Saturday, February 27, 2010


Private Washington Artillery (Co. H, 25th Penna. Infantry) April 18, 1861; honorably discharged July 29, 1861.
Second Lieutenant 48th Penna. Infantry October 1, 1861; First Lieutenant May 5, 1862 ; Captain June 2, 1862 ; Major June 10, 1864 ; honorably mustered out October 1, 1864.
This article was taken from Pennsylvania MOLLUS
Major Oliver C. Bosbyshell

Military Essays and Recollections.
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

A Speech Given By Major Oliver C. Bosbyshell
Major Oliver Bosbyshell a Schuylkill Countian who shook the hand of Lincoln.

In the year 2012 we will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. As most civil war scholars know Schuylkill County had two of the first five companies to go to the defense of the Union on April 18, 1861. On that date Bosbyshell along with all the members of the five companies of First Defenders got to shake the hand of President Lincoln.
The two companies from Schuylkill County are The Washington Artillersits and the National Light Infantry. Bosbyshell was a member of the Washington Artillerists.

Oliver Bosbyshell was a member of the famed Washington Artillerists, one of the first companies to arrive in Washington on April 18, 1861.

For more information on Major Bosbyshell go to John Hoptak's Blog on the 48th P.V.I.


I was always interested in politics, long before I was a voter. My immediate surroundings and influences were strongly "native American." My initial presidential vote was cast in the Fall of '60, and it is very certain that I was deeply interested months before in the campaign. To have followed the leaning of those whose opinions I treasured, would have carried me into the ranks of the Bell and Everett Party, but as a young man with eyes wide open, watching the current of events, and with ears absorbing the new views sweeping over the country, I read and studied Mr. Lincoln's great speech delivered to young men in the Cooper Institute, New York City. That speech settled my views, and I became an ardent " wide awake," marching and shouting, night after night, through the valleys and over the hills and mountains of Schuylkill Co., Penna., whooping it up with all my might, with the banner of the irresistible Lincoln at the fore. That was a campaign, more like the war following it, than any of its successors, as broken heads, skinned faces and shins and bruised bodies from assaults of sticks and stones hurled by the enemy fully attested. Having carried the " wide awake " lamp through many dangers to elevate Lincoln to the Presidency, what more logical conclusion than at the first call of this great man for volunteers to resist an attempt to overthrow the Government, I should exchange my lamp for a musket and assist in the maintenance of the Government. What a stir that first call for 75,000 men made through the Nation ! It reverberated amidst the mountains of my old home and before its echoes died away, over two hundred men were marching through the streets of Pottsville in response, and as many more answered from Berks, Union and Lehigh. Mustered into the United States Service as volunteer soldiers of the Republic, at the Northern Central Railway Station in Harrisburg, on the morning of the 1Sth of April, 1861, 530 Peunsylvanians boarded cattle cars, hastily fitted up with rough board seats, and the journey to Washington began. It is needless to recite the thrilling march through the streets of Baltimore, where disloyal crowds heaped insults upon the heads of these men and hurled sticks and stones into their ranks. Suffice it to say, as the " shades of night were falling," these First Defenders arrived at the Capital. Under cover of the darkness, no doubt purposely intended, as the journey had been needlessly delayed, the men detrained and marched into the Capitol Building, where all were quartered. These Pennsylvanians arrived in the nick of time to frustrate designs about to be carried out that very night, in the seizure by those disloyal of many of the public buildings and government offices. Our own John W. Forney spread the news of this arrival through the corridors of Willard's Hotel, and being anxious to make the most of it added an additional naught to the sum, saying 5,000 Pennsylvania soldiers had arrived, when 500 was the figure, but the mantle of night had shielded the

First Defenders Medal

arrival, so that numbers could not be known. The good old Washington Artillerists were quartered in the rooms from which the ladies' gallery of the Senate chamber was entered, and here, that same evening, April 18th, 1861, came President Abraham Lincoln, to thank the men for their prompt response to the call for troops. Imagine the scene, Companions—here were a lot of sturdy young fellows, suddenly called upon to don the uniform of soldiers, many of whom had never been out of sight of the mountains of their state, spread out upon the hard marble floors of the Capitol of the Nation, in an effort to secure some rest from the fatiguing journey just completed, when every man is brought to his feet by the announcement of the presence of the one man in the United States each one most desired to see—the honored Chieftain of the Nation, Abraham Lincoln. Profound silence for a moment resulted, broken by the hand clapping and cheers of the tired volunteers. Yes, here, towering over all in the room, was the great central figure of the war. I remember how I was impressed by the kindliness of his face and awkward hanging of his arms and legs, his apparent bashfulness in the presence of these first soldiers of the Republic, and with it all a grave, rather mournful bearing in his attitude. Accompanying the President, in fact his guide and inspirer of the visit, was our own State's great citizen, Simon Cameron, Secretary of War. He was highly elated and proud to introduce Mr. Lincoln to the soldier boys of his own Commonwealth, who had outstripped all others in reaching the Capital. The President's words were few, but earnest and impressive; he welcomed them most heartily and expressed his great relief and satisfaction at their presence. He then passed along the ranks shaking the hand of each and every one of the men, retiring quietly to visit others of the command. A kind of awe seemed to come over the boys, and many for the first time realized the peril brought upon the Nation—the close contact with the man at the nelm was more than the satisfaction of personal curiosity, it was a kind of baptism of responsibilities, heretofore unheeded, a revelation of a state of profound seriousness in the solving of which each one listening to the great leader's words, felt personally called upon to do his best. The man's presence, his simple charming manner, his plain earnest words, in fact his whole attitude, took away all feeling of a three months' picnic and stamped the movement with a gravity befitting the beginning of a great strife.

