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Hey how bout this family history


Guest Stabsfeldwebel
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Guest Stabsfeldwebel

Cuz of this game, I have been digging into my families history in WW2, well yesterday I just received a letter from my great Uncle George, who as it turns out was in CO. B 19th Tank Battalion, Ninth armored division.

He participated in the battle for the Siegfried line, battle for Bastogne, was straifed by one of the first jet bombers, AND was at the battle for the bridge at Remagen on the rhine.He was seriously wounded on the push to Leipzig to link up with the russians, when a German AT gun hit his gas tanks, and everything was on fire. He ironically was not wounded by this, but when he ran to his wingmans tank to get a rifle for defense, a shell hit that tank and the shell splintered, it was this that got him in the face, head and arm. BTW he drove the m4a1 with the 76mm gun. Writing him back to ask if his squad ever encountered german armor!

And get this, the tank he was driving that sank when crossing a frozen creek, the turret is a monument today in the town of Bastogne.

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Guest Capt_Manieri

Interesting.....

Here's the story of my family.

My grandmother was Lieutenant, a nurse, serving the 33rd General Hospital. Along with my Great Aunt Mary, who was stationed elsewhere. They were both were in North Africa and Italy. My Grandfather was a staff Sargeant in transportation. Also, in North Africa and Italy. My uncle Dominic was in the infantry (again, North Africa and Italy).

My great, great Uncle Joe (were talking about the slav side of my family now) was in the Pacific and one of his buddies was put on charges for smashing a Jap's face into a friggin tree.

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Well, I have a more interesting relation between my Grandparents. Although my father's father didn't see combat, he was an aircraft engineer for the RCAF.

My mother's father served in the Italian Army. Ok, stop laughing. He served in Ethiopia from 1940-1941. He died in 1980 so I was too young to talk to him about this, but, from what my mother has told me he was deeply scarred by this conflict. The Commonwealth assault on Ethiopia isn't mentioned much in the history books, but, it was very bloody, for both sides. The Italians showed an uncharacteristicaly strong resistance if you are a believer in the inability of Italy to fight a war. He was in a POW camp until 1947, he just married my grandmother right before he was shipped out to Ethiopia. The first 8 years of their marriage was spent apart.

My Grandmother told me of the horrors of hearing news about the new and casualties on the Eastern Front. Virtually the entire Italian 8th Army was destroyed. Many of her friends and family members were in that army. She also has stories about the First World War when she was a child. A German regimental HQ was stationed in their family house.

A lot of people base their assuption that the Italian army didn't have a good showing because of it's soldiers. On average the Italian soldier was as good as his opponents. Bad relations between the Officer class and the Regular soldier caused a lot of the problems. The same goes with equipment. Only Northern Italy was sufficiently Industrialized by the 1940's. There were about 60 Italian divisions by 1941, however, they only had enough equipment for 17 Divisions. Many of the weaponry was left over from the First World War. However, the Italians had some quite good modern weapons. Many of their aircraft were state of the art and used by the Germans after 1943. Their navy, horribly led and insufficiently supported by the airforce was very modern. By 1943 the Italian Industry was just coming into its own, and they were designing AFV's which compared very well to Allied contemporaries. The Italians also developed a good 4 engined bomber.

[This message has been edited by Major Tom (edited 01-20-2000).]

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Interesting stuff, Stabsfeldwebel.

My grandfather served in the 101st as a Medic. He glided into France aboard a transport glider at the start of Operation Overlord. He doesn't like to speak too much about the war. He's a strict catholic and I believe that the memories are a bit much.

I happened to come across an article in a historical periodical that ran an exclusive on the bravery of Medics during WW2. It went into detail about how men who were morally objective to war, yet, wanted to serve their country were thrust into the Medic role at bootcamp.

The other foot soldiers at bootcamp viewed them as cowards. However, on the battlefield, these same foot soldiers viewed the Medics of WW2 as some of the most brave men to serve during the war.

Makes me feel proud.

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73 de kb9sog

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BJ Simpson

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My dad was on a PTO DD in WW2, his dad was a machinegunner in WW1, in which my mom's dad was a grunt. One of dad's cousins flew P47s in Europe.

