore. One platoon silences a French machine gun team, and then races inland 300 yards to grab the Shell Oil Company’s storage facility and unloading cranes. Both destroyers receive Presidential Unit Citations for their work.

 

While the troops from the destroyers move into Safi, the rest of the invading force moves in. 1st Battalion of 47th Infantry lands at Beaches Red and Blue, north of Safi at 5 a.m., and head inland. At 5:10 a.m., light tanks and infantry reinforce the men from Cole and Bernadou. As the sun rises over Safi, the Americans seize the harbor, railroad station, post office, and police headquarters, disarming the cops.

 

As the Americans move cautiously inshore, they find dozens of natives grouped around them. The Army’s historian records, "Street intersections were crowded with natives turning their heads like a tennis gallery in trying to watch the exchange of fire. The wounded were poked and jabbered at."

 

A platoon from 47th Infantry slugs its way to Pointe de la Tour, attacking the big guns from the rear. The Americans charge in and find the fire control tower shattered by New York’s 14-inch shells. Among the dead Frenchmen is the officer in command of naval elements in the Safi region. The Americans hoist Old Glory, which flaps majestically in the breeze. Delighted GIs stand at attention and salute.

 

At Yellow Beach, south of Safi, 2nd/47th prepares to go ashore at 4 a.m. Maj. Louis Gershenow’s 1,450 men and 1,500 tons of vehicles are on the transport Dorothea L. Dix. As they unload, a truck being winched over the side swings out of control and crashes into the side of the ship. A can of gasoline on the truck is crushed, spraying fuel onto the hot motor of the landing craft below. That in turn sets of an explosion that covers the landing craft, the truck, and the Dix. Ammunition in the landing craft also cooks off, shaking the Dix, and sending a pillar of flame into the night sky. The mishap delays the landing at Jorf el Houdi until 8 a.m.

 

Back at Safi, General Ernest Harmon paces the bridge of Harris, doing what most modern generals do in battle – wait for reports. At 5 a.m. he gets a bad one: Cole and Bernadou have run aground, all crew and most troops lost. Harmon struggles to grapple with that one for 15 minutes, when a follow-up arrives: cancel the first message, both ships have done their jobs, and the landing is proceeding.

 

That’s enough communications confusion for Harmon. A World War I combat veteran, he won’t rely on overworked communications clerks. He climbs down a net, into a landing craft, and takes a 40-minute ride to the Safi beach. When he arrives, Harmon finds a large number of men lying face-down on the beach, their boots at the water’s edge. Harmon is puzzled as to the cause of this over-caution, as the only activity is the occasional sniper bullet.

 

The general spots a young captain, and summons him. "Why are your men lying there with their feet in the water?"

 

"Well, sir," the captain says, "because we’re under fire."

 

"Yes," replies Harmon, "I realize you are. But how many people are shooting at you?"

 

"About six, sir."

 

Harmon points to a building 200 yards away. "It’s obvious the snipers are in there. Send about 12 men to clean out the house, then get going with the rest of your company to your objective."

 

The captain eagerly jumps to obey, and in a few minutes, the snipers are defeated.

 

Harmon watches the action and says to his aide, "Those men will be fine soldiers once they have suffered through the stage fright of their first hostile action."

 

Next, Harmon wants to know where his tanks are. Eight M3 Stuarts have been landed from small lighters, but faulty batteries and drowned engines leave the little tanks on the beach. One lighter is lost, and another has broken down with engine failure. Without tanks, Harmon’s force will have a tough time against the French S35 armor.

 

He paces the piers, tense, awaiting the seatrain Lakehurst, which is bringing M3 Lee tanks, and the Titania, which will unload more M3s, at the Safi pier.

 

 

At Port Lyautey, General Lucian Truscott’s Goalpost Force is finally ready to attack. The sea is calm and the surf is unusually light. Col. Frederick J. de Rohan’s 60th Infantry Regiment, the "Go-Devils," has been waiting for hours. The landing craft go in at 5:40 a.m., with Maj. John H. Dilley’s 2nd Battalion headed for Green Beach south of the mouth of the Sebou River at Mehdia Plage. As the landing craft move in, the lights on shore go out. Then searchlights illuminate the scene, picking up the landing craft.

