The 85th in Germany - Official Unit History pt 2

Company A Bridges the Danube

Company A started construction of 230’ Class 40 Heavy Ponton Bridge across the Danube River 26 April 1945

At 0530 hours 26 April 1945, Company A this Battalion, in compliance with orders received from Commanding General, 42nd Division, through Commanding Officer 1109th Engineer Combat Group, moved by motor convoy from Buchdorf, Germany to the vicinity of Schweizerhof, Germany. The Company started construction of 230’ Class 40 Heavy Ponton Bridge across the Danube River at 0800 hours. The bridge was completed at 1530 hours and open to traffic. At 1540 hours the bridge was closed to replace the far shore trestle which had sunk. The bridge was reopened to traffic at 1830 hours. (See photograph #1). During the afternoon of construction, the enemy shelled the area. One casualty was sustained by the company - Pfc. Harry Maxwell - 33350421 - WIA.

Company A Morning Report listing the wounding of Harry Maxwell

Company B Bridges the Danube

At 1330 hours 26 April 1945, Company B this Battalion in compliance with orders received from Commanding General, 45th Division, thru Commanding Officer, 1101st Engineer Combat Group, moved by motor convoy from Monheim, Germany, Germany south to Asbrunn, Germany, arrived at 1500 hours. At 1930 hours the company less a portion of Headquarters Platoon moved from Asbrunn, Germany to the vicinity of Bertoldsheim, Germany. Upon arrival, the unit found an enemy mine field and ferry landing stage. The mines in the road were cleared and the ferry landing stage removed. At 0001 hours 27 April 1945 the Company started the construction of a 330’ Class 40 Heavy Ponton Bridge across the Danube River. It was completed at 0945 hours and open to traffic

During the afternoon of construction, the enemy shelled the bridge over the Danube at Schweizerhof

As the War Ends

At 0900 hours 27 April 1945 the Battalion (less Co. A and Co. B) moved by motor convoy from Langenaltheim, Germany to Donauworth, Germany. Arrived at 1100 hours and established bivouac. Distance traveled 19 miles.

- 4/28/45 Mussolini is captured and hanged by Italian partisans; Allies take Venice.

On the 28th of April 1945 the Battalion was reorganized in accordance with T/O & E 5-275, 5-276 and 5-277 dated 5 December 1944. Authority: Section 1 General Order #139, Headquarters Seventh Army dated 10 April 1945 and letter AG 322-C, Subject: Reorganization of Units, Headquarters, Seventh Army.

The Battalion in compliance with a message received from G-3, XV Corps placed two squads from each company on the two Heavy Ponton Bridges as security guard so that the Infantrymen could be releived. It was reported that enemy detachments were operating in the area north of the river.

- 4/29/45 U.S. 7th Army liberates Dachau.

On the 29th of April 1945 the Battalion received orders from Engineer, XV Corps to take over the maintenance and guarding of the two Heavy Ponton Bridges and a Class 40 Treadway Bridge. Company A and Company B this Battalion on this date were relieved from attachment to Engineer Combat Groups and reverted to the control of the Battalion. At 1200 hours 29 April 1945, the Battalion was relieved from attachment to XV Corps and reverted to the control of Headquarters Seventh Army.

The Battalion in compliance with VOCG, Engineer Section, Seventh Army at 1400 hours 29 April 1945 loaded and transported 30 stormboats from Heavy Ponton Bridge Site to Engineer Depot #219 in Ulm, Germany.

- 4/30/45 Adolph Hitler commits suicide.

At 1800 hours 29 April 1945, the Battalion in compliance with message received from XV Corps thru Engineer Section, Seventh Army, dispatched 12 - 5/6 ton truck tractors and trailers to Engineer Depots E- 216 at Goppingen, Germany and E-218 at Hiedenh, Germany to pick up prefabricated truss stringers. The equipment was to be delivered to 1109th Engineer Combat Group bridge site vicinity of Treadway Bridge across the Lech River. On this same date a message was received from Col. Eller, Engineer Section , Seventh Army informing the Battalion that the bridge job at the Lech River started by Corps had been cancelled. It was desired that the Battalion transport the prefabricated truss stringers allocated to the above job, as Col. Cameron, CO 344th Engineer (GS) Regiment directed. Col. Cameron informed the Battalion to deliver the equipment to bridge site at Donauworth, Germany. This was accomplished on the 30th of April 1945.

