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11th Infantry Division Co F


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#1 Ryan112390

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:14 PM

Finally found my grandpa's WWII records--it says his organization was Company F of the 11th Infantry in the army (he was a Staff Sgt.) and that he participated in the Rhineland and Northern France campaigns, yet it also says he spent 4 years and 10 months in foreign service, and 1 year and 9 months continental service.

Can you tell me if anyone knows anything or knew of anyone in his company, and what the 11th Infantry did in WWII? It say his military occupational specialty was "Sound Logger" or something like that--I can't make out anything but "Sound L er"--What did he do exactly?

It says his arrival departure dates were such:

Date of Departure: Destination: Date of Arrival:
27/September 1939 APO 5 October 1939
19 May 1942 USA 23 May 1942
12 July 1942 APO 16 July 1942
31 August 1943 USA 12 September 1943
21 February 1944 APO 5 March 1944
Unknown USA 19 March 1945

(he was shot in the leg in Luxembourg by a sniper on 23rd January)

It says on his paperwork that he received a European Middle Eastern African Campaign Ribbon with two stars, Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry badge and a WWII Victory ribbon. Yet when we researched and requested copies of his medals, in the listing of medals found for my grandpa the army they sent s a Bronze Star with V Device and Army air medal, along with his other decorations...Which would be correct? The army's info or his paperwork?

Also, what's an APO?

Edited by Ryan112390, 17 August 2009 - 08:42 PM.

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#2 JagdtigerI

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:21 PM

Edit: APO there stands for the Army Post Office (I believe). APO Numbers of World War II US Army Groups, Armies, Corps and Divisions

Edited by JagdtigerI, 17 August 2009 - 09:41 PM.

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#3 jeffutz

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 04:53 PM

My uncle was in the F Company, 11th Infantry. My uncle was killed on Feb. 9, 1945, apparently by a landmine. My father talked to other members of the unit after the War. I was born after the war, so I never met my uncle. I will try to post a link to the book that I have, called "11th Infantry, 5th Infantry Division." It was written by the historians in the Army and published by their own printing division.
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#4 dustyz

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 03:26 AM

A lot of good men died on Feb 9th in F co. They had one of the highest casualty rates of this battle. The 5th Division, 11th infantry was part of a large assault group running along a 5-mile stretch of the Sauer River between Echternach and Weilerbach. Most histories and even army death certificates show F Co men killed at Echternach but that is not true. F Company crossed the Sauer at Weilerbach several miles west of Ecternach. The Sauer River divides Luxembourg from Germany.

The division was to cross the river and attack the infamous German Siegfried Line. Many consider the Feb 9th crossing of the Sauer River one of the worst battles of the war. The Siegfried Line was a monster and the hills looking down on the Sauer River where F Co and the rest of the division crossed was fortified with German tanks, machine gun nests, pill boxes, impenetrable bunkers with big guns, nebelwerfers, snipers, and heavy artillery that pounded the soldiers as they crossed in small boats. In addition to that, the fields on the German side of the river were heavily mined and strung with barbed wire. One of the favorite German mines used was the Bouncing Betty, made to fly up about crotch level when tripped and disembowel the poor G.I. that tripped it. It was absolute hell.

The infantry was supposed to cross on a bridge made by army engineers on the 6th of February but it had started to rain, melting the snow, increasing the current, and swelling the river to over 50 yards wide. The temperature had been 16 below and the water was freezing, and raging. The pieces of the bridge kept shooting down river and when the Infantry arrived, that would be F Co and the rest of the 5th Division; there was no bridge or boats for a crossing. When the boats were finally brought down to the river a reconnaissance patrol was sent across but came under immediate fire killing four. The recon survivors established a small bridgehead on the German side of the Sauer but were taking small arms fire as well as artillery. On February 8th, 1945, F Co was sent to rescue the Recon Patrol. F Co got to the small bridgehead and effected the rescue sending the Recon Patrol back across the Sauer to the Luxembourg side while they engaged the enemy in a rifle skirmish. F Co was now pinned down and the Recon patrol back to relative safety. I don’t get the logic on this but that’s the army.

F Co took fire for most of the day. Eventually G Co got across on the 8th as well, then E Co arrived on the 9th as reinforcement. At 1300 hours on the 9th F and G Co were given an attack order to clear out a machine gun nest to their front and take fortified German positions including pillboxes, the bunker, numerous machine gun nests, etc. All this was literally up hill with no cover, through mine fields with barbed wire strung low to the ground to trip you as German machine guns, artillery, tanks, and Screaming Meemies were raining down on the G.I.’s sloshing for over a hundred yards through the mud and melting snow while the world tore apart and exploded around them. And that is where your uncle died. By 1500 hours on February 9th F Co had taken the hill and by the evening of the 9th, engineers had the bridge up across the Sauer and soldiers walked across the river with no enemy fire. My Father was in F Co and killed on the 9th. What was your uncle’s name?
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#5 dustyz

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 10:41 PM

Thanks for the salute. As you can imagine, like most persons who have lost a parent in war, I was obsessed with finding everything I could on the subject. Three years of steady research took me to the National Archives in St Louis, Missouri and a road trip through France from the Forts of Metz, The Battle of Horseshoe Woods in Nancy, and about 43 other battle sites, then finally Germany, where my trip ended at the battlefield near the Sauer River. I was fortunate to have as a guide at the Siegfried Line/Sauer River Battlefield an eyewitness to the battle. He was a 12 year old boy at the time and the battle was indelibly set in his mind. He took me across the battle field where I stepped through and over barbed wire still held down with stanchions. At the top of the hill, the direction of attack, is an enormous cement bunker that goes several stories below ground. Littered near the big gun are thousands and thousands of empty German casings from the cartridges expended during the attack, the earth is still pock-marked from shelling. There is a memorial at the site of the crossing, but this is not where they crossed; it was actually a hundred yards or so eastward. When they made the monument they decided to put it near a pedestrian path so more people would see the plaque and never forget the sacrifice made by the Americans.

