A history in objects...

The US Army's 29th Infantry Division has a long and illustrious history.
However it will for ever be remembered for its ordeal on Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy on 6th June 1944.

Below is the WW2 history of the Blue & Gray Division illustrated in military memorabilia...

Featured Item
January 1st, 201
7

 

 'HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 115th Infantry'

This Christmas card was sent home by Cpl Edwin Fellencer of the 115th Infantry Regiment's 2nd Battalion Headquarters Company on 2nd December 1944...

At the end of 1944, Fellencer had been with the Division in England and all campaigns in France and Germany...

 

 

 

 'The Bedford Boys'

This pre-war M1926 Service Coat was worn by a member of Company A, 116th Infantry Regiment, stationed at Bedford, VA.
At the time A/116IR was still a National Guard unit.

This unit spearheaded the attack on Omaha Beach and took tremendous casualties within minutes of landing.
19 young men from Bedford were killed that day.

Insignia include numbered brass collar discs and 116th Inf Regt crests on the lapels.

The black tie and leather Garrison Belt are typical for the early WW2 period.

 

 'Souvenir Pillow Cover'

These kind of souvenir Pillow Covers were made for just about every unit in the US Army during WW2 and were available from shops at posts and camps throughout the US.

This particular cover honoring Mothers and Fathers with a specific reference to the 29th Division was available from Fort Meade, Md where the 29th Division trained in 1941.

 

'29th Marked Musette Bag'

This M1936 Canvas Bag generally referred to as a Musette Bag has been marked with the 29th Divisional insignia and the name 'Douglas'. It is not clear whether Douglas is a first or surname, and sadly the original owner of the bag remains unknown...

The M1936 Musette Bag was issued to Officers and mounted troops during WW2.

 

 'Fort Meade'

In early February 1941, National Guard units found themselves inducted into full time service of the United States by Act of Congress.

All National Guard units of the 29th Division were soon underway towards Fort George G. MEADE in Maryland, where training and preparation for battles still more than three years away, began on February 24th. At this time the 29th Division was still a 'square' Division with two Infantry Brigades (58th & 88th) with additional Artillery and Support units.

To allow for better knowledge of the Division, Divisional HQ provided the men with a booklet describing the Division's structure, its traditions and history. It was compiled by Captain Francis LUTZ, of the 111th Field Artillery, who acted as Divisional Public Relations Officer...

 

 'HQ, 224th Field Artillery Battalion'

This Easter V-Mail Card was sent home by Robert V Yeuell on 2nd April 1943.

A native of Wakefield, MA, Capt Yeuell, an Artillery Forward Observer, was killed in action on November 18, 1944 at Siersdorf, Germany.
He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

He is buried in the Margraten ABMC cemetery in the Netherlands.

  Yeuell's nickname within the division was "Yogi.

 

 'Service Company, 116th Infantry Regiment'

Tailor made IKE-jacket worn by Capt Charles Powell.

Capt Powell led the 116th Infantry's Service Company on D-Day.
He worked as a lawyer after WW2 but remained an Officer in the National Guard .

 

'29th Marked Helmet Liner'

To enhance team spirit while training in England and to boast unit pride, Division Commander General Gerhardt ordered everyone in the division to apply the divisional insignia to their helmets and any replacement had his helmet marked as soon as he arrived in the unit. Insignia were either stencilled or painted by hand.
Click here for WW2 footage showing the insignia being applied...

The above liner is a mid WW2 production with a screwback Lt bar added.

 

 'Jacket, Field, od'

The olive drab Field Jacket, commonly known as the M1941 was issued to just about everyone in the 29th Division during WW2.

Its tan color standing out in the green fields and woods of Europe, sometimes jackets were worn inside-out or camouflaged with paint.

Although it was replaced by the M1943 Jacket towards the fall of 1944, many could still be seen near the end of hostilities.

