Archive for July, 2014

150th anniversary of the 20th Michigan in the Battle of the Crater

July 29, 2014

By June 12, 1864 the Confederates stopped the Union forces outside of Petersburg, Virginia. The Union ceased assaulting Petersburg and switched to a siege.

In an attempt to break into Petersburg, IXth Corps Union troops with coal mining experience dug a tunnel  to place a mine under Confederate fortifications just east of Petersburg.

One hundred fifty years ago on July 30, 1864 the mine was exploded and Union troops assaulted Confederate positions. Among them was our Civil War ancestor Anson Croman in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment.


20th Michigan’s position (ORANGE CIRCLE) and direction of the attack to the west of the crater from the mine explosion.

Fair use of image from The Battle Atlas of the Civil War © Time-Life Books

Contemporary drawing of the Union assault on The Crater. The 20th Michigan is to the left out of this picture.

Image in the public domain.


The Confederates held and quickly closed the gap created by the explosion and assault.

The 20th Michigan lost 5 killed, 26 wounded, 16 captured, and 2 missing.


The opening scenes of the novel and movie Cold Mountain depict the Battle of the Crater


Racial War

During the Battle of the Crater when African-American Union troops attempted to surrender, the Confederates summarily executed some on the field.

The Confederates considered African-American Union troops to be racially inferior escaped slaves engaged in a slave insurrection and therefore not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war.

Those who were not executed would be sold into slavery.

The Confederates also threatened to try and execute any captured European-American officers who commanded African-American troops. The Confederates claimed those officers were inciting slave rebellion. The Confederates decided not to proceed with trials when the Union threaten retaliation against Southern POW officers.


For more information:

From the National Park Service:

The Crater

From Anson Croman and the Civil War:

1864


The Musbachs and Robinsons are direct line descendants of Anson Croman and he is my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.

Anson Croman served in the 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment from his 1862 enlistment until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865.

If Anson Croman wrote letters home, none have survived. Therefore the best way to preserve the story of his service is by sharing the history of his regiment


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American WWII Orphans Network

July 28, 2014

Born in Chicago 1918
Supply Squadron, 17th Air Depot Group, U.S. Army Air Corps
KIA 23 April 1943
Near Benghazi, Libya


Among the articles in the August, 2014 issue of America in WWII is a one about the American WWII Orphans Network (AWON).

Among the families discussed is is our friend and neighbor Phyllis Noble’s.

For every combat pilot, as many as twelve men and women were providing support such as Phyllis’s father Russell.

In 1943 he was a victim of a booby trap left behind by the retreating Nazis in Libya near Benghazi. He is buried in the North African American Military Cemetary in Carthage, Tunisia.


LOSING DAD: Hundreds of thousands of American men left children behind when they left home to fight. Many never returned. What was it like to be young, innocent, and orphaned by war? By Allyson Patto


Currently the article is only available in the print edition.

America in WWII publishes many of its articles on their web site at a later date.


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70th Anniversary of Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion Landing on Utah Beach

July 28, 2014

70 years ago on July 25, 1944 Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion landed on Utah Beach. Among them was Private Felix A. Cizewski, my late father.

The monument to the landing of the 2nd French Armored Division six days later on August 1, 1944 marks the spot where Company C landed.

June 1, 2014: Leonard H Cizewski at the northern end of Utah Beach at the monument where the 2nd French Armor Division landed on August 1, 1944. My late father in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, landed near this site six days earlier on July 25.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson (Felix’s daughter-in-law and Leonard’s wife)


From Utah Beach Company C proceed to Transit Area B at Focarville then to Tamerville.

A map (below) at Le Musée d’Utah Beach  detailed how Utah Beach was used for troop deployment such as Company C.


072814_1641_70thAnniver2.jpg

Plan of Activities at Utah Beach, June 6 to November 4, 1944.

Orange circle: Transit Area B in Focarville from where Co. C proceeded to Tamerville.

Fair use of image © Le Musée d’Utah Beach from photo by Leonard H. Cizewski


Why Company C has Normandy Campaign Participation Credit:

Company C landed on Utah Beach on July 26, the first day of the Northern France Campaign and one day after the official end of the Normandy Campaign on July 25.

The U.S. Army defined the geographic area of the Normandy Campaign as including the waters of the English Channel.

Geographic area of the Normandy Campaign.

Public domain map from the U.S. Army Center for Military History

On July 25, Company C boarded ships in Southampton, England, leaving the soil of England, entering the geographic region of the Normandy Campaign, and earning Normandy Campaign Participation Credit.


Why Company C is so large

Company C was activated in December, 1943 with about 50 enlisted men and 4 officers.

