505th Engineer Light Ponton Co – June 1944 – April 1945 (ETO)

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Bridges-&-Engineers-WW-2-001 (Our River)

October 1944

Original Unit Designation : 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company; Date of Organization : May 15 1942; Place of Organization : Camp Gordon, Georgia; Authority of Organization : General Order #15, Hq Eastern Defense Command and First Army, dated May 15 1942. Sources from which original personnel were obtained, Officers : Company Commander, Capt Archibald E. Sutton (0-304319), C.E. by transfer from the Engineer Replacement Training Center, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Executive Officer : 1/Lt Gerald L. Bilbro, C.E. by transfer from the 75th Engineer Light Ponton Company, Camp Beauregard, Louisiana. Platoon Commanders and Motor Officer : By assignment from the Fourth Engineer Officer Candidate School, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, as follow : Francis F. Carnes, 2/Lt C.E. (0-1100038); James J. Carnes, Jr, 2/Lt (0-1100039); Burrel D. Carney, Jr, 2/Lt C.E. (0-1100041) and Francis M. Carson, 2/Lt C.E. (0-1100043).

Enlisted Cadre of Twelve (12) NCO’s by transfer from the 75th Engineer Light Ponton Company, Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, in May 1942 as follow : 1/Sgt Morton Kamm, (6878116); M/Sgt George Underwood (0000000); Mess, S/Sgt John W. Pritchett (6966756); Supply, S/Sgt William Blankenship (0000000); Motor – S/Sgt Kenneth F. Whitehead (33035175); 1st Platoon – S/Sgt Carlton L. Allen (6994429); 2nd Platoon – S/Sgt Thomas L. Beckman (6974589); 3rd Platoon – Sgt Earl Northrup (32033188); Mechanic – Cpl Ival Cooper (32035482); 1st Cook – Pvt Sec 3rd Cl Stanislaus J. Andersiak (R-2340718); Cook – Pft Spec 4th Cl J. B. Walker (7088340), Clerk – Cpl Robert M. Mayo (7086178). Two (2) Mechanics by assignment from the Engineer Heavy Equipment School, Fort Belvoir, Va, on May 15 1942, as follow : Pvt Balmer E. Sinegar (33118318); Pvt Harold A. Geese (38047063).



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Enlisted Fillers : The First group of Enlisted fillers consisting of eleven (11) Selective service Privates were received on September 29 1942 by transfer from Dog Co 82-OD Battalion, Camp Gordon, Georgia per SO 54, 3rd Hq & Hq Detachment Sp Troops, 2nd Army, dated September 29 1942. The second, and principal group of Enlisted Fillers, consisting of 210 Selective Service Privates, were received by transfer from the 1222nd Reception General, Camp Upton, New York, sated December 3 1942.

Changes in Organization during Period : Company assigned to 1105th Engineer Combat Group and assigned to First United States Army during entire period.

Strength : Commissioned and Enlisted. Officer Strength at beginning of Period – 6 : Francis M. Carson, Capt, (0-1100043) Company Commander; Gilbert E. Moore, 1/Lt, (0446357) Executive Officer; Howard D. May, 1/Lt, (0-1110097) Platoon Commander; John A. McDonald, 1/Lt, (0-1115692) Platoon Commander; Randal Holden, 2/Lt, (0-1114169) Platoon Commander; Clifton M. Hanks, 2/Lt, (0-116497) Platoon Commander (Lt Hanks was lost to Hospital on October 6 1944 due to injuries received in a vehicle accident).

Enlisted Strength, Beginning of Period : Present 201 – Absent 1, Increase during Period 2 : Pvt Herman Davis (15063856); Pvt Harry C. Parmer (33802679). The two Enlisted Men assigned to organization by 3rd Reinforcement Depot and reported for duty October 8 1944. Decrease during Period : none. Enlisted Strength of Company at End of Period : Present 203 – Absent 1.

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Stations : The Company was located at Vierset Barse (K-274123) Belgium, during the entire period.

