716th Tank Battalion

Discussion in 'US Units' started by 716_Grandson, Aug 1, 2008.

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  1. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Hello,
    I am seeking any information about the 716th tank battalion. Specifically Company A of the 716th, maybe you have some names or stories. My grandfather was with Company A of the 716th, i have many pictures of the men in the Phiilipines and New Guine, id just like to hear some stories or history.
    Thanks
     
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  2. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Just found your post last week and hope you are in contact with this forum. My father, Mario Ferro, was in the service company of the 716th and a few years ago my cousin found a diary he wrote covering the period from April 1945 to August. This starts out leaving Panay for Mindoro on an LST to join the 24th Div, then going to Mindanao for the run to Davao.

    He put out meals for the tankers, etc so did not get into any combat other than mortars and snipers.

    Anyway, he talks about his friends and adventures (some "accidents" as he calls them), but only mentioned three last names: Brothers, the head cook who switched to combat, a Lt. Hunt, killed in one "accident", and Robert Korbowski (not sure of the last name spelling) who he knew at Camp Chafee and got my father quite drunk.

    I only have two photos - one of a friend in uniform, no name and one of him with a mustache holding a tommy gun - but he had a BAR and rifle. One task was to ride on the top of a truck with the BAR while going down the roads. Most bridges were out.

    I could sent the diary transcript and also post it. Interesting reading, as I never knew him.

    Hope to hear from you - there are Army and Navy Historical series that mention the 716th - A Company was there on Mindanao - B Company was on Cebu. I am reading one on Papua, but the tanks there in 1942 were Australian manned.

    My uncle gave me three letters that my father sent him - information about being on New Guinea (Oro Bay and Hollandia) in one of them, and also about the invasion of Luzon - the Army book says that the 716th was assigned to I Corps.

    Thanks

    Dave Ferro
     
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  3. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I would be very interested to see the diary posted here. Depending on the total size of the images, if it is small then they can be uploaded to this site, or, if they are large posted to a photo sharing site and cross linked. I think you will find ww2Talk very serious about preserving the information posted here.

    I have not read any accounts from tankers in the Pacific. There might be some interesting "little known facts" on how they operated. I have only read one book of a Cannon Company equipped with the M5 HMC.
     
  4. cally pivano

    cally pivano Junior Member

    My Dad, Guelfo (Gus) Pivano, was a tank gunner who served in the Phillipine Liberation Campaign during WW2. He talked somewhat about the war but I would like to connect with anyone who may have had relatives or who served to find out more about their experiences.

    I would love to hear from anyone who served or had a family member that served.

    Thanks and God Bless them all.

    Cally Pivano Tendrick
     
  5. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Hello,

    Great to hear from you...had a difficult time finding some links about the 716th, esp. for some pdf files that I have downloaded but did not have the bookmark - these were found just by searching for 716th Tank Bn and are written by Maj. Milton T. Hunt at Ft. Benning. The 716th is noted twice. Use the search gadget in Adobe Reader or Acrobat.

    This one with the title within the pdf is Use of Armor in Luzon. The link will open a tab or window and automatically start the download:
    https://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/Armorpapers/HuntMilton%20T.%20MAJ.pdf

    You might try the base address and search there.

    Trying to attach my father's diary, notes and bibliography - hope it works.

    This was in the Lake Shore News, Wolcott, Wayne County, NY October 7, 1943, so another name from the unit:
    Pvt. Sturgis Henecke, who is also stationed at Camp Chaffee, Ark., has also sent us a new address. It now reads ASN 32584909, Co. D., A.P.O. 446, 716 Tank Bn., Camp Chaffee, Ark.

    There are more links, etc. but last time Firefox crashed and I had to restart everything...so next time,

    Take care,

    Dave
     

    Attached Files:

  6. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Forgot that I had previously found websites for the US Army Historical Series from the Center for Military History to view or download and also from ibiblio.org at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which is working on zip sets and does not have all the volumes yet.

