Do you have a newspaper article from the WWII era regarding the 75th Infantry Division or any of its constituents?
I'd appreciate it if you would send me a copy so that I can post it here, on www.75thdivisiondad.us
WAR TACTICS DEMONSTRATED
AT ACTIVATION OF MISSOURI'S
Soldiers Scale Walls, Face Dynamite Blasts,
Duck in Foxholes When Tanks Roll Over-
head -- 'Men Taught to Get Tougher Than
By George H. Hall
of the Post-Dispatch Staff
Fort LEONARD WOOD, April 16
A fuller appreciation of the ability of American fighting men and of the quality of their weapons was given a group of officers and civilians who witnessed demonstrations of combat tactics presented yesterday by the men of the cadre of the newly activated Seventy-fifth Infantry Division.
From the commando-like Ranger training, demonstrated to the accompaniment of bursting dynamite charges and rifle fire with blank cartridges, to a demonstration of defense against a mechanized force, in which a tank crashed over foxholes occupied by soldiers, the emphasis was on toughness.
"The men are taught to kick the enemy when he's down, if necessary, said Lieut. Robert Bellior, who conducted the Ranger demonstration. "They are taught the enemy hates us. That he resents our way of life. We teach the men they are up against tough fighters and that they can't get anywhere unless they get tougher."
About 125 visitors were taken on a tour of the demonstrations and exhibits following ceremonies earlier in the day in which the Seventy-fifth Division, first to be created in Missouri, was activated.
Reviewed by Governor.
The activation ceremonies were attended by Lieut. Gen. Ben Lear, retiring commander of the Second Army. On the reviewing stand with Gen. Lear were Gov. Forest C. Donnell and Mayor William Dee Becker of St. Louis. Following the ceremonies, the division, made up of some 13,000 men, marched past the reviewing stand singing their battalion songs.
The tour that followed was conducted by Maj. Gen. Willard S. Paul, who assumed command of the division yesterday. Gen. Paul was formerly assistant chief of staff to Lieut. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, Commanding General of the Army Ground Forces.
The courses of training to be taken by the new men of the division, most of them only about three weeks out of induction centers, was sketched by officers who gave lectures accompanying the demonstrations.
Visitors found the Ranger demonstration perhaps the most exciting, and during it were showered with spray when a charge of dynamite was set off beneath a dummy enemy soldier which had been allowed to remain concealed ;in a creek bed long enough to become water soaked.
The demonstration took place over a section of the 500-yard obstacle course, and was performed by small groups of men who scaled walls and crossed culverts, penetrated barbed wire entanglements and wormed along under the fire of "enemy" soldiers using blank cartridges. Dummy soldiers placed along the course were disposed of theoretically with hand grenades, rifle fire, and bayonets. Dynamite sticks detonated by electricity simulated the explosion of shells.
"When they finish their three weeks of this training," Lieut. Belloir said, "they have an idea of how it feels to be under fire and they learn to react automatically to an actual battle situation."
Lieut. Col. Stephen R. Hanmer, who conducted the tank defense demonstration, said the men are taught their mission is to destroy the infantry following behind the tanks, but that they also learn the disadvantages under which the men inside the tanks must operate.
For this demonstration a light tank, followed by a dozen "enemy" soldiers, approached down a valley in which 12 soldiers had concealed themselves, using various forms of camouflage, and in which dynamite had been planted to simulate land mines. As the tank entered the trap, two defending soldiers became "frightened," leaped from their foxholes, and fired. They were "killed" by fire from the tank, while those of the defenders who waited until the tank passed were able to destroy the enemy infantry from their hidden positions.
Other demonstrations were hand-to-hand fighting and knife and bayonet tactics, the use of radio communications systems, and the use of incendiary grenades and other chemical warfare materials.
The artillery and hand weapons the division will use were on exhibit, as were hospital equipment, field machine shops for repair of vehicles, armored and other vehicles, and the chaplain's exhibit of equipment for conducting services in the field.
Gen. Lear Addresses Men.
Gen. Lear in an address to the men men of the division during the activation ceremonies, said that the unit must form "the kind of an outfit with which other units will want to serve in battle - steadfast, dependable and imbued with the burning desire to close with the enemy and destroy him."
Addressing the men of the cadre, Gen. Lear said:
"It has fallen your lot to be student, philosopher, teacher, father, fighter and leader, and to the enlisted men who have just come to this organization, you are the blood, bone and sinew, the main spring of the fighting machine.
"When you reach the theatre of operation we must not hear reports of failure like these: 'Men lost their heads and milled around when their leaders became casualties; they failed to possess sufficient knowledge in camouflage; they lacked aggressiveness.' "
Pay Not Adequate Reward
After speaking of the labors facing the new division, Gen. Lear concluded:
"The Government cannot adequately reward you who are called upon to bear the utmost privations in the theatre of war, to suffer hunger, thirst, the strain of battle, wounds and death in he service of your country. In each man's spirit he will find his own reward - and in the honor he wins among his comrades, the blows he delivers against the enemies of his country, and the security he insures for American homes and the generations to come."