Most colorful character in the recent family was one of my great uncles on my dad's side. I never got to meet him, unfortunately. He was living in France when WW1 started and joined the Foreign Legion to fight. He wound up in charge of some Senegalese troops at 2nd Ypres when the Germans made the 1st massive use of poison gas. He somehow survived this and Verdun, then transfered to the US Army as a 1st Lt. when we got in the war, in the Rainbow Division. His battalion went into the Meuse-Argonne and came out with about 25 men, of which he was the ranking officer. He then got put on MacArthur's staff. After the war, he returned to the Legion and spent a few years "passifying" the Rifs in Morocco. It was in his old house that the WW2 Casablanca Conference was held. However, his lungs were screwed by the WW1 gas and he came home and died in the 30s.

Recently found a portrait of him in full dress Legion uniform. I look just like him. Spooky.

-Bullethead

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My Grandfather, who was a supply sargent in the Pacific theater, just told me about his brother. He was with the 76 Engineers during the battle of the bulge. He was 1 of 4 men to survive, I'm not sure out of how many. Apparently he carried out a man who had a head wound, and was sure the man would not make it. 20 years later the man who was wounded found my great uncle to thank him.

I regret the fact that I did not know about this when he was alive. He died when I was 12, and I never even knew he was in the battle of the bulge. We have much to be thankful for from that generation!

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Both of my grandfathers fought in Winter War (39-40) and Continuation War (41-44) against Russians. I'm not certain but I think that neither participated in Lappland War (44-45) against Germans.

In Winter War, both served as sappers. At the time Finnish army units were formed regionally and they both happened to live in a "sapper area" (Kokemäki and Alahärmä).

My father's father and his three brothers were all part of a sapper company that was positioned on Summa section of Mannerheim's line. When the Soviets broke through there their company was one of the units that were hastily scraped together and sent to contain the enemy. That day (13.2.40) the unit had heavy losses, including 10 MIA with my my great-uncle being one of them. Later the company was sent to prepare the defence of Vyborg. On the last full day of the war (12.3.) they were arming AT-mines in preparation of minefield construction in a cellar when one of them went off causing a huge explosion and the house crashed on them. My grandfather and his second brother were severely wounded. Grandfather survived, but great-uncle died of his wounds that night.

I don't know for certain what my father's father did during the Continuation War, but he continued serving as a sapper. His military rank was "alikersantti" (later "kersantti") so he probably served as a squad leader.

During the Winter War my mother's father served at Taipale section of the Mannerheim's Line. Some of you may have seen the movie "Winter War". Well, that movie is situated at Taipale and if grandfather had not been a sapper he would have been in the same regiment, possibly even in the same batallion than the men in the movie.

For some reason he was transferred to infantry when the Continuation War started. In the second battle of his unit his younger brother was killed. I don't know exactly how. I don't know much about his doings, either, but I know that he was with JR58 at Rajajoki section on June 9 1944.

At that day and place the Soviets started their major offensive. The artillery preparation was second most heavy that had been seen in the whole war before (IIRC, the heavier one had happened during Kursk battle) and there were not too many heavier barrages even afterwards (Bagration, Seelow Heights, a couple of more). Worst of all, the Soviets had had two years of time to recon the Finnish lines and the fire was very accurate. The Soviets cut through Finnish lines like a hot knife through butter, in some parts the recon probes were enough to capture Finnish lines.

I think that my grandfather was wounded by the barrage as he was wounded at least once during the war and his "battle list" has a month long gap. During the last few months of the war the JR58 was in reserve at Vyborg Bay area. His military rank was "ylikersantti" so he probably was a platoon leader or an assistant platoon leader.

-Tommi

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Here's my family story...My Uncle was in the Imperial Japanese Army stationed in Manchuria from 1943 on. He was part of the "vaunted" Kwangtung Army. The war for the Japanese was all about China, but I digress...After the bombing of Hiroshima, the Red Army crossed the frontiers of Manchuria and my Uncle was captured and spent three years in the Gulag near Lake Baikal (essentially siberia) - he was repatriated to Japan in 48, and then immigrated to the US where upon he was quickly drafted in the USAF - talk about irony huh :). My Father who was born here in the states but went back to Japan prior to the war, was working in an aircraft factory buiding the Shinden (BTS please dust off the code base for AS and OTR pretty please!) - this aircraft had a canard pusher propeller and carried heavy armament (multiple 30mm). My mother (who was in the 8th grade at the time) was in a factory manufacturing the famed "Long Lance" torpedo. Whenever, she smells heavy petroleum products it always brings back memories of those factories. She remembers seeing the B29's coming in for raids (the sky turns black because there were so many of them), and hearing debris hit their bomb shelter. She also remembers being strafed by F6F Hellcats at the tail end of the war - they would dive down on you and you had to hide behing a tree to avoid the six 50's. Also had two great uncles die in the war - one in Burma during the Imphal Operations in 44 and the other at Saipan.

