GI's tribute - 513th PIR
Private First Class Frank ADAMKOSKI Jr (ASN 32857365) - 513th PIR
(January 8, 1925 - January 17, 1945)
Frank ADAMKOSKI Jr from Fulton County, New York, was born in January 8, 1925. He was the son of Frank and Agnes (born Marczak) ADAMKOSKI. He entered service at Utica, New York in April 21, 1943, received ASN 32857365 and was finally assigned as Pfc to 513th PIR.
He died of wounds ofter being captured on January 17, 1945. Frank was member of the Catholic faith and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.
Private Frank Daniel DE SANTO (ASN 42108420) - 513th PIR
(1925 - January 16, 1945)
Frank D DE SANTO, son of Maurice and Anna DE SANTO was born on 1925 and lived at Westchester County, New York when he was enlisted on March 23, 1944 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He received ASN 42108420 and was than volunteer for the new Airborne Corps. After having successfully followed the Parachute School he was finally assigned to the 513th PIR/ 17th AB.
Frank D DE SANTO was killed in action on January 16, 1945. He had 19 years-old.
His body is permanently buried at Luxembourg American Cemetery.
Private Robert L DUVALL (ASN 35912400) – 513th PIR
(1917 - January 26, 1945)
Robert L DUVALL was born in 1917 in West Virginia. He was married with Mrs Violet M Laflin. He was enlisted in July 26, 1943 at Cleveland, OH and received ASN 35912400. He was than volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and after having successfully followed the Parachute School course he was finally assigned to 513th PIR/ 17th AB.
Robert L DUVALL died of wounds on January 26, during the Rhineland campaign. He is buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg, Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg.
Private Norbert Jerold HOLLAND (ASN 37683509) – 513th PIR
(March 08, 1924 - October 25, 1945)
Norbert J HOLLAND, son of Kenneth G and Carrie HOLLAND was born at Otter Tail, MN on March 08, 1924. He lived at Forest City, Iowa when he was drafted. He was enlisted in January, 1944 and received ASN 37683509. He was than volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and after having successfully followed the Parachute School he was finally assigned to 513th PIR/ 17th AB.
Norbert J HOLLAND was captured by German troops on January 04, 1945 during the first hours of the Battle of Dead Man's Ridge and than was sent at Stalag 4B, Muhlberg Sachsen, Germany. He died during his captivity at unknown date. His body was never find. He was declared "Missing in Action" and dead on October 25, 1945.
DON'T FORGET HIM !
Private Theodore Rudolph IVANCICH (ASN 39137712) – 513th PIR
(April 16, 1925 - February 03, 1945)
Theodore R IVANCICH was the son of Pete and Eva IVANCICH. He was born on April 16, 1925at San Pablo, Contra Costa County, California. He was enlisted at San Francisco on July 28, 1943 and received ASN 39137712. He was volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and after having successfully followed the Parachute School he was finally assigned to 513th PIR/ 17th AB.
Theodore R IVANCICH was killed in action on February 03, 1945 in Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg, during the Rhineland Campaign (operation in the Our river area). He had 19 years-old.
He is permanently buried in the Henry-Chapelle American Cemetery, Belgium.
Sergeant Henri C PARRA (ASN 39849537) - 513th PIR
(1921 - January 05, 1945)
Henri C PARRA was born on 1921 and was inducted in the Army on September 2, 1942 at Phoenix, Arizona. He received ASN 39849537 and was assigned to the 513th PIR.
He was killed in action on January 5, 1945 in the area of Mande-Saint-Etienne.
Private First Class Richard A SCOGGINS (ASN 34493671) – 513th PIR
(October 20, 1923 - January 20, 1945)
Richard A SCOGGINS was the son of Ira G SCOGGINS and Mary A MURRAY SCOGGINS. He was born on October 20, 1923 at Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee. He was enlisted on November 17, 1942 at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia and received ASN 34493671. He was later volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and after having successfully followed the Parachute School he was finally assigned to 513th PIR/ 17th AB.
Richard A SCOGGINS died of wound on January 20, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge. He had 32 years-old.
He is permanently buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery.
Private First Class Clifford THOMPSON (ASN 35657696) - 513th PIR
(1924 - January 25, 1945)
Clifford THOMPSON, son of Mr Boyd THOMPSON, was born in 1924 in Huntington, West Virginia. He entered service at Huntington, WV in April 12, 1943 and received ASN 35657696. He was volunteer for the Airborne Corps and after having completed with success the Paratroper course he was assigned to the 513 PIR.
He was killed in action on the last day of the Battle of the Bulge, on January 25, 1945.
He is now buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg, Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg.
Private First Class Jack M WHITESHIELD (ASN 38407906) – 513th PIR
(1924 - February 02, 1945)
Jack M WHITESHIELD was the son of Mr Raymond WHITESHIELD Sr. He was born in 1924 in Oklahoma and was a native indian. He was enlisted at unknown date, in unknown place and received ASN 38407906. He was volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and after having successfully followed the Parachute School he was finally assigned to 513th PIR/ 17th AB.
Jack M WHITESHIELD was killed in action on February 02, 1945 in Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg, during the Rhineland Campaign (operation in the Our river area). He had 20 years-old.
He is permanently buried in the Luxembourg American Cemetery.
