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US 157th infantry

saverne gap

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#1 deflep86

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:42 AM

Im doing some research on my great grandfather who was wounded in France on dec 6 1944, and died dec 8. He was in A company, 157th infantry, 45th division. From what ive read the 45th division was fighting through the Saverne Gap around late november 1944 and took Mertzwiller on dec 5. Im trying to get some more details on the position of the 157th during the beginning of december so i can get a better idea of where my grandfather was when he was wounded. Im sure the information is floating around somewhere but i was unable to find anything by using the search. Please be patient with my never ending supply of ignorance when it comes to WW2. Although im interested in the war i am by no means an expert. Thanks in advance for any kind of help.

#2 A-58

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 07:39 AM

Ok, here goes.

The US 157th Infantry Regiment of the Colorado National Guard was called into federal service at Denver, Colorado on 26 Sept 40 as part of the 45th Infantry Division. The division assembled at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and began training. It participated in several stateside manuevers before receiving orders for shipment overseas. The 45th landed in North Africa on 22 Jun 43 and continued training in preparation of the invasion of Sicily. It assaulted Scoglitti, Sicily 9-11 Sept 43, Salerno, Italy 9 Sept 44, Anzio, Italy 22 Jan 44 and then Southern France 15 Aug 44.

Now we'll go to the combat narrative for the time frame that you are looking for in particular.

"The division moved up to the Saverne Gap on 23 Nov 44 and captured the forts north of Mutzig in the Maginot Line on 25 Nov 44 and moved up to the Moder when it took Mertzwiller in heavy combat on 5 Dec 44." *

The 157th Infantry was temporarily assigned to the 44th Infantry Division during the time frame of 25-27 Nov 44. Here's the combat narrative for the 44th Infantry Division for that time that the 157th was attached to them.

"The division was on the west side of Saverne Gap when the German forces counter-attacked and forced it to make slight withdrawals, but the division checked the German advance at Schalbach 25 Nov 44 with the assistance of the 106th Cavalry Group." *

The combat narrative continues on and covers the 45th's actions until the end of the war, but I believe you have enough to work with for now.

Campaign honors earned by the 157th Infantry are as follows;

Sicily
Naples-Foggia
Anzio
Rome-Arno
Southern France
Rhineland
Ardennes-Alsace
Central Europe

So it looks like your great-grandfather was involved in a lot of heavy fighting, and saw more than his fair share of action. Your family must be proud. If there is anything else I can do or research for you, let me know. It's a pleasure to be of assistance in something as admirable as your great-grandfathers war service. Good luck with your search.

* World War II Order Of Battle, Shelby L. Stanton pp. 132 -134, 227.

Edited by A-58, 25 March 2009 - 11:40 PM.
forgot to cite references

  • jemimas_special2 and Slipdigit like this

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#3 BWilson

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 04:09 PM

A combat history of the 157th is located here.

Cheers

BW

#4 deflep86

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 02:15 AM

Thanks for all of the information....its very much appreciated.

Thanks A-58 for the kind words....I agree that my great grandfathers time fighting in the war was admirable even though his time was short. He enlisted in april of 1944, so he may have been involved is some heavy fighting, but it was shortlived.

#5 A-58

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 03:09 AM

No problem, glad to be of assistance deflep86.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#6 deflep86

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 04:04 AM

Also, he enlisted at fort dix in NJ,(he lived in upstate NY) yet all of the records ive seen said he was in the 157th infantry, which is out of colorado. Is there an easy explanation for this? He was wounded on december 6...so im assuming he was somewhere around mertzwiller. I tend to think this is accurate because he is buried in the US cemetery it St. Avold which isnt too far away.

#7 BWilson

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 05:00 AM

Also, he enlisted at fort dix in NJ,(he lived in upstate NY) yet all of the records ive seen said he was in the 157th infantry, which is out of colorado. Is there an easy explanation for this? He was wounded on december 6...so im assuming he was somewhere around mertzwiller. I tend to think this is accurate because he is buried in the US cemetery it St. Avold which isnt too far away.


Assignments to units were not regionally based in many cases, men were sent to units that needed replacements.

Re: burial place. Saint-Avold is the permanent cemetery for fallen soldiers of the Seventh and Third Armies. During the war, troops were normally buried not far from where they fell. As the arrangements for permanent cemeteries were completed with the host nations, the fallen were then moved to their final resting place. Thus, Seventh Army soldiers who were KIA deep in Germany in April, 1945 could have been brought back to Saint-Avold as well.

Cheers

BW

#8 A-58

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 05:15 AM

Also, he enlisted at fort dix in NJ,(he lived in upstate NY) yet all of the records ive seen said he was in the 157th infantry, which is out of colorado. Is there an easy explanation for this? He was wounded on december 6...so im assuming he was somewhere around mertzwiller. I tend to think this is accurate because he is buried in the US cemetery it St. Avold which isnt too far away.

