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DUI Pin for 310th Engineers
This is the history of the 310th Engineer Battalion during WW2 . This history details the operation of the three companies in direct support of the infantry regiments as part of the 85 Infantry Divisionat the front. This contains some description of the types of bridges they built and the combat activities, including casualties. It includes names of their parent unit, 19th Engineer Regiment, and other engineer units such as British. With only one exception, names of individual soldiers, both heroes and casualties were omitted from this report.
See photos of engineers at the following: 310th Engineers , Company B, & Company C .
Also, for more history of this unit, refer to 85th 'Custer' Division.
I. Activation and Training in the States
II. North Africa
III. Italy and Minturno Front GO TO
IV. Breaching the Gustav Line
V. The Drive on Rome
VI. Bridging Operations
VII. Breaching the Gothic Line GO TO
VIII. The Arno Front
IX. Corps Engineering in the Apennines
X. Lucca -- Defensive Action GO TO
XI. Mt. Grande Sector
XII. The Po Valley Campaign GO TO
|I. Activation and
in the States
The 310th Engineer Battalion was activated as a unit of the 85th Infantry Division on May 15, 1942, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Basic training was accomplished in that year at Camp Shelby. The following year, unit training was undertaken in winter maneuvers in the cold swamps of Mississippi, Spring maneuvers in the rainy Louisiana, and summer maneuvers in the scorching desert sands of California. Fall found the Battalion at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where a brief "polishing" was undertaken in preparation for overseas movement. Elements of the Battalion left for that duty on December 16, 1943. All of the unit was overseas early in January, 1944.
|II. North Africa
The first overseas assignment was North Africa, vicinity of St. Denis du Sig and Arzew. At St. Denis du Sig, the Battalion tackled the job of Post Engineering in the reconstruction of a prisoner of war camp to meet the needs of the Division, wherein all the numerous utility tasks, water supply, sewage disposal, electrical power distribution, surveying and construction, and supply of engineer equipment, were undertaken. At the Engineer Training Center, vicinity of St. Denis du Sig, the majority of the unit received a thorough training in mine warfare methods and Bailey Bridge construction. At the Invasion Training Center, vicinity of Arzew, extensive training was gained in amphibious operations. The unit became a heavy construction outfit as it undertook the tasks of constructing elaborate beach obstacles; for the jobs of quarrying, construction of huge and extensive reinforced concrete obstacles, and the fabrication of steel tetrahedrons were encountered. This was followed by training in the breaching of these obstacles, and conducting of a school in this operation for the infantry regiments of the Division.
III. Italy and Minturno Front.
<>The Battalion arrived in Italy on March 29, 1944; and after a brief period of reorganization and adjustment, went into the front at Minturno with other elements of the Division on April 9, 1944. Here the Battalion received its "baptism", performing operations under fire for the first time. Road maintenance, minefield clearance, and construction of hasty fortifications were among the major engineer tasks performed. Company C, in particular received a real "baptism"; for in one instance when marching (and dispersed) toward a minefield, the enemy threw over one hundred rounds of artillery along the road. Although not one man was injured, there was praying and aging.
