The Dragons of Bastogne (Alter World)

Alter World Adventures Series
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All types of exercises and problems were presented and the ammunition allowance for all arms was most liberal. Also, the Expert Infantryman Badge tests were conducted. Inundation of the area surrounding Grenada, Mississippi, by flood waters of the Yalobusha River, led the local mayor, on March 29, , to call on the 94th for help in evacuating marooned families. Division speedily answered this appeal by dispatching Company C, th Engineers and assault boats equipped with outboard motors. From an area approximately thirty-five miles square, bounded by the villages of Oxberry, Cascilla, Holcomb, Parsons and Philipp, the engi- neers rescued persons between the 29th and 31st of the month.

For the benefit of the visitors, a field artillery demonstration was conducted by Gen- eral Fortier's men. In addition, elements of the d Infantry crawled through a soggy infiltration course. During the latter demonstration, detonation of nitro-starch charges planted in water holes previ- ously dug in the course, liberally showered most of the spectators with mud.

On May 5, , the 94th Division was alerted for overseas service and the training week stepped up to a minimum of forty-eight hours so that all POM Preparation for Overseas Movement requirements could be met. TE inspections were started and specialized training was pursued more intensely than before. Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson visited the Division on May 26, , and the following day, at a review staged in his honor, he attached streamers to the guidons of several infantry units, recog- nizing them as having qualified as Expert Infantry Companies.

During this visit of the Under Secretary of War, two special exercises were conducted: a night operation in which an infantry battalion and its supporting artillery demonstrated their defensive fires, and a dawn attack by an infantry regiment, with attached tanks, supported by accurate and powerful artillery fire. Later, in writing to General Malony, Mr. Patterson remarked, "My visit to the 94th Infantry Division. You have an outstanding organization.

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The Dragons of Bastogne (Alter World) - Kindle edition by Robert Larrison. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Many weird things happened in World War II, but none as strange as the time the st Airborne used dragons for close air support. Leave it to the Screaming.

I am proud of the honorary membership that was conferred upon me. Division headquarters operated from the once-beautiful main dining room of the ship. The vessel itself was divided into three parts: Red, White, and Blue. Each section had an orderly room and in these the three regimental headquarters were located. For the duration of the voyage only, all the units below regimental level were attached to the st, d or th Infantry. These units established their indi- vidual command posts in convenient locations throughout the ship and maintained contact with the regimental headquarters to which attached by either phone or runner.

Existing telephone communications aboard the Elizabeth were excellent and used extensively. All headquarters operated around the clock, according to schedules that had been set up before sailing. Thus, it was possible for the division commander to contact any or all of his subordinate units, down to the lowest level, with a minimum of delay. Aerial escort was provided the first day out, but with the coming of the 7th the Queen was on her own. For protection there were only speed and the deck guns. The latter were primarily for antiaircraft purposes and were manned by artillerymen of the st Field Artillery Battalion, which had been selected as "Gun Battalion" for the ship during the crossing.

Under the supervision of British crew chiefs, the artillerymen practiced for hours each day: loading, tracking and simulating fire. On several occasions live rounds were expended for training purposes. Morrow's men at the final muster on board, said: "This is only the second time in over two years of carrying troops across that I have commended the draft gun battalion.

This is the finest draft gun battalion that I have ever seen. Each man had a mess card on which was indicated the dining hall he was to attend and the number of his shift: first, second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth. As the galleys were ready to feed each sitting, announcement was made over the ship's speaker system. For Glossary of Military Terms and Abbreviations see page Being silhouetted against the lights of this other American vessel was the last thing the skipper or his passengers desired, in waters that were known to be the hunting ground of Ger- man submarines.

On two occasions in the dead of night, the course was shifted so sharply men were hurled from their bunks. These sud- den and abrupt changes of direction were followed by an increase in speed and excessive zig-zagging. When under forced-draft the Queen would quiver and vibrate as she took off like a frightened deer. There was never any explanation from the crew as to what had caused these hasty sprints, but the word "radar" was whispered back and forth with knowing winks.

Land was sighted the morning of the 11th and many Irishmen saw the home of their fathers for the first time. The Elizabeth sailed proudly into the North Channel; the antiaircraft guns swung smoothly as they practice-tracked the British planes that crossed and recrossed the course of the ship on their routine patrols. As the day progressed the Queen Elizabeth swung into the beautiful Firth of Clyde, proceeding into what seemed a fairy land.