#6 lucky1326

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 01:05 AM

I know this is an old post but my grandfather was a Staff Sergeant, 11th Infantry Company F according to his discharge papers. My grandfather said he was 1st Infantry and not 11th and his uniform (that he saved) has a 1st Infantry patch. e told me he trained in England, landed on Omaha Beach, fought across Northern France and was in the Battle of the Buldge. His discharge papers say the same and give both dates of when he was wounded. I did some research and found his info in Army records online. They tell the date he enlisted, schooling, previous work, but for his Company or Division it said "private" and nothing was listed. I did more searching and found out that the Army listed some men of the 1st Infantry as 11th and two others. It said that it was done so that if the Germans got the info on size of Divisions the numbers would be wrong. This was they would think the 1st was only something like 8,000-10,000 troops. So others that are said to be 11th Infantry might have really been 1st. I've done a lot of research and can't find out 100% my grandfathers real company or info. If anyone knows where to find records and info please let me know.

Ryan112390 do you know what squad he was in? My grandfather was squad leader of 745.

Edited by lucky1326, 01 October 2011 - 02:17 AM.


#7 lucky1326

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 01:16 AM

(he was shot in the leg in Luxembourg by a sniper on 23rd January)


My grandfather was wounded France Sept. 8, 44 and Luxembourg Jan. 22, 45. He was shot in the thigh and took shrapnel in his calf.
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#8 Earthican

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 03:14 PM

I know this is an old post but my grandfather was a Staff Sergeant, 11th Infantry Company F according to his discharge papers. My grandfather said he was 1st Infantry and not 11th and his uniform (that he saved) has a 1st Infantry patch. e told me he trained in England, landed on Omaha Beach, fought across Northern France and was in the Battle of the Buldge. His discharge papers say the same and give both dates of when he was wounded. I did some research and found his info in Army records online. They tell the date he enlisted, schooling, previous work, but for his Company or Division it said "private" and nothing was listed. I did more searching and found out that the Army listed some men of the 1st Infantry as 11th and two others. It said that it was done so that if the Germans got the info on size of Divisions the numbers would be wrong. This was they would think the 1st was only something like 8,000-10,000 troops. So others that are said to be 11th Infantry might have really been 1st. I've done a lot of research and can't find out 100% my grandfathers real company or info. If anyone knows where to find records and info please let me know.


I really want to help you connect with your families history but you need to meet me half way. Family stories are always interesting but they need to be taken with a grain of salt. In many cases veterans were not completely aware of the facts surrounding their service or they have a difficult time describing arcane military matters to their family.

I'll give you some pointers to help you search and decipher what you find on the Internet. But please do some of your own research and feel free to post what you find and ask further questions. Unless your grandfather was really interesting I'm not likely to even attempt to dig-up what might be available.


My grandfather was wounded France Sept. 8, 44 and Luxembourg Jan. 22, 45. He was shot in the thigh and took shrapnel in his calf.

The 11th Infantry Regiment (shortened to 11th Infantry) was part of the 5th Infantry Division (ID). These wound dates and geographic locations are strong proof that your grandfather was with the 5th ID and not the 1st ID. In September '44 and January '45 the 1st ID was in Belgium.

Things to keep in mind. Omaha Beach from June to October (ish), served as the debarkation point of many US divisions in Europe. So many veterans landed on Omaha (or Utah) beaches but only a few assaulted those beaches on June 6, 1944.

After VE Day many soldiers were shifted around to other divisions. First in preparation for the invasion of Japan, so low-point soldiers were sent to divisions slated for that operation. After VJ Day high-point soldiers were sent to divisions going home for deactivation. It's uncertain why your father has a 1st ID patch. It might not have been his jacket. Soldiers lose things and others pick them up, it happens. If it was his jacket then it would be helpful to know what shoulder the patch was on, left shoulder is his current assignment, right shoulder would be a unit he served with in combat.

Hope that helps, feel free to ask questions to clarify.

#9 Colonel FOG

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 04:47 AM

SPAM ACCOUNT ALERT! yanghxx

#10 Earthican

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 03:19 PM

SPAM ACCOUNT ALERT! yanghxx


Not sure what this is about. I hope it is not referring to me. I'll monitor this thread for updates.

#11 Ryan112390

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:56 AM

I really want to help you connect with your families history but you need to meet me half way. Family stories are always interesting but they need to be taken with a grain of salt. In many cases veterans were not completely aware of the facts surrounding their service or they have a difficult time describing arcane military matters to their family.

I'll give you some pointers to help you search and decipher what you find on the Internet. But please do some of your own research and feel free to post what you find and ask further questions. Unless your grandfather was really interesting I'm not likely to even attempt to dig-up what might be available.


