The Remembrances of:
Vernon Clark ~ Frank Comito ~ Steve Gwozd (Goss) ~ Bernard J. Kelly ~ Roy Kimpel
Robert G. Lampe
Clark, Vernon., Inducted - December 22, 1942, Battle Creek, Michigan. Active Duty - December 29, 1942, Camp Grant, Illinois, Shots, insurance, haircuts, etc. Shipped to Ft. Miles, Lewis, Delaware about January 7, 1943 - 52nd Coast Artillery. Our guns were 8 inch naval rifles mounted on railway cars, just a little larger than 105 Howitzer. Somewhere along the line they changed the 52nd to 287th Coast Artillery, nothing changed except for numbers. June 1944 I volunteered for infantry and joined the 75th, Cannon Co. at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. (war, it is our time at Breckinridge till Camp Detroit, France, which we all have the same path.) Left Camp Detroit November 1945, went to Ceylon, France. Left Ceylon about January 14, 1946. Went to Le Havre - Left Le Havre about January 27, 1946 aboard a Kaiser Liberty Ship, which creaked and moaned all the way home. Landed in New York February 9 1946. went to Ft. Dix, New Jersey about 2:00 in the morning. When we hit Dix the officers offered us a steak dinner. We declined in favor of bed. Do not remember if we had steak for breakfast or not. I remember I said, "I wanted a milk shake when I got home." Bought one at the PX and it was not very good. Left Dix and went to Camp Sheridan, Illinois. Discharged February 14, 1946. Happy Valentine's Day.
Frank Comito, CO Driver
Cn Co 289th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
Date of Entry: Actual Service
Date of Separation: October 16, 1941
September 30, 1945
For me it all began (like 18 million others) with an invitation (get your little butt down to the local board and register or we will come and get you), so like a good and upright citizen (doo-doo bird), I visited the local registration board, was examined by two doctors who stood one on each side of me; they looked into my ears, saw each other and pronounced me a perfect specimen for service in the Army of the United States as opposed to the United States Army which I believe was only for those brave souls who joined the Army. This all happened on the 16th day of October 1941 ... and so I was drafted.
I had my basic training such as it was, at Fort Dix in New Jersey. We barely finished our basic training when we first were shipped to a camp in Yaphank, L.I., NY for approximately one week. From Yaphank, we were shipped to Washington DC and boarded trains (cattle cars, not the 20th Century Limited), got side tracked all the way down to New Orleans, LA.
We boarded a ship whose name I cannot recall. As we boarded the ship, I noticed a welder working on a World War I French 75 mm cannon, welding it to the deck. That cannon was our protection and total fire power on our trip to the Panama Canal Zone. The trip took approximately 13-14 days, of which I was seasick for 10 days.
When we disembarked we were loaded onto 2 1/2 ton trucks and delivered to Fort Randolph, which was a sight to behold; beautiful expansive lawns, gorgeous Royal Palm trees, all buildings painted sparkling white. I thought I died and went to heaven. We were finally lined up before approximately ten desks that were set up on the lawn. The desk you lined up in front of determined which camp you would be shipped to in the jungle. While I was in one of those lines, one of the old timers stationed there must have noticed how tired and bedraggled I was. He gave me the drink he had in his hand. Well, that was the best Rum and Coco-Cola I ever had, and after 50 years, I still think about that beautiful gesture. I would like to thank him again.
After our assignments were completed, we were loaded onto trucks again, about 20-30 men per truck, and were on our way to our respective camps.
Living in the jungles of Brooklyn, which really were rather nice at that time, I was not prepared for the real jungle. The roads through the mountains and valleys were not finished, yet we traveled through mud up to the wheel axles. We saw black pumas and snakes of all kinds along the road.
We finally arrived at our destination which was located at the top of a mountain, fortunate for us because we were not subjected to the anopheles mosquitoes. If you were bitten by one, you were infected with malaria, which was quite debilitating. The men who were stationed in the low areas were not so lucky. Many of them were stricken with malaria.
