Archive for the ‘U.S. Army Signal Corps in WWII’ Category

70 Years Ago Felix and the 45th Signal Company Cross the Rhine

March 24, 2015

Gorak_crossRhine1[1]

DUKW (amphibious 2½ ton truck) transporting a 105mm howitzer and men of the 158th Field Artillery Battalion, 45th Infantry Division over the Rhine. (See glossary below for meaning of DUKW.)

This may have been about the same place where the 45th Signal Company crossed and some of the DUKWs that transported them

No photos have been found of the 45th Signal Company crossing the Rhine.

Fair use of photo from the collection of Edwin Gorak

On March 25, 1945 the 45th Signal Company received a DUKW to use in the laying of communication cables across the Rhine.

Early on the morning of March 26 the construction section laid two cables across the Rhine. The telephone section crossed and established switching central on the east bank of the Rhine.

The conditions under which the men of the 45th Signal Company laid those cables were life threatening.

While the ground fighting had moved east, the Nazis were still firing artillery and rockets and launching air attacks at the Rhine crossings.

Along with the risk of drowning they also risked hypothermia, frostbite, or immersion (trench) foot. The water temperature was probably 32° F (0° C) and the March air temperature averaged about 41° F (5° C).  My late father Felix A. Cizewski would have been very aware of that as he had just returned to duty after recovering from severe frostbite 3 months earlier.

On March 27, the rest of the 45th Signal Company crossed the Rhine and set up the normal Command Post communications systems in Zwingenberg.

Several Nazi soldiers surrendered to members of the company.

The company reported that their trucks and other vehicles were in bad shape because of constant use. A jeep threw a rod.

I do not know in which section of the 45th Signal Company my late father Felix A. Cizewski served so I do not know if he crossed the Rhine on March 26 or 27.


Glossary:

What does DUKW mean?

D = built in 1942

U = amphibious 2½  ton truck

K = front wheel drive

W = rear wheel drive


Acknowledgements:

The detailed information about the 45th Signal Company’s crossing of the Rhine is from the March, 1945 Company History which Dave Kerr obtained from the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

A discussion with free lance writer Anne Gafiuk resulted in the addition of details of the life threatening conditions under which the 45th Signal Company worked.

The details with links about DUKWs was in response to a question from Jeff Spitzer-Resnick.


Links, sources, and more information:

Felix A. Cizewski and the Central Europe Campaign


Revised: March 26, 2015

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Ho

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70 and 150 Years Ago: Two Promotions

January 26, 2015

70 years ago on January 1, 1945, Felix A. Cizewski, was promoted to Private First Class.

He was serving in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Army Service Forces in Paris. He was in a hospital recovering from frostbite.

He is my late father.


munichapriljuly45 1jan45promotion

LEFT: Private Felix A. Cizewski on

occupation duty in Munich between

April and July, 1945.

From the collection of Felix A. Cizewski

© Leonard H. Cizewski

RIGHT: Unit Morning Report recording

his promotion.

Public domain image

150 years ago on January 26, 1865, Anson Croman was promoted to corporal.

He served in Company F, 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade, First Division,  IX Corps, Army of the Potomac. At that time the 20th Michigan was part of the Union siege of Petersburg  near Battery Nine just south of the the Appomattox River on the northeast edge of the city.

Anson Croman is Cheryl A. Robinson’s 2nd great-grandfather and my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


croman Promotion rotated 90 degress

LEFT: Corporal Anson Croman

© The descendants of Anson Croman

RIGHT: Official certificate of promotion.

Public domain image

Links, sources, and more information:

Felix A. Cizewski and WWII

Anson Croman and the Civil War


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Gs

70 Years Ago: Felix Assigned to the 45th Signal Company

January 25, 2015

70 years ago on January 16, 1945 my late father Felix A. Cizewski had recovered from frostbite to his hands and feet.

During WWII, while recovering from wounds, injuries, or illnesses, soldiers were removed from their units so replacement could be assigned to fill their place.

After recovery they were not returned to their units and instead reassigned to other units.

After Felix was discharged from an Army hospital in the Paris area he was reassigned to the 3rd Reinforcement Battalion, 16th Reinforcement Depot.

In late January, 1945, the 45th Infantry Division was taken off the front line.

1,000 replacements were assigned to the 45th.

Among them was Felix who on January 29th was transferred from the 3d Replacement Battalion to the 45th Signal Company in bivouac at  Petersbach, France.


Petersbachcropped
“Petersbach, France”
in Felix’s handwriting
on the back.

GIs in the background.

From the collection of Felix A. Cizewski
© Leonard H. Cizewski

The 45th Signal Company was responsible for connecting 45th with its Corps and connections between Division Command Post and all of the support units that were part of the division headquarters such as medical, engineers, and quartermaster.


