United States Army
The 21st Infantry Regiment has a long and noble history that goes back nearly 100 years. The Gimlets were organized in 1861 and have been in continuous existence since that time, participating in every major conflict to include World War II and Korea. Throughout the history of this fighting organization the Gimlets have established a reputation as one of the finest units in the United States Army.
In February 1957 the Gimlets returned to Hawaii after a 15-year absence. The cry "Bore, Brother, Rare" is once again heard on the playing fields of Schofield Barracks.
This motto, conceived back in 1921, symbolizes the will to gain victory in spite of all obstacles. This very same spirit, well demonstrated by the 21st Infantry on the battlefields of World War II and Korea, is the credo of the unit in accomplishing its training mission as part of the Strategic Reserve of the Pacific. The 2nd Battle Group of the 21st Infantry is a battle-ready unit standing guard in the Pacific area, ready to answer its country's call.
You Gimlets of today arc upholding well the traditions and standards of your predecessors set at Gettysburg, Santiago, Mindanao, New Guinea, and Osan. Wherever you go, no matter what unit colors you may serve under, you can be proud to have been a Gimlet, remembering that once a Gimlet always a Gimlet.
Colonel Roland M Gleszer
Richard Arthur Briggs
From the Foreword:
The "Battle of the Ruhr Pocket" actually took place during the period from April 1 (when the pocket was closed by the junction of the First and Ninth Armies), until about April 19, 1945, when the last resistance took place near the Ruhr River. During this period over 825,000 men were locked in deadly combat. When it was all over some 325,000 Germans were in the Prisoner of War stockades.
The author, in order to give the reader more of the background and preparation for the battle, actually takes the reader back to the seizure of the Remagan Bridge, and traces each division as it crosses the Rhine and encountered the enemy in what later turned into the greatest pincer movement the world has ever known.
Many books have been published on World War II, but probably none touch on a battle or campaign which was so different from the others than does this book. As you read this volume the publisher hopes you are able to secure a better knowledge of the "Battle of the Ruhr Pocket" as it unfolds before you in the peace and contentment of your home and office.
The author of this book remembers the Ruhr well. He served as a combat infantryman throughout the entire engagement and when asked today what he remembers most about the Ruhr replies;
"Three thing -- 88's', 88's, and more 88's.
Richard Arthur Briggs
This is the story, told as factually as possible, of the activities of the US Army's Eighty-Sixth "Black Hawk" Infantry Division in World War II.
For eight years, the fighting record of the Black Hawks has been fading into oblivion. The author has attempted in this volume to bring to light for future generations the part played by the Black Hawks in winning the war. In so doing, he requests the indulgence of all of his former comrades, as the length of time that has lapsed since the end of the war has erased many memories and likewise official records of the divisions’ activities.
Much of the information in this book originates from the various after action reports, and other official classified documents in the office of the Adjutant General Army Records Center. Without these documents this book would have been impossible.
The author also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of all former members of the Division who furnished material when requested. This list would be large, but special recognition must be given to Maj. General Harris M. Melasky, our former Commanding General, who is still heart and soul, a Black Hawk.
The author invites correspondence regarding the Black Hawk History, and has indicated a desire to see a permanent Black Hawk Division Association formed, with an annual reunion in some central location in the states each year.
The book is dedicated to all former members of the Division who gave their all for the success of its mission in World War II. Composed almost entirely of selective service inductees, the unit became known as the "Kid Division," because of its youth. The average age of the entire division, officers and all, was only 22. In writing a history of an infantry division, far too many noble acts and deeds are overlooked, because the act dropped where some obscure doughboy fell. Many a battle was won when some infantryman fired one last round with his M-1 rifle as he fell in battle. These are the acts that will never be recorded, as they fell with the individual that carried them through.
As this book is read, many memories will come to light. Some of them will be pleasant, others will not. The purpose of this book is not fiction, nor is it to glorify any particular unit or individual. It attempts to tell only the story of the Black Hawk Division, as documented from official Army records.
