I am putting together a family history of my dad's service time in WWII. Rome-Arno, No Appennines, Po Valley. Report of Sep shows leaving USA 13 Mar 1944 arriving Italy 8 April 1944. Left Italy 26 Nov 1945 arriving USA 1 Dec 1945. Recd Purple Heart, wounded 21 Nov 1944 in Italy. Am trying to find out what battle/campaign this would have been in. Thanks so much for your help.
The 339th Infantry was one of three infantry regiments of the 85th Infantry Division. Company G would indicate he was in the second battalion (2/339th) The regiment went overseas with the division in 1944 and was assigned to Fifth Army, 15th Army Group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The 339th Infantry saw combat service in Italy from March 1944 until the surrender of German forces in May 1945. The 339th Infantry was the core element of "Regimental Combat Team 9", a combat organization composed of an infantry regiment with an attached artillery battalion, an engineer company and a medical company. "Combat Team 9" included the 339th Infantry, 910th Field Artillery Battalion, C Company, 310th Engineer Battalion, and C Company, 310th Medical Battalion.
The wound date of November 21 1944 would have been during the stalemate in the mountains following OPERATION OLIVE and the attempts to break the 'GREEN LINE' of the German defenses in northern Italy.
Thank you so very much for you help! May I ask where you found the info? Is there some place that I should be going to for further reading? I am so excited to complete this as a gift for my 2 living brothers and a sister for Christmas. I appreciate any further assistance you may be able to give. On his separation papers, it shows that he entered service at Huntington W.VA on 29 March 1943 but didn't go overseas until 13 March 1944, surely he wouldn't have been in basic training for a year would he? How can I find where he was during that year and what he did? Again, thank you for your time and assistance. Marcia
It seems your father was in an action that earned G company a Distinguished Unit Citation and one of it's officers a Medal of Honor.
The sources I used outside the internet was the Army award register DA Pam 672-1.
and The War North Of Rome: June 1944- May 1945 By Thomas R. Brooks
What happens alot is the designations get confusing to follow and many links lead to other links. What happens is you get a lot of pieces to fit together. I also knew that while designated Regimental Combat Team 9 it was probably also referenced as the 339th RCT. It was common for RCT's to be named by it's combat core unit.
the best single site for the 339th is this one.
No hotlinks are allowed here so remove the +++ to use this:
On 15 December 1944, Company G, 339th Infantry received a Distinguished Unit Citation for combat action at Hill 79 near Tremensuoli, Italy on 11-14 May, 1944:
General Orders No. 59, Headquarters Fifth Army, 10 September 1944 (War Department General Order 81-44): "Company G, 339th Infantry regiment is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action from 11 to 14 May, 1944, near Tremensuoli, Italy. Company G was assigned the mission of wresting from a determined enemy a hill (Hill 79) which was the key terrain feature of the left flank of the German Gustav Line. The two assault platoons, closing rapidly before he could recover, killed sixty and captured forty of the defenders, demolished eight bunkers, reduced seven pill boxes and captured twenty-five automatic weapons. The company suffered heavy casualties and because of its isolated position, went without food and water for over 36 hours. For heroic determination, the infantrymen of this company held every inch of the ground gained."
Medal of Honor Citation: 1st Lieutenant Robert T. Waugh, 339th Infantry, United States Army.
"For conspicuous gallantry and intredity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy from 11 to 14 May 1944 at Tremensuoli, Italy. In the course of an attack upon an enemy-held hill on 11 May, Lieutenant Waugh personally reconnoitered a heavily mined area before entering it with his platoon. Directing his men to deliver fire on six bunkers guarding this hill, Lieutenant Waugh advanced alone against them, reached the first bunker, threw phosphorus grenades into it and, as the enemy defenders emerged, killed them with a burst from his tommy gun. He repeated the process on the five remaining bunkers killing or capturing the occupants. On the morning of 14 May, Lieutenant Waugh ordered his platoon to lay a base of fire on two enemy pill boxes located on a knoll which commanded the only trail up the hill. He then ran to the first pill box, threw several grenades into it, drove the defenders into the open, then killed them. The second pill box was taken by this intrepid officer through similar methods. The fearless actions of Lieutenant Waugh broke the Gustav Line at that point, neutralized six bunkers and two pill boxes, and he was personally responsible for the death of 30 of the enemy and the capture of 25 others. He was later killed in action at Itri, Italy, while leading his platoon in an attack."