When the offensive started, on the night of May 11, 1944, the Battalion played a most important part. Company A, operated one of the ferries across the GARIGLIANO River, which, at the time, was continually under shell fire. Just prior to the attack, Company C, sent several mine clearing parties into "No Man's land" to clear paths for the Infantry. A member of one of these details was captured by the enemy, but escaped in the course of a fire-fight, slightly wounded by a hand grenade. Men of Company B, were attached ot the infantry. This was, indeed, a rough assignment, to act as second scouts, their job to search the terrain for trip wires and mines and guide the Infantry. And of the twelve men assigned to the task, two were wounded and three killed. Another fine accomplishment occurred two nights later, when the Second Platoon of Company C erected a pre-fabricated timber bridge across a small stream while under mortar and artillery fire and an enemy air attack, which was close enough to cause one of the men to be burned by a fallen flare. The platoon leader was awarded the Bronze Star for his brave deed. On the second day of the attack, the advance toward "S" Ridge and SOLACCIANO were slowed down effectively, and tanks were badly needed to assist the Infantry. River Capo di Acqua and a small tributary in the vicinity proved to be effective tank obstacles. D-7 and R-4 Bulldozer operators succeeded in making crossings while under heavy shell fire; and the operators received the Silver Star for their gallant work. Here, too, two officers were awarded the Silver Star and one the Bronze Star for their efforts. On one occasion, an extensive "S" mine field on a hill known as "131" had to be breached to allow the Infantry passage. The men of the third Platoon of Company B, were under tension as they went about their task; for mortar fire was frequent in the vicinity. The strain must have been too much for one man who caused a mine to explode and was killed instantly causing excitement and the explosion of another mine, which took the lives of the platoon leader and another man, wounded two others. And the sad part of it all is that the job had just been completed.
|V. The Drive on Rome
After the last defenses of the Gustav Line were cracked and the advance continued, the Battalion was busily engaged in constructing and maintaining minor roads and trails, often under artillery fire. During this work, Lt. General mark W. Cark, personally commended the First Platoon of Company C, which at that time was engaged in constructing a ford to enable tanks to move forward and support the Infantry.
Two operations in the struggle for Highway 7 were outstanding. One was the construction of a jeep trail up the steep CASTELONORATO by company A. The other occurred at SCAURI where the two dozer operator of Company C accomplished the task of filling craters in heavily mined areas, continuing their efforts though one dozer was disabled by mines and the operator wounded, until the other dozer was, too, disabled.
The advance continued through FORMIA and onto ITRI. Company B, supported by the 235th Engineer Battalion, breached numerous road blocks and filled several extensive craters in the course of one morning. The First Platoon of Company B, then lead a reconnaissance troop into GAETA. They cleared the extensive obstacles in their path and then grabbed their weapons to help round up some thirty of the enemy from the town. At ITRI, the Third Platoon of Company A, constructed a hundred-foot span of Bailey bridge while often under artillery fire. The platoon leader was awarded the Bronze Star for his brave deed.
At ITRI, the Second Platoon of Company C was attached to the Task Force and cleared Highway 7 of obstacles in the rapid advance on FONDI. Between FONDI and TERRACINA, there were numerous bridges blown, necessitating the construction of numerous culverts and by-passes.
At TERRACINA, the advance of tanks was held up by a road crater, which was found to be under extensive small arms fire when a detail of Company A starting work was fired upon by machine guns and forced to withdrew, two men having been wounded. And there, two of the men of Company showed outstanding bravery. In face of machine gun fire, one the wounded men accompanied by the first sergeant returned to the crater and located the enemy strong point in a house. In the bitter engagement with the enemy, which followed, the wounded man killed eight machine gunners and two snipers and the first sergeant accounted for two snipers and wounded several others, then organized a group of infantry and tank men to neutralize the position. Needless to say, they received the Silver Star.
The rapid advance along Highway 7 was temporarily held up east of TERRACINA due to the heavily fortified, rugged mountainous terrain and the defile, through which the highway passes between the mountains and the sea, strewn with numerous road blocks and tank traps well-covered by enemy fire. One particular blown bridge prevented tanks from moving in toward the resistance. Bulldozers operators (from Company A) and the 235th Engineer Battalion, working under fire, dozed in an effective crossing. The bulldozers operators were quickly awarded the Silver Star by the Corps Commander for their gallant efforts.
Meanwhile an amphibious task force, of which the First Platoon of Company B was the engineer component, had been started to TERRACINA by sea. Enroute on one of the DUWK's carrying the engineers suddenly sank. Twenty-one men in the water at one time and most of them still laden with equipment. Rescue was rapid, but one man was lost. The trip from then on was uneventful, the landing being made short of TERRACINA; for land forces were already there. There were some cold engineers, sworn land fighters, that night.