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I come from Europe, Slovakia it used to be part of Czechoslovakia, the country of Tenis, hockey and good beer. My grand grand parents used to tell me a lot about WW2. That's actually how it all started with my fascination with WW2. When the Germans came (as my grand mother said) everything was alright, people in the village didn't like they were around but there were no conflicts. A German Battalion HQ was stationed in my grand mother's house. During their stay the staff would help around the house, bring food and talk about the war. The main general would bring chocholate, and always paid for everything they needed with good money. That was around 1940 - 1941. Then they moved on when BARBAROSSA begun. In 1944 when the Germans were on retreat the HQ would be back and would stay in the house temporarily at the same time the Russians where in the village as well and grand mother had to accomodate them into the Stable, she was very affraid what would have happend to them if the Russians would find out that Germans are in the house. As the Germans retreated the Russians were everywhere. Everyone was scared of them because they were like animals, they ate everything, they raped everybody, destroyed what they could and took every watch they could find (No idea why every Russian soldier loved watches). My grand mother was a strong woman never afraid of anything I could see that in her eyes buw when she talked about Russians and Stalin she was very angry and upset and a bit scared too. That was the first time that I have learned a true story about the war, quite different from what I was thought in school since at that time my country was under Comunistic regime. I would say according to the stories I have heard from other people, I'm glad that the Germans attacked the Russians first, since Stalin was getting ready to conquer the Europe and if that would have happend (1942 I believe) I don't know If I would have been alive today, I'm not kidding here.

Peter

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Guest phoenix

My grandfather went to work one morning in Copenhagen (Denmark)in 1940. By the time he got home that evening the country had been occupied by German forces.

So much for war stories on my families front. smile.gif

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Guest Stabsfeldwebel

Have to say, the responses to my post make this thread probably the most interesting one i've ever seen. Yea My great uncle sending me such a detailed letter of his experience in WW2 is rare indeed, my mothers father, never spoke of it, deeply scarred and all. For over 20 years after the war he'd sleep with a gun under his pillow. He did tell me some stories though:

He remembered the malmedy massacre and how afterwards there was a "informal" order passed down that HQ could not accomodate any more prisoners, and he also remembered in the battle of the buldge how when the tigers came through, he being in the infantry, they just bunkered down, let the tigers pass them and the tanks in the rear take care of them.

My fathers father was also on the front lines, he died in 1959 but my father has every letter he wrote during the war, which amounts to probably a hundred or more, he was also the censor officer for his battalion so there are almost no letters from him that have anything cut out. He was wounded 2 times, once by heavy german mortar fire, and the 2nd by an assaulting panzer. Both times during the battle of the buldge.

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dad was a medic. landed on omaha d+3

survived, does not like to recall the unpleasantness.

he was posted outside a rear POW camp late '44, not sure if he was a guard (he did not carry a weapon) or preforming minor medical assistance.

good thread keep it going!

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I don't have any family war stories but I have a friend whose dad was in the British Army (Highland Light Infantry) in ETO post-invasion. He was in a patrol that was ambushed by Germans and caught a bullet in his lower leg. The patrol was pretty much wiped out and he was left for dead.

However he survived (to my friends relief) but lost the ability to move his foot. Subsequently he had to wear a spring-like contraption that held his foot up and enabled him to walk. Walk he did - to the pub mostly and he settled back into normal life, got married, had a family - you know the rest. In 1996 while crossing the road (on his way to the pub) the leg gave out, he staggered backwards onto the road and was hit by a car. He never regained conciousness and died a few days later.

Fifty two years later that ambush eventually did him in.

Joe

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My father was a Corporal with "M"/4/11 1st MarDiv from Cape Glouster, through Pelileu and on through Okinawa. He served as part of an artillery forward observer team and never really talked much about it until I joined the Marines and none of the family have been able to get him to shut up since! Lot's of good stories, but I am not sure he would want me to retell them...Some funny, some unbearably ghastly. I suppose that is the common thread with combat stories. He enlisted in the Marines at 16 so he wouldn't be drafted and sent to kill our cuisins in Germany.

Last year I went to Germany and met family members from the "other side" and that was interesting too. Many more horrible stories. Many of our relatives were on the transport the Soviets sank at the end of the war..I forget the name, but entire villige populations were erradicated by one sub. The last two male Sehmel's from our branch were both lost on the East front. I'm not a big fan of Russians...