    U.S. Army in World War II Series - U.S. Army Center of Military History

    United States Army Green Books (PDF)

    These are the books I have found some info on the 716th Tk Bn, in particular Triumph in the Philippines. Checking the indexes for the New Guinea and Leyte volumes, the 716th does not seem to be involved in those operations. My father's diary starts out leaving Panay on a LST to go to Mindoro and meet with the 24th division, then to Mindanao. He mentions that they were in N.G., Oro Bay and Hollandia - so far in the U.S. Navy book, the tanks were from another regiment and not practicable in the mountainous area, so were sent back to their "parent organization." The Army book says the same, but at least identifies it as the 1st Marine Tank Battalion and the 603rd Tank Company.

    The pdf versions are big, one at 52MB so I did not download - just copied the pages about the 716th.

    Really need to see the After Action Reports and unit histories, since much is necessarily left out.

    Hope the diary post worked and the above will be a help. Note that there are pictorial series and my father said the unit was interviewed by what looks like US Armor magazine or newspaper. Armor still exists and I have to go back to their website and ask if their archives are available. Always going through photo books, hoping to see a relative.

    Take care,

    Dave
     
  7. sxd

    sxd Junior Member

    Hello! I also have a relative who trained at Fort Benning (GA) for 2 years (~1939-1940). He was one of only 3 total Chinese Army officers selected to study there (and some other American bases) at the same time...and later led a Kuomintang tank battalion back in China.

    I would love to find out any more history about him while at Fort Benning at the time - or back abroad?
     
  8. cally pivano

    cally pivano Junior Member

    My dad was a tanker in the Phillipines and I too have photos....would like to correspond with you....

    Best wishes,

    Cally Pivano Tendrick
     
  9. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Finally got some images to load so I could post.
    First is a copy of a page from a company newsletter about my father's family. Around my grandfather Emilio are five of the seven sons:
    Top: Anthony and Mike; Bottom L-R Armand, Al and my father Mario.

    My father mentioned in his diary that he received a copy from my mother. I mentioned that to my Aunt Zeffa (Armand's wife) and she said she had a copy of it and gave it to me. The Plastic Clarion was put out by the Auburn Button Works where many in the family worked. Uncle Frank, the eldest, was born in Italy. He told me they made some parts for the Norden bomb sight, which would be lighter. Haven't confirmed this yet. The youngest, Jim, entered service just as the war ended.

    [​IMG]

    The next image is a photograph of a portrait hanging in the family home. Looks like a darkroom creation, as all have the same uniform. Al was in the Air Corps as bomber gunner, Armand in the 4th Armored Div, Mike in England fighting fires during German air raids, etc., Anthony in Germany, and my father in the Philippines. Frank and Jim still at home.
    Top: Frank, Anthony and Armand; Bottom: Al, Mario, Mike and Jim.

    [​IMG]

    I'll try to scan the photos of my father in the Philippines and one of a friend that was in his wallet also. Perhaps someone can identify him.

    Dave
     
  10. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Thank you for sharing

    It's good to see the war from a cooks perspective. While there is not the constant danger of the infantry or tankers, one sees the difficulty of having a job other than fighting the enemy. Every night there is guard duty, or if not on guard, a lot of unknown happenings going on. Puts everyone on edge and everyone is armed. I imagine officers and NCO's had to try to track down the causes of these night shootings to truly assess the danger and prevent panic. This line sums it up pretty well:

    - I hope night never came -


    For what its worth I have a source that says the 716th Tank Bn was formed on 20 Sep 1943 at Camp Chaffee Ark. (originally designated the 3d Bn, 48th Armored Regt.) Port of Embarkation San Francisco 2 Jun 1944, New Guinea 2 Jul 1944, Philippines 9 Jan 45, Returned San Francisco 17 Dec 1945, Unit deactivated Camp Stoneman Cal. 19 Dec 1945.

    Almost made it home by Christmas.

    I would be interested to know when he entered service and if he served his entire time with the 716th. It was fairly common for the infantry to get their 'basic' training from their unit while it was being formed but I do not know about tankers.
     
  11. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Hello! I also have a relative who trained at Fort Benning (GA) for 2 years (~1939-1940). He was one of only 3 total Chinese Army officers selected to study there (and some other American bases) at the same time...and later led a Kuomintang tank battalion back in China.

    I would love to find out any more history about him while at Fort Benning at the time - or back abroad?