Lincoln At Antietam

The sanguinary battle of Antietam had been fought, and the 9th Army Corps was encamped about the Antietam Iron Works, near the junction of the creek with the Potomac River. The President of ,the United States was to review McClellan's Command, and great were the preparations therefor. The President desired to visit each camp and it was noised about that he was coming. I remember well that ride through our camp—we were alongside of the 4th U. S. Battery, and here between the two camps came a long array of mounted officers and orderlies, conspicuous amidst which was the long, lank form of Mr. Lincoln, clad in sombre black, a tall beaver hat, with a broad band of crepe around it, covering his head. It was querried then, and we never found out why, that the President should have been given so small a horse to ride, his legs almost touched the ground, and riding beside so majestic a figure as General Burnside and other officers of high rank, our worthy President d,id not present a very dignified appearance. It is no wonder that a red headed
Irishman of the 4th U. S. Artillery, hastily summoned from his tent on the announcement of the approach of the President, should have given vent to his disgust, when he saw this uncouth figure ambling along on the diminutive beast, by the utterance of two words unfit to write, and drop back into his shelter. Eighteen months of care and worry had left its .impress upon the good man's countenance. There was no mirthful twinkle in the eye and heavy lines marked the wasted features of his face. The ride and all he saw may have been interesting to Mr. Lincoln, but no outward sign was visible in the look we had of him as he passed slowly on.
In the Spring of 1864, the 9th Army Corps rendezvoused at Annapolis, Md., where a reorganization took place by reason of the veteranizing of the regiments in the command. The time came for its return to the Army of the Potomac, and on the 24th of April, 1864, the march to Washington began.
The Corps had four divisions, a division of eight large regiments of colored troops having been added to it during its recruiting stay at Annapolis, so the movement of so great a body of troops, the commands fully recruited to their maximum strength, attracted much attention around Washington, and its passage through the city was to be an event of no small importance. It became known that the President himself would review the Corps as it passed through. This caused the men to burnish up their arms and accoutrements and give themselves as fine an appearance as possible. The long and tiresome march through the city on the 25th of April tested the endurance of the command to the uttermost, and many a pair of sore feet resulted therefrom. We entered the city at New York Avenue and thence on to Fourteenth Street, adown which we wended our way over the Long Bridge into Virginia once more. On a portico on the second story of the Fourteenth Street side of the old Willard Hotel stood President Lincoln beside Major-General Burnside, the idol of the 9th Corps. I shall never forget the appearance of the President, he was much changed—three years of war had left its trace across his face. He was, if possible, thinner than ever, and stood a gaunt figure, whose raiment of black hung loosely about his bony shoulders and arms, whilst his countenance was shrunken and pale as death itself. His eyes were lustreless, and whilst apparently observing the moving troops below, they seemed not to see. It looked as though a corpse was propped up on the balcony instead of a solid flesh and blood man. The contrast between the commanding figure of Burnside was most marked, and as we gazed at the two men, sympathy profound welded forth to the great man bearing the burden of a Nation in the throes of war. It was my last look at the martyred President, and I am sure he was no ghastlier in his coffin.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Working On The "SIX" The F-106 In The 83rd F.I.S.

Sgt. J. Stuart Richards

On November 1, 1971 my tour of duty in Vietnam was over. After spending 12 months working on one of the best aircraft ever made, the C7A Caribou I returned home and took a 30 day leave. Got to meet my daughter for the first time, she was born 5 months before I left Vietnam. I took a long over due rest back home in Pottsville. In late November I reported to my next duty station, Loring A.F.B., Maine, A big SAC (Strategic Air Command) base located near Presque Isle, Maine. Actually right near Limestone, Maine. . Loring was the home of the 42nd Bomb Wing that flew B-52’s and KC-135’s. I was assigned to one of the tenant units on the base, the 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron ADC (Air Defense Command) flying the famed F-106 “Delta Dart”. I was assigned to the FM, (Field Maintenance) Electric Shop. The 83rd was a reactivated unit beginning on 1 Jul 1971 by redesignation of 27th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron personnel and equipment. The squadron was inactivated on 30 June 1972, twenty one days after I was discharged.

The interesting aspect of this assignment for me was the fact that I had never worked on any type of fighter aircraft. My past 3 years as an aircraft electrician I worked on reciprocating engine aircraft, C-124, C-118, C-131 and a full year working on the C-7A Caribou in Vietnam. The only jet experience I had was minimal working on the C-141 at Maguire AFB prior to going to Vietnam. Another fun thing for me was coming home from Vietnam in November. In Vietnam the temperature ranged from 120 degrees in the summer to a cool 85 in the winter, and now being assigned to the far northeast of the U.S. where the temperature in November is a warm 20 degrees and in those wonderful winter months down to a -30. A real pleasure assignment.

The 83rd F.I.S. was activated from the original 27th F.I.S. The 27th was transferred to Loring Air Force Base, Maine, in October 1959, where it assumed an air defense role flying F-106 Delta Darts in the Bangor Air Defense Sector. The redesignated 27th Tactical Fighter Squadron was assigned to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, July 2, 1971, as part of the reorganized 1st Tactical Fighter Wing. Although it left behind all of its F-106’s and turned them over to the 83rd F.I.S.
Unfortunately my time working on the Six was short lived. I would have liked to work more on the aircraft, but my discharge came along, and I wanted to get out. Actually I got an early out. Being assigned to the Air Defense Command was one of the best assignments in the Air Force. While stationed at Loring we had in the squadron a total of twenty F-106’s, eighteen ( A ) models and two (B) models. The aircraft where all 57/58/59 models. We also had one T bird, or T-33 that was used for training. T-33s were assigned to USAF F-101 Voodoo, F-102 Delta Dagger and F-106 Delta Dart units, to include similarly equipped Air National Guard units, of the Air Defense Command as proficiency trainers and practice "bogey" aircraft.

The Six was the main aircraft used by the United States during the 'Cold War'. It was used in air defense against Soviet bombers; the F-106 was an interceptor not really a fighter. To me the F-106 is a beautiful aircraft; it looked like it was built for speed. The Six is now fully retired from service but it will always take with it the notoriety of holding the fastest single engine jet aircraft speed record. It could fly at Mach 2.5+. In December of 1956 the initial prototype F106A first flew from Edwards Flight Test Center, coming close to the US Air Force requirements of Mach 1.9 and an operational ceiling of 57,000 feet. The Six was an extremely deadly interceptor; its weapons system was state of the art for the time period. This system called the MA-1 airborne fire control system comprised sophisticated navigation and fire control electronics.

it was an extremely deadly and effective weapons system that any hostile airspace intruder had reason to fear. The heart of its deadliness was the advanced MA-1 airborne fire control system, developed by Hughes Aircraft and based upon the earlier F102A MG-10 system. Comprised of over 2512 pounds of navigational and fire control electronics, the MA-1 system's 200 separate black boxes full of ‘hollow state devices’ (vacuum tubes) formed a very formidable all-weather, fully automatic weapons suite for its time. While technologically out of date by today's state of the art aircraft guidance and control systems, the MA-1 system nevertheless represented the peak of aerial targeting and fire control systems of the time period.
The Six entered operational service in May 1959, with the 498th FIS at Geiger , AFB, Washington. Many changes would take place with this aircraft over a period of years, and by the time I got my hands on one most of the changes were completed.