Links, sources, and more information:

Felix A. Cizewski & the WWII Rhineland Campaign


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-G8

Paris 1944: Felix Hospitalized With Frostbite

December 4, 2014

Seventy years ago on about December 10, 1944, Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, was admitted to a U.S. Army hospital in Paris with severe frostbite to his hands and feet.

In his letters Ray Davidson of Company A, 3110th Signal Service Battalion reports increasing rain and dropping temperatures in Paris.

In Citizen SoldiersStephen Ambrose  reports “It was Northern Europe’s coldest winter in forty years…”


FROSTBITE RISK

These photos are from the about same time and near place as Felix and Company C served

None of these photos are of Felix A. Cizewski or Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

The following two illustrate the type of work that Felix and Company C, the Open Wire Repair Section of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion, were doing when Felix suffered frostbite.

frostbitecroppedbfw

Signal lineman repairs wire in the Ardennes.

Public Domain photo from The Signal Corps: The Outcome (Mid-1943 through 1945),  p. 160.

splicecroppedbfw

European Theatre of Operations, December, 1944. Soldier traces a broken field wire for splicing.

Public domain U.S. Army photo from: The story of the U.S. Army Signal Corps between pages 114 & 115.

TRENCH (IMMERSION) FOOT RISK

 riverbfw

During cold weather Signal Corps personnel needed to work in and around water such as swimming wire across the Moselle River.

Public domain photo from:  The Signal Corps: The Outcome (Mid-1943 through 1945),  p. 132.

britishsignals

British or Canadian Signalmen using amphibious DUKWs and Weasels to work in areas flooded when the Germans blew up nearby dykes.

Early February, 1945, in the Netherlands along the Nijmegen-Cleve road near the German border town of Kranenburg

Imperial War Museum photo from The Rhineland 1945: the final push into Germany (Praeger illustration military history), Ford, Ken, 2004, Osprey Publishing, p. 48.


Felix said that the Army doctors told him that they might need to amputate part of all of his hands and feet.

However, night after night, after the American doctors had gone, a captured German doctor working in the American hospital massaged Felix’s hands and feet with a special salve.

Eventually Felix healed enough to avoid amputations and return to be reassigned to the 45th Signal Company.

A captured American soldier with “frozen feet” reported that from German medical supplies, the German guard gave him “something that looked like axle grease…which we rubbed on our feet.” (From Alex Kershaw in The Longest Winter, Da Capo Press, 2004, page 168.) Could this be the special salve Felix described that the German POW doctor used?


coldinjurybfw

Medic treating GI with trench foot and cold injuries to his hands and face. This illustrates what Felix might have suffered and the treatment with a salve.

Diorama in the Truschbaum Museum, Camp Elsenborn, Belgium. (Photo used by permission.)


FELIX’S POST FROSTBITE RAYNAUD”S SYNDROME SYMPTOMS

Felix’s wife  reports that the skin on his feet were fragile and tender for several years after the war.

For the rest of his life, he suffered from a post frost bite syndrome with symptoms that resemble Raynaud’s Syndrome.

The circulation shut down in his hands and feet whenever the weather turned slightly cold but painless. I remember in the winter his hands up to his wrists were cold, cyanotic with poor skin turgor.

R. Richard Kingsbury in his autobiography, The Eighteen-Year-Old Replacement: Facing Combat in Patton’s Third Army describes suffering cold injuries, possibly trench foot. After the war, the VA paid him two 10% disability for the permanent damage to his legs and feet. (Page xiii.)

Felix was an unrecognized and uncompensated disabled veteran.

At a minimum, that is what I believe Felix also deserved if not more as his hands were also permanently damaged.


Links, sources, and more information:

3110th in Paris

Signal Corps personnel and cold injuries

Trench (Immersion) Foot

Felix A. Cizewski: An Unrecognized and Uncompensated Disabled Veteran?


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-EP

The 3110th in Paris

December 3, 2014

Seventy years ago sometime prior to December 10, 1944, the detached unit of Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion left Cherbourg for Paris and rejoined the rest of the battalion.


felix001_thumb.jpg

1944 or 1945:

The only photo of Felix A. Cizewski in Paris.

He is standing in front of a building below a Salle de Réunion sign (meeting rooms for rent) with security gates over its windows.

Date and unit are unknown.

Felix was in Paris in the late fall of 1944 with the 3110th and in March, 1945 while on leave from the 45th Signal Company.

Photo © the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and Leonard H. Cizewski


Corporal Ray Davidson of Company A reports that the 3110th worked from a building near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

They were first housed in a hotel near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Their hotel had electricity only a few minutes per day and no hot water.