When Company C landed on Utah Beach it had had 223 enlisted men and 13 officers.

Those additional troops most likely were detached from other Signal Service units and attached to Company C for the work in Tamerville and Valognes.

I will add to my ongoing research those attached units.


For more information:

Northern France: Includes details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville

My late father Felix A. Cizewski served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg during the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


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Another Face of a Tamerville Liberator

July 20, 2014

Wilbert Hans Hansen with Technician Fifth Grade insignia.
Undated photo © Chris Hansen

Wilbert Hansen’s son Chris Hansen found the information I have been posting about the 3110th Signal Service Battalion and the Tamerville recognition.

Chris’s late father Wilbert Hans Hansen served as a cable splicer in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion as did Felix A. Cizewski my late father.

Our fathers probably knew each other.

Chris reports that except for the photo above almost everything else regarding his late father’s service has been lost.


The town of Tamerville and my Unofficial Informal Archive of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Northwest Europe in WWII have greatly increased the visibility of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion. That facilitates making connections as the Hansen and Cizewski families have done. That also brings recognition to the service of support troops such as our fathers


For more information:

Northern France with details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


Revised October 12, 2014


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-uB

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Permanent Installation of Tamerville “Tribute to Our Liberators” Sign

July 10, 2014

The Tamerville “Tribute to Our Liberators” sign has been permanently installed on the west wall of the cemetery next to the town hall.

Sign with cemetery gate
Close up of sign on cemetery wallTamerville’s “Tribute To Our Liberators”sign on the west wall of the cemetery next to the town hall.

Click for large PDF


Photos by Georges Dennebouy

Sign © Commune de Tamerville

For more information:

Northern France with details of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion’s service in Normandy.

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville

My late father Felix A. Cizewski, served in Company C,  3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg during the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


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Genetic Cousins

July 9, 2014

Cousins
Genetic cousins Leonard Cizewski (left) and Daniel Ewenczyk.

Leonard and Daniel share a paternal ancestor from about 17 generations ago.

We estimate that to be from about 1590, about 425 years ago.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson


While in Paris we had lunch with Leonard’s genetic cousin Daniel Ewenczyk.

As part of our family history research both of us submitted DNA samples to databases. When Daniel confirmed a DNA connection, he contacted Leonard. 

We estimate that we may be about 10th degree cousins from a common paternal ancestor from about 350 years ago.

Despite our DNA distance, Daniel and I have have become friends and family.

Our DNA confirmed Cizewski family oral history that our ancestry both Slavic and Jewish.

When the Cizewski ancestors lived in Poland, the population was about 10% Jewish. The parts of Poland from which my family came were 25 to 50% Jewish.


Graph

Daniel’s graph of our DNA relationship. Click for a larger image.

The Cizewski Family is second to the right of center.The Ewenczyk family is to the left of the center.

For a detailed discussion of our DNA relationship go to: Cizewski Male DNA Analysis


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville

My late father Felix A. Cizewski, served in Company C,  3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg during the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


Revised: August 27, 2015


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-tD

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Visits to Two Cemeteries

July 7, 2014

During our trip to Normandy, we visited both an American and German military cemetery.

Normandy American Cemetery American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer (Omaha Beach)Among the graves we visited at the Normandy American Cemetery
at Colleville-sur-Mer 
(Omaha Beach) was Private Joseph M. Feinberg’s
of the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. He died on June 9, 1944,
the third day of battle and is buried close to where he fell.Either visiting
family or members of the local community decorated his marker with
stones and a yahrzeit candle.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

Approximately 11,000 American are buried Colleville-sur-Mer. Some died during the D-Day landings but the majority died during the subsequent campaigns to liberate France.

All are in individual graves in a 172 acre highly visible centrally located cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach.

Decorations are regularly placed by both family members and the local community.


German military cemetery, Mont-de-Huisnes.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

In contrast the main German cemetery for about 12,000 soldiers is on about 17 acres, about 1/10th the size of the American cemetery.

The cemetery is off the main roads in the far southwest corner of Normandy on the border of Brittany.

Instead of individual graves the bones of six soldiers are together in a vault in an above ground crypt.

The soldiers are from the 1940 invasion of France, the 1944 Normandy Campaign and liberation of France, and prisoners of war who died between the end of the war in 1945 and 1949 when all remaining German POWs in France were returned to Germany.

The minimalism of the German cemetery may be a statement about the unprovoked aggressive war of conquest and genocide in which these German soldiers died.


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Liberation of France and the memorial in Tamerville

My late father Felix A. Cizewski, served in Company C,  3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg during the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


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