Wednesday, February 9, 2011

70th Infantry Division Photos, "The Trailblazers" of WW2

I have had a small photo album for many years, that my grandmother picked up at a yard sale for me down around the Portland, Oregon area. Just recently I took the time to magnify the photos for clues as to the units and places that are pictured in the photos. Considering that the album was only partial (with many photos having been removed, possibly by family before selling) and the photos themselves being quite small, I was lucky to make any identification at all............. But I did identify not only the division, but also the original owner of the album, and what regiment that he served with! I used declassified documents that had been scanned and stored on the 70th Infantry Division veteran's website to deduce and confirm the owner-soldier from notes on the back of a photo of girlfriends! I also worked with the folks over at the "Trailblazers" web site. In fact, here is the photo, front and back, that gave the crucial clue as to the identity of the owner (There was only one officer named Norm (Norman) in the whole division, a lucky break!).

The soldier who owned the album was 1st Lieutenant Norman E. Sims, Jr. of the 274th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division, U.S. Army. The photos of are from his time in the service, over in Germany during WW2.

I scanned the photos and sent them to the "Trailblazers" and they are now published online in their photo archives and will be published in their magazine. Here is a link to the photo page:

Here is a link to the main page for the "Trailblazers", The 70th infantry Division Association. This is one of the very best veteran's web sites that I have ever seen! Tons of photo archives, video, audio, unit histories, scanned documents, etc. Be sure to spend some time exploring!

And here is a selection of photos from the album:

The division band, the "Blues Chasers", giving a field concert.... notice the soldier in the back and to the left that are in full combat gear, and the division emblem on the music stand banners.

The jeep has the markings of the 274th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Battalion HQ. Notice the line of German fuel cans on the front porch........ it looks like wash day in the courtyard!

This soldier is standing next to a German Kubelwagen with no military markings. He is wearing leather driving gloves and has a binocular case on his webbed belt (I haven't seen that before!). The Kubelwagen may have been pressed into US service.

This is a view of the POW camp Stalag XII-A after it was liberated and used as a holding-base camp for the East European ex-POW's. The camp was located near Limburg, Germany.

This is a shot of a large pile of helmets that were stacked outside of the the POW camp. The helmets were from the soldiers who were taken prisoner. Notice that all of the medic red crosses appear to have been self-painted on and there are several helmets with nets in the mix.

Well there's the "best of the album". Be sure to go over to the "Trailblazer's" site and read up on the history and check out the photos.............

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