    I would guess your father attended training conducted by the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning. This organization would develop infantry doctrine and conduct training and schooling for officers. At one time I'm sure there were records of courses and students. Not sure if those records were preserved or where they would be archived.

    There might be a small possibility that you fathers attendance at Fort Benning might have received some small article in a post or local newspaper. You might try contacting libraries in the Columbus, GA area.

    I found something like this

    Chattahoochee Valley Libraries : Genealogy & Local History

    This is a long shot. Hardly worth making a special trip. If you were lucky someone at the library might do some basic research to tell you if they had a complete collection of local newspapers of that period. A collection of Ft Benning post newspapers would be better.
     
  12. dave500

    dave500 Senior Member

    This is a U.S. Army Signal Corps' photo I found and scanned at
    the NARA II, College Park, in April 2010:

    [​IMG]


    The caption reads:

    "Tank of (Co 'B', 716th Tank Bn) stuck deep in mud of the
    Timuquit River north of (Sonog, Cebu, P.I.). Infantryman
    of (3rd Bn, 132nd Inf, Americal Div) pass it by as they
    move up to clean out the remaining Jap forces on the island."

    Date: 8 May 1945.

    Photographer: Rogers.

    SC 265775, Credit NARA.

    If you would like a high version of this photo, just let me know.


    Dave
     
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  13. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Thanks a lot for the info - in two photos, my father has a 14th Armored patch on. Is that 48th Regt. part of the 14th?

    Not sure when he entered, though I intend sending for his records, if extant.

    Throughout his diary, there is a lot of just waiting around, doing his job, wondering when they will be going home - he says he was in almost 3 years. As far as I know, he was with them all the time. In one letter to an uncle (15 at the time), he notes the date it was sent was when they went into Luzon. He says his guard duty was for one hour, pitch dark and scared to death.

    This goes to a pdf by Maj. Milton Hunt describing tank use in Luzon; the 716th is noted. Would like to see the after action reports.
    https://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/Armorpapers/HuntMilton%20T.%20MAJ.pdf

    Thanks again,

    Dave


    Reading now about the New Guinea and Philippines operations. He used to sing at local clubs and my mother would send him sheet music. He also had a recording machine which he used to sing on. One record is labeled Dec. 6, 1941 and has some men and women singing Christmas and Italian songs. Another is labeled "Talking off the war, by the Gang" = not very audible, but my father and uncles discussing what was next. Someone is betting Hitler will be back in Berlin by Christmas, chased out by the Russians.
     
  14. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    This is a small excerpt I got from my grandfathers documents. This is a portion of a Unit history I came accross online once. I am trying to find the link to post here, but for now take a look at this.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Here is a pic of the Co. I of the 48th Armored Reg at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. Looks like it was taken March 14, 1943.

    The only person I know in this photo is my grandfather who is the 4rth person right of the flag on the top row.
     

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  16. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Thanks a lot for the info - in two photos, my father has a 14th Armored patch on. Is that 48th Regt. part of the 14th?

    Not sure when he entered, though I intend sending for his records, if extant.



    By george, you are right, the 48th Armored was part of the 14th Armored Division. That is a piece of information that I was unlikely to find until you mentioned your father's picture.

    According to the US Army World War II Order of Battle, the 14th AD and 48th Armored Regiment were activated in Nov 1942. So my read on the history is that the 3d Bn of the 48th Armored was formed shortly afterward. It seems in mid 1943 the Army re-organized it armored divisions and in Sept 1943 the 3d Bn 48th Armored was re-designated the 716th Tank Battalion and split from the 14th AD.


    This (below) appears to be your fathers enlistment summary available online at NARA. The serial number might be helpful if you request his records.

    NARA - AAD - Fielded Search - Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records)

    It shows an enlistment date of 1 Dec 1942. So it seems likely your father was with the 14th AD before it re-organized and the 716th was split off.

    I'm still curious if the tankers trained with their unit from the start or if they had a centralized training center for tankers. The infantry had mixed results with unit training and many felt the Infantry Replacement Training Centers (IRTC) did a better job of training recruits.