The French Croix De Guerre with Palm was awarded to the 339th Infantry and 910th Field Artillery in 1945:
"Awarded under Decision No. 843, 21 June 1945 by the President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic- A magnificent unit, inspired by a wonderful spirit in combat. In the battle of Garigliano and during the greater part of the offensive which led the Allied Armies to the Tuscan Apennines, in spite of heavy losses, it maintained close contact with the units of the left flank of the French Expeditionary Corps. It contributed immeasurably to the brilliant series of successes which will remain the common heritage of the American and French Armies." (Department of the Army General Order 43-50)
As is common in this type of work, I have found one conflicting detail. On the 339th web site I found this:
"On November 22, the regiment was relieved and moved by truck and on foot to a bivouac near the Fifth Army rest center at Montecatini Terme."
It would seem that your father was wounded a few days before the relief, during a "non offensive" period following months of heavy action.
But in the timeline below, the unit is listed as being relieved on November 10th and that would mean your father was wounded while in a "rear" area for rest and refit, however, from another reference on the 34th division during the same time period I found this:
"In the rear in Italy near Montecatini Terme 20 November to 25 December
While traveling on Highway 65 (Purple Heart Lane) PVT Chester R. Bucher’s jeep was hit by Jerry artillery; no one was injured.
On 23 December we had our first snow. Jerry had a few of his remaining planes out on several nights, but they caused only minor damage.
On the day after Christmas, Jerry threw in a few shells which landed in the Battalion kitchen area. Two men from one of the line companies were killed. A dud
landed right in the doorway of our kitchen. During this period over 2000 rounds were fired."
It seems it was not completely removed from the front and suffered occasional harrassing shell fire and air attacks so your father could have been wounded by the enemy while in this area despite a 'rest and refit' period.
this time line will answer your questions about the time between mar 43 and arrival in Italy. Remember, 2nd (or 2d) Battalion (BN) would have consisted of E,F,G and H Companies. ABCD=1st Bn IKLM= 3rd Bn. The Army did not use J in company designations.
The 85th Infantry Division in World War II
339th Infantry Time Line & Duty Stations
15 April: Regiment is designated by the US War Department for re-activation with the 85th Infantry Division, one of the first all-draftee divisions.
15 May: Activation of the regiment with the division at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Colonel Donald A. Stroh assumes command of the 339th Infantry. Presentation of colors and first arrival of draftees.
July: Colonel Stroh is reassigned and regimental command is given to Colonel Paul J. Vevia.
October-November: Battalion and regimental size field maneuvers begin in Camp Shelby training areas and designated sites outside of the camp boundary.
23 March: The 85th Infantry Division begins participation in corps maneuvers in DeSoto National Forest in Louisiana.
June: Division is relocated to the Desert Training Center at Camp Pilot Knob, California.
August: Relocation to Camp Coxcomb, California.
October: The 85th Infantry Division relocates to Fort Dix, New Jersey, for staging prior to overseas assignment.
26 October: Colonel Paul Vevia is relieved of command of the 339th Infantry for medical purposes and stateside assignment. Colonel James T. Matthews assumes command.
December: Relocation to Camp Patrick Henry at the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation.
24 December: 339th Infantry and Division Headquarters set sail from Norfolk, Virginia aboard the USS GENERAL ALEXANDER E. ANDERSON. The 310th Engineer Battalion sails aboard the USS GENERAL WILLIAM A. MANN and the 910th Field Artillery Battalion sails aboard HMS ANDES.
2 January: USS GENERAL ALEXANDER E. ANDERSON arrives at Casablanca. Regiment bivouacs at Camp Don B. Passage until January 4, 1944.
6 January: 339th Infantry relocated by train to camp at St. Denis du Sig for training in the Atlas Mountains. 85th Infantry Division undergoes three weeks of maneuvers and training.