- 5/1/45 Joseph Goebbels commits suicide.

On the 2nd of May 1945, the Battalion received a message from Col. Eller, Engineer Section , Seventh Army which instructed Company B to remove the Heavy Ponton Bridge at Bertoldsheim, Germany. The instructions were to load all vehicles with normal T/E equipment plus all available trestle equipage. The Company was then to move to Ober-Ammergau, Germany and upon arrival, report to the VI Corps Engineer.

At 1500 hours, Company B this organization began the removal of the Heavy Ponton Bridge. The bridge was completely dismantled at 2030 hours. At 2000 hours this same date, the Battalion received a message from General Davidson, Engineer, Seventh Army which cancelled the orders received 2 May 1945. The Battalion was ordered to send 165’ of trestle equipage to VI Corps. The message also stated that the loaded vehicles would remain in the present

bivouac area. The vehicles would be ready to move on orders from the Engineer Section, Seventh Army.

On the 3rd of May 1945, the Battalion in compliance with the above message from General Davidson, dispatched one abutment load and six trestle loads to VI Corps. These vehicles were ordered to report to Ober-Ammargau, Germany. Lt. Hallett, Company B this organization was in charge. At 1130 hours 3 May 1945, the Battalion in compliance with a message received from the Engineer Section, Seventh Army, ordered Company B minus trestle loads to move to Haar, Germany. Upon arrival the company was to be attached to XV Corps for operations. Additional trestle loads of the 1553rd Engineer Heavy Ponton Battalion were to join the company upon arrival at destination. Company B departed from bivouac at 1400 hours this date. Captain Nagel, S-3, this organization was ordered to Engineer Section, XV Corps as Liaison Officer.

During the period 1 May to 10 May 1945, the Battalion was engaged in the maintenance of a class 40 Heavy Ponton Bridge across the Danube River in the vicinity of Schweizerhof, Germany and the maintenance of a class 40 Treadway bridge across the Lech River in the vicinity of Genderkingen, Germany. In addition to the maintenance of these bridges, the Battalion’s vehicles were hauling prefabricated steel truss stringers from Engineer Depots E-218 and E-219. This equipment was being used by the 344th Engineer (GS) Regiment for the permanent bridges being built across the Danube River. The Battalion also operated Power Pontons and Power Utility Boats for the 344th Engineer (GS) Regiment at both Donauworth and Ulm, Germany.

- On 2 May 1945 all fighting ceased on the southern front in Italy where the surrender document had actually been signed three days earlier. On 4 May 1945 a similar surrender was signed at Montgomery's headquarters by representatives of the German forces in North-west Europe. On 7 May 1945 a further surrender document covering all German forces was signed at Eisenhower's headquarters in Reims.  At midnight on 8 May 1945 the War in Europe officially ended.

On the 8th of May 1945, Company B in compliance with orders from the Commanding Officer this organization, furnished a Power Utility Boat and operators to report to Company C 2830th Engineer C Battalion at Gerothefen, Germany.

- 5/9/45 Hermann Goring is captured by members of the U.S. 7th Army.

On the 10th of May 1945, the Power Utility Boat was sunk, three men from Company C 2830th Engineer C Battalion were lost.

On the 11th of May 1945, in compliance with orders from the Commanding Officer, Company B this organization furnished another Power Utility Boat to Company C 2830th Engineer C Battalion at Gerothefen, Germany. This boat replaced the Power Utility Boat that was sunk on the 10th of May 1945.

