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12th Armored Division >> General Discussion >> Bob Foley, 23rd Tank Bn, Co. B
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Author Topic:  Bob Foley, 23rd Tank Bn, Co. B
Meg
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From: NH, USA
Registered: 10/7/2014
posted 10/7/2014 11:36:13 PM    Click here to view the profile for Meg  Click here to email Meg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello, I am looking for any information on my dad, Bob Foley, from Excelsior, MN. ASTP at Texas A&M and then Co. B of 23rd Tank Bn. (He died in 1987, when I was 17.) I am currently compiling his letters and my sense of the context (as letters say little of what he saw). One question is that he was at one point demoted and I am not sure how to find out the reason. Is that publicly available?
Also, in two weeks I will travel to Alsace and while I have a broad sense of locations his outfit saw, if anyone can pass along specific recommendations, it would be most welcome. (I will have a car, and for one day a local guide.)
Many thanks.

MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 884
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 10/8/2014 7:27:20 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello Meg, This will be a preliminary message. There is a list of BOOKS AND WRITTEN EXPERIENCES. Find the history on
the 23rd Tank Battalion. See also the reports for 17th Armored Infantry Battalion and the 495th Armored Field Artillery.
These 3 units worked together in Combat Command R. Make sure you read about Herrlisheim--See the report on the left:
DEATH OF AN AMERICAN COMBAT COMMAND.

Consult the Divisional Histories and search for information from soldiers in the 23rd and Combat Command R.

Go to the ORAL HISTORY VIDEOS on the left:
Click on the head of the column labeled
BATTALION. This will sort all the battalions
in groups. Then click on men from the 23rd
and your Dad's Company.

Lise Pommois is an historian who knows a tremendous amount about Alsace. Unfortunately, she will be on a research trip to the USA at the exact time you will be
in France and Germany. Get back to me for your next trip.

With regard to your Dad's possible demotion:
There just may be a record of this in one of two places: National Archives in College Park, Maryland. Or National Archives in
St. Louis. The latter requires that you
make an appointment and tell them ahead of time what you are looking for. They have
what are called "Morning Reports" where there
is personnel information. (This will be for research after you return).

Mike Woldenberg



harry dhans
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From: Abilene,TX
Registered: 5/24/2012
posted 10/8/2014 3:48:22 PM    Click here to view the profile for harry dhans  Click here to email harry dhans  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
if he was demoted after ASTP, that was standard procedure. The program was stopped and all were reassigned as privates. Had choice of Armored or infantry. Wasn't as punishment and some earned their rank back.
If you search Alsace on the Internet, you will see the area. The 12th fought all over that area.

harry dhans
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From: Abilene,TX
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posted 10/8/2014 5:01:36 PM    Click here to view the profile for harry dhans  Click here to email harry dhans  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
some places B Company was in December '44 and January 1945.
Rauwiller, Rahling, Bettviller, Insviller, Stainwald Woods, Herrlisheim, Weyersheim, Gries, Achenheim.
will do more tomorrow, time permitting
Harry, archivist, 12th AD Museum

Guest
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posted 10/9/2014 1:42:43 PM  Reply w/Quote
During the last days of the war, the 23rd Tank Battalion raced down the Salzburg Autobahn toward Austria; objective, Kufstein. B Company with its commander, Captain John Lee, was ordered by battalion command, to take the lead. This lead to one of the most unusual and interesting stories that came out of WWII. It's the story of the liberation of Itter Castle. There's a book titled, The Last Battle, that tells this story very well.

harry dhans
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Posts: 272
From: Abilene,TX
Registered: 5/24/2012
posted 10/9/2014 2:49:13 PM    Click here to view the profile for harry dhans  Click here to email harry dhans  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
more towns:
Colmar, Westheim, Zimming, Bohl and many towns in between.
Search the Internet for Alsace-Lorraine and you can find maps of the area. Even ask for 1944-45 maps

Meg
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From: NH, USA
Registered: 10/7/2014
posted 10/9/2014 10:17:39 PM    Click here to view the profile for Meg  Click here to email Meg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Thanks to you all for such quick responses and detailed information. Herrlisheim and Colmar are definites for us, so I'm glad to hear confirmation. Thank you for these other locations as well. I did find reference to Itter Castle in my dad's letters, where he included a clipping from Hellcat News. He wrote in the margin, "I was in charge of a tank back in ordnance at the time." How far "back" do you suppose that means? We may make that trip as it is such a crazy story, though the castle is not open to the public.
Also, I have contacted the Colmar Museum in Turckheim, but have not yet heard back (it closes its regular season the week before we arrive.)
Please keep any more information or recommendations coming. I am so appreciative of your interest in and responses to my queries.

MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 884
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 10/10/2014 6:51:07 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Meg, Make sure you go to Rouffach, just south of Colmar. Men from C-66 linked up with men from the (4th?) Morrocan Mountain Division to close the Colmar Pocket. There is a museum there. The 23rd Tank Battalion fought with the 66th and the 495th Field Artillery in Combat Command R.

At the top of this page, click on SEARCH
Then enter "African Americans in the 12th
Armored Division" Read all the entries to get some more information about the 23rd Tank Battalion.