The 157th Infantry was a Colorado National Guard regiment, and when it was called up it was composed of men from that state for the most part. The entire 45th Infantry Division was composed of National Guard units from several states. It was called into service 16 Feb 40 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where it was based, so naturally most of the units were Okie in origin. Here's the 1941 configuration (major units only).

157th Infantry Regiment (Colorado National Guard)
158th Infantry Regiment (Arizona National Guard)
179th Infantry Regiment (Oklahoma National Guard)
180th Infantry Regiment (Oklahoma National Guard)

158th Field Artillery Regiment (Oklahoma National Guard)
160th Field Artillery Regiment (Oklahoma National Guard)
189th Field Artillery Regiment (Oklahoma National Guard)

In the early 1940s, the US Army was in the process of trianglizing their divisions from the old square divisions configuration of WW1. That meant divisions were to have 3 infantry regiments instead of 4 (another thread). So that meant the 158th Inf (AZ NG) was relieved from the division and organized into a regimental combat team and saw action in the Pacific. Here's the 45th Infantry Division after trianglization;

157th Inf (CO)
179th Inf (OK)
180th Inf (OK)

The artillery underwent re-organization also (another thread as well);

158th FA Battalion
160th FA Battalion
171st FA Battalion
189th FA Battalion

All the artillery battalions were Okie in composition.

Now you are wondering where this is going, and why your grandpa from upstate New York ended up in a division full of Okies and Coloradans. Here's why. Once the division was comitted to combat and began to take casualties, the replacements were draftees, volunteers (like your grandpa) and reservists called to active duty. Even national guardsmen from other states were brought in as individual replacements to fill positions caused by battlefield losses. After awhile, national guard units from specific areas no longer were made up only by men from those states where the unit was originally raised. This was even more apparant in units that took a lot of casualties. Over time, they lost their unique regional composition.

Fort Dix was a large induction and training center for basic trainees and infantry, but to what extent I am not exactly sure. If so, that would explain your grandpa's point of entry into the army. I'm sure that others reading this post who are more up on all things Ft Dix can add to the discussion.

Sorry, I can't help you on the US Cemetery in St. Avold. My knowledge about those things are thin too. Again, before long I'm sure someone will come along and help us out with that too.

Edited by A-58, 26 March 2009 - 10:54 PM.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#9 A-58

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 05:15 AM

Double post. Sorry about that. Nothing to see here, move along....

Edited by A-58, 26 March 2009 - 05:21 AM.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#10 deflep86

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 08:09 AM

A-58,

Your explanation of how granpa ended up in the 157 IR makes perfect sense. I cant believe i hadnt thought of that before.

I think ive narrowed his position on december 6 to somewhere around Mertzwiller or Niederbronn-les-bains. Im tryin to find some AAR for december 1944 so if anyone can help with that it would be appreciated.

#11 A-58

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 10:49 PM

A-58,

Your explanation of how granpa ended up in the 157 IR makes perfect sense. I cant believe i hadnt thought of that before.

I think ive narrowed his position on december 6 to somewhere around Mertzwiller or Niederbronn-les-bains. Im tryin to find some AAR for december 1944 so if anyone can help with that it would be appreciated.

You will probably have to contact veteran's organizations concerning AAR's of the 157th Infantry, which will involve travel since most of the veterans will probably be from the Colorado area, and Oklahoma since most of the rest of the division was based there. Dig around on the internet and look around. Keep us posted on what you find out.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#12 deflep86

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 03:34 AM

I found a group on yahoo that has been a great help with information about the 45th ID. Apparently there are digital copies of AARs for the 157th floating around somewhere, but im still trying to find them.

If anyone is interested the name of the group is 45thinfantry (yes, without the space).

A-58, i'll definetly let you know how i make out. Thanks again for the help.

#13 deflep86

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 02:30 AM

I finally got to see an AAR for December 1944. I'll let you read it for yourself.

"Moving toward the northeast (zinswiller) company A and C jumped off in attack shortly after dawn dec 4. the troops followed the oberbronn-niederbronn road and met little resistance until they attempted crossing open ground, when the enemy loosed a temendous flak concentration. Exposed under a vicious crossfire and heavily shelled, the companies remained pinned in positions throughout the remainder of the day. Company B, moving forward, encountered little resistance and could make no progress as Company A and C suffered serious casualties."

My great grandfather, Harold Countryman was a Pvt. in Company A 157th Infantry reg. He was wounded dec 4 (not dec 6 as stated in previous posts) and died dec 6. Thanks to everyone that helped me learn about the 157th.