At 1200 hours the 12th of May 1945, the Battalion received a radio message from Major Harrison of Engineer Section, Seventh Army to construct Class 40 Heavy Ponton Bridge. In compliance with the above message, the Battalion instructed Company B to prepare to move to bridge site. At 2340 hours Company B left Donauworth, Germany by motor convoy and proceeded to vicinity of Genderkingen, Germany. Due to low water conditions in the Lech River at the time, the company was unable to construct the bridge. Major R. L. Porter, Executive Officer, this Battalion, reported this to the Engineer, Seventh Army.

At 0845 hours the 13th of May 1945 the Battalion received a radio message from Engineer Section, Seventh Army which rescinded the radio message received on the 12th of May and informed the Battalion that Cotter Key would do the necessary work. Company B was instructed to return to Donauworth, Germany.

A message received from Col. King on 13 May 1945 requested this Battalion to make available to the 119th Engineers, 2 Power Boats and miscellaneous items such as cable and clamps. The material was to be used to aid the 119th Engineers construct a Treadway Bridge at Rains, Germany. Action was not taken on this message because low water prevented the use of the power boats.

At 0800 hours on the 14th of May in compliance with a message received from Col. King, Engineer Section, Seventh Army, the Battalion relieved the 40th Engineers of the watering detail at Bergstatten, Germany. Three officers and two enlisted men were assigned to the job. The work entailed the repairing of pumps at the pumping station in Donauworth, Germany and checking the system from Donauworth to Hofheim, to Kaisheim and to Bergstatten, Gemany.

On the 16th of May 1945, Lt. Col. L. A. Perdue, departed for Cannes, France on seven day (Plus travel time) leave. Major R. L. Porter, Executive Officer assumed command of the Battalion.

At 1200 hours on the 19th of May 1945, the Battalion in compliance with a message from Col. King, Engineer Section, prepared for movement on the 20th of May. The message stated that the vehicles would be single loaded. It also stated that a liaison officer would be sent to Engineer Section, Seventh Army for final instructions. Major Porter went to Seventh Army as liaison officer. At 1800 hours, Major Porter ordered the Operations Section to move. The Operations Section was to contact the Engineer, XV Corps, mark the route to Salzburg, Austria and find a bivouac area.

Bill Gentry with carbine kept at the ready due to snipers near Salzburg, even though the Germans had surrendered

The Journey Home Begins

Camp at Salzburg

On the 20th of May 1945, the Battalion departed from Donauworth, Germany and proceeded by motor convoy to Salzburg, Austria. The Battalion arrived at 1700 hours and established bivouac. The distance traveled was 166 miles.

At 1400 hours, 20 May 1945 this organization was attached to XV Corps for operations. See letter AG 370.5-C, Headquarters Seventh Army dated 20 May 1945, subject: Assignment and Attachment Orders #2.

On this same date the Battalion was also attached to the 1109th Engineer Combat Group for operations. See letter AG 370 (C), Headquarters XV Corps dated 21 May 1945, subject: Troop Attachment.

On 21 May 1945 in compliance with a message received from Commanding Officer 1109th Engineer Combat Group, Battalion Headquarters ordered Company B to remove rubble from the Autobahn with the use of a D-7 dozer. Company B was instructed to contact the 3816 Gas Supply Company on 22 May 1945 at 0800 hours for details. Since the D-7 Dozers were at Engineer Maintenance for repair, it was necessary to send an R-4 as a substitute. The job was to prepare a site for a Gas Dump. The job was completed at 1700 hours same date.

On 22 May 1945, the Battalion was attached to Third Army for operations only.

- 5/23/45 SS Reichfuhrer Himmler commits suicide; German High Command and Provisional Government imprisoned.

On 31 May 1945, Lt. Col. L. A. Perdue returned and assumed command.

In compliance with a message received on 4 June 1945 from Col. King, Engineer Section, Seventh Army, four officers and forty-five enlisted men were sent to Epernay, France to attend M-4 Bridge School. The group was ordered to report on 10 June 1945 to the Commanding Officer, 1173rd Engineer (C) Group. On the 4th of June the Battalion on VOCG was relieved from XV Corps and reverted to the control of the Seventh Army. This was confirmed by letter AG 370.5-C dated 6 June 1945. The letter also stated that the Battalion would move to the vicinity of Wurtemberg, Germany.