PFC Gilbert W DILL (ASN 42080857) – Cie HQI – 1st Battalion / 513th PIR
(April 02, 1918 – September 15, 2012)
Gilbert W DILL just after his enlistment in the Army, circa December 1943 - early 1944
Gilbert William DILL was born on April 02, 1918 and lived in 409 Madison Street, Wilmington, Newcastle, Delaware. He worked for Newcastle Defense Plant since June 1940 (he supervised production line with seventy-five operators of 5’’ anti-aircraft shells) when he was inducted in the Army on December 10, 1943. In doing so, he leaved his young wife and child for Uncle Sam. He received the Army Serial Number (ASN) 42080857 and was immediately volunteer for the new Airborne corps. He realized his Basic training (during 4 ½ months) and became rifleman before being qualified heavy mortar (81mm) crewman. He finally joined the parachute school with success and earned his famous Wings.
Gilbert with his young child. As you can see on this uniform and overseas cap, he was qualified paratrooper at this time (circa summer 1944)
A fellow paratrooper during summer 1944 ? The man wears the Airborne Command shoulder sleeve insignia
He was reversed in the parachute reserve pool before being sent in England in November 1944 (he made the travel aboard the RMS Queen Mary) where he was assigned to the Heavy Weapons Platoon of the HQI Cie – 513th PIR just prior to the battle of the Bulge.
Gilbert followed the division from Chiseldon (England) to Belgium Ardennes where he was involved in the terrible battle of “Dead Man’s Ridge” where the First Battalion suffered heavy casualties, Châlons-sur-Marne, Varsity and finally Germany. He was credited from Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns.
On March 24, 1945, he participated to the biggest airborne invasion of the war and took off from Achiet (airport B-54), France in a new Douglas C46-D numbered 44-77581 from the 47th Troop Carrier Squadron, 313th Troop Carrier Group, IXth Troop Carrier Command. 1st Lt Bert Leroy BLENDINGER piloted the plane. The other crewmembers were 2nd Lt Robert Maurice WEISER (co-pilot), T/Sgt Edward James GARDNER (Aerial Engineer) and Sgt Emmett Leroy Wolfe (Radio Operator). 2nd Lt Charles A HIGGINS Jr (photographer for the Signal Corps) was also on board. Gilbert’s stick was composed with 1st Lt Ray F LANEY (O-1321218), Pfc Emmitt D VEAL (34358356), T/3 Harold D AUSTIN (17049291), Cpl Virgil E MILLER (39705850), Pfc George M KRAMER (39218215), S/Sgt Joel R ADKINS (38382655), Pfc Robert L HARMS (36442089), Pfc Orville D HULSE (34886557), Pfc Henry E JACOBS (36771988), Pfc John R CHANEY Jr (33845766), Pvt Jack CANTRELL (34683853), S/Sgt Robert E STEANSON (38471271), T/Sgt James C COX (38405044), Pfc Richard R GAULDING (38270703), Pvt Paul W LEE Jr (34950690), Cpl Blaine K TRATE (33828467), Cpl Charles B AVERYT (38471603), Pfc James F HOLMES (36756783), Pvt George D FORAN (34948455), Pfc Benjamin H SWEET (36951154), Pvt Gilbert W DILL (42080857), Pvt James R GIVENS (35927888), Cpl Vernon DICKERSON (34630295), S/SGT Nelson A GUTTRIDGE (39337458) and T/5 James R JOHNSON (36571084).
Soon after the dropping on Drop zone X, north west of Wesel, the plane was hit by heavy German fires and crashed. Only T/Sgt GARDNER survived.
This picture taken in Mourmelon prior Varsity show new C46-D of the 47th Troop Carrier Squadron during training (unpublished pic - TFH collection)
After VE Day and occupation duty in Germany with the 17th AB, Gilbert was probably transferred to the 517th PIR/13th Airborne Division as he returned in the States and arrived in New York on August 20, 1945 aboard the SS Madawska Victory (the ship has leaved Le Havre, France on August, 12). He was discharged on December 23, 1945 at Fort Dix, NJ after two years and thirteen days of service (whose ten months overseas).
Picture realized in France, June 26, 1945 while the division was located in the area of Vittel
This picture realized at the same place shows two anonymous friends of the 513th PIR
These four last pictures were probably realized in Germany, after the VE Day. They show anonymous buddies of the 513th PIR. Anybody knows these guys ?
Pfc Gilbert W DILL was awarded from Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, African, European and Middle Eastern Campaigns Medal with 3 bronze Stars (and one Arrowhead?), Bronze Star Medal (reason and location unknown), WWII Victory Medal.
He was qualified parachutist and received Parachute qualification badge (wings), Expert Marksman qualification badge with Mortar and Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB).
This member of the “Greatest Generation” passed away on September 15, 2012.
This Tribute has been realized with the precious help and kindness of Mark DILL, son of Gilbert. All pics are published with courtesy of Mark.
S/Sgt Robert M KURISKO Sr (ASN 33465812) - Cie HQ I - 1st Battalion / 513th PIR
Robert M KURISKO after the VE Day as he wears the 13th Airborne shoulder sleeve insignia on his left shoulder, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Ribbon and European - African - Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon. The Airborne breast oval background trimming seems to be 517th PIR.
Robert M KURISKO Sr was born on 1923 in Dunmore, PA and was inducted in the Army on March 13, 1943 at Wilkes Barre, PA. One of five brothers who served in World War II, he received ASN 33465812 and was volunteer for the new Airborne Corps, reason for whom he was affected to the HQ I Company / 513th PIR attached to the 13th Airborne Division until March 1944 then to the 17th Airborne Division located at Camp Forrest, TN.
Robert M KURISKO followed the division from Camp Forrest to England, Belgium Ardennes, Châlons-sur-Marne and Germany. He was recipient of two Bronze Stars Medal and visibly eight other citations.
According to the testimony of his daughter Jayne, Mr KURISKO was deeply affected by a tragic event that happened during his service in Europe : "My father M/Sgt Robert KURISKO often told the story of how he was walking down a road next to a fellow soldier who was married, had kids and I thought was a teacher. A shot rang out from a German sniper and his fellow soldier was hit and died instantly. He often wondered why his fellow soldier died and he did not !".