Since it was chow time when we arrived at the camp, we were led into the mess hall. What a surprise! The tables were beautifully set with tablecloths and cloth napkins with glasses and cigarettes at each place setting. There were cakes, candy ... the whole works! It took a while to sink in, realizing it was Christmas Eve, December 24th. That was the only feast we had, but it was great, especially after the boat ride on which I did not eat for ten days. Time marched on ... no action, just regular duties, cleaning the long barrel 105 mm cannons, training, but, luckily, the Japs never came. The only thing we had to look forward to was the overnight pass once a month to Colon City on the Atlantic side of the canal. We treated ourselves to steaks, got a little drunk and did the things boys do when on liberty, like shooting pool, etc. Two years slowly went by. Then the Powers that be decided I had served enough time and shipped me stateside with a month's leave. I was then shipped to El Paso, Texas, at the foot of the San Bias mountains to a half track outfit for a few months, and then to Breckenridge, Kentucky to the 289th Cannon Company - 75th Division. There I did some basic training and became Capt. John Dempsey's Jeep driver. From there it was on to Europe, and baptized under fire December 24, 1944. This Christmas Eve was different from the one I experienced in Panama in 1941. Both were hot, one by weather, the other by bombs.
There are two incidents I would like to mention before I close. When driving the Captain to one of our forward positions, we had to traverse an open field that the Germans had their eye on. The Captain studied the situation, then gave me the go signal to cross the field. I put the metal to the peddle and sped across. In the middle of the field there was a large chunk of ice on the road. The wheels hit the ice and sent us flying, Dempsey on one side and me on the other. We were not hurt, but the Captain's carbine rifle stock broke in two. He was flat on his back while I was up and picking up all my goodies ... cigarettes, chocolates, etc. That was when Dempsey started to cuss me out. He said I was more concerned with my loot rather than helping him. He was only half right because I knew he was not hurt either. We were lucky. The Germans must have been sleeping on the job, because we had no incoming rounds. We turned the jeep right side up and were on our way again. It was a very funny incident. You had to be there to appreciate it.
The other incident happened when we were scouting for a new gun position up forward. We ran into the General, his aide and radio man. The General bawled the Captain out for not wearing his helmet. Dempsey hated it and hardly wore it. This was not the first time he got caught by his superiors. The General asked Captain Dempsey whether or not his radio was in working order. Anyone who knew the Captain knows that he took pride in his radio and his communications system. He snapped, "Yes, Sir". The General then told the Captain to follow him. We were off on a wild chase to catch up to the enemy, who at this time was retreating. We went through villages with civilian Germans in the homes, looking out their windows with a surprised look on their faces. No doubt we were the first Americans they saw. We finally caught up to the enemy at a spot in the road where they were installing a road block. They, too, were startled to see Americans but it did not take them long to pick up their rifles and start to fire at us. The General stood up in his jeep and yelled for us to turn around. For this action the General and his entourage received the Silver Star. The Captain and I (we were there, too) got a "Thank you", if I remember correctly.
Time passed. The war wound down. We were ordered to Ludenscheid in April of 1945 as an army of occupation. Sometime in June we were shipped to Camp Detroit, to be shipped out by the point system. I had 85 points, so it was not long before I was on my way home, at last.
Frank A. Comito
Carle Place, NY
Sgt. Steve Gwozd (Goss)
Motor P004 CN CO
289th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 Dec 44
There was a period for C.O.'s decision in crossing of the Rhine. I remember someone telling us to make sure we wear heavy jackets and steel helmets because there would be experimental artillery in use for the first time--that is a type of shell that would explode above ground twenty to fifty feet, approximately. However, it was short lived because quite a few exploded high over our heads and chunks of shrapnel was like metal rain. I believe it only lasted two days--the idea was scrapped, I am sure.
My Christmas package arrived at this time and of course it was mailed probably one month earlier. I was reminded of this occasion when Shanks wrote me about three years ago, stating he was on hand when I opened this package. However, much to our surprise, it turned out to be a crumbled up fruit cake. Oh yes, we enjoyed it!
There must have been at least 500 planes in the air going beyond the Rhine River--fighters, bombers, and escorts. It was a beautiful sight except for the fact that many were shot down and many were parachuting into enemy territory and some were shot down while on the way. There was nothing we could do to help. It is a memory I will never forget.