My grandfather was wounded France Sept. 8, 44 and Luxembourg Jan. 22, 45. He was shot in the thigh and took shrapnel in his calf.

The 11th Infantry Regiment (shortened to 11th Infantry) was part of the 5th Infantry Division (ID). These wound dates and geographic locations are strong proof that your grandfather was with the 5th ID and not the 1st ID. In September '44 and January '45 the 1st ID was in Belgium.

Things to keep in mind. Omaha Beach from June to October (ish), served as the debarkation point of many US divisions in Europe. So many veterans landed on Omaha (or Utah) beaches but only a few assaulted those beaches on June 6, 1944.

After VE Day many soldiers were shifted around to other divisions. First in preparation for the invasion of Japan, so low-point soldiers were sent to divisions slated for that operation. After VJ Day high-point soldiers were sent to divisions going home for deactivation. It's uncertain why your father has a 1st ID patch. It might not have been his jacket. Soldiers lose things and others pick them up, it happens. If it was his jacket then it would be helpful to know what shoulder the patch was on, left shoulder is his current assignment, right shoulder would be a unit he served with in combat.

Hope that helps, feel free to ask questions to clarify.


My grandpa's DD214 form (we have both the original tiny card version and a paper version) list him as 11th Infantry Company F.

By 1942 he was a Sergeant, and by 1945 a Staff Sergeant. We don't have anything left besides his medical records, most of his service records were destroyed in the 1973 fire.

His specialty is listed as a "Squad Leader"". I got it wrong in the past. My grandpa still had his uniform--My mother used to wear the shirt when she was a teenager and it was tight on her (that's how skinny he was). But after my grandparent's split up, my grandmother cut it up the back and discarded it.

He served from July 18th 1939 to March 1946.

From 1939 to February 27th 1944 he was in the Panama Canal at Fort Kobbe in the "EM PC Dept Service Unit 2145". On a transfer paper from July 1943, it says "QM Det" after his name and army serial number.

In a paper from November 1943, when he attempted to be transferred to the Paratrooper training school in Fort Benning, he was: "QMC Sec. S.C.U. 1927" It also lists him as "2nd. Ind". He wrote that he had first enlisted for the CAC but "because of my knowledge of Army Administration work", he transferred to a Service Unit. He was ultimately rejected for Paratrooper school as there was no vacancies. At the time of his request to be transferred, he was (on leave?) at the Presidio of San Francisco.

His commandant in 1943 (at the Presidio of San Francisco) was "Edward M. Feeney" 1st Lt, Infantry, Ass't Adjutant.

In February 1944, just before being sent to Europe, he was in Camp Kilmer, NJ. There he was hospitalized for an illness. On the hospital record, his Regmt/Arm/Service is listed as "RS-321-AAA." I am not sure what that means, anyone want to help me with that?

He was first sent to Europe in February 1944 and his record has him in the Rhineland and Northern France Campaigns. He was involved in some action which include two gruesome stories. He was shot on January 23rd 1945 by a sniper in Luxembourg and was in and out of the hospital for over a year for surgeries and was finally discharged as disabled in March 1946 from Halloran Hospital in Staten Island, NY. He lived the rest of his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he was born and died in 1975 age 55.

Also we know he was fond of the USO while in the Army, having been at USO Events in 1941 and 1942. In 1942 he met Jinx Falkenberg there--Perhaps someone can place a date as to when exactly she was there. We know he got a book from the YCMA Department of the Armed Services entitled "Why America Fights" by Sherwood Eddy in 1941 or 1942.

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars from at least 1957 to 1958 and was a member of the American Legion in at least 1958. He also oddly got an army guide to Germany in 1952 despite having left the Army in 1946. He worked at the 1964-1965 World's Fair as a Security Guard and did other work such as a painter, etc, being a member of a union for such in the late 1950s. He was an employee of the US Post Office from around 1957-1967 and also worked as a security guard for a company called M.R.A Associates, Inc.

I am trying basically to retrace his steps and maybe find anyone who served with him or might have known him in his army years and perhaps after.

Some of his doctors and surgeons (while hospitalized from '45 to '46):
Rhonald A. Whiteneck (1st Lieutenant, MC)
James L. Camp (1st Lt., MC)
Stanley E. Potter (Capt, MC)
Michael Raab (Capt, MC)

Other names associated with his hospital stay:
Foley D. Woods (1st Lt. MAC, Ass't Post Pers. Adj)
Col. O.H. Stanley
Harry Zubkoff Capt. MAC. Adj
S.B.T ENNER, 1st Lt. MAC
Capt. Aleu (or Capt. M Aleu or Captain A.Leu)--hard to tell, handwritten

Associated with his dental records in the military:
Captain S. Karp, DC.