Operations during the Period
The two Bridge Platoons were engaged during the entire period in the transportation of Engineer Supplies and Equipment from various sources into the 1st Army Engineer Depot’s at Modave, Belgium, and later during the month, on up the new location of the Depot at Montzen. The vehicles of these two platoons were kept going continuously, stopping in the bivouac area only to sleep, or have repairs made. Most of the time the demand for this equipment was normal; the trucks being run only during the day. Occasionally, when certain materials would be needed more urgently, hauling was continued at night. On Oct 28 1944, the Company took over the guard and maintenance job on a Class-40 Armored Steel Treadway Bridge in Liège. This detail utilized half the personnel of one section. While the job itself was not difficult, life in Liège was most unpleasant due to the heavy V-1 buzz bombing attacks. Refresher training on Infantry Support Raft and Infantry Footbridge construction and operation was conducted by the Light Equipage Platoon at a training site on the Meuse River in Huy. Also the Light Equipage Platoon provided Infantry Support Rafts, outboard motors and outboard motor operators to A Company of the 61st Engineer Combat Battalion to assist them in experimental work on construction of Floating Boom Cables. This experimental work was also conducted on the Meuse River in Huy and was in preparation for the Rhine River crossing.

Francis M. Carson
Capt 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company
Commanding

(Photos Source : Ira Brown Jr. My father, Ira Brown served in the 505-ELPC. I have compiled the 505th’s history utilizing Company Histories from the National Archives, Dad’s letters and pictures, and internet research. Big thanks to Neil Cohen for contributing pictures of the 505th from his father Abe Cohen. I would love to share this research with those who served in the 505th or their families. Please contact me if you have any information or photos or if I can help you with your research. Ira Brown Jr.email or 505-ELPC)

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November 1944

Original Unit Designation : 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company; Date of Organization : May 15 1942; Place of Organization : Camp Gordon, Georgia; Authority of Organization : General Order #15, Hq Eastern Defense Command and First Army, dated May 15 1942.

Change in organization during the period : Unit attached to 1105th Engineer Combat Group for entire period.

Strength : Commissioned and Enlisted : Francis M. Carson, Capt, (0-1100043) Company Commander; Gilbert F. Moore, 1/Lt, (0-446357) Executive Officer; Howard D. May, 1/Lt, (0-1110097) Platoon Commander; John A. McDonald, 1/Lt, (0-1115692) Platoon Commander; Randal Holden, 2/Lt, (0-1114169) Platoon Commander. Enlisted Personnel : Beginning of Period – 204; Increase during Period – None; Decrease during Period – 3 : Pvt J. B. Walker, (7008340) Transferred in Grade to 1278-ECB per par 6, SO 304, Hq. First US Army, dated November 5 1944; Pvt Bilik Mike Jr, (33033881) Transferred in Grade to 62-ETC (Topographic) and Pfc Patsy J. Colontonio, (32643658) Lost to Hospital as Non Battle Casualty. Strength at End of Period – 201.

Stations (Perm. or Temp.) of unit or part thereof : Vicinity of Vierset Barse (K-274123), Belgium, from beginning of period until November 10 1944. This station at Vierset Barse was the Company’s last outdoor encampment for the winter. Vicinity, Huy, Belgium, from November 10 1944 until end of period. The station in Huy consisted of two large three story private homes on Avenue Godon, along the Meuse River, and a smaller house in the rear, which was used as a CP, Supply Room and PX. Fist Bridge Platoon : At company vicinity Huy from beginning of the period to November 14 1944. Vicinity of Verviers with Baker 49-ECB, from November 14 1944 until end of period.

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Operation During the Period
For the most part during the first phase of this period, the two Bridge Platoons were engaged in transporting Engineer Equipment and Supplies to and from Engineer Depots E-6 vicinity Modave, and E-7 vicinity Montzen, and various other locations. On November 13 1944, the entire First Bridge Platoon was placed on operational DS with Baker 49-ECB located in Verviers to assist in road construction work by hauling rock and other construction materials. Also the Company was engaged in the following activites : Guarding and maintaining a Class-70 Bailey Bridge across the Meuse River in Liège; Guarding and maintaining a Class-40 Armored Steel Treadway Bridge on the Meuse River in Liège. This detail also called for opening and closing the bridge twice a week to allow river barges, usually loaded with coal to pass through; Supplied infantry support rafts, outboard motors, and outboard motor operators to the 164-ECB, and the 61-ECB, to assist in experimentation on floating boom cables. These experiments were both conducted on the Meuse River, the 61-ECB in the vicinity of Huy and the 164-ECB in the north of Liège; Supplied a Crane and two operators to assist the 49-ECB in engaging operations west of Aachen, Germany; Broke in and serviced 57 – 22 HP outboard motors for the Army Engineer Depot. This work was done at the training site on the Meuse River, in Huy; Engaged in some Infantry Assault Training on the Meuse River in Huy. Special emphasis was placed on bringing outboard motorboat operators to a higher degree of proficiency, and in training additional operators; Some Footbridge Construction Company encountered a stream with a relatively swift current. All previous training had been conducted on still water Lakes or slow moving streams such as the Thames and Severn Rivers in England.