At TERRACINA the advance was temporarily held up. An alternate route through the mountains was needed to link Highway 7 with SONNINO. Almost super-human effort was exerted in carving a road suitable for all Division traffic from the solid rock slopes of the mountains; for there necessitated much hand labor, especially in demolition work-- which required hand-carrying of heavy explosives up the rugged heights. And, of course, long hours were demanded of the dozer operators. Then a break-through at TERRACINA presented no need for the road and construction was stopped with but about one mile to go. In six days of toil, however, six miles of road had been constructed. This greatly reduced the mule-carrying and enabled artillery to move several miles forward: and so the efforts were, by far, not in vain.
A rapid advance was made to PRIVERNO and little engineer work was necessary. At this point the Division moved to vicinity of SABAUDIA for a short rest.
The Division re-entered the offensive near CORI and the advance on Rome continued. During the advance several roads were constructed through wooded terrain in order to by-pass enemy resistance at VELLETRI and LARIANO.
A platoon from each company accompanied task forces on the final drive on ROME. The most important of these was the Cole Task Force, of which the Second Platoon of Company B was a unit. The mission of this task force was to drive on ROME and secure three of the bridges across the TIBER River before they could be destroyed by the enemy. This force was motorized and traveled by motors to within five mils of ROME where it de-trucked and took to traveling on foot. The Infantry then started marching forward on Highway 6 with the engineer platoon serving as the rear guard, its mission to "clean out" any snipers left behind by the Infantry, to secure the rear of the force, and to keep all civilians moving to the rear. This was the first time the platoon had been committed as Infantry and the men "armed to the teeth", were quite enthusiastic as they went about their task. As the platoon entered the outskirts of ROME, the men were spread out to the right and left of Highway 6 for several blocks; but the Infantry did their job too well and left them no "Jerries"; however, they were busied with sending the over-joyed civilians(who hugged them and kissed them and decorated them with flowers) to the rear-- quite a problem. And the job continued until the early morning hours. Rest was granted the majority of the platoon, which had the good fortune of bedding down in the lobby of the Plaza Roma Hotel, which was needless to say, highly appreciated. However, three men and the platoon leader continued on the job and proceeded to the bridges to check them for mines and demolitions. These had already been secured by the Infantry; and the group feeling protected, proceeded to check them. One bridge was checked and nothing found. On their stepping around the abutment of the near side of the LITTORIA bridge, they found nine frightened Germans greeting them with frantic cries of "Comrade". As they marched them to the rear, the Infantry who were guarding the bridge, too, showed great surprise. Soon all members of the platoon were enjoying the comforts that "Jerry" had lavished in so long; and well had they earned them!
And the road clearance work continued along Highway 2 to LAGO di VICO. Very little engineer work was necessary, it consisting mostly of removing enemy vehicles which had been knocked out by our air forces.The Battalion then, with the other units of the Division, went into a rest area south of ROME. The day was June 10th. A month of extensive combat operations had gone by.
The middle of July found the Division in IV Corps reserve as the advance on Pisa was in progress. During this period, there was practical work in bridge construction in the erection of two fixed timber bridges and three Bailey bridges on Highway 1. Company A built the timber bridges, spans of seventy and fifty feet, a 70 one-way, a 40 two-way, and completing all work in four days. The Bailey bridges were constructed while intermittent shelling was in the vicinity. Company B constructed seventy feet of DS Class 40, and one hundred and ten feet of DD Class 40. Company C erected one hundred and thirty feet of DD Class 40.
|VII. The Arno Front
The first of August found the Division in reserve in the vicinity of the ARNO River. Here the Battalion, with the First Battalion of the 19th Engineer Regiment attached, conducted training in river crossing on the ELSA River near CERTALDO in preparation for a proposed crossing of the ARNO. Reconnaissance patrols were sent to the river to study the proposed crossing sites. During this patrolling, one officer of the 19th Engineer Regiment was killed and two enlisted men were wounded by enemy small arms fire.Plans changed from a river crossing to a holding action; and about the middle of August, the Division was employed in defending the ARNO front. Here the Battalion had the dual mission of maintaining the road net and acting as Infantry. This latter mission called for holding a sector of twenty-five hundred yards. Indeed, after a short four day stay, all members of the unit gained a greater appreciation of the Infantry. Vivre la Engineers!
|VIII. Breaching the
On September 12, 1944, the Battalion, supported by the First Battalion, 19th Engineer Regiment, took its place in line with the other units of the Division in preparation for breaching of the Gothic Line.