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Glasses were no longer needed to study the tiny villages that dotted the shoreline. In turn, the absence of wooden construction, thatched roofs and the fresh greenness of the country side were dis- cussed. Everything was trim, precise and well ordered. There was absolutely no sign of bomb damage. In stately grandeur and at a leisurely pace, the Queen sailed up the Clyde to Greenock, Scotland, near Glasgow. There she anchored in mid-stream as there were no wharfing facilities capable of handling a ship of her tonnage. Full equipment was carried and the Scottish climate was mild enough to make ODs only slightly uncomfortable.

Debarkation was accomplished by means of lighters which steamed alongside the Queen to receive troops from unloading-ports located at approximately the deck level of the lighters. Looking up from the decks of the smaller vessels, a striking impression of the tremendous size of the Elizabeth was obtained.

New York to Scotland in less than six days! The Division was really "on the way. Units were divided into groups for entrap- ment and TC personnel supervised the loading. The whole affair was conducted in an orderly and efficient manner, with troops being dis- posed of as fast as they disembarked. The English railway coaches were a great novelty and experts on the relative merits of American and British rolling stock sprang up like mushrooms.

In the midst of these discussions, the American Red Cross appeared on the scene with hot coffee and doughnuts. Huge amounts were consumed to delay inroads on the K rations which had been issued each man prior to leaving the Elizabeth. Debarkation was completed on the 13th and the Division moved to temporary stations in Wiltshire County in southern England. On the arrival of units at their destinations, they were met by members of the advance party who were on hand to act as guides and settle the troops in the billets that had been procured.

The advance detach- ment reported that they had left the States on July 2, aboard the SS John Ericsson, a sister ship of the famous Gripsholm. Their cross- ing had taken ten days in convoy. In spots the weather had been bad and they were happy to see the docks of Liverpool. From there they moved by train to Stockton House, Codford St. Mary, England, where they remained until the 20th of July. The advance detachment then travelled to Chippenham where the process of drawing equipment for the Division began.

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Arrangements were made also, at this time, for the billeting of the 94th upon its arrival. Division headquarters was established in Greenway Manor House at Chippenham on the 13th of August and the special unit companies — 94th Signal, 94th Quartermaster, 94th Ordnance and the Reconnais- sance Troop — located in the same town.

The st Infantry and the Division Artillery with all its battalions were billeted in Trowbridge. Each group found the other highly interesting and if the supply of "arf and arf" was short, at least conversation was unrationed. As the barriers of reserve melted away, the towns- people admitted they were living on short rations but hastened to explain how much better off they were than the bombed-out people in the cities. Bath, Bristol and London were visited by many members of the 94th who saw for the first time the damage aerial bombardment can do to a large city. In London, some of the troops actually came under enemy fire, for V-ls were landing with disgusting regularity.

Stonehenge, a work of the ancient Druids, was also visited by some of the Division. On August 30, , an alert warning order was received from Headquarters US Ninth Army and the Division was advised that it would move to the Continent in the near future. The following day another order from the same source informed the 94th that it must be prepared to move on six hours' notice any time after hours, September 3, Movement actually began on September 3, , the earliest date specified by higher headquarters. Units proceeded by motor to Southampton, Weymouth and Portland where the troops boarded Liberty ships and various other craft for the crossing of the English Channel.

This journey to port from the temporary areas in Wiltshire County required three days for completion. This question has come up several times, but it has been impractical to make any change. OMAR N. Marie-du-Mont in Normandy, a few miles inland from Utah Beach. There, Lieutenant General William H. Simpson, whose troops were engaged in the reduction of Brest and in containing the enemy forces pocketed against the Brittany coast, personally assigned to General Malony the task of relieving the 6th Armored Division facing the German forces in and around Lorient.

He gave specific instructions to the effect that the Division's mission was exclusively "containing. In brief and by way of background, the series of events that had brought the 6th Armored Division to Lorient are worthy of note. After the fall of St. Patton, Jr. The Third, teamed with the First, had two goals: 1 to capture the port cities of Cherbourg, Brest, St.

