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12th Armored Division >> General Discussion >> Searching for information on Ernest V. Kessler, 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, Company A, to include KIA burial location in Europe.
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Author Topic:  Searching for information on Ernest V. Kessler, 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, Company A, to include KIA burial location in Europe.
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posted 8/10/2010 9:20:41 PM  Reply w/Quote
I am researching information on my granduncle Ernest V. Kessler, 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, Company A. He was killed in action, but I am not sure where in Europe. It is my understanding, by word of mouth from family members, that he was killed when a building collapsed on him during battle, but I am not sure if this information is accurate. He was buried overseas with his fellow fallen soldiers, but I am not sure where. Any help on locating the gravesite and information on Ernest V. Kessler would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Brian


MikeWoldenberg
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Member # 16

Posts: 859
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 8/11/2010 1:10:26 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Dear Brian, I Googled American Battlefield
Monuments Commission. I entered your great uncles name. He was buried in the Lorraine
Cemetery in St. Avold, France. His serial
number is 33558089. He died on January 18,
1945. He is buried in Plot J, Row 13, Grave
9. Also, he earned the Purple Heart.

From Jan.8 through Jan. 20th, or perhaps a
few days later, the 12th Armored was being
mauled by several German Divisions. The Germans created a bridgehead over the Rhine
at Gambsheim in Alsace Lorraine. The biggest
part of the battle centered around Herrlisheim (near Strassbourg, not
near Colmar). Many .members of the 17th were
caught in the open near the Steinwald Forest.
on January 18. Many were killed, and many captured. The
23d tank battalion lost all of its tanks.
Your uncle might have been killed in that field, or it is possible he was killed in
a building, although from what I have read,
the battle on the 18th was in the open. But
I am not an authority.

There is a new book about this battle: CROSSING THE ZORN. There are many personal accounts in that book. The book is available from the 12th Armored Museum in Abilene, or from Amazon.

Read the story on the left column: DEATH OF AN AMERICAN COMBAT COMMAND. Go also to BOOKS AND WRITTEN EXPERIENCES, and search for memoirs from the 17th. See what George Hatt wrote. Go to the left column and
listen to what the men of the 17th had to say.

Contact the Unit representative to the Hellcat News:

Bill Funke: 970 482 0255
fwilliam46@msn.com

Ask him for George Hatt s email, and also
Charlie Fitts and any others from your
uncles company. I believe you said it was A.

I am now in Europe for 2 weeks and have no materials with me, other than the aforementioned book.

Mike Woldenberg



MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 859
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 8/12/2010 9:01:27 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Brian, I discovered that the Steinwald
battle was on January 16, and the 17th
AIB withdrew from Herrlisheim on January
17th. By the 18th, they were in Weyersheim
a few miles to the west. Your great uncle
could have been killed in a building
between the two towns, or perhaps in Weyersheim. I say this because his official
date of death was one day after his battalion
left Herrlisheim. George Hatt would be a good contact, and also Bill Funke, although he was captured on January 17. Both men are
still living and can advise you on your next
steps. You might go to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland and look for information there. St. Louis also has
archives, but I have not been there and I am not sure they are user friendly.

My information came from CROSSING THE ZORN.
Mike Woldenberg

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 859
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 8/12/2010 10:47:44 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Also, contact Bob Stanton, A 17.

727 309 3675

and Ed Waszak A 17

edzak44@aol.com

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 859
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 8/14/2010 2:42:40 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
George Hatt was in company A, 17th AIB

He was there and could probably help.

fgeorgehatt@sbcglobal.net

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posted 8/16/2010 3:20:35 PM  Reply w/Quote
Mr. Woldenberg,

Thank you for all the information. I was able to view and read about the history of Lorraine Cemetery, it is outstanding. I plan to contact Mr. Hatt to see if he remembers my granduncle’s passing in attempt to narrow down where (which battle) he lost his life. Reading some of Mr. Hatt’s accounts it seems there were many engagements throughout the days when my granduncle was killed. I will try the National Archives as well; I would imagine the military would document the location of the death, but maybe not back in 1945. Thank you again for your help.

Brian


MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 859
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 8/16/2010 4:30:46 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Brian, You are most welcome.

My guess is that your great Uncle died
on the way to Weyersheim from Herrlisheim.
Or, in Weyersheim. There is a picture
of a destoyed house between the two towns in
CROSSING THE ZORN. The battle must have
been fought between the two towns.

Mike