I am still not sure about this one--there was a tank that came up to the edge of the river every night but never shot at anything. So, inquisitive as I was, I asked the guys with the tank crew what kind of tank it was. It had a very wide muzzle and was always covered completely on the top. Anyway, I was told that this was an infra-red light that was thrown across the river and we had several sharp shooters picking off a few selected Germans. Every night this rather bulky tank under wraps would come quietly to the river's edge and stay there until the AM.
How many of us know that we also had a pigeon escort company? I would not believe it either but I sat on the back of a 3/4 ton Dodge, similar to our own MTCE truck and it was lined on the inside with cages full of pigeons. I also saw this sergeant release several pigeons while I was there and was told that if there were any message carrying enemy pigeons, they would be intercepted by these trained birds and flown back to its base and all messages taken would be sent on to Intelligence Headquarters. Nice job for a staff sergeant.
Evergreen Park, IL
Gwozd (Goss), Steve. Age 23, Height 6'4', Weight 175 lbs. Born Chicago, Illinois; moved to Evergreen Park, Illinois. Occupation: truck driver. Drafted November 25, 1942. On December 7, 1942 was sent to Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois for orientation which lasted three days. Serial #36713061. After going to electronics school for 18 full months, as a civilian, I was hoping to continue the same in the service. However, I was assigned to Camp Wolter, Texas, 51st Infantry Training Bn., Co. C, December 10, 1942, for basic training and attended classes in Army vehicle mechanics school, learning maintenance under stressful conditions. On March 15, 1943 was assigned to the 75th Hq. Division Cadre detachment Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri with one officer in charge and 17 other men, receiving my Corporal Stripes upon arriving. This was the beginning of the 75th Division. Approximately May 1943 was assigned to 289th Infantry Service Company as a vehicle mechanic. September 10, 1943 was transferred to Cannon Company and immediately was sent to Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado, to convoy back 190 vehicles for other units. Prior to my transfer was awarded my Sergeant Stripes. On January 21, 1944 was sent on maneuvers to Louisiana and Texas. Entrained to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky May 1944 and continued vehicle maintenance. Entrained to Camp Shanks, New York October 15, 1944. Embarked for Great Britain aboard the HMS Franconia landing in Liverpool November 4, 1944. Stayed in Wales (Swansea) until we sailed from Southampton aboard the SS Leopoldville December 9, 1944 landing in the northern part of France. (Have been told this ship was sunk by submarine U-486 December 24, 1944 with a loss of over 800, 66th Infantry Division soldiers.) Our first stopover in France was Yvetot. On December 10, 1944 we arrived in Grandmenil, Belgium for our first encounter with the enemy. Around that time, near Tongres, Belgium, we were lucky not to get hit by a buzz bomb that landed some yards away (as a remembrance, I have the spark plug from that bomb). The German Ardennes offense had made its last northern thrust against the Allied Forces in the Battle of the Bulge, which had the larger amount of casualties, even more than D-Day, according to the American Legion--many of which were weather related. Continued to play an active role in keeping 22 vehicles maintained and on the move under severe weather conditions and enemy observations. Always felt that our cannons and crews would be jeopardized if the vehicles were not in good operating condition. After a major withdrawal and counter offensive through Belgium and Luxembourg, we were assigned to the French First Army. Cannon Company was heavily involved in the battle of the Colmar Pocket in France. Then we were temporarily reassigned to relieve the British 6th Airborne Division, under General Montgomery, near Pannigen, Holland. A few weeks later we were reassigned to the 9th Army in its drive across the Rhine River and Ruhr Valley. The Germans had very little resistance. We were told to occupy our position in Ludenshied, Germany where we were staying until orders came to move to Camp Detroit, France near Laon. A few weeks of minor duties and I was able to be sent home with qualified points, arriving in Camp Kilmer, New Jersey December 31, 1945 and honorably discharged through Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois. Received the following medals: Bronze Star, American Campaign, European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Good Conduct.
Bernard J. Kelly
Cannon Co. 289th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
Kelly, Bernard J., born and educated in Attica, NY. At the age of 18 I entered the Army, April 6, 1943 at Fort Niagara, N.Y. Here I received by initial processing. After issuance of G.T. equipment and a few days of close order drill, we traveled by train to Fort Leonard Wood, MO. I was assigned to G Company, 289th Regiment, 75th Infantry Division. Later I was reassigned to the Cannon Company, 289th Regiment, of which I am a charter member.