Nazaire, Lorient, Bordeaux and Nantes, thus relieving the pressure on the beachhead ports; 2 to hit the German forces in France as hard as possible, and, should the blow prove staggering, to pursue the enemy as long and far as possible. In the drive for the ports, General Patton's forces swept down the Nor- mandy coast; seized Coutances and Granville. They next moved on Avranches and Pontorson, both of which fell to their advance. This opened the way into Brittany, across which the armor swept against slight and sporadic resistance.

Immediately preparations were made for a final, all-out assault on Brest with a force of three divisions, while the rest of the corps the 83d Infantry and 6th Armored Divi- sions spiked down the German forces holed up at the other two ports. After this the fighting in France moved eastward toward Chartres and Paris. Antwerp fell to the British Second Army on Sep- tember 4, and its port facilities were found intact.

On the 19th of the month, after a bloody and costly struggle, Brest was taken. However, before steps could be taken in this direc- tion it was necessary to gain complete and first-hand knowledge of the situation existing on the front that the Division was about to take over. Toward this end, General Malony visited the command post of the armored division to be briefed on all matters pertaining to this first battle mission.

Once cognizant of all aspects of the disposition of the force to be relieved, the situation and the terrain, the CG of the 94th returned post haste to Utah Beach, to assemble his command as they came ashore and start units moving toward Brittany. Visible were the wrecks of more landing craft and Liberty ships than a man would care to count. Masts, funnels, bows and sterns were thrust up from the waves at all manner of grotesque angles. Overhead were scores of barrage balloons — awkward, gray shapes floating high above the decks of the vessels to which they were attached by steel cables.

Their purpose was to discourage low-level attack by enemy aircraft and this they did well. On Utah Beach itself was more debris of all types. Moreover, the sea had spewed bits and pieces of smaller military equipage above high water mark and these were gradually being ground into the sand. Dug into the dunes behind the beach and heavily camouflaged were the pillboxes, gun emplacements, firing pits, communication trenches, dugouts and shelters that had formed the German beach defenses.

Long-barreled 88s still protruded from their firing apertures; pano- ramic range cards painted around the circumference of the open-type emplacements had not yet begun to fade from weathering. Barbed wire was strung with wasteful abandon and everywhere were Achtung Minen signs, complete with skull and crossbones.

Landing craft rammed themselves against the beach, discharged their cargoes and wiggled back into deep water. Men and machines milled about everywhere. Utah Beach seemed a place of utter confusion. It was. But, out of the confusion order was being wrought. The situa- tion was not as much a "can of worms" as it appeared. Behind the beach, on the road to St.

Marie-du-Mont was more evidence of the fury of the fight that had taken place three months earlier.

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Buildings were for the most part shattered and shell-torn. Shell craters were everywhere and the roads were liberally pockmarked in addition to being practically worn out. Telephone wires by the score were strung in the ditches paralleling the roads and American engineer signs bearing the legend "Mines Cleared to Shoulder" were much in evidence. Marie-du-Mont was highly interesting to the men of the 94th, merely because it was the first of many such towns. However, it was not until the truck columns rolled through Carentan, Coutances and Avranches that the effects of total war were really seen.

Marie had been hit but not pulverized. Division headquarters had been among the first elements to move. Maxwell, on September 4, The following day this vessel moved to the mouth of the harbor and there joined a large convoy of U. On the morning of the 7th, the convoy sailed into the Channel and after an uneventful crossing dropped anchor off Utah Beach at hours the same day.

Later that evening the port commander directed the skipper of the Maxwell to discharge personnel and cargo the following day. This was accomplished. On September 8, Division headquarters came ashore and went into operation in the vicinity of St. Movement orders for displacing the division from Great Britain to the Continent had set up the following order of march: Combat Team , Combat Team and Combat Team The CTs moved out in the order indicated; however, bad weather disrupted plans for sailing and debarkation.

The st Infantry, quartered in Trowbridge, departed on Septem- ber 4, for Southampton under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Donald Hardin, the regimental executive officer, since Colonel Roy N. Hagerty, the regimental commander, was moving with Division Head- quarters. The regimental command post was set up in the outskirts of St. Also on the 8th, the st pulled stakes at St. Marie and headed for Lorient. An overnight bivouac was made en route, in the vicinity of Rennes. On the 9th the regiment moved into the line beginning the relief of the 6th Armored Division.

