Original German WWII USGI Bring Back Grouping in Wood Transit Chest- 135th Engineer Combat Battalion
Original Item: One-of-a-kind grouping. Walter J Harmacinski, Army Serial Number 35897474, enlisted on the 26th of October 1943. He was a member of the 135th Engineer Combat Battalion and fought in Germany. At the end of the war Walter shipped home some war trophies that he collected in Germany. He used a wooden 8.8 cm Raketenwerfer 43 rocket box and addressed it as follows: P.F.C. W. J. HARMACINSKI CO A 135 ENGINEERS C BN APO 403 Z RM NY NY T-S DEWITT. H. VEDDER R2 D#1 HERKIMER NEW YORK Included in this Bring Back grouping are the following items: Excellent condition 23 x 39 NSDAP party flag printed on wool with RZM paper tag still attached and two hanging loops on mast side. 20 x 18 NSDAP Party flag comprised of cotton, three piece construction with some minor damage to one side. Matching serial number 3486 98k bayonet with brown bakelite grips in very good condition complete with leather frog. Original German WWII Stag Grip Short Bayonet with nickel finish by Rudolf Buchel. German WWII Canteen with wool cover and bakelite cup. German WWII Officer waist belt. German WWII Luftwaffe pebbled aluminum belt buckle. German WWII Heer Army steel belt buckle. German WWII Luftwaffe hand book Der Dienstunterricht In Der Luftwaffe 1939. German WWII commemorative Alcohol bottle with lanyard. German 1930s published Mein Kampf by Adolf AH. German WWII 98k Rifle cleaning kit with wartime markings, German WWII Service Glasses (Dienst-Brille). Various German WWII patches. German 1930s IBSOR DRP Bellows Pocket Camera with Leather case. 2 x German WWII Wehrpass German WWII Detaches Reich Arbeitsbuch. German WWII Der Deutsche Arbeitsfront Mitgliedsbuch. The 135th Engineer Combat Regiment became the 135th Engineer Combat Battalion, with three companies (A,B,C) on June 1, 1943. Martin Anderson was assigned to C Company. Each Company had about 200 men and the Battalion had 647 total men, including officers. The official narrative of the Battalion begins on June 1, which allows us to follow Martin throughout the remainder of the war. The men in Trinidad alternated between combat training and recreation as they waited to be transferred to a combat zone. They had jungle training in case they were to go to the Pacific theater of war. They also practiced beach landings, which could be used in either Europe or the Pacific. Much of the recreation activity was aimed at preparing them for war. The feature film one evening was Divide and Conquer of Norway, France and Sweden. A dance was held for the Army privates; the only thing missing was girls to dance with. On the Fourth of July, the Engineers held a track meet. Martin Anderson was a sprinter. A series of tropical rainstorms caused later sporting events to be postponed. Martin Anderson was very proud of the fact that the Engineers built a swimming pool, more like a quarry during their spare time. The soldiers skinny dipped to cool off from the heat. In June, 1942, he and your grandmother, Dorothy Gerber, somehow arranged a long distance engagement. The 135th Engineers shipped out of Trinidad on August 7th, 1943. The Tuna Puna Choo Choo took them to King’s Wharf, where they boarded a ship. They traveled at a leisurely pace, stopping at San Juan Puerto Rico and Guantanamo Bay Cuba on the way to New Orleans. They arrived in New Orleans on August 19th and were immediately sent to Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. Their barracks were a mess and they spent two days cleaning. Half the men, including Martin Anderson, left for furlough on August 28th. He made his way up to Buffalo, New York, where he married your Grandmother, Dorothy Gerber, on September 10th. Almost immediately, he had to turn around and head back, arriving at Camp on September 15th. Two years would pass before he again saw Dorothy. The wedding was a surprise to just about everyone. Even Aunt Amanda didn’t know that it was about to take place. It was on June 12th, 1944 that the Engineers left Camp Van Dorn on two trains, heading north to Camp Myles Standish. The trip took three days. A million men stopped over at Camp Myles Standish during the war as they waited to be shipped to Europe. Martin Anderson and the Engineer s were there for eleven days before boarding the USS West Point for Scotland. They arrived in Greenock, Scotland on the 4th of July, 1944. The USS West Point had a previous life as a luxury cruise ship, the USS America. Over 7000 men were jammed into the ship, sleeping on narrow canvas bunks stacked four or five high. Fresh water was only available for drinking and cooking, salt water was used for