The author of this book served as a rifleman in the 86th Infantry Division for over two years. Joining the division at Camp Livingston and remaining with it thru the Philippines. After his discharge from the army in 1946, he studied Journalism at the University of Louisville, and until 1951 was the editor of a Kentucky newspaper. In 1951 he was appointed Postmaster at West Point, Kentucky, and since that time has served in that position.
American National Red Cross
Excerpt from the introductory "Why the Red Cross Serves the Armed Forces":
During the past 10 years, the Red Cross has expended well over half a billion dollars in service to the armed forces and to veterans -- dollars that were voluntarily contributed for that purpose by the people of this country. But even more significant are the millions of hours of volunteer effort that have likewise been freely contributed to that service through the Red Cross -- hours that, if paid for at going wage rates, would have multiplied Red Cross expenditures many fold. This volunteer service, symbolic of all that is warm and human and neighborly in American life, is the truest measure of what the Red Cross stands for in its relations with the military establishment.
The American Red Cross continues to exist and to carry on its service to the armed forces of this country because there is a vital job to be done and because the American people have accepted the Red Cross as their medium of action in this department. of community responsibility. There can be no doubt that, if the Red Cross did not already exist, the people of this country would see to it that a similar organization, of equal extent and capacity, was promptly established.
Theodore Lockwood and United States Army
It was Washington, D.C., July 15, 1943. At the War Department it was noted that a new division was being activated as of that date - the lOth Light Division. Out in Colorado the usual afternoon cloudburst broke loose as the journal clerk recorded the fact that the division had been officially activated. A month later there was a formal occasion; Pando, Colorado witnessed the parade and ceremonies honoring the birth of the Tenth. Major General Lloyd E. Jones reviewed the troops.
Dale R. Thayer and United States Army
When he arrived in Camp White, Oregon, on that spring day in 1943 few men of the 299th Engineer Combat Battalion realized the vigor and perseverance concealed beneath the pleasant face and sto.cky body of Lt. Col. Milton A . Jewett.
His easy going movements and slow speech gave no hint of his abilities which later were recognized by the highest quarters and ultimately led to the award of the Distinguished Service Cross.
Colonel Jewett, we never had the time nor the place to express to you our sentiments. Therefore, we are devoting this page to you and with it our best wishes for a future as fine as your army career.
-The Officers and Men of the Famous 299th
United States Army
"Fighting across 18 major rivers and scores of smaller streams you have accomplished some of the longest sustained marches in the history of warfare. You have liberated or conquered more than 31,000 square miles of territory, including 600 cities and towns and 4,000 inhabited places.
You have captured 540,000 enemy soldiers and killed or wounded at least 89,000 others. ANGERS, CHARTRES, FONTAINEBLEAU, MELUN, MONTEREAU, CHATEAU-TIERRY, EPERNAY, HEIMS, VERDUN. METZ, TRIER. SAARLAUTERN, KAISERLAUTERN, WIESBADEN, KASSEL, WEIMAR, JENA, REGENSBURG. BRAUNAU, LINZ and STEYR were but milestones in your zone of advance.
The pathway to our goal has been costly and the blood of dead and wounded comrades marks our way to the liberation of Europe. Let us remember their sacrifices as we exalt in the victory of our arms. Let us prove to them by our conduct now that they did not die in vain; that we have the fortitude to put aside selfish interests and carry on with firm justice and resolute determination to irrevocably crush the Nazi menace and establish freedom and right in war-torn Europe.
We have won the war. Let us now win the peace. We shall not for an instant lower our guard. Through our conduct, dress, bearing and example, we shall always maintain the high standards of a well trained and a well disciplined Corps."
Walton H. Walker, Lieutenant General, United States Army
United Service Organizations
To the People of the United States
Just seven years ago, (on February 4, 1941), the USO was incorporated "to aid in the war and defense program of the United States and its allies by serving the religious, spiritual welfare and educational needs of the men and women in the armed forces and defense industries, and in general to contribute to the maintenance of morale in American communities.'
