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Do You Remember?

If you would like to add a memory or comment on one already here, please email us.
We'd love to hear from you, and we can add your contact info if you wish.
All Companies of the 327th Engineer Combat Battalion are welcome!

Dick Funk - 2nd Platoon, B Company: Ozarkengr@aol.com

Jim Oviatt - 2nd Platoon, B Company: j.oviatt@sbcglobal.net

Laurie - daughter of Lou Coke, 2nd Platoon, B Company:  laurie@327engineer.com

 

Jim: Who was that fellow who had an epileptic seizure while in line to get our last shots at Kilmer and they shipped him with us? I think he was a driver.
Also, who was the fellow who was sent back after the first "commit". He came back and was the barber who would give you a shave. Funny what you remember...

   Who ran the Waterpoint?

   Remember the 24 hour poker game run by a Sergeant?

   All Germans were not bad... Yesterday (April 18) was my 85th birthday and I was remembering  where we were in 1945. The Ozark book puts us around Gardelegen and the war was not over. We were billeted in a farm house with a very nice German Frau. When she found out that it was my birthday she asked if I could get some sugar. Sgt. King, the mess sergeant, gave me some and the German Frau made me a birthday cake.

Jim:  Does anyone remember changing a tire on the jeep when we came out of Boslar and saw tank on the horizon? It was faster than NASCAR! I had taken a squad up to a line company of the 406th and had to call our own artillery down on us to get out of town and back to the company. I don't remember whose squad it was, maybe Luskoski?


Jim's Jeep: View Photo
The picture that Jack Toohey drew [view drawing] was the result of various reconnaissance patrols we did. Jack was platoon Sergeant by then. We had several close escapes doing recon work in Krefeld up on the banks of the Rhine. The machine gun is a 30 caliber air cooled Browning. The box beside it held a belt of shells which always seemed to get of line and jammed or wouldn't feed and was useless. My side arm was a 45 caliber machine gun which was called a "Grease Gun." The bar on the front was to protect us from booby trap wires because we always drove with wind shield down, day or night, summer or winter. The jeep before this one which was all shot up had racks over the front hood to carry litters of wounded. The Engineers did a lot of different things as a matter of course.

Also the windshield was down with a cover over it because if light reflected on the glass artillery could zero in on it. This was down in combat areas near the front lines.

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The grease gun was standard issue, Tanker carried Thompson sub machine guns or 45 caliber pistols. It must have been about getting out of a vehicle in a hurry. It is hard to have a rifle boot for an M1 and get out of a jeep in a hurry.

The arms that a man carried often depended on his duties. Every one was supposed to qualify with an M1 I believe. If your duties or job made it necessary to carry other weapons, BAR, Sub Machine Gun, Colt 45, (Tanker).

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What kind of rifle did we train with in BASIC at Swift?
The first rifle we used at Swift was a British Enfield because there was a shortage of M1s for training. We got the M1s when I came back from ASTP at OHIO STATE.

What kind and color fatigue did we wear?
I'm not sure about the fatigue color but I thought it blue denim at Swift.


When did they change issued underwear from white to olive drab?
American troops discovered during World War II
that freshly washed white underwear hung out to dry
attracted enemy fire. A wartime ad for Jockey headlined:
"Target: White Underwear" and explained why the army
changed to OD (Olive Drab): A spot of white
against coral sand or tropic green makes a bull's eye for
the enemy. Patches of white draw gunfire; they show
troops are there.

You are correct about the white underwear because of casualties in Africa after that landing and going against the Africa Corp. By the way, they brought German Africa Corp Prisoners into Camp Swift before we left and went to Fort Dix.

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Jim:  Do you remember the time at Randerath, when we had the attack to straighten out the line on our north flank? We went in with the British flail tank and infantry. We were working with the Brits because the 84th had been pulled out to go south to the Bulge. I was remembering that we had the job of making the pack charges and the bangalors and someone accidentally pulled the fuse and tried to throw it out of the building. I was in the next door cow shed watching a movie when it went off. Who was the fellow who threw it out? I remember the incident because I had all of the explosives in the jeep to do the job. It was dark and we saw fires when we approached line of attack and they were the British tankers having their Tea before jumping off. Old memories.

As I recall, the building was like a barn, no basement, and it was where the animal and farm equipment was kept. There was two or three fellows making the charges, it was in the afternoon, and we had been loaned a 16 mm movie which was being shown in an adjacent part of the barn. There was a brick wall between us and I was lying in a stone trough where they put the grain to feed the animals. In Germany there were few farms as we know them. Everyone lives in a village and bring in the livestock which is kept on the ground floor and the people live on the second floor. (That is why there are so many small villages that we had to take.) Who ever pulled the fuse then tried to throw the bangalor out on to the street as a javelin. I don't believe he made it but I don't remember his name. All of us in the next room were OK. At first I thought that It was a big mortar but there was no follow up shelling. I was somewhat used to mortars going of near us so it didn't bother me too much except for the people that we lost. I believe that the planned attack had to be put off for 24 hours for remake the charges. Old memories.

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B Company, 2nd Platoon:
Do you remember the name of our radio operator? He was the smallest guy in the platoon and had plenty of guts.

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Dick:  Jim, was Paciotti in 1st or 2nd squad?  Did he drive the squad 6x6?

Jim:  Dick, you really saved my memory with 6x6 name. I hadn't been able to remember what we called those two and half trucks. Today everybody body seems to call the Deuce and a half. The truck that pulled the dozer trailer was called by the manufacturer name <Brockway> then there was the Weapons Carrier and the Jeep. 6x6 was for 6 wheels down and 6 wheels tandem driving. Other unit had the same size bed and some dump but only 4 down and 4 driving.

