Original German WWII USGI 901st Field Artillery Signed Flag - Dated May 1st 1945

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. The 901st Field Artillery was attached to the 385th Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Division. On May 1st, 1945 they were in the Chemnitz, Germany (a city in the central eastern part of Germany which would later fall under Russian control and become part of East Germany). On May 1st, 1945 the war in Europe was just days away from ending and 97 members of the 901st FA captured a German flag and signed it.

This flag is totally original and is in excellent condition only with no discernible damage anywhere. Nicely stamped with a Kreigsmarine M and Gösch 80 x135 G.A. Fröhlichs Sohn A.G. Warnsdorf. Sud. Flag measures 80cm x 135cm (31.5 x 53).

The handwriting on the top of the flag reads:


901st FA
HQ Btry
Capt E.E. Ragan

The 97 names on the flag are as follows:
1. J. Sostak - Wingdale, NY.
2. Boots - Pittsburgh, PA.
3. H. Brown - New York.
4. P. Lipman - Boston, MA.
5. L. Wheaton – Texas.
6. H. Turner – Boston, MA.
7. M. Babyatsky – New York, NY.
8. J. Friedberg – New York.
9. Si Larna – Staunton, VA.
10. Capt. E. E. Ragan – Alabama. (Commanding)
11. Rog Lee – Kansas City, MO.
12. Jes Clovis – W. Virginia
13. J. Gill – Colorado
14. R. Rice – Baltimore, MD.
15. N. Heglund – Olivia, MN.
16. J. Hahn – North Carolina.
17. C. Lee – Ohio.
18. Joe Miller – Los Angeles, CA.
19. G. Newell – New York.
20. J. Roberts - Winona, MN.
21. R. Pyonter – Washington State
22. Robert Terry – Brooklyn, NY.
23. J. Cooper – Ohio.
24. Doc Grosso – New York.
25. Fuzzy – Minnesota.
26. Larry Flansburg – New York.
27. Sid Hedblade – Illinois.
28. Don Davidson – Holland, California.
29. J. Zalantann – New York.
30. J. Crowe – Philadelphia, PA.
31. Steve Kozak – Butler, PA. 32. Jim Calledare – Massachusetts.
33. Red Felfe – Texas
34. O. Corley – Florida
35. Brusco – Pittsburgh, PA.
36. Will Hartwig – Detroit, MI.
37. P. Allcock – New York.
38. Max Leehman – New York.
39. P. Herro – Wisconsin.
40. Dale Bundy – North Carolina.
41. Bob Hulse – Pennsylvania.
42. J. D’Anna – Washington
43. R. Lyons – Maine
44. Tommy – Colorado
45. Evans – California
46. E. P. Carter – Alabama
47. Bama Rowell – Alabama
48. J. Brownie – Illinois
49. Machowski – Detroid, Michigan.
50. Garcia – Mexico
51. E. Smith – Baltimore, MD.
52. J. Dunlap – Chicago, IL.
53. L. Zanin – Illinois.
54. Don Simmons – York, PA.
55. Carl Free – Alabama.
56. Emachola – Detroit, MI.
57. Bickford – Hunt, Ohio.
58. B. Selway
59. Joe Lloyd – Greenfield, PA.
60. Gaydos – Detroit, MI.
61. Wojick – Ohio.
62. M. Najarion – Boston, MA.
63. Eudy
64. Pop Skelly
65. N. Story – Oklahoma
66. A. Sirague – Rhode Island.
67. T. J. Eaton – Texas.
68. D. Lankford – Indiana.
69. C. Brugh – Indiana.
70. Tony Clossi – Boston, MA.
71. S. Bogeweskie – Pittsburg, PA.
72. Bo SchImsire – Oklahoma.
73. Watts – Arkansas.
74. Buda – Minnesota.
75. W. Kowalski – Bloomfield, New Jersey.
76. Frank Wallace – Waynesburg, PA.
77. J. Victor – West Virginia.
78. H. Lowe – Amarillo, Texas.
79. Ed Preston – Chicago, IL.
80. Dick Fleigle – Pittsburg, PA.
81. H. Stanford – Beaver Falls, PA.
82. Oscar C. Spotts – New Holland, PA.
83. J. Steele – Mexico, MO.
84. L. Vannatta – Honesdale, PA.
85. Jim Gray – Kansas City, KS.
86. J. Cooper – Illinois.
87. E. Miller – Boyertown, PA.
88. J. Coe – Arkansas.
89. J. Valco – Duquese, PA.
90. James T. Cline – Iaeger, WV.
91. Blazer
92. F. Koehler
93. Will McCullough – Beaver Falls, PA.
94. Boots Bernie
95. H. Kuptz – Detroit, MI.
96. Major D.M. Ramsey – Pennsylvania
97. Allan Lindgren – Minneapolis, MN.