On the 5th of June 1945 at 0700 hours the S-3 Section departed from Salzburg, Austria and proceeded to the vicinity of Schwetzingen, Germany. The function of the S-3 section was to set up road signs and find a suitable bivouac area.

- 6/5/45 Allies divide up Germany and Berlin and take over ther government.

At 0700 hours on the 6th of June 1945 the Battalion departed from Salzburg, Austria and moved to the vicinity of Nersingen, Germany. The distance traveled was 181 miles. An overnight bivouac was established.

What remains of Hitler's home near Berchtesgaden as viewed from a truck window of the 85th

The Meritorious Service Unit Plaque

At 0700 hours on the 7th of June 1945 the Battalion moved from Nersingen, Germany to the vicinity of Schwetzingen. The time of arrival was 1500 hours. The distance traveled was 159 miles. A temporary bivouac was established.

On the 13th of June 1945 in compliance with a letter received from Headquarters Seventh Army this organization was placed in Catagory II and alerted for indirect redeployment. The letter stated that the Battalion would report to the Camp Commander at Camp Chicago near Sissone, France on 21 June 1945.

On 14 June 1945 this Battalion was awarded “The Meritorious Service Unit Plaque” for superior performance of duty in France and Germany from 1 October 1944 to 10 April 1945. See General Order #199, Headquarters Seventh Army dated 19 May 1945, Section III.


On the 14th of June to the 17th of June the Battalion prepared for movement to the redeployment area. All bridge equipment was turned in to Depot E 529-A.

General Order #199, Headquarters Seventh Army dated 19 May 1945, Section III.

Back to France

On the 19th of June 1945 the Battalion moved from Schwetzingen, Germany to Stenay, France. The distance traveled was 205 miles. Immediately upon arrival at 1745 hours the Battalion established an overnight bivouac.

Unti Rosters 1945

The following rosters are from the time period at war's end, mid 1945. The roster for H&S Company is from the ship's passenger list as the 85th sailed for home.

Company B, 5/18/45: S Sgt: Grecki, Alexander; Lembo, John; 1st Sgt: Soracco, James; Sgt: Ferri, Michael; Hahlbohm, William; Hardick, Michael; Lenkner, Albert; Morena, James; Pledger, Glen; Semansky, Joseph; Soberman, Morris; T Sgt: Hill, Kenneth; Cpl: Baker, Lewis; Dadura, Anthony; Gray, Earl; Hemperly, Carl; Hendrix, Philip; Lown, Carlyle; Szurley, Albert; White, Fredrick; T4: Evans, Homer; T5: Agnew, Paul; Albreski, Charles; Borowiak, John; Brown, Lester; Budden, Virgil; Burke, Thomas; Callahan, William; Calp, Walter; Carroll, Cecil; Cone, Arthur; Cornelius, Troy; Crowe, Robert; Derkazarian, Aram; Enck, Martin; Grubbs, William; Hannah, Deward; Hein, Clarence; Hurst, Donald; Kangeter, Benjamin; Lettorale, Salvadore; Lindell, Frederick; Luczkowski, Raymond; Mathews, Delos; Misiak, Edward; Nellany, Edward; Payton, Thirl; Perek, Edward; Puma, Angelo; Purper, Robert; Rush, Bedford; Rykaczewski, Lawrence; Sanders, Earl; Sommerlatt, Alois; Samson, Robert; Valachovic, Andrew; Vigilante, Michael; Williams, Wilbert; Wright, Haskell; Pfc: Anderson, Enos; Barone, Alfred; Bates, Cap; Claypoole, Walter; Du Pont, Bernard; Elsasser, Robert; Foy, Joseph; Frinak, Frank; Gendron, Floyd; Grove, Thomas; Hall, Willard; Harris, JC Jr; Lee, Jack; Lee, William; Marzano, Andrew; McLaughlin, Edward; Murry, John; Nadeau, George; Resch, Frederick; Ritter, Charles; Saulnier, Onesime; Schroeder, Willard; Singer, John; Smith, Robert; Swider, Leonard; Ulmer, Marion; Ward, Clyde; Williams, Luther; Wilson, Thomas Jr; Yohe, William; Pvt: Derocher, Frederick; Dicmar, Raymond; Martin, Clifford; McCormick, Daniel; Onofrio, John; Ragan, Frank; Rosfeld, Emanuel.