During the 1st half of this period the company was in an outdoor bivouac at Vierset Barse, Belgium, a small village about 9 miles from Huy. While it was cold at night and damp almost all the time, the men made themselves fairly comfortable by living under their truck tarps on the bows placed on the ground, spreading straw over the floor, and buying or improvising beaters. Toward the middle of the month however, it became so cold, and in fact on one occasion snowed, and the bivouac became such a quagmire, that billet were secured in Huy. Entertainment in the form of movies and USO shows were occasionally available at Vierset Barce, and more frequently available at Huy. Many men of the Company made acquaintances with the village folk in Vierset Barse, and in later months some, while on pass, came back to visit.

Francis M. Carson
Capt 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company
Commanding

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December 1944

Original Unit : Designation : 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company; Date of Organization : May 15 1942; Place of Organization : Camp Gordon, Georgia; Authority of Organization : General Order #15, Hq Eastern Defense Command and First Army, dated May 15 1942. Sources from which original personnel were obtained : Third Reinforcement Depot, First United Sates Army.

Change in organization during period : On December 24 1944 the unit was relieved from attachment to 1105th Engineer Combat Group, and attached to the 1111th Engineer Combat Group, which was in turn, attached to VII Corps, per par 15, Troop Assignment #3, (Administrative) Hq. VII Corps file 370.5, dated December 28 1944

Strength : Commissioned and Enlisted : Francis M. Carson, Capt, (0-1100043) Company Commander; Gilbert F. Moore, 1/Lt (0-446357) Executive Officer; Howard D. May, 1/Lt (0-1110097) Platoon Commander; John A. McDonald, 1/Lt (0-1115692) Platoon Commander; Randal Holden, 2/Lt (0-1114169) Platoon Commander. On December 19 1944, 2/Lt William H. Meier (0-1592436), joined the organization from 3rd Reinforcement Depot having been assigned per par 15 SO 211, Hq 3rd Reinforcement Depot, dated December 15 1944.

Enlisted Strength : Beginning of Period – 201; Increase during Period – none; December 4 1944; Pvt Fred P. Benton (39410049); Pvt Cecil Perry (36346974); Pvt Peter P. Popkowski (42080880); Pvt Stephan W. Czarnecki (32644928). Four Enlisted Men transferred in Grade to this organization per par 6, SO 196, Hq 3rd Reinforcement Depot, dated November 30 1944 and arrived for duty at 1500. (Pvt Czarnecki, a former member of this unit having been originally assigned December 5 1942, had been hospitalized July 24 1944 for non-battle injuries received while the Company was engaged in cleaning out the town of Pont l’Abbé Department of Manche, France). December 30 1944, Pvt Cohen Milton (32644724) Assigned to this organization per par 40, SO 194, Hq 3rd Reinforcement Depot, dated December 29 1944 and reported for duty at 1830.

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Decrease during Period – 4; Pfc Joseph Newman (32640505) Transferred in Grade to 1105th Engineer Combat group, per par 1, SO 98 Hq. 1105th Engineer Combat Group, dated December 2 1944; T/4 James Lemmo (32644748) Lost to Hospital December 7 1944 as a result of Arico’s accidentally discharging a pistol, shooting himself through the hand, Franklin through the stomach. Strength at End of Period – 202, Pvt Cohen, originally assigned to the unit on December 5 1942 was lost to Hospital September 9 1944 because of a non battle injury received while the two bridge platoons were delivering a Floating Bailey Bridge to the vicinity of Meulan on the Seine River.