Escorting a TU-95 Bear

The mission of the Six was to intercept enemy bomber fleets approaching the U.S. and destroy them. The standard interception armament consisted of a combination of AIR-2A or AIR-2G Genie Nuclear Rockets, AIM4E/4F Super Falcon radar guided missiles, AIM-4G Super Falcon infrared seeking missiles. Fortunately there was never a need to fire the Genie at any Soviet TU-95 bear fleets. There are a few pictures of the Six flying along with the Soviet Bear Bombers that flew down from Iceland and down the North east corridor on their way to Cuba.

At Loring we always had two aircraft on Alert, they were armed with Genie’s and falcon missiles. Working in the alert barn on the alert aircraft was always interesting. While working on any aircraft that was armed the pilot had to be onboard the aircraft while any maintenance was performed. Actually the pilots would loosen any panels in the cockpit that needed to be opened. I can remember standing on the ladder telling the pilot to open this and that panel, while he used my screw driver. It was very confined for the pilot to try and do this type of work. The alert barn was a unique place to work. Often times I would look at the aircraft sitting there ready to roll out at a moments notice and marvel at the fire power this aircraft had. On alert, the Six was capable of a quick cold start, and scramble times of as little as 2 & 3/4ths minutes from initial alert to take off were routinely recorded during its time with ADC.

Once in the cockpit, the pilot was in full control, he began the engine start sequence by depressing a button on the throttle. Sitting on the forward top part of the throttle was a little black button, that I was very familiar with, changing one of these was quite the bear. The ignition and starter circuits are electrically interconnected. The electrical sequence for starting consisted of moving the throttle outboard to the start detent. This sent DC electrical power to the starter. While continuing to hold the ignition button depressed and moving the throttle inboard would now supply ignition to the engine. The ignition system is energized only during engine starting, as combustion is continuous once the engine starts. Advancing the throttle to IDLE position supplies fuel to the combustion chambers and lights the engine off. At idle speed setting the aircraft was disconnected from ground power. As soon as the electrics were on line and the radar was configured, the aircraft was ready to taxi, after a ‘last chance’ look-over from the ground crew on the saftey check area before entering the active runway. Once the final look over by the crew the six was ready to go.

throttle and console left side
We also had about six ready pods for the aircraft on the flight line if my memory holds. The ready pods were for aircraft that were cocked and ready to fly for training missions or other types of flights. The bad part about ready pods were they were just open area with a triangle shaped cover over top of the aircraft. The wind just blew through them and made things very miserable while working on the aircraft. I can still see the poor APE’s (Air Police) guards who walked the ramp in their heavy parkers and muckaluks armed with M-16 and looking like they were freezing to death, while I was sitting in the cockpit working on a problem with the portable heater blowing hot air into the aircraft, cozy to say the least when the temperature is about 20 below out side. Wow! What a crappy job being an Air Policeman Ramp Tramp had to be. I can remember riding the launch truck and hoping that nothing would go wrong electrically on the aircraft. I did not want to get out in the cold and have to work on the aircraft.

Almost all of the equipment I worked on in the six was somewhere around the outside of the aircraft ,including the engine area the engine and all the other componets were in the wheel wells, missile bay or in a panel that had to be accessed from the outside. If it was a generator or csd (constant speed drive) problem and the generator or csd had to be changed the jet mechanics had to pull the engine. In reality the electrical system on the six was controlled by a single ac generator. The main ac generator is driven by the engine through a CSD unit. AC electrical power was supplied by a 115 volt main ac generator. There was also an emergency ac generator that supplied power to the essential ac bus only. If the main generator fails the emergency generator starts automatically. The main switch for the generator was located on the right console, marked GEN, OFF, ON , TEST. The TEST position provides a test for the generator but does not connect it to the bus. A 200 amp transformer rectifier unit converts a portion of the generator output to dc power. There was also an emergency 50 amp TR a dc back up source in case the 200 amp TR failed. The six also had a 22 amp hour battery for emergency power.

On the left console is the master electrical switch. This switch is guarded and turning this switch on powers up all the buses. When the switch is on it connects the battery to the dc essential bus, then the generator can be energized. With the switch in the off position the generators are disconnected from the buses. Well actually that switch sets everything into motion, generator, inverters, voltage regulators etc. around the aircraft. One thing that had to be remembered when working on this bird is if the external power is connected it takes precedence over aircraft power. While external power is on the aircraft ac generator can be energized but not connected to the aircraft buses. The battery was charged by a small charger that was located in the nose wheel well and it got its power from the ac nonessential bus. Overall working on the aircrafts electrical systems was not that hard, the biggest problem associated with the electrical system was the failure of a generator or TR unit and the associated wiring which in some places was getting quite old. Systems that were necessary for flight were all on the essential bus and systems not critical to flight were on the dc nonessential bus.

What I remember most about working on the six was the constant problems associated with the master warning light panel that was located at the forward end of the right console. We seemed to have a lot of problems with the warning systems. And the little indicator lights on the panel. Actually there were 24 small warning lights on the panel. Another system that the aircraft electrician takes care of is the master fire warning system. Any abnormally high temperature in the engine compartment is indicated by a red fire warning light located on the instrument panel. When it is illuminated steady it indicates FIRE, which no pilot wants to see! When it is flashing the light indicates that only one detector loop has been affected. The problem with the loop system is the loop sometimes rubs on parts of the aircraft wearing through the wire and causing a high resistance, or shorting out completely which will give a false fire indication. Troubleshooting this system can sometimes be very difficult.

Being an aircraft electrician puts you in the fore front of aircraft maintenance; actually almost every system is run by electricity, provided by a generator, Transformer rectifier, inverter, battery or external power. We as aircraft electricians supplied this power to all the avionics, MA-1 systems; we worked closely with the hydraulic mechanics and the jet mechanics, actually working with the jet mechanics can sometimes be very trying. To change a generator out on the flight line requires the jet mechs to pull the engine, they in turn will remove the generator and re install a new one, my job as simple as this sounds was to hook up the leads on the generator, after the engine is re installed, unfortunately for me on one occasion, a very cold day out on the flight line, I had the Jet mechs pull the engine and replace the generator, after they went through the whole process of installing the engine and hooking up all their lines, fuel, hydraulic etc. I was in the process of hooking up the electrical leads, when I happened to torque down one lead a little too much and broke it completely off the terminal stud. Need I say more! The mechanics had to un hook and re pull the engine so they could change the generator once again, they were not happy, and I stayed away from them as long as I could. Actually I think there was some vile comments only a cold and un happy jet mechanic could say while I was hooking up the new generator. If I remember right I just put on my sound suppression head set so I couldn’t hear them.