The following is a list of men whose transfers were requested along with my grandpa in July 1943 while in Panama:

SPECIAL ORDERS HEADQUARTERS PANAMA CANAL DEPARTMENT QUARRY HEIGHTS CZ, 25 JULY 1943

FT AMADOR:
Cpl. Harold G Welch HQ & HQ Dept
Cpl. Clyde Pinson QM DET
Sgt. John Mikita QM Det
Sgt. John R. Mignoli QM Det
Tech 4th Grade Delton W. Stanley QM Det
Tech 4th Grade Linwood J. Stugis QM Det

Post ENGR Utilities Det:
Sgt. Hershel R. Bowling
Tech 5th Grade Charles L. Lipker
Cpl. Neal Dingess

333D STA Hosp:
Pvt Robert S Buffington

EM PC Dept Service Unit 2145 Fort Kobbe CZ (This is where my grandpa was in Panam at least in '43):
MSgt Norman D. Carroll QM Det
MSgt Frank W. Shavel QM Det
Tech 5th Gr. Shirley Graves Hq & Hq Det
Pfc Jerome V. Call Jr Hq & Hq Det

This transfer was by the command of Lt. General Brett

WC Christy
Col. GSC
C of S

Hugh J. Deeney
Col. AGD
AG

Edited by Ryan112390, 21 December 2011 - 05:08 AM.


#12 Ryan112390

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 04:32 AM

His army photos (my grandpa is on right in the first photo)

Posted ImagePosted Image
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#13 Earthican

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:01 PM

Hello Ryan112390, and welcome back, I guess.

Hopefully some of the other Company F, 11th Infantry Regiment relatives will check-in again. Over the years, it looks like there were three them here: jeffutz, dustyz, and lucky1326.

From the information you provided his service looks like this:

USA : July 1939 to Sept 1939 Basic Training?
APO : Oct 1939 to May 1942 Canal Zone? - 83d C.A.(A.A.)
USA : May 1942 to July 1942 leave(vacation)?
APO : July 1942 to Aug 1943 Canal Zone - EM PC Dept Service Unit 2145 (USO Show Nov 1942)
USA : Sept 1943 to Feb 1944 Presidio - QMC Sec. S.C.U. 1927 (volunteered paratroops)
APO : Mar 1944 to Mar 1945 ETO - 11th Infantry Regt. 5th Infantry Division (wounded Jan 1945) ****
USA : Mar 1945 to Mar 1946 Hospital

**** it is uncertain when he joined the 11th Infantry, could have been in Northern Ireland (Apr 1944) or not until after Normandy (Aug 1944)

I am short on time right now but there are a number of interesting observations that can be made of you grandpa's service. Maybe later tonight.

Edited by Earthican, 23 December 2011 - 03:57 AM.
updated unit assignments


#14 Ryan112390

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 11:21 AM

Hello Ryan112390, and welcome back, I guess.

Hopefully some of the other Company F, 11th Infantry Regiment relatives will check-in again. Over the years, it looks like there were three them here: jeffutz, dustyz, and lucky1326.

From the information you provided his service looks like this:

USA : July 1939 to Sept 1939 Basic Training?
APO : Oct 1939 to May 1942 Canal Zone? - 83d C.A.(A.A.)
USA : May 1942 to July 1942 leave(vacation)?
APO : July 1942 to Aug 1943 Canal Zone - EM PC Dept Service Unit 2145 (USO Show Nov 1942)
USA : Sept 1943 to Feb 1944 Presidio - QMC Sec. S.C.U. 1927 (volunteered paratroops)
APO : Mar 1944 to Mar 1945 ETO - 11th Infantry Regt. 5th Infantry Division (wounded Jan 1945) ****
USA : Mar 1945 to Mar 1946 Hospital

**** it is uncertain when he joined the 11th Infantry, could have been in Northern Ireland (Apr 1944) or not until after Normandy (Aug 1944)

I am short on time right now but there are a number of interesting observations that can be made of you grandpa's service. Maybe later tonight.


Would be very interested in your observations. If even a good portion of his service and what he might've experienced can be pieced together that would be wonderful. We know of course sadly from the scant stories he did tell that he both saw men killed and probably killed men himself. According to his medical records, he came into the ETO as of 27th February 1944. And yes--he was considered to be in the ETO until March 1945 despite being wounded in January. He left Europe from England (they had him in army hospital there according to the records) on the Queen Mary.

A few of the stories or anecdotes he recounted:
1) Once, somewhere in France, he and his men were "cleaning out" (as my grandmother put it) a store which had Germans inside. After cleaning out the store of Germans, they went inside the store. It turned out to be either a jewelry store or perfume store. His friend began grabbing bottles of perfume and stuffing them into his uniform. My grandfather said "What are you doin?" His fellow replied that the bottles would make him rich when they got back home. Suddenly from somewhere nearby, they heard the sounds of gunfire; They dashed from the store and jumped into a foxhole. The glass shattered all over his friend, leaving him reeking of French perfume.

2) Another time, possibly around the time of the Battle of the Bulge, he and his men stopped by a little river or stream to fill their canteens with water. The water, however, tasted funny. As they wound their way up the river, they found why it had tasted funny--Bodies of Germans littered the stream, their blood spilling into the water.

3) Years later, I suppose in a discussion about the war, he told my uncle-in-law (who had served as an Ambulance Driver during the Battle of the Bulge and was around Luxembourg about the same time my grandfather was shot; they never met on the battlefield though), "What took you guys (the medics) so long? We were laying out there a long time."

The story of his shooting is fragmented but we BELIEVE he and his unit were ambushed by snipers waiting in the trees. We don't know where exactly in Luxembourg we were. His wound went into the tibial section of the leg, causing a compound fracture and lifelong nerve damage. A fellow soldier of his wasn't so "lucky"--He got a bullet in his head, killing him, his body was beside my grandfather's. This happened exactly on January 23rd 1945. If we could find out about the men who died that exact day in Luxembourg, perhaps we could determine what exactly befell him and his unit. Maybe even who was shooting at them.