The d Infantry began movement to Southampton on September 5, , when the motorized elements moved to the port. By the 6th, all vehicles and their accompanying personnel had been loaded. Foot troops followed on the 7th and debarked on Utah Beach the following day, unloading ahead of the motor elements. The foot troops then marched to the vicinity of Vierville, the beachhead loca- tion of the regimental command post.

On the 9th, the motor elements of the regiment began unloading, but due to rough water off the beach a week passed before all personnel were ashore. On the 10th an advance party from the d left for Lorient; two days later, the regi- ment minus the 2d and 3d Battalions departed for Rennes, where it was expected it would reassemble. Colonel Earle A. The 2d and 3d Battalions completed their movement on the 16th and rejoined the regiment.

This same afternoon all three battalions were committed. The th, which had sailed from the United Kingdom on the 7th of September, began landing on the 9th. Orders for movement to Lorient had to be countermanded when the St. Nazaire pocket was added to the Division's containing mission and the relief of elements of the 83d Division was directed. The regiment's march objective was shifted accordingly. Colonel Harold H. McClune's men moved to Rennes and from there to the new front. Because of bad weather the Division Artillery also experienced diffi- culty in crossing the Channel.

Debarkation began on Utah Beach the next day. For three days the battalion bivouacked in the vicinity of the beach; on the 9th it moved to Rennes. The following day the st Field Artil- lery headed for forward positions in the Pont Scorff area. These were reached by nightfall. It crossed the Channel without incident and on the 10th moved to Rennes where it remained overnight.

The morning of the 11th the th moved to positions south of Plouay. Position- area surveys were completed and wire communications necessary for registration were laid before sundown. The battalion's first mission was to reinforce the fires of the th Field Artillery of the 6th Armored Division, this battalion being in direct support of the 1st Battalion, st Infantry. The th Field Artillery Battalion departed from Trowbridge on September 5, , reaching the coast of Normandy on the 8th. This battalion, the direct support artillery of the th Infantry, upon de- barkation headed for Vigneux, Loire Inferieure St.

Nazaire sector and went into bivouac there on the 14th. The battalion officially rejoined the combat team when it relieved the th Field Artillery Battalion of the 83d Division on September 17, Battery A took positions to the north of Vigneux, in the center of the sector of 3d Battalion, th, while Batteries B and C went into position to the south of Vigneux supporting the 1st Battalion of this regiment. Follow- ing debarkation, the battalion moved to Beaumont and on the 9th trucked to Rennes for an overnight stay.

The next day reconnaissance parties reconnoitered position areas and observation post locations as the main body closed at Plouay. Positions were occupied on the 12th; communications were established and registration completed by hours of the same day. Nazaire were almost exact opposites. At Lorient, where the enemy held , some one hundred square miles of French territory, the mountains ran practically down to the seacoast and the area was heavily forested in parts. Three rivers, the Leita, the Scorff and the Blavet flowed south- ward into the Bay of Biscay, from the American lines toward the Ger- man positions.

Here the observation favored the Division, but numer- ous hills and ridges within the enemy-held area provided the Germans with a fair degree of visibility. Time and again, the enemy brought forward mobile artillery to the high ground behind his lines, employing it with telling effect on the American positions. At St. Nazaire, the square miles of German-dominated terrain was flat, swampy and intermittently forested.

Due to the extremely level ground, a rise of a few dozen feet would often prove a deciding observation factor. Unlike Lorient, where the opposing lines crossed the rivers in the area, at St. Nazaire existing water barriers outlined the greater part of the perimeter of the German pocket. To the west and south the enemy was protected by the Bay of Biscay. Only on the east was there no watercourse to separate the opposing lines. Hedgerows, which were ever present in Normandy and Brittany, dotted the landscape in both sectors.

The German soldier, by reason of long training and experience, had become a past master at the defense of these walls of living vegetation. But, in due time, the men of the 94th learned to play the game. There were numerous stories of opposing patrols passing each other on opposite sides of the same hedgerow, only to discover the other's presence and engage in a fire fight facing and firing in the direction of friendly lines.

Nazaire, there was an additional menace as many of the roads paralleled the hedgerows, making ambush a constant threat. The relative stability of the front-line positions led to skillful and continuous camouflage by both sides. As autumn progressed, German vehicles and weapons, which were painted a light tan mottled with soft greens and reds, blended perfectly with the natural vegetation surrounding them. Carefully prepared positions were extremely diffi- cult to locate and more than one patrol encountered rude surprises. During the Division's stay in Brittany the rainfall was extremely heavy and the ground became muddy or sodden.