Jayne also sends other stories :
"Robert also spoke of his first jump. He was to be the next to last jump. The soldier who was last in line had a bad feeling and asked my Dad to switch with him. My dad agreed. That soldier died on the way down. Again he asked why he survived and so many died."
"Robert was also trained in some type of "recoil" ?? gun capable of destroying or damaging German tanks. Received one of his awards for doing so."
This last testimony is probably related to to use of the 57mm M18 (T15E3) recoilless gun. This weapon was used for the first time in Europe by the 513th PIR during Varsity. This famous picture shows 3 members of the 513th PIR using such a gun on the way to Munster in April 1945.
After the VE Day, he was at least assigned to the 13th Airborne Division.
Robert M KURISKO passed away on August 25, 2011.
This tribute has been realized with the help of Jayne LINFANTE, daughter of Robert.
Robert W WEEKS (ASN 20754187) - Cie HQ I - 1st Battalion / 513th PIR
Robert W WEEKS was born in the Minnesota in 1918. He was member of the National Guard and was inducted in the United States Army of America at Park Rapids, Minnesota on February 10, 1941 when the National Guard passed under the Army control. He received ASN 20754187. Between this time and 1943, Robert was volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and was sent at Fort Benning, Georgia where he completed his paratrooper training and qualification before being affected to the Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 513th PIR later assigned to the 17th Airborne Division (in March 1944).
In the early morning of Thursday January 4, 1945, Robert and his buddies suffered their baptism of fire when the 513th PIR took the offensive with the mission to seized the high ground located around the villages of Flamierge and Flamizoulle located few kilometers north east of Bastogne, Belgium. The 1st Battalion located in the "Bois des Valets" was rapidly pinned down by enemy fires coming from the wooded area located in the front of the departure line. Despite this resistance, the paratroopers besieged the woods, captured several prisoners and pursued the offensive in open grounds toward the National 4 road. Unfortunately, they never reached their objective because of a powerful German armored counter attack. Isolated in this plains without aerial or armored support, the poor paratroopers were unable to keep the position. Many men were wounded or killed and the survivors withdrew around 02 PM. Robert was taken prisoner during this first day of combat.
Situation of the 513th PIR on January 04, 1945. The 1st BN must advance to the north (TFH collection - click to enlarge).
The National 4 road in January 1945. The men are members of the HQ&HQ Company / 513th PIR (Original picture TFH collection - click to enlarge).
He contracted pneumonia on the way north to his first POW Camp and was transferred again to Stalag XB in Sandbostel. He died of broncho-pneumonia on April 23, 1945 as Allied troops advanced upon his area and was interred in haste in a French section of the cemetery in a grave marked "Unknown American soldier". His remains were removed and interred in a temporary area of the Greisham/Main mausoleum in Frankfurt, Germany and finally positively identified in November 1952 and permanently interred with his fellow countrymen and heroes in the Ardennes American Military Cemetery in Neuville-en-Condroz, Belgium (http://www.abmc.gov/search-abmc-burials-and-memorializations/detail/WWII_9967#.U3UzpqVju6A).
This tribute has been realized with the testimony of his nephew Joe Stewart.
Claude L EDWARDS (ASN 31348917) - Cie B - 1st Battalion / 513th PIR
(April 19, 1925 - May 17, 2006)
CLAUDE L EDWARDS was born on April 19, 1925. He was inducted in the United States Army of America on July 3, 1943 and received ASN 31348917. Claude was volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and was sent at Fort Benning, Georgia where he completed his paratrooper training and qualification before being affected to the B Company of the 1st Battalion, 513th PIR later assigned to the 17th Airborne Division (in March 1944).
Soon after its arriving in the vicinity of Bastogne, the 17th Airborne Division (with the 87th Infantry Division on its left) was ordered to attack the German forces facing the VIII Corps. The first day of battle for the green Airborne Division was so planned for January 04, 1945. The 513th PIR received the mission to strike north from the vicinity of Monty toward Flamizoulle and the Ourthe river at 08h30, after a short artillery preparation fired by the 466th Parachute field Artillery Batallion. The 194th GIR attacking simultaneously on the left. 1st and 2nd Battalions were designated for the offensive while the 3rd stayed in reserve. Strangely, the two battalions were ordered to jump off from their positions. As the 1st Battalion occupied the north east edge of the Bois des Valets and 2nd Battalion was located in Mande-Saint-Etienne, the two battalions must move so perpendicularly to the direction of the attack with little information of enemy positions or terrain over they were to operate !
The 1st Battalion under command of Lieutenant Colonel Alton R Taylor, arrived in the woods called "Bois de Fragotte" on January 02 and suffered its first casualties at this place because of German artillery fires as described by Derk Strikwerda, Operation Sergeant in C Company. According to him, 17 members of C Company were wounded during the night of January 2 to 3. The Battalion moved in the north east edge of the woods called "Bois des Valets" late in January 03 the evening and was not able to establish contact with the 194th GIR located approximately 1000 meters to the west. The place was full of American and German frozen dead bodies lying there and the paratroopers took place in the existing fox-holes or dug new ones. Instead of organizing a staff meeting, Lt Col Taylor gave the attack orders from his fox-hole and each company commander takes turn to receive them. A German artillery fire strikes on the battalion just before daybreak.
Today, it is still possible to see fox-holes in the "Bois des Valets". It is in a fox-hole like this one that Lt Col Taylor gave the attack orders for January 04, 1945. This one has been photographed recently, in November 11, 2014 (TFH photo).
