716th Tank Battalion

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

  1. embennet

    embennet Member

    Here is the link for the Qualifications of Arms rosters. I really hope they help you find the information that you need. I will continue to keep my eye out for any other information concerning your uncle. Do you know if he was awarded a silver star or other medal posthumously? I have come across some lists of those awards but haven't come across his name yet.

    The file is very large (70+ pages) I hope you can access it! Good luck!!

  2. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member


    Thank you very much for this, and for keeping your eyes peeled for other relevant docs. It amazes me how much in the way of official records has survived after all this time. I suppose this is the upside of big bureaucracies. I'll be poring over this with great interest.

    To answer your question: No, he received no awards other than the Purple Heart. He was in action only a short time, but that action was intense, with his final action, at San Manuel, turning out to be the setting of the most extensive tank vs. tank actions of the Pacific war. He was killed 4 days after his 21st birthday.

    Thank you again for your kind attention to this matter. This is a very interesting detective story!
  3. embennet

    embennet Member

    Hi 716thresearcher,
    Thank you for the additional information on your uncle. It is very sad and humbling. As I have stated before, it is wonderful that you are honoring his memory and service with your research.

    I was scanning more of the documents today and came across a list of casualties from January 1945. I am sure that you have probably seen this list from previous posts or narratives, but I just wanted to make sure that you have access to this list as well. I have noticed with going through the documents, that some rosters are incomplete in one section but will be more complete in others. You had mentioned Albert F Nolting as possibly being a crew member of your uncle's tank due to the date of his death. I found the names of the following members of Company C who were injured on January 24th as well. Some of these men could have been possible crew members as well? If you cross reference these names with the qualifications of arms rosters, the ones scoring sharpshooter or expert may have been the gunner of your uncle's tank. Again, information that you probably have already seen or considered, but just in case...

    Company C Roster for injuries occurring on January 24, 1945:

    Pvt. Alton A Drinkwine
    Cpl Daniel J Savino
    Tec 5 Joseph P Dombroski
    S Sgt Gaetano R Passanante
    Sgt Robert Burrell
    Pfc William C Eckman
    Sgt Charles C Truax
    Pfc Bernardion Gonzales

    Hope this helps!
  4. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    Hi again embennet,

    I have in fact compiled that same list, so you have confirmed my thinking, i.e., that this short list is where I need to dig. Thanks! Yours is the same line of reasoning that I am following, i.e., that those men are also possible member's of the same tank crew as my uncle. The unit history mentions several tanks hit or otherwise knocked out of the fight in the same action for one reason or another, so it may be that these men were injured in those instances.

    In the Steven J. Zaloga book M4 Sherman vs Type 97 Chi-Ha (which I cited elsewhere above in a previous post), the author notes that Japanese documentation of the action also records that two Japanese tanks were knocked out. This report was not mentioned in the unit history or in the army green book Triumph in the Philippines. Probably those Japanese documents had not yet come to light when the unit history or the green book was written. Another interesting observation from the Zaloga book is that a Japanese source cited there reported two American medium tanks knocked out. One of these was undoubtedly that of my uncle.

    In addition, I found a book by an army sketch artist that shows a drawing of the initial assault on San Manuel. The artist's caption mentioned that two tanks were knocked out. So it appears that the action has been pretty well documented by both sides. It never fails to surprise me how many individual experiences within a much, much larger context are sometimes witnessed and, even more significantly, recorded, by many others.
    716_Grandson likes this.
  5. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member


    A slight clarification to the above post: In the second paragraph above, I mentioned a Japanese source reporting two Japanese tanks knocked out. These two tanks were knocked out in the initial assault on the morning of Jan. 24, 1945. Subsequently many more Japanese tanks were knocked out over the course of the reduction of San Manuel, which played out over several days.
  6. embennet

    embennet Member


    I agree, we are fortunate to have the narratives, witness accounts, as well as other documentation to help us understand how the events took place. I was amazed to read how the Japanese tanks were dug into trenches and used as pillboxes to attack advancing tanks from the side. I had never heard of that tactic before I read it in one of the narratives.

    Anyway, I would appreciate hearing about any new developments towards identifying your uncle's crew members. As I've said previously, I will send anything that may be helpful your way as I continue through the documents.

    Take care,
  7. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    One of my interests is to dabble with computer graphics, high and low end alike. Subjects for my "projects" are usually something I can learn about by manipulating the pieces and making decisions about the arrangement. One such project was a virtual "shadow box" of selected elements of the WWII-era US Army uniform. I restricted myself to a size suitable as a forum signature banner.

    Knowing a soldier's dress uniform is suppose to convey information about his or her service and having been involved on these forums for several years, I have seen many pictures of soldiers where that information is lost due to a lack of color or poor resolution. A discharge document has this information but requires a previous knowledge in militaria to know how it is reflected on the uniform.

    To help families of veterans reconnect with some of this information in a format that was usable around the forums I developed a signature banner that I hoped would work for all US Army Arms and Services. I made several banners before a change in forum policy, combined with my growing unease about the original background color, granted me an excuse to stop.

    While I am still out of that business, I have sought to find what I thought was a better background color and I have applied it to a template signature banner for the 716th Tank Bn.

    It features a common ribbon set for an enlisted man, shoulder patches, complete unit designation and named campaigns. It also has a facsimile of the trim or piping found on the enlistedmen's garrison cap in the appropriate colors of their Arm or Service, in this case, green and white for Armored Force.

    Feel free to use/customize in any manner desired. To maintain the image quality keep/save as a PNG file (not JPG) and do not resize.