H/S Company, 7/17/45: Lt Col: Perdue, Leonard; Capt: Nagel, Walter; Brand, Sylvester; Rentschler, John; Hessin, William; 1st Lt: Campbell, Malfred; Graves, Charles; CWO: Jacobs, Richard; WOJC: Patterson, Edward; Scott, David; 1st Sgt: Fritz, Joseph; Gonka, John; Smith, Edward; T Sgt: Harrington, Vincent; Raisner, Max; Uldrich, Duane; S Sgt: Cattanzaro, Onofrio; Little, JW; Sgt: Stein, George; T4: Almeida, Charles; Baker, David; Grover, Miles; Hamblin, Arthur; Konz, Edward; Krempa, John; Lemmo, James; McAdams, Jack; Mitchell, John; Cpl: Beechey, Charles; Robertson, Charles; T5: Andrews, Harold; Boka, Joseph; Cusho, John; Cygan, Joseph; Daily, James; D'Amato, Dominick; Dikes, Leo; Ellis, Jackson; Emmerson, Charles; Fritzley, George; Gross, Herman; Hinds, Sherwin; Kurchinsky, Frank; Ludwig, Dwight; McCartey, Daniel; Oehring, Frank; Peddicord, Earl; Pittman, Strayer; Rankin, Wendell; Sims, James; Stanbrough, Orvin; Strauss, Frederick; Sturdivant, John; Wilson, Etheridge; Pfc: Aldape, Florencio, Barr, Dale; Beard, James; Bennett, Charles; Berry, James; Bittner, John; Bonner, Fairly; Campbell, Barney; Colwell, Philip; Cunningham, Lloyd; Frei, Virgil; Groter, Jack; Haney, Owen; Haselden, Lewis; Hatfield, Ira; Holmen, Leonard; Hubbard, Robert; Hunt, Lewis; Jeno, William; Kijak, Walter; Letendre, Edward; Lewis, Ernest; Lombardo, Joseph; Lucas, William; Maska, Kenneth; McGovern, Joseph; Morros, William; Odell, Mardie; Riaidi, Louis; Riffe, Robert; Southard, Jack; Szczepanski, Julian; Thompson, George; Thouin, Armand; Tuckerman, George; Van Langen, Allen; Vaszil, Frank; Wonsienska, Joseph; Young, Raymond; Fortney, Clarence; Mack, Maurice; Magliolo, Anthony; Petelchuk, Paul; Phillips, Jack; Stockum, Herbert; Tennawash, Daniel; Webster, Raymond; Wilson, Randall; Ciccotelli, Mike; Gliatta, Nicola; Revere, Stephen; Smith, John; Findlay, John; Mitchell, David; Strub, Ernest.

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Joel W. Little | Reply 19.10.2017 09.47

So happy to find info on my Dad's unit. I have a few keepsakes that he left. Would love to hear any memories of Sgt J.W. Little from Alabama.

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Latest comments

03.07 | 13:43

Adam and and Hopkins are also listed in Leonard's book.

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03.07 | 13:29

My Uncle was MH and my dad ML. They were twins.

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03.07 | 13:09

Rod, in Leonard's service book he listed his buddies.M.H Obarr, box 393 Cullman, Alabama, along with M.L. Obarr same address.your relation?

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03.07 | 11:11

Thank you sir! He deserves a special tribute.

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