 

'King Company, 175th Infantry'

This letter was sent home by William Braverman of K Co, 175th Infantry on June 1st, 1944 just prior to embarking for Normandy . Before the invasion K Company was stationed in Penzance and moved to Marshalling Area E14 on 18th May 1944.
The Company boarded Landing Ship Tank (LST) 337 at Trebah for the trip to Normandy on June 2nd, 1944.

This could very well have been Braverman's last letter but he survived the invasion only to be severely wounded during the fighting between Isigny and Catz on 9th June. He returned to the Regiment in November 1944 and was again wounded in the bitter autumn battles.

The Officer who examined the content of the letter before it was sent out was K Company's 2nd Lt Paul Condon. Condon was a Platoon Leader during the invasion and would be wounded on several occasions during WW2.
He also served as K Company's XO and as an instructor in the 29th Division Training Center in December 1944.

 

 'Bloody Omaha, June 6th 1944'

This GI is representative of the American soldier of the 29th Infantry Division who landed on the beaches of France on D-Day, June 6th, 1944.

The uniform consists of the standard Wool M1941 set.
The Divisional insignia is sewn on the left sleeve and painted on the M1 Helmet. The helmet chinstrap is attached under the chin per General Gerhardt's orders.

 

 'Baker Company, 116th Infantry'

As a Pfc in Company B, 116th Infantry, William Chipps attacked Omaha Beach right behind A Company which suffered horrific losses upon landing.

Like so many 29'rs, William Chipps didn't make it through D-Day and was killed on that faithful June 6th, 1944. He was 19...
After being temporarily buried in Normandy, his remains were transported back to the USA in 1947.

 

 '116th Infantry Regiment Assault Troops'

One would be hard pressed to find a more iconic D-Day related item than the Assault Jacket worn by first wave assault troops on the beaches of Normandy on 6th June 1944.

The Assault Vest was rushed into production in early 1944 and was shipped to England to be distributed right before embarkation in late May.

Considered to be an ideal way to carry an extensive load of ammunition and equipment, most troops found it to be too heavy, hot and cumbersome to wear. When wet, the quick-release straps were hard to undo and many men drowned in the surf struggling with the heavy weight. Those that made it across the beach soon discarded the vest.

The Assault Jacket will forever be linked to Operation Overlord.

 

 'HQ Company, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry'

M1928 Haversack used by a member of HQ Company, 1st Battalion of the 116th Inf Regt, which landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
This Sgt made it safely across the beach to the base of the cliffs but was killed in the afternoon action on June 6th, 1944.

 

 'How Company, 116th Infantry'

Private Milo Radwan landed with H Company, 116th Infantry in the second wave on Omaha Beach and was hospitalised after being slightly wounded on D-Day.
He returned to the Division in December 1944 and was again sent to the rear as a Non-Battle-Casualty (NBC) in March 1945 by which time he had been promoted to Pfc.

His Soldier's Individual Pay Record shown left was opened on 19th September 1945, and shows he was still a member of the 29th Division at that time.

According to his pay record, by then Radwan had 2 years and 9 months of Army service under his belt. This is confirmed by his Immunization Register listing all inoculations since December 1942.

Pfc Radwan served as an Ammunition Bearer and a Heavy Machinegunner...

 

'HQ Battery, 224th Field Artillery Battalion'

This M1 Helmet Liner was worn by Pte Morris C Cameron, an artilleryman in the 224th Field Artillery.

After the Normandy invasion, Cameron was severly wounded in action in the subsequent fighting in France on June 26th, 1944. He returned to the Division in September and was again wounded near the end of the war.

This liner is an early Inland production and was retrieved from Normandy in the 1980s.

 

 'Mike Company, 115th Infantry Regiment'

PFC William Ayers wore this M5 Assault Gas Mask ashore on D-Day in Normandy where he discarded it soon after landing.