Some units consisted only of commanders and their staffs while others were overstrength by reason of the number of stragglers that had joined them. During the months that the Division opposed the German gar- risons in the Channel ports, intensive training on the part of the enemy raised the combat efficiency of most front-line elements to an excellent status. Morale and efficiency of rear-echelon personnel, however, remained poor throughout.

Highest ranking German in Brittany after the fall of Brest was General der Artillerie Lieutenant General Wilhelm Fahrmbacher who assumed command of the infantry troops in and around Lorient. The general had his headquarters in the city of Lorient in a huge bunker reportedly capable of housing 1, men.

This fortification was reported to be suspended on giant springs which acted as shock absor- bers when the area was under bombardment. During October of , rumors leaking out of the pocket hinted the headquarters was soon to be moved as the bunker rocked excessively. Admiral Kaehler reportedly came from Brest by submarine prior to the fall of that city. Colonel Haversang had commanded the th Regiment of the th Infantry Division, remnants of which were within the pocket. Other elements of this division were located at St. In charge of Fortress Lorient itself was Colonel Kau- mann and early rumors stated this officer might consider surrender.

Later it was learned the colonel was hospitalized and recovering from wounds. Possibly there was a connection since no surrender overtures were forthcoming. Nazaire pocket when it was formed in August of Formerly this officer had been connected with the Luftwaffe, commanding the 3d Parachute Division, one of Germany's crack units.

Also at St. The admiral, who was a fanatic determined to fight to the last man, was in command of Naval District Loire. General Huenten had command of Fortress St. Nazaire while Colonel Kaeseberg, formerly a regimental commander in the th Infantry Division, had charge of all enemy defenses south of the Loire River. At Lorient there were approximately pieces of enemy artillery available for action. These weapons ranged in caliber from 20mm antiaircraft guns to mm coast defense weapons that had been turned around to hurl their pound "flying barracks bags" against the troops of the 94th.

Enemy artillery in the St. Nazaire sector came to a slightly greater total. There were an estimated pieces available; calibers ranged up to and including mms. Ammunition for all types of artillery was plentiful and the enemy used it unsparingly. All indications pointed to the fact that a long stand would be made in both areas. Consistently, the Germans attempted to hold as much farming land as possible, and made extensive use of obstacles, mines and demolitions. On the OPL, positions were well constructed, skill- fully camouflaged and alert.

Ammunition for all infantry weapons was most plentiful, though there were indications of shortages in other classes of supplies. Food, for instance, was a critical item, and trans- portation, especially motor, was limited. In addition to the areas within the pockets, the Germans held the islands of Re, Groix and Belle in the Bay of Biscay.

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Belle Isle was of particular value to the enemy for food crops were grown on its farm land and it supplied great quantities of potable water. Moreover, it served as a prisoner of war enclosure, hospital center, rest area and antiaircraft strongpoint. In regard to active defense against Allied air power, the pocketed enemy never relented.

This was forcibly called to the attention of certain personnel of the AAF who were shot down over the port cities, for their mistakes in believing these centers were in friendly hands. Nazaire came to be called, Quiberon Peninsula jutting into the Bay of Biscay between the two pockets was one long line of antiaircraft guns. La Rochelle, Royan and Pointe de Gavre, outside the Division area to the south, also contributed their share to the antiaircraft menace.

The Germans were credited with radio, air, and submarine com- munication with the Vaterland. Mail planes were frequently identified over the Division area and on two occasions dropped mail sacks fell within the American lines, giving the G-2 and order-of-battle personnel of the 94th valuable information. Substantiated reports also hinted that the pockets were receiving aid from Spain, via submarine. During the stay of the Division in Brittany, changes in command personnel at the besieged ports conclusively proved that submarines were being used successfully. It was also soon evident that the two pockets were in communication with each other by means of surface craft that plied the waters between these ports.

Tumor, jr. Because of the vastly extended front and the miscellaneous French forces operating within the Division zone, the supply situation was an extremely difficult one. During the four months the Division re- mained in Brittany, 1,, rations and 1,, gallons of gasoline were drawn by the 94th and its attachments. To keep pace with the demands placed upon it, it was necessary for the 94th Quartermaster Company to establish two separate railheads.