North edge of the "Bois des Valets", at the exact place where men of the 1st Battalion / 513th PIR were located during the 03 to 04 January night. Of interest, note that fox-holes are still existing today. These two others pics had also been realized in November 11, 2014 (TFH photos).
On the early morning of this freezing Thursday January 4, 1945, in the area of the 1st Battalion, Company B under command of Captain James J Gannaway Jr (on right) and Company C under command of Captain Charlie W Kendrick (on left) jumped off at the scheduled hour while A Company under command of Captain John H Spears remained in reserve. In the C Company area, it was the 1st (Lt Ronan C Grady) and 3rd Platoon that lead the way with a HQ I Platoon in heavy weapons support. C Company / 22nd Tank Battalion, A Company / 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion and elements of the 155th Airborne Anti Tank Battalion and 139th Airborne Engineer Battalion (17th AB Division) are in support. According to the memories of George McGraw (Company C), it is not sure that the artillery preparation was done by the 466th PFAB. Despite the falling snow and poor visibility, Claude and his buddies moved forward with the mission to seized the high ground located around the villages of Flamierge and Flamizoulle located few kilometers east of them. They were rapidly pinned down by enemy fires coming from the wooded area located in the front of the departure line but the enemy resistance was relatively weak and the paratroopers rapidly besieged the woods, captured around 7 to 25 prisoners and then pursued the offensive in open grounds toward the National 4 road.
This photo shows the battlefield today. It is realized on the left of the 1st Bn's departure positions. You see very well the objective on the left (the high grounds behind Flamizoulle), Cochleval on the way of the attack and the woods where the paratroopers were pinned down (the original woods no longer exist but a new one was replanted at the same place). The red arrow shows the way of the attack (TFH photo).
In the first minutes of the attack, Captain Kendrick is badly wounded and his radio operator is killed, leaving C Company without communication with the battalion. First Lt John T Hornyak, the Executive Officer took the head of the company but he is rapidly wounded by a piece of shrapnel and must be evacuated to the rear. German artillery continues its continuous harassment during the advance and German soldiers open fire when the paratroopers arrived near the N4 road. The progression can continue with the support of the .30 machine-gun and 60 mm mortars teams.
The men of C Company arrived alongside the N4 in a place called Cochleval. At this time, Cochleval was a hamlet rather than a village. It is no longer exist. 2nd Lt Thomas Maloney (second in command of the C Company 3rd Platoon) and Sgt Griffin (Squad leader in the 3rd Platoon) were killed during the assault while a Sgt and two other troopers are left in the 1st Platoon. 19 additional men are wounded. It seems that 22 Germans were killed and 12 were captured alive.
In the B Company (Claude's company) area, according to the memories of Albert W Bryant, the men reached the N4 road in a place where the road was surrounded by high embankments. This place is located approximately 200 meters to the right of the C Company. Because of the heavy artillery fires, the men received order to put underground but the German tanks and self propelled gun open also fire and shooter aim at the top of the trees along the road. The paratroopers used their bazooka against German vehicles and a soldier located several meters in front of Albert W Bryant destroys an enemy tank before being killed by a direct shoot. One part of the poor men subsides near Albert. Isadore S Jachman, a courageaous Squad leader of 23 yrs-old in the B Company distinguished himself during these combats in destroying two German armored vehicles causing the remainder to break off the attack and withdraw before being killed by a burst from an enemy machine gun. He has received posthumously one of the 4 Medals of Honor (CMH) awarded to the 17th Airborne for this action. Casualties mounted quickly.
This photo realized in November 2012 shows the National 4 roads. The snapshot was take around the positions occupied by the men of B Company. Cochleval was located in the place of the white stable (on right) (TFH photo - click to enlarge).
Four Sherman tanks were in support but two were rapidly destroyed, killing all the crew members except one poor GI's who was helped by a Captain Medic. Unfortunately the tanker had his two feet snatched and died few minutes later.
In the vicinity of Cochleval, the 3rd Platoon leader is wounded but remains to the head of his Platoon. A coordinate action with one of his squad on one side and two abreast allowed to seize a building in the hamlet and obliged the German to run away. After the lost of the place, German artillery opened fire during two hours before launching a counter attack. Two other paratroopers were killed and another wounded and the 3rd Platoon Commander was also wounding a second time. The wound was more serious he must be evacuated. Lt Bailey, Commander of the 2nd Platoon move forward and is also wounded in Cochleval and evacuated. Lt Grady, the only Platoon Commander remaining organize the defense with the 3rd Platoon on right and 1st Platoon on left. German pressure is strong and ammunitions are missing.
Major Harry F Kies (Battalion's Executive Officer) came in Cochleval to make a briefing with Lt Grady and returned to the Battalion's Headquarters located in the "Bois des Valets".
A First-Aid Station is organized in a barn of Cochleval. The lightly wounded men are send to the rear while the more serious ones are transported with one jeep.
Lieutenant Colonel Taylor decided the road could not be used as an axis for the attack and that it would be impossible to cross the open ground to the north of the Bastogne-Marche road in these conditions. Around 12h00, he ordered the Company A to attack enemy forces in the area of Rau de Mande, at the intersection of 1st and 2nd Battalions. According to the testimony of Albert M Bruce (Company A), just before moving forward, the men of A Company have seen the C Company troopers return to the rear positions. Just after, Captain Spears launched his 2nd and 3rd Platoon to the attack while the 1st remained in reserve. According Albert Bruce, the 2nd Platoon opened the way approximately 100 meters before the 3rd Platoon. The men followed the same way than B Company toward the right part of the wood located in front. A shell exploded in front of the 2nd Platoon while the men arrived at the edge of the wood, wounding Coyl H Bolick Jr. He was helped by Richard Schoonerman, Medic in the A Company, awarded the Silver Star Medal) under enemy machine guns fires. Kenneth B Segner escorted few German prisoners of war to the rear. A Company arrived at approximately 100 meters of the N4 road when it was stopped by the German units and obliged to retreat in the wooded area. It will receive retreat order at the end of the day, under protection of American artillery.
