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12th Armored Division >> General Discussion >> Looking for information about my grandfather - Homer Overholt
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Author Topic:  Looking for information about my grandfather - Homer Overholt
TwoTwo
Junior Member
Member # 10332

Posts: 3
From: Germany
Registered: 12/13/2012
posted 12/13/2012 5:26:56 AM    Click here to view the profile for TwoTwo  Click here to email TwoTwo  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello everybody,

I am looking for additional information about the service history of my grandpa named Homer Overholt.

Problem is that I know very little about his service time despite that he was stationed in the city of Schwaebisch Hall in early 1946.

Due to the lack of documents I have done some research and found that the A-Troop of 71st Constabulary was stationed there at the time in "Camp Dolan" (later Dolan Barracks).

Is there some database or roster you can recommend for further details?

Thank you!

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/13/2012 5:56:54 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello Two Two,
I have seen no records that extend past August
of 1945. They probably exist but not among
the records of the 12th Armored. If you
go to Google and check the website for the
Combined Arms Research Library you might
get lucky. Also try the Eisenhower library
in Abilene, Texas. (I am just learning how
to use both of these).

Do you know your grandfather's Battalion
or Company during the war? I can not find his name in the big roster on this website
(to the left). Did he speak German? Could
he have been in Counter Intelligence? (CIC)?
I ask this because he was in some sort of
military police organization in January, 1946.

Yours truly, Mike Woldenberg

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/13/2012 6:00:19 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
WHOOPS!

Also try the Eisenhower library
in Abilene, KANSAS.

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/13/2012 6:20:11 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
There is a grave for Homer G Overholt in
a military cemetary in Colorado. He died at age 86 in 2007.

If this
man is your grandfather, you should get in
touch with the cemetery and find out any details about his military service, including
his Division and Battalion, etc.

M.W.

TwoTwo
Junior Member
Member # 10332

Posts: 3
From: Germany
Registered: 12/13/2012
posted 12/13/2012 10:31:16 AM    Click here to view the profile for TwoTwo  Click here to email TwoTwo  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Dear Mike,

Thanks for the quick reply!

Well, it does not seem to be that easy. I have been collecting bits and pieces but find it pretty tough to find a suitable source of information.

He surely spoke some German, yet I guess we are not looking for a military intelligence specialist but rather for an enlisted rank.

I knew about the soldier burried on the cemetery and already got in contact with them. The cemetery however does not issue any information despite "what is engraved on the tombstone"

So I know
Overholt, Homer G.
US Army CPL, WW2
dob 08/16/1921
dod 10/10/2007

I do have a SSN, yet I am lacking the service number.

Theoretically I could ask for his army records yet I'd need a service number for that.

Right now it seems to me that every time I am getting a bit closer to information I hit some wall...


MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/13/2012 9:33:23 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello Two Two, I entered Google:

"71st Constabulary" and a list of
units appears in a list. I found that
this unit had the following full name:

71st Constabulary Squadron, 771st Tank Battalion

Now this is a puzzle I worked on one year
ago. Go back on the Message Board to Dec.
26, 2011, and look for the discussion begun
by KeithT about his grandfather, Ralph Harman Miller. This is a VERY LONG DISCUSSION. It leads me to believe that
just maybe your grandfather was in a tank
battalion, and the 12th armored had 3 of
these, the 23d, 43d and 714th. Keith's
grandfather may have been in the 23d.

Read that discussion, and let me know what
you think.

KeithT
Junior Member
Member # 7467

Posts: 24
From: Baltimore
Registered: 12/26/2011
posted 12/15/2012 6:52:46 PM    Click here to view the profile for KeithT  Click here to email KeithT  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hey guys,
I still lurk from time to time, and Mike I will be emailing you shortly.

It was concluded that my grandfather, Ralph, was in the 12th from day 1. He enlisted because he did not want to be infantry, he actually enlisted with his cousin I believe who is 91 now. I have to call Herbert but Herbert went on to be a cartographer in the south pacific where he drew up battle maps for Saipan and IwoJima to name some famous spots. I wonder if he still has any?
Anyway Ralph is one of the few from the 23rd C company who made it through the duration of the war. After VE day, many men were sent to other units for occupation and Ralph was sent to the 771st Tank battalion. I believe the 12th ended up in Austria, from there he was shipped to the 771st in Poland. It was there he flushed out a German colonel and as a reward he was given the Colonels pistol (radom 9mm), the magazine, holster, belt and belt buckle along with a few pictures of the man. My mother has all the stuff mounted in a shadow box along with a 771 patch which was kept with the service weapon for over 50 years. Its the only 771 patch we have and I have several 12th patches which was with a bundle he gave my aunt.

All I know is Ralph talked about being in poland, one night he was eating popcorn with some guys and later found out they were fried grub worms, and he stopped eating them real quick. Between that story and the German Colonel, He was putting in some work in poland with the 771.

I did recently find out Ralph had a luger but before coming home he was drunk and someone stole it out of his bag...