7 February: Reassignment for 85th Division to the "Invasion Training Center" at Port Aux Poules, Algeria. Six weeks of amphibious landings and beach assault training follow at Arzew and Oran.
6 March: The 339th Infantry returns to St. Denis du Sig followed by remaining units of the division.
10 March: The 339th Infantry is ordered to Oran and the allied Port of Embarkation. The regiment boards HMS LETITIA and sets sail for Naples, Italy after nightfall.
14 March: HMS LETITIA docks at Port of Naples near midnight. Arrival is marked by German air raid on the city. The 339th Infantry moves by truck and foot to a bivouac at Casanova, three miles from the front lines near Minturno, Italy, where it is attached to the 88th Infantry Division.
15 March: Headquarters staff and battalion officers visit the front line positions held by the 88th Infantry Division to effect relief of the 349th Infantry Regiment.
17-18 March: First night on the line for the 339th Infantry. 3rd Battalion, 339th Infantry relieves part of 349th Infantry, 88th Infantry Division near Castleforte and San Lorenzo, Italy at midnight. Remainder of 339th Infantry Regiment effects relief following night and sector passes to CO of 339th Infantry on 19 March. First battle casualties occur in E Company within a few hours of the unit's arrival.
23 March: Colonel Matthews is hospitalized with fever from an organ infection.
26 March: 339th Infantry relieved from front line, returns to Casanova staging area. The hospitalized Colonel Matthews is relieved of duty for health reasons and evacuated. Lt. Colonel Brookner Brady assumes command of the 339th Infantry.
28 March: 339th Infantry relieves the 350th Infantry, 88th Infantry Division in front lines above Minturno, Italy.
11 April: Three POW's taken by a patrol from Company I, 339th Infantry. These are the first prisoners captured by the 85th Division in combat.
1 May: The 339th Infantry regiment is assigned the combat area northwest of Minturno, centered around the village of Tremensuoli and the seaside villa of Scauri, held at that time by the 338th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division. The unit is facing the outer defenses of the "Gustav Line" held in this sector by the German 94th Infantry Division.
3 May: 339th Infantry relieves the 338th Infantry in line from Minturno to Scauri, and assumes responsibility for guarding Garigliano River Bridge on Highway 7.
11 May: "The Big Push". Operation DIADEM begins at 2300 hours. The 339th Infantry attacks promptly at H-Hour, with the 1st Battalion containing Scauri and enemy held Domenico Ridge east of the town. The 2nd Battalion advances into the area between Tremensuoli and Scauri, objectives of Hills 58, 79, and Intermediate Ridge. The 3rd Battalion crosses Capo di Acqua and assaults Hills 69 and 66. Casualties are heavy within first few hours.
13 May: Battle along front line continues. 1st Battalion, 337th Infantry relieves 3rd Battalion, 339th Infantry at Hill 69 after nightfall and continues attack on Hill 66, which is repulsed. Remnant of F Company surrounded on Intermediate Ridge finally capitulates at dusk. G Company holds Hill 79 against continued counterattacks with no relief.
15 May: First signs of German withdrawal. 1st Battalion moves onto Domenico Ridge. Hill 79 is secured by G Company, 2nd Battalion. 3rd Battalion reorganized and moved back to front line near Tremensuoli.
16 May: Mount Scauri is taken. 339th Infantry Regiment receives replacements and sets out on Highway 7 toward Fondi and Formia.
18 May: 339th Infantry takes Mount Cefalo and Mount Merano.
19 May: After intense fighting, the town of Itri is captured by the 2nd Battalion, 339th Infantry and elements of the 88th Infantry Division.
22-23 May: Mount Calvo, Mount Della Rocca, and Sonnino are taken at minimal cost. Sonnino is a smashing success with the wholesale capture of the enemy garrison and breaking of the highly vaunted "Hitler Line".
1 June: Castel d'Ariano, Mount Fiore, Mount Salamone, and Mount San Sebastiano are taken by companies of the 339th Infantry, flanking last German elements on the western plains several miles south of Rome.
5 June: Liberation of Rome and passage through the city. Fighting continues north of Rome as the regiment advances to the Olgiata Heights where it is ordered to halt.