Ayers was a 'Light Truck Driver' in Company M of the 115th Infantry, the Heavy Weapons Company of the 3rd Battalion.
While the Infantry Companies only had two Jeeps and trailers, the Heavy Weapons Companies used numerous vehicles to transport their Machine Guns and Mortars and most likely PFC Ayers would have been driving a Jeep.

 Ayers was wounded in the subsequent fighting in November 1944.

 

 'Fox Company, 115th Infantry Regiment'

The coat shown left was worn by 2nd Lt William Corbett.

Lt Corbett was a Platoon Leader in Co F/115IR on D-Day and was wounded on Omaha Beach. Company F landed in the second wave at approximately 1030Hr.

After D-Day he ended up in hospital and dropped from the 29th Division rosters.
He was discharged as a Captain in the Military Police in 1945.

He died in 1954 at just 34 years of age and is buried in California.

 

'729th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company'

The large 1/200.000 4' x 2'6" map of the Normandy invasion area was carried by Warrant Officer Junior Grade Harry Parsons during the European Campaign in WW2. Printed by the US Army Map Service in 1942, it shows the Cherbourg/Rouen area of France and was copied from a 1938 French (Michelin) map.

Harry Parsons was a National Guardsman before the war and served with the 29th Division's 729th Ordnance Company throughout WW2.

 

 'Charlie Company, 175th Infantry'

This Service Coat was worn by a member of C Company of the 175th Infantry Regiment.

The combination of insignia seems to indicate the uniform was worn early during WW2 in the US and again upon the wearer's return from Europe. The collar discs have both regimental and company numbers and the lapel crests for the 175th Infantry are also attached to the uniform.

Awards consist of a Combat Infantryman Badge, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal and the ETO Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star and Bronze Arrowhead for the Normandy Invasion.

 

 'Service Battery,
227th Field Artillery Battalion'

Delos Hellengreen started service in the Air Corps but was transferred to the 29th Division before the Normandy invasion. He served as a Sgt in the 227th Field Artillery until the end of hostilities.

Shown are his Army Pay Record and Driver's Permit, and his 'St Lo Certificate' which was awarded to every 29'er who made it from D-Day to St Lo.

The bible, fitted with a metal 'Heart Shield' was a birthday present from his mother in January 1944.

 

 'Replacement'

Service Coat worn by Sgt William J Hassinger who served as an Infantryman in the 29th Division.

Hassinger was 20 when he enlisted from New Jersey in November 1943.
Most likely he was a post-Normandy replacement filling in voids in the battered Infantry units of the Division in the Summer of 1944. He went through some arduous combat for which he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and was wounded twice.
The insignia on his uniform show he participated in three campaigns and served one year in the ETO.

Sadly to date no further information on William Hassinger has surfaced.

 

'Hedgerow Hell'

During the heavy fighting towards St Lô, the owner of this canteen narrowly escaped injury or worse when a bullet struck and pierced his canteen.
The GI, with an unconfirmed 29th Division connection, sent it home as a souvenir after inscribing the name 'St Lô' and '1944' on it...This bullet-pierced canteen illustrates just how hazardous the fighting in the Normandy hedgerows actually was.

 

'Charlie Company, 175th Infantry'

Nelson Horan was a S/Sgt in C Co, 175th Infantry when he was Wounded In Action on August 1st, 1944.
He was hit in the right arm by an artillery shell fragment.

The Emergency Medical Tag (EMT) shown above was filled out by the Combat Medic administering first aid and completed on the back allowing to follow Horan's treatment and evacuation from the battle field.

 

 'Love Company, 115th Infantry'

In October 1945, Earl Sheetz from the 115th Infantry sent this V-Mail home asking not to send any more  Christmas packages as he would be home by Christmas.
But as the 115th Infantry was amongst the last units of the 29th to leave the ETO, sailing from Bremen on January 3rd, 1946 and arriving in NYC on the 15th, Sheetz didn't make it on time...

Earl Sheetz was a replacement and became a member of the 29th on the 16th October 1944.
He was wounded in the heavy November fighting
but returned to his unit and survived the war.