The last job I did on the six was to install what was called a TCTO, (Time Compliance Tech Order). This was to install a switch on the canopy rail mechanism and an idiot light, (what we called all warning lights in aircraft) on the front panel to indicate to the pilot that the canopy was un locked! I guess some pilots were not locking the canopy prior to take off and as they went into AB down the runway the canopy was opening up.

Some of the other things I remember about working on this aging beauty at the time was A lot of work on the landing gear up and down lock switches, the nose wheel steering electrical circuit was a real bumer to work on. Power to the solenoids on the missile rails. We had a lot of problems with the landing lights and formation lights. The landing lights were on the gear doors, and the wiring was old and sometimes frayed and had a tendency to short out from the movement of the gear doors and the slop and water that could be thrown up inside the wheel wells would cause problems.


After a few years of working on large cargo aircraft where a lot of the electrical components and systems are easily accessible. On the other hand when I started working on the six it seemed like everything electrical that needed repair was in the cockpit and was under the instrument panel, or in the cramped side consoles. If the ejection seat was removed it wasn’t too bad, but if the seat was in you had to lie on your back upside down and on the floor and squeeze between the control stick and the TSD and try to work from that position. Oh yea, the EJECTION seat, cargo aircraft never had ejection seats, so any time you worked on a six with the seat in you had to remember to check the pins and make sure they were all in place so the seat wouldn’t eject on the ground…not good for the mechanic! I absolutely hated to work on the throttle quadrant and the little switches that comprised the different settings, I hated anything like that. I can remember setting the voltage regulator while the aircraft was running, if you want to talk about noise, stand beside a J-75 when its running.
We also had a larger hanger that comprised all of the maintenance shops, electric, instruments, radio, Avionics, MA-1, hydraulic, jet, and crew chiefs APG, etc in this hanger we performed all of the Periodic maintenance to check major components and major phase maintenance or routine repair jobs.

I worked with some really great guys in the 83rd, there was one particular crew chief that was amazing, and I don’t think he was ever cold, as you would see him out on the flight line in just his fatigue shirt in some of the coldest of times. The pilots were all great guys, seems to me they were mostly Lieutenants and Captains. In my shop (the Electric) were some really good electricians, a lot of these guys had worked in ADC for a long time and had a lot of experience on the Six, so I learned a lot from them. As bad as the weather was in Maine, (172 inches of snow on the ground that year) I still enjoyed working on the “SIX”. And was proud to be part of the old Air Defense Commands 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron.


Monday, February 15, 2010


Well, how do you do, Corporal William Montalto,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1918

Words from the Song "Green Fields Of France" with a slight change.


William J. Mountalto 2nd Division 9th Infantry Regt. Killed in Action July 18, 1918
On the upper hill of St. Mary’s cemetery in Arnot’s Addition stands a lone statue of a World War 1 doughboy. This memorial honors a local hero from St. Clair who died while serving his country in World War 1. The statue honors Corporal William J. Montalto, a member of the 2nd Division, 9th Infantry Regiment, Company E. Who was killed in action on July 18th , 1918.

Unlike the more active soldier memorial figures this statue depicts the doughboy in the position of “Order Arms”. A position in the military manual of arms in which the rifle is held vertically next to the right leg with its butt resting on the ground. The statue stands at attention forever marking the heroism of one of Schuylkill County’s fallen.

It is a shame that I can’t find much on Corp. Montalto in our files at the Historical Society. I will continue to research him so that his story can be completed and he can be written back into history properly. What I did find came from the records of the 9th Infantry regiment n the day he was killed.

The derivation of the term doughboy remains in question. It was first used by the British in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to describe soldiers and sailors. In the United States the nickname was coined during the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), and was widely popularized during World War I (1914–1918) to refer to infantrymen. After the war, in which Americans saw combat in 1917-18, numerous communities commissioned doughboy statues to honor the local war heroes. This is the only statue of a Doughboy I’ve seen that marks the grave of one individual soldier. I think this is the finest monument in all of the Schuylkill County cemeteries that memorializes the common soldier.

Over time the monument has suffered from the effects of acid rain and general weathering.

Corporal Montalto was killed during the 2nd Battle of The Marne. The Second Battle of the Marne marked the turning of the tide in World War I. It began with the last German offensive of the conflict and was quickly followed by the first allied offensive victory of 1918. The American Expeditionary Force with over 250,000 men fighting under overall French command played key roles both in the initial defense and the later advances. In the Second Battle of Marne with 30,000 killed and wounded, the United States started suffering casualties on the enormous scale usually associated with the battles of the Great War.

On the day Corporal Montalto was killed July 18th ,1918 the 9th Infantry was engaged in the Allied counterattack that involved attacking the entire west face of the Marne salient. This main attack was first to pivot on Chateau-Thierry; later the Allies in the region of Chateau-Thierry were to take up the attack. The Allies were also to attack that part of the German salient south of the Marne and to the southwest of Reims. The plan then really involved attacking the entire Marne salient, the principal blow falling at first on the west face, with the critical point, at which eventual success or failure would be determined, southwest of Soissons. The three divisions selected to break the most sensitive part of the German line were the 2nd American, the 1st Moroccan (French) and the 1st American. If these three divisions could seize and hold the heights south of Soissons the German position in the salient proper became untenable and it's ultimate reduction was assured.

At 4:35a.m., July 18th, after some of the American infantry had double-timed into line and when some of their guns had barely gotten into position, the 1st and 2nd American Divisions and the 1st Moroccan Division jumped off. Notwithstanding their desperate resistance the Germans were driven back and the results upon which ultimate success depended were secured.

the 2nd Division attacked on the other side of the Moroccans. It did not have the advantage which the other divisions of the corps possessed in being able to make reconnaissance Difficulties and bring the assault troops into position in Division" an orderly way. Only by the most unusual exertion did the front line units manage to arrive in time to participate in the attack. All during the night great confusion reigned among the troops. The traffic congestion compelled the infantry to follow the ditches which paralleled the trails, thus stringing out the columns and causing both the intermingling of units and straggling. Men cursed as they toiled on. Others too weary to march farther, threw themselves upon the ground, from which they were urged to their feet with difficulty. Teamsters cracked their whips and shouted; tanks panted over the greasy routes and crushed their way forward; light and heavy guns stalled in the mud or became entangled in the thickets, sweating teams laboring at the traces. Staff cars, trucks, and motor-cycles innumerable added to the difficulties of the men.