The road from SAN PIERO (PIETRO ?) to FIRENZUOLA was selected as the main supply route and its opening was to be the concentration of the engineer effort. Company B, supported by Company C, 19th Engineer Regiment, was assigned this task. The road was very winding (for it ascended the steep Mt. Altuzzo, one of the key defenses of the Gothic fortifications) and offered the enemy numerous and excellent demolition sites, of which he did not fail to take advantage. The resultant craters again demanded much hand labor and bulldozer work, often in zones of enemy observation; and so, there was frequent artillery fire. In one instance, the commander of Company B and one of his platoon leaders were caught in small arms fire while on a reconnaissance of the road. Several craters were placed along sheer cliffs; and pick and shovel work was necessary to allow even the passage of mules, extensive blasting was necessary to fill the craters and permit vehicular traffic; for some of these were over two hundred feet in length. A tank dozer of the 752nd Tank Battalion was often used for dozing under fire. On September 17, the Infantry reached the summit of the mountain; and the following morning, the road was open for all traffic. Meanwhile Company A and Company C had been struggling with the construction of jeep trails over the extremely rugged terrain, each having competed about three miles of such construction.
By September 22, the key road junction town of FIRENZUOLA had been reached; and again the road clearing had involved the filling of several craters and by-passing of bridge and culvert demolitions. At one demolition site, about one and one-half mies south of FIRENZUOLA, the Third Platoon of Company B attempted to span a ninety foot gap with Bailey Bridge. The site was under direct observation of "Jerry", who held the heights north of FIRENZUOLA, and shelling was frequent and intense. However, the bridge was erected.
Again Company A and Company C had been busied with road construction over the mountains. The road, which Company C opened for over two miles along a ridge and in plain site of the enemy, was later used as the main approach road by the 88th Infantry Division.
At FIRENZUOLA, the Division sector was without established roads; and again extensive construction work was necessary. The existing trail from FIRENZUOLA north had to be converted into a two-way road for a stretch of six miles. This task fell the lot of Company B and Company C. The rains came and there resulted a struggle with "Old Man Mud", but again victory!
Further to the right, Company A constructed three miles of one-way road by extensive demolition and dozing operations through a creek bottom. This road became a vital regimental supply line.
After a surprise tank attack, for which Company C was partly responsible in constructing a suitable stretch of road over rugged terrain, Mt. CANADA, from which the enemy had observations on practically all the Division sector, fall on September 28 and more road work was presented.
Company B and Company C had the mission of opening the road along Mt. CANADA, 6529, to its junction with Highway 65; and again there was need for night operations, for again the road was under enemy observations.
Company C was assigned the task of improving the lateral road from 6529 to the TORRENTI IDICE valley road, 6531 and the opening of the latter. Minefields had to be gapped, the lateral road widened, and the valley road necessitated several by-passes. All this work was under mid a torrential rain; but five miles of road were opened in two days.
At the same time, Company A had again been assigned the job of road construction, this time along a ridge which extended about ten miles north on the right boundary of the Division sector. And in spite of many days of rain, the Company succeeded in opening and maintaining a one and one-half way road for all traffic, for a stretch of six miles and in the course of eight days! Following this, the company opened several laterals from the newly-constructed ridge road to the valley road.
In order to eliminate the long, six mile stretch of poor road leading into the IDICE valley, reconnaissance was pushed forward to find a lateral road from Highway 65 to the valley road. A road was found through CAMPGEEIO and after the filling of a crater and by-passing a bridge demolition; it was opened for traffic. But again came torrential rains which ruined the road and caused it to be abandoned. Another lateral through SAN MARTINO, opened by the First Battalion, 19th Engineer Regiment was used instead.
