540th film

I can't believe it. Almost 2 years I ran across a film that actually has my dad's unit it. Well, thought I had saved the link and for the life of me after many attempts since that time, ran across it a few minutes ago. HOW?


Well I started also using a new search engine on my tool bar, Ask.com. I typed in 540th, just to see how they differed from Google. Mind you, I was not looking for the film. But a link caught my eye and wow, there it was! I couldn't believe it.


I am ordering it today! You betcha!




Call me a very happy gal! :pdt12::pdt12:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Had the chance to watch it yesterday and made some notes. The entire film was about 30 minutes long and contained the following vignettes:


Began with the capture of Cherbourg and featured the 79th Infantry Division. Showed the surrender of Von Schlieben, the freeing of Russian prisoners, and General Collins return to the French city.


For those who would like to know a bit more about Cherbourg, I've copied a bit of info for you:


On June 18, the U.S. 9th Infantry Division reached the west coast of the peninsula. Within 24 hours, the 4th, 9th and U.S. 79th Infantry Division were driving north on a broad front. There was almost no opposition on the western side of the peninsula; on the eastern side, the exhausted defenders around Montebourg collapsed. Several large caches of V-1 flying bombs were discovered in addition to a V-2 rocket installation at Brix.


In two days, the American divisions were within striking distance of Cherbourg. The garrison commander, Lieutenant General von Schlieben, had 21,000 men but many were hastily drafted naval personnel or from labour units, and the fighting troops who had retreated to Cherbourg were tired and disorganised. Food, fuel and ammunition were short. The Luftwaffe dropped a few supplies, but these were mostly items such as Iron Crosses, to bolster the garrison's morale. Nevertheless, von Schlieben rejected a summons to surrender, and began carrying out demolitions to deny the port to the Allies.


Collins launched a general assault on June 22. Resistance was stiff at first, but the Americans slowly cleared the Germans from their bunkers and concrete pillboxes. On June 26, the 79th Division captured Fort du Roule, which dominated the city and its defences. This finished any organised defence. Von Schlieben was captured. The harbour fortifications and the Arsenal surrendered a few days later, after a token resistance. Some German troops cut off outside the defences held out until July 1.


The Germans had thoroughly wrecked and mined the port, and it was not brought into limited use until the middle of August; the first ships were able to use the harbor in late July. Nevertheless, the Germans had sustained a major defeat, as a result of a rapid Allied buildup on their western flank, and Hitler's rigid orders.


General Friedrich Dollman, commanding the German Seventh Army, died of a heart attack on June 28, having just been informed of a court martial pending as a result of the capture of Cherbourg.



The next section was very short and spoke of V-2 Rockets. The film showed a V-2 caught in a mesh of search lights. It winds up being shot down by a Spitfire. They show the crashed rocket too.



The third section of the Army film showed footage in the CBI Theatre. The focus was on the 60th Amry Chinese training school in Yunnan. The men went through basic training with rifles, bazookas, etc.


Here's a short article on some WWII vets re-visiting Yunnan:





The fourth section featured the North Burma front. Merrill's Marauders were filmed here. One clip shows supplies being dropped to the men. There was footage on the fighters and footage of soldiers fighting around Myitkyina.


Here's a link on the Burma Front:





The fifth section moved to the ETO, and began with General Marshall landing in Italy in June 1944. He met up with 5th Army forces shook hands with many of the officers. Mark Clark was also there. They filmed him taking off in a Piper Cub to do some observation.



The sixth section was my favorite of course because this was my daddy's part of the film. This part covered the 540th Combat Engineers in the Port city of Civitavecchia. The men are trying to clear the harbor by and and all means including the use of dynamite. They are also restoring a retaining wall, clearing debris and after 4 short days after the capture of the city, they have a working harbor once again. An LST pulls up and is the first to pull into the harbor and unload.


How I wish this section was longer, but am satisfied with the four minutes or so of film. Way to go boys! Yeah 540th! :pdt34:


Two days after Rome fell, General Alexander received orders from General Wilson to push the Germans 170 miles north to a line running from Pisa to Rimini as quickly as possible to prevent the establishment of any sort of coherent enemy defense in central Italy. The Fifth Army, still fighting in the western half of the peninsula, set as its immediate goals the capture of the port of Civitavecchia and the airfields at Viterbo, with the long-range goal of seizing the triangle of Pisa-Lucca-Pistoia on the Arno River. The Eighth Army, whose front eventually extended nearly 200 miles from the interior to the Adriatic, targeted the triangle FlorenceArezzo-Bibbiena. To maintain momentum, all units were instructed to bypass enemy strongpoints, but were told to exploit any opportunity to split and destroy the Tenth and Fourteenth Armies separately before they reached the Arno.


Although Allied progress was steady, neither Fifth nor Eighth Army advanced as rapidly as planned. Civitavecchia and Viterbo fell on 7 June, with extremely light Fifth Army casualties, while the Eighth Army captured Terni and Perugia on 13 and 19 June, respectively. But the constant shifting of troops between fronts to replace units withdrawn for ANVIL, growing logistical problems, plus the ever-present rough terrain, poor weather, and sporadic but stiff enemy resistance, caused innumerable delays.




The seventh section dealt with the Allies taking the island of Elba on June 17, 1944. The Colonial troops were the British and the French. The Italian island of Elba was invaded by a French Army and codenamed 'Operation Brassard'.


Also taking part were two units of Royal Naval Commandos whose task was to neutralise a German gun boat which was believed to be Moored in the main landing area.


The operation was ultimately successful but the vast majority of the RN Commandos were wiped out by a massive explosion after the capture of the German ship.



The seventh section was film of ordanance testing with a captured Japanese gun. They were trying to blow up a tank amongst other things. :pdt34:



The final section of this short film showed the 165th Infantry Division as they made their way to Saipan and then the actual invasion with bombardment and the men on the beachhead. The invasion took place on June 15th, 1944. There was much carnage and it kept the medics at full-tilt boogie.



Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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