That unknown sniper's bullet shaped the rest of my grandfather's life both immediately and for years afterward, and in a strange, odd way, if my grandfather had never been shot, he might never have met my grandmother and I, my siblings, my cousins, my aunts and uncles and mother, might not be here. As such, odd as it may be, that unknown German sniper may unwittingly be one of the most important people in my family's history--and certainly the most important person in my grandfather's life. Had the man not fired at all, or the sniper been a better shot, we would not be speaking. My grandfather wanted to make a career out of the military--He seemed to have advanced rather quick through the ranks and wanted to teach but he was judged to be disabled and was discharged.

Had he not been shot, he would've never met his first wife (he met her while he was in the Hospital; His roomate in the Hospital was her brother). He was with her a year and they had a daughter. She turned out to be mentally unsound--perhaps post partum depression--and she committed suicide one day while he was at work; He came home to find her, which left him a single father. After he began dating my grandmother a year later, his family (who were Italian and distrusted/disliked other ethnic groups it seems) demanded he gave my aunt over to his sister who couldn't have children of her own. After a lot of tension and arguments, he did. His sister raised his daughter as her own...Which in itself was a whole lot of trouble and brought only fighting and discord in the years to come.

Had he not been shot, perhaps he would've lived past 55. He developed Phlebitis just after 3 months in the Hospital. It recurred for the rest of his life (along with the malaria which he got while in Panama). He also developed high blood pressure right after the army. His medical records from that year in the hospital show a man who had normal blood pressure when he first entered, and irregular blood pressure by the time he left and suffered the rest of his life with severe hypertension. He came into the army a skinny man--A man 5'11'' and 1/2'' in height and weighing between 160-170 pbs. He left the army heavier, at 190lbs (20 lbs over his normal weight) and by the early '60s he was a heavy man, weighing about 220--Likely due to the leg wound impairing his exercise. All of these factors came to together to give him a first minor stroke in 1973 and a second, fatal one in 1975--Likely from clots thrown from the leg, or from clots formed due to his obesity.

So, that gun shot inflicted on January 23rd 1945 shaped--and likely shortened--his life course, and with it a great deal of my family history.

#15 Earthican

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 06:23 PM

Thank you for sharing your family story. My father passed away recently and I have been contemplating the events of his life and how it shaped my family. So many what if's...

I can understand the desire to know your grandfather in his youth when he was in control of his future. It is so hard to imagine growing up in that time. On one hand, America was a land of opportunity -- and New York the capital of opportunity -- but the US was still climbing out of the Depression while war clouds gathered around the world. As a pre-war volunteer -- a Regular -- one wonders what his expectations were for the Army. While I can't tell you what was in his mind I hope to provide some insight into his military experience.

The first thing to notice in his Army career is the short period of training in the US before shipping to the Canal Zone. Eight weeks is a typical time frame for Army Basic Training. Add in a week or two before and after for administrative activities and there was little time for anything else. So I suspect your grandfather went to his first assignment as a plain soldier without a qualification. This might have been pretty standard in the pre-war Army where there was time -- plenty of time -- to train new guys "on-the-job".

It's hard to say how far he got with Coast Artillery qualifications. If he had office skills -- such as reading, writing, typing -- he could have moved to the headquarters staff pretty quickly. Nonetheless he would have to maintain basic soldier skills like weapons qualifications -- rifle or pistol.

The US started ramping-up for WWII long before Pearl Harbor. I imagine he witnessed the build-up in the Canal Zone defense and that might have led to his "opportunity" to transfer to the Quartermaster Corps -- Army Supply. If your grandfather wanted to get into a more active role, I suspect being stationed in the sensitive Canal Zone inhibited any transfers until the "crisis" passed.

Upon his return to the US you indicate he volunteered for the paratroops. While the paratroops needed men, what they needed most were trained infantrymen that they could send through the three week "jump school" and on to an airborne unit. You grandfathers background in CA and QM may have put his request on a low priority and ultimately rejected. However volunteers directly for the Infantry were likely to be approved and, as may be the case, with little additional training.

It's hard to say how your grandfather came to the Infantry and with what training. Fighting in North Africa and Italy had shown that the Army had greatly under estimated the need for infantry replacements. At first attempts were made to increase the flow through the Infantry Replacement Training Centers and then to "strip" men from trained divisions in the US, then to convert Anti-Aircraft Artillerymen and others in the US, and, finally, set up "conversion schools" overseas. Your grandfather is in about that time in England when they were first starting to set-up schools overseas.

Now the 5th Infantry Division is credited with participation in the Normandy campaign. You have indicated that your grandfather is only credited with Northern France and Rhineland campaigns. That may be evidence that he joined the 5th Division after the breakout from Normandy. Of course it may also be a mistake. Your grandfather should also be credited with the Ardennes-Alsace campaign.

But if he joined the division after Normandy he may have spent the time from April to August 1944 at an infantry conversion training school in England. And as an NCO -- Sergeant -- he may have had to provide some instruction to the Privates in this school. As odd as it sounds this was the Army way. Qualified Infantry instructors would be rare and it was common for Officer and NCO instructors to learn a "skill", or block of instruction, one day and teach it the next day.

