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Military History/Military qualifications and date on honorable discharge papers


Hi Keith:  My dad served in WWII …
147th engineer combat battalion.  
Date of induction Nov. 27, 1944
Date of departure May 1, 1945 Arrive ETO May 9, 1945  
Departure Aug.1 1946 Arrive USA Aug.11, 1946
He was a truck driver, light 345 .
Sadly he passed 1 1/2 years ago and while I have some information from him, theres so many unanswered question that one thinks of when its too late.  With that said, I've reached out to several people and have received no answers.  
Im hoping you might be the right contact!
For starters, I'd like to know the following:
On his Enlisted Record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge (number 31) reads Rifle M1 MKM 158 22 Dec 44…..can you explain the MKM 158
I have a photo with his travels but I'd love exact path of his battalion….is this possible to research.
I have info such as his training was at Camp Blanding…Left from Fort Dix on the il de france.
Fought in the Battle of the Bulge…, the "red one" and fought under General Pattons 3rd Army
Id greatly appreciate any information you can provide.
Anxiously awaiting
Deborah and (Steven - my bother)


The M1 MKM means he was qualified as a marksman on the M1 Garand Rifle.  In basic training after being taught to shoot, they would shoot to qualify.  You could shoot a score to qualify from highest to lowest:  Expert, Sharpshooter, Marksman.   The badge that you were authorized was a Maltese cross beneath which you would hang a weapons bar of those weapons upon which you had qualified.

Your father got into the war relatively late.

His Battalion, landed at Omaha beach in 1944 and suffered pretty heavily.  They lost over 45 men before setting foot on the beach on Dog White Beach.  they helped capture the town of Vierville and climbed the cliffs of Point du Hoc with the Rangers.

"Activated 29 January 1943 at Camp Swift, Texas as the 1st Battalion, 147th Engineer Combat Regiment. Reorganized and designated 1 April 1943 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 147th Engineer Combat Battalion. Departed the New York Port of Embarkation on 8 January 1944 and landed in England on 17 January 1944. Committed to combat in the European Theater of Operations and landed in France on 6 June 1944. The unit was at Bettinghausen, Germany at the end of World War II (15 August 1945 location)."

The bottom line is that the war in Europe ended the day before your father arrived in the continent.   May 8th the Germans surrendered.  So he would not have see any combat.

He could not have fought in the Battle of the Bulge as that occurred in the winter of 1944.
He didn't get to Europe till the following spring.

If the Battalion ended up in Bettinghausen, the he was attached to the First Army, not the Third, under Patton.  The First US Army was under Hodges.  Bettinghausen was in the First Army area of operations.  Check out the maps in the history document below.

If you look closely at figure 14-15, click on it to enlarge it.  Now look along the fold between the two pages.  You will see a Town called Paderborn  just right of Lippstadt.

Bettinghausen is near there.  You can see that the First Army, which had crossed the Rhine at Remagen, encircled the German Army Group B in the Ruhr area and moved north to take Paderborn.  All this happened in March-April.  Map 24-25 shows the movements in April when they moved to link up with the Russians.

After the surrender, your father's unit was pulled back to Bettinghausen for occupation duty.  It might be that there was a German kasern, or army camp there that they occupied.

Sorry to deflate your expectations.

Your father did mostly occupation duty.  Its probably a good thing.  Late 1944 the army in Europe was losing a lot of men, even after the Battle of the Bulge, pushing the Germans back to where they started cost a lot of lives:

"An official report by the United States Department of the Army lists 108,347 casualties, including 19,246 killed, 62,489 wounded, and 26,612 captured or missing.[119] A preliminary Army report restricted to the First and Third U.S. Armies listed 75,000 casualties (8,400 killed, 46,000 wounded and 21,000 missing).[120] The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest battle for U.S. forces in World War II."

So it is lucky your father missed it.  The Army in Europe was starved for replacements so since the German Air force was non-existent anymore, they took all the soldiers assigned to anti aircraft units and made the Infantry.  Any non-essential manpower was put in the Infantry so short on replacements were they.  

So if he had not come in late in the war as he did, it is likely you might not be here to learn about it.


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Keith H. Patton


I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.


I was a history major, and had done extensive research in the subject area. I have designed and tested numerous computer games for various
historical periods.

B.A History M.S. Science
I have had the opportunity to live abroad and walk numerous battlefields both in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

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