bathing and shaving. Hot meals were served twice a day, with lines lasting for an hour. Once served, the men had to eat standing up. The USS West Point was one of the fastest ships on the ocean. As such, it sailed alone, instead of a protective convoy, relying on speed to outrun any German submarines. From Scotland, trains took the Engineers to Camp Davenport, Shropshire, England. They stayed there for a month before landing on Utah Beach in Normandy, France; one of the June 6, 1944 D-Day beaches. On August 14th, 1944 the 135th Engineers were sent to join the XX Corps under General Walton Walker. The XX Corps was part of the Third Army, led by your distant cousin, George Patton. Two days later they were in their first combat. One engineer was wounded and twenty four Germans were captured. Generals Patton and Walton Walker had observed them in action. The 135th swept south of Paris, chasing Germans and building bridges as they went. Martin Anderson’s war was cold, wet and dangerous. They crossed the Seine twice, the first time by building a footbridge. The crossed the Marne river. Finally, they came to the Moselle. During this rush across France, the War for Martin Anderson and his fellow Engineers was limited to what they saw around them. They knew that they were winning, because their direction of travel was primarily towards the East. Most of the time they didn’t know where they were unless they saw road or village signs. On September 19th, 1944 the 135th was attached to the Third Cavalry Group. They helped to form Task Force Polk, named after Lt. Colonel James H. Polk. They initially were assigned to support the 1st and 2nd French Regiments of Paris. Task Force Polk was a lightning fast cavalry unit, operating up to sixty miles in front of the larger Third Army. Sometimes they would run out of gasoline. At one point in time, Martin Anderson found himself staying in a baronial mansion. The Task Force broke through the German Siegfried Line and were the first ally troops to enter Germany. The Battle of Metz was the last major attack against forts in military history. The 135th Engineers were in the middle of it. An eyewitness commented on how badly the Trinidad Boys suffered. They were assigned to hold the west bank of the Moselle River. Martin Anderson and the rest of C Company, held the town of Thionville. Almost one in ten of the 135th Engineers had been wounded and twelve were killed by the end of October. Three more were killed in November with 25 additional men being wounded. The Battle of Metz was finally won. 46 more were wounded in December, but only two men died. By this point in time, about one of four Engineers had been killed or wounded. Late December saw a German counterattack known as the Battle of the Bulge. General Patton turned north with two-thirds of his Army. The remaining third, including the 135th Engineers were assigned to hold the southern flank of the battle area. The weather was bitterly cold, wet, windy and foggy. Theirs was a defensive position, supporting the 90th Infantry Division. The 135th joined the 94th Infantry Division on January 7th and a week later went on a brutal counter-attack against the Germans. The weather was still very bad, cold and foggy in late February, 1945 when C Company assisted the 94th Division in a combat assault across the Saar River. The crossing was made against enemy fire in twelve man assault boats that weighed one thousand pounds each. They then built a footbridge across the Saar, and later, a pontoon bridge. The 135th Engineers had been through a lot. The Battle of Metz, anchoring the American line during the Battle of the Bulge, crossing the Moselle and Sahr Rivers and then the crossing of the Rhine. The rest of the War was relatively quiet for them as they were assigned to support Army Divisions which had just joined the War. They moved quickly through Germany, building bridges as they went. As they passed through the city of Bad-Sulza on April 12th, freed Allied prisoners of war lined the streets. There was a violent fight with the Germans at Zeitz, the industrial city where coal was converted to oil. They met more resistance at Neumarkt. On April 26th, 1945 they moved to Regensburg, site of a satellite camp of a main prison camp in Flossenburg. Regensburg was taken after a tough fight. They headed south, through Passau, Germany and entered Ried, Austria On May 5, 1945. At one minute past midnight on May 9, 1945, the War in Europe ended. This is a fantastic bring back set comprised from one of the little known but very important Combat Battalions that helped put down the Third Reich in WWII.
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