As the Infantry pushed forward to C SPETTRA ( in the immediate vicinity of the present front lines) more road craters and blown bridges were encountered; and by-p[asses were constructed by Company B, the 19th Engineers following up and constructing numerous Bailey bridges. One of the bridges, sixty-feet of double-single Bailey bridge, was constructed by the Third Platoon of Company B over a small stream just north of BORGO di BISANO.
Again there was engineer heroism to enable a tank attack. A road was needed from the valley road to the dominating Mt. FORMICHO to allow tanks to fire directly on enemy positions and lessen the chances on counterattack. A stretch of three miles, all that was necessary, was opened by demolitions and bulldozer work, the men working though often under artillery, mortar and small arms fire. And the tanks got through!
On about October 21, Company B opened a supply and evacuation route from C. SPETTRA to CASTELVECCHIO, a distance of about three miles and right on the front lines (the construction led to a line of entrenched doughboys). The Company was shelled heavily several times and shot at by snipers; but no casualties occurred, and the job was completed in one day.
Meanwhile, Company C had extended the ridge road of Company A, another three miles to a town named MIGLIARINA. From here very rugged terrain was undertaken for the purpose of advancing tanks. And again the rains came, and the road was washed out beyond MIGLIARINA far beyond any hope of immediate repair.
The ridge road and its laterals to the valley road were now
mud. In order to secure one supply route, the entire Battalion was put
to work on the four mile stretch of road from BACCANELLO, on the valley
road, to MIGLIARINO. Amid pouring rains, which once washed out a
and necessitated the hasty construction of thirty feet of double-single
Bailey bridge from spare parts, and constant traffic, this road was
improved from a one-way dirt road to a one and one-half way all weather
road. Extensive quarry operations provided several thousands of loads
rock, which have gone into the making of the metalled surface.
in the Apennines
On 21 November the Battalion moved to VILLA de MEZZA, near MONGHIDORO, was transferred from Division control to II Corps control to repair and maintain the lateral road west of Hwy 65 from MONGHIDORO. Company A and Company B worked on this road until 26 December. Company B, 310th Engineer Battalion, erected a Class 40, 250' Bailey Bridge on this road during the period 1-4 December. This was a three span bridge, with the two end spans being 70' and 40' respectively of DS(double span) bridges while the middle span was 140' of TS bridge. Other Bailey bridges erected during this period were 60' DS; a 50' SS and a 50' SS near GAGLIANO. During the first 25 days of December an average of 13 trucks a day from the 3591 Prov. Trk Co. were used and an average of 250 Italian laborers were used for road maintenance.
|X. Lucca -- Defensive
On 26 December the 310 Engineers reverted to control of 85th Division and moved to the vicinity of LUCCA. CT platoons of Companies A, B, & C were attached to their respective CT's. At this time Lt. Col. JOHN D. COLE, Jr., who had commanded the battalion since shortly after its activation became commanding officer of the 19th Engineer Regiment. And the 310th's new Commanding Officer was Major HUGH K. BURCH, formerly Executive Officer.
Defense plans against the threatened German attack down the SERCHIO VALLEY and the LIGUREAN coastal plain were put into effect as bridges and culverts were prepared for demolition and craters were prepared in all roads that might be used in such an attack. The attack failed to materialize and the first week of 1945 was used by the Battalion in training with steel treadway bridge.
