You are here:

Military History/My Father's unit (WWII) this Father's Day?



My Father, Anthony Dombrowski is a 91 year old World War 2 veteran of the Army of the United States. He served in the E.T.O.  His serial number is 11075127, his rank was T-5. He entered and separated from the Army at Fort Devons, MA.  I am researching his military service.  I have his official records and I had a really great shadowbox made up for him years ago.

He served the entire war with the Army Ordnance Corps' 538th Heavy Maintenance (Tank) Company (Independent), a Captain White, commanding.  Dad eventually became the leader of the Tool Section as he was already a trained and experienced tool & die maker and was a good soldier.

He came ashore on Normandy on D+28 and his company were assigned to the U.S. Third Army. He has many wonderful memories of Army life and has always been very proud of his service.  Unfortunately, he helped liberate a death camp and suffered his entire life with PTSD from the horrors he witnessed.

He, his four brothers and all his five brothers-in-law all served and survived WWII, although his younger brother Eugene Dombrowski, US Army Air Corps, serving in the CBI Theater, committed suicide FORTY years after the war ended with his Model 1911 service pistol.  Several of my cousins served in Vietnam with one K.I.A. and I followed into the US Air Force Reserve in the eighties.

I have found the following quote, although I apologize for not remembering to note the author's name, I'm sure they will not mind...

...US Army European Theater of Operations World War II. One problem had been plaguing the armies for some time the shortage of Ordnance service units, particularly tank and other heavy maintenance companies, depot, evacuation, and ammunition companies. COMZ agreed at the conference to assign to the armies from its own service troops a limited number of those most urgently needed.5

Before the November offensive began in the Ninth Army sector, Warner received three companies that had an interesting history, one depot, the 333d, and two heavy tank maintenance, the 554th and 538th. They had been training under heavy security wraps for eighteen months to support the American force that was part of the British Canal Defense Light project. When 12th Army Group, unable to find any use for the CDL tanks because of the fast-moving action in the fall and summer of 1944, disbanded the project force on 4 November...

Any information would be greatly appreciated.  My Father is a good man and I am proud to be his son.

- Stephen Anthony Dombrowski 16 JUN 13


It is an honor to be of service.  CDL is short to Canal defense Light.  Basically large spot lights on tanks to blind attacking aircraft.  The British used illusion and spot lights to prevent the Germans from bombing the Nile river traffic and the Suez Canal.  Once the D-Day invasion was on the need to protect bridges, canal and other water ways in France was very important.  So specially trained troops with tanks armed with Spot lights would light the night sky to make it hard for German bombers to find there targets.  However after the D-day invasion the Luftwaffe was mostly withdrawn back to Germany to defend cites from allied bombers.  So the need to CDL tanks was removed.  CDL tanks were used again once the Allied troops reached the Rhine River.  The Germans put in an all out effort to destroy the Rhine Bridge so the CDL tanks were used to again protect the bridges.  
A truly fascinating part of World War 2 history that sadly has not told in great detail.  

Please check out the links and Thank you

Military History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Paul Sutton


I can answer questions on World War Two weapons, tactics, and strategy. I can answer questions on Weapons systems and their development. I can answer guestions on Space exploration history. I am a World War 2 expert. I study Military Weapons Systems and the usage of those systems.


I work for Saint Petersburg College as a TRS or Technology resources specialist. I read 10 to 15 books a year on World War 2 and weapon systems. I also have a BA in History from USF.

I have a BA in history from USF.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]