7 June: The 85th Infantry Division is ordered back to rest and refit. The 339th Infantry is ordered to a bivouac established in the "King's Forest" at Lido di Roma. For three weeks, the regiment rests, refits, and undertakes training.
15 August: The 85th Infantry Division is ordered to relieve American units along the Arno River. The 3,000 yard front stretches from the enemy-held town of Montespertoli to Signa west of Florence. The 339th Infantry is assigned a sector from the riverside village of Limite to Signa.
15 August: Montespertoli is captured. Allied elements cross the Arno River.
20 August: additional sector on western flank assigned to 339th Infantry and then to 310th Engineer Battalion.
24-26 August: 339th Infantry is relieved and withdraws from the Arno River line.
10 September: 85th Infantry marches through Florence and northward toward the Apennines Mountains in preparation for assault on the German held "Gothic Line".
13 September: Attack on the Gothic Line at Mount Verruca located east pf Il Giogo Pass and hill masses south of the height. H-hour at 6:00 AM, the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 339th Infantry step off and come under heavy fire.
14 September: Battle for Hill 732 begins. F Company makes several assaults with no success. I Company ordered to the action at Hill 732 to make further attempts on the fortified hill. B Company is over extended in their attack. In a surprise counterattack, the company is badly mangled and two platoons nearly wiped out.
17 September: Mount Verruca is captured and Il Giogo Pass secured by the 338th Infantry, 85th Infantry Division and the 91st Infantry Division. Preparations are made to immediately advance northward toward Mount Coloreta.
21 September: Mount Coloreta is captured by 339th Infantry.
2 October: Capture of villages of La Martina, Osteria, and Colle de Tattini. Heavy fighting ensues with I Company near the latter village. An early morning attack through fog captures the enemy garrison and drives out the other defenders, despite the uneven numbers engaged- enemy defenders outnumber the attackers by two to one.
4 October: Quinzano is captured. 339th Infantry advances on San Martino, preparatory to attack on enemy-held Mount Bibele.
17 October: 339th Infantry seizes the heights of Anta Ana, Gagliano, and captured mountain side town of Castlevechio.
28 October: Colonel Brookner Brady is relieved of command of the 339th Infantry for reassignment. Colonel William Fitts, Jr., from 85th Infantry Division Headquarters assumes command. Lt. Col. Richard Smith, 3rd Battalion CO, is relieved of command for health reasons and reassigned. Major Floyd Minor assumes command of the battalion. Lt. Col. Charles Mudgett, 2nd Battalion CO, is relieved of command for chronic health reasons and reassigned. Lt. Colonel John Hesse, S-3 at Regimental HQ, 339th Infantry assumes command of the battalion.
10 November: The regiment is relieved from the front and sent to Montecatini Terme for rest and refit.
2 December: 339th Infantry moves to bivouac near town of Gagliano for refitting and training.
23 December: The 339th Infantry is ordered to move to the Serchio Valley to support the 92nd Infantry Division which is under attack.
1 January: Colonel Fitts returns to division staff and Lt. Colonel John English assumes command of the 339th Infantry.
6 January: 339th Infantry returns to Gagliano bivouac from Serchio Valley area.
January-February: Winter Line operations near Mount Grande.
March: Training near Gagliano, including river crossing training. In late March, the 85th Infantry Division is assigned to IV Corps preparatory to move back into North Apennines front lines near Mt. Grande, south of Bologna.
April: Breakout of the North Apennines and onto the Po Valley plain. 85th Infantry Division ordered to follow up in corps attack and drives to the Po River.
20 April: 339th Infantry attached to 1st Armored Division for drive into the Po Valley.
25 April: 339th Infantry crosses the Po River one day after the 337th and 338th had crossed.
26 April: 1st Battalion, 339th Infantry enters Verona and crosses the Adige River. Motorized task forces of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 339th Infantry move northward into Cazzo and Castlebelforte.
2 May: Unconditional surrender of German armies in Italy. G Company, 339th Infantry motorized patrol goes to Brunico where they discover political prisoners being held in a mountain resort. Amongst the prisoners is Albert Blum, former chancellor of Austria. Meanwhile, "Task Force Minor" (3rd Battalion, 339th Infantry) discovers priceless Italian art and sculpture removed from homes, churches and museums throughout Italy by German forces, boxed and marked for shipment to Berlin, many of them addressed directly to Herman Goering.