 

Seconds later, a red flare burst over the shoreline, and French 75mm and 138mm guns open fire on the invaders. The destroyer Roe and the battleship Texas cut loose with return fire, knocking out the searchlights, silencing the batteries. In the confusion, Dilley’s second wave gets ashore ahead of the first wave.

 

Meanwhile, Maj. Percy DeW. McCarley’s 1st/60th splashes ashore unopposed at Blue Beach, south of Green, unopposed. McCarley is relieved by that, but he can’t recognize any landmarks. He and his battalion staff break out the maps and find out that they’re a mile-and-a-half north of their designated beaches. The day is not starting well.

 

Lt. Col. John J. Toffey’s 3rd/60th is destined for Red Beach and Red Beach Two north of the Oued Sebou, but their boats get lost in trying to form up from their control ship, the Osprey. The jumble of milling boats, in no order, starts heading ashore at 6:35 a.m., in broad daylight.

 

As the American landing craft go in, so do four French fighter planes (De 520s or American-built Hawk 75s, known to Americans as the P-36), which strafe the incoming landing craft and men on the beach. Their bullets and bombs swamp two landing craft, dumping Go-Devils into the Atlantic Ocean.

 

The 692nd Coast Artillery Regiment, part of this invading group, reacts as soon as it reaches the beach. The gunners set up their anti-aircraft guns (Coast Artillery is being converted to the anti-aircraft role) and shoot down two attackers, their first kills of the war.

 

On the beach, Toffey struggles to make sense of maps and to organize his battalion. The first part is easy. He’s five miles north of his designated beach. The second part is harder. His battalion is scattered all over the beach, along with its equipment. He rounds up his men, and leads them on the five-mile march to the airport. The men are burdened down, having to carry their machine guns, mortars, shells, bazookas, rockets, and ammunition boxes.

 

While the 60th Regiment moves in and out, Col. Demas "Nick" Craw and Maj. Pierpont Hamilton, in dress uniforms, struggle down rope ladders in the first wave. Baffled GIs gape at the two officers, in leather and brass, during the run-in. Both officers, who speak fluent French, are Truscott’s emissaries to the French command...

 

===================

 

You may also try contacting my buddy at WWII Connections. He has an extensive WWII library with over 5000 books. Here's his site:

 

http://www.ww2connections.com/

 

===================

 

Actually there was still A LOT of fighting going on in North Africa until May of 43.

 

Allied Counterattacks

 

On Oct. 23, 1942, the greatly reinforced British forces launched their own offensive (for an account of the fighting, see Alamein). To save his forces Rommel began one of the longest sustained retreats in history. Frustrating British attempts to engage him, he abandoned Tripoli, which fell to the British on Jan. 23, 1943. Rommel ended his retreat only when he took up a defensive position along the Mareth Line in S Tunisia.

 

Meanwhile, American and British forces landed (night of Nov. 7–8, 1942) at Algiers, Oran, and Casablanca, thus occupying the territory to the west of Rommel. Under the command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allied forces pushed toward Tunisia. The Germans, however, rushed reinforcements from Italy. Axis forces in Tunisia now faced the British 8th Army in the south, Eisenhower’s force on the west, and the Free French in the southwest; but the hilly terrain favored the defense. German counterattacks in Tunisia pushed west through Faid Pass (Feb. 14, 1943) and Kasserine Pass (a week later), from which they were dislodged only after heavy fighting. In the south the Allies forced Rommel from the Mareth Line and moved up the coast to take Sousse in April.

 

At the beginning of May, the Axis defense crumbled, and on May 7, 1943, the Americans took Bizerta and the British took Tunis. About a quarter of a million Axis soldiers capitulated on May 12. In E Africa the fighting had earlier resulted in complete British victory; by 1942, Italian and British Somaliland, Eritrea, and Ethiopia were reconquered.

 

============

 

Also see: http://www.anarmyatdawn.com/documents.htm

 

This will give you a good feel of what was transpiring at the time, by looking over the historical documents.

