The 111th’s Shoulder Patches Explained

Posted: January 2, 2016 in Men of the 111th Ordnance Company
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Before we begin, we want to share the good news that another family of a 111th soldier has found us via this blog: Tiffany Euler wrote us a while back to say that her grandfather was Charles Euler of Wathena, Kansas. Welcome, Tiffany and family! We hope you’ll find some photos of your grandfather’s time with the unit to share with us.

Dan Turner, son of 111th soldier Frank Turner, asked us a good question the other day. “Did the 111th ever have its own patch or insignia (official or unofficial) while attached to the different divisions during the war?”

The simple answer is no. Since it was only a company-size unit, the 111th never had its own patch. But the men’s photos and my father’s collection of shoulder patches led us to the next question: What patches were the men wearing?

Originally, the 111th was part of the Army’s 36th Infantry Division, a Texas National Guard unit, and they wore the patch of the 36th. At some point after the unit was federalized in November 1940, the 111th left the 36th and spent time in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and Camp Shilo, Canada. We think that during that time the men wore the patch of the U.S. Army Ground Forces. In February 1942, the Army created the Army Service Forces, comprising several technical services, including the Ordnance Corps. The patch of the Army Service Forces is seen in some photos and was in the memorabilia of some of the men. Therefore, it is likely that the men of the 111th wore this patch while training in the United Sates before leaving for Europe.

36th Infantry Division

36th Infantry Division

patch army ground troops

Army Ground Forces

patch army service forces

Army Service Forces

 

 

 

 

 

ETO patch

European Theater of Operations

patch seventh army

Seventh Army

Upon arrival in Great Britain, they probably wore the patch of the European Theater of Operations. In February 1944, a few months after arriving in Wales, they were assigned to the First U.S. Army, and we have seen the First Army patch in some of their photos. Because of the high-end maintenance skills of the men of the 111th, they were never assigned to an Infantry or Armored Division. The 111th was an Army-level resource that was assigned as needed.

There were five U.S. Field Armies (First, Third, Seventh, Ninth, and Fifteenth) in Europe during the war. The 111th was initially under the command of the First Army, then later under the command of the Ninth Army. Soon after VE Day, the 111th was assigned to the Seventh Army (which is still located in Germany today), and the men may have worn the Seventh Army patch until they returned to the States for discharge in late 1945.

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Comments
  1. Thank you for this information. You’ve answered a question I’ve searched for for many years. You’ve helped a great deal. Thank you for all the great work you do for our loved ones, past and present for the 111th!  Sincerely Dan Turner

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  2. Franklin Wise says:

    EXCELLENT post, Ande. I know family members of 111th soldiers will appreciate this posting/information! WELL Done, Texas girl.

  3. Terry Cross says:

    Andrea,
    Thanks for this explanation! It makes sense of this very confusing movement of the 111th throughout Europe. Dad kept saying he was part of the 1st Army and on the beach at Normandy was made part of the 2nd Army then the 9th. I had no idea why they kept shifting allegiances and armies! Now it makes sense. They were like “utility players”–put wherever they were needed the most.
    By the way, my father, Ray Cross, is still enjoying the info you collected and sent him. He told me last week that he laughed until his side hurt from one of the stories about a fellow soldier going through the line for shots. I am so grateful that you have established this site and have worked at finding and joining the families.
    Terry Cross

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