2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 18, 2020 6:24 AM by Wim Kievits

    Seeking photos of 119th Infantry Regiment breaking through Siegfried Line


      Hi, although there is a lot of information about the breakthrough of the Siegfried Line in October 1944 in the vicinity of Rimburg (Netherlands), I am trying to locate the photo rails of that campaign. There is a reasonable number of images immediately after the fights that could originate from a team of photographers that usually would be embedded in such a regiment. How are these press teams organized in the US military forces ?


      I am wondering how to retrieve more archival information about these potential photo rails, and/or even film material. Who can recommend to go about with this challenge? Where do I look (for)? (Because of similar experiences in the Imperial War Archives where I retrieved similar photo series related to Market Garden, I have high hopes that these photo series must exist but I don't have a lead). Thank you for your help!

        • Re: Seeking photos of 119th Infantry Regiment breaking through Siegfried Line
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Mr. Kievits,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          Photographs of US Army operations during World War II usually originated from one of three sources:  Official Signal Corps photographers that were attached to some units at various times, war correspondents that were attached to some units at various times, and individual soldiers who sometimes brought along personal cameras and took their own photographs. For activities in the United States or in other areas not experiencing active fighting, there were also some examples of unit leadership paying local professional photographers to take pictures which were distributed to members of the unit but not retained as official records. Please note that not all units had official or unofficial photographers with them at all times, and the hazards of war sometimes resulted in the loss of photography that had been taken.

          Photographs taken by war correspondents and individuals using their own cameras for unofficial purposes are typically not in National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) custody. Official Signal Corps photographs and films that were retained by the federal government are in the custody of NARA. We searched the National Archives Catalog for photographs and graphic material and located these results for “Siegfried Line”, “30th Infantry Division”, and “Rimburg”. Searches for moving images produced the following results for “Siegfried Line” and “30th Infantry Division.”  For more information about these records, please email the reference units listed as the contact in the Catalog description.

          We did not locate images for the 119th Infantry Regiment.  However, it is possible that there are additional films and photographs in NARA custody that are relevant but did not include the key words in our searches.  To request a search for possible photographs, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Still Picture (RDSS) via email at stillpix@nara.govTo request a search for films, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Motion Picture (RDSM) via email at mopix@nara.gov.


          Also, the World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917-1981 (Record Group 407) includes textual records of the 30th Infantry Division and its subordinate units that may be of interest. The textual records sometimes include photographs. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDSS, RDSM and RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We searched the Library of Congress for “119th Infantry Regiment” and located multiple results from their Veterans History Project Database. While we have not checked all of these listings to determine if they include photographs, even without photographs the oral histories and other materials may be of interest to your research. We also located Combat history of the 119th Infantry Regiment which the Bangor Public Library has digitized and made available online as part of their extensive collection of World War II unit histories. In addition, there are multiple books about the 30th Infantry Division.

          Also, you may wish to contact the U.S. Army Center of Military History, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, National Museum of the United States Army, the National World War 2 Museum, and similar institutions.


          We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

            • Re: Seeking photos of 119th Infantry Regiment breaking through Siegfried Line

              dear Mr. Atkinson,


              thank you very much for your extensive answer which I appreciate a lot! Thanks to this I could double-check that my research activity of the last 3 days more or less produced the same results as far as digitally accessible records were concerned. It is obvious that the National Archives Catalog for photographic material potentially includes much more interesting material. My challenge now is to establish what the detailed content of this 'unpublished' sources is.

              Thank you also for pointing out to me the Veterans History Project Database. In similar previous research on my current hometown I was able to retrieve similar personal accounts from the liberation of Vught by the Scottish armed forces in October 1944. I must admit that I haven't found out yet how to listen to the sound files through the internet. But anyhow this is a start!

              I understand the temporary limited services due to Covid-19, and therefor I will have to respect some patience although that is hard given the potential hidden gems in these archives. Being a voluntary researcher I will have to find the way to dig up those incredible historic facts about the liberation of the southern part of The Netherlands without having to invest too much money in the digitization of sources that might be valuable.


              For now let me thank you once more for the swift response and the number of sources that you were able to trace in such a short notice.

              with many regards,


              Wim Kievits