In the opening address, Gov. Donnell likened the men of the division to membership of a fraternity. He said, "Yours is the exceptional experience of being in the division from he very instant of is formation."
Following a greeting from Maj. Gen. Lloyd R. Frendenhall, deputy and probable successor to Gen. Lear, when he retires May 31st, the division marched in review.
Despite only three weeks training, the men marched with precision and confidence, wearing helmets and Army combat uniforms. The average age of the personnel is 22 years, and 65 percent of the men are in the 18 to 19 year old class.
Best of Nazi Fighting Men
Beaten by 75th Division
Ninth Army Headquarters
Releases Reviews Record
Of Breckinridge Unit
"On Jan. 31, the 75th division entered the line with the ultimate objective of assisting in the liquidation of the Colmar Pocket. Despite bad weather and difficult terrain, the division maintained an aggressive and determined fighting spirit. Your troops cleared Andolsheim and the Colmar forest, continued forward to capture Wolfgantzen and Appenwihr, reached the Rhine river on Feb. 7.
Met Superior Numbers
The performance of the 75th division in this important engagement to eliminate the Colmar pocket reflects the highest credit on you and the officers and
men of your division.
"Although you entered the line greatly under strength, you did not permit this handicap to deter you from pressing vigorously and courageously forward. You can be justly proud of the part played by the 75th division in this notable victory, and I wish to extend to you, and the officers and men, my pride and wholehearted congratulations."
The division embarked on its second campaign, which was the Colmar pocket, on Jan. 29, after having moved 250 miles from their success in the battle of the bulge.
The men pushed down roads, through woods, past mined fields - sometimes knee deep in water and mud before by-passing Colmar and sweeping on to the Rhine.
Know what's happened to the 75th Infantry Division which left Camp Breckinridge, Ky., last October?
Since its departure, the division has earned its battle spurs by defeating some of the best units which Germany has been able to assemble on the western front. An account of the exploits comes from Ninth army headquarters in Europe.
Arriving in France shortly before Christmas, 1944, the 75th was rushed onto Marshal Von Rundstedt's flank at the time of his deepest penetration into Belgium. The division's performance during that one month which saw the bulge reduced to a mere bump earned the praise of Britain's General Montgomery.
Praised by General
Again when the Nazis threatened in Alsace Lorraine, the 75th was rushed to the very breach where it launched a series of counter-attacks with the French troops which saw the enemy driven back across its own Rhine borders. This campaign evoked the following commendation from General Devers of the Sixth army group:
The photo, above, is of the 289th Regiment during the battle of the bulge.
The source of the article at left is unknown. It is believed the article was published by the Evansville, Indiana newspaper on April 3, 1945.
75th Division in 20-Day Push
From Rhine Through Ruhr
A REPORT OF BATTLES OF THE 75TH DIVISION
Evansville Soldiers, Others
Known Here, Mentioned
The Nazis left those Russians too sick to "navigate under their own powers."
It was then men of the 289th who learned that Russians had labored 10 to 14 hours per a day, seven days a week for the Germans.
Leventhal has been awarded the unit meritorious service award for action this spring. His wife, Rosebud, lives at 840 East Sycamore street.
Members of the MP units have come in for their praise as a result of work during the initial crossings of the Rhine
Others In Platoon
Included in this platoon are Staff Sergt. Luther Desnazo, rural route 2, Chandler; Pfc. John F. McQuay, 3309 North Elliot street, Evansville, and Pfc. Charles Cavanah, rural route 1, Providence, Ky.
There are other men in the unit, mentioned recently in dispatches from Germany.
William W. Hadley, husband of Mrs. Mildred L. Hadley, 425 Dreier boulevard, has been promoted from corporal to sergeant. He is a construction foreman.
Pfc. Kenneth C. Hon, whose wife, Aletha, resides at 2151 East Eichel avenue, and Pvt. Cheater K. Cassidy, whose wife, Mary, lives at 2510 Adams avenue, are members of company D of the 291st infantry regiment.
Both were recently awarded Combat Infantry badges, for participation in the battle of Germany. Pvt. Cassidy is a rifleman and Pfc. Hon is an ammunition handler.
John Tremont has been promoted from the rank of private first class to technician fifth grade. He is a tool room keeper with the 75th division. His wife, Helen, lives at 1417 East Indiana street.
Then there's the story of Technician fifth grade Irv Lichtenstein, well known here at the USO.
His theatrical background came in handy recently. On the last reel of "Thin Man," the power went low and though the film showed on the screen, there was no amplification of the soundtrack. Meeting the crisis, "Litch" gave a running narration of the story.
