1 Reply Latest reply on Apr 1, 2020 9:35 AM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking Signal Corps units attached to 101st & 82nd Airborne during Battle of the Bulge

    Lance Moss Newbie

      I'm looking for more information about US Army Signal Corps history related to attachments to the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions during the Battle of the Bulge. I have this much info from letters my grandfather wrote home after V-E day.

       

      "Went into Bastogne with the 101st Airborne but were withdrawn before the town was surrounded...From Marche’ my team was assigned to the 82nd airborne Div. at Vielsalm, just west of St. Vith, where the Germans were being held up, we thought! We were there just a short time when the Germans began closing in on Vielsalm. The town was shelled for some time and then we were told that there was only one road to get out by, and that was under fire. That was later cut off and we had to wait several hours for the 82nd to push them back far enough to make a run for it which we did at 3 A.M. on a dam dark night. Luck again. We were shelled, but did not have one casualty. Believe me, I was plenty scared, and don’t let anyone tell you different. After we got out far enough to take a deep breath I found that my stomach was full of butterflies, my eyes ached from straining to see in the blackout, and my hands were so cramped around my gun it was a job to get them loose. Will remember that ride for some time and shudder every time I do. After that we went up on the north flank, around Malmedy, Stavelot and Monchau. Had a few hot times there (I don’t mean the weather) but by that time the bulge was beginning to shrink and the battle of Malmedy and Stavelot and the murder of our prisoners there. Those towns are already wrecked and were still burning when we went in. The smell of the places was awful. You can use your imagination, but it won’t be anywhere near the real thing." ~SGT Elmer Samuel Halverson, US Army Signal Corps, Summer 1945

        • Re: Seeking Signal Corps units attached to 101st & 82nd Airborne during Battle of the Bulge
          Jason Atkinson Navigator

          Dear Mr. Moss,

           

          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

          The U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH) has posted online the World War II orders of battle for the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division. Each division had a signal company as a permanent part of the division.  While it does not list any external signal units as formal attachments, there would have been other signal units supporting their operations. The 54th Signal Battalion was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps (which included the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions) during the Battle of the Bulge and was reinforced during the battle by companies of the 97th Signal Operations Battalion. There would have been also signal units at the Army and Army Group level as well as various other detachments and teams supporting the campaign. We searched online and located War Department General Order 114 listing units entitled to battle credits for the Ardennes Campaign. A search for the word “Signal” gives 97 results. There also may have been Signal Corps personnel assigned to the staff and support troops of some of the units that were not specifically Signal Corps units.

           

          The following CMH publications provide some insights into the role of the Signal Corps during World War II, to include the Battle of the Bulge:

          • CMH Pub 10-16 The Signal Corps: The Emergency (To December 1941) (and -1) (Paper)
          • CMH Pub 10-17 The Signal Corps: The Test (December 1941 to July 1943)
          • CMH Pub 10-18 The Signal Corps: The Outcome (Mid-1943 Through 1945)
          • CMH Pub 7-8 The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge

          We also locate the following websites that may be of interest:

           

          If you are trying to identify your grandfather’s unit, we suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF).  OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and prior to 1958 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. You can also fax the form to 314-801-9195 OR view the record by visiting the NPRC Archival Research Room in St. Louis, MO. Veterans and their next of kin can also use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.

           

          However, due to the coronavirus public health emergency, the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is servicing only urgent requests related to homeless veterans, medical emergencies, and funerals that may be faxed to 314-801-0764. The staff of NPRC thanks you for your patience and looks forward to resuming normal operations when the public health emergency has ended.

           

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