Original U.S. WWII Named Scrapbook and Photo Album With Over 300 Photos and Documents - 1st Sgt Carl Flieshman 716th Railway Battalion
Original Items: One-Of-A-Kind. The mission of a railway operating battalion was to manage and maintain a designated section of a military railway in a theater of operations. Unlike civilian railroads, however, the battalions also had to be prepared to destroy the line it operated. In general, a railway operating battalion could maintain and operate between ninety and 150 miles of single-track railroad, although its actual area of responsibility in wartime depended on the military situation. When conducting rail operations in friendly areas or occupied territory, the battalion used local civilian technical and skilled railway employees to augment its capabilities, but they had to be supervised by military personnel to safeguard against possible sabotage. It also presented challenges to the English-speaking American soldier-railroaders who were not always familiar with how other countries operated their railways.
The Military Railway Service was a remarkable team effort made possible by the Affiliation Program the Army and American railroaders developed in the 1930s and implemented as the clouds of global war appeared on the horizon. During World War II the service operated and maintained railroads in Europe, North Africa, Asia, and the Pacific that totaled more than 22,000 miles. Some 43,500 soldier-railroaders, most of whom brought years of experience with them, served in the Army in every theater of operation moving personnel and freight, often under enemy fire and through extreme weather conditions. Their efforts proved vital to the Allied victory.
This grouping belonged to First Sergeant Carl F. Flieshman (ASN: 39118130) who served with the 1st Military Railway Service, 716th Railway Operating Battalion during World War 2. We have not been able to locate his service information due to his name. It is spelled multiple ways and we do not have the resources to pinpoint which is the correct spelling.
The grouping consists of the following:
- Scrapbook: The scrapbook is filled with over 100 photos, newspaper clippings, command events, menus of locations in France and many more. There is a lot of official documentation like rosters, promotion notices, travel orders and tickets and so on. A Lot of reading and research is to be had with this scrapbook!
- Photo Album: This album contains hundreds of personal photos belonging to First Sergeant Flieshman, as well as his brother. There are pictures of the Flieshman brothers scattered throughout the album, as well as being seen together while in France at Metz. The photos mostly feature trains and other railway related scenes. There are many pictures of war torn landscapes, cities, train car crashes and so on. The most interesting photos are the ones of the victory parade in Paris and pictures of French General Charles de Gaulle, who would eventually go on to be the President of France for 10 years. One of the most historically significant items in the album is an original telegram dated December 20, 1944 and was addressed to the 716th Railway Operating Battalion in Paris. It is a notice alerting the guards and men of the 716th that German paratroopers were seen wearing American and British paratrooper uniforms.
The original telegram is as follows:
710TH RWY GRD DIV
PARACHUTISTS ARE DROPPING IN FOWARD AREAS DRESSED IN AMERICAN
AND BRITISH UNIFORMS USING MOTOR AND RAIL TRANSPORTATIONS TO
REAR AREAS. CHECK ALL TRAINS CAREFULLY APPREHENDING ANYONE
ACTING IN SUSPICIOUS MANNER. C-157
We believe that this telegram is in reference to Operation Grief, a special operation commanded by Waffen-SS commando Otto Skorzeny during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. The operation was the brainchild of Adolf H, and its purpose was to capture one or more of the bridges over the Meuse river before they could be destroyed. German soldiers, wearing captured British and U.S. Army uniforms and using captured Allied vehicles, were to cause confusion in the rear of the Allied lines. A lack of vehicles, uniforms and equipment limited the operation and it never achieved its original aim of securing the Meuse bridges. Skorzeny's post-war trial set a precedent clarifying article 4 of the Geneva Convention: as the German soldiers removed the Allied uniforms before engaging in combat, they were not to be considered francs-tireurs.
This is truly an incredible and historically significant discovery! You do not wanna miss the opportunity to be able to add these items to your collections. There is a lot to decipher and read within the pages of these items, but it will be worth your time!
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