 

============

 

1943, Jan. 24

 

Tripoli was occupied by the British Eighth Army, which pursued the retreating Axis forces into Tunisia.

 

Jan. 14–23

 

Conference at Casablanca, Morocco, with President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Gen. Giraud, and Gen. de Gaulle attending. The relationship between Giraud and the de Gaulle “Fighting French†Party remained undefined, and Eisenhower took command of the unified North African operations. Plans for reducing the Axis powers to “unconditional surrender†were discussed at Casablanca but not disclosed.

 

============

 

Let's see what else I can come up with in my books too. This should give you a start.

 

===================

 

http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=24

 

:pdt34:

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Thank you so much. I order one book you suggested. I also e-mailed your contact. I also contacted people at the high school he graduated from..( which I also graduated from.... hoping to find living class mates..... they would be all be near the age of 100 so my hopes are not high. :pdt20:

 

Thank you so much again... I will update you as often as anything new comes up. I of course will send my final product when this is all finished. :D

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Great. Happy to help you out.

 

Actually the average age is more like 84. The hard part is that an artillery unit such as this had far fewer numbers than let's say a division or even a combat engineer regiment. A battery was roughly equivalent to an infantry company, so as you can see, a lot less men.

 

Keep us posted and thanks again for becoming a member. We hope to hear from you a lot in the near future. Don't be afraid to ask questions. We have a top-notch group who are very knowledgable. :pdt34:

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PFC. Frankowski was 33 when he died.

 

I have the numbers of 2 people from the class of 1927 still living. I will call them next week because I am heading out of town.

 

Now I am trying to find out what happened from Jan. 11-16 1943. On Jan 11th the 692nd became part of the 5th Army so I have been told. I must have overlooked that, or forgotten because the first action wasn't until i think April or May.

 

ok i forgot because I was looking for action.

 

5th Army

 

 

 

attached is a picture of Roman " Bud " Frankowski as a Senior at Toledo Central Catholic High School 1927

Also the house he grew up in with about 7-10 family members

and Photo I took of his resting place. :pdt:

post-310-1180145799_thumb.jpg

post-310-1180145883_thumb.jpg

post-310-1180145949_thumb.jpg

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Hi:

 

What a handsome fellow he was! Ah, that's from a lady's perspective. :wub: I can see that he was also an "older" gentleman in WWII, for he would have turned 34 in 1943. Thanks for the great photos.

 

As far as 5th Army, it was "born" or activated in North Africa in Jan 1943, but it did not see action until much later, specifically the Italian Campaign, in Salerno in September of 1943. :pdt34:

 

Looks like you are on the right track. I look forward to your future posts.

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i found the movements of the 692nd, thru rhe invasion Nov 8 -11. After that nothing.

8, Nov.`42 Landed with 3rd Battallion, 60th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division, on Red Beach or Red Beach Two north of the Sebou River. 3rd Bat. then moved inland to sieze the airport & town of Port Lyautey.

After hostilies ended, the scattered units of the 9th division regrouped in the Port Lyautey area and remained there till 31, Jan, `43. Now IF the 692nd was still with the 9th ID that`s were they would be.

During the Casablanca Conference Jan 12 - 23 there was no reported enemy aircraft in the area, Port Lyautey was 75miles away.

Another possiblity is the 692nd was moved to a II Corps (5thArmy) area in eastern Algeria or western Tunisia which would have put them in range of german aircraft.

Larry

 

my notes so far:

Morocco Landings:

Western task force- Gen. George Patton commanding sails direct from US.

Task Force 34 departed Hampton Roads, 23, Oct. `42. arrived off Morocco 7, Nov.`43

Maj. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott's Sub-Task Force GOALPOST consisted of the 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division; the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 2d Armored Division; elements of the 70th Tank Battalion (Separate); and seven coast artillery batteries. With support units, GOALPOST totaled 9,079 officers and men. Its main objectives were airfields at Port-Lyautey and at Sale, 25 miles south, near Rabat. To reach them the troops would first have to take the coastal village of Mehdia and the town of Port-Lyautey five miles inland on the Sebou River.

8, Nov.`42 Landed with 3rd Battallion, 60th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division.