    Attached Files:

  8. embennet

    embennet Member

    Thank you, Earthican! Those are wonderful!

    By the way, where does "Hell on Wheels" come in? I think I remember seeing that slogan with one of my father's patches.
  9. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I hope you find them informative if not useful.

    The US 2d Armored Division uses the moniker "Hell on Wheels". The infantry divisions of WWI had come home with such names so it seems likely the 2d AD had it in 1940 when they were created.

    According the US Army website, the tab with "HELL ON WHEELS" was officially added to the 2d AD patch in 1954 but I suspect there were local made patches in 1945 when the 2d AD occupied Germany -- or earlier.


    If your father served in the Army with the 2d AD anytime after the war that might account for the patch in his collection.

    If not, my other thought is, after the war, the plain GHQ Armored Force patch became rare or hard to find, so maybe he purchased, or was given, the 2d AD patch as something close to what he remembered. Flea markets in the '50's and '60's were awash in insignia from the war and after.
  10. embennet

    embennet Member

    Thank you for the information. It is very interesting!
  11. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    Hello again embennet,

    After a busy period I'm finally able to turn attention once again to this research. I am currently researching the names from the rosters to determine if there are any connections to my uncle, and there are some leads I am following up. I was just wondering if you have had an opportunity to review any other documents.

    Meanwhile, on a general note -- on vacation on Oahu this past summer I had the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial and the associated museums and displays at Pearl Harbor and on Ford Island. If any forum members who read this have the chance to visit this area, I'd strongly recommend it. It's very worthwhile. The National Park Service has done an outstanding job of documenting and telling the history of the Pacific War, putting the sea war in the context of the larger struggle..
  12. embennet

    embennet Member

    Hello 716thresearcher,
    Sorry with the delay in responding to your post. I have not checked the forum in quite a while. I have not worked on the documents since mid August. We are currently in the middle of buying/selling a home and it has been a very busy time! I am probably about one third of the way through scanning them. I have encountered many duplicates of documents so it takes time to verify which ones are duplicates and which are not.

    I will try to get back to scanning after the holidays. I will send you a copy of the documents on a disc if you would like, after I have completed scanning all of them. In the meantime, I will keep a look out for your uncle as I scan them. Also, if you find any other names that you want me to look for in connection to him, let me know.

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for the tip about Pearl Harbor...one place I would love to see!

  13. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    Hello embennet,

    Good to hear from you. I should apologize to you instead -- house buying and selling is a huge job, and especially as this time of year rolls around. No problem, a holiday break is certainly called for! Have a happy and healthy holiday season (and the same to all forum members). Good luck with the new digs!
  14. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    I'm not sure if this helps anyone or not, but I thought I'd try it. I've created a 716th TK BN map using Google Maps. It can be edited, added to, and evolve over time if you all want to use it. I started looking through some basic documents at dates and locations and thought it would be helpful to see them plotted out. I have started adding dates and and dropping pins on verified 716 sites. If anyone would like to view, contribute, update, amend, add to, or otherwise use this map I encourage you to do so. I have this set as a "public" map that anyone with the link can find and edit. Check it out here and contribute if you want: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?hl=en&authuser=0&mid=ziiUSoJfdj5Q.kGW6U4frTAXU
    Slipdigit likes this.
  15. embennet

    embennet Member

    Thank you for the map! It was great to have the visual information! My father (Company D) spoke of training with his unit in New Guinea before going to the Philippines. Do you happen to have any of that information for the map? I don't know exact dates or places.

  16. 716_Grandson

    716_Grandson 716th Tank Battalion Fact Finder

    Hi Embennet, I have not combed through the documents specifically to find all dates and company locations. I've just been adding things to the map as I come across them, so if I see anything in my research relating to Company D I will add it. For now I just had a few dates and locations to plot.

    I've set this map up as "public" so that any of us can add items to it if you wish. For anyone wanting to use this, you should be able to drop pins and label locations as you wish. In my head I see this as a growing, community based, map that can continue to grow over time. This map is editable by color too, so if we choose to make one company red and another blue, we could do that. I have not messed with that yet though.
  17. embennet

    embennet Member


    Ok, thank you. I hope you got the info that I found about your grandfather.
  18. 716dtr

    716dtr New Member


    My grandfather served in the 716. My mother requested his service record because he rarely talked about his service time. We were told all his records were destroyed. We have two purple hearts that he received, but have no idea where, when, or why? Any information anyone has would be great. I have found his name in the documents posted here regarding the bronze arrow award. Or please direct me to where to look if the information has already been uploaded. Thank you.
  19. Harlock

    Harlock Junior Member

    Sgt. Leo E. Smith (KIA 1945 22 Jan) was my wife's Grandfather. Her Mother was 18 months old at the time. Little is known to us about Leo. We have a few pictures, an obituary, and a letter from 'Bob' dated a few weeks after Leo's death. Any info will be greatly appreciated.
  20. 2LuzonVets

    2LuzonVets New Member

    Hello, I see this thread hasn't been active in a while, but I thought I'd post anyway. My grandmother's step dad, Cpl. Charles R. Murray served with Co. B of the 716th from formation until his death on January 22, 1945. He was listed as missing in action and his remains were never recovered.

    My family has a few photographs of his and a few years ago my grandmother was able to successfully get a set of his medals. (She was the beneficiary of his life insurance and since he had no children, she was the closest living relative ... also she was only 11 years younger than him, my great grandmother was a bit of a cradle-robber). Anyway, I'll post some of the pictures I have of him and his unit.


    Attached Files:

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