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Military History/334th infantry, company L

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Question
According to my Dad's  discharge papers, I'm trying to find out about where he served in WWII. He was discharged on August 2, 1945.

Answer
Railsplitters
Railsplitters  
Gayle:

Do his discharge papers include a listing of locations he was deployed to during the war?


I will give you a brief history of the 334th Regiment.

First: Regiments were given numbers so the 334th Infantry was the 334th Infantry Regiment.

Three Regiments comprised a division.

The 334th was part of the 84th Division, called the Railsplitter Division or the Lincoln Division since ti was a National Guard division made up of units from Illinois and Indiana, the so-called Lincoln states.

The division patch was a white field with a red ax below the word Lincoln and the number 84 below.

The Division was activated in October 1942 and shipped to Europe in October of 1944.

It first entered combat in November 1944 and was in combat for 152 days.  The 84th was part of the Ninth Army and was attached to various Corps (a corp was made up of two or more divisions, and an Army was made up of one or more Corps.  Army Groups were comprised of multiple armies.

The division participated in the Ardennes (battle of the Bulge), Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns entitling your father to wear those ribbons if there are any.

The 334th, 333rd and 335th regiments comprised the division along with:

84th Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)

309th Engineer Combat Battalion

309th Medical Battalion

84th Division Artillery

325th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)

326th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)

909th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)

327th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm Howitzer)

Special Troops

784th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company

84th Quartermaster Company

84th Signal Company

Military Police Platoon

Headquarters Company

Band

A Division is the smallest self supporting unit in an army.  Meaning it has all the things it needs to be self sufficient for operations.  Smaller units from largest to smallest: Regiment, Battalion, company platoon and squad all rely on the next largest unit to provide it what it needs to operate.

A Division is organized by threes: three regiments, each regiment has three battalions, each battalion has three companies, and each company has three platoons and each platoon has three squads.

There are special platoons and squads comprised of heavy weapons that support the other three.  The idea of threes is two can be operating and the third is in reserve and can be used to exploit the success of the other two, or can be resting and refitting so that a commander can rotate the units in and out of combat in order to conduct continuous operations.

Company L was part of the 3rd battalion of the 334th.  There is a system:  A regiment had
three battalions (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) with each battalion consisting of three rifle companies and a heavy weapons company. That is, rifle companies A, B, C along with heavy weapons company D were part of the 1st battalion, rifle companies E, F, G, and heavy weapons company H constituted the 2nd battalion, and rifle companies I, K, L, and heavy weapons company M were in the 3rd.

In WWII unlike wars since Korea, our troops were in combat for the duration, there was no rotation home after a year deployment.  They were stuck until death, disablement or victory.  Period.

Now, all those other units were assigned to the Divsion headquarters and companies, or platoons from them would be attached to the Regiments as needed in order to carry out special missions or to overcome specific things, for instance if your father's regiment was attacking across a river, units from the Engineering Battalion would be attached in order to provide bridging support and so on.

Other units would be attached from higher headquarters and were:

473d AAA AW Bn (SP) (-)   
Btry B, 473d AAA AW Bn (SP)   
Btry A, 473d AAA AW Bn (SP)   
557th AAA AW Bn (Mbl)   
557th AAA AW Bn (Mbl)

Those were anti-aircraft artillery units, SP stands for self propelled and the Mbl is "mobile" meaning truck towed.  Bn is battalion, about 900 men.

Others, these are armored units or "Tk...Tank Battalions or ad hoc units from other Divisions with attachment dates.  fighting in the Battle of the Bulge was chaotic and scattered units were attached to operational divisions in order to provide them with needed supplies and support:

Br Sherwood Rangers Armd Regt   10 Nov 44-24 Nov 44 (This was a British unit during the Ardennes fighting)
1 Sq, Br 1st Engr Assault Brig (Br 79th Armd Div)   12 Nov 44-24 Nov 44
Sq B, Br 1st Lothians & Border Yeo (Br 79th Armd Div)   12 Nov 44-24 Nov 44
Co A, 771st Tk Bn   19 Nov 44-20 Dec 44
17th Tk Bn (7th Armd Div)   21 Nov 44-27 Nov 44  
40th Tk Bn (- Cos B&D) (7th Armd Div)   3 Dec 44-6 Dec 44
17th Tk Bn (7th Armd Div)   9 Dec 44-16 Dec 44
701st Tk Bn   10 Dec 44-20 Dec 44
771st Tk Bn   20 Dec 44-22 Mar 45
Task Force Dean (3d Armd Div)   23 Dec 44-22 Jan 45
�2d Bn, 32d Armd Regt (3d Armd Div)   23 Dec 44-22 Jan 45
�3d Bn, 36th Armd Inf (- Co I) (3d Armd Div)   23 Dec 44-22 Jan 45
Task Force Richardson (3d Armd Div)   1 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
�3d Bn, 32d Armd Regt (3d Armd Div)   1 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
�1 plat, Co A, 23d Armd Engr Bn (3d Armd Div)   1 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
�1 plat, Co A, 703d TD Bn (SP)   1 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
771st Tk Bn   2 Apr 45-30 Jun 45

There were other attachments and DEtachments.  Battalions from your father's Regiment were attached to other divisions as needed.

You can see those dates here:

http://www.history.army.mil/documents/ETO-OB/84ID-ETO.htm


There is a table on the link above that lists the location of the command posts of the 84th division as it moved across Europe.  This will give you an idea of where they fought.

Briefly, they came in through Omaha beach 4 months after D-day.  they moved through France into the Neatherlands, and Germany, withdrew to Belgium in response to the German attack in the Ardennes, then through Belgium and then into Germany through the Rhineland, and across Germany to Westphalia on to Hannover, and they stopped in Magdeburg where they met the Russians advancing from the east.

Here are some good sources:

http://www.history.army.mil/index.html  You can query for the regiment or the campaigns list previously and get more details on where the regiment fought.  

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