DSC01477

June, 2014:

Seventy years later. Felix’s son Leonard on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées near where Felix served.

Since the exact building that the 3110th used may are not known, I decided that the best I could do was to stand under a sign on the Avenue.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson


Later the 3110th moved to a school near a race track. Hotels near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées were needed for combat troops on leave.

Corporal Davidson reported that the public transportation system was not working and bicycles were the main means of transportation.

Goods were scarce.

Sidewalks cafes were open but not night clubs or movies theatres. A couple of theatres were showing news reels.

He reports that after they first arrived they had to wait in long lines for their meals and the meals were initially “skimpy”. Their meals improved when the battalion was assigned a restaurant with French cooks.


ray001

October, 1944:

The the only documented photo of the 3110th in Paris.

Corporal Ray Davidson of Company A in Paris.

Photo © Charles N. Davidson


Links, sources, and more information:

3110th in Paris

The WWII Letters of Ray Davidson were compiled by his nephew Charles N. Davidson. Charles privately published them for his family and families of the 3110th.


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the the memorial in Tamerville, part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of France.

My late father Felix A. Cizewski served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville, Cherbourg, Paris providing communications and logistical support for the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-EL

1943 Thanksgiving at Camp Crowder

November 25, 2014

71 years ago on November 25, 1943 Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, celebrated Thanksgiving with his unit, Company E, 840th Signal Training Battalion, at Camp Crowder, Missouri.

This was an especially profound observance as they knew they were at the end of their training and about to be assigned to a unit and deployed out of the country, probably to Europe.


thanksgiving1[1]

Cover of Company E, 840th Signal Training Battalion November 25, 1943 Thanksgiving Program.

Included a Thanksgiving message from their commander, the menu, and unit roster.

Larger and complete six page program is at:

Thanksgiving Menu and Roster


In December, 1943 they were transferred to Camp Wood, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey  and assigned to the 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

In February, 1944 they boarded a ship to Great Britain.

Six months later in July, 1944 Company C deployed to Normandy followed by the rest of the battalion in August.


Links with sources and for more information:

Camp Crowder, Missouri

Felix A Cizewski:

At Camp Crowder

Deployment to England


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Ev

The Continuing Journey of Company C: Paris and Cherbourg

September 16, 2014

Seventy years ago on September 15, 1944, Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion changed its duty station from Cherbourg to Paris. Companies A and B were already in Paris.

Company C sent 4 officers and 32 enlisted men to Paris.

The rest of Company C remained in Cherbourg detached to other Signal Corps units.

Two officers and 64 enlisted men were detached to the recently arrived Company A, 810th Signal Service Battalion.

Company A, 810th Signal Service Battalion operated the telephone and teleprinter sections and the repeater station of the Cherbourg Switching Center.

Company A and the detached men from Company C also constructed a building to house communications equipment along with recreation hall. That work was done during heavy rains.


Questions For Further Research:

What are the other units to which members of Company C attached?

When did the detached units rejoin the rest of the battalion in Paris?

Where and with which unit was Felix A. Cizewski, my late father? In Paris or with one of the detached units in Cherbourg?


Morning Report for Company C for September 15, 1944:

View this document on Scribd

Acknowledgement:

Thanks to retired U.S. Army Colonel Hugh Foster for assisting by for working with me on the September 15, 1944 Morning Report for Company C.


For more information:

Source for the information about the 810th Signal Service Battalion: Ytterdal, Kelda, Hold Firm: World War II – 810th Signal Service Corp  Kindle Edition.

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

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


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-z8

Companies A & B, 3110th Signal Service Battalion Deploy to Valognes

August 25, 2014

When Company A with Felix A. Cizewski deployed to Normandy Companies A & B remain in southern England providing communications support for the liberation of Normandy.

Seventy years ago on August 24, 1944, Companies A & B crossed the La Manche (the English Channel) to Utah Beach in LCI(L)-417 (Landing Craft Infantry [Large}).

Six days earlier Company C had left Tamerville for redeployment to Cherbourg.

Another Tamerville Liberator
ray
Charles Raymond (Ray) Davidson
1907 – 2004

Company A, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Army Service Forces

Company A had about 200 men and officers responsible for operation, repair, and maintenance of telephone equipment.

Company B was responsible for the operation, repair, and maintenance of teletype and cryptographic equipment (cipher machines).

In a letter home, Ray Davidson described being bivouacked in an apple orchard.

He states that rather than work in the Valognes communications facilities, they were temporarily bivouacked until their deployment to Paris on September 5.

He observed that “some of the …towns and countryside around here…might have seen some action at one time or other”

The Army Service Forces headquarters and faculties were moving from Normandy to recently liberated Paris.