He was from Reading, Pennsylvania.

 

 'Able Battery,
224th Field Artillery Battalion'

A picture and letter of S/Sgt Millard Patterson who served in the 224th Field Artillery.

Patterson wrote on the photograph it was taken in Germany when in fact he was still in the Netherlands on 14th November 1944.

Dozens of Allied soldiers had their picture taken near the staircase of the Waltmans photography shop in Brunssum.

For more WW2 pictures taken at the same location and a view of the surviving staircase, please click Here!

 

 '29th Wool Overcoat'

A wool overcoat worn by a Staff-Sergeant on the trip home at the end of the war.

While these overcoats are often seen during winter combat, their use by the 29th Division in the field seemed to have been limited.

Insignia include rank, a very nice early Divisional patch and 4 Overseas Bars indicating 2 years of service in the ETO.

The buttons on the coat are made of plastic rather than brass.

 

 '29th HBT Shirt'

WW2 GIs were issued fatigue uniforms consisting of a shirt and trousers in herringbone twill (HBT) . These were sometimes worn in combat in summer in lieu of the standard wool uniform of the era.

This HBT shirt was worn by a Sgt of the 29th Division in WW2 and the divisional insignia has been applied by paint on the left sleeve.

 

 'HQ, 111th Field Artillery Battalion'

This damaged copy of the 29th Let's Go Newsletter was kept as a souvenir by Chief Warrant Officer Meyer Jacobson of the 111th Artillery. Jacobson was a pre-WW2 National Guardsman and remained with the 111th during the war. During the Division's period in England he managed the Divisional basketball team for which he was commended by General Gerhardt.

This newsletter was printed on Tuesday September 19th, 1944 describing victory in Brittany after the fall of Brest. About three months of continuous fighting came to an end with the taking of Brest, a battle which had resulted in tremendous losses for the Division.

After the Brittany campaign, the Division travelled through France and deployed to the Netherlands.

 

 'Jacket, Field, M-1943'

The M1943 Field Jacket was introduced to replace all other jackets in use in 1944. With its larger cargo pockets, better cut and darker color, it was much more suited for everyday wear by the combat soldier on the battlefields of Europe.

The M1943 Jacket first appeared on replacements during the Brittany Campaign and became a common sight in the 29th Division later on, although some earlier models continued to be worn right up to the end of the war.

This jacket has the Divisional patch on the left shoulder but sadly its wearer remains unknown.

 

'King Company, 115th Infantry'

Dog Tags and aerial photo/map of Delbert German who served in Companies K and L of the 115th Infantry from September 1944 through the remainder of the war.

The aerial photo shows the Broich and Hasenfeld Gut area with information on German positions and defenses added so it could be used in preparation of subsequent operations. This particular region saw bitter fighting by the 29th in late 1944. This photo/map was prepared by the 62nd Engineer Topographic Company, which relayed on information from the Prisoner Interrogation Teams of G2 Section of XIXth Corps in November 1944.

 

 '116th Infantry Regiment'

Only Enlisted Men wore the Regimental Crest (DUI) on the Garrison Cap while Officers wore rank insignia on theirs.

This high-quality Officers' cap was worn by a Captain in the 116th Infantry Regiment and the owner has proudly attached a regimental crest to the right side of the cap. The gold and black piping found on Officers' caps is also clearly distinguishable.

The 116th Infantry would spearhead the  attack on Omaha Beach and take tremendous losses on the first day of the invasion.

 

'King Company, 175th Infantry'

Pvt Daniel Gibeault was a member of K Co, 175th Infantry during the entire European campaign and was wounded several times in combat. Like many 'High Point' 29'rs he returned home with the 69th Infantry Division in the summer of 1945.

The IKE jacket above sports the 29th divisional insignia on the right shoulder as a 'combat' patch.
Note how it is worn upside down, so that the blue faces forward.