Not withstanding all this, however, the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry, relieved the front line battalion of the 48th French Infantry before midnight and attacked in good order at H-hour. The leading element of the 5th Marines on the left, and of First Division" the 23rd Infantry on the right, were deploying as the barrage fell. But the machine-gun battalions and companies, and the 37mm. and Stokes mortar platoons with their transport, were inextricably involved in the traffic congestion in the rear, and failed to arrive in time to accompany the infantry. The assault was made with the musket and bayonet supported by the artillery.

The troops advanced over ground which rose gently from the line of departure toward the northeast. Wheat-fields stretched as far as the eye could see, with lurking machine gunners carefully concealed in the tall grain. In the center of the sector, a kilometer or more in advance of the first objective, a group of strongly fortified buildings stood as an outpost at Verte Feuille Farm. Beyond this formidable obstacle was the stronger post of Beaurepaire Farm, marking the line of the first objective itself. Here, advancing with a rush, the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry, reached the objective within fifteen minutes, and the 3rd Battalion of the same regiment followed in close support. The 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, soon arrived on the right, followed closely by the 3rd Battalion, both of them having been misdirected by the French guides in getting into position.

Along this line is the probable place were Corporal William J. Montalto fell. He was listed as missing in action on this day, and later confirmed that he was Killed in Action.
Thus the 18th of July closed with the Twentieth Corps established throughout its entire length upon the line of its final objective for the day. So far as it was concerned, the first day of the offensive had been a successful one in every respect. The two American divisions advancing ahead of the French divisions on their exterior flanks, and at no time in rear of the Moroccans in the center, had driven a marked salient into the enemy's line, which had been everywhere forced back. The 1st U. S. Division had functioned like clockwork. The 2nd U. S. Division, though laboring from the start under enormous disadvantages and suffering from considerable confusion, had maintained its schedule in the advance. The Moroccans had lived up to their reputation.

The 2nd Division advanced 8 kilometers in the first 26 hours, took about 3,000 prisoners, 2 batteries of 150mm guns, 66 light guns and 15,000 rounds of 77 mm ammunition, besides much other property. This Division suffered some 4,000 casualties and, as it had made exhausting marches to reach the battlefield, and having recently been withdrawn from it's desperate fighting at Chateau-Thierry, the Division was relieved after the second day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Gallantry of Schuylkill County Soldiers And Sailors In World War 2

Photo From the 745 Tank Battalion Regimental History

Pottsville Republican November 22, 1944
Somewhere in Germany, October 13, 1944. Pvt. William J. Sam, son of Joseph Sam of Pottsville, Pa. was decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry in action against the enemy in Germany this afternoon, with (censored) commandant of the famous 1st Infantry Division, pinning the award on Sam and other members of his tank crew in a special ceremony.

Sam and the members of his tank crew were awarded for having knocked out two enemy tanks and a pillbox after their own tank had been disabled by fire from one of the German tanks.
The action occurred during a pill box assaulting expedition in the Siegfried Line (censored). The tank moved to the top of a ridge in order to assault one pillbox from the rear and came face to face with two German tanks, one a Mark IV and the other a Mark V. The Germans opened fire and hit the American tank on the right side breaking the track and making the tank immobile.
Sgt. Archie Ross of Sharon, Wis. Tank commander, spotted the two tanks camouflaged in a clump of brush just about 100 yards to his right front. Ross ordered Cpl Alvia Beck of Rockford, Ill. The gunner to open fire. Beck alternated firing on the two tanks and pumped 10 shells into each, setting them both on fire.
During the action the tank was sniped at from the pillbox it originally planned to assault as well as from enemy infantry in the woods about 500 yards away, Ross ordered the guns turned on the pillbox and drove out 15 prisoners who surrendered to accompanying infantry. Then the tank opened fire on the enemy infantry and drove them to cover after which the crew abandoned the disabled tank.
This bit of action climaxed an afternoon of pill box assaulting in which Ross’s tank and a tank destroyer knocked out five pill boxes and took a 112 prisoners.
Sam was assistant driver and bow gunner. The tank and its crew is a part of the 745th Tank Battalion. The battalion landed at Normandy in support of the 1st Infantry Division on June 6 and has been working with it ever since.
It played an important role in the big breakthrough at St. Lo, in closing the Falais gap and in pursuing Germans thru France and Belgium. More recently it has held an important part in the task of piercing the Siegfried Line.

Editors note:
Meanwhile tanks from Company "B" were assaulting pillboxes daily, firing on them and driving out the occupants or making it possible for the infantry to approach close enough to use pole charges. Where possible tank dozers were used to pile dirt in front of the firing apertures to render the pillbox ineffective.
On October 17 a tank commanded by Sgt. Archie Ross with T/4 Edgar G. Ireland, as driver; Cpl. Alva E. Beck, gunner; Pvt. William J. Sam, assistant gunner, and Pvt. Everett Lloyd, assistant driver, knocked out two enemy tanks
And a pillbox after the tank had been immobilized by fire from one of the enemy tanks. When Maj. Gen. Clarence Huebner, Commanding General of the First U. S. Infantry Division, heard of the deed, he ordered a special ceremony at which he presented Silver Star awards to each member of the crew.
Pvt. William J. Sam Company B, 745th Tank Battalion was killed in action on March 1st, 1945.

Pfc. Raymond E. Wolfgang

Pottsville Republican November 27, 1944.
Pfc. Raymond E. Wolfgang, Mowry, who served as an automatic rifleman with the Fourth Division in France, has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for “Gallantry in Action.”

The Citation Read:
“Pvt. Wolfgang, manning his automatic rifle, was guarding his company’s left flank, and maintaining a constant accurate fire, thus preventing the enemy from harassing the flank. All through the night Pvt. Wolfgang remained at his position using hand grenades to repel enemy infiltration tactics.
“This constant heroic defense was maintained by Private Wolfgang until early the next morning when he was killed. By his heroism and devotion to duty PFC Wolfgang became an inspiration to his entire company.”
Pvt. Wolfgang was killed June 22, 1944 in Normandy. He is buried in Lavelle.

