253rd Engineer Combat Battalion
#21

Wow, some good news today, for I found this link in reference to another 253rd video. Sounds very cool. Would be happy to pay them to get this. :clappin2:

 

http://vintagefilmarsenal.com/stoll.html

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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#22

I appreciate the leads others have given me about the 253rd Engineers Combat Battalion.  It's helped me to put this history together.  The following information is based on your assistance, public records, and letter my father Pvt. Don H. Lafler, service no. 42019810 sent home to his family from induction until discharge.  Although specifics were not shared during censorship, he filled in some of the blanks after the surrender.


The 253rd started out as a unit of the 1142nd Engineers Combat Group activated on October 15th, 1943 stationed at Camp Crowder, Missouri. The battalion participated in the Tennessee Maneuvers in early 1944 as part of the 1142 Combat Group and was then stationed at Camp Campbell, KY as part of the Group. When the 1142nd Combat Headquarters Company sailed for England August 29, 1944, the 253rd Engineers stayed behind.  In October, the Battalion traveled by rail to Fort Miles Standish in Massachusetts, then sailed from Boston to England on the USS West Point, arriving there in early November. 


 


Company C of the 253rd Battalion was stationed at Camp Doddington in Cheshire near the railway centre at Crewe, England. On December 24, 1944 they were transported to the coast and shipped to France, arriving at the port of Cherbourg on December 29, 1944.  From there the company moved to western France to support U.S. Army troops in the Ardennes. The company was located at Sarrequimines on January 11, 1945. By January 18, 1945 he wrote his family that he was living under better conditions and eating steak, port chops and chicken.  In February 1945 they were located at Schirmeck attached to the 63rd Division running lumber mills, building bridges over the Saar River and clearing land mines. Don later lamented that he was deprived of points for discharge because their captain did not submit paperwork for participation in combat for which the 63rd Division was awarded a combat star.  Don reported that he did accumulate several months of combat time. Don was assigned a jeep and later wrote that he put over 10,000 miles on his jeep driving dispatched and personnel over a five month period.  In early March he made a trip to Nancy, France.  On March 30, 1945 the company crossed the Rhine River and entered Germany.  They accompanied the Seventh Army on its race toward the Austrian Alps.  Again, the company ran a lumber mill and secured supplies for bridge building.  On April 11, 1945 he reported that he had covered a lot of territory over the past few days and had passed through many towns were there wasn’t a complete building standing. Company C was stationed at Heidenheim throughout the summer and building bridges continued to be a high priority.  On May 25, 1945 he drove to Berchtesgarden (location of Hitler’s Eagles Nest).  Soldier were allowed to tour the site at that time.  On May 31, 1945 the company was participating in recreation, playing softball.  On August 16, 1945 he wrote that “we are operating lumber control points in railroad yards.  The company is spread over 250 miles now.”  On September 23, 1945 the company was broken up and he along with 35 others were attached to the Seventh Army 970 Engineers Maintenance Company stationed in Heidenheim and later outside Schwetzinger, ten miles from Manheim. On October 29, 1945 he wrote his family that “when I was in the 253rd Engineers we weren’t attached to any division.  We were Army engineers and worked under Army jurisdiction completely, only working with Divisions on certain things.” On November 18, 1945 he wrote that “we have changed to TSF (theater service forces) but are still under Seventh Army supervision” whose headquarters were in Heidelberg.


I also have photos of some of the soldiers in Company C and will be happy to share them.  I am including a list of soldiers identified below:


At Camp Crowder, MO (basic training)


George Collins


Al Marano


Bob Morris


Lee Salazzo


Steve Saraffin


 


At Gallitan, TN (April 1944)


Ameil Maattis (Yonkers NY)


Al Marano


Dick Passino (Gloversville NY)


Christ Vellucci (Brooklyn NY)


 


At Camp Campbell, Kentucky (July 1944)


Harold Mattison (Jamestown, NY)


Joe Priester (Buffalo, NY)


Al Smith (Lockport, NY)


Eddy Smith (Lockport, NY)


 


In Heidenheim, Germany ( Summer-Winter1945)


now serving with 970 Engineer Maintenance Motor Pool


21 Wild Strasse (former Panzer barracks)


            Peter Bleigh (Syracuse NY)


            Herb Hoak


            Dan Jipson


            Merril Kirkey


            Jack Minges


253rd Engr Combat BN.Camp Crowder 1944.JPG

253 Combat Engr Battalion pennant.jpg

253rd Engr Nashville-lunch on manuvers 1944.jpg

253rd Co C at Westminster, London Fall 1944.jpg

253_Engr_Co_C_after_retreat.JPG



Attached Files
.jpg   253rd Engr Combat BN.Camp Crowder 1944.JPG (Size: 419.55 KB / Downloads: 0)
.jpg   253 Combat Engr Battalion pennant.jpg (Size: 72.29 KB / Downloads: 0)
.jpg   253rd Engr Nashville-lunch on manuvers 1944.jpg (Size: 157.03 KB / Downloads: 0)
.jpg   253rd Co C at Westminster, London Fall 1944.jpg (Size: 174.45 KB / Downloads: 0)
.jpg   253_Engr_Co_C_after_retreat.JPG (Size: 1.24 MB / Downloads: 0)
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#23

Excellent post and nice synopsis. Glad you joined our forum and was able to shed a little more light regarding the unit. It's nice that your dad was able to fill in the censored parts of his letter, so all wouldn't be lost. I'm sure everyone reading this post is grateful for your participation. 

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"
Reply


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