There is a picture of African American troops from the 827th Tank Destroyer Battalion (attached to the 12th Armored).
A Morrocan soldier is giving candy to two
soldiers from the 827th in Rouffach during the celebration of the closing of the Colmar
Pocket.


See the following picture.

african_americans_wwii_024.jpg

Colmar seemed to be a very nice city. I have not been to Rouffach, but that is where
the Pocket was closed.


Mike Woldenberg



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posted 10/10/2014 6:04:12 PM  Reply w/Quote
The drive to Austria via the autobahn was about 60 miles. The 23rd Tank Battalion was strung out all along the road for all or most of that distance, with Captain Lee's Company way up in the front. I would guess that maintenance, service, and ordnance units were probably left in the rear during the dash down the autobahn. They came down later, after a few spots of resistance were cleared. My dad was with the Headquarters Company Tank Section, 23rd Tank Bn. He drove the S-3 Tank until after March 20th, when he drove the Battalion Command Tank through the rest of the war. I don't know where he was in the column on the autobahn. He would have been with Lt. Colonel Schrader, somewhere behind B Company.

harry dhans
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Posts: 272
From: Abilene,TX
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posted 10/11/2014 2:29:27 PM    Click here to view the profile for harry dhans  Click here to email harry dhans  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Guest - who was your dad? and do you know of any of his crew members?

Guest
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posted 10/12/2014 8:37:34 PM  Reply w/Quote
Hello Mr. Dhans, My Father is Arthur Ostergaard. He enlisted in Fresno, CA, in Oct. 1942, and was sent to Camp Campbell, and the 12th Armored, soon after. He had many different tank crew members, due to the many casualties and new replacements. He was a tank driver, rank, Tech 4. The S-3 tank was one of 2 tanks in the Headquarters Tank Section. This is not a complete list, since I don't have records of all the names. Among the tank commanders he had during overseas deployment was Major William Comfort, Captain Charles Dear, and Major Jerome Schrader. When he became the driver of the battalion command tank, his commanders were Lt. Col. Kelso Clow, and Major Jerome Schrader. His assistant driver was James Feezel, who joined the battalion as a replacement after the Rohrbach/Bettviller action when Lt. Col Meigs was killed. Before Cpl. Feezel joined my Dads crew, Emerson Milak was his assistant driver. Then Milak was assigned to be a driver in another tank, and was KIA sometime later. His gunner was PFC Michael DeMatt, until their tank was KO'ed by a Panzerfaust while the column was heading into Lohnsfeld, Germany. DeMatt was WIA in the shoulder by an enemy machine gun after they exited the tank, and were pinned-down in the grass. The bullet passed completely through and exited his shoulder. They were taken into town by Germans, and spent the night as prisoners. They were able to get back to their outfit the next morning. His loader was Paul Pitcher. James O. Gayheart served with my Dad's crew in some capacity of which I'm not sure. My Dad passed away in 1993. He was very forthcoming with answers when I would question him about his time in the army.

Guest
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posted 10/12/2014 8:50:20 PM  Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by Guest:
Hello Mr. Dhans, My Father is Arthur Ostergaard. He enlisted in Fresno, CA, in Oct. 1942, and was sent to Camp Campbell, and the 12th Armored, soon after. He had many different tank crew members, due to the many casualties and new replacements. He was a tank driver, rank, Tech 4. The S-3 tank was one of 2 tanks in the Headquarters Tank Section. This is not a complete list, since I don't have records of all the names. Among the tank commanders he had during overseas deployment was Major William Comfort, Captain Charles Dear, and Major Jerome Schrader. When he became the driver of the battalion command tank, his commanders were Lt. Col. Kelso Clow, and Major Jerome Schrader. His assistant driver was James Feezel, who joined the battalion as a replacement after the Rohrbach/Bettviller action when Lt. Col Meigs was killed. Before Cpl. Feezel joined my Dads crew, Emerson Milak was his assistant driver. Then Milak was assigned to be a driver in another tank, and was KIA sometime later. My Dad's gunner was PFC Michael DeMatt, until their tank was KO'ed by a Panzerfaust while the column was heading into Lohnsfeld, Germany. DeMatt was WIA in the shoulder by an enemy machine gun after they exited the tank, and were pinned-down in the grass. The bullet passed completely through and exited his shoulder. They were taken into town by Germans, and spent the night as prisoners. They were able to get back to their outfit the next morning. His loader was Paul Pitcher. James O. Gayheart served with my Dad's crew in some capacity of which I'm not sure. Much of the time, their tank commander would be taking care of some other business with the battalion, so there would be just 4 crew members in the tank. My Dad passed away in 1993. He was very forthcoming with answers when I would question him about his time in the army.


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posted 10/12/2014 8:59:10 PM  Reply w/Quote
.

Alan Ostergaard
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From: Fresno, CA
Registered: 12/30/2011
posted 10/12/2014 9:27:43 PM    Click here to view the profile for Alan Ostergaard  Click here to email Alan Ostergaard  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Sorry about the multiple messages. I was "guest" in previous posts. I went back and edited the long post about my Father's tank crew. For some reason there are now 2 posts, the unedited version, and the edited version. It won't let me delete the unedited version.