 

'King Company, 116th Infantry'

Technical Sgt Frank D Peregory of K Co, 116th Infantry was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his daring action at Grandcamp on June 8th 1944. Sadly he would not live to receive the award because he was killed in action only a week later on June 14th.

The paper above is the original two page War Department Press Release dated 29th May 1945 describing the action and announcing the posthumous award. Before going overseas Peregory had already been awarded the Soldier's Medal for rescuing a fellow-infantryman during a training accident.

 

 '121st Combat Engineer Battalion'

This Officer's coat was worn by a Lt of the 121st Engineers.

Of special interest are the medal ribbons which are attached to a separate piece of cloth sewn onto the coat. The presence of the Good Conduct medal would indicate the GI rose from enlisted ranks and received a 'battlefield commission' during the war. The American Defense and American Campaign medals confirm service in the National Guard at the outbreak of WW2.

The 121st Combat Engineer Battalion supported the assault on Omaha Beach and upon heavy fighting breached the D-1 Exit towards Vierville on D-Day.

 

 'Special Staff, Divisional HQ'

M1938 Leggins worn by Capt, later Major Gardiner who was the Division's Civil Affairs Officer at the time of the Normandy invasion.

Before WW2 Asa Gardiner was a S/Sgt with the 110th Field Artillery of the VA NG.
When the 29th Division was activated he received a commission as 2nd Lt and subsequently left with the 110FA towards England.

By the time of the Normandy invasion he is listed as the Divisional Civil Affairs Officer (G-5) and the May 1945 rosters show him as a Major...

 

 'HQ&HQ Battery, 110th Field Artillery Battalion'

This M3 Trench Knife was carried by S/Sgt Joseph Applebaum.

Sgt Applebaum was an NCO in HQ&HQ Battery of the 110th Field Artillery Battalion which supported the 115th Infantry with artillery fire.

Applebaum marked the scabbard with his name and service number and scratched his initials in the knife's grip.
The knife is blade marked and made by Case
.

 

 'How Company, 175th Infantry'

Wool shirt worn by Clyde Kidwell who was inducted on 5th June 1943 and served with the 29th throughout WW2 in Europe.

Clyde Kidwell was a Heavy Machine Gunner in Company H of the 175th Infantry Regiment.
Company H was the Heavy Weapons Company of an Infantry Regiment's 2nd Battalion.

 

 

'29th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop'

The above items belonged to Wallace (Wally) L Davis of the 29th Divisional Reconnaissance Troop.

The grouping includes pictures and insignia, Wally's Military ID card, his coveted 'St Lo Certificate' and a captured German flag signed by different members of the unit in 1945.

 

'Service Company, 175th Infantry Regiment'

The pictures, insignia and dogtags shown above all belonged to Bernard Nowakowski who served with the 175th Infantry throughout the war. A native of Baltimore, Nowakowski was a pre-war member of the Maryland National Guard and remained very active in the 29th Association after the war.

 

'How Company, 175th Infantry'

The Military ID-card and insignia above belonged to Jacob Rosenberg who served as a Light Mortar Crewman in Company H, the Heavy Weapons Company of the 175th Infantry Regiment.

Rosenberg was wounded in Normandy in July 1944 and returned to the unit in time for the Battle for Brest in September. He was again wounded in November 1944 and near the end of the war he was promoted to Staff/Sgt and served as a Squad Leader.

The insignia cut off a uniform illustrate Rosenberg's service with the 29th. Of special interest is the green 'Leadership' tab which was worn below the rank insignia by Enlisted Men. As so many 'High-Pointers' in the Division, Rosenberg was shipped home with the 69th Division in 1945.

 

'How Company, 175th Infantry Regiment'

The Bronze Star Medal above was awarded to 1st Lieutenant Millard R York who served as a Platoon Leader in How Company, 175th Infantry right after the end of the war. Millard York originally fought with D Company of the 69th Division's 271st Infantry Regiment. Along with many others from the 69th Division, Lt York transferred to the 29th for occupation duty right after VE-Day while High-Point 29'rs returned to the US with the 69th.

