9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 22, 2020 9:55 PM by Joseph Reich

    Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings

    Joseph Reich Wayfarer

      My father was an interpreter/driver for the 54th Ordnance, then the 52nd Air Disarmament Squadron, all under 7th Army. This picture was taken in Augsburg shortly after its capture (May '45). The hood markings appear to be 7A CAPA???. Seventh Army, what else?  Also, where was 7th Army HQ situated in France and Germany? It was in shortly in Augsburg, ended up in Heidelberg?

        • Re: Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings
          Alex Daverede Adventurer

          Joseph,

           

          Unfortunately, the marking is too indistinct even under magnification to be fully legible. 

           

          Your father’s service in the 54th Air Disarmament Squadron gives some clues.  As you may already know, the ADS units fanned out over the German countryside seeking intact examples of German aviation technology.  Augsburg was home to several Messerschmitt facilities, so the presence of ADS staff in the area was not surprising.

          As the ADS units fell under the intelligence organization of the Army Air Forces, they would have depended on the AAF for logistical support.  At the leading edge of Allied armies in Germany at the end of the war, the ADS’s would have been hard pressed to find a means of transportation to accomplish their technical intelligence mission.  They would have turned to the local U.S. Army higher headquarters for assistance, in this case the U. S. 7th Army.

           

          At the end of the war, advancing U. S. Army combat units confiscated almost all the intact German civilian vehicles they encountered and used them for local administrative duties.  At some point some one on 7th Army staff decided to create a motor pool of captured German vehicles, also to be used for administrative tasks, especially as combat vehicles would have been pretty worn out.  The marking on the hood of this vehicle (possibly a Mercedes 540K—a sweet ride) is just a means of 7th Army to identify the captured German civilian vehicles in its administrative motor pool, as well as to make sure no other U. S. Army formation makes off with it.

           

          I hope you find this information useful.

           

          A. J.

          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings
              Joseph Reich Wayfarer

              Thank you, AJ! My Dad was in combat going over the Voges, and since he spoke an Austrian dialect (my grandparents), his 143rd Regiment let him negotiate (interpret) with the German-speaking Alsacian mayors as they descended into the Rhineland. During the pause in Feb '45, he was "scarfed-up" by the 54th Ordnance desperately seeking linguists. I have found pictures of him with a jeep, at airfield junkyards (Brunnthal), the airfield at Innsbruck, also standing at the autobahn "ausfahrt" for Kirchheim, HQ for the 52nd ADS. A man in Switzerland saw a picture I posted of my Dad next to an Me-262 (Innsbruck), and texted me about Operation Lusty. Colonel Wolfgang Samuel (author) told me on the phone my Dad was in the 52nd. Dad never spoke about the War with us until the year before he passed, and only about the bloodshed he experienced as an infantryman. There are 6 months of his time in service missing from his separation papers; he reappears in Heidelberg at 7th Army HQ wearing Tec4 stripes. Those 6 months, April-Oct '45, seem to be Lusty time.  If only Dad could confirm I am putting the puzzle pieces together correctly.  I have asked the AFHRA for some Lusty data, hope to find his name. I also intend to go the Archives in St. Louis to check morning reports.

              Joe

              • Re: Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings
                Joseph Reich Wayfarer

                AJ, I also am trying to find out where the 54th Ordnance was in mid Feb when my Dad reported to it. Was in collocated with the 7th Army? Where? Was the 7th Army colocated with 6th Army Group at Vittel, where COL Watson had established a headquarters for Operation Lusty? Could that be the connection, how Dad was transferred to the 5nd ADS? 7th Army was the parent unit to the Ninth Army Air Force and Lusty via the 2nd Air Disarmament Wing.

                  • Re: Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings
                    Alex Daverede Adventurer

                    Joe,

                     

                    Your father’s story is a fascinating one, especially since he ended up performing duties far different than those he was originally trained for.

                     

                    Unfortunately I’m a vehicles/markings guy.  I have some knowledge of the Lusty/Paperclip operations, but not to the extent that I can be of help in your search.  The thing to remember about the U. S. Army during the late war and early postwar period Is that the administrative situation was very confused.  The documentation from this period is incomplete, especially for ad hoc assignments such as your father’s, so it may be difficult to fill in the blanks.

                     

                    I wish you the best of luck with your research.

                     

                    A. J.

                    1 person found this helpful
                • Re: Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings
                  Thomas Richardson Tracker

                  Dear Mr. Reich,

                   

                  Thank you for submitting your request on the History Hub.

                   

                  Unfortunately we are unable to ascertain the staff car markings as the image is too obscure for us to make an accurate claim. We have searched the National Archives Catalog and located Unit Histories, 1943 - 1967 in the Records of U.S. Army Operational, Tactical, and Support Organizations (World War II and Thereafter) (Record Group 338) that includes one entry on the 54th Ordnance Company. We also located 62 series of the Seventh Army in Record Group 338 during and after WWII. Plus, we located the World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917-1981 (Record Group 407) that includes records of the 54th Ordnance Company and the Seventh Army during WWII and after. For access to these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

                   

                  In addition, RDT2 has custody of microfilm copies of operational records relating to U.S. Army Air Force units. We located multiple files of the 52nd Air Disarmament Squadron. Please read the brief Abstract to determine which records you are interested in and click on the specific PDF icon. In the PDF listing, the IRISREF is the microfilm reel number and note the FRAME and FRAMELST numbers for the location on the reel. Since the reel number begins with A, please contact RDT2 for access to them.

                   

                  Lastly, for information on his military service, 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 also may fax the form to 314-801-9195. Veterans and their next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.

                   

                  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 RDT2. Also, the National Personnel Records Center is is currently only servicing emergency requests and will soon expand its service to include time-sensitive requests from veterans for records needed to secure VA home loan guarantees and employment opportunities.

                   

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

                   

                  2 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings
                    Joseph Reich Wayfarer

                    OK, I found the answer! The 7A means 7th Army, the CAP means "captured," and the A008 is the unit inventory number. Found the answer when I found this photo of a captured German truck!Captured truck.

                    2 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Seeking meaning of 7th Army Staff car markings
                      Joseph Reich Wayfarer

                      BTW, the marking on the hood is a MODIFIED US Star; the horizontal bar is blackened-out, forming an "A," indicative of a Lightning "A" T-Force car, this one from 6th Army Group's T-Force.