Original U.S. WWII Combat Medic XIX Corps Grouping - Concentration Camp Liberator
Original Items: One-one-of-a-kind set. Technician 3rd Grade David A. Smith ASN 32278584 was a combat medic in the 19th Corps during WWII. He spent more than two years overseas and fought through Europe into Germany. The XIX Corps along with the 83rd Infantry was one of the liberating regiments of the Langenstein Concentration Camp.
When they arrived in Langenstein, the troops found some 1,100 inmates in very poor physical condition. The unit reported that the prisoners had been forced to work 16 hours a day in nearby mines and that the SS had murdered those prisoners who became too weak to work. Deaths, the division's report continued, reached 500 per month. Upon overrunning the camp, US troops estimated that the newly liberated inmates weighed only 80 pounds each as the result of malnutrition at SS hands. They also estimated that, due to severe physical debilitation, prisoners continued to die at a rate of 25 to 30 persons per day.
To halt the spread of sickness and death, the 83rd ordered the local German mayor to supply the camp with food and water. The unit also requisitioned medical supplies from the US Army's 20th Field Hospital. In addition, the "Thunderbolt" division recovered the camp's documents for use by war crimes investigators.
A XIX Corp member recounted:
South of Halbertadt they found it, another one of the Concentration Camps we'd never believed the stores of in the United States for all the years we'd heard about them. This was the Langenstein, and it was a small one, only 1500 or so, although ten times that number had died. When they first found it, the parade ground was piled high with bodies of the dead. In the huts the dead lay in the same bunks with the living, and they both rotted. This was another job for G-1. And for the Corps surgeon too, for, all the length of the sector Corps had, he had to find medical attention for these people. The 20th field hospital moved in, and went to work, but still they died, the Dutch, and the french, and the Russian and the Poles, who had to work twelve hours a day excavating rock by hand, on one bowl of water soup. Now they had fruit juice and vitamins and eggs and milk, but for some it was too late. And all they green country-side stank from the death that Nazism had put there.
Included in this amazing grouping are the following items:
- Ike jacket size 42 in excellent condition with XIX Corps patch on the left shoulder, 9th Army Patch on the right shoulder. Sterling Combat Medic badge, medic lapel, medal ribbons: Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct, WWII Victory, American Campaign, European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 5 Bronze Stars. Presidential Unit Citation, Ruptured Duck, Technician 3rd Grade Chevrons, and four overseas service bars on the left sleeve.
- Original Dog Tag that reads David A Smith 32278584
- European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal in box.
- Overseas Garrison Cap with Medic insignia.
- 20+ original photos, 2 of which show deceased tortured concentration camp prisoners.
- Medic arm band
- Unattached XIX Corps patch and 9th Army Patch.
- "Normandy to the Elbe" XIX Corps combat chronicle book.
- A few original wartime documents.
Combat medics are among the most desirable of all WWII U.S. army groupings due to their selfless heroic service and scarcity due to the high number of casualties. This set is unique and stunning in what this soldier experienced both on the field of combat and in the concentration camps he saw towards to the close of World War Two.
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