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ON6202

Original U.S. WWII Lieutenant Colonel William Orr 3rd Armored Division - Battle of the Bulge

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Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. Lieutenant Colonel William R. Orr was known for his leadership during the Battle of the Bulge as commander of Task Force Orr. 1st Battalion , 36th Armored Infantry Regiment Lt. Col. Orr can be found in multiple place online but below is a story from the battle that is of particular interest:

The Heroic Defense of the Aisne Valley
In the night from 20 to 21 December 1944, Lieutenant Colonel William R. Orr’s Task Force was to advance to Samree, so as to give assistance to the friendly forces confronting the armor of the 116th Panzer Division and the infantry of the 560th Volksgrenadier Division.  It was unable to make its way through Dochamps, for it was hindered by the hurried flowing back of the defenders, and the enemy thrust into the village.

Lieutenant Colonel Orr attempted an attack via the bottom part of Dochamps, by way of the place named “La Drangotte”, but soon he had to suspend it, because his positions below the level of the Germans were indefensible.  He fell backs towards Amonines, where he fortified himself, in order to resist on a more favorable ground.  At 23h00, in agreement with the S-3 Officer of the CCR, whose headquarters had been established in Soy, he decided that a part of his Task Force was again going to confront the enemy and to stop it.
 
Lieutenant Nick Latkovic was entrusted with this mission; he went and set up a roadblock some 500 yards away from Dochamps.  He was rapidly set upon by the German grenadiers, who attacked him on the flanks. In the meantime, the Lieutenant Colonel sent in armored reinforcements, but it soon became evident that the American positions were getting untenable.  Another withdrawal was inevitable. It was effecte in La Forge a l’Aplez, where a second roadblock enabled the infantry to widen the defense on both sides.
 
However, German General Krüger had ordered the units of the 560th Volksgrenadiers Division to progress as far as the place named “Pont d’Erezee” and to capture the crossroads.  The German division was going to exert itself to do so at all costs.
 
Finally, all the elements of Colonel Orr’s Task Force withdrew to Amonines, on better positions.  A veritable rampart was established along the road to Soy, and the tanks covered the open space, where the enemy was bound to appear.
 
Towards 22h00, a German car with officers and grenadiers on board is intercepted thanks to American wakefulness.  These Jerries are intoxicated both with alcohol and with their successes.  They are amazed, for there is a mistake: they really counted on finding their regimental Headquarters in Amonines.
 
Some time after, a German armored column emerges from the direction of Dochamps, but the GI’s are ready.  In rapid succession, three halftracks (the so-called SPW) are destroyed by the tanks’ guns and a heavy German tank is damaged.  During the second part of the night, Lieutenant Colonel Orr switches over to the attack with the armor and pretty soon, another German tank is knocked out.  But already, the enemy infantry control the timbered high ground in front of Amonines and it would be suicidal to more forward in these conditions.  The defensive line reorganizes in Amonines.
 
For the best part of two days, German artillery remained very active and a shower of shells pounded the village, terrorizing the inhabitants. In the same way, German thrusts followed one another, but broke on the GI’s determined defense.  Lieutenant Colonel Orr, having his Headquarters in the Château of Blier, remained with one man, Pfc Moffit, his radio operator, who reported permanently to Colonel Prentice Yoemans, S-3 at the Headquarters of Colonel William L. Howze, head of the CCR. All the members of Lieutenant Colonel ORR’s staff are actually fighting in the defensive line.
 
The outcome of the battle was long undecided, for the Germans progressed as far as the “Parc Philippin” named “Jardin Anglais”, not far from the Calvary.  The days of the 24 and 25 December were the most dreadful periods, but Lieutenant Colonel Orr still had twenty-five armored vehicles at his disposal; they were scattered along the lines.  Christmas night was decisive and particularly crucial. The Germans were determined to conquer Amonines at all costs and the whole of the defense knew a very acute nervous tension.  On the morning of 26 December, the shelling abated, and then stopped, and the machine-guns became silent.  People realized Task Force Orr had won a great victory. There were many casualties (dead and wounded) on both sides.
 
At last, Lieutenant Colonel Orr pronounced a few words that will remain famous in their very simplicity, but which sum up very well the ruthlessness of the fighting: “If the Jerries had had only one grenadier more, we would have been licked, but they did not have him, and so we held out to the end”.

Another rich resource where Orr is mention numerous rime is the 3rd Armored Division history website found at this link.

Included in the fantastic set are the following items:

- High quality class A Uniform four pocket tunic with 3AD Division patch on left shoulder, sterling silver Combat Infantryman's Badge, Medal ribbons: American Campaign European-African-Middle Eastern with three battle stars and WWII Victory Medal. Presidential Unit Citation, Sterling Lieutenant Colonel Pin Back rack insignia on each lapel as well as 36th Armored Infantry Regiment enamel distinctive unit insignia, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment infantry lapel pins and 3 overseas service bars on left sleeve indicating 18+ months of overseas service. "Belgian Fourragère 1940", a decoration is composed of one round smooth cord, partially braided, and of two other cords, of which oneis terminated by a knot and a brass ferret - it is made of wool and cotton for NCOs and EM, and of silk for Officers - all threads are tinted in colors resembling the ribbon of the Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 (i.e. basic red, dotted with green threads) - the Fourragère encircles the shoulder and passes under the armpit, and is fixed by 2 tiny loops onto the button of the shoulder loop. Approximate size 38.

- Officer service shirt with bullion embroidered Captains bars on collar as well as bullion embroidered 36th Armored Infantry Regiment insignia and 3rd AD patch to left shoulder.

- U.S. Army WWII peaked Visor Cap in size 7.

- 30+ Original Wartime photos of Lt. Colonel Orr, his fellow officers, and his men in the ETO during WWII.

A fantastic grouping from an easily researched Commanding Officer in the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment who fought in crucial battles of the Battle of the Bulge.

The 36th Armored Infantry was redesignated the 36th Infantry (Armored) on 15 April 1941 and reassigned to the Third Armored Division. On 1 July 1942 it was redesignated the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment. The regiment's first commander was Walton Walker.

The 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment (Spartans), was reactivated at Ray Barracks, Germany, in 1998, having been reflagged from 3-5 CAV, which was stationed at nearby Kirchgons. The battalion was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division (Ready First Combat Team). The battalion participated in a six-month rotation as part of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) in 2000. The battalion was stationed at Camp Monteith. In May 2003, the Spartans deployed to central Baghdad, Iraq, for a fifteen-month mission in support of the Iraq War's Operation Iraqi Freedom. The battalion deployed to Iraq for a second time in 2006, where it provided security and stability to the city of Hit. The unit redeployed to Germany in February 2007.

The 1st Battalion of the 36th Infantry Regiment was reactivated on 16 September 2008 and assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team (currently 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team), 1st Armored Division. The motto is "Deeds Not Words!"
Campaign participation credit

World War II:
Normandy
Northern France
Rhineland
Ardennes-Alsace
Central Europe
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