Well that's plenty for now. Later I may try to sketch out the activities of the 11th Infantry Regiment.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Earthican, 24 December 2011 - 12:34 AM.
correct father to grandfather


#16 Ryan112390

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 08:45 PM

Thank you for sharing your family story. My father passed away recently and I have been contemplating the events of his life and how it shaped my family. So many what if's...

I can understand the desire to know your grandfather in his youth when he was in control of his future. It is so hard to imagine growing up in that time. On one hand, America was a land of opportunity -- and New York the capital of opportunity -- but the US was still climbing out of the Depression while war clouds gathered around the world. As a pre-war volunteer -- a Regular -- one wonders what his expectations were for the Army. While I can't tell you what was in his mind I hope to provide some insight into his military experience.

The first thing to notice in his Army career is the short period of training in the US before shipping to the Canal Zone. Eight weeks is a typical time frame for Army Basic Training. Add in a week or two before and after for administrative activities and there was little time for anything else. So I suspect your grandfather went to his first assignment as a plain soldier without a qualification. This might have been pretty standard in the pre-war Army where there was time -- plenty of time -- to train new guys "on-the-job".

It's hard to say how far he got with Coast Artillery qualifications. If he had office skills -- such as reading, writing, typing -- he could have moved to the headquarters staff pretty quickly. Nonetheless he would have to maintain basic soldier skills like weapons qualifications -- rifle or pistol.

The US started ramping-up for WWII long before Pearl Harbor. I imagine he witnessed the build-up in the Canal Zone defense and that might have led to his "opportunity" to transfer to the Quartermaster Corps -- Army Supply. If your grandfather wanted to get into a more active role, I suspect being stationed in the sensitive Canal Zone inhibited any transfers until the "crisis" passed.

Upon his return to the US you indicate he volunteered for the paratroops. While the paratroops needed men, what they needed most were trained infantrymen that they could send through the three week "jump school" and on to an airborne unit. You grandfathers background in CA and QM may have put his request on a low priority and ultimately rejected. However volunteers directly for the Infantry were likely to be approved and, as may be the case, with little additional training.

It's hard to say how your father came to the Infantry and with what training. Fighting in North Africa and Italy had shown that the Army had greatly under estimated the need for infantry replacements. At first attempts were made to increase the flow through the Infantry Replacement Training Centers and then to "strip" men from trained divisions in the US, then to convert Anti-Aircraft Artillerymen and others in the US, and, finally, set up "conversion schools" overseas. Your grandfather is in about that time in England when they were first starting to set-up schools overseas.

Now the 5th Infantry Division is credited with participation in the Normandy campaign. You have indicated that your father is only credited with Northern France and Rhineland campaigns. That may be evidence that he joined the 5th Division after the breakout from Normandy. Of course it may also be a mistake. Your father should also be credited with the Ardennes-Alsace campaign.

But if he joined the division after Normandy he may have spent the time from April to August 1944 at an infantry conversion training school in England. And as an NCO -- Sergeant -- he may have had to provide some instruction to the Privates in this school. As odd as it sounds this was the Army way. Qualified Infantry instructors would be rare and it was common for Officer and NCO instructors to learn a "skill", or block of instruction, one day and teach it the next day.

Well that's plenty for now. Later I may try to sketch out the activities of the 11th Infantry Regiment.

Hope this helps.


It does. Also what might help you here is that his pre-army occupation was listed as a Printer. My grandmother mentioned he had went to school to be a Book Binder at some point, for some period of time--Whether this was pre-Army or post or how long he was at that school for, I don't know. As far as I'm aware, he never worked as a printer after the army--although it is possible. You figure he enlisted at the age of 19 in 1939 so I imagine any post High School education was limited. He was given a rating of "Expert" with the M1 rifle. He was also qualified to drive jeeps and trucks--We have his army driver license from I think either '43 or '44.

I do know after the war most of the jobs he chose were ones which required him to wear a uniform, which is significant--Post Office Carrier from '58-'67, Security Guard from around '64-1973. I've seen a photo from his days as a Security Guard--His uniform with them was VERY much like a soldier's uniform; He even had a rank tag on the sides of the uniform as did the other guys in the photo. Ironically, he was a Sergeant with his Security company just as he was in the Army. However, he would not allow my aunt to join the military--She wanted to sometime around age 17 or so (during the Vietnam era) and he told he wouldn't allow "any daughter of mine" to join, as they "didn't respect women there." His views on the military in general though and wars like Vietnam or Korea are unknown. His keeping of all his WWII stuff does indicate a high level of sentimentality for that time in his life, though.

Part of the reason I'm doing this is not only to better understand what he went through, what he saw, etc--To fill in the blanks surrounding his experience as a soldier--But also to learn more about who he was as a man. What he believed in; Who he was sort of. My grandmother won't speak much of him--They separated very negatively so all you will hear is his bad side, her opinion colored by bitter biases. His brothers and sisters are all long dead, things they knew taken to the grave with them too. My mother and her siblings weren't that old when he died--the oldest of them being 24, the youngest being 12--so they didn't truly get to know him as well as they should've either.

A question: He seems to have advanced in the ranks rather quickly--Joining in 1939 and being a Sergeant by at least 1942 and a Staff Seargeant by 1944 or 1945. Was that rate of advancement common?