Also shown is the Distinguished Unit Insignia for the 175th Infantry Regiment bearing the number 5 referring to the 5th Maryland Infantry (aka Baltimore's 'Dandy Fifth').

 

 '110th Field Artillery Battalion'

Although this coat bears insignia of the 110th Field Artillery of the 29th Division, it was worn by Fred Whitt, an Artillery Forward Observer, of the 283rd Field Artillery during the war.

The 283rd FA fought all over Europe in 1944-1945 and was attached to multiple units amongst which several armies and Divisions, including the 29th...

Either he chose to add the 29th insignia for the return to the US, or the jacket was used by another 29th Artillery Officer during or just post WW2....

 

 'Football Game Poster'

Right after the end of WW2 in Europe the US Army started both Baseball and Football Leagues with units competing against each other in stadiums all over Germany.

The 29th Division's 'Varsity' Football Team played their home games in the Bremen 'IKE' stadium. The Bremen Enclave was home to the 29th Division from May 1945 until its departure from the ETO in January 1946.

This poster anounces the opening game of the 1945 season, a game between the 29th Division and the 3rd Infantry Regiment.

 

'Able Company, 121st Combat Engineers'

Duffelbag used by S/Sgt Wright on the trip home from Europe in December 1945.

The bag is marked with different shipping instructions and labels and was to be forwarded to Sgt Wright's home address in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Shipping Labels also show a captured Luger pistol was carried home as a War Trophy...

 

'Sweetheart Pin'

This miniature Divisional insignia was usually bought by the GI as a present to his loved ones who wore them visibly in public as a token of love and support for their relative in the Service. Attached to the short chain could be a Regimental badge or as in this case a small version of the Service Flag (aka the blue star mothers' flag) for a son serving in the Armed Forces. A gold star showed the son had died during his service.

 

 '29th, Let's Go.... HOME!!'

Publishing of the 29th Newspaper was continued aboard ship on the way back to the USA in December 1945 and January 1946...

The 29 We're Going leaflet shown was printed and distributed on the USS Lejeune somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Monday 31st December 1945.
It contains news flashes about the situation and Europe and predicts arrival at New York on Friday 4th January 1946!

With 1661 miles to go, the 29rs on board receive New Years' wishes from the editor!

 

 'Honorable Discharge'

GIs who were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces at the end of the war were issued a cloth patch to be sewn above the right breast pocket of the uniform and also a brass Lapel Button to be worn on civilian attire.

Some of these 'Ruptured Duck' pins were made with a screwback type fastening which allowed them to be attached to a miniature insignia of the outfit the soldier served with.

The lapel button on the left is attached to a 29th Division enamel plaque so even out of uniform the veteran could still proudly show his pride in the 29th...

The Separation Record on which the insignia is presented belonged to an E/116th Infantry soldier.

 

'29th Battle Map

This 5' long cartoon style map showing the 29th Division's WW2 campaign from the early training days right through the end of the war in Europe was given to 29'rs that were part of the Division in 1945.

The first two parts of this graphic history were printed by the 669th Engineer Topographic Company in January 1945 and a third part showing the subsequent battles was added to the right in the Summer of 1945. The middle part also lists some impressive records of the Division between 6th june 1944 and 01st January 1945.

While the first two parts are not that rare, the supplement on the right is rather uncommon...

 

 

All items shown are from the webmaster's private collection unless otherwise specified

 

 

29th Infantry Division Links

29th Books by Joseph BALKOSKI

29th Division Document Library

29th Infantry Division Historical Society

29th Infantry Division WW2 History

29th Infantry Division Archives on Facebook

29th Infantry Division Living History Group (US)

29th Infantry Division Re-enactment Group (UK)

 

 


This page will be regularly updated with a new 29th Item!

 

 Please go to the next page for other items from the collection