Growing out of the human concern and patriotic desire of its member agencies to render a united though separately distinctive service in a great national emergency, the USO became both a symbol of a nation's care for its sons and daughters in uniform and a principal channel for an unprecedented civilian participation in a total war effort.
In seven years the USO has exercised a fiduciary trusteeship involving $236,000,000 voluntarily and gladly contributed by countless individuals in every county, town and hamlet in the United States and thousands of men in uniform stationed throughout the world. This money has been translated into a billion and a half recorded services -- and millions more never tallied.
While the end of the war has not brought with it the end of an emergency for any nation; and while the times are still rife with human peril and human need, still the USO has discharged its mission, fulfilled its original purpose and ended its task. An official and complete history of USO has already been written and, together with pertinent documents and significant records, it will be filed permanently in the Library of Congress. The drama of the enterprise has been recorded in the book by Julia Carson, "Home Away From Home.'
It is now appropriate to render a simple but complete factual accounting to our contributing and participating public. That is the purpose of this report.
January 9, 1948
L.F. Kimball, President, United Service Organizations, Inc.
United States Navy
This is a pictorial review of the overseas activities of the men who helped deliver the goods for the Navy. This may be interpreted as the story of your own Bill or Joe or Eddie, for within these covers we have endeavored to display the living story, in pictures, of individual personalities.
How better could a Seabee Battalion be defined than ". . . a sizeable group of individuals, each of whom possesses a knowledge of some specific trade or profession, is able to think for himself, to perform his duties under pressure, working together as a highly synchronized unit and willing to fight together if need be to preserve the freedom and personal right for which our great country stands."
United States Navy and Hartwell Pond
120th Infantry Regiment
This history of how brave men fought and won has been compiled from all available sources. Testimony of many members of the Regiment, official reports, personal observations of the several contributors to this story, and personnel and award files are the most important of these sources.
The history is a narrative of several thousands of men who were brought together in a common cause. It is an attempt to tell where these men went, what they did, and how they lived. It does not attempt to gloss over failures nor to exaggerate the many successful actions. To the best of our knowledge, it is a simple, straightforward story of what actually occurred, with no coloring, padding, nor superlative. The history was written for the most part during combat. Its greatest failure is obviously that it does not mention many, many men who fought with courage and distinction through all or most of the campaigns. We have suffered in knowing that we could not speak of every man who contributed to the record of the 120th Infantry.
This record is outstanding. The regiment never lost a key point. It never failed to capture an assigned objective. During the ebb and flow of battle, several units occasionally were driven backward, but never was a battalion position lost. At times, companies and battalions failed to capture positions on the first attempt, but ultimately all Regimental objectives were reached. Few organizations that fought as many days as did the 120th Infantry Regiment have claim to such a record. We are indebted to those men who achieved this record and to those who helped in recording it.
We hope that this work in some measure may recall the rugged but heroic days, the rough but ready comradeship, of the memorable months when the Regiment was in combat in the European Theater of Operations.
If the purpose of this book were to tell the history of the I 20th Infantry in detail from its origin, one might devote the entire volume, and many more besides, dealing with the fascinating story of its part in the Revolutionary, the Mexican, and the First World Wars. But since this work is of limited scope, the story of the 120th must deal almost entirely with its combat record in World War II. viii
Surf and sand, the saga of the 533d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment and 1461st Engineer Maintenance Company, 1942-1945
Robert Amory Jr.
In these pages will be found the story of our own 533d in the greatest of all the wars of the world. It is a story of toil and hardship and danger mixed with happy interludes and comradeships made the dearer thereby, a story of great deeds in the face of great obstacles, of reverses and disappointments but of pride and glory in the end.
This book is not written to impress others with our deeds. In the many commendations of high commanders is found the testimony to our success in an unusual and most important role in many landings on enemy-held shores. In our own minds and hearts are the priceless memories of our great adventure and the pride that comes from the knowledge of a job well done. May these pages help to keep them fresh through the years to come.