4th Infantry Division was reactivated on 1 June 1940 at Fort Benning, Georgia, under the command of MG Walter E. Prosser. 4th ID was reorganized to the Motorized Infantry Division TO&E on 1 August 1940. 4 ID was assigned—along with 2d Armored Division, to the I Armored Corps. 4 ID moved to Dry Prong, Louisiana.

The Fourth Division arrived in the UK in early 1944. It took part in the Normandy Invasion landings at Utah Beach, with the 8th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Division being the first surface-borne Allied unit to hit the beaches at Normandy on D-day, 6 June 1944. Relieving the isolated 82d Airborne Division at Sainte-Mère-Église, the 4th cleared the Cotentin peninsula and took part in the capture of Cherbourg on 25 June. After taking part in the fighting near Periers, 6–12 July, the division broke through the left flank of the German Seventh Army, helped stem the German drive toward Avranches, and by the end of August had moved to Paris, and gave French forces the first place in the liberation of their capital. During the liberation of Paris in WWII, Ernest Hemingway took on a self-appointed role as a civilian scout in the city of Paris for his friends in the 4 ID. He was with the 22nd Infantry Regiment when it moved from Paris, northeast through Belgium, and into Germany.
Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany
The 4th then moved into Belgium through Houffalize to attack the Siegfried Line at Schnee Eifel on 14 September, and made several penetrations. Slow progress into Germany continued in October, and by 6 November the division entered the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, where it was engaged in heavy fighting until early December. It then shifted to Luxembourg, only to meet the German winter Ardennes Offensive head-on (in the Battle of the Bulge) starting on 16 December 1944. Although its lines were dented, it managed to hold the Germans at Dickweiler and Osweiler, and, counterattacking in January across the Sauer, overran German positions in Fouhren and Vianden. Halted at the Prüm River in February by heavy enemy resistance, the division finally crossed on 28 February near Olzheim, and raced on across the Kyll on 7 March. After a short rest, the 4th moved across the Rhine on 29 March at Worms, attacked and secured Würzburg and by 3 April had established a bridgehead across the Main at Ochsenfurt. Speeding southeast across Bavaria, the division had reached Miesbach on the Isar on 2 May 1945, when it was relieved and placed on occupation duty. Writer J.D. Salinger served with the division 1942–1945.

World War II Casualties
4,097 Killed in Action
17,371 Wounded in Action
757 Died of Wounds
[edit] Units

Troops of the 4th Infantry move off the Utah Beachhead on D-Day8th Infantry Regiment
12th Infantry Regiment
22nd Infantry Regiment
20th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm)
29th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
42nd Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
44th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
4th Reconnaissance Troop
4th Engineer Battalion
4th Medical Battalion
4th Quartermaster Battalion
4th Signal Company
704th Ordnance Company (LM)

A telegram received by the family of Thomas Kneib stated that Machinist Thomas Kneib is missing in action on a submarine in the Pacific. He is a graduate of Frackville High School and entered the service January, 1943 and trained at New London, Conn

Rank/Rate Motor Machinist's Mate, Second Class
Service Number 08172175
Birth Date February 18, 1923
From Frackville, Pennsylvania
Decorations Purple Heart
Submarine USS Shark (SS-314)

Loss Date October 24, 1944
Location Between Hainan and Bashi Channel
Circumstances Probably sunk by depth charge attack
Remarks Thomas was born in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.
Information courtesy of Paul W. Wittmer.
Shark was lost during her third war patrol, probably in the vicinity of Luzon Strait, while participating in a coordinated attack group with submarines Seadragon (SS-194) and Blackfish (SS-221). On 24 October, Seadragon received a message from Shark stating that she had made radar contact with a single freighter, and she was going in to attack. This was the last message received from the submarine. She was reported as presumed lost on 27 November.
On 6 January 1942, Shark was almost hit with a torpedo from a Imperial Japanese Navy submarine. A few days later, she was ordered to Ambon Island, where an enemy invasion was expected. On 27 January, she was directed to join the submarines patrolling in Strait of Malacca, then to cover the passage east of Lifamatola and Bangka Strait. On 2 February, Shark reported to her base at Soerabaja that she had been depth-charged ten miles (16 km) off Tifore Island and had failed to sink a Japanese ship during a torpedo attack. Five days later, she reported chasing an empty cargo ship headed northwest, for which Admiral Wilkes upbraided her commanding officer.[12] No further messages were received from Shark. On 8 February, she was told to proceed to Makassar Strait and later was told to report information. Nothing was heard and, on 7 March, Shark was reported as presumed lost, the victim of unknown causes, the first American submarine lost to enemy ASW.[13] She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 24 June.

Post-war, Japanese records showed numerous attacks on unidentified submarines in Shark's area at plausible times. At 01:37 on 11 February, for example, the Japanese destroyer Yamakaze opened fire with her five-inch (127 mm) guns and sank a surfaced submarine. Voices were heard in the water, but no attempt was made to rescue possible survivors.


Pottsville Republican November 18, 1944.

The citation reads:
To Captain Robert Trathen, member of the 87th Chemical Mortar Warfare Battalion for meritorious service in support of active combat operations from D-Day June 6, 1944 to July 25, 1944. Captain Trathen supervised the entire operations of his unit, insured that the guns were also in position to fire and that sufficient ammunition was on hand, that necessary liaison with other units was accomplished and that security was affected. One occasion when other officers were unavailable for forward observer duty, Capt. Trathen personally undertook the mission. This entailed an advance to the furthermost outposts of infantry positions and from this the location by radio, directed the fire of his company’s mortars. At these times Capt. Trathen though subjected to enemy observation and fire, with complete disregard for his personal safety never failed to superbly carry out his designated task.
Captain Trathen has proved an outstanding example to his men. He constantly led them, rallying them when extraneous factors caused confusion and doubt. The job done by this officer, though often under the most hazardous circumstances has been accomplished in a superior manner.
Captain Trathen is also permitted to wear the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, which the battalion, of which he is a member, was awarded for their D-Day activities.
He entered the service in 1936, He is the son of Mrs. Joseph Ferner, Gordan

Editors note:
There is an excellent web site on the 87th Mortar Battalion here:

Lieut. Commander Harvey J. Smith Jr.
U.S.S. West Virginia Pearl Harbor

USS West Virginia

Pottsville Naval Officer Last to leave the sinking U.S.S. West Virginia at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.
Lieut. Commander Harvey J. Smith Jr.
This is an interesting story found in the Pottsville Republican on November 29, 1944 entitled “Made Lieut. Commander”. But in reality is a short story of another Schuylkill County hero. Lt. Commander Harvey J. Smith Jr.
The story reads:
Pottsville native has been promoted to the rank of Lieut. Commander in the U.S. Navy, effective November 1st. Lt. Commander Smith has been in the Navy since his graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1940, and was assigned to the U.S. S. West Virginia, on which he was made fire control officer in charge of a battery of 16 guns. This ship was then based at Pear Harbor, and was one of the first ships sunk when the attack was made on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.