Cannon Company consisted of three two-gun platoons. Our guns were 105mm Howitzers, M3 Bobtail. We received all of our basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. In December of that year, in the firing proficiency test conducted by the 897th Field Artillery Battalion, Cannon Company was rated excellent. This placed us ahead of the other two Cannon Companies of the division.
17 Jan 44 we departed Fort Leonard Wood for maneuvers in Louisiana. At this time I was promoted to Platoon Sergeant. Maneuvers were conducted under the general supervision of the Fourth Army Headquarters, commanded by Lt. General Simpson. We maneuvered with the 44th and 92nd Infantry Divisions and with the 8th Armored Division. During the entire period of maneuvers, the platoons were commanded entirely by the non-coms as no officers were available.
At the completion of maneuvers, we left Camp Polk, LA for Camp Breckenridge, KY. At this time we lost many of our men for overseas duty. Our replacements came in from "ASTP" (Army Specialized Training Program), and Air Corps. It was our responsibility to train these new men. The men learned fast and our three platoons took three of the first five places in a combat proficiency test conducted by Col. Ingles of Division Artillery.
We entrained to Camp Shanks, N.Y. 15 Oct 1944. We boarded HMS Franconia bound for Great Britain, landing at Liverpool 4 Nov 1944. We were in England (South Wales) at a staging area for about three weeks. We then departed England via Southampton 9 Dec 1944 aboard the SS Leopoldville and landed at Le Havre, France 13 Dec 1944. The Leopoldville returned to England and on its return trip to France was sunk by a German U-boat with a loss of over 800 men from the 66th Infantry Division. The 75th was supposed to have been assigned to the 9th Army, but when the German offensive began in the Ardennes 16 Dec 44, we were rushed to the front and took up positions along the Ourthe River in Eastern Belgium on 23 Dec 44.
On Christmas day we were strafed by our own P38 aircraft. We contacted the pilots via radio and straightened things out. The front lines had moved forward during the night and they had not been given the new coordinates. Also on Christmas day the weather cleared and there were hundreds of Allied bombers and fighters in the air headed for their targets behind enemy lines. It was a beautiful sight. We seized Grandmenil 26 Dec 44, against heavy enemy resistance.
Between 27 Dec 44 - 1 Jan 45, the 289th and 290th Infantry Regiments were attached to the 3rd Armored Division. The 12th SS Panzer Division had filtered in between units of the, 289th and penetrated to Sadzot before being stopped by strong counterattacks. 289th Cannon Company fired about 300 rounds to help break up the attack. At daybreak the Germans began shelling us with mortars, 88mm artillery fire, etc. I vividly remember this because I was talking to the 1st Sergeant of the Anti-Aircraft Battery which was positioned just across the road from our gun position. He said, "come on over to my half track, we will be safe there as it has plenty of armor". I said, "no, I better get back to my own gun position". After the barrage ended, I looked across the road and my friend's half track had taken a direct hit. It was completely demolished. The shelling continued for a couple days, fairly heavy at times. Weather was as much a factor as the Germans. We had two enemies to contend with. Blinding snowstorms and heavy drifting snow added to the terrain difficulties. Also mine fields were hard to detect in the snow.
The 75th then reached the Aisne River by 5 Jan 45 and by 8 Jan 45 we relieved the 82nd Airborne Division at the Salm River. In the bitter cold, the 75th strengthened its defensive positions until 15 Jan 45 when it again went on the offensive. The first day of this attack, the 15th, was an extremely bloody day, in fact, the 75th most costly day in combat of the war. The 75th cleared Salmchateau and Beck, and helped take Vielsalm in bitter fighting. By 22 Jan 45 the 75th had cleared the Grand Bois (woods), and captured Aldringen on the 24th. After reaching St. Vith, the 75th was pulled out of the line for a short rest.
