The 111th’s Morning Reports

Posted: October 14, 2014 in Men of the 111th Ordnance Company

Ed and I returned home this past weekend from a memorable trip to Missouri and Illinois last week. The main reason for the trip was to view and record (with our cameras) five years’ worth of Morning Reports of the 111th, from 1940 to October 1945. We discovered this past summer that these reports still existed, in microfilm format, at the National Personnel Records Center (part of the National Archives) in St. Louis. We knew we had to go see them.

Ed reading morning reports in St. Louis last week

Ed reading morning reports in St. Louis last week

The National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO

The National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO

But before we tell you about the trip, please note that we have added a couple of items under the “About” heading at the top of this website: a description of the duties of a Medium Maintenance ordnance company and an explanation of the enlisted ranks used during WWII.

Another reason for our trip was to meet four children of two of the soldiers who have provided us with so much help and information about the 111th over the past year: Linda Campbell and Vickie Gratton, and their older brother, Ron Unangst, the children of the unit’s star memoir writer and photographer, Roland Unangst; and the son of Joe Sedlacek, Tom, who supplied us with the panorama photo of the men at Fort Dix in 1943 and the European itinerary, as well as many letters and photos. All still live near where their fathers grew up in Illinois. We had a wonderful time with all of them.

The Unangst kids: Vickie, Linda, and Ron

The Unangst kids: Vickie, Linda, and Ron

Lynn and Tom Sedlacek

Lynn and Tom Sedlacek

Morning Reports were a basic fact of life in WWII Army units. Here is one definition, from Wikipedia: “The report was signed by the unit’s Commanding officer…. It was the source for tabulation of the Army’s centralized personnel records. The morning report detailed changes in the status of soldiers in the unit on the day the change occurred, including, for example, transfers to or from the unit, temporary assignment elsewhere (TDY), on leave, promotion or demotion, and other such events. They were submitted daily to a unit’s headquarters and served as a record for two things: their location and any changes in personnel, that is, all the comings and goings of the men. “

Here are a few things we have learned from the 111th’s Morning Reports so far:

Heading to Normandy. The 111th left Albro Castle in Wales at half past midnight on the night of June 7/8, not June 6/7 as my father thought. There was some confusion about dates in the men’s memories, no doubt because their minds were on other things at the time. And we know for certain that they all boarded their LCTs in Southampton, England. The first “serial” or group left on the night of June 10 and arrived on the afternoon of June 11 on Omaha Beach; the second, slower, serial did so a day later.

Heading Home. On August 21, the first large group of 111th men (one officer, LT Perry Witt, and 44 enlisted men) to leave were assigned to HQ 16th Reinforcement Depot and left Brake, Germany, for the trip home to the United States in late August or early September 1945. (That list appears below, click to enlarge the image. You might see that these were the men with the highest points, and many were from the original Texas National Guard unit that was federalized in late 1940) The second group (25 enlisted men and 2 officers) were reassigned on Sept. 1 to the 489th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and left Brake on September 4, 1945, and departing by ship from Le Havre, France, to New York City sometime after that.

The list of the first group to be sent home, found attached to the morning report for Aug. 21, 1945

The list of the first group to be sent home, found attached to the morning report for Aug. 21, 1945

On September 21, CPT Art Brooks, the 111th’s CO and last remaining officer, was reassigned to the 19th Reinforcement Depot, HQ 29th Infantry Division. The third group, consisting of the new officer and CO (LT George McCorkle) and 54 men, left Brake on October 2, 1945, and drove by convoy 365 miles to Ettlingen, home of the Rhineland Kaserne, a large US Army base near Karlsruhe in the Black Forest area of southwestern part of Germany. The next day, they were assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, which then appeared to take care of shipping them home, apparently on various dates, as some of the men did not arrive home until December. On October 4, the 111th was down to one man—a new CO, LT Donald Sanborn.

Injuries. We gather from the reports that over the course of the unit’s time in Europe, many of the men suffered “non combat casualties.” This term meant sickness as well as bodily injuries (there were a few men noted as being “slightly injured” with one noted as being “seriously injured”). (The specific illnesses or injuries were not recorded.) They were usually sent to evacuation hospitals, with stays lasting from one day to several. We noted that nine men were sick or injured enough to eventually be “dropped,” meaning they were reassigned elsewhere, probably to a larger hospital. Interestingly, six of these men were dropped from the 111th rolls between early October and early December 1944, during the time when they had moved from France into Belgium and Holland.

As we read through each report—we took photos of all 1,371—we will let you know of any other interesting things we uncover.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Kay McAnally says:

    Oh my GOSH! What an endeavor to take all those pics! Good man, St. Ed! Well done, Andy! I can’t even imagine how much your original book will change with all the new discoveries and contributions that have come your way. Looking forward to the next post!

    Kay

  2. jraisler@tampabay.rr.com says:

    WHEN ONE LOOKS HARD ENOUGH, THAT PERSON GETS A WEALTH OF INFORMATION…….YOU GUYS ARE DOING A TERRIFIC JOB, KEEP IT UP.. LOOKS LIKE YOU WILL HAVE ENOUGH NEW INFO, FOR A BOOK TWO……STILL CAN’T SEE WHY, ROLAND UNANGST, NAME SOUNDS SO FAMILIAR , BUT I JUST CAN’T PLACE HIM…..HIS RECOGNITION OF THE 111th., SOUNDS VERY MUCH LIKE MINE, I LIKED IT.. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK YOU ARE DOING JUST FINE…………JOHN R.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s