On 8 January the Battalion moved to the Division assembly area
vicinity of GAGLIANO and spent the following week preparing to take
the work of the Royal Engineers of the 1st
Division, which they did on 16 January, establishing headquarters
VILLA di SASSANERO.
|XI. Mt. Grande Sector
During the period 16 January - 13 March, 1945, the Battalion operated in support of the Division in active defense. The engineer work during this time consisted of maintaining, (1) the Western Valley Road, (2) the Boston Byway, and (3) The Division MSR, the Bow Route. This maintenance included the quarrying and spreading of well over 3000 truck loads of gravel, the construction of 2 Baileys and 1 fixed bridge, 20 culverts of various sizes; 600 yards of Sommerfield matting was laid and 700 yards of revetting was completed. Defensive positions, minefields, and demolitions were prepared as part of the division defense plan. Much of this work was done within 200 to 400 yards of the enemy outposts. The Battalion was relieved by the R.E. of the 10th Indian Division and returned to the Division rest area near GAGLIANO on 14th of March. While in that area the companies were rotated between the Battalion river crossing training site on the ARNO, where intensive river crossing training was practiced, and another site near PISA where RCT(regimental combat team) assault river crossing was rehearsed, and the MONTECATINI rest area.
|XII. The Po Valley
On 1 April, minus all unit and divisional markings, the Battalion moved to CALCI. During the period 1-16 April the Battalion trained in river crossing technique, firing off all weapons, road and bridge maintenance, and physical hardening. On April 17th, the Battalion moved to the vicinity of RIOIA. Combat team attachments were made only to be changed the following day putting Company A in direct support of 337th Infantry Regiment, and Companies B & C in direct support of the 338th Infantry Regiment. During the period 18-24 April the 310th Engineers swept the cleared at least 30 miles of road of mines. They also built a division air strip, constructed numerous by-passes and widened the secondary roads, the Division was forced to use as an MSR. Arrangements were also made for bridging material to use in crossing the PANARO and PO Rivers. The heriosm of an engineer soldier of this Battalion, Corporal Anthony J. Augustine, saved the permanent bridge across the PANARO at CAMPOSANTO. Corporal Augustine swam across the PANARO River under heavy enemy small arms fire and neutralized seven demolition charges the enemy had set before they could be detonated.
Photo of a bridge over the PANARO River near BOMPORTO. By 1600 on 21 April,
a task force secured this bridge before the German could set the demolition charges.
(View Looking South)
|The battalion was all set up to
bridge the PO on 23 April, 1945, when
headquarters deemed it wise not to allow the 310th to have
bridging equipment that had been ear-marked for the 85th
Using any expedients that could be fashioned from the raw materials at
hand, the 310th constructed four infantry support rafts and
three improvised rafts. The engineers planned and carried out their
of the assault crossing so successfully that not a casualty was
After the assault elements had established themselves on the north bank
of the PO, the 310th unsupported with its 7 rafts, crossed
the combat units of the 85th Division with the exception of
the medium artillery. The difficulty of this task cannot be exaggerated
as the units of the battalion worked over 48 hours without a break to
On the 26-27 April, the engineers of the 85th Division spanned the ADIGE River at VERONA with 2 ferries and also a permanent bridge built by constructing earth ramps to a partially destroyed railroad bridge and by the judicious use of a bulldozer and demolition clearing the roadway of the bridge of such extraneous matter as derailed cards, rails and ties.
From the is time on to V-I Day (2 May) the battalion continued its engineer reconstruction work along Highway 509 through FELTRE and BELLUNO to the Austrian border and helped establish road blocks. The next six days were spent at VILL BASSO conducting extended reconnaissance of captured engineer equipment. 64 installations were discovered and reported. They included over three million board feet of lumber, sawmills, power plants, machine tools, air compressors, printing presses, etc. On May 8th, the battalion moved to the vicinity of POLPET on occupation duty.
To give a few words of credit to the ADE section, the section delivered a monthly average of between 800,000 and 900,000 gallons of purified water. The engineer supply section , particularly during the periods when the division was in an active defensive status, was called upon for vast quantities of lumber, mines, barbed wire, camouflage materials, demolitions, etc., which it delivered without a hitch.
Map Supply was another engineer function that was difficult during the drive from the Apennines to the Alps, but no unit in the 85th Division was without maps at any time.
As leading elements of the 85th Division swept toward the Panaro River, last barrier before the Po, men of the 3rd Bn. of the 337th driving toward the bridge at Camposanto met stiff resistance from waiting Krauts.