On 22 Jan 45, Cannon Company's 1st Sergeant, "Bill" Corner, received his commission, the first battle field commission in the 75th Division; and I was promoted from Platoon Sergeant to 1st Sergeant. Also at this time the platoons were re-organized into two three-gun batteries, (Able and Baker). Instead of getting the rest in Liege, which we had hoped for, we turned southward. After two nights and two days of driving through the snow of the Ardennes, and the heavily wooded Vosges Mountains of Alsace, we arrived at Ribeauville, France and then on to Wickerschwihr. In the Battle of the Colmar Pocket, in Alsace, the 75th Division was attached to the French 1st Army, along with several other American divisions. This battle was hard fought and a bloody one. The Germans had plenty of time to build up some very strong defenses.
After the initial assault had opened on 22 Jan 45, the 75th joined in the battle on 1 Feb 45 by taking Horbourg and Andolsheim. On 5 Feb 45 we had taken Wolfgantzen and Appenwihr. On 8 Feb 45 we were severely shelled by direct fire and strafed by a German ME-262 jet aircraft. This was the first jet-propelled aircraft we had ever seen. Then we advanced through Hettenschlag and Hettern. The Germans lost their last stronghold west of the Rhine in Alsace. We then made the long trip to Laefelt, Belgium, near Tongres, with a short rest at Domptail, France. We then went to Severnum, Holland.
The 75th relieved the British 6th Airborne Division on a 24-mile front along the Maas River, near Roermond, in southeast Holland beginning 21 Feb 45. Reconnaissance and numerous patrols were conducted. Then the 75th patrolled a sector along the west bank from Wesel to Homburg and relieved the 35th Division. 5 Mar 45 we crossed the Maas and spent a few days at Breyell, then onto Baerl, Germany on the Rhine. The 289th Cannon Company fired 750 rounds prior to crossing the Rhine.
During the drive across the Ruhr Valley, we were maintaining steady support with our guns. Along the way were Kirechellen, Poisum, Huls, and Erkenschwick. At this time we were under the 9th Army. The 289th and 290th combat regiments attacked through the pinned 8th Armored Division and reached the Dortmund-Ems Canal near Datteln on 1 Apr 45. The 75th cleared the Haard Forest, crossed the Dortmund-Ems Canal on 4 Apr 45, and reinforced the 320th Regiment, 35th Division. In this area, two slave labor camps were liberated containing some 3000 inmates. The 75th ran into prolonged and furious fighting in the northern portion of the Ruhr Pocket. Battling over difficult terrain in the vicinity of Dortmund, it was some of the heaviest resistance encountered by any U.S. outfit during this battle.
For the next two weeks the 75th battled inside the Ruhr Pocket against heavy resistance from elements of four German Divisions. The 289th Cannon Company went into position under heavy artillery fire in Ickern, central Germany. We then headed southward through Ostricl, Bochum, and finally Langendreer, where we went into our last firing position. On 12 Apr 45, at Langendreer, we completed our last day of combat. Then we pulled back to Ickern to await further assignment. On 21 Apr 45 we departed Ickern and convoyed down through Bochum, across the Ruhr to Ludenscheid where we took over as occupational force. From Ludenscheid we went to Kierspe to continue our occupational duties. Then on 4 Jun 45 we convoyed southwestward through Cologne, Duren, Aachen, and Liege to Camp Detroit, France, where we were given the assignment of redeploying troops from the ET0. Camp Detroit was a tent city, located near Crepy and Laon, France.
After a few months I was re-assigned to the 790th Field Artillery Battalion and proceeded to Antwerp, Belgium where we boarded our troop ship for our happy journey back home to the good old U.S.A. After landing in New York, we entrained to our separation center at Fort Dix, NJ. I was honorably discharged, as 1st Sergeant, 21 Jan 46.
Received the following medals: Good Conduct, The American Campaign, European African Middle Eastern Campaign with three battle stars, Occupation of Germany, World War 11 Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star (with a cluster), Grand Cross of Homage, Rhine-Danube, Medaille De La France Libaree.
Bernard J. Kelly
Roy Kimpel, Driver
Cu Co 289th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 Dec 44
Our Company set up the cannons early the 25th of December. After parking the trucks, I remember Carl Davis and I trying to dig our foxhole. We gave up after awhile, and bedded down on top of ammo boxes in the back of my truck. We had cold rations, but were lucky to have something to eat even though they were 'C' or 'K' rations. Finished our foxhole on Christmas day. Guard duty by pairs took much of our time since we truck drivers had our rigs parked and camouflaged for the duration of our stay at that position. We kept our heads as low as possible at all times. There were many rounds of enemy fire to alert us of what was going on and where we were headed.