The West Virginia was the largest and most powerful battleship afloat at the time. Lt. Commander Smith aided heroically in removing the wounded and was the last man to leave the ship alive. He was forced to dive over the burning ship into the sea, swimming under water, and was temporarily blinded from the hot oil. He was picked up and taken to a hospital badly burned and with his feet lacerated.



A Port Carbon young man was one of the officers of a paratroop group whose wild bayonet charge helped capture Carentan during the invasion of France, June 11, and whose exploits are featured in a story in the recent issue of Stars and Stripes, official Army Newspaper.
He is Lt. James V. Cauley, 101st Airborne Division 3/502 –S3…son of Mr. And Mrs. Maurice J. Cauley, 234 N, Coal St. prior to entering the service was one of the executives of the water department for the C&I Company here.
The diminutive young man was wounded in the attack, for which he has received the Purple Heart medal, and also shares in the Presidential Citation awarded to his company FOR VALOUR.
Robert Rueben, a Reuter’s war correspondent, has written the story of the wild charge, which will go down in history as one of the bravest of the war.
He writes as follows:
Advanced Airborne Base, Somewhere in France. Led by a fiercely fighting Lieutenant Colonel, a battalion of American paratroopers the terror of German troops in this area of the Cherbourg Peninsula made a wild bayonet charge into enemy machine gun, rifle and mortar fire to help secure the capture of Carentan.
The 101st Paratroop Battalion fought seemingly impregnable German hillside fortifications for thirty long hours.
When the fighting was the most intense they organized their bayonet and rifle attack from ditches and swamps and then raced about 200 strong up the hill into the German fortifications behind their shouting storming Lt. Col Robert Cole, of San Antonio, Texas.
It looked like we could not go ahead because of the fire and we could not go to either side because of the flooded areas; we could not go back, so that’s when the Colonel organized a bayonet attack.
Cole passed the word back thru the ditches lining the road: fix bayonets. Load your guns, were going to charge.”
His troops jumped across or waded thru canals chest deep with water, and fought their way in to the German emplacements which surrounded a small wooden farm house.
“ They charged like wild animals” a captured German said. “They screamed and shouted when they charged into our fire. It was unbelievable.”
The bayonet attack was only part of the now historic capture of Carentan. Cole’s men strung rope across a wrecked bridge, covered the ropes with boards from fences and then sneaked across under fire, single file, during the night.
At one point a group of men were pinned in a ditch by a machine gunner a short distance ahead hidden behind a fence and surrounded by water.
Sgt. Hubert Odom, Albany, GA. Slipped out of his trench into the water in front of the hedge while the machine gunner was reloading. The water reached his neck, but when he located the gunner he threw in a hand grenade and blew out the nest.
Cauley’s wife is the former Mary Hughes, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Fred Hughes St. Clair. They were married May 2 1942, and in sending the above clipping from the Stars and stripes to his wife he states, “Do you remember Col. Cole, the guy who did not want to leave me off to be married” it was in this attack that I got it.”
Cauley was commissioned at Fort Benning, Ga. In December 1942 and was stationed at Fort Bragg before going overseas in September, 1943.

Editors note:
Lt Col. Cole parachuted into Normandy with his unit as part of the American airborne landings in Normandy. By the evening of June 6, he had gathered 75 men. They captured Exit 3 at Saint Martin-de-Varreville behind Utah Beach and were at the dune line to welcome men from the U.S. 4th Infantry Division coming ashore. After being in division reserve, Cole's battalion had guarded the right flank of the 101st Airborne attempts to take the approaches to Carentan.
On the afternoon of June 10, Cole led 400 men of his battalion single file down a long, exposed causeway (Purple Heart Lane), with marshes at either side. A hedgerow behind a large farmhouse on the right was occupied by well dug-in German troops. At the far end of the causeway was the last of four bridges over the Douve River flood plain. Beyond the last bridge was Carentan, which the 101st had been ordered to seize to effect a linkup with the 29th Infantry Division coming off Omaha Beach.
During the advance Cole's battalion was subjected to continuous fire from artillery, machine guns and mortars. Cole's battalion, advancing slowly by crawling or crouching, took numerous casualties. The survivors huddled against the bank on the far side of the causeway. An obstacle known as a Belgian gate blocked nearly the entire roadway over the last bridge, allowing the passage of only one man at a time. Attempts to force this bottleneck were futile, and the battalion took up defensive positions for the night.
During the night, Cole's men were exposed to shelling by Germans mortars and by a strafing and bombing attack by two aircraft, causing further casualties and knocking Company I out of the fight. However the fire from the farm slackened and the remaining 265 men of 3, 502 infiltrated through the obstacle and took up positions for an assault.
With the Germans still resisting any attempt to move beyond the bridges, and after artillery failed to suppress their fire, Cole called for smoke on the dug-in Germans and ordered a bayonet charge, a rarity in World War II. He charged toward the hedgerow, leading only a small portion of his unit at first. The remainder of the battlion, seeing what was happening followed as Cole led the paratroopers into the hedgerows, engaging at close range and with bayonets in hand-to-hand combat. The German survivors retreated, taking more casualties as they ran away.
The assault, which came to be known as "Cole's Charge," proved costly; 130 of Cole's 265 men became casualties. With his battalion exhausted, Cole called for the 1st Battalion to pass through his lines and continue the attack. However, they were also severely depleted by mortar fire crossing bridge #4, such that they took up positions with 3rd Battalion rather than proceeding. There, on the edge of Carentan, they were subjected to strong counterattacks by the German 6th Parachute Regiment during the morning and afternoon. At the height of the attack, at approximately 1900, Cole's artillery observer managed to break through radio jamming and called down a concentration by the entire Corps artillery that broke up the attacks for good.
LTC Cole was recommended for a Medal of Honor for his actions that day, but did not live to receive it.
On September 18, 1944, during Operation Market Garden, Colonel Cole, commanding the 3rd Battalion of the 502d PIR in Best, Netherlands, got on the radio. A pilot asked him to put some orange identification panels in front of his position. Cole decided to do it himself. He was placing a panel on the ground when he was shot and killed by a German sniper.
Two weeks later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bayonet charge near Carentan on June 11. As his widow and two-year-old son looked on, Cole's mother accepted his posthumous award on the parade ground, where Cole had played as a child, at Fort Sam Houston.
LTC Cole is buried at Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, in Margraten, the Netherlands Medal of Honor citation
For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty on 11 June 1944, in France. Lt. Col. Cole was personally leading his battalion in forcing the last 4 bridges on the road to Carentan when his entire unit was suddenly pinned to the ground by intense and withering enemy rifle, machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire placed upon them from well-prepared and heavily fortified positions within 150 yards of the foremost elements. After the devastating and unceasing enemy fire had for over 1 hour prevented any move and inflicted numerous casualties, Lt. Col. Cole, observing this almost hopeless situation, courageously issued orders to assault the enemy positions with fixed bayonets. With utter disregard for his own safety and completely ignoring the enemy fire, he rose to his feet in front of his battalion and with drawn pistol shouted to his men to follow him in the assault. Catching up a fallen man's rifle and bayonet, he charged on and led the remnants of his battalion across the bullet-swept open ground and into the enemy position. His heroic and valiant action in so inspiring his men resulted in the complete establishment of our bridgehead across the Douve River. The cool fearlessness, personal bravery, and outstanding leadership displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Cole reflect great credit upon himself and are worthy of the highest praise in the military service.[1]

