Military History/968th Ordnance Hvy Auto Maint Co
RetiredNavyJOCS wrote at 2015-12-02 23:58:50
My father's separation papers list him as being in this company. He passed last week. He was a welder of rank Tech 4. His stories and his separation papers indicate he arrived in the European Theater on 11 Mar 1945, and leaving the theater on 11 Aug 1945.
He stated several times that he arrived at Le Harve France, and joined the near front line unit a couple days later. The Company mission was to follow right behind the battle line and retrieve damaged vehicles, repair them, and return them to front-line units. Some nights he was working with the retriever team under sporadic fire, some nights working on repairs, some nights bringing repaired vehicles back to units. During the battle for Heilbronn, the deuce and a half holding his welding machine was hit by a German mortar shell while he was next to it welding on a damaged tank engine hatch. After the battle for Heilbronn the company was given a territory approx. 10 miles square with orders to retrieve and repair all possible vehicles.
About the middle of July, the unit packed up and moved to Marseilles France. The ship departed on 11 Aug 1945 with the soldiers told the ship was traveling straight to the Pacific Theater for preparation for an invasion of Japan. While crossing the Atlantic headed for the Panama Canal, they learned of the He did fire at the enemy many times, and was under fire every few days. Many tanks, tracks, etc were repaired on-site rather than pulled back to a safer area.
Until arriving in Heilbronn, the unit usually repaired the vehicles they retrieved only a few miles back, usually out of artillery range. Only a couple times were they able to setup a proper base because the lines moved too fast. They worked at night a lot, especially on retrieval, because snipers would take aim at them in the daytime.