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99th Infantry Division


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#1 EmersonBigguns

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 07:39 AM

Stumbled across this photo this morning and thought it was worth sharing:

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The photo is credited as soldiers of the 393rd Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, dated Decmeber 16, 1944. (Photo Source: European Center for Military History) The photo is credited with being taken near Bucholz, Belgium. If these soldiers are indeed from the 393rd, I'm a wee bit skeptical about that date, and perhapd the unit. On that date, the 393rd held the center of the 99th Division's line between Monschau and Losheimergraben, in front of Krinkelt and Rocherath, and bore quite the brunt of the German offensive, which began no later than 0530 that morning. Also, on the night of December 15,1944, it was the 394th IR, 99th ID, that was assigned positions near Bucholz.

Ragardless, I still find the picture quite intriguing. Not much room in them foxholes. My guess is wherever this pic was taken, they didnt expect to stay there very long. The upper right hand corner shows a piece of canvas tied to something. A stretcher perhaps?

Anybody seen this pic before or have additional information?

#2 IRISH54

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 10:45 AM

Hey EB,my uncle Frank served in the 99th. He was a sergeant with a heavy machine gun company. He didn't talk about the war for years. He was a "Big Hunky" from a small town in Western Pa. When he was in his late 70's he opened up to me a little about where he was and about some of what he saw. But it wasn't until after he passed away that my cousins told me that after their dad and I started talking , he then opened up to them. He was a tall good looking kid and easy going when he went in they told me. But after wards he was on the quite, almost stern side. Two things he was involved with had a profound effect on him. Near the end of the war his outfit was in a firefight and he took cover behind snow covered mounds that turned out to be bodies that were piled high. And the other incident was when his gun crew opened up on a German convoy rounding a bend in the road and they wiped out these troops who in the end were just young kids. My cousin said he carried those two images with him til he died. He was a devout Catholic and it bothered him until the end that he had killed kids, and that's how he remembered them. Not truly soldiers just kids. Sorry for ramblin' EB, had been thinking about my uncle since earlier today, since it's Good Friday and the post and the pic just brought him back to the front of my mind. Thanks for posting this. Have a good Easter. -Jim-

Edited by IRISH54, 22 April 2011 - 01:30 PM.


#3 EmersonBigguns

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:46 PM

Glad I could help bring back some memories Jim. I was astonished when I did a search this morning and saw there was no thread dedicated to the 99th Division as I know a few members on the board that share a common interest with the "Battle Babies". I hope to add some neat stuff here as time permits. Thus it begins... ;)

:P

#4 IRISH54

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 03:23 PM

EB, I'll be watching for your posts with deep interest, as you can see. If I can ever get my kids to help me send you some pics I have of the three vets I knew from the 99th I'd be happy to send them to you. My uncle was proud of the nickname "Battle Babies" although many know them as the "Checkerboard". Did you know that the Pittsburgh police wear the "Checkerboard" around their hats in honor of the 99th. I read that years ago I believe in the Pittsburgh Press, I think. A little Trivia. Thanks again. -Jim-

#5 appell8

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 07:43 PM

Robbie, DOD mentions inheriting a position of the 99th when he was moved down to Kalterherberg during the Bulge. The 99th Recon apparently left a fully equipped jeep behind that the 9th/47th was happy to appropriate.

As to the photo, I think you're right to be skeptical. Shouldn't there be snow on Elsenborn Ridge on December 16th? A clue to the jobs of these soldiers is that they're both carrying carbines, so they're not frontline riflemen. Since they're armed, they shouldn't be medics either. But perhaps they're part of a medical faciltiy (yeah, the canvas looks like a stretcher) where they're authorized to be armed. I dunno.

Good on you for the historical research, Doug

#6 EmersonBigguns

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:28 PM

Excellent points, Doug. The medic thing was pure conjecture. I never thought about the gun/stretcher relationship. Of course with out a wider pan on that photo we dont know if that thing is a stretcher. The 99th and 9th certainly saw some of the same ground in 1944.

On a completely side note, while researching this picture I found some info about the 38th Cavalry Recon Squadron that pinpointed their positions on December 16-17 just south of Monschau. A good friend of mine I've known since grade school, some 28 of my nearly 36 years had a grandfather who was in the 38th. He and traveled to Europe in 2009 and we were in the area, but based on what I found today, coupled with some additional research, I believe that on our next trip over I'll be able to walk him to the very line his grandpa held when the Battle of the Bulge began. How cool is that? And by accident too...

Back to the 99th, with the help pf esteemed WBG.com member Frank Gubbels I adopted the grave of a 99th ID member whose buried at HenriChappel who was killed at the Battle of the Bulge who was from about 17 miles from where I grew up. I did some digging in the local library system a few months ago and found an obituary and a picture. I'll put those up as soon as I can.

-Robbie!!!

#7 EmersonBigguns

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:32 PM

@Doug - the 393 was in front of the Elsenborn Ridge on December 16, 1944 at a slightly lower elevation, so no snow may be accurate. Still,I remain skeptical... I'd like to see the source info for this photo but I aint found it yet. I'll keep digging...

:P

#8 bierman9

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 09:56 PM

Thought that pic looked familiar.... Had been reading The History Channel Magazine, and this pic is in the March/April 2010 issue, on page 74, in the "My Story" section. The caption says "Two soldiers of the United States 1st Army rest in a foxhole along the frontlines near Stolberg, Germany, on Nov. 1, 1944", and it's credited to Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images. The article is by Stanley E. Richardson, who details his experiences on the line in Europe. No connection is made between the photo and the author/story, though...

#9 IMike

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 02:59 PM

Doug, I think the "stretcher" is a pack frame, Note how the metal curves in under the canvas. The canvas goes on the troop's back, and stuff (any sort of stuff) is them secured to the frame for transporting. I concur with your conclusions on the carbines, but it looks like the man on the left is wearing an M-1 ammo belt.

According to Eisenhower's The Bitter Woods, there was a "... heavy layer of snow on the ground..." at the south end of the 99th Division's line on December 16.

Mike





#10 DriveOn

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:59 PM

Minor point, and it probably doesn't really matter, but I'm not entirely convinced that that is a prepared position. It's kind of hard to tell exactly what the angles are, but it looks a little more like an erosion feature, though perhaps dug out a little more since there is what appears to be an entrenching tool in the foreground.

#11 FJBoccia

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:06 PM

Doug, I think the "stretcher" is a pack frame, Note how the metal curves in under the canvas. The canvas goes on the troop's back, and stuff (any sort of stuff) is them secured to the frame for transporting. I concur with your conclusions on the carbines, but it looks like the man on the left is wearing an M-1 ammo belt.

According to Eisenhower's The Bitter Woods, there was a "... heavy layer of snow on the ground..." at the south end of the 99th Division's line on December 16.

Mike


I agree with you that the item isn't a stretcher --there's no way for a bearer to grasp the thing easily, and nowhere I can see to insert a longer pole-- but could it be a rucksack? Was the Army using metal frame rucksacks in WWII? Also, if that white object above the hole is a bandage, I would heavily discount the idea that these were medics. It was my experience that medics were usually very careful of their equipment, and would never let used bandages lie around (unless in the midst of a fight, of course, as is clearly not the case here).

FJB

#12 EmersonBigguns

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:12 PM

Somebody slap that guy who first mentioned 'stretcher'... ;)

My skepticism has probably proved to be pretty healthy thus far me thinks. Thanks for all the input.

:P




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