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Grandfather's Service - Pacific War


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#1 cman429

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 01:57 PM

Hi all. My Grandfather passed away when I was very young so I never got the chance to ask him about his service in WWII. My mom says he didn't like to talk about it much anyway. Well, I wrote to the Vet to request his file, they wrote back "lost in the fire," yadda yadda. So I was hoping some of you folks can help me reconstruct it a bit as far as what his unit did, where they were stationed (She remembers him mentioning Okinawa a couple times), pretty much anything would be greatly appreciated.

I do know he served in the Pacific theater of operations and his job was driving troop carriers. My grandma gave me his Veteran's burial card which had the following info:

Branch: Army
Unit: Co. B 773 Amphibian Tractor Bn
Rank: Cpl
Dates of Service: 1/14/43-2/5/46

Both my grandmother (who met him after the war, actually at a "Welcome Home Soldiers" dance!) and mom were excited when I told them I was undertaking a family history project only for us all to be pretty bummed when we learned of "the fire." So thanks as I say, any input would be greatly appreciated.

#2 belasar

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 02:33 PM

You might start by seeing if the 773 Amph. Tract. Bttn. has a historical society or veterns group. Or possibly its parent unit.

http://cgsc.cdmhost..../id/3468/rec/16

An after action report for this unit for 25 May- 4 August 1944.

Edited by belasar, 13 May 2012 - 02:42 PM.

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#3 Biak

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:06 PM

Welcome to the forum cman429,
Here is a little reading I found on CMH;[8-5

from the lnk:

The sixty-eight amphibious tanks of the 708th Amphibian Tank Battalion were divided over the four Blue and Yellow Beaches, seventeen tanks on each beach. The 773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion followed the tanks on the two Yellow beaches. Marine tractors landed the troops on Blue beaches behind 708th Tanks. In the Second Marine Division sector to the north Marine tanks were employed on the Red and Green Beaches and a Marine tractor unit formed behind the tanks on the Red Beaches. The 715th Amphibian Tractor Battalion carried assault forces to the two Green beaches where landings were made.

Get your notebook ready :) I've got a feeling some folks on here will help you start to fill in the blanks.

Edited by Biak, 13 May 2012 - 10:50 PM.

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#4 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:16 PM

Here's some lineage information that may help your research:

1st Battalion, 68th Armor

Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


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PFC Glenn W. Halvorson

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#5 Slipdigit

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:52 PM

773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Participated in the following assaults:
Tokashiki Shima 27 Mar 45 A & B Co only
Geruma and Hokaji Shima 26 Mar 45 A & B Co only
Ie Shima 16 Apr 45 A & B Co only
Keise Shima 31 Mar 45
Saipan Island 24 July 44
Tinian Island 24 July 44

Occupied Forces in Japan 5 Nov 45 to 5 Mar 46

Unit Citation and Campaign Participation Register, US Army, 1961

I'll see what else I can find.

Edited by Slipdigit, 14 May 2012 - 02:42 AM.
corrected spelling of Register

Best Regards,  
JW :slipdigit:

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#6 LRusso216

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:13 AM

Stanton has the following:
Left SF 8 Feb 44
Hawaii 15 Feb 44
Saipan 15 June 44
Tinian 24 July 44
Hawaii 17 Aug. 44
Geruma, Hokaji Shima 26 Mar 45
Tokashiki Shima 27 Mar 45
Keise Shima 31 Mar 45
Ie Shima I 16 Apr 45
Entitled to 2 campaign stars: Ryukus and Western Pacific

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#7 36thID

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:48 AM

You guys are the best....

#8 belasar

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:23 AM

You guys are the best....


Noooo, We are better then that! :)
Wars are rarely fought in black and white, but in infinite shades of grey

(Poppy is occasionaly correct, or so I hear)

#9 cman429

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:18 PM

Holy moley! I posted this yesterday because I was meeting my mom and grandma for Mother's Day and I wanted to at least tell them I reached out to some experts in regards to grandpa's service. I never expected to come back here 24 hours later and find a half dozen posts already. You guys are tremendous!

That report belasar referenced was particularly fascinating. I wish more of those sort of materials still existed but I guess they were what was lost to that fire. Thanks also to those who listed the operations grandad's battalion served in and the dates. I'm definitely starting to get a better idea of where he was at and what he did. I have to bone up on my WWII history a bit as I was familiar with several of the well-known battles (Tinian, Saipan) but I hadn't heard of those listed in 1945 (from a quick google, it appears they're near Okinawa which fits with my knowledge of him having served there).

One question I do have is is about the battalion itself. I read in those excerpts the commanding officers and what unit(s) they were attached to but is there any way to figure out stuff like how big the battalion was or a possibly even a roster of who was in it?

Once again, thanks to all who answered my query. You guys rock!

