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lowellsilverman

Engineers assigned to Peninsular Base Section, Caserta area c. April 1944

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My grandfather, Robert Silverman was a dentist in the 32nd Station Hospital in the MTO.  The one story he told his sons was about a close call he had when dud bombs fell on the hospital during a German air raid.  While researching the story, I discovered the raid happened on April 24, 1944 at the compound in Caserta, Italy.  At that time, the 32nd was assigned to the Peninsular Base Section.  I was able to find photographs from the incident at the Pritzker Military Museum.  When I showed the photos to a retired U.S. Army E.O.D. expert who also is a historian for bomb disposal units in WWII, he pointed out some oddities in procedure and unit markings.  The disposal unit's 2 1/2 ton truck doesn't have any bomb disposal markings, for instance.  In fact, the only markings on the bumperettes are "PBS" on the left and what looks like "20" or "23" on the right. 
 
A couple of people suggested that it's possible that an Engineers unit might have done the disposal in this case.  There were only two Ordnance bomb disposal companies and a few independent squads in all of Italy at the time and it seems that when they were spread thin, Engineers might have been called on.  I was hoping to find out which Engineer units might have been assigned to the Peninsular Base Section in the Caserta or Naples area in April 1944, or at least what sort of Engineer unit would have been called upon to perform this duty if a BD squad was not available. 
 
With that information I was hoping to have a productive visit (when I can squeeze in time off toddler duty) to the National Archives to see if I can find confirmation.  My research so far, including the photographs, can be viewed here: https://32ndstationhospital.wordpress.com/2018/12/04/the-32nd-station-hospitals-close-call-during-a-german-air-raid/ Thanks.

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Enjoyed reading your the page (linked above). Great research. A lot of time and effort went into it and it's very well done.

Quickly (more later because I'm in the middle of doing "Christmas stuff"), I am adding documents/links that may shed more light on the subject matter.

You may want to perform a search on the main site (search engine on Home Page), to see what else may be of interest to you

As far as the truck show in the photo you mentioned, it's my take that they were using whatever means available to them at the time. Not uncommon at all. So I don't find that, that unusual. Heck, they used whatever means necessary to get the job done. It's called being enterprising. :pdt34: As you also stated, they were spread thin. It all makes sense. 

Not sure if you have seen this yet, nor how helpful it may be. Seems to be an overview. Peninsular Base Section, Italy - at Amazon

Hopefully I have not duplicated anything for you, but it may help others who are performing similar research. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it's a start...

Merry Christmas, 

 

 

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Thanks for the quick reply.  I've come across a lot of the same things you mentioned already.  I might have no choice but to make an extended visit to NARA...there's a section on PBS in the Engineering records there which may have some of the answers I seek.  I actually got a copy of the Photographic History of the Peninsular Base Section used on Amazon.  Quite neat pictures, including Engineers turning capsized ships in Naples Harbor (apparently scorched Earth tactics by the retreating Germans) into piers!  The book has a brief mention of the raid, but nothing else too useful.

Lowell

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My dad's unit worked in the Naples Harbor. Huge undertaking. 

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You'll love this pic I just saw on FB. Reminded of this post.

 

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

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