RELICS OF THE 106TH
As is the case with most historic battlefields, the area where the 106th Infantry Division fought during the Battle of the Bulge is still littered with remnants and relics of the battle that took place there more than 70 years ago. On this page you can find a few of these relics that were retrieved from the area.
.30 Cal. Ammo box lid
Company "G", 424th Infantry Regiment
In September 2010 I visited the positions of Company "G", 424th Infantry with 89 year old Floyd Ragsdale. Floyd, a former 60mm mortar gunner with the unit, clearly recalled his former position on a hill above the village of Grosskampenberg. Near his foxhole we found a rusty discarded .30 caliber ammunition can lid. After rubbing away some of the rust the OD paint appeared underneath. A special find. Floyd passed away in December 2014 as he was preparing to travel to Europe for the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge.
G.I. gas mask
1st Battalion, 422nd Infantry Regiment
While walking the former positions of the 589th Field Artillery near Auw, Germany in March 2015 the remnants of this GI service gas mask were found at the edge of a shallow fox hole. Since the artillery vacated these positions on the evening of 16 December 1944 and two days later units of the 422nd Infantry passed through the area on their way to Schönberg, Belgium, it is believed that the mask once belonged to a GI of the 1st Battalion, 422nd Infantry Regiment. Surprisingly, the rubber face mask was still supple even though it had been exposed to the elements for more than 70 years. "They don't make 'em like they used to."
Artillery litter - package material
These spacers kept 105mm Howitzer rounds stored in cardboard package tubes. Upon opening the tubes to retrieve the shells, these bits were discarded. The tubes themselves have long since rotted away, but the metal rings remain. These particular pieces were found like this in a former position of the 589th Field Artillery Battalion.
Private First Class John Ro Forehand Jr. (424/G)
This 1943 dated US Army Duffle Bag was found several years ago in an old barn near the town of St. Vith, Belgium. The bag once belonged to PFC John R. Forehand Jr, who was a member of G Company, 2nd Battalion of the 424th Infantry Regiment. PFC Forehand was reported Killed In Action on December 26th, 1944 at Manhay, when the 2nd Battalion attacked the village on end. John Ro Forehand Jr. was born on December 11th, 1924. He was killed 12 days after his 20th birthday, on the day after Christmas. The paper clipping above is an extract from "The Metter Advertiser", a local newspaper from Metter, Candler County, Georgia, John Forehand's home town. He now lies buried next to his mother and father in Lake Cementary, Metter, Georgia USA.
John R. Forehand's headstone.(Photo by Karla Kelley-Cardell)
PFC Forehand's obituary in "The Metter Advertiser" of January 18th, 1945.
PFC Forehand reported
Killed In Action
Mr. and Mrs. John R. Forehand Sr., of Metter recieved word from the War Department Wednesday January 17th, that their only son and child was child (should say killed) in Belgium on December 26th, 1944.
John R. was born in Statesboro but they had lived here since he was seven years old. He graduated from Metter High School and Mt. Berry where he was until he decided to enter the service in August of 1943.
He was in the Anti-air Craft and Infantry Division of the Army. His last training was at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
John Ro's mother is the former Miss Jewel Cook. He was very popular with his circle of friends and with all who knew him. Another viel of sorrow was cast over everyone on hearing of his death.
MORE INFORMATION ON JOHN R FOREHAND JR.: CLICK HERE !
Items dug up near Schönberg
Credits to the finder, who prefers to remain anonymous.
These remarkable items were found near Schönberg's Hill 504. The steel part of an M43 collapsable shovel was found near the 423rd Infantry Aid Station on the Ihrenbach along with several spent .30-06 casings. After spending nearly 65 years outside exposed to the elements, the wood stock has rotten away. Once can't help thinking about the lonely GI who used that shovel to dig a shallow foxhole in the hard, frozen soil of the Ardennes in 1944.
The knife was found near one of the CP's in the woods. The knife was probably a private purchase. Many soldiers used civilian style fighting or hunting knives as this one alongside the military M3 or M4. An uncommon find to say the least!
Battlefield Relics Recovered
These relics from the 106th Division have been recovered from the Schönberg surroundings by Pat, Dave and Wil De Crom, three Belgian Battlefield diggers. Many objects left behind by the GI's in 1944-45 can still be found in these forests.
But caution is necessary when digging in the battlefield. Many UXO (Unexploded Ordonance) is still out there, ammunition, artillery rounds, the works.
A dugout made by soldiers of the 106th for has changed little in 63 years.
A US Collar Disc recovered from the woods.
A UXO 155mm shell found at the base of a tree.
Pat, Wil and Dave's findings are quite interesting:
German MG42 casings found near a 589th FAB position just south of Schönberg. Parts of a M3 "Grease gun" submachinegun recovered from the 423/3 BN area.
Transport rings for the 105-155 mm artillery rounds and full rounds of .30-06 ammo for the M1 Garand.
Special thanks to Pat, Dave and Wil De Crom for sharing their findings!!
Technician 4th Class Harold Put Sieber (106th HQ / G-2)
This interesting address book was owned by T/4 Harold Sieber, who was a member of G-2 section of the 106th Infantry Division. The book contains 74 pages full of home adresses, accompanied by the rank, name and Army Serial Number of the person.
In the back, a few blank pages are added for additional addresses or notes. Among these notes are interesting dates and locations of the 106th from training to deactivation. Inside the book, there was a EM temporary pass signed to T/4 Sieber for a trip to Nashville, Tennessee.