4 May: Patrol of C Company from "Task Force Webster" (1st Battalion, 339th Infantry), sets up a roadblock in the Brenner Pass and makes contact with a motorized patrol of the 103rd Infantry Division, Seventh Army operating in Austria. The Italian border is closed by Combat Team 9.
7 May: Regimental headquarters established at Dobbiaco begins to process German prisoners, war material, and searches for enemy stores.
5 June: 339th Infantry in bivouac near Mel, Italy, where it holds the last awards ceremony prior to transfers from unit.
16 August: The 339th Infantry and 85th Infantry Division boards the USS WEST POINT in Naples and leaves Italy for the United States.
25 August: USS WEST POINT arrives at Hampton Roads, Virginia where the GI's are welcomed home with a steak dinner. The returning soldiers are assigned to Camp Patrick Henry.
25 August: The 339th Infantry is formally deactivated.
26 August: The 85th Infantry Division is deactivated.
It is probable but you haven't stated, was your father Infantry? There would have been a few non-Infantry in G Company so I can't assume it completely without asking.
I'm glad to have helped but the real thanks needs to go to all the people that cared enough to document all this and placed it where it can be accessed. I merely have a skill in tracking stuff down.This message has been edited. Last edited by: JPfromTN,
Once again, thank you! Yes, my dad was in the infantry, Unfortunately for us, he passed away in 1980 of a massive heartattack. Amazing after going through what he did in the was and to lose him in the blink of an eye to an unknown heart problem. I have all of my dad's medals and yes, he did receive the Distinguised Unit Citation along with others. He was a light machine gunner and I am currently trying to find information as to what that exactly entailed and also a picture of the equipment he would have used and how. I recieved last week an envelope from the National Personnel Records Center in reply for my request on his medical records in regards to his battle injuries. What I received is the following information:
May 25, 1944 battle injury of the hand, infected wound,in line of duty, final trmt facility was portable surgical/evac(theater of ops) Total Days Treated 13.
October 23, 1944, wound of thigh, removal of foreign body from extremity caused by artillery shell-fragments, in line of duty. Treatment facility - General Hospital. Total Days treated 22.
May 5, 1945, wound of Knee by bullet, treated at Portable Surgical/Evac or Convalescent Hosp. Hospital Days 32.
I remeber that my dad had trouble with his knee for many years and in the mid 1950's he jumped off the back of a truck at work and his knee gave out on him. He had already had surgery 3 times on that knee including the one during the war. They did surgery for the fourth time and you'll never guess what they found!!! They removed a piece of his long underwear that he had been wearing when he was wound in the war! After that his knee was good to go. He must have been wounded in his chest at one time also because he did not have a nipple/aerola on his left breast, just a line about 3 inches or so across showing stitch marks, he said it happened also in the war and they had gone in and take out shrapnel. He wouldn't ever really talk about his time overseas though, only to say it was the coldest he had ever been in his life. To the day he died, he could never get warm in the winter, he would actually even put a folding chair over the floor registers in our home and sit to keep warm. Before my mom died 5 years ago, she gave me his wallet just as it was on the day he died. She had never removed a thing, and going through it I found a sheet of paper all folded up and when I opened it I had cold chills. It was a sheet of paper that he had passed around to his Army buddies at some point and they had all written their names and address on it. I'm guessing they were all going to keep in touch. I still have it and one of these days I will start to research those names and see what I find. Amazing that after 35 years he was still carrying it with him. Enough for now. I will write again with questions as I read and research your latest supply of information. I agree totally with you that the people keeping this history alive deserve many thanks. Thankins you for our family and in memory of Dad.
It would most likely been a M1919 model .30 cal Machine gun.
Each Company had 3 rifle platoons and 1 weapons platoon. The weapons platoon had a mortar section and a LMG section which consisted of 2 LMG teams. Their employment in action would have been in support of the rifle platoons which meant he would be wherever in the company he was needed most. A full strength LMG team was 1 Sergeant, 1 gunner, 1 assistant gunner and 2 ammo bearers.