#10 Earthican

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 02:18 PM

One question I do have is is about the battalion itself. I read in those excerpts the commanding officers and what unit(s) they were attached to but is there any way to figure out stuff like how big the battalion was or a possibly even a roster of who was in it?


Here's a link on how to get Unit Rosters from the US Army. Note they do not have rosters for 1944, 45, 46. Hopefully the 1943 records will meet your needs. There are also the Morning Reports but you would need to know the approximate dates for such events as promotions, wounds, transfers, etc.

Note you would need to visit St Louis or hire a researcher. I believe there is one member of this forum that will do some research there for free. Unless somebody knows his name (I could not find where I saw his offer), you will have to hope he sees your interest in getting information from the NPRC

Access to Morning Reports and Unit Rosters


And this:

According to this website for the 788th ATB

http://www.natread.com/node/3

"...The battalion then completed eight weeks of training along with battalions of armored infantry, tank destroyers and amphibian tanks, and by that time the 520 men of the battalion were familiar with their vehicles, confident of their expertise and filled with the same high morale they had enjoyed at Camp Campbell after they'd mastered tank operations. ..."

"....In the next month of frenetic activity, the 788th readied its 110 LVTs for the invasion, nine short of a full complement. ..."

Edited by Earthican, 15 May 2012 - 07:12 PM.


#11 adambhoy

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:39 PM

Those After Action Reports are great reading! On pages 4-5, can someone tell me what "SS" and "SK" stand for, in regards to type of injury? I know what KIA, SWA, LWA and MIA mean obviously, but I've never seen the other two.

#12 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:15 PM

Those After Action Reports are great reading! On pages 4-5, can someone tell me what "SS" and "SK" stand for, in regards to type of injury? I know what KIA, SWA, LWA and MIA mean obviously, but I've never seen the other two.


I am pretty sure SK means "sick". I'm not sure about SS. Maybe "seriously sick", or maybe "sea sick". I'm sure someone will come up with the right answer sooner or later.

As an afterthought, it occurred to me that it could be "shell shock", though I don't think that was the term that was used in WWII.

Edited by TD-Tommy776, 15 May 2012 - 10:28 PM.

Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


halvorsonpto129ir37id3.jpg

PFC Glenn W. Halvorson

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PFC Norman L. Halvorson


#13 Biak

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 04:24 AM

TD's correct on the "SK". Here's a list of abbreviations for Morning Reports. Don't see one for SS :confused:

Military Research

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#14 adambhoy

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:40 PM

Thanks guys!

#15 Biak

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 07:38 PM

We can thank Clementine for the link I posted :) She mentioned it for research and as I was perusing saw the GO abbr. list!

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#16 Earthican

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

You might start by seeing if the 773 Amph. Tract. Bttn. has a historical society or veterns group. Or possibly its parent unit.

After action report, 773rd Amphibious Tractor Battalion: 25 May 44 thru 4 Aug 44. :: World War II Operational Documents

An after action report for this unit for 25 May- 4 August 1944.


The After Action Report from the 773d Amphibian Tractor Battalion is interesting but hard to follow without knowing more about this operation.

Luckily, this history of the operation focuses on the LVT(A)'s of the 708th Amphibian Tank Battalion and the LVT's of the 773d Amphibian Tractor Battalion.

(Same document linked by Biak in Post #3)
HyperWar: US Army Amphibian Tractor and Tank Battalions in the Battle of Saipan, 15 June-9 July 1944

While the above link lacks maps and diagrams, the text provides enough detail to sketch out the assault formations used (attached).

Some questions remain. I am not sure what the rules were for the landing vehicles to return to the Transfer Areas. Of particular concern is interfering with the following waves. I am not sure what waves followed the infantry Battalion Landing Teams (BLT's), it may have been engineers or artillery. It is possible that these waves did not need the whole width of the beach "lane" and there could have been two way traffic with a split down the middle.

The LVT's of the assault waves had the assignment to bring in the third infantry battalion of the assault regiment. These would be picked-up in the Transfer Area with the infantrymen coming from the Transports (APA's) via LCVP's (as sketched). Assuming they did not lose over half their vehicles in the initial assault, this seemed to have worked.

Additional comments: it appears each wave of the BLT could contain one rifle company with the battalion heavy weapons and such in the last (5th) wave. However the first two infantry waves may have been split such that two rifle companies land abreast.

It seems the LVT battalions needed a fourth "line" company and thus the Headquarters and Service Company (H&S or How Co) was organized for that purpose.

Attached Files


Edited by Earthican, 27 May 2012 - 04:43 PM.
typos


#17 caseyriley

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 02:45 PM

Hello, I don't know if this forum is still active, but I'd like to add that there is a facebook page dedicated to these units if you would like to check it out.  My uncle was with the 773rd.  This was a great forum and I learned a lot as well.  Good luck.

 

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