W.S. Moore, Colonel, Corps of Engineers
Contrails, my war record: a history of world war two as recorded at U. S. Army air force station #139, Thorpe Abbotts, near Diss, county of Norfolk, England
Henry H. Arnold
"Contrails -- My War Record" is a written record of what a number of young Americans did to help win World War II.
What does not appear so obviously on the printed page is, perhaps, even more important: the quick, strong indignation of these men, at a powerful menace that threatened their ideals and their American way of living; their day-by-day strength that matched powerful foes and unending hardship; their unflagging courage that mocked incredible danger; their unquenchable faith that met aggressively the ultimate in sacrifice. These things were given freely, as only free men could give. These things definitely assure that free men shall continue to inherit the earth.
Officers and men of the 100th Bombardment Group and of the Service Organizations, I salute you!
H.H. Arnold, General of the Army
Rudolph J. Birsic
"No book this size could ever hope to record completely, day by day, mission by mission, the history of the 445th Bombardment Group. Since various limitations did exist and handicap the publication of our Group History, the only alternative was to select such material as would most emphatically demonstrate how superior our Group really was.
The photographs selected for use in the book were chosen because they were the most representative of those available. Every attempt was made to provide at least token representation of the few activities and sections not included; however, the fact that some parts of our Group organization have not been included indicates that these attempts were unsuccessful.
Because of many changes in Squadron Staff personnel throughout the life of the Group, it was not thought advisable to list the many persons involved. Instead, it was left to various photographs to tell about these men.
I sincerely hope that in the years to come this book will recall dimming memories, and that it will always serve as convincing evidence that ours was one of the best Groups in the Army Air Forces.
· Rudolph J. Birsic, July, 1947
William B. Black and United States Army
To all men of the 643rd Port Company:
Many things have happened to all of us since that cold morning in February, 1944, when you marched in the snow up the hilly military reservation at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.
First, we made soldiers of you indifferent citizens, You were taught many things, some of them useful in war, some useful in peace. To some of you, military life has left a bitter taste. To others it was an opportunity to see the world as well as gaining a new and exciting life as a soldier. Remember this, you were taught to think quickly and to act accordingly. Those of you who are making the Army your career, continue with the same spirit and ambition you have shown in the past.
The war is over now, and you who are about to become citizens again, go out in the world and fight. Yes, fight for what is right and live up to your belief in GOD.
Andrew Grant Gregory and Carroll Bateman
Beginning of Chapter 7, Conclusion:
"In this book, the author has not attempted to give a complete history of the Military Railway Service. And in a sense, the task of the author has been a painful one. Limitations of space have precluded the inclusion of many episodes, vignettes, descriptions and analyses. Consequently, most of the personnel concerned have had to remain anonymous.
War is not only a matter of facts and statistics. It is experience, and no others can quite understand that experience. The author has tried to tell the story of the war as it came to our organization how it looked and felt, and what our activities were during the fighting. The splendid performance of the 708th reflected credit on all of our personnel rather than on any individual or small group of individuals. This book is intended primarily for personnel of our immediate headquarters, and I trust they will understand and forgive me for not including their individual chapters."
Roy Lorenz Moskop
This is the story of an artillery outfit in World War II. Most of it had to be written after that war was over and the outfit scattered over the land. It very likely has as many "bugs" in it as the post-war auto.
Only two sources of information were available from which to piece this story together. One was the official history of the 91st Division Artillery which bristled with facts and figures, but told little about men and their lives. Whatever was missing, I tried to supply from my memory.
Harry A. Stewart, John E. Power, and United States Army Air Forces
From the Foreword, written by Arnold T. Johnson, Col. A.C., Group Commander:
This book has been prepared and published in the belief that every member of the 497th Bomb Group will want to have its glorious combat history preserved and that every member will desire to have a copy. It is hoped, as you browse through this book in future years, it will serve to remind you of your many friends and team-mates with whom you served. It is hoped, as you glance through the "Roll of Honor", it will keep alive your memory of our brave friends who did not return, and of the great sacrifices a war exacts. Because these gallant men made the supreme sacrifice, we are living to enjoy the "Four Freedoms" for which this war was fought.
