981st Engineer Maintenance Company
#11

Was wondering about something ..... could it be possible that my friend was sent to the 112th Combat Engineers as extra manpower for D-Day?

They were attached to 29th Infantry and I believe they were overstrength specifically for this mission.

 

That would make my friend's service timeline complete.

Thanks.

 

Erwin

 

Hi Jeeper704

 

Yes, he could have been assigned to them here is why. The 112th began loading on ships June 1st (Was he already aboard a ship when reassigned?) Before D-Day the commanding officer of 112th Battalion, Lt Col John O'Neill had left the Battalion temporarily to command a special army/navy team formed with the task of clearing anti-landing craft obstacles on Omaha Beach in advance of the invading troops.

The team led by Lt Col O'Neill suffered heavy casualties in carrying out its mission.

 

( This team more than likely included troopers from the 112th ECB and would have needed replacements for the landings. This unit had it's own special mission after the landings. They and the 254th ECB were trained extenively in beach landing operations)

 

His executive officer Major William A Richards assumed command of 112th Battalion for the D-Day landings.

Assault units of the battalion landed on Omaha Beach.

The assault forces organised briefly on the beaches and courageously went over the top in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation through the minefields and obstacles.

Major Richards was among 37 men of the 112th Battalion who were killed or missing. A further 45 members of the battalion were wounded, 34 of them seriously.

Despite these casualties and the extremely fierce enemy opposition, 112th Battalion succeeded in their D-Day mission and their heroism was recognised by the award of a Presidential Unit Citation and a number of individual decorations for gallantry. Hope this helps. I have a couple of questions 1. what unit did he train with in the states and did he ship to England with them? 2. What duties was he assigned when he was with the 981st EMC?

 

Best regards

PJW

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#12

Hi, thanks for the information, I really appreciate it.

To answer your questions:

 

1. what unit did he train with in the states and did he ship to England with them?

 

Well, he speaks of the 185th Engineer Combat Battalion.

This unit is also marked on his field manuals and such.

Since this unit was in 5th Army which served in the MTO, I don't believe he went overseas with it.

My guess is that he went as reinforcement to England, to be put in one of the Engineer outfits destined for Operation Overlord (112th?).

 

He speaks of his unit being attached to 29th Division, so I guess it rules out the Special Engineer Brigade (?).

 

2. What duties was he assigned when he was with the 981st EMC?

 

I think he had light duties there as he was recovering from combat injuries.

He got shot up pretty bad in arm, leg, and back while in France.

This explains him being transferred to the 26th Division as a BAR-gunner.

 

Here is a quote from his letters to me:

 

I had just turned 18 in October 1943 when I was drafted and went to Fort Jackson, South Carolina (this is close to Charlotte) and was with 981 Combat Engineers. Took basic training there and then went to Camp Ellis, Illinois (by Maxton) for specialized training in destroying pillboxes, barb wire set ups and all types of explosives etc.

Was sent to Camp Carson, Colorado for the final bit of training and then over to Europe (England) where we landed at Bournemouth and had some more special training.

We were attached to 29th Infantry Division and were 3rd wave on D-Day. Our job was insane; we were to clear the way through the minefields and pillboxes and obstacles so the infantry could advance. We finally made it but lost a lot of guys in the process.

Went all through the war, the breakout at St. Lô and all the way across France. The hedgerows of France really cost us a lot of casualties.

Our outfit was in the area close to the town of Nancy, France, when it was broken up; this was around December 10 or 12 and I was sent to 26th Division (328th Infantry Regiment, A Company), others to 29th Division and 90th.

The towns of Rambrouch, Grosbois, Bavignie and Wiltz, Fischbach are the general area I was in in the Bulge.

Around the middle of January we were sent to Saarlauteren, Germany to break through an important town in the Siegfried Line and after that the race across Germany.

When the war ended we were in the town of Oberheid, Czechoslovakia and guarded some SS-prisoners for a while, then Division was sent home. I didn’t have enough points of service in months to go home and had to stay and finally returned to the US April 1946.

The weapons I used in the Bulge were the 30 cal BAR which I carried all over Belgium and Luxembourg and it was heavy 17 ½ lbs plus 1 ½ lbs per 20 round clip. I carried 15 clips plus all the other stuff.

I used the bazooka, satchel charges of explosives, hand grenades and plastic composition C explosives, personnel mines and AT mines.

 

Erwin

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#13

Hi all,

 

Sorry Erwin that it took so long for the Photos :unsure: ,I shot some in Rambrouch, in Kaundorf I couldn't find the monument because of roadworks 2 roads were barred for traffic.

Close too the monument in Rambrouch (50meters) is a cemetery where a British Halifax crew is buried I added some photos of their grave'stoo.

 

Martin

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#14

No problem, Martin, thank you for these great photos.

When I was there, several years ago, the monument to the 8th USAAF guy wasn't there.

 

Erwin

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#15

Received this email and wanted to share with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Chard,

 

Hello, I am trying to research my great uncle's military career, but I can find next to nothing about his unit. Here is what I do know. I have his "serviceman's address book", and by using that resource I found that he was with the 981st engineer company attached to Patton's 3rd Army. By the looks of some of the comments in the address book, he was in Regensburg, Germany. The address book contains the names, addresses and ranks of 32 different men. It's a tremendous piece that I will treasure for many years. I also have in my possession, several of my great uncles military related items. For example, his dress jacket (which I had framed in a shadowbox), a military issue duffel-bag filled with several items(canteens, leg warmers(?) and smaller bags) And I also have about a dozen pictures(one of which is a German plane that "they shot down"). At any rate, I have reached a stand still, any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Josh Friend

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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