7 Replies Latest reply on Jan 21, 2022 5:38 PM by Roberta Russo

    Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties

    Roberta Russo Adventurer

      In January 1945, the bodies of six 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division soldiers were discovered by a Graves Registration Unit (GRU) near Lutrebois, Belgium.  They were shot by the enemy while being held prisoner.  I am attaching a copy of the GRU report about this discovery.  I assume there must have been some further investigation. Here is a link to the GRU report: Untitled-4 (coulthart.com)  Would the NARA have any records regarding this incident?

        • Re: Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties
          Elliot Schneider Guide

          Roberta,

           

          Please see the following from a previous question you had asked. Here is a response to that question. The other option that you can try is to find any 134th INF unit journals or perhaps at the 35th Division HQ records. But I highly doubt they would have an investigation since it seemed like time in that area was of essence considering they were getting Artillery ready in that area and did not want any additional American soldiers in that area except to recover those bodies.

           

           

           

           

           

          At this time, Individual Deceased Personnel Files (IDPFs) from 1940-1976 for U.S. Army personnel with surnames that begin with A-L are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL), not the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). For more information about these records, please contact RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov. RL-SL has not yet received digital images for these files; however, they can be scanned individually as they are requested. If you order one of these files, RL-SL will provide digital copies of the record via OneHub and charge the fee via Pay.gov. Please do not submit a Standard Form 180 to NPRC for IDPFs as they do not handle these requests.

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties
              Roberta Russo Adventurer

              Thanks for your response.  I have the IDPFs for these 6 men, but they do not contain any mention of their being shot by the enemy while being held prisoner. They also don't mention any investigation regarding their death.  Based on the family correspondence they do contain; I doubt the families were ever notified about the circumstances of their deaths.

              I have After Action Reports and Unit Journals for the 35th Infantry Division and the 134th Infantry Regiment - but they don't include any mention of this incident.  

               

              The bottom of the Graves Registration Report about this discovery reads:  "Subscribed and sworn to before me this 18th day of Feb, 1945" - Horace R. Hanson, 1st Lt, Infantry, Summary Court Officer ".  Interestingly, after the war, Hanson was a prosecutor at the Dachau War Crimes trials. He wrote the book "Witness to Barbarism" about his experiences at the trials.

               

              Hard to believe that there was no further investigation of this incident.  The Malmedy Massacre took place just a couple of weeks earlier, about 50 miles North of where these soldiers were executed. 

                • Re: Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties
                  Elliot Schneider Guide

                  Roberta,

                   

                  Also just to be clear just because there is evidence of serious traumas to certain parts of the body dose not make this a case for random soldiers being executed. These wounds that the men suffered were most likely suffered from the battle that their unit was involved with. Also just a side note none of the men were listed as POW or Prisoners of War checked the POW database.

                   

                  Most of those IDPFs are very vague to begin with. Some are very hit or missed depending on what was written down.

                   

                  Here is some links to request records pertaining to the trials.

                   

                  https://catalog.archives.gov/id/581103

                   

                  https://catalog.archives.gov/id/581096

                   

                  https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6734336

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  Russell Johnson Burial Card.

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  David I. Bowen WW2 Hospital Admissions Card:

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  Name:David I Bowen
                  Gender:Male
                  Rank:Enlisted Man (includes Aviation Cadet or Student)
                  Admission Age:20
                  Birth Date:abt 1925
                  Admission Date:Jan 1945
                  Discharge Date:Jan 1945
                  Discharge Place:Not in Medical Installation Prior to Death
                  Military Branch:Infantry, General or Unspecified
                  Military Unit:0
                  Diagnosis:Diagnosis: Wound(s), character not stated (includes Wound(s), multiple, Not Elsewhere Classified; Wound(s) unqualified) with no nerve or artery involvement; Location: Head, generally; CausativeAgent: Bullet, Missile Not Stated
                  Type of Injury:InjuryType: Battle casualty; InjuryType2: All battle casualties, and all battle injuries not intentionally inflicted by self or another person
                  Service Number:34794378
                  Notes:None

                   

                   

                   

                  Wilbur C. Pyle WW2 Hospital Admissions Card:

                   