As I think back to those days on Saipan, where we lived, worked and fought together, I think of the smoothest functioning team it has ever been my pleasure to serve with. I think of every man performing his duties with loyalty and cooperation and to the best of his ability. Men in the kitchens, on the maintenance line, in the offices, on board the airplanes; each seemed to take pride in making every mission a little better than the last; each knew that his efforts brought the war to a close just a little sooner.
Every-man who fought with the 497th Bomb Group deserves the highest praise and commendation. To each of you I extend my sincere appreciation and congratulations for the job you did so well.
Preparation of this book did not begin until five months after the group had returned to the States. The group was then stationed at MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida. Very few of the enlisted personnel had returned, many of the officers had returned but there were also many new ones assigned. Many staff positions were filled by personnel who were new to the group. The records of the group, including the squadron records, arrived home in a thoroughly disorganized fashion and a considerable amount of the records were never found. These facts together with the difficulties in obtaining the correct status of missing personnel and present locations of all former personnel have made the task of preparing this book very difficult.
It is desired to acknowledge that this book will contain many imperfections and perhaps many errors. The errors are regrettable but everything has been done to avoid them, insofar as has been possible. In spite of this, it is believed that this book is well worth while and will be thoroughly enjoyable to all former personnel of the group.
A history of the United States Army Twelfth Armored Division, 15 September, 1942 - 17 December, 1945
United States Army
Speed and devastating striking power, coupled with the gallant deeds and heroism of its personnel, wrote a glorious history for the 12th Armored "Hellcat" Division during its five months of constant combat against the enemy in Europe in World War II. "Speed" was its password to Fortress Europe.
Its activation on September 15, 1942, maneuvers, camp training, the boat trip over, the cold days of England, and the first hectic days of France-during those days the Hellcats gradually acquired the fighting spirit and esprit de corps that were to make the 12th one of the fastest striking, most feared divisions on the Western Front.
United States Army
With the activation of the XVI Corps on 7 December 1943, the War Department added another fighting Corps to its rapidly expanding Army of the United States, a Corps that was destined within little more than a year to make an historic assault across Europe's Rhine River and to play an important part in the United States Ninth and First Armies' encirclement of the vital Ruhr industrial area and the total defeat of Nazi Germany.
Under the command of Maj. Gen. John B. Anderson, Corps commander since shortly after its organization, the XVI Corps proved in training and in combat operations its right to a place among the leading Corps of the United States armies. It conducted an efficient training program in preparation for combat prior to its departure from the United States. Arriving in France, it assumed the responsibility of processing troops as they arrived on the European Continent and protected the Normandy beaches from possible counter-attacks by hostile forces on the nearby Channel Islands.
The XVI Corps protected the Ninth United States Army's northern flank in the Roer River assault, driving the German foe from the Roer to the Rhine River so relentlessly that enemy units in the north were unable to aid the hard-pressed German forces being hammered on other sectors of the Ninth Army front. It smashed across the Rhine in a great inland amphibious operation and drove inexorably onward to assist in trapping crack German Armies in the Ruhr valley.
The Corps swept the Germans from the big industrial cities north of the Ruhr River, including Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, and Gelsenkirchen, swinging south as the Ninth and First Armies combined to crush all enemy resistance in the Ruhr. Then, turning from tactical operations to other duties, it directed the military occupation and government of the greater section of the German provinces of Westphalia, Lippe, and Schaumburg Lippe.
United States Army Air Forces
Roster of members of the 401st Bombardment Group
United States Army Air Forces
War brings glory and war brings death. Let no man think the former compensates the latter. This book is not dedicated to the glories of a great combat record. It is a memorial to those who gave their lives to make that record. They are the only heroes. No rank, medals, or words of praise can do justice to their sacrifices.