Chris "Zamo" Sehmel

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Well, I don't know if either of my Grandfathers saw combat, but one was a Gunner (surprised? biggrin.gif ) in the Pacific, and the the otehr was in the Navy, working with RADAR.

The Gunner (Mums side) told my fateher that the most dangerous experience he had was stealing stuff out of the big US Army depot on the same island. The depot guards got pissed at all the Kiwis coming in and helping themselves to kit, so after a while they started shooting. This didn't stop them - they were just more careful smile.gif

It seems the Nay one had a pretty cruisy war. I've seen phoyos of him sailing on the Great Lakes in the States with pretty women, while he was supposedly on some course or other.

At some stage he was a radar controller on what was then Ceylon. One day he was directing a fighter out over the Bay of Bengal. When the time came to bring him home, Granddad numptied the return plot from the radar and sent im off towards Burma. After a while the pilot thought "hey, this can't be right!" and made his own way back. the plane ran out of gas while taxiing ... oops.

As momentoes of Grandads time in Ceylon Dad has a cigarette case and lighter made by an Italian POW out of aluminium from a crashed Hurricane.

Regards

Jon

------------------

Ubique

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In 1940,my Grandfather was lieutnant in a french anti-tank unit(part of DCR ?). After the defeat he was in the Vichy's army. In 1942 he went in great britain and join the free french forces. He landed in south of france with Armée DeLattre "Rhin et Danube". In 1945 after the war he went in indochina as airborne commando (2ième BEP). He left the army in 1954 after 14 years of war! This man was very lucky and has been never wounded. He told us a lot of stories. Some were funny, over very bloody and tragic. I know he shooted two german armored cars with a 25 mm AT gun and had a citation for this. Along the canal de la Meuse he had a bloody experience .He was in ambush with his platoon when a ten men german patrol came at the other side of the canal. The german were unconsiously laughing and talking. Then my grandfather order the FM(Automatic rifle)guy to open fire.But this man didn't want to fire ,he told "it's like a murder".My grandfather then push the guy, took the FM and kill all the german soldier.This story like many others were very impressive for me and I was not very proud of it.I often asked myself why he told us so hard but interesting stories.

Grandfather and grandmother of my wife joined the resistance. I don't know anything about them during the war.But the grandmother still have a box of grenades, a bren and a sten with ammo under her bed ("We never know" as she used to say)!!!

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Hi,

My dad was a sapper ( 754th Pioneer Battalion ) in the Wehrmacht during WWII. He was drafted in 1940 and arrived at the front in Russia sometime in the summer of 41, after June 22nd, as an Obergefreiter ( hope I spelled that right ). He was awarded an Iron Cross second class after leading a small team to clear a Russian mine field at night under the noses of the Russians during the drive on Moscow. Later his unit was inside the pocket at Stalingrad and was destroyed, but he just happened to be outside the pocket with some other men picking up some trucks.

He spent some time in the winter of 42/43 fighting with Alarmeinheiten ( hope I spelt that right too ) outside of Stalingrad and was awarded and Iron Cross first class for commanding a platoon during a lengthy ( 6 hr. ) machine gun battle against a heavy Russian attack.

His unit was reformed in Poland in the summer/fall of 43 and was then sent back to the front. It was again wiped out in Romania in the Summer of 44 in the Yassy-Kishinev operation. This time my dad was unlucky enough to be inside the pocket. He managed to make it into the mountains where he tried to make it toward German lines in the guise of a sheperd but the Russians eventally captured him. He managed to escape and was recaptured, he escaped again and finally was recaptured again.

He spent from the fall of 44 when he was captured until the Christmas of 49 in a POW camp near Chaklov ( I probably spelt that wrong too ) working as a slave labour. His rank at the time of capture was Unteroffizier

When he came home he found out that while he was in Prison his mother had been arrested by the Gestatpo for telling a neighbour that she felt that Hitler was a butcher. Her neighbour turned her in and his mother was sent to Dachau where she was eventually liberated by American troops.

He has many interesting stories about the war, about what it was like to be attacked by tanks, about terrifying Russian artillery barrages and even about being bombed by Stukas ( freindly fire ).

I don't think he liked army life much. His most telling comment to me was, "When I was drafted I went and did my duty, but thank God we lost the war!"

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My paternal grandfather was an infantry replacement in the 8th Division -- he saw little combat and was called to be the company commander's Jeep driver. He didn't mind telling his war stories, went to 8th Division reunions after the war, and my brother has his captured German binoculars.