Edited by Ryan112390, 23 December 2011 - 08:52 PM.


#17 Earthican

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 12:30 AM

I would say his progress through the ranks was about average for a peacetime volunteer with skills above the average recruit. From summer 1939 to summer 1942 he would have been a Private (no stripe), Private First Class (one stripe), either Corporal (two strips and an NCO) or Technician 5th Grade (T/5, two stripes and a "T", not an NCO), and finally Sergeant (three stripes). That's three promotions in three years. That might have been fast in the 1930's Army where there were few chances for advancement.

But his rise in rank to NCO does reflect being recognized for -- and assuming responsibility for --leadership and discipline. Rarely is it easy for a 21-year-old kid to rise above his peers.

The possibility exists that your grandfather arrived at the 11th Infantry after they had been in combat. I can think of no greater challenge than a green NCO to come to a veteran outfit and try to lead men in battle. It happened all the time for replacement platoon leaders but they were supposed to be somewhat prepared for that event by their advanced training.

Even if your grandfather got an "easier" introduction to combat he still maintained his rank and went on to lead men in battle. There are few higher military accomplishments than combat leadership.

#18 Earthican

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 06:44 PM

"....He was shot on January 23rd 1945 by a sniper in Luxembourg and was in and out of the hospital for over a year for surgeries and was finally discharged as disabled in March 1946 from Halloran Hospital in Staten Island, NY..."


A manuscript by the company commander of G Company, 11th Infantry indicates the 2d Battalion relieved units of the 2d Infantry on 22 January 1945. The 5th Division was attacking north to retake the ground lost when the Germans launched their all-out offensive in December. Companies E and F were to advance north along either side of the highway and capture Hosheid in northern Luxembourg. The highway traversed the wide open ground between steep wooded valleys. On that day the companies were pinned down by machine gun fire along with mortars and artillery. Company G was sent up the wooded valley on the left and cleared some German outpost positions. Companies E and F were drawn back for the night. On 23 January Companies E and F tried once more to attack up the highway. The two days of attack moved the 2d Battalion just south of Hoscheid. On 24 January they launched an attack on the town itself. Company G maneuvered to the east of the town while E Company attacked from the south. In the pre-dawn darkness G Company charged into the town and secured several buildings. This allowed E and F Companies to move-in with tank support and together clear the town.

(Other sources put the attack and liberation of Hoscheid on 23 January 1945.)

Those are the bare facts as summarized by me. There are no additional details about F Company's ordeal. This was a typical American style attack. An artillery barrage on the objective usually preceded the start of the infantry advance. Across open fields, the infantry would generally advance on-line as skirmishers, walking -- or trudging -- and widely spread out.

If the Germans had artillery they would first try to stop the attack at some distance from their positions. An defensive artillery barrage would often drive the attackers to ground and if it caused key casualties among the leadership than the attack might falter here. If the barrage failed to stop the attack the infantry would advance to within machine gun and rifle range and again key casualties could stop the attack. Enemy mortars could be used to good effect when the attackers were this close.

Infantry were trained at this point to advance by short dashes from cover to cover. In a successful attack, small groups of men might work their way forward and take-out key enemy positions that allow the rest of the company to advance. Once in town then the task was to work in small groups to clear buildings, reach the far side of town and set-up a defense.

A failed attack usually left men, many wounded, stranded in the open ground until night fall. Depending on the charity of the enemy they could be subject to continued machine gun fire and sniping. Sometimes informal cease-fires would prevail and the shocked and wounded evacuated.

A truly skilled attack would have the infantry advance while the friendly artillery barrage fell on the objective thus reducing the defensive machine gun fire. Either the barrage would lift when the troops reached to objective or the infantry would have to pause and wait for the barrage to lift. This was extremely difficult for the artillery to arrange and equally difficult for the infantry to perform thus it rarely happened.

If tanks were available, it seems to me, the best use of them was to lead groups of infantry to the edge of the objective, all the while using their cannon and machine guns to suppress the defenders and for the infantry to make a final assault from there. Once the infantry had a toe-hold on the town, tanks could be led into town and directed to destroy strong points. Tanks did not like to charge into town because they were vulnerable to infantry hand-held anti-tank weapons like the German panzerfaust (RPG, Rocket Propelled -- anti-tank-- Grenade). American tanks could also be defeated at long range by German high-velocity guns. The Germans did not have many of these but only one or two were needed to decimate a five tank platoon that might be supporting an infantry battalion.

Some additional points about the fighting in the Ardennes. By January the snow was knee deep and temperatures below freezing. Possession of the buildings in town were highly desired to get the men out of the exposed open fields. Proper winter clothing was hard to achieve. Heavy bundles of clothing made movement exhausting. If you were moving you were sweating, if you stopped moving your sweat started to freeze.

Sorry if I went overboard. Once I get to the point of describing WWII combat the words start to flow, if only in generalities. I've read many books to get to this basic understanding. Only those that were there can better explain the mechanics of battle as they experienced it. But everyone is different so accounts very widely.

Here's a few modern pictures to give you a clear image of the terrain. Of course you can use Google Maps satellite images but they tend to "flatten" out all terrain. I like the oblique aerial pictures for a "human scale" feel.