United States Army, Sterling A. Wood, Edwin M. Van Bibber, Thomas L. Lyons, and Robert G. Deihl
This history of the 313th Infantry is the result, actually, of a definite policy established early in the career of the Regiment. Col Sterling A. Wood took command in the spring of 1943, and one of the first questions he asked (and he has asked many since) was what was being done about a history of the Regiment. Answers were to the effect that the prospect had not advanced beyond the talking stage. The net result of the discussion was the termination of that stage and the initiation of the next one, i.e., getting something done about it.
Maj (then Capt) Raymond P. Godwin, the Regimental S-2, was given the task of organizing the work. He appointed Pfc Robert G. Deihl as recorder, and Pfc Stig Stabe as photographer. Thereafter a very fine camera was purchased in order that a photographic record of events might be kept, and Pfc Deihl began immediately to write up notes on the history of the Regiment as it had unfolded itself up until that date.
Deihl continued this work until the Regiment went overseas, when it was necessary to leave his accumulated manuscript behind, for security reasons. And, due to the pressure of business (!) in Normandy and elsewhere, there was little time or opportunity to establish the proper cultural surroundings appropriate to literary composition. The mere fact that Deihl was able to transcribe the entries on the Regimental log into a cohesive narrative at all, is a tribute to his industry and ingenuity.
With the end of the war came increased opportunity for work on the history. The breaking up of the Division interfered, of course, but plans were made whereby this obstacle could largely be transcended. Capt Thomas L. Lyons, the last S-2, volunteered to give his free time, after his return to the States, to the furtherance of the work. He and Deihl planned to go into conference with the Infantry Journal Press in Washington, D. C., whose policy on unit histories made the publication of this book possible. It is the spirit of loyalty and self-sacrifice of these two that deserves the gratitude of us all.
The book has been written by various people, which largely accounts for its non-uniformity of style. It is not intended to be a literary masterpiece, however, and I am quite sure that none of its authors have the "best seller" lists in mind. The purpose of this history is merely to entertain the ex-members of the Regiment, and to aid in their reminiscences, both spoken and unspoken.
Colonel Edwin M. Van Bibber
Victor E. Weaver
From the Introduction:
That is the purpose of this book -- to tell a story, the story of the men of the 233d Engineer Combat Battalion ... their combat experiences, the story they want to be told. It comprises the better part of the history, and in its writing it is fully realized that at its best this book will be only a brief summary of the full story.
Each act of heroism or determination, each recording of skill and self-sacrifice, and each feat of bravery depicted will be only one of many. Throughout the entire writing of this book I have had to be content with the telling of a few incidents with the full certainty of neglecting many. The only records of many acts of courage are still being held in the hearts of the doers, and only because they were seen by someone else did those related here become known. For it was the spirit of the Battalion that to sacrifice, to go beyond the call of duty and to accomplish the job at any cost was merely doing the job well.
If this book tells the story they want told, if it brings a feeling of pride to the members of the Battalion, if it brings enjoyment to its readers, it will have fulfilled its purpose, and it is further hoped that in its recording I have brought forth the spirit of undying cooperation that so successfully carried the 233d Engineers across the many beaches in the Pacific Theater and made the accomplishment of their every mission possible.
Victor E. Weaver, 2nd Lt, 233rd Engineer Combat Battalion, Adjutant
Ralph O. Bates
The history of the 83rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion began on June 15th, 1832 when the First Regiment of Cavalry was organized by Act of Congress, as the Battalion of Mounted Rangers. A reorganization on March 21st, 1833, changed the title to, the Regiment of Dragoons. Later in 1836 it was designated as the First Dragoons, and in 1861 was again known as the 1st Cavalry.
We at Bangor Public Library believe our collection of World War II regimental histories to be one of the largest in a library in the world. We are proud to share with you this collection. We feel presenting these books will open up a new means of studying and experiencing the Second World War for scholars, the curious public, descendants of the soldiers who served, and our surviving servicemen and servicewomen. If you have any questions about a book showcased here or have technical difficulties, feel welcome to contact Patrick Layne by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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