From the Diary of David C. Weber, Radio Operator, Co. G, 385th Infantry Regiment:

The drive through Germany at forced pace
Getting to and across the Rhine was exhilarating after weeks facing the Siegfried Line and learning how crippling was the result of the break-through by the regiment on our left flank. On March 18th all units of the 76th Infantry Division, as well as the 901st Field Artillery, crossed the Moselle River. The next several weeks were again tough fighting.

On February 28th we drove early in the evening, well after dark, to the banks of the Rhine and crossed under flood lights at Boppard on a pontoon bridge the Corps of Engineers had built in just ten hours. (Shown below this article online is a picture taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps of the exact bridge the 385th crossed, preceding the tanks shown in the photograph.) The drive through Germany had begun successfully.

We raced roughly east, then northeast, then east. A typical news report back home is this from the Boston Post of April 2, 1945, "The 76th Infantry, cleaning out a pocket of German fanatics north of Frankfurt, overran fifteen villages and reached a point 15 miles south of Giessen." And the Baltimore Sun on April 9th printed: "A captured German Wehrmacht colonel shook his head, amazed, as he read the 76th Infantry Divisions’ daily news sheet, ONAWAY, describing the victories of the Allied armies in their rapid advance beyond the Rhine. ‘If this is so,’ he said, ‘the end of the war can only be a matter of days’." Yet we infantry did not know of most such actual events or reports of this sort which were published back home.

I remember going through Kaiserslautern, well north of Frankfurt, then up rather close just south of Kassel, and then to the outskirts of Chemnitz about April 21st. Along the way, I picked up two German maps, one of the region near Trier and the other stretching from Kassel to beyond Leipzig. As we moved I underlined on the second map some communities as I drove through:- Furgenhagey, Frielendorf, Guzhagen, Abterode Weidenhausen, Eschwege, Langensalza, Aschara, Grossfahner, Walchleben, Eckstadt, Camburg, Droytzig, Zechau Leesan, Altenburg, Mittweida and then the map ran out! I have it still as a souvenir.

During this phase of the campaign, the 76th was combined with the 6th Armored Division, forming "the spearhead of the Third Army drive which plunged across Germany to within ‘spitting’ distance of the Czechoslovakian border." (This is recorded on page 4 of "Notes on your outfit, prepared for distribution to reinforcements," a 6-page leaflet issued May 1st, 1945.) I saved the copy of this leaflet I’d been given, and my penciled note therein was that "The 385th was the lead element, and did we move!"

We outran some supplies. We did have enough gas for the vehicles. However, laying of telegraph wire was out of the question, and the Germans continued to jam the radio transmission, so our radio equipment was fairly useless. Food became short of supply, and thus it was a small treat to find hen or duck eggs, a cow to milk, sausages hanging in a barn, or occasionally some civilian with whom we could barter for a bit of fresh food. Overall, the supply trail and the military advance seemed to us to be very well managed.

Morale during this phase was much higher than during the days hunkered down and reconnoitering before attempting the breakout. Though my radio was functioning intermittently, I remember not one message that I sent or received. Thus does one’s memory, sixty years later, retain not much but oddities and trivia. The days were constantly busy, and interesting. Always moving forward, sometimes it seemed bewildering and yet we were moving east all the time. I would hear explosions, some rifle fire, however there was no conflict the came within yards of me.

Word trickled down from our officers about advances of our Division and nearby units, and occasionally some news of the war at large. As we approached the Russian army, we slowed abruptly and came to a halt. My unit was then, I believe, held in Hohenstein, perhaps ten miles west of Chemnitz. May 7th we were told to cease all firing at midnight.

I still kept my signal equipment ready. All during that dash across Europe I kept in my gear for ready reference the two manuals I had been issued in Wisconsin: the Basic Field Manual FM 24-12 as well as the Basic Field Manual FM 24-5 of Signal Communication. The "Notes on your outfit, prepared for distribution to reinforcements" states on page 5: "When halted, your Division had made the deepest penetration into Germany of any allied troops." And my penciled marginal note records "led by the 385th.

A truly amazing flag worthy of detailed research and a remembrance of the jubilant times at the close of World War Two when the world was about the turn the page on the Third Reich.

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