In the July 23, 1944 issue of the Pottsville Republican a story was written entitled. Sgt. Levitsky Tells How He was wounded.
Headquarters Eurpoean Theatre: The Purple Heart has been awarded to S/Sgt. John Levitsky, 23, of Route 1, Pottsville, Pa. who is recovering at a U.S. Hospital of wounds received in action.

“It happened about 7 o’clock on the evening of July 4” , Sgt. Levitsky said. “My infantry outfit was attacking the Jerries at St. Georges de Bohon, about eight miles below Carrentan. An 88mm shell went off about 20 yards away, and I felt something hit my nose.
“I yelled for a medical soldier, who came crawling over to me and administered sulfa powder. It wasn’t until I walked back to the Battalion aid station in the rear to get my bandage changed that I realized what a close call I had had. A fragment of shrapnel about the size of a 22 caliber had gone through the left side of my nose and out the other side, and the doctors fixed me up so skillfully that I won’t even have scars to show my grandchildren. “
Sgt. Levitsky hit the Normandy beaches with the fifth assault wave and was in the thick of the fighting until wounded.
“Once when things were quiet we holed up in a wrecked barn on the Cherbourg Peninsula, “Sgt. Levitsky recalled. “There was a lot of French cider in there. We Yanks made the most of it, you can bet.”
In civil life Sgt. Levisky was a farmer and truck driver in Pottsville, working for his father. He also worked for the James J. Stutz Trucking co. Minersville.


Headquarters European Theatre: Sgt. Russel J. Murphy, 23, of 520 N. Second St., Pottsville, a member of a demolition squad of engineers which hit France during the first week of the Invasion, has been awarded the Purple Heart at a U.S. Army general hospital in England for wounds received in action.

“We arrived in France on D plus six,” said Sgt. Murphy. “We traveled right along with the infantry and tank outfits. One night our 11th day over there, we were preparing for an attack when the Germans beat us to it and started shooting mortars. I was strapping TNT to a tank when the blast from form one of the mortar shells picked me off the ground, whirled me around and tore my pack off my back.
“I didn’t realize I was hurt at first. Then a medic came out and patched me up and put me in a ditch until the barrage was over. About two hours later they came and picked me up, “He said.
1st Lt. Phil J. Harbrechi of Pomeroy, Ohio the ward surgeon, said, “Murphy is improving rapidly and with a few weeks rest and medical care will be able to return to duty.”
He has two brothers in the service, Sgt. Francis Murphy, is in Italy, and Earl is in the Pacific with the Navy.

After recovering he was assigned to the USS Tennessee and taught gunnery school at Bremerton, Washington. He participated in all the battle fleet engagements in the Pacific. In January 1944, he was transferred by request to the Submarine Service, and sent to New London, Conn. Graduating in April 1944 and was then sent back to the Pacific for sea duty aboard a Submarine, where he is at present.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Battle of the Bulge Anniversary Ft. Indiantown Gap 2010

On January 30, 2010 I took my grandson to the event held at Ft. Indiantown Gap in remembrances of the Battle of the Bulge, commemorating the 65th anniversary of the last major Nazi offensive against the Allies. This event is presented by the Allied and Axis Living Historians of the World War II Federation. And is an excellent program.
As most historians know the battle was fought from mid-December 1944 to late January 1945, more than a million troops were involved. And many of theses troops came from Schuylkill County. My favorite part of this event is being able to talk to the actual veterans who served and fought in this battle. I want my grandson, Nathaniel to understand what these men have given him by their sacrifices.

My Grandson Meeting Two Of The Vets..I hope He remembers This Great Oportunity!

My Wife Danielle Talking to The Vets



Members of the 84th Division "The Railsplitters"

My Wife Danielle talking to the men from the 84th Division. Her uncle Louis Piacine was with the 84th and KIA at Beck, Germany, 1945.

American Guard

American Motorcycle Driver

"PLEASE WIPE YOUR FEET!" The Sgt. said as entering the American barracks.


German Officers

Marshall, A Living historian explains his equipment 10th S.S. Recon.

Marshall expalining his kit

10th SS Tunic

German Helmet with cover.

German style Dog Tags

Soldat book a German soldiers info book

Bayonet for K 98

Belt Buckle

entrenching tool

Mess Kit

Living Historians Dave and J.P Dave on the left holds an original Luger and J.P a P-38 pistols. Both Memebers of the 10th S.S.

Christal A living Historian 10th S.S.

German Guard

Scenes from the German Area