The names on the paper may have been his LMG team members. They would have been his closest regular contacts.
In this picture the assistant gunner is feeding the belt into the gun and shouting corrections and targets to the gunner. The Ammo bearers would be nearby protecting the MG with their rifles and ready to pass more ammo to the AG.
As a gunner your father would have carried a M1911a1 .45 cal pistol as issued sidearm as seen on the gunner in the picture.
I'm back again. I find the Insignia patch for the 85th Infantry Division is a Blue Mosque with number 5 in it, but I have also found that the 339th Insignia was Polar Bears, and the 85th also had the red CD on green background and were Custer Division. I think the patch would have changed according to the "Unit" you were currently attached to? Am I correct or do I have this all wrong? Perhaps you can help explain the Insignia's and which my dad would have worn. Also, many thanks for the wonderful information on the Light Machine Gunner (604) I will be adding the picture and information to the history I am compiling of dad's military story. I did find some wonderful maps at the link you sent me, showing some of the troop movement of the 85th in Italy so that was most helpful also. One other thing that I noticed, my dad's report of separation shows he was wounded on 21 Nov 1944, but the medical records that I received show that it was 23 Oct 1944, won't that change the battle that he was injured in? Love receiving your information and expanding my WW II education, looking forward to hearing from you.
The patch you describe with a blue mosque on a red background, a white "A" & "5" is the shoulder sleeve insignia of 5th Army. 85th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia was an olive color circle with a red "CD." If your Dad was in 85th Division he wore the CD patch. Divisions serving in mainland Italy were subordinate to 5th Army commanded by General Mark Clark.
(edit longthrust beat me to it while I was typing. He's quicker on the keyboard than I am. )
Some would say that your father's first insignia would be the regimental crest for the 339th but being war time, that would have not been on the uniform very much. In today's Army the crest is called a DUI (distinctive unit insignia) which I think is funny because that also stands for driving under the influence.
The mosque and red 5 patch was for the Fifth Army.
Armys consist of Corps
Corps consist of Divisions
Armys are writted with arabic numbers
Corps are written with roman numbers
Divisions use arabic numbers
Your father would have worn the red CD patch.
The 85th Division was in the II Corps under the 5th Army.
It's probable that the PH date of 21 November was when it was awarded to him. The medical records will be the most accurate in wound details. The seperation document would have been compiled from his personnel file and would only have been going by the date of the orders not his medical file. There is a detail from another division from the same Corps that was also in the area that during their stay in the rest area was when they had official visits from Gen. Clark and awards were presented. His Oct wound date shows a 22 day stay in the general hospital so he returned to his unit after they were releived and during the week before the PH date of 21 Nov.
Here is a condensed timelime of the entire division from Wikipedia.
It (the 85th) left the United States on 24 December 1943 and arrived in Casablanca, French Morocco, 2 January 1944. It received amphibious training at Port aux Poules near Arzew and Oran, Algeria, 1 February to 23 March, then embarked for Naples, Italy, arriving on 27 March. A selected advance detachment appeared on the Minturno-Castelforte front north of Naples, 28 March. The Division was committed to action as a unit, 10 April 1944, north of the Garigliano River, facing the Gustav Line, and held defensive positions for a month.
On 11 May, it launched its attack, taking Solacciano, Castellonorato, and Formia. Itri fell, 19 May, and the 85th continued to mop up the Gaeta Peninsula. Terracina was taken and the road to the Anzio beachhead was opened. The Division pursued the enemy to the hills near Sezze until pinched out by friendly forces from Anzio. The Gustav Line had been smashed and the 85th started for a rest area, 29 May, but was ordered to the Lariano sector which the Division cleared by the 31st. Driving on Rome, the 85th pushed through Monte Compatri and Frascati, entered Rome, 5 June 1944, and advanced to Viterbo before being relieved, 10 June.
After rehabilitation and training, the 85th took over the defense of the Arno River line, 15 to 26 August. The Division attacked the mountain defenses of the Gothic Line, 13 September, and broke through, taking Firenzuola on the 21st. The 85th advanced slowly through mud and rain against heavy resistance taking La Martina and gaining the Idice River Valley road, 2 October, and reaching Mount Mezzano on the 24th overlooking the Po River Valley. From 27 October to 22 November 1944, defense areas near Pizzano were held. On the 23d, the Division was relieved for rest and rehabilitation.
