1939-1945I am Corporal Leroy Hoekenschnieder serving with D "Dog" Battery, 5th Artillery Battalion. Our battalion was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division and support the 26th Infantry Regiment. The Depression had caused my dad's business to fail so I enlisted in the Army. In 1940 and 1941, we Regular Army units trained, but we never thought the United States would go to war. Me and my buddies who joined the Army didn't realize the significance of Japan's invasion of China in 1937 or Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939. But, everything changed when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Philippines on 7 December 1941. Our Division Commander, Major General Terry Allen, told us we would be shipped out. Little did I think we would go to North Africa! We made the second US amphibious landing of WW II. I was surprised that the landing craft were crewed by Coast Guardsmen. We were landed; we had to fight the Vichy French government troops who were collaborating with the Germans. The French had once been our ally, so we were told not to fire unless fired on. Well, the French quickly removed that prohibition and we blasted away! Thankfully, our new semi-automatic M1 rifles, called Garands, were superior to both the French and German rifles. From our beachhead, we pushed east and fought the elite armored and infantry troops of German Field Marshall Edwin Rommel's Afrika Corps. These mobile combat operations required American field artillery to develop new tactics. We responded quickly to calls for artillery support and to mass fire on the enemy. With motorized artillery, we were able to move quickly and always be in range of the troops. As a Forward Observer (FO), I went with the infantry and directed my battery's fire to aid the front line troops. Good as we were, when the Afrika Corps counter-attacked us in the Kasserine Pass we were badly whipped! I was captured and spent over two years in Nazi POW camps. This is a story for later. Like Americans always have we licked our wounds, got smarter, and in the next battles we showed them a thing or two. In fact, we eventually kicked the Germans out of North Africa, Sicily, Italy and finally pushed them across France into Germany.
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Sunday, September 7th, 2014 at 7:25am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 537652 N 3843751|
|Decimal Degrees||34.73516667, -86.58870000|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 34° 44.11', W 86° 35.322'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||34° 44' 6.60" N, 86° 35' 19.32" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 34747-34999 Patriots Walkway, Huntsville AL 35801, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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