One of these was located at Baud to supply the Lorient sector and the other at Messac to handle the needs of the forces in front of St. At both installations use was made of prisoner of war labor. To supply the attached cavalry units stretched along the Loire River, special arrangements were made with the supply depots located at Le Mans.

During the period from September 10 to December 31, , 6, long tons of ammunition, a good deal of which was hauled on organic transportation, was placed in the ASP. Of this amount, 3, long tons were expended against the enemy. Throughout this entire period, unit distribution was made to the regiments thereby releasing all their transportation for tac- tical use. To provide adequate medical support for both sectors, the th Medical Battalion split its clearing company.

One station went into operation about a mile north of Nozay, in the St. Nazaire area, while the second, serving the Lorient sector, was set up near Pont Scorff. In spite of the handicap of divided forces, efficient service was main- tained at all times. The battalion headquarters worked in conjunction with the installation at Nozay, occupying a chateau in the vicinity of the St.

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Nazaire sector's clearing station. Nazaire, it was not operating alone. For the most part these troops were patriots although there were some who had jumped on the bandwagon after the Americans assumed control in Brittany. These French ele- ments were all poorly organized and ill equipped. There was little evidence of a definite chain of command and tables of organization and equipment were non-existent. Battalions varied in strength from two hundred to eighteen hundred men, while arms and equipment con- sisted of items dropped by the Allies and articles seized from the enemy.

There was no standard uniform or badge of recognition. The troops lacked training and discipline; units were loosely knit and jealous of their integrity. A great deal of friction existed among the various factions of the French military. Not only did the FFI resent the higher pay earned by the soldiers of the communist FTP, but they disagreed with their political beliefs.

The FTP, which was a much smaller organization than the Maquis, paid its soldiers approximately three times the wages of the FFI, and, more important still, paid them with greater regularity. The regu- lars were referred to by the guerrillas as "moth-ball" soldiers because of the fact that they had gone into hiding during the occupation and had not participated extensively in the sabotage and underground activities conducted by the other two organizations.

Gradually, however, as the political situation in France began to crystallize, General Charles de Gaulle came into his own and took steps to revitalize and reorganize the military. The French disarmed the FTP units, then withdrew them from the lines. Efforts were made also to inject a core of experienced regular army personnel into the Maquis units and, in the final phase, units of the FFI were absorbed by the new French regular army. These changes were spread over a period of months and it was not until early in that the French Army and not the FFI became the dominant factor on the scene in western France.

Prior to D-day, one of the best sources of supply possessed by the underground forces in France was the prearranged drops made by Allied aircraft, to keep the resistance groups functioning. It was then the problem of the Allied ground forces and the French government to keep these troops supplied.

The French countryside, ravaged by years of occupation, its rail and communications facilities disrupted by the retreating enemy and the normal attrition of battle, could do little toward solving the problem. On the other hand, Ameri- can forces were racing across France and the US First and Third Armies were constantly clamoring for more and more ammunition, fuel and food. All these items had to come through the beachhead ports, which were taxed to the utmost. As a result, supplies for the French underground groups rated only a low priority.

Initially, units of the 94th attempted to supply the French forces working side by side with them, but this soon proved an overwhelming task. Also, it tended to defeat the Division's long-range program for making the French self- sustaining. Captain Samuel H. Schaub, Assistant G-4, undertook the task of working out tables of or- ganization and equipment for the French guerrilla units soon after they came under division control.

The result of their efforts provided a sound basis for requisitioning purposes, introduced an outline for uniformity of weapons and personnel within the battalions and enabled the Divi- sion to proceed with plans for supplementing their equipment. Arms and equipment captured by the Allies during the Brittany campaign were released to the Division by higher headquarters and these were turned over to the French.

Battle for Bastogne 1944

Through American supply channels 2, rifles, 1, carbines, machine pistols, twenty-four mortars, nine- teen mm howitzers, five mm howitzers and nineteen other artillery pieces ranging in caliber from 20mm AA guns to 88mm high- velocity weapons were issued, along with ammunition for all these pieces. This improved French fire power greatly. Communications Zone was able to procure for the Division several thousand French rifles and these were also distributed to the FFI. By exchanging rifles between particular French battalions a degree of uniformity was in- troduced which eliminated to some extent the serious ammunition supply problem caused by the fact that units often had Czech, Dutch, Belgian, Russian, British, French and American weapons in a single command.