#14 A-58

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 05:05 AM

I'm glad that you found what you were looking for, and that the search is over. Feels good, doesn't it! See you around the forums.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#15 whs0828

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 08:45 PM

My uncle was a member of the 157th, as well. He was killed on December 12th. I, too, would like to have more information on his location at the time of death. I plan to visit France and re-trace. If anyone has any additional information or sources, I would appreciate if you could pass it along. Thanks

#16 A-58

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:52 PM

My uncle was a member of the 157th, as well. He was killed on December 12th. I, too, would like to have more information on his location at the time of death. I plan to visit France and re-trace. If anyone has any additional information or sources, I would appreciate if you could pass it along. Thanks

When did your uncle get assigned to the 157th Infantry? And what company was he assigned to if you have access to that information?

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#17 Slipdigit

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:53 PM

Do you know when did he joined the regiment?

You will more than likely find information if you talk to organizations associated with the 45th Infantry Division.

Have you contacted the 45th Infantry Division Museum? 45th Infantry Museum -- Contact Us

They have an association, try contacting them. History - 45th Division Association

I wish you the best of success.

Best Regards,  
JW :slipdigit:

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#18 whs0828

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 04:52 PM

I am uncertain exactly when my uncle joined the 45th Div., but I know he was in N Africa and Anzio. I believe he was a member of company k.

#19 A-58

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 04:50 AM

I am uncertain exactly when my uncle joined the 45th Div., but I know he was in N Africa and Anzio. I believe he was a member of company k.

Here's what I have concerning the 157th Infantry of the 45th Infantry Division;

According to "World War II Order of Battle" by Shelby L. Stanton, the 45th ID landed in North Africa on 22 Jan 43 and trained at Arzew, Algeria in preparation of the invasion of Sicily. The division assaulted Scoglitti, Sicily on 10 Jul 43, and was engaged in continual combat until the end of the campaign. Next, the division assaulted Salerno, Italy on 10 Sept 43, and was engaged in combat operations until 9 Jan 44 when it was finally withdrawn.

On 22 Jan 44 the 45th assaulted Anzio, and was defending the beach head for four months following the initial assault. After the break-out of the beach head and subsequent operations, the 45th was withdrawn in order to prepare for the landings in Southern France, on 15 Aug 44.

After landing and moving away from the beach head and advancing north, the 45th was involved in heavy combat until being relieved for some much needed R & R from 1-9 Nov 44. After that, it was back into the line, fighting it's way to the Maginot Line. The heavy combat continued until the division was pulled from the line again in Feb 45.

Slipdigit furnished several excellent sources for you to research the activity of the 157th Infantry. It looks like your uncle was very busy during his assignment with the 157th. Good luck with your search, and your retracing of his footsteps. He sure covered some territory!

Edited by A-58, 16 April 2009 - 11:14 PM.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#20 Triple C

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 05:09 AM

A friend of mine were just talking over IM today, and he mentioned his uncle, who told him that he liberated Dachau as a company commander and thereafter his company took no German prisoners. I checked and that too would have been the 175 Regiment, 45 Infantry Division. According to a website dedicated to the history of the Dachau Camp, of the 560 German garrison, only 10 escaped. Members from three rifle companies 175th executed hundreds of the guards, who were Waffen SS, and a few inmates murdered their tormentors with shovels.

I do not mean to mention this as a slander to the men who had served honorably, and I cannot imagine what I would do in their situation. Shooting prisoners in cold blood? Probably no. But if I was there, I probably won't care to stop it either.

#21 whs0828

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 01:15 PM

Thank you

#22 A-58

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:13 PM

Thank you

No problem there whs0828. Glad to help out. Keep us informed on your attempt to retrace you uncle's trek. It would make a good story.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#23 kerrd5

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 07:42 PM

My uncle was a member of the 157th, as well. He was killed on December 12th. I, too, would like to have more information on his location at the time of death. I plan to visit France and re-trace. If anyone has any additional information or sources, I would appreciate if you could pass it along. Thanks



What is your uncle's name? I have the lists from the NARA of all 157th Men who died or were MIA.


http://groups.yahoo....p/45thinfantry/




Dave

Edited by kerrd5, 07 June 2009 - 09:16 PM.
Add link.


#24 Slipdigit

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:54 AM

What is your uncle's name? I have the lists from the NARA of all 157th Men who died or were MIA.


45thinfantry : 45th Infantry Division (Thunderbirds)




Dave


If you don't get a response from deflep86, let me know, we can contact him directly via email to let him know you can help him. He is not a regular poster.

Best Regards,  
JW :slipdigit:

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#25 jp240

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 07:49 PM

I'm trying to find information on my uncle Jack McGee. He was a PFC in the 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He died on 19 May 1945 and is buried in Lorraine American Cemetery in France. I believe he was in "M" Company. His military record was destroyed in the 1973 fire at the National Records Center in St. Louis. I've sent a request for the Morning Reports for the period before and after his death. Any other sources you could suggest I look? Thanks.




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