The maneuver failed so and the enemy armor scattered across the entire front of the battalion. Around 01 AM, the German artillery fires increased before infantry rushed forward the men of the 3rd Platoon. Six German tanks were in support. Captain Charles H Jones, artillery observer in the C Battery / 466th PFAB distinguished himself when he ordered a fire on his position, allowing the destruction of two enemy armored vehicles. He will be awarded of the Silver Star for this heroic action. Once again, communications lines are destroyed. The German attack is repulsed but only one bazooka team is alive and commanding by Pvt Floyd C Davis who is wounded (he has received two German bullets). Fierce fightings continued and German troops launched new attacks around 02 PM. Lt Grady is badly wounded by 17 pieces of shrapnel ! and Sgt Collins took his place at the head of the resistance. He merged the remains of the two platoons to make only one. The jeep who carried out the evacuation of the wounded soldiers and supply of ammunitions is damaged. It ca be the jeep of Derk Strikwerda. In his memory, he tells he had received the task of supplying companies in the front line with ammunitions. His jeep was sent to the roadside by an exploding shell. A man called Falconer from the HQ I Company was with him and was badly wounded.
At 02:30 PM, Lt Col Coutts decides to enter the 3rd Bataillon who remains in reserve and orders the withdrawal of the 1st Battalion and a maintaining of the 2nd Battalion on its position. The 3rd Battalion received the mission to establish a roadblock on the N4 road in the vicinity of Monty and contact with the men of the 2nd Battalion. An HQ & HQ section is send to the left and also five 75mm howitzers in front, six on rear and 5 Tanks Destroyers toward Cochleval. 3 are rapidly destroyed and the other ones withdrew.
It was at that moment that the Germans launched another tank counter attack on the left flank of the Battalion with ten tanks and self propelled guns coming from the N4 road in direction of the rear of B and C Companies while more tanks located on the northwest hill crest opened devastating fire on the men. Floyd Davis knocked out a last German tank with his last rocket before being killed by the explosion of a shell. Isolated in this plains without aerial or armored support, the poor paratroopers were unable to keep the position. At the climax of the battle, Lieutenant Colonel Taylor broke down and Major Harry F Kies (Taylor's executive) took commands. The situation was desperate, all the officers of B and C Companies except one were killed or wounded, many men were also wounded or killed. Two German emissaries came from the N4 road and explained to the surrounded paratroopers that one of their tank has its barrel pointed to the Aid-Station. It has order to open fire if the American soldiers refused to surrender. An Officer that was not Battalion Commander accepted the surrender. Claude was probably captured at this time.
This exceptional aerial view was realized on December 26, 1944. It is the only one I know that shows absolutely the hamlet of Cochleval (in the middle of the arrows !). With the information I have collected, I have tried to reconstitute the movements during this battle and the units involved (private collection picture and TFH map - click to enlarge).
The prisoners were send to a big farm located closed to the front line to be interrogated one by one. After that, they were send to a big building that looks like an hospital.
More than a hundred men were killed, wounded or taken prisoner only for the C Company and in fact, only the third Platoon of B Company which was not too advanced was able to get some of their men back.
After being held a Prisoner of War for three months in Stalag XIIA to IXB (Limburg an Der Lahn Hessen-Nassau, Prussia, Germany), Claude escaped from a train boxcar while being transferred further into Germany.
He was hospitalized for three weeks in Nancy, France and then sent to Paris on May 10, 1945 and New Jersey on June 6, 1945.
He was honorably discharged on December 18, 1945 and died on May 17, 2006.
Private Allen Paul GARNER (ASN 14028634) - Cie B - 1st Batallion / 513th PIR
Allen P GARNER, son of John L and Clara E GARNER from Carteret County, NC was born on January 12, 1921. He was volunteer to serve in the Army with enrollment on October 18, 1940 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He received ASN 14028634 and was sent at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, Fort Benning, Georgia where he was probably assigned to the Company B of the 513th PIR.
He was killed in action on January 6, 1945 in the area of Mande-Saint-Etienne. His body returned stateside and he is now permanently buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Newport, Carteret County, NC.
Don't forget him !
Pfc Charles F FOULON (ASN 39336844) - Cie C (1st Platoon) - 1st Batallion / 513th PIR
Narrative of PFC Charles Fred Foulon. 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Bataillon. 513 PIR. 17th Airborne division at age 91 as told to his son Robert.
I was born on a farm in Paul Idaho and we moved to Klamath Falls Oregon when I was about 8 years old. I was drafted into the army in 1943 the summer after my junior year of high school. I was sent to Fort Benning where I was originally signed up for the truck driver corps but I volunteered to join the paratroopers because I’d heard their pay grade was higher.
We were in reserve and stationed in England and right before Christmas of 1944 were ordered to gear up for a parachute drop into the Ardennes. We were all rigged up for jump. But on our way they decided the weather was too bad at the drop zone so we were diverted to Reims France where we were trucked to the Ardennes and then we marched day and all night for several days. French farmers would come to us with bottles of cognac as we marched toward the front lines. They were happy to see us. But German planes were strafing our line and we had to jump off the road into ditches when then came thru.
German prisoners were being marched past us…they were mostly old men and young boys. They looked almost happy that they were getting out of the battle and the cold.
We waited in the forest until daylight. I remember screaming meemies hitting the trees above our foxholes during the night.