                  Name:Wilburn C Pyle
                  Gender:Male
                  Rank:Enlisted Man (includes Aviation Cadet or Student)
                  Admission Age:22
                  Birth Date:abt 1923
                  Admission Date:Jan 1945
                  Admission Place:European Area
                  Discharge Date:Jan 1945
                  Discharge Place:Not in Medical Installation Prior to Death
                  Military Branch:Infantry, General or Unspecified
                  Diagnosis:Diagnosis: Killed in action; Location: Unknown, code not applicable; CausativeAgent: None or Unknown
                  Type of Injury:InjuryType: Battle casualty; InjuryType2: All battle casualties, and all battle injuries not intentionally inflicted by self or another person
                  Service Number:18198599
                  Notes:Cases reported by AGO only, except death in German or Japanese prison (Officially Declared Dead or Unmatched Reports of Death)
                  2 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties
                      Roberta Russo Adventurer

                      Hello Elliot, 

                       

                      Thanks for the additional information.  I agree that evidence of serious trauma to the bodies doesn't necessarily mean that these men were executed by the enemy while being held captive. However, the GRU report does indicate that "the fatal wounds had been inflicted upon these men prior to 10 Jan while these soldiers were in the hands of the enemy." It also states that a further examination of the bodies was made at the Collecting Point and photographs were taken.  The GRU team's statements were sworn to a Summary Court Officer.

                       

                      Given this (unproven) suspicion, I assume (maybe incorrectly) that there would have been some type of further investigation and that NARA might have a copy of the report. Thanks again for the hospital records, I appreciate it.

                        • Re: Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties
                          Elliot Schneider Guide

                          Roberta,

                           

                          Glad you found items helpful, one quick note, this is just a witness statement and someone's Point of View in this case the GRU teams own conclusion. These 6 men were not registered as MIA, KIA, or POW which leads me to believe that this was nothing more then a witness statement on what the GRU team thought occurred. But the harsh reality is the were probably just casualties of war nothing more. But because someone made their own conclusion in a statement without any additional evidence such as being AWOL listed on  MR or Morning Reports. I would have to conclude that this statement was inaccurate. Hope this help

                           

                           

                          Best of Luck with your search

                            • Re: Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties
                              Roberta Russo Adventurer

                              Hi Elliot,

                               

                              I probably should have included more information in my earlier posting. Just to clarify, all of the men whose bodies were recovered by this GRU detail had been reported MIA per their Company’s Morning Reports. All were from Company C, 134th Infantry Regiment except for Troy Bader who was from Company G.  Per the Morning Report, all of the Company C soldiers were reported MIA as of 5 Jan 1945.  Here is a link to that Morning Report:

                               

                              http://www.coulthart.com/134/mr-134-c-1945-1-9.pdf

                               

                              Troy Bader of Company G was reported MIA as of 6 Jan 1945.  Here is a link to that Morning Report:

                               

                              http://www.coulthart.com/134/mr-g-company/mr-134-g-1945-1-10.pdf

                               

                              The status of all these soldiers was changed to KIA on subsequent Morning Reports.

                               

                              In the early morning hours of 4 January 1945, Company C, 134th Infantry Regiment launched an attack from Marvie toward Lutrebois, Belgium. They overran their objective and became trapped behind enemy lines. Less than 40 of the original 120 men made it back to friendly lines.  Seventy were captured and held as prisoners of war. Ten were killed in action during the battle, in addition to those who are the subject of this Grave Registration report. Here is a link to a web page describing that battle, including a firsthand account, along with a list of the men KIA and taken prisoner.

                               

                              Company C 134th Infantry battle at Marvie Belgium (coulthart.com)

                               

                              Thanks again for the help.     Roberta

                    • Re: Seeking investigation report regarding 134th Infantry Regiment casualties
                      Jason Atkinson Guide

                      Dear Ms. Russo,

                       

                      Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

                       

                      We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the European Name Index to the Series "Case Files, 1944-1949", 1944 - 1949 in the Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army) (Record Group 153) that includes the digitized file Reinburg, Mueller THRU Robel, Robert G., T/Sgt. Image 114 is the card for 1st Lt. Reischel, and identifies him as a witness in Case 6-190. This series indexes the Case Files, 1944 - 1949 in Record Group 153 and Case 6-190 is in Box 109. This case file is not digitized. For more information about these non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at Archives2reference@nara.gov.

                       

                      Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.

                       

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

                      1 person found this helpful