For more information:

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

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


Shortlink

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Revised August 25, 2014

Penknife from the "Café de l’hôtel de Ville de Cherbourg"

August 21, 2014

Seventy years ago between August 18 and September 15, 1944, Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, obtained a penknife (canif) from the Cherbourg Café de l’Hôtel de Ville (city hall). He was serving in Cherbourg in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

I found it after my father died in 2004.

I took it with on our trip to France.

After the Tamerville ceremony, I gave to the penknife to researcher Claude Letellier.


From left to right:

Not in photo to the left: Remy Agnes’s granddaughter who translated as I gave Claude the knife. Remy is a researcher and witness of WWII in Tamerville;

With his back to the camera: Mickaël Simon, researcher and author;

Leonard;

Unidentified Tamerville area resident;

Behind unidentified resident: Julie Waldner, granddaughter Sgt Francis Hugo Schultz. Sgt. Schultz’s C-47 was shot down on D-Day near Tamerville and he was captured;

Remy Agnes;

Claude Lettelier;

With her back to the camera, Joanne Schultz, Sgt. Schultz’s daughter and Julie Waldner’s aunt.



Until we got our rental car, Claude was our chauffeur and guide.

Among the places he took us was to the Signal Corps bivouac site.

With his metal detector Claude found artifacts that helped confirm that he and the other researchers had identified the bivouac site of Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, my father’s unit, and other Signal Corps units.

Claude gave me one of the many 18th century French coins he had found with his metal detector.

He showed us a concrete structure built by the Nazis to hide their rockets. It is now being used as a farm machinery shed.

He pointed areas of Valognes that had been destroyed and rebuilt.

He drove us to the Cherbourg train station to pick up our rental car.

He shared that scenes from the 1964 movie Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) were filmed at that station.Just prior to our trip and as part of our study of French, Cheryl and I had watched it.

Claude assisted the rental car company staff to set the GPS navigation to English and to enter the location of our bed and breakfast in Valognes.

Claude became the friend who would best appreciate my dad’s Cherbourg Café de l’Hôtel de Ville penknife.


Seventy years late in June, 2014:

Leonard at the Cherbourg l’Hôtel de Ville just north of the Café de l’Hôtel de Ville where his father Felix obtained penknife in August or September, 1944.

Photos by Cheryl A. Robinson


De Gaulle

August 20, 1944: General Charles de Gaulle speaking from the balcony of  l’Hôtel de Ville.

My father and Company C had arrived two days earlier on August 18.

Public domain photo from U.S. National Archives.

(Link to larger image.)


Links with sources and for more information:
Cherbourg 1944: port de la victoire published by La Presse de la Manche.

The 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Normandy

Cherbourg Photos from the collection of Felix A. Cizewski

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 the memorial in Tamerville, part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of France.

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


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Revised: November 14, 2014

Company C deploys to Cherbourg

August 18, 2014

Seventy years ago on August 18, 1944,Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, and Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, were redeployed from Tamerville to Cherbourg.

American combat troops entered Cherbourg on about June 24 cleared most of the city by the 26th, and secured the surrender of the last resistance on the 27th.

Prior to their surrender the Nazis destroyed much of Cherbourg’s port. Reconstruction began immediately as Army and Navy construction units entered Cherbourg as soon as it was secured.

By July 8, the Americans began to bring in supplies through the port of Cherbourg.


cherbourg7

Felix (left) in Cherbourg with three other GIs and three friends.

Felix appears to be cold. His collar is turned up as tight as it can be around his neck. The French women have long coats.

Sources state that the weather during the Normandy and Northern France Campaigns was frequently overcast, drizzly, and cool. Storms often blow in from the North Atlantic such as from the one from June 19 to 22, the worst gale in 40 years.

Note the poles and lines in the background to the right. When possible the U.S. Signal Corps used existing French civilian and German military communication lines. Often they need to upgraded or replace them with U.S. equipment.

If those poles and lines are new, they may have been installed by Company C as it was the battalion’s “wire and pole” unit.

Photo © Leonard H. Cizewski

Felix and four other GIs next to a camouflaged concrete Nazi structure in Cherbourg.

Felix is standing in the back row first man on the left.

The GIs in the above photos and several other of Felix’s Cherbourg photos may be members of Company C and Tamerville liberators.

Photo © Leonard H. Cizewski


June, 2014: Leonard H. Cizewski on a street in Cherbourg that his father may have walked 70 years earlier.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

For more information:
Cherbourg 1944: port de la victoire published by La Presse de la Manche.

Seebees (U.S. Navy construction units) at Cherbourg: Scroll down to paragraph 21 in the SEABEES IN THE ATLANTIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS section of History: Formation of the Seabees and World War II.

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

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


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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