Attached Files


Edited by Earthican, 01 January 2012 - 10:21 PM.
clarity, added quote


#19 Earthican

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 06:46 PM

Further evidence that Hosheid was liberated on 23 January 1945 (scroll down a little):

Bulge Memorials

"Dedicated to the 11th Regiment, 5th U.S. Infantry Division "Red Diamond", that liberated the town on January 23, 1945. Inaugurated by the former regimental commander, Col. Birdsong, assisted by a delegation of 5th division veterans in June 1994."

#20 Earthican

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 05:23 PM

Another 5th Infantry Division relative has posted here:

http://www.ww2f.com/...-wwii-info.html

#21 ralphvix

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 09:20 PM

New to this forum, but been researching as best I can about my Grandfather's service in WWII. What I know, Staff Sergeant 11th Inf Regiment, KIA 2/17/45 and name Ralph G Vix. I also know he was listed as MIA prior being listed as KIA.

 

Things I I have heard, but have no proof off, that due to the bulge he was shifted from supply to front lines (My Grandma's brother always blamed Patton for his death), He was orignally a trainer and around 1943 was in Oregon (my dad was born then and there) and was still in states sometime after (I am pretty sure there is a picture of Grandpa and dad when dad would have been about 9 to 1 year old. 

 

Other than that I can't find any good info, this thread got be the closest to about where he died. Was wondering a few things, 

 

1. Did anyone researching the 11th, find a roster with the name Vix on it? would love to narrow down from Regiment level what unit he was in.

 

2. Does anyone know if the KIA date is the Date they found him or date he went MIA, seems like he passed either at the sauer river crossing or shortly after. But can't find out if the date of death is when found or when missing.



#22 LRusso216

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 01:18 AM

Hi Ralph. Welcome to the forum.

I haven't found a full roster, but look at this website to see if anyone looks familiar to you. http://www.oocities....roster11th.html

 

For the date he was KIA, you should get his IDPF (Individual Deceased Person File). It may be of some help.

 

I would suggest that you introduce yourself in our New Recruits sub-forum. You might also want to post your questions in the Information Please area. You'll get more hits that way.


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#23 ralphvix

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 02:56 PM

Thanks, Lou,

 

I am going to put in a request for the IDPF (never new about that until yesterday), the more I read about the 11th at the time he died the more I suspect he was a replacement called to the front from the supply unit (I have read some letters he wrote grandma and he often talked about sleeping on the truck hood since it was warm. Just guesses but will keep digging. 



#24 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 12:58 AM

New to this forum, but been researching as best I can about my Grandfather's service in WWII. What I know, Staff Sergeant 11th Inf Regiment, KIA 2/17/45 and name Ralph G Vix. I also know he was listed as MIA prior being listed as KIA.

 

...

 

Other than that I can't find any good info, this thread got be the closest to about where he died. Was wondering a few things, 

 

1. Did anyone researching the 11th, find a roster with the name Vix on it? would love to narrow down from Regiment level what unit he was in.

 

2. Does anyone know if the KIA date is the Date they found him or date he went MIA, seems like he passed either at the sauer river crossing or shortly after. But can't find out if the date of death is when found or when missing.

 

The IDPF should tell you which company he was in at the time of his death.

 

I came across a couple of links that may interest you.  They seem to be part of a research project or presentation regarding a soldier of F Company, 11th Infantry who was MIA on 9 Feb 1945.  The researcher's name seems to be Barb Geisler and the missing soldier is Pvt. Frederick W. Goempel.  Because it has a rather narrow focus, it may not provide any answers for you, but it is interesting reading nonetheless.  There are maps, a partial AAR of the 11th, a report on the 11th breaching the Siegfried Line, as well as a bibliography which may be useful.

 

Investigation analysis

 

Reports, Bibliography, etc.

 

 

The first link above has an interesting section:

 


 

Sauer River Crossing Casualties

 

  • On 13 February 13, 1945, the Morning Reports for F Company, 11th Regiment, 5th Infantry Division report thirty (30) men as Missing in Action. including Pvt. Frederick W. Goempel.

  • On 17 Feb. 1945, fourteen (14) of these men have been listed as alive, and four (4) have been determined to be KIA. As of this date, (12) men continue to be Missing in Action from this crossing.

  • On 23 Feb. 1945, seven (7)of the previous missing soldiers have been identified as KIA, leaving five (5) men MIA.

  • On 27 Feb. one of the missing is identified as KIA as is also the circumstance on 24 March and 19 April, 1945. This leaves two (2) of the original 30 MIA, Pvt. Michael J. Greco, and Pvt. Frederick W. Goempel unaccounted for.

  • On 23 May 1946, Michael J. Greco was found by a civilian on the German side of the river, near the Ravine that followed the path of F Company.

  • Individual Deceased Personnel Files show all casualties killed by shrapnel wounds; none have death attributed to drowning.

  • A review panel will list Pvt. Frederick W. Goempel as unrecoverable as of 10 Feb. 1946.

 

 

 

 

At this point, we don't know if your grandfather served with Company F. However, it is at least an example of soldiers being reported as MIA and later being changed to KIA.

 

Please keep us informed on your progress in researching your grandfather.


Edited by TD-Tommy776, 14 June 2014 - 12:59 AM.

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Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
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Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


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#25 ralphvix

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 05:44 PM

I have now put in the IDPF request, so time to wait and see. 






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