We were told we had to cross a clearing/farm field/meadow to secure a farm. My M-1 rifle was frozen and wouldn’t fire. So they told us to fix bayonets and stuff our pockets with grenades. It was 10 degrees and there was about a foot of snow on the ground. My boots and socks were wet and we didn’t have coats.
When it was time to attack my sergeant said “Foulon you take point”. I don’t know why he picked me but maybe it was because I was a replacement and maybe it’s because I had told him I’d been on the track team in high school and was fast. He made the sign of the cross before leaving the foxhole and the two of us headed out across the meadow. Halfway across the field he was shot in the head and killed. I just kept going. When I got across to the farm I started to clear out fox holes for booby traps with my grenades.
I remember smoldering and burning tanks and dead soldiers in the snow banks.
At some point in the battle I went into the aid station they’d set up (a barn) to get my left arm checked because I couldn’t lift it. They checked me and said it was a flesh wound but nothing broken and to get back out into the action.
I remember walking out of the aid station when another shell hit. Lieutenant Grady was right next to me and we were both hit. He got it really bad and I was thrown into a pile of bricks from a wall that had collapsed. I said…this is it…I think my left arm is gone. The medics checked me and told me to walk back up the road into the forest. I said I couldn’t walk, that my left knee was hit too. So they put me on the meat wagon that was getting ready to leave. It was a jeep that was rigged to carry the wounded out of the battle zone and the medic said it was the last one going out. But there was no room for me so they asked me if I could hold on to the hood and I said yes I could and so they put me on the front bumper and I held on with my one good arm. I remember someone said “you are one lucky son of a bitch…you are going home” . They drove about 5 us loaded on the jeep back into the woods and we eventually found an ambulance. I don’t remember anything after that since they gave me morphine.
January 04, 1945 … Note about the Battle for Cochleval
In its first day of combat, the 1st Battalion of the 513th PIR met heavy resistance on the National 4 road, north west of Bastogne, in a small hamlet called Cochleval. This hamlet does not survived to the battle and/or to the enlargement of the road realized after the war. It no longer exist and I have never found any pic of the place during WWII or before. The only proof I have found from its existence is an aerial pic realized on December 27, 1944.
In December 2016, I have made pics of this place where the 1st Bn / 513th PIR fought so heavily and suffered a lot of casualties in January 04, 1945.
Cochleval from the sky on December 27, 1944.
The red dot is my location on December 16, 2016 and letters correspond of the direction I have made the pic.
A : today, the only building remaining at the place is a recent barn. It is exactly at that place the Company C was nearly annihilated and survivors surrendered in the afternoon of January 04, 1945.
B : this is the view toward Flamierge. It is from this side that German tanks launched their counter-offensive.
C : in the direction of Bastogne. The Company B was approximately located on the right side of the road, at the horizon line. It is in this area Isadore S JACHMAN, on of the fourth divisional CMH recipient was killed in action. The barn where the First Aid Post was opened was approximately located near my car.
D : the path we can see on the aerial pic is still present and absolutely unchanged since 72 years !
I woke up in a hospital in somewhere in Belgium. I was later moved to another hospital and put in traction. Then I was moved to a hospital in England. I was in European hospitals for about 4 months. I was put on a hospital ship in Avonmouth (Bristol), England on April 1st 1945- the USS St-Mihiel that arrived in Charleston SC on April 14th,1945- the day after my 21st birthday and the same day as president Roosevelt’s funeral. We were in the Bahamas when the president died. So there was no one there in Charlston to greet the hospital ships like there usually was. I was allowed to make one phone call and I called my mother back home in Oregon (Grace Foulon) to tell her I was back. Then I was put on a train to Madigan Army Hospital where I recovered and got my high school degree. I’ve only been drunk twice in my life…once right before we were deployed (I figured I wasn’t coming back) and once in the hospital on VJ day when the war ended. I had champagne. I returned home in February of 1946. My mother died shortly after in April 1946. I took advantage of the GI bill and went to college and became an architect and civil engineering professor. I then met and married the first girl I ever kissed and we had two children, 5 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
A couple years after the war a buddy (Leroy ‘Rusty’ Kryer) who was from Portland called me and said “I heard they evacuated you out of there….what you probably never heard was that right after you were taken out the farm was re-captured by the Germans and those of us that survived were all taken prisoner” .
Note : Charles arrived in Cochleval in the morning (around 09h00 or 10 AM) and repulsed the German counter attacks until he was badly wounded around 14h00. At 15h00, Major Rosen gave the order to stop fighting after being threatened that the German tanks would destroy the aid station and kill all the remaining wounded. At this time, the main part of B and C companies (400 out of 500) paratroopers had already been killed or wounded.