-Keith

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/16/2012 3:18:18 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hi Keith and Two-Two,

I was looking through the Web and discovered
that the 71st Constabulary was classified
as part of the 771st Tank Battalion. I AM
GUESSING that many soldiers were reassigned to dozens if not hundreds of constabulary
(Military Police) units after the war. I ran across a list of these on the web yesterday.
For convenience, the 71st Constabulary was
assigned to the 771st Tank Battalion.
The men in the 71st Constabulary wore the
771st Tank Battalion patch on their shoulder.

One thing I do not understand: Two Two says
his grandfather was in A Troop of the 71st.
The word Troop is used in the same way
we might use the word company in this case.
If so, the 71st is similar to a Battalion.
But they are definitely part of the 771st
Battalion.

The fact that Keith's grandfather was sent
to Poland is odd. This was in the Russian
zone and I think the only he could be in
Russia is with special permission. This could be related to a mission to find
Nazi War Criminals. Keith, where was the
Naze captured? (Near any concentration camp?)

Best wishes for a Happy Holiday and best of
health in the New Year.

Mike


KeithT
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Member # 7467

Posts: 24
From: Baltimore
Registered: 12/26/2011
posted 12/16/2012 4:21:18 PM    Click here to view the profile for KeithT  Click here to email KeithT  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
hmmm,
I dont know if the officer was captured near a camp, he told me he helped liberate 3 camps I think I wrote down what they sounded like. one was a camp mentioned in Crossing the Zorn, Dachu number 6 or something? One of the camps he would mention frequently but never said much about it, i think it may have been one of the more horrifying things he encountered as if it all wasnt bad enough.

If he was in poland after the war maybe that didnt happen, he did mention being in Poland at one point. That is where it is said he picked up the pistol, and its as real as the day itself. I have documents that are stamped 771 with Ralph's name on it dating august 1945. When he was transferred I dont know but he did say he was transferred after the war. VE was what, may 8th? were those guys sent off right away or slowly...

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/18/2012 5:57:39 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hi Keith, At the end of the war, men with
more combat experience and more time in the
Army, etc. received more points. High point
men were sent home first. The men from the
12th were assigned to other battalions just
for the purpose of being assigned somewhere
to go home. The 12th was disbanded sometime
in the fall. I could look it up, but it does
not concern us for this question. Men who
were short on points, and who were going to
be in Europe for a while, were sent to either
regular combat units (a guess) or to special
units like the Constabulary Units (units with police powers: a guess).

Now with regard to Poland. An American soldier in Poland must have been on a special mission with the permission of the
Russians. Among these are repatriation of
Americans freed by the Russians, or some
police investigation, etc.

With regard to the camps: I would like to know which ones. One camp that the 12th freed was Camp IV also known as Hurlach.
It is one of 11 camps near Landsberg.
These 11 camps were known as the Kaufering
camps. Check them out on the web. The
12th also helped (unofficially) the liberation of Landsberg. We also liberated
Murnau, a PW camp.

Mike



TwoTwo
Junior Member
Member # 10332

Posts: 3
From: Germany
Registered: 12/13/2012
posted 12/18/2012 10:53:29 AM    Click here to view the profile for TwoTwo  Click here to email TwoTwo  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Alright.

So we have the "A-Troop" (Company) of 71st Constabulary definitely stationed in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany by December 10, 1946.

I have a corresonding letter of that exact date issued in that exact location. Further I have last week talked to a witness (still living sporty gentleman who is 91 years old) who worked for 71st A-Troop as a young German mechanic.

However, Murnau and Poland are pretty far away from Schwaebisch Hall!

If we now assume that a Troop/Company typically has around 80 - 200 men I guess that at least the A-Troop would not stretch over two locations.

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/18/2012 8:57:16 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Keith, Murnau was a camp for Polish officers. It is less than 200 miles as the crow flies from Schwaebisch Hall. The 116th Cavalry Recon Squadron, which at the time
was part of the 101st Cavalry Recon Group, was assigned to the 12th Armored Division from early April to the end of the war. Combat Command A was just behind the 116th.
So, the 101st Cavalry Recon Group AND the 12th Armored
are credited with the liberating of Murnau.

So here is a Polish connection. Problem: The 23d tank
battalion was part of CCR.

Mike

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/18/2012 9:00:18 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
One more thing: Some of the Polish officers in Murnau
had been moved shortly before their final liberation
from the Woldenberg Officer's Camp in Woldenberg
Poland.

Mike Woldenberg

KeithT
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Member # 7467

Posts: 24
From: Baltimore
Registered: 12/26/2011
posted 12/28/2012 10:31:22 AM    Click here to view the profile for KeithT  Click here to email KeithT  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
I will have to check out the video because I believe he mentions poland in it.

MikeWoldenberg
Junior Member
Member # 16

Posts: 917
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 12/29/2012 6:30:14 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Keith,

As usual, I made a little mistake. There was an officer's POW camp in Woldenberg, Germany.
Near the end of the war, a group of Polish
officers were sent to Murnau to join other
Polish officers and other POWs.

After the war, the Polish German border was
moved west and Woldenberg Germany became
Dobiegniew Poland.

Mike