Col. Frederick J. de Rohan’s 60th Infantry Regiment

Lt. Col. John J. Toffey’s 3rd/60th

Landing action:

Lt. Col. John J. Toffey’s 3rd/60th is destined for Red Beach and Red Beach Two north of the Oued Sebou River, but their boats get lost in trying to form up from their control ship, the Osprey. The jumble of milling boats, in no order, starts heading ashore at 6:35 a.m., in broad daylight.

 

As the American landing craft go in, so do four French fighter planes (De 520s or American-built Hawk 75s, known to Americans as the P-36), which strafe the incoming landing craft and men on the beach. Their bullets and bombs swamp two landing craft, dumping Go-Devils into the Atlantic Ocean.

 

The 692nd Coast Artillery Regiment, part of this invading group, reacts as soon as it reaches the beach. The gunners set up their anti-aircraft guns (Coast Artillery is being converted to the anti-aircraft role) and shoot down two attackers, their first kills of the war.

 

French coastal batteries opened up after the first wave reached shore, and French planes strafed the beaches at dawn. Ground opposition increased as the day advanced, and darkness found only the 3d Battalion of the 60th RCT more than a mile inland, opposite the airfield but north of the river. Units landing south of the river converged toward the airfield the following day and one company of the 3d Battalion crossed the Sebou in rubber boats, but all units were stopped short of their objectives.

 

The airfield was taken early on 10 November when the destroyer USS Dallas rammed the boom and carried a raiding party up the river to take the defenders of the field from the unprotected flank. About 1030, planes from the USS Chenango began landing at the field. There was little fighting the rest of that day, and French resistance was formally ended at 0400 on D plus 3.

 

 

After Landings:

Following the cessation of hostilities, plans were made to regroup the division at Port Lyautey. The 39th Combat Team remained near Algiers, and during the next three months was strung out more than 500 miles, guarding communication lines. The 47th made a foot march of over 250 miles from Safi to Port Lyautey, while the remainder of the division landed at Casablanca and moved to the division area. By the first of 1943, the 9th, less the 39th Combat Team, was concentrated near Port Lyautey.

 

For the next month, soldiers of the 9th in turn guarded the Spanish Moroccan border, drank red wine, staged a review for President Roosevelt, saw Martha Raye, slept in cork forests, and found out that the guidebooks don't tell the whole story. On Jan. 31, 1943, the first elements began moving by train and truck from Port Lyautey.

1, Jan. `43 692 listed under 5th Army control,

9th ID listed under I Armored Corps (American) [ of Fifth Army, 11 Jan 1943 ]

Jan. 14 - 23 Casablanca Conference Roosevelt, Chuchill, US & British Chiefs of staff.

no enemy aircraft or attacks reported in Casablaca area during conference

Casablanca some 75 miles to the southwest.

The distances were vast: 445 miles by air from Casablanca to Oran; 230 miles from Oran to Algiers; and another 400 air miles from Algiers to the ultimate objective, the Tunisian ports of Tunis and Bizerte.

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Thanks for taking a very active role on our forum Larry. Your help and participation are greatly appreciated! :pdt34:

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Larry Thank You so much!!!

 

I can't tell you how much this helps. It seems like everyday I get closer to writing a full article.

 

Thank You for the Background info... That really helps..it gives me a story to set a background.

 

I also have an artist who will be working on a painting for me. So knowing where it was where he may have died...or where exactly he was before he died will help.

 

I need to try and contact so former classmates.... i will do that in the afternoon.

 

Thank You again everyone.

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oh by the way here is a picture of Pfc. Frankowski in service.

 

It is the Once only known picture of him... which hangs at the VFW Post 5530

 

Just thought those of you helping me so much would enjoy it. Thanks

 

Chris

post-310-1180392470_thumb.jpg

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Yes, thanks. Did enjoy seeing the posted photo.

 

Here is some more info for you.

 

This is an animated map of the North African Campaign:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwt..._campaign.shtml

 

 

 

http://www.worldwar2history.info/North-Africa/

 

http://www.anzacday.org.au/education/maps/WW2/nthafrica.html

 

http://www.cs.ndsu.nodak.edu/~lugert/wwii.htm

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