My maternal grandfather fought the Russians from (I believe) 1939 to 1944 when they invaded Finland, then also in the Continuation War. He didn't say much about his experience to his family (nor to me since he didn't speak English, and I didn't speak Swedish (yes, my mother's family speaks Swedish to each other)). After the war, he gave a piece of his land to a family that left the territory the Soviets kept.

One great uncle lost his hearing in the Aleutians, and another flew in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam for the Navy. He died in a car accident while on leave.

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Very intresting thread!

On my dad's side there is not much to say. His father was in the navy and was stationed in....IDAHO of all places doing SP duty (mostly guarding POW's).

On my mother's side things get much more interesting. She is a Dutch national and I have a very large family scattered across Zealand. I speak dutch very poorly and my mother gets bored translating WWII questions and answers for me so I don't get too much of a chance to talk to many of my realives. Here is what I do know though: My grandfather had 7 brothers and they were all in the Dutch resistance. 1 was executed by the germans and 1 was sent to a slave labor camp where he worked in a munitions factory where he wasrepeatedly bombed by the allies. I got to talk a little bit to my grandmother over christmas. I asked her about what it was like when they were liberated by the British. Everone that was remotely fun loving was cheering, laughing, hugging, drinking and smoking. My grandmother however was yelling at some 19 year old British soldier who accidentaly backed a lorry through the front wall of her house. She tried for years to get money from the British for this but to no avail. She went on about this for alooooooong time. It must have really pissed her off. Also since I have known her she has hated germans( I, of course, do not share this view) and Dutch Nazis (I don't know how many Dutch Nazis ther were but if my grandmothers attitude was at all common I'm sure they did not have afun time after the war). She dislikes German so much she didn't want my mother to marry my father or take my father's German last name--- even though he was adopted and might not even be ethnically German!

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My Grandmother's boyfriend was in the Italian Air force in WW2. ACtually prior to WW2 he was a gunner on SM79s in Libya and Ethiopia. But that's not the interesting part. He pulls out this card from his wallet one day and shows me he's a member of the Italian Leggia Patria (or some such) society which is basically their version of the Medal of Honor.

SO rising to the bait I ask how he got it. There he was, early 1943, guard duty on Sicily. His unit is sharing a base with a blackshirt unit. Suddenly there's a noise on the fence, he sees a flurry of movement and shoots! The bullet passes through a pair of expensive stylish leather sandals carried by the whore-girlfriend (whatever) of the Blackshirt commander, scaring the **** out of her and alerting the whole base. Apparently she had been sneaking off base after a "visit" to HQ. The blackshirt commander, furious, threaten to shoot, and then court martial our hapless hero (Tony).

Tony's commander, of equal rank, and very much a personal enemy of the blackshirt commander instead commends Tony for his later duty and puts him in for their version of the medal of honor.

Fastforward forty years. Tony, having moved to the US never thought much of it. But then he gets a letter from the Italian government one day saying hey we've finally tracke dyou down and you have all this back pension from the legia patria society coming. Turned out to be like $50-60,000 Lira, (What, ten or fifteen bucks US?)

At the time my sister's boyfriend (Who had a german last name) was getting his OCS Marine commission. It pissed of Tony to no end that we all went to the ceremony including grandma and I quote: "Those Goddamn Germans, we did all the fighting in AFrica and they got all the credit!"

Los

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When my Italian mother married my father, my grandmother wasn't too happy, him being a non-Catholic Welshman. Of course, she did say at least he isn't a German. I think that this Anti-Germanic feeling has been with Italy since Austira occupied much of the north east after the Napoleonic wars. So, this bitterness stems much before WWII.

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Well, one thing most have in common is that they don't like talking about it much. But here is what i've got from my grandfathers. I started playing squad leader when i was about 15. This caused me to ask my grandfathers about their roles during WW2. Surprise, both were in the battle of the bulge.(not sure of their units off the top of my head, so forgive).My mothers father was a heavy machine gunner. His foot was ran over by a half-track.It was so cold and the fighting so bad that he didn't even know it for 2 days(due to frost bite).He lost most of his foot, but he considers that lucky. My fathers father served under patton. He was a gunner in a sherman 75.He served in 4 tanks during the bulge due to them all being knocked out.He was lucky too. Caught a bit of shrapnel from the tanks, but he lived. Not too many that were in 4 tanks that were knocked out can say that. Sorry this post is long, and thats all i've got off the top of my head.

Lorak

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"A stupid man dies a stupid death."

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