1st Lieutenant John W LEARY (ASN O-) – Cie HQII – 2nd Battalion / 513th PIR
(April 04, 1912 - February 04, 1945)
John W LEARY was born on April 4, 1912 in California. He was the son of John Thomas and Anna E LEARY. His father served with the 9th Infantry Regiment and was a veteran of Spanish American War (1898), Boxer Rebellion (1900) and World War One. The LEARY family lived at Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook, New Jersey. John was graduated from Rahway High School, New Jersey and like play music. He met Frances MILLER from Manhattan who will became his wife and gave him two children, John W Jr and Carolyn. In May 1940 he was a Fireman and served with the prestigious New York City Fire Department. While he studied to became Lieutenant, he decided to join the Army and was initially assigned to the Recruiting Station in Manhattan before being volunteered for the Paratroopers. He became 1st Lieutenant and was finally assigned to HQ II Company, 2nd Battalion, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
John W LEARY entered in combat with the 17th Airborne Division in the “Battle the Bulge”. Few days before being relieved from the frontline, the regiment was located on the west bank of Our river, the natural border between Great-Dutchy of Luxembourg and Germany. At this time, the battle looks like a First World War operation with both enemies firmly entrenched on their position. The 2nd battalion of the south part of the of the defense plan and daily activity consisted in shelling and patrols. On February 04, 1st Lieutenant John W LEARY was volunteered to lead his eleven men's platoon to establish a bridgehead on other side of the Our River and probed the Siegfried Line defenses. Facing the well organized defenses from the Siegfried Line, he maneuvered his men under mortars and machine-gun fires. The patrol launched an attack on a strong point and destroyed it but John was seriously wounded at the abdomen by fire from another bunker. Understanding rapidly it was not possible to pursued the mission, he ordered the retreat but remained behind to cover the retreat in opening fire with his Thompson machine-gun, sacrificing his life for his men. After long research, he was declared missing in action on February 08, 1946, one year after the fact. He has 33 yrs-old when he was mortally wounded. He was posthumously awarded from the Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action (Headquarters, 17th Airborne Division, General Orders N°40 (1945)) and has also received Bronze Star Medal.
On April 27, 1949, Mr KAMLER, a German farmer found the remain of John W LEARY. His body was first buried at the American cemetery of Neuville, Belgium before returning stateside to be buried at Calverton National Cemetery, Long Island, New York on April 05, 1950 before being permanently buried at Staton Island, NY in November 2004 with his wife. Frances LEARY never remarried and passed away on September 2003.
S/Sgt CURTIS A GADD (ASN 35224978) Cie D - 2nd Battalion / 513th PIR
(October 24, 1921 - July 24, 2013)
Curt is born in Detroit, Michigan on October 24, 1921 and raised in Zanesville, OH. He entered service in the United States Army through Voluntary Induction at Cleveland, Ohio on July 14, 1943 and received ASN 35224978. He was immediately volunteered for new Airborne corps and joined Parachute training at Fort Thomas, Kentucky on July 16 at the age of 21 yrs-old. He was graduated from the jump school on September 1943 and assigned to the 513th PIR then connected to the 13th Airborne Division before joining the Airborne Communication School at Fort Benning where he was graduated on October.
In March 1944, the 513th PIR was permanently assigned to the 17th Airborne Division and joined its new unit in Camp Forrest, TN. The Division shipped to England on August and settled in the area of Chiseldon. Curt was volunteered for Pathfinder School in October and trained at Nottingham and Chalgrove Air Base. He returned to Company D just before the Battle of the Bulge where his unit heavily fought again German troops in the area of Mande-Saint-Etienne during the well known battle of Dead Man Ridge.
After the Bulge he flowns to Chalon, France to await replacements for operation Varsity. He made his first combat jump on March 24, 1945 during operation Varsity and fight until the VE Day. He was discharged from active duty on December 21, 1945. He began the war as Private First Class and finished it as Staff Sergeant.
Curt was awarded Parachutists Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heard with cluster, Good Conduct Medal, European Theater of Operation Medal with 3 Battle stars et 1 Arrowhead, American Defense Medal, Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation and Pathfinder Sleeve patch.
Curt was probably the last Pathfinder of the 17th AB Division !
I have the chance to get to know Curt in early 2000 when I made researchs about the 17th AB. He kindly helped me each time I asked info and became a friend. I met him in 2002. He will stay a great men for me. His contribution to the liberation of my country stays in memory for ever ! Thanks you Curt and rest in peace (original unpublished photo with courtesy of Curtis GADD). Click to enlarge.
Curt in Germany, circa 1945 with buddies of Company D. Curt is the third from the left on the second row.
Private First Class William H DEWITT (ASN 39341833)
Cie D – 2nd Battalion / 513th PIR
(February 07, 1920 - January 12, 1945)
William H DEWITT was born on February 07, 1920 on South Carolina and later lived in Multnomah County, Oregon when he was drafted. He was laborer when he was enlisted on November 11, 1943 in Portland, Oregon. He received ASN 39341833 and was than volunteer for the new Airborne Corps. After having successfully followed the Parachute School he was finally assigned to Company D/513th PIR/ 17th AB.
William H DEWITT was killed in action on January 12, 1945 during the last hours of the Battle of Dead Man's Ridge. He had 24 years-old.
His body returned stateside and he was permanently buried at Lincoln Memorial Park, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon in 1949.
Private Harlan W PAIGE (ASN 36829950) – Cie D – 2nd Battalion / 513th PIR
(May 19, 1925 - January 04, 1945)
Harlan W PAIGE was son of William and Florella BOYCE - PAIGE. He was born on May 19, 1925 and lived in Brown County, WI when he was drafted. He was enlisted on August 14, 1943 and received ASN 36829950. He was than volunteer for the new Airborne Corps and after having successfully followed the Parachute School he was finally assigned to Company D/513th PIR/ 17th AB.
Harlan W PAIGE was killed in action on January 04, 1945 during the first hours of the Battle of Dead Man's Ridge. He had 19 years-old.
His body returned stateside and he was permanently buried in the Suamico cemetery, Wisconsin in 1949.
Private Boyd R DERREBERRY (ASN 34885628) – Cie G – 3rd Battalion / 513th PIR
(October 10, 1921 - January 06, 1945)
Son of David Alexander DERREBERRY and Lenna Glesta NELSON, October 10, 1921 Cherokee County, North Carolina. Daniel was a carpenter and lived in Knox County, Tennessee when he was enlisted on September 23, 1943 at Fort Oglethorp, Georgia. He received ASN 34885628.
Private DERREBERRY joined the new Airborne Corps and was
Boyd DERREBERRY was killed in action on January 06, 1945 while his battalion was located in the vicinity of the Bois des Valets.
