Original U.S. WWII 102nd Infantry Division Grouping Bronze Star with Citation Grouping

Item Description

Original Items: One-one-of-a-kind. Sergeant Robert H. Peoples ASN: 35223057 was awarded the Bronze Star on January 17th, 1945. Below is the information on his original citation which is included with this grouping:

Office of the Commanding General

17 January 1945


    By direction of the President, under the provisions of Army Regulations 600-45, as amended, and Memorandum Member 34, Headquarters Ninth United States Army, 8 September 1944, as amended, the BRONZE STAR MEDAL is awarded the following officers and enlisted men:

Sergeant Robert H. Peoples, (Army Serial Number 35223057), Infantry, 407th Infantry, United States Army, for heroic achievement in Germany on 2 December 1944 in connection with military operations against the enemy. When his company was pinned down by intense enemy machine gun fire during an attack by his organization against an enemy town, Sergeant Peoples without thought for his own safety advanced toward the enemy machine gun emplacement. Using a small haystack for concealment and without cover between the haystack and the enemy gun emplacement, he courageously rushed the gun, firing as he went. His action resulted in the killing of the machine gunner and his assistant which undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his comrades. The courage, fortitude, and resourcefulness shown by Sergeant Peoples with disregard for his own personal safety reflect great credit upon himself and the military service. Entered military service from Ohio.

By command of the DIVISION COMMANDER.

Included in this amazing grouping are the following items:

- Original Bronze Star Medal Citation.

- Original Bronze Star Medal engraved on the reverse side Robert H. Peoples. Engraving is not Government type, this engraving was done privately sometime after the war.

- Original Dog Tags with Chain. Tags are aluminum and are not rusted but do have significant crud build up which we have cleaned since photography was taken.

- Original photo, or perhaps a post war printed from original negative, of who we believe to be Sgt. Peoples mounted in a WW2 period cardboard infantry frame. The reverse is marked in ink R.H. Peoples in pen ink. We've inspected under high power magnification and this image is not a scanned copy but it could be printed on post war paper. The frame is glued shut and we don't want to damage it by opening.

- Original unattached 102d Infantry Division embroidered insignia patch.

All in all a very nice genuine infantry group from a true hero of the ETO.

History of the 102nd Infantry Division

The 102nd Infantry Division, under the command of Major General Frank A. Keating, arrived on the Western Front in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) at Cherbourg, France, 23 September 1944, and, after a short period of training near Valognes, moved to the German-Netherlands border. On 26 October, elements attached to other divisions entered combat and on 3 November the division assumed responsibility for the sector from the Wurm to Waurichen. A realignment of sectors and the return of elements placed the 102nd in full control of its units for the first time, 24 November 1944, as it prepared for an attack to the Roer. The attack jumped off, 29 November, and carried the division to the river through Welz, Flossdorf, and Linnich.

After a period of aggressive patrolling along the Roer, 4–19 December, the division took over the XIII Corps sector from the Wurm River, north of the village of Wurm, to Barmen on the south, and trained for river crossing. On 23 February 1945, the 102d attacked across the Roer (Operation Grenade), advanced toward Lövenich and Erkelenz, bypassed Mönchengladbach, took Krefeld, 3 March, and reached the Rhine. During March the division was on the defensive along the Rhine, its sector extending from Homburg south to Düsseldorf. Crossing the river on 9 April on pontoon bridge, the division attacked in the Wesergebirge, meeting stiff opposition. After 3 days and nights of terrific enemy resistance Wilsede and Hessisch-Oldendorf fell, 12 April 1945, and the 102d pushed on to the Elbe, meeting little resistance. Breitenfeld fell, 15 April, and the division outposted the Elbe River, 48 miles from Berlin, its advance halted on orders. Storkau experienced fighting on the 16th, EHRA on the 21st along with Fallersleben. On 3 May 1945 the 102nd shook hands with the Russian 156th Division just outside Berlin.

The barn set on fire in the Gardelegen Massacre.

On 15 April the division discovered a war crime in Gardelegen. About 1,200 prisoners from the Mittelbau-Dora and Hannover-Stöcken prison camps were forced from a train into an empty barn measuring approximately a hundred by fifty feet on the outskirts of the town. The barn was then burned down, killing those inside. About 1,016 people were killed. However, two men survived, buried under a shield of dead bodies, protecting them from the gunfire and flames. When the first soldiers arrived at the barn, the two came crawling out from under the dead and burning bodies. Major General Keating ordered that the nearby civilian population be forced to view the site and to disinter and rebury the victims in a new cemetery. After digging the graves and burying the bodies, they erected a cross or a Star of David over each grave and enclosed the site with a white fence.

The division patrolled and maintained defensive positions until the end of hostilities in Europe, then moved to Gotha for occupational duty.

Total battle casualties: 4,922
Killed in action: 932
Wounded in action: 3,668
Missing in action: 185
Prisoners of war: 137

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