Stations (Perm. or Temp.) of unit or part thereof : Vicinity of Huy (K-230164), Belgium, from beginning of period until December 5 1944; Vicinity of La Brouke (K-533222), Belgium, from December 5 1944 to December 20 1944; Vicinity of Xhenenmont (K-643283), Belgium, from December 20 1944 until December 24 1944; Vicinity of Terwagne (K-308087), Belgium, from December 24 1944 until December 26 1944; Vicinity of Nandrin, Belgium, from December 26 1944 until end of period. Fist Bridge Platoon, Vicinity Verviers (K-732262), Belgium, from the beginning of period until December 18 1944. Second Bridge Platoon, Vicinity Dolhain-Limbourg, Belgium, (K-732262) from beginning of period until December 18 1944

Motor Marches, Purpose : To re-locate Company with the 1111th Engineer Combat Group and VII Corps, to which the Company had been attached. Instructions to move were contained in Field Message #590, Hq. 1105th Engineer Combat Group, dated December 24 1944. Length of March is approximately 36 miles. Points between which marched : Vicinity Xhenenmont (K-643283) to vicinity Terwagne (K-308087), December 24 1944. Conditions of Roads and Weather, Roads : Dry, while Weather : Shies were perfectly clear, and blue, the sun was bright and temperature was well below freezing.

Remarks : The above march was made at a time when the German Offensive power, following the Ardennes Breakthrough the previous week, was still high. The German Air Force was up in comparative strength. During the course of this march numerous ‘dog fights’ were observed off the South and east of the route of march. On two occasions, two German fighter planes came close to the column. Since it appeared that they were coming to strafe, several Cal .50 machine gunners opened up on them, but with no results. However, the planes never did open upon our column, and one was definitely seen going down as a result, presumably, of other AAA fire. The above was the only motor march the company made as a complete unit during the period. All other changes of location were accomplished by infiltration of small groups, usually a section at a time.

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Operation During the Period
At the beginning of the period, the company was mainly engaged in hauling various types of Engineer Supplies for the Combat Engineer Battalions of the 1105-ECG. The First Bridge Platoon was on operational DS with Baker 49-ECB, remaining at this job until the morning of December 18 1944. The work engaged in there consisted almost solely of hauling rock, slag, and cinders to construct roads in an Ammunition Dump in the area between Herve, Battice, Soumagne, and Verviers, Belgium. The Second Bridge Platoon was operational DC with the 61-ECB, likewise remaining there until the morning of December 18 1944. The work consisted of hauling road material and cinders fro various construction, road maintenance and repair job being performed by the 61-ECB.

Fourteen trucks of Light Equipage Platoon did hauling work for the 300-ECB, from beginning of the period until. These vehicles and drivers were scattered out through the Battalion, four or five being on operational DS with each Company. The work consisted of hauling metal for road construction, and hauling timbers to sawmills operated by the battalion to be cut up for lumber. Four outboard motor operators and some Infantry Support Raft Equipment worked with the 61-ECB and the 164-ECB on Floating Boom Projects at training sites on the Meuse River until December 18 1944. Assault boats and other Infantry Support Equipment was loaned to the 1111-ECG and the 552-EHPB (Heavy Ponton), for training purposes during the same period. A detail of one half section was placed as a maintenance guard on a Class-40 Steel Treadway Bridge over the Meuse River in Liège from the beginning of the period up until December 12 1944 when the bridge being no longer needed, was dismantled and returned by the Company to the Engineer Dump E-7, vicinity Montzen. During the period prior to dismantling the bridge, the maintenance detail opened the bridge twice the weekly to allow river traffic to pass through.

From December 6 1944 to December 15 1944 an outboard motor school was conducted by the Light Equipage Platoon Commander and six outboard motor operators at a training site in the vicinity of Cheratte (K-524327), Belgium. The school was conducted for the purpose of training twenty men of the 61-ECB in operation and maintenance of the 22-1/2 HP Outboard Motor. On December 18 1944, then First Bridge Platoon trucks were dispatched to Spa to assist in moving the 654-ETB (Topographic). Twenty additional trucks were dispatched to Stavelot to move the First Army Map Depot, but were unable to get in Stavelot due to tactical situation. These twenty trucks were then diverted to Spa, and assisted moving the 654-ETB to its new location, vicinity Hannut (K-123337). All trucks returned to Company on December 21 1944. On December 18 1944 the Light Equipage Platoon vehicles were dispatched to Engineer Dump E-41, vicinity Elsenborn, to move equipment there to a new location five miles South of Verviers. While loading equipment at Engineer Dump E-41 Camp Elsenborn, the Light Equipage Platoon was subjected to strafing and bombing by enemy aircraft, but no casualties were sustained. Removal of equipment from this forward dump was completed on December 20 1944. Upon completion of moving the 654-ETB from Spa to Hannut, the First and Second Bridges Platoon were loaded with Fixed Bailey Bridge at E-41, vicinity Jalhay (K-760184) and returned to the Company area on December 21 1944. The Light Equipage Platoon was reloaded with basic equipment and vehicles remained in the state to the end of the period.