Armament for the latter batteries was American 3-inch guns mounted on makeshift turntables for additional traverse.


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In mid-October of , the French set up headquarters in Vannes and Nantes to act as higher echelons for the subordinate French units in the immediate zone of the 94th. All questions and problems were referred through these channels in an effort to unify requests and to determine approximate needs, which were extremely difficult to com- pute due to the lack of administrative organization and experienced supply personnel. On the 23d of December, the French opened their own railheads at Redon and Nantes. At the same time, plans were under way for the opening of a third railhead to supply their troops at Lorient; the latter was put into operation after the 94th departed for the Western Front.

Initially, coordination with the French proved extremely difficult for it was necessary to depend upon a policy of mutual cooperation which was not always successful.

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In all fairness it must be admitted that this was due in large part to the lack of familiarity on the part of Maquis staff officers with US Army methods. Q: What are your thoughts on collecting as it pertains to being an investment? Is it a good investment? A: This is a question I get asked all the time. Like everything else in my life, I answer this question honestly. If your primary reason for collecting is for investment purposes, I recommend you look elsewhere.

If you collect carefully and interact with the right dealers and collectors who will guide you, you can enjoy owning and preserving these pieces of history for future generations. Q: Is it true the market is flooded with fakes and shady dealers? How do you find a reputable dealer? Every item that was made back then is being reproduced today.

This is a very big issue. I urge collectors to insist on getting lifetime, written money-back guarantees regarding originality from dealers and collectors they interact with. Collectors should ask other collectors about dealers and check with online forums, as that is a good source of information. Q: Some say these items should be in museums or destroyed, not in private hands. A: I believe that museums are an essential tool for properly displaying historical items and have a responsibility to use these artifacts to teach people about past events in our history.

Proper display, signage and interactive dioramas can be entertaining and educational. Destroying pieces of past history serves no positive purpose whatsoever. There is no hiding what took place and people have multiple ways to learn about history. Therefore, the mere destruction of the actual artifacts has no value.

Q: How has the supply and demand changed over the years? I assume items are becoming harder and harder to find. A: People have been collecting these items since before the war ended in and so there are thousands of large collections throughout the world. I have customers in every continent except Antarctica. As collectors age, many of these collections will become available. In addition to this, many artifacts are still being discovered tucked away in attics since they were brought or sent home.

Therefore, I believe the supply is still out there. Once again, there are trends where certain items get really popular so the demand increases. Q: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting to collect? A: Collect what you like. Pretty soon you will discover there are certain items you enjoy more and you can begin to concentrate on a particular area such as headgear, medals and badges, buckles, field gear, etc.

Get some good reference books, as they are available in practically every aspect of collecting. Use the online forums to learn more about the collectibles you are purchasing. Carefully screen and select whom you buy from. A: Soldiers have been returning home from wars with souvenirs since ancient times. Many of the items soldiers brought home because they thought they might use them once they got home. Camouflage jackets made excellent hunting coats. The same was true for rifles. However, the overwhelming majority of Second World War veterans I have spoken to over the years said they brought home items to show them off.

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The German stuff was very fancy and much more colorful than the Japanese uniforms and accessories, so much more got brought home from the European Theatre of Operation. Time and place also played an important role in what soldiers were able to grab. Once the shooting was over, they certainly had more opportunities to seek out souvenirs. Officers also had more latitude regarding sending home items.

Q: Tell me about some of the Holy Grail pieces you have encountered. Q: If there were one thing you would like people to know about the hobby, what would it be? There are many fine people who collect these items. Items from this period can be collected on a limited budget. A person can collect dozens of different belt buckles from multiple organizations for the same money. A: I love items that have a story with them. That is not the way I look at it. I carefully analyze who is telling me the story and ask myself if it seems credible. After that is established, I love to hear the stories. My books are made up entirely of hundreds of anecdotes regarding my lifetime of collecting.

Many of these are first-hand accounts directly from the veterans themselves. The cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it. Books By Robert Larrison. Waking the Warbird Warbirds Book 1 May Blood Sword Apr New Bird Warbirds Book 1 May Avalon Jul Oberon Minor Avalon Book 1 Oct Warbirds: Universe Jun More Information. Anything else? Provide feedback about this page. Back to top. Get to Know Us.