Posted 11 months ago
Like Dave and his uncle, I was looking at my dad’s wartime album and some of his letters this Independence Day, and had decided to post a few – what a surprise that Dave beat me to it!
First photo is a commendation my dad’s anti-aircraft battery received for an action that happened on 24 April 1945. Based on the unit and the date, my research shows that the fight that day was for the Dillingen bridgehead, a crossing point on the Danube River that was strongly defended by the Germans.
The second photo is a letter from my dad to his best friend dated May 3rd. Strangely, it is typed – the only letter I have from that time that is not hand written. Dad hints that much had happened, but has to leave out the details due to the Army censors. I should mention that dad was a West Virginia coal miner before the war and a bit short on formal education - but he was smarter than many of the folks I’d meet in college. The Eileen mentioned in the letter was his first wife, and a nurse.
The third photo is of dad’s wartime vehicle, The M16. This was a standard M3 halftrack adapted to carry a quadruple mounted M2 .50 caliber machine guns. The weapon was also found to be effective against ground targets, and you can see where the armor panels are hinged along the sides so they could be dropped to allow the guns to depress. This and the use of the halftrack to evacuate the wounded lead to Dad’s AAA (Anti-Aircraft Artillery) unit being nicknamed "Anti Anything Anywhere”
The last photo is of a destroyed aircraft. I don’t know if this happened in the same engagement. I do have other photos of dad’s unit's aircraft “Kills” that were kept with the commendation, so I believe they did happen that day, but a couple of them are a bit graphic so I put them in photobucket. I debated if I should post them, but they are the reality of what happened:
(deleted, see below)