Kimpel, Roy A., Age 23, Height 6 ft., Weight 148 lbs. Born 9-10-20 at Clarington, Monroe County, Ohio. Employed Warren Sanitary Milk Co., Warren, Ohio. Drafted into Army 8-24-42, first stop Camp Perry, Ohio, Serial #35321044. On 9-2-42 entrained to Camp Davis, (Wilmington) NC. Formed the 411th Anti-Aircraft Battalion. Assigned to Battery C-90 Millimeter (Long John's) Guns. During training, qualified with M-1 Rifle, 30 Cal. Carline. Assigned to "Range Finder" section, computers, etc. 10-10-43 requested transfer to Air Force Cadets Program. Entrained to Biloxi, MS, 11-12-43. Many days of physicals and testing. Entrained to Mt. Union College, Alliance, OH for 20 weeks of schooling including 10 hours of flying Piper Cubs from a cow pasture near Canton, OH. General Ike, preparing for D-Day, needed tens of thousands of trained men, washed out all men with ground forces experience. With 19 weeks completed and 7 hours of flying, on 4-15-44 entrained to Camp Breckinridge, KY. Assigned to Cannon Company, my assignment was driver of a 6X6 - 2 1/2 Ton Truck, pulling a 105 Millimeter M3 Howitzer with Ammo and 10 to 12 man crew. Entrained to Camp Shanks, NY 10-15-44. Embarked for Great Britain aboard the H.M.S. Franconia landing in Liverpool England 11-4-44. Entrained to Swansea, Wales. Went to near London, got our trucks and 105's. Convoyed to Southhampton, 12-9-44. Boarded the SS Leopoldville to Le Havre, France. (This ship was sunk by German Sub V-486 12-24-44 with a loss of over 800 66th Infantry Division soldiers). Convoyed through France, into Belgium near Tongres, to be greeted by an ill-guided V-2 buzz bomb. All that saved the whole company of men was a tree, a few yards from the barn we were all sleeping in. The sky was very much visible because the tile roof was with us in the hay now. On 12-24-44 we moved to our first firing position to attempt to stop the advancing German Armies in "The Battle of the Bulge", the largest land battle of WWII. After that was accomplished, we had our first shower in about five weeks, and convoyed to Colmar, France where we did our share to relive the problems of "The Colmar Pocket". There we were bombed and strafed by the new and first German ME 262 jet propelled planes of the war. It was there we lost our first and only battle fatality, Brother Harold Caldwell, Captain Dempsey's jeep driver. Convoyed to Holland, where the gun crews fired in support of the Mass River Crossings. On into Germany where the 105's fired in many locations in support of the offensive drive but were not without frequent "incoming mail" from German 88's, mortars, everything but the kitchen sink. One round was a 'dud", thanks to some Polish or slave laborer, landing within 10 feet of our foxhole as Carl Davis, from Liberty, SC, and I took for cover but were not quite there by inches. The 'dud" let us live on to see another day. 4-21-45 'Cease Fire' was the order of the day and a day for rejoicing. Convoyed to Ludenscheid, Germany for occupation assignment for a few weeks, then to Laon, France, about the last of May, to Camp Detroit where Cannon Co. ran the redeployment camp to ship troops back home. My job was semi driver, water tanker. No brakes on tanker, no baffles in the tank, no top of cab of the tractor. 12-16-45 entrained (cattle cars) to Marseilles, France. Embarked 12-20-45 for New York City. 1-4-46 entrained to Indiantown Gap, PA- Honorably discharged 1-9-46 as PFC. Received the following medals: Combat Infantry Man's badge with Bronze Star, Good Conduct, American Campaign, European African Middle Eastern Campaign with three battle stars, Victory Medal, Army of Occupation medal, World War II Medal.