Something had to be done, and quickly. Lt. Cecil H. Cates was sent ahead to make a recon in a tank. As he approached the bridge, enemy anti-tank guns opened up on him. In the face of sever enemy fire, he got out of the tank, captured five German prisoners, and warned the troops that the bridge had been mined and might be blown.
Cpl. Anthony J. Augustine of B Co., 310th Engineers offered to swim the river and cut the demolition wires. Lt. Thomas Buck of 85th Recon went with Augustine to cover him from the near bank. Cpl. Augustine, stripped, slipped into the icy depth, and struck out for the other bank. About midway across, the Jerries spotted him. Slugs hit dangerously near the swimmer. Lieutenant Buck opened fire. He shot one of the Krauts and silenced their guns. In the meantime, Augustine reached the far bank, hurriedly cut the wires leading to the explosives, and swam back.
Today the bridge is marked:
"You are crossing this bridge through the courtesy of the 85th Infantry Division, 30th Engineers".
~~quoted from Custer Combateer, Vol 1, No. 3, May 1945 This was a newspaper printed for the soldiers after the war ended.
Appendix to this document includes an Honor Roll(shown above)
and a list of the soldiers receiving medals.
H o n o r R o l l
Members who gave their lives
1st Lt Benjamin M. Hobbs +
T/Sgt Winfred W. Tolbert +
Sgt Charles J. Ingersoll, Jr.
Sgt Thomas E. Gossage
Cpl Alvin D. Gottier
Cpl Oscar R. Young
Tech 5 Fred Tuenge
Tech 5 John W. Stribling
Tech 5 Frederick M. Donaghue, Jr
Tech 5 Marion D. Carson
Pfc Andrew Evanega, Jr. +
Pfc Philip R. Krepp +
Pvt William Falligan
Pvt Joseph Laskowski
Pvt Earl T. Reyer
Pvt Clair E. Longenecker
Pvt Peter F. Scolaro +
Pvt Bernard C. Huard +
Pvt Wallace W. Bradford
Pvt Raymond F. Frappier +
Pvt Henry E. Maki +
+ Currently buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.
+Currently buried at the Florence American Cemetery in Florence, Italy.
The Death of two Engineers.
S-2 Section, 310th Engineers at San Clemente - January 1945
Caption on the back identifies the men as (L to R): Captain Kloeris,
Cpl Donaghue(driver), Tech Sgt Tolbert, Tech Sgt Bemis, Cpl. Gittman.
This photo was taken 3 months before these two engineers were Killed in Action.
The following letter was sent by Chaplain William A. Sanders to the family of Tech Sergeant Winfred W. Tolbert upon his death.
"The vehicle in which your brother was riding drove into the small Italian village and stopped; the occupants dismounted to secure information from Italian civilians. With no forewarning, one of the enemy came around the corner riding a motorcycle, and, with a burst of fire from his machine pistol, gravely wounded your brother. Sympathetic Italians placed him in his vehicle and carried him immediately to a medical aid station, but your brother was dead upon reaching the aid station. The action took place in Northern Italy."
Captain Paul W. Kloeris, 310th Engineer Battalion commander, added the following:
"He now lies buried beside his good friend, Corporal Donaghue, who was killed with him."
Other letters stated that Corporal Frederick M. Donaghue, Jr. was also killed at the same time.
The letter does not name the town, which has been identified as Sant' Agata Bolognese (or simply San Agata). Sant' Agata Bolognese was a small village on the primary line of advance of the 85th Division northwest out of Bologna and just prior to reaching the Panora River on 21st April, 1945. (see above text & photo).
Go to T/Sgt Winfred Tolbert for his complete biography.
Return to:The Italian Campaign
For photos of Custermen at the Frontlines, go to: Photos from Italian Front
See photos of 310th Engineers at the front: 310th Engineers
For more history of this unit, refer to 85th 'Custer' Division.
See Group Photo of Company B and Company C .