Francis M. Carson
Capt 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company
Commanding

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January 1945
Original Unit : Designation : 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company; Date of Organization : May 15 1942; Place of Organization : Camp Gordon, Georgia; Authority of Organization : General Order #15, Hq Eastern Defense Command and First Army, dated May 15 1942.

Changes in Organization : Company attache to 1111th Engineer Combat Group at beginning of period. Company relieved from attachment to 1111th ECG and attached to 1106th ECG, 4 January 1945 per par e, & 2 e, Engineer Operations Memo. N° 88 Hq VII Corps, dated January 4 1945

Officer strength at beginning of Period : Francis M. Carson, Capt, (0-1100043) Company Commander; Gilbert F. Moore, 1/Lt (0-446357) Executive Officer; Howard D. May, 1/Lt (0-1110097) Platoon Commander; John A. McDonald, 1/Lt (0-1115692) Platoon Commander; Randal Holden, 2/Lt (0-1114169) Platoon Commander; William H. Meier, 2/Lt (0-1592436) Supply Officer. No Change during Period

Enlisted Strength : Beginning of Period – 202; Increase during Period -. T/4 Lemmo James (32644748) Assigned to this organization per par 10, SO 20 Hq. 3rd Replacement Depot January 20 1945; Pvt John A. Shannon (33416724) Assigned to this organization per par 33 SO 18 Hq. 3rd Replacement Depot January 19 1945; Pvt Bernard I. Stumborg (37613879) Assigned to this organization per par 37 SO 18 Hq. 3rd Replacement Depot January 17 1945.

Decrease During Period : S/Sgt James H. Krothe (6947066) Placed on TD with Reception Station N° 2, Fort Dix, New Jersey for 30 days rest and recuperation per par 1, SO 4 Hq XVIII Corps (Airborne) AOP 109, US Army January 7 1945; Pvt George L. Mc Nealy (36517988) Lost to Hospital as non-battle Casualty January 21 1945; Pcf William E. Bettis (13019408) Placed on TD with Reception Station, Fort Meade, Maryland, for 10 days rest and recuperation per SO 12, Hq VII Corps, APO 307, US Army January 27 1945; Pvt Sigmund Czelusniak (20517515) Paced on TD with Reception Station, Camp Atterbury, Indiana, for 10 days rest and recuperation, per SO 12, Hq VII Corps, APO 307, US Army January 27 1945; Pfc James R. Mitroff (13010519); Pfc Warren S. Sekkford (13006055); Pvt Alfred Veneziale (13026508). Above 3 Enlisted Men on TD Reception Station, Fort Dix, New Jersey, for 10 days rest and recuperation, per SO 12, Hq VII Corps, APO 307, US Army January 27 1945. Pvt John F. Neve (39680392) Lost to Hospital as non-battle Casualty January 29 1945. Net Loss – 5. Enlisted Strength present for duty at end of Period – 197.

Stations : At beginning of Period, unit stationed in a Chateau at K-344142 vicinity Nandrin, Belgium. On January 11 1945, company moved to K-4404 Hamoir, Belgium. On January 15 1945, company moved to K-487023 Ferrières, Belgium

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Operations During Period
On January 5 1945 a 60 Ft. Double Single Bridge was delivered to the 300-ECB by First Bridge Platoon and constructed by Baker 300-ECB at Xhout-si-Plout P-570914

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Note : Tightening riband bolts and inspecting the completed 60 foot double, single Bailey Bridge at Xhout-si-Plout, Belgium, 5 January 1945. Photo : Riel Crandall 300-ECB in WW-2

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Note : Working on traffic funnels and spreading non-skid material on the 60 foot double, single Bailey Bridge at Xhout-si-Plout, Belgium, 5 January 1945. Photo: Riel Crandall 300-ECB in WW-2

Later on January 5 1945, a 100 Ft Triple Single Bridge was delivered to the 300-ECB by Second Bridge Platoon and was constructed at P-612910. 300-ECB in WW-2

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Note : A Baker Company 100 Ft Triple Single Bailey Bridge build by the 300-ECB somewhere around Manhay. Photo: Army Signal Corps

 

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