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139th AEB Situation Report: 27 Mar 1945

No4 27 Mar 45

Working on the US Army Special Services Phonograph

I obtained this piece at a good price as it needed some work. The articulated tone arm was broken where the adjustment screw is, so I repaired that. Everything else works fine except the rubber gasket that goes between the tone arm and the reproducer that contains the needle and diaphragm. The gasket helps to crate a tight seal between the two components so you can set the needle on the record without the tone arm collapsing. As the material shrinks, it no longer holds the tone arm firmly to the reproducer. The red gasket is shrunk and cracking. NOS ones are generally in the same condition. I purchased a sheet of red rubber gasket material to fabricate a new one. I am using William Harvey #20502 material. Will cut it as a strip to match the hose-type gasket and insert it into the reproducer. It is 3/32″ thick which is close to the real material, although due to shrinkage I cannot tell for sure what the original thickness was. I do not have a TM. I will leave the original finish as is rather than refinishing it.

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Mike shares 17th A/B Photos from Belgium

I wanted to share a few photos shared by Mike who has visited the site. He enclosed an image of the chalk markings on the door in front of the 17th A/B HQ location around the time the unit arrived in or near Belgium. I am still trying to ID the location, but the zoom on the photo shared by Mike makes the scrawl on the door legible. It reads, “Reserved for Commodore C.P. By order of the Commander” I cannot make out the last two lines. This was taken at the same location as the photo from my collection taken by the Division Photographer Adolph Beyers  (the one with the three troopers), reproduced here. The additional photo shows two 17th A/B troopers in Belgium or Luxembourg along side a small wooden barn. The rear wheels of the Jeep have tire chains for added traction in the snow, the trooper armed with the folding stock carbine is wearing rigger modified M43 field trousers, and both are wearing overshoes.

 

Belgium_1 Chalk Chalk_117 HQ Guards

139th AEB History Booklet

A soon as the war in Europe ended, the 139th settled into occupation duty. One of the tasks for the staff was to prepare the narrative for the official Army History records. The data from these documents was then used to prepare a small booklet  entitled “History 139th Airborne Engineers” It was published in 1945 and printed by Alfred Selb, Muelheim, Germany. The inside back cover was traditionally used to record names and hometowns of unit members. The page is simply titled “MY BUDDIES”. Here is a copy from two of those booklets from my collection. The most legible comes from Silver Star winner, Lt. Robert C. Reed, and the other belonged to T/4 Charles Wilhelm.

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Article on 139th AEB Uniforms of the Ardennes to be featured in June issue of Militaria

The French magazine Militaria, which many of you know for it’s superb photo articles on uniforms, insignia and equipment of all wars, all nations will release an article I wrote on the Uniforms of the 139th AEB during the Ardennes Campaign. The photos, and write up were done by this blog’s author, and the magazine drafted the layout and effected the translation into French. The magazine was once published in English, but no longer is. Even if you do not read French, the photos in their magazines are a wealth of information for collectors and historians. I urge you to check out their site and order a few back issues.

Here is their website, keep an eye out for the June issue, soon to be released:   http://militaria.histoireetcollections.com/en

Maps and stuff cropped

 

Glider Window Grouping

I was  fortunate to find an original window frame from a Waco CG-4A glider. It came with a few photos and I added the additional artifacts as seen in the image.Glider_Riker

139th AEB Situation Report: 26 Mar 1945

No3 26 Mar 45 – Copy (2)

139th AEB Situation Report: 25 Mar 1945

No2 25 Mar 45 – Copy

17th Airborne Troopers in Frogskin Camo

I was fortunate to purchase a series of photographs from a glider rider that was assigned to Camp Mackall during WW2. The photos were mounted in three circular window frames from a CG-4 Waco Glider. One of the photos shows a squad of troopers in front of one of the wood and tar paper barrack buildings on Camp Mackall. They are all wearing the 1-piece Camouflaged coveralls known as “Frog Skin”. Each of them wears a web belt, M36 suspenders and had a Mussete bag attached to the upper equipment rings of the suspenders. Weapons include the M1 Garand, The M1 Carbine, the M1A1 Carbine and an M1 Bazooka with the man kneeling on the right. Each soldier wears the ankle boots and canvas leggings with the trouser legs tucked into the leggings. This uniform was only worn by the 17th Airborne Division during training at Camp Mackall and during the Tennessee Maneuvers of 1944. As far as any historian has concluded, they never saw service in the ETO by the 17th.

Frogskin Camo worn by members of the 17th Airborne Division at Camp Mackall NC.

Frogskin Camo worn by members of the 17th Airborne Division at Camp Mackall NC.

139th AEB Situation Report: 24 Mar 1945

Here is a copy of the 139th AEB Situation Report for 24 March 1945.The document records the disposition of all of the companies, the missions they are to be tasked with and locations of each of the platoon. No1 24 Mar 45 – Copy – Copy