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Title Company C, 311th Combat Engineers
Catalog Number P1983.3.1
Accession number 7046
Object Name Print, Photographic
Description Panoramic print of Company C, 311th Combat Engineers.
Date 1944-1944
Event World War II
People Allen, Ralph "Shorty" D.
Hull, Harry E.
Subjects Group photographs
World War II
European Theater of Operations
Medical aspects of war
Medical personnel
Military camps
Military medicine
United States Army
86th Division
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
Collection Allen
Catalog date 2006-06-07
Cataloged by Cross, Scott
Medium Photographic Paper
Notes Outdoor view of Company C, 311th Combat Engineers. The men are seated and standing in six rows wearing their Class 'A' Uniforms. Oshkosh native, Ralph D. Allen, is standing in the second row, 16th from the left. Company Commander of Company C, Captain Harry E. Hull, and he is pictured approximately in the middle of the front row, the 11th person from the left.
Ralph "Shorty" D. Allen was born October 10, 1924 in Oshkosh, WI, the son of Dale P. and Bessie H. Allen. He enlisted in the US Army on February 9, 1943. He was assigned to the Medical Detachment of the 311th Combat Engineers, 86th Blackhawk Division. In March 1943 he was in training at Camp Howe, Texas before being sent to the Division Camp in Louisiana. He served in Europe with the division and in the Pacific at the end of World War II. He died in November 1980.
After Louisiana maneuvers in 1943, the 86th Division trained at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, before transfer in September, 1944, to 3 camps in California to prepare for combat in the Pacific. During this period, in December 1944, the War Department decided that the 86th Division would be sent to Europe due to the serious situation which the Allied Forces found themselves in the Ardennes front in France. The 86th Infantry Division sailed out of Boston on February 19, 1945. At this time the 86th Infantry Division was composed of the 341st, 342nd, and 343rd Infantry Regiments; the 331st 332nd and 911th Field Artillery Battalions; the 404th Field Artillery Battalion, the 311th Engineer Combat Battalion, the 86th Calvary Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized), and various combat service support units. On March 22, 1945, the Blackhawks were alerted and ordered to join the newly formed 15th Army, which had not yet been committed to combat. During the night of March 28-29, the Blackhawk's relieved the 8th Infantry Division and assumed its mission of defending the west bank of the Rhine. During that time they took part in artillery duels, gave and received small arms fire, and turned back probes by German patrols to the German side of the Rhine. On April 5, the 86th; Infantry Division was relieved by elements of the 82nd Airborne Division and began to prepare for its first offensive operation of the war. On April 6, 1945, the 86th Infantry Division spearheaded the attack against the German forces in the Ruhr Pocket. The 86th made an end run down the flank of the Ruhr Pocket, then cut left, splitting the German forces and linking up with elements of the 9th Army. During this attack, the 86th captured the major cities of Attendorn, Luderscheid and Hagen, effectively ending further attack by the German forces. With end of the battle for the Ruhr Pocket on April 16, 1945, the 86th was immediately assigned the mission of assisting General Patton's famed 3rd Army in the drive into Southern Germany. The area into which the 86th now found itself was Bavaria, where Hitler had chosen to build his "Redoubt" at Berchesgaden. The 86th, spearheading Patton's 3rd Army, moved through Bavaria in a rapid sweep of 16 days, covering 110 miles, crossing, six major rivers and taking the cities Ansback, Ingolstadt, Freising, and Oberdorf. The 86th Infantry Division participated in three major battles: the Rhine, the Ruhr, and Bavaria. It captured 53,354 German prisoners, conquered 220 miles of German territory, and forded six major rivers. VE-Day marked the end of another chapter in the history of the 86th. The 86th departed Germany and headed for to Camp Old Gold and thence to LeHavre, France, where they boarded troop ships for the trip to the 86th Street Pier in New York City. The division then went to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. From Camp Kilmer the men of the 86th were granted 30 days of leave. In mid-August 1945, time was spent training at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma for redeployment to the Pacific Theater in preparation for the invasion of Japan. The 86th was transferred to Camp Stoneman. From there the troops were ferried to San Francisco, where on August 23, 1945, the division embarked on the troop ships. The surrender of the Japanese Empire took place on September 2, 1945 and ended the war with Japan. However, even though the war ended, the troops of the 86th continued to the Philippines, for occupation duty. The 86th Division troops stepped ashore 11 September 1945. The major duty of the 86th Division was policing and controlling the U.S. troops, Filipino citizens and Japanese POWs. On 9 October 1945, the Division conducted a simultaneous search of all land areas under control for missing persons and Japanese still operating in the area. The search ended 11 October 1945. This search netted 16 Japanese and two bodies of Filipino scouts. The 86th Division continued its guard functions on Leyte Island until 30 December 1946, at which time it was inactivated. Those personnel still assigned, transferred to United States Army Forces Pacific and were sent home.

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