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12th Armored Division >> General Discussion >> Please help me with historical accuracy on facts regarding my Grandfather.
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Author Topic:  Please help me with historical accuracy on facts regarding my Grandfather.
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posted 10/18/2017 11:40:15 AM  Reply w/Quote
My grandfather, Robert R. Clark, enlisted in the army in 1942 and went active duty in February, 1943. He trained at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. As I understand it, he was a part of the 12th Armored, where he was trained to operate a tank. He was later chosen to join the 151st Airborne, but there was not enough aircraft to carry the tanks over the English Channel, so he rejoined the 12th. He told me that he served both in the 7th Army under General Patch and the 3rd Army under General Patton. It is my understanding that he was a part of the Battle of the Bulge. His tank was hit on April 3, 1945 near Rothenburg, Germany. He was put in a barn full of bodies and left for dead, but crawled out. He was captured and had to march (injured) from Rothenburg to Moosburg, which took 26 days. As soon as they got to camp, he said he only had time to sit on the bunk and then the 14th Armored liberated them. He was then taken to Camp Lucky Strike in France for medical care. I would like to include his story in a book I am writing, but would like to be as accurate as possible. I see a Robert E. Clark listed in the membership, but not a Robert R. Clark. Could someone help me with some historical facts that I may represent him and the 12th well in my book? Thank you and God bless!

MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 1006
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 10/18/2017 2:37:44 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Can you please tell us where he was from when he enlisted? Do you know if (and when) he ever was a member of the 12th Armored Division Association after the war? We may have him on a postwar roster of members.
Do you know if he was part of a tank battalion or a cavalry reconnaissance unit?

In WW2 I do not think tanks were brought to the front by air. There may be another explanation for his temporary? or
permanent reassignment. The 12th Armored
was engaged in a separate, very tough battle just after the Battle of the Bulge.
For a quick study, look to the left and read: DEATH OF AN AMERICAN COMBAT COMMAND.

Mike W.

MikeWoldenberg
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Member # 16

Posts: 1006
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 10/18/2017 3:11:31 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
There is circumstantial evidence that he was in the 23rd tank battalion. Look to the left, select BOOKS AND WRITTEN EXPERIENCES.
Scroll down to the 23rd Tank battalion.
Now start reading on page 65 covering the month of April 1945. Combat Command R includes the 23rd Tank Battalion. The map shows their path is near Rothenburg. On the other hand the book on the history of the
43rd Tank Battalion does have Robert Clark who was captured. No date given. And
the list of Prisoners of War (see left column again) has only one Robert Clark who was part of the 43rd. The middle initial is not correct.

So we need to do a little more work.

harry dhans
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posted 10/21/2017 3:37:51 PM    Click here to view the profile for harry dhans  Click here to email harry dhans  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
http://amarillo.com/obituaries/2011-12-04/robert-r-clark

SEE IF THIS IS HE

harry dhans
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posted 10/21/2017 3:41:45 PM    Click here to view the profile for harry dhans  Click here to email harry dhans  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
might have to highlight and then when it says go to ---

MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 1006
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 10/22/2017 8:42:36 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Harry, Yes, you found the right man. He is identified
as being from the 23rd tank battalion, and I am convinced from the history memoirs of the 23rd
and 43rd tank battalions. These contain maps and
only the 23rd has a path going near Rothenburg.
The Clark that turns up on our roster is said to be in the 43d. Apparently he was also captured (POW list). His middle initial is not the same as the man
we are looking for. In spite of all these issues, there is a very small possibility that the records are all wrong, and this man is our man. But I do not believe it.
On another issue, our Clark probably fought in North Africa, where he most probably was fighting
with a division (Army?) commanded by Patton.
Many of those soldiers with similar histories ended up as replacements with the 12th Armored, beginning in December, 1944.

My whole argument is based on the capture in Rothenburg. And by the way, our man had some
very bad luck. He was one of a very few men from the 23rd who was captured. (See the POW list).
We do not have the whole history, but this is the trail.



MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 1006
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 10/24/2017 8:38:21 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello, We need to clear up some of your facts. There was not a 151st Airborne Division. Did you mean
the 101st Airborne? There was a 151st Infantry
Regiment. It eventually went to New Guinea as part of the 38th Infantry Division. The 12th ARmored
originally had the 44th tank battalion. This battalion was sent to New Guinea, leaving the USA in March 1944 and later fought in the Philippines. I bring this up because you mention the 151st and also tank training.

So we need to understand your reference to the 151st.

Because you have not responded, I wonder if you
have lost interest.

Mike Woldenberg


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posted 11/9/2017 10:00:48 AM  Reply w/Quote
There was a 151st Airborne Tank Company, a very lesser-known unit that trained in the US with the M22 Locust light tank. The Brits planned to use the Locust, but for the most part, they sat in tank parks and most weren't used. The wikipedia page for the Locust mentions that the 151st was basically disbanded in 44 due to concerns about having enough aircraft and gliders to deliver them to battle, which might explain part of the story. I would assume they'd be replacements then, and might have filled in spots after Herrlisheim. For some more information, a collector's website has a post on the 151st that might help get to the bottom of it, and a member says that he had at least a partial roster, which may confirm this line of thinking.

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posted 11/9/2017 10:03:05 AM  Reply w/Quote
Almost forgot the link:

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/19603-151st-airborne-tank-company/

Garandomatic
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posted 11/9/2017 10:14:17 AM    Click here to view the profile for Garandomatic  Click here to email Garandomatic  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Found my password! I am a member over there, and if it would please the original poster, I would be happy to try to contact them. Lots of very knowledgeable, helpful, and dedicated people over there.

Garandomatic
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Registered: 8/15/2016
posted 11/9/2017 10:15:56 AM    Click here to view the profile for Garandomatic  Click here to email Garandomatic  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Incidentally, there is talk on that post about how a lot of the Airborne tankers were taken from the 20th Armored Division. This could either be who was actually with, if there is any uncertainty to that, or it could affirm that he was a Hellcat, as the 20th was also made up of a high percentage of ASTP men, just like the 12th.