Source unknown. This article was probably published in the Evansville, IN newspaper in May of 1945.
First Division Ever Activated In Missouri
It took 20 days for the 75th Division to drive from the Rhine river through the Ruhr Industrial pocket.
And in the historic drive was a goodly portion of Evansville men and others who became known here while the division was in training at Camp Breckinridge, Ky.
The combat teams of the 289th, 290th and 291st infantry regiments swept through Datteln, Ickern, Dorsten, Erschenschwick, Marl, Witten, Kol Brassert and Herdecke.
And all along the lines, men of the 75th freed slave labor. It was a campaign of contrasts...and men of this division have many tales to tell.
There's a Sergt. Louis Vingis of Bicknell. He's an artilleryman.
An excited Russian boy, a slave laborer, ran up to Sergt. Vingis and began to jabber excitedly in Russian.
Vingis took him to an interpreter and learned that the boy knew the whereabouts of a former Gestapo man who had punished him for refusing o dig foxholes for Nazi soldiers.
The boy showed Vingis the stump of a finger which, he said, had been amputated by the Gestapo while they were beating him with an iron rod. Other Russians corroborated the story.
Vingis and another soldier picked up he Gestapo suspect and took him to the American military government, where he will be held until his trial as a war criminal.
Some of the towns in the trail of the division were gutted from end to end as a result of the fanatical resistance and others show hardly a trace of the struggle; they show only surrender.
"Took Ickern Too"
There was a severe battle for the town of Ickern by the 289th regiment, but the town was taken on schedule.
And on a wall in that town is a huge sign painted by Pvt. Bill Seay, husband of Mrs. Lois Seay, Outer Riverside drive.
It reads: "Roses are red, violets are blue, the 289th took Ickern too!" There's another sign, "Live in Ickern. Every house is a knockout. Courtesy 289th Chamber of Commerce."
Another member of the 289th is Oscar D. Leventhal, technician third class. He belongs to a medical battalion
And medical men were needed as the regiment rescued some 220 Russian prisoners at Ickern. The PW camp had held 3,450 Russians, but the Germans moved the prisoners in advance of their columns when the Yanks were closing in.
The 75th Infantry Division, commanded by General Arthur A. White, is the first Division in the history of the United States Army to have been activated in Missouri. When the Division came into being at Fort Leonard Wood, Governor Donnell and mayors and officials of many Missouri cities attended a review of the Division at the Fort.
Following is a report of the Division recently made to Gov. Phil M. Donnelly:
The 75th Division was created 15 April, 1943, at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., and spent nine months of its training period in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, thereby acquiring the name of the "Missouri" or "Mule" Division.
On Christmas Eve of 1944 the division was rushed into action to meet General von Rundstedt's counterattacking German forces in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. Combat baptism for the division was 33 long days and nights of fighting through knee deep snow, sub zero weather and treacherous eerie woodlands. Despite freezing hands and feet, wet clothing and numerous casualties, the Missouri Division fought the enemy to a standstill and then in smashing attacks threw the invaders into full retreat.
To Colmar Pocket
The initial mission accomplished in helping wipe out the Belgian salient, the division anticipated a brief respite from combat. Instead the division at once was sent on a 250 mile movement to the south, over the 8000 foot ice covered, snow swept Vosges Mountains to engage the enemy in the Colmar Pocket. Here began an 8 day drive that ended 7 February, 1945, when the enemy was forced back across the Rhine, at last clearing the soil of France of the invaders.
Again the division went on the move, this time back north across the Western Front to Holland. There the division relieved British troops and for more than a fortnight established and maintained an impenetrable wall against every hostile threat.
Patrols Crossed the Rhine
On 2 March, the men from Missouri moved into the U.S. Ninth Army area, there to help mop up the Roer-Maas River triangle, and continue consolidation of newly won positions on the Northern Rhine. In the following weeks, patrols which the division sent across the Rhine almost nightly gathered vital information of enemy troops, terrain occupied and gun positions to complete the detailed plans for the crossing of the river into the heart of Germany. Finally on the night of 23-34 March, artillery and heavy infantry weapons of the 75th Division poured thousands of rounds of shells onto enemy positions to cover the initial assault crossings.
On 29 March, the remainder of the division followed earlier elements across the Rhine, passed through assault troops of two other divisions and attacked for 14 consecutive days against the determined resistance of four German divisions, two of them being among the enemy's best remaining units.
The bulk of the hostile forces north of the Ruhr River were destroyed and the remnants driven across the river. Climaxing their smash to the Ruhr, 75th troops were able to secure intact two of the all important bridges. With this threat on the North of the Ruhr, the enemy South of the river threw down their arms and surrendered the largest number of men ever captured in a single operation.
Sent to Westphalia
On 22 April, after spending 98 of its first 126 days on the continent in contact with the enemy, the division was assigned to security and military government.
Publisher unknown. Article contributed by Hazel Greece.