Robert G. Lampe
CN CO 289th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 Dec 44
I was on the switchboard on December 24, 1944 during the night. On the 25th I made breakfast on a campfire outside the house HQ was in. I laid a small amount of wire and continued laying wire on the 26th and 27th with some switchboard work. We laid wire to Regiment [289th, the three battalions, guns, fire control and FO's I laid towards Manhay and Grandmenil mostly. On the night of, I believe, the 27th, the Sadzot attacks, I went through there about 8:00 pm at night and no one [87th Chem Mortar Bn B Co] challenged us. Got back about 8:30 and went down to sleep. Was awakened after midnight and went on guard duty outside of H.Q. Screaming memes came in and we were firing pretty steadily by then. After firing died down, I went back to hay mow to sleep. Next morning got up and saw a 3rd Armored half-track had been hit the night before.
We laid wire to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battalion headquarters. I believe the battalions were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Pd 2d 1st east to west in the line. If I remember correctly the Regimental H.Q. was on the Erezee to Grandmenil road [Briscol].
I did not know too many people in Company in beginning (Dec 24-25-26). I came to 75th at Breckenridge a couple of days before we left for Camp Shanks, New York. I was with Ponsford and Demchuk practically all the time. They were showing me what to do. I had trained in Air Corps and did not know what a 105 MM Howitzer was. I learned everything on the job. It was not too hard to unroll wire and plug it into switchboard and phones. We did not have maps to work with at the time but we got some later. We had more trouble keeping wire in operation more than anything else. We learned that laying wire across fields and not next to roads was a good way to keep it working because shelling was nearly always near the roads.
Robert G. Lampe
Lampe, Robert G. Age 19, Weight 115 lbs. Born Winona, Minnesota. Occupation: Student at Macalester College 2 years. Enlisted Naval R.O.T.C. - discharged because color blind. Drafted Fort Snelling, Minnesota June 23, 1943. Sent to Army air corps basic training at Kearns Field, Utah. Assigned to ASTP first at Chafee Junior College, Ontario, California and permanently to University of San Francisco, California. ASTP closed and assigned to 71st Division at Camp Roberts, California. The 71st sent by train to Fort Benning, Georgia. Trained paratroop volunteers for two months and then reassigned to Cannon Company, 75th Division at Fort Breckinridge, Kentucky just before departure for Camp Shanks, New York and overseas on HMS Franconia. Landing Liverpool, England, November 4, 1944. Sailed on SS Leopaldville to Le Havre, France December 9, 1944. Went to Tongres, Belgium, where my company was nearly wiped out by a buzz bomb. Sent to North side of the Battle of the Bulge December 24, 1944 between Manhay and Erezee, Belgium, North of Sadzot. My job was laying communication wire between forward artillery observers, 105 MM Howitzers, fire control, regiment and 3 battalions of the 289th Infantry. We participated in the Battle of the Bulge, including bombing by our own planes (P38's) at Manhay and last gasp attack of German panzers at Sadzot on December 27, 1944. Squeezed out of initial attack to obliterate the Bulge and then took over from 82nd Airborne at Vielsalm and Salm-Chateau. At Beck, near Salm-Chateau our communications men were the front line with no infantry in front. Then reassigned to obliterate the Colmar, France, pocket on West side of Rhine River. Went there in open jeeps during January 1945, to St. Die, France. Attacked south along Rhine and wiped out Colmar Pocket. Our company bombed and strafed by Messerschmitt 262 jet planes after the battle. Then sent North in truck convoy to Panningen, Holland to relieve the British 6th Airborne for the jump across the Rhine River. Then went to Breyel, Germany for Rhine crossing. Crossed Rhine, March, 1945, and I was then reassigned from my section to a forward observation team as radio operator. Crossed the Dortmund Ems Canal on drive south to Ruhr River between Boachum and Dortmund. I was wounded by mortar shrapnel on afternoon of April 10, 1945, just north of Witten. Flown to Oxford, England, and put in general hospital. Was there until sent home by hospital ship USS Franconia on June 15, 1945. Sent to Clinton, Iowa, V.A. hospital. Sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin and then to a rest and recuperation battalion at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. When Japanese war ended, was sent to Camp Chafee, Arkansas, for discharge. November 5, 1945.
Page URL: My 75th Division Dad
Copyright 2001, J. R. Puckett
Email: J. R. Puckett