As I recall we carried several rubber pontoons and had an air compressor truck as well to inflate them up. I'm not sure whether it was part of HQ company. I do know that next to recon there are more wheels per man in the engineers than in any other unit in the division. That is why I got a transfer out of a rifle company to the engineers. Everyone thought that I was crazy but I hated to walk. The combat engineers were considered to be a dangerous occupation, but we always had wheels except when the infantry need us.

I had two Willys and one Ford Jeep. The truck picture [view photo of truck with Funk, Murry, Toohey, Luskoski & Paciotti on top] was taken between the Rhine and the Elbe. The bed of the truck was fully loaded because we were in the Rat Race at that, we had on the winter uniform, Luskoski had his pants outside of his boots, so we weren't watched too close. Nobody was.

Remember the Colonel who found a Mercedes with wooden wheel and we had to dump of the bulldozer and carry the car forward, drop it off and go back for the dozer until the General heard about. I never knew what was the outcome of that caper.

Who was the Brockway driver and did he drive the dozer also?

Dick:  The T5 who drove the bulldozer; wasn't he Cortright and didn't he get the Silver Star for digging in some tanks or TDs when were expecting a counter attack? I was on the line at that time and we were standing behind the tanks to keep warm.. NOT A GOOD IDEA. Was that the time when we attached to the 2nd Armored?

Jim:  I remember that Cortright got the Silver for digging tank ditches one night so they would have better protection and aiming ability.

Laurie:  From 102nd ID history book -[Cortright, Jay W., T/5, Silver Star Medal, RFD1, E. Stroudsburg, PA]
I knew I had seen something online about Cortwright's Silver Star Medal. Found it at
http://www.hobbydog.net/102/102.htm  Great reading! The link called "The Ninth Army Attacks - November 3 to November 28, 1944" details several battles & who was awarded medals for each engagement. I've only copied the men of the 327th here.

The following men earned the Silver Star Medal in battles in and near Gereonsweiler:
PUFFENDORF was a hotspot after its capture by the 2d Armored Division. Five men earned the Silver Star Medal in this action.

Pvt. FRED STERN, T/5 JAY W. COETRIGHT, Company B, 327th Engineer Combat Battalion . . . constructed emplacements for twelve tank destroyers . . . within 150 yards of enemy lines . . . silhouetted by burning haystacks . . . under heavy artillery fire . . . guided TDs into positions where they were able to repulse an armored counterattack.



Jim:  What we called the Rat Race at that time was going from the Rhine to the Elbe. The tanks were so far ahead of the IDs that had mopping up left to do, so a regiment or battalion would stop for that action and the rest would move on to the next bypassed pocket. Then the trucks would go back and pick up the men and hop scotch to the next area and the repeat it. Consequently we were driving day and night. It was a RAT RACE.


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Dick:  During the occupation Lt Lay was in charge of recreation for Battalion and I THINK he wrote this song to the tune of Lilly Marlain. I don't remember all of it but this is what I remember:

In a far off corner of the USA, lives a pretty maiden who's man is far away ---
Dear Mr Truman when can we go home?
We have met the Russians and liberated Rome.
We have licked the master race and now you say no shipping space.
When can we go home.
When can we go home.
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3 Sets of Interesting Outline Notes ---


Dug shallow hole with Zriny. Slept till 8.
Lt. Lay expecting counter attack. Set up 50 on intersection. First Shells.
Truck hit. B-13 direct. Anders, Moroz, Cuevas, Barnhouse, and MacFarland (hit first).
Very scared. Dug in by gun. Shells all around. Milked cow. Franklin sick. Moved gun in
middle of night. Couldn঩nd trench. Dug gun in. Very cold rain. Stood up all night.
Shell hit 1 foot from gun barrel. No counter attack. Shelled all day. Shot two chickens.
Couldn࣯ok them.
Went out to clear road for Immendorf to Puffendorf. Gabrielson killed on intersection in
Immendorf [November 19, 1944]. Our tanks on side. Germans getting bombed strafed and tree bursts just to
left. Got up to Puffendorf. Almost hit.
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3rd day moved out.
Left about 1 afternoon
Apweiler 鮠 trench as infantry
Relieved about 4 afternoon and went into Gereonsweiler. Stayed in barn. No
rations. Overnight slept. Infantry company captured. B Co. filled gap. Took
500 yards.
Thanksgiving dinner next night
Right after out in the trenches again
November 14 in 25 out

Dec. 1
Co in Palenburg
2nd Platoon
First stopped at Puffendorf
England & Dunckley guard equipment
Rest walked to head of tank column in Welz
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___? (illegible) 2nd Platoon
Chalmers ⡹mond Jones
Guethe ⡴ion in pocket hit
Backed up to last house
Jackson and ? lost
Moved back to Ederen joined by Co. then back to Gereonsweiler
Linnich & Lindern.
Mine and river crossing.
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Dick:  Thanks Laurie for sending Lou's notes about Raymond Jones and Chalmers getting wounded. I remember that operation very well. 2nd platoon advanced on Linnich with members of 406th inf reg. and some tanks. We were to check for mines on the road. As we were going through this draw with woods on our right and steep bank on left with open fields the Germans open up on us with machine guns and 88 artillery. Most of the platoon was in woods on the right side. That is where Raymond Jones and Chalmers (our platoon sgt at the time) got hit. Guethe had k-rations stuffed in front under his shirt and the enemy fire ripped Guethe's shirt off his chest. We had no place to go but back to the last house. From there we went back to Lindren.
WOW. A lot of memories.
 

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