    ARMY SERIAL NUMBER 32588429 32588429
    NAME FERRO#MARIO#E########### FERRO#MARIO#E###########
    RESIDENCE: STATE 23 NEW YORK
    RESIDENCE: COUNTY 011 CAYUGA
    PLACE OF ENLISTMENT 2386 SYRACUSE NEW YORK
    DATE OF ENLISTMENT DAY 01 01
    DATE OF ENLISTMENT MONTH 12 12
    DATE OF ENLISTMENT YEAR 42 42
    GRADE: ALPHA DESIGNATION PVT# Private
    GRADE: CODE 8 Private
    BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION BI# Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
    BRANCH: CODE 00 Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
    FIELD USE AS DESIRED # #
    TERM OF ENLISTMENT 5 Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
    LONGEVITY ### ###
    SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL 0 Civil Life
    NATIVITY 23 NEW YORK
    YEAR OF BIRTH 20 20
    RACE AND CITIZENSHIP 1 White, citizen
    EDUCATION 4 4 years of high school
    CIVILIAN OCCUPATION 861 Unskilled occupations in manufacture of boots and shoes
    MARITAL STATUS 2 Married
    COMPONENT OF THE ARMY 7 Selectees (Enlisted Men)
     
  17. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Here is something interesting I found while trying to collect 716 info. This is just a small sample of the Newspaper Articles I found online and in different places that tell the soldiers hometown newspapers about the actions of their boys overseas. The problem is...they are all the same exact article with just the names of the Soldier switched out. I have an original newspaper article of my grandfathers that I thought was really cool, then I came across these other ones and thats when I learned they were just a generic moral booster article sent to most of their home town newspapers.

    I have about 10 more of these as well with different soldiers of the 716th substituted.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Welcome back Grandson, talk about notes in a bottle, three years to get a response and you were waiting by the shore.

    I'm having problems with the document you posted but extracted this much. It seems quite detailed and it answered my question.

    In the fall of 1942, 700 men answered the call to arms. They assembled at induction stations in all parts of the country for examination, classification and shipment to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. At Camp Chaffee a cadre drawn from the Eighth Armored Division gave them basic training. The new unit became the Third Battalion of the 48th Armored Regiment. In 1943 the 48th Armored Regiment underwent a reorganization. On September 20, 1943, the Third Battalion was deactivated. Its personnel was activated as a separate battalion.

    On Thanksgiving Day, 1943, the battalion entrained for Louisiana to participate in the Fifth Phase Maneuvers with the Third Army. For eight weeks they maneuvered in the mud, cold winter rains and heavy snows of Louisiana, gaining experience in the operation and maintenance of equipment under the most trying and realistic battle conditions.

    From Louisiana the battalion moved to Texas in January, 1944. At Camp Howze, Texas, the men entered a 90 day period of post—maneuver training supervised by the 12th Armored Group. Tank crew gunnery and unit combat tests were passed successfully. In April the battalion received orders to prepare for movement overseas.

    On May 21, 1944, the battalion moved by rail to Camp Stoneman, California, for a final check before embarking. The men boarded the converted freighter, JOHN C. AINSWORTH, for a crowded, 32 day, unescorted trip across the Pacific to Buna, New Guinea. After debarking on July 3, the men constructed a camp and awaited the arrival of vehicles and equipment. During this period the battalion was attached to the 38th Infantry Division.

    Terrain and character of enemy opposition in the Pacific Theatre necessitates a modification of the doctrine of employment of armor as a unit. Primary emphasis is placed upon infantry, with armor in a supporting role. A battalion of tanks is not separate striking force, but a component of several tank—infantry teams. In turn, companies and platoons must be broken down to meet the needs of the moment. No fast rule can be applied to the amount of armor to be used in support an infantry operation. Weather, terrain and enemy disposition will determine the role armor is to play in the Pacific Theatre. Accordingly, Company A sailed to Sansapor to join the 43rd Division; and Headquarters, Service, B and D Companies sailed to Hollandia to join, at a later date, the 43rd Division. At the end of December all units set out for Luzon."
     
  19. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Sorry for the problems. I will repost it here just as a thread. I am still searching for the archives record. What I am posting here I found in my grandfathers things, but this is just a fraction of the field report document I found online.
     
  20. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    I tried to post it as a PDF. It wouldn't let me post the entire article as a thread. Let me know if the PDF works any better for you.
     

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