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12th Armored Division >> General Discussion >> Tec5 John Ninivaggi HQ Co. 56th Armored Infantry
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Author Topic:  Tec5 John Ninivaggi HQ Co. 56th Armored Infantry
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posted 8/31/2020 9:16:06 AM  Reply w/Quote
Hello all,
Trying to find information/photo of Tec5 John Ninivaggi, Bronx NY. He is mentioned in January 2007 edition of Hellcat News. Died, non Battle on July 15, 1945 when a truck backed up into at a loading dock. Article states he started out in A Company and then transferred to HQ Company - involved with logistics and supply. Found his name also in General Orders no. 85 dated July 31, 1945 where he was awarded Certificate of Merit posthumously.
Was the 56th AIB CP at Bopfingen Germany on July 15, 1945 ?
Is there any way to know if he would have been in Herrlisheim Jan 8-11 ?
Thank you
John McParland
Rutherford NJ


MikeWoldenberg
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From: University at Buffalo (NY)
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posted 9/1/2020 3:27:56 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello John, we have been having a conversation that is a bit lengthy. We'll get back to you.

Mike

MikeWoldenberg
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From: University at Buffalo (NY)
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posted 9/1/2020 4:21:34 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hi everyone. Here is the article referred to in John's message:

https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth410314/m1/7/?q=Ninivaggi​

See also the preceding page.

The question was raised: was T-5 Ninivaggi in Herrlisheim?
He certainly was near Herrlisheim. HQ 56 was in a tough spot
from time to time in Bischwiller. I believe they were in danger of
being overrun. Ordinarily, I doubt whether a man involved in
logistics would be sent into Herrlisheim itself. He might well
have been in danger in and near battalion HQ which I believe
was Bischwiller. (Jan. 7th, 1945 in Kurtzenhausen, Jan 8th
and following days in Bischwiller, only a few miles form
Herrlisheim).

To answer thequestion. Ninivaggi was probably in Bischwiller
UNLESS his assignment was in Division HQ which was in Brumath
I believe.




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posted 9/1/2020 4:23:43 PM  Reply w/Quote
This is from Paul Rivette, Unit Rep for the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion

About Ninivaggi participating in Herrlisheim fighting... I remember my father - who was in Service Co - talking about the battalion grabbing up all the support and HQ personnel possible to assist in the rescue / relief at Herrlisheim. But since I started reading the histories, I cannot find anything that confirms that.

However, my own military experience tells me that with 2 companies cut off in Herrlisheim everyone would be involved in the fight. First, you could never underestimate the German ability to attack even when outnumbered. So lots of support guys digging foxholes and preparing to defend the battalion trains / HQ. I expect that the Germans would have some regular harassing artillery fire into the battalion rear areas just to make life difficult. Also there were several resupply efforts. If Ninivaggi was the company supply sergeant or his assistant then they would be very engaged in grabbing ammo/rations/medical supplies and sending them into Herrlisheim.

56th logistics men may also have been recruited to help with constructing the bridge for the evacuation (let the engineers build and get other guys to do the lift and carry), and of all the battalion trains would be turned out to receive the troops coming out of Herrlisheim and get them to someplace safe for medical, chow and rest.

So I believe the answer is YES, T/5 Ninivaggi was involved deeply in the Herrlisheim fight, but he probably never actually went into the city.

P

Bob Scherer
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posted 9/2/2020 11:04:17 AM    Click here to view the profile for Bob Scherer  Click here to email Bob Scherer  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Thanks Mike & Paul.

John,
I may be able to give you more information on John's service if you have his discharge paperwork. Also, I've looked through all I can find on the 56th and can't tell you where the 56th Hq was in Jul 45. The only way I can tell for sure is through visit to the National Archives - either Archives II in College Park, MD for the entire 56th AIB file or to the National Personnel Records Center in St, Louis to check the unit Morning Reports. Of course that's once the open back up. If you email me at rwscherer@verizon.net and give me info on what you're trying to do with John's story I may be able to be of more help. I see that John is buried in the National Cemetery in Pinelawn on LI. I've got some relatives in the National Cemetery and most of my family in in the civilian section of Pinelawn. Good luck in your search.
Bob Scherer

MikeWoldenberg
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posted 9/6/2020 1:52:30 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
There is a good chance that the 56th
was in Bopfingen. Bill Black (B-56)
left Bopfingen on Monday July 9th, 1945. See
left side: BOOKS AND WRITTEN EXPERINCES.
Scroll down to 56th. See History of the
56th by Lapic and Hale. At the back
Appendix I or II. At the end of the
10 page appendix, Bill Black was in Bopfingen
on the Monday preceding the 12th of July. This was the 9th of July, 1945.

MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 1098
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
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posted 9/7/2020 7:49:10 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Go to BOOKS AND WRITTEN EXPERIENCES on this
page. Scroll down to the 56th AIB.

Ed Pierce has written a Memoir: REMINISCENCES OF THE BIG ONE. See "T-5 John Ninivaggi"
Chapter 28, Pages 42 and 43.

Ed asked me to prepare his typescript for this website and I had read the book 8 years ago. Ninivaggi's name seemed familiar and at last I recalled Ed's book.

You asked whether John was at Herrlisheim in
January 1945. Reading Ed's account, he mentions that John was (ordinarily?) in the rear, perhaps at Division HQ? His job was
to make sure the 56th was properly supplied. You may get a definitive answer from Ed.

He also was in Bopfingen in July. He should know if the 56th CP was in Bopfingen
on July 15th, 1945.

I will put you in touch with Ed.

MikeWoldenberg
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Member # 16

Posts: 1098
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 9/7/2020 7:52:40 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Please contact me:

geomike@buffalo.edu

I will put you in touch with Ed.