He was temporarily buriedin August 1949 and he is buried now in Knoxville National Cemetery, .
Staff Sergeant Jack H PULLIAM (ASN 33573517) - Company G / 513th PIR
Jack H PULLIAM in Germany, February 13, 1945 (US Army Signal Corps)
This wonderful pic shows Jack H PULLIAM from Company G / 513th PIR just after being rescued by men of the 4th Infantry Division.
The legend of the pic reeds :
"ETO HQ 45 13236 13 FEB
CREDIT. U.S. ARMY SIGNAL CORPS
PHOTOG..LT. A.J. SALVAS (166)
PFC. JACK H. PULLIAM OF LUCERNE MINES, INDIANA, PENNSYLVANIA; 513TH. PARACHUTE REGIMENT; WAS CAPTURED BY THE GERMANS IN THE VICINITY OF BASTOGNE ON JAN 7. HE WAS RESCUED BY THE 4TH. INFANTRY DIVISION, 3RD. U S ARMY, WHEN THEIR TROOPS PUSHED INTO PRUM. HE WAS TREATED ROUGHLY BY THE GERMANS, USED AS SLAVE LABO IN CONSTRUCTION JOBS AND REPAIR WORK ON RAILROADS.
4TH. INF. DIV., 3RD. U S ARMY
Jack was born in January 7, 1925 and spent his youth in Lucerne, PA. He was volunteer for the Army in January 7, 1943 and was inducted on February 20, 1943 at Altoona, PA. He received ASN 33573517 and was sent to the 44th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, WA. He was volunteer for the Airborne troops and was transferred to Parachute School at Fort Benning in March 1944 where he was finally assigned to Company G / 513th PIR as light machine gunner after having successfully completed his paratrooper course.
On January 7, 1945, on his 20th birthday, he was captured at Flamierge during the terrible battle of "Dead Man's Ridge". He was sent to Clervaux, then to Prüm. He was wounded at Garolstein, Germany and escaped the Germans on February 7 with Ed SUMMERS. They reached Prüm on February 9 and went into hiding until the town was taken by the men of the 4th Infantry Division on February 13.
He spent two weeks in hospital to recovering from malnutrition and was unable to return in his unit because of Prisoner of War status. He was finally shipped back to States in March 1945 and completed military as automatic weapons instructor at Fort Benning. He was discharged in November 1945 as S/Sgt.
PFC Ludie L SMYTH (ASN 19012779) Cie H - 3rd Battalion / 513th PIR
(April 4, 1919 - April 3, 1945)
Ludie L SMYTH was born on April 1, 1919 and raised in Titus County, east Texas. He was volunteer to the Army and was enlisted out of Yolo, California on September 10, 1940 where he had been staying with an older sister and her family. He was 21 yr-old. In 1941, he was stationed in Fort Mears, Alaska, and was there when Japanese attacked the islands in 1942. He joined then the paratroopers, probably in 1943 (or late 1942) and trained at Fort Benning where he was assigned to the Cie H of the new 513th PIR under command of Lieutnant Colonel Robert H DICKERSON.
Cie H - Fort Benning while attached to the 13th Airborne Division (original photo TFH collection)
The Regiment was assigned the 17th Airborne Division on March 10, 1944 and joined immediately Camp Forrest. Ludie followed the Division in England and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge and operation Varsity. On March 24, 1945, he took off from the airport of Achiet, France at 08h00 AM in a C-46 airplane from serial A-5 (49th or 29th TCS - 313th Troop Carrier Group (TCG) - 52nd Troop Carrier Wing - 9th Troop Carrier Command of the 9th US Army Air Force). The 513th must jump on the Drop Zone X north of Wesel, Germany. The flight is quiet but the fog creates by the British artillery and the intensity of the German anti aircraft artillery (also called Flak) made some trouble in the Allied armada. It resulting that men of the 513th PIR are dropped in a wrong place, too much on the north of their Drop Zone, in the area of the British Drop Zone P (near Haminkeln, Germany). Because of this intense Flak and the weakness of the new C-46, 16 airplanes are shot down and 7 must landed in emergency. At least 29 men of the 513th PIR died before having a chance to jump!
The whole Regiment is on the ground at 10h25, located 2 to 3 kilometers more on north of its objective. The 3rd Battalion under command of Lieutnant Colonel Edward F KENT is on the east of the wrong drop zone. The mission of the unit is to capture and secure positions along Issel river and make contact with men of the 6th British Airborne Division on north and 194th GIR on south but it is now divided into several little groups that finally join the good assembly area around 15h30. The 513th PIR makes finally junction with the 6th British Airborne and 194th GIR at 17h00. The unit loses approximately 230 men in the 48 first hours of invasion.
The 513th PIR stays on its positions till March 26th when it takes the offensive to capture the high grounds located west of the city of Brünen. During the night, the 3rd Battalion is attached to the British (Armored) Cold Stream Guards. The unit carries on its offensive toward the city of Holsterhausen and Haltern am See on March 28. The cities of Haltern and Dülmen are captured by the unit on March 29 with the 3rd Battalion in the head of the attack. The offensive for Munster starts on March 30. The 513th arrives on the outskirts of Munster on April 1st in the late afternoon. The last offensive launched on the city starts the next day with 3rd Battalion on south west. It is during that fighting that the Commanding Officer of the 513th PIR, Colonel James W Coutts is badly wounded.
On April 3, 1945, during the last fights in Munster, Germany, Ludie was killed in action by a German sniper, just two days after his 26th birthday.
Ludie was first buried in Margraten, Holland but his mother had his remains returned to Texas in 1947.