The 85th relieved the British 1st Infantry Division, 6 January 1945, and limited its activities to cautious patrols until 13 March. After a brief training period, the 85th thrust southwest of Bologna, 14 April, pushing through Lucca and Pistoia into the Po Valley as enemy resistance collapsed. The Panaro River was crossed on the 23rd and the Po the next day. The Division mopped up fleeing Germans until their mass surrender, 2 May 1945, in the Belluno-Agordo area.
Through the entire campaign, the Division suffered some 7,268 casualties with 1,717 Killed In Action. Three soldiers from this division earned the Medal of Honor.
If you haven't seen this site(remove the +++)
It has nice maps and photos.
Hello, Two things. First a question: How do I find out where my dad did his basic training when he reported to the Huntington, WVA induction center on 29 March 1943? And, he spent his first year in the service in the US, why would that be in a time of War? Secondly: I ordered and am awaiting the arrival of 2 books "An Army at Dawn" and "The Day of Battle", both by Rick Atkinson on the 339th Infantry. Are you familiar with them and will I get bogged down in Military jargon or are they pretty easy to understand for a lay person? Thanks for all your help, this gift just may be completed in time for Christmas!
Since WW2 involved a rapid expansion of forces the training was often done by forming a unit at a location, giving them 12 weeks of Basic Training and moving that unit straight into Advanced Training with no real transition.
Despite the war, it took over a year to raise a Division. Generally the command structure is set up, a camp is created, cadre is trained, equipment received and allocated then the actual personnel of the units are received to start training, then the units are field trained in small then medium and finally full division sized exercises. The fighting was in Notrh Africa during this period so the 85th was ordered to receive desert training before going overseas. By the time they arrived in North Africa the major fighting was over but the invaision of Italy was being planned so they were ordered to receive amphibious training.
Your father most likely received about 8-12 weeks basic training at Camp Shelby Ms. while the Regiment was participating in Corps maneuvers in DeSoto National Forest in Louisiana. He probably joined the 339th as a replacement when the 85th relocated to the Desert Training Center at Camp Pilot Knob, California in June.
I'm not familiar with those books but I would expect a publisher would have the 'Army jargon' to be properly explained as the story unfolds.
Thanks for the help. From information that I have gathered, everything does point to his having been at Camp Shelby, MS. I have also read that the 339th was a complete unit comprised of all draftees, is that possible?
My brother-in-law is just retiring this month from the Army after 27 years, he left the Army after he did 2 tours of Viet Nam but joined the National Guard a while after that and has been with them ever since. He is an E-7 and this was a "forced" retirement, which he isn't taking well, he turned 60 this past Sunday and his unit is being deployed to Afganistan in January and he was really ready to go but they decided to retire him before the unit left. He has been really down for the last 3-4 months about it so I haven't really been talking with him about my research on dad too much. His whole day to day life has been Army for so long that he seems to be a little lost right now, and very quiet. Any tips on how to get him to talk? Or should I just let it lie for now? Anyway, thanks a lot for your input, you always seem to give me new things to think about. I'll get back to you soon.
Well, that can be a tough one. you want to 'be there' if he needs someone but you can't carry down that road, he has to want to travel it.
You might check some other forums for a place to post your question on how to help. Maybe the Veteran's Issues? I'm sure someone wiser than me will have input.
If he has Internet access you could see if he'd be interested in this site. It could give him a place to continue keeping up on the military rather than feeling left out.
Does anyone know if it is a true statement that the 339th Infantry Company G was comprised of all draftees?
226, I've read the two books by Atkinson,
. Neither book contains any info regarding the 339th. "Army at Dawn" is about the North Africa campaign and "Day of Battle" is the Sicily campaign.
The 85th Division is known as a draftee division. However, my father was regular army having enlisted in January 1942. He was assigned to the H/339th and served with that Company until after VE day. I think it unlikely that any Company, including G, was made up exclusively of draftees.
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