716th Tank Battalion

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

  1. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I checked these names against the Bronze Arrowhead roster and did not find them listed.

    A. Disappointing... if they had been listed then we could have some confidence that all the other personnel of the Medical Detachment were listed too.

    B. Puzzling... if the 716th cut orders for these four to receive the Good Conduct Medal then why would they not cut orders for these same people to receive a Bronze Arrowhead -- assault landing credit?

    Oh well, hopefully some other documents with the Medical Detachment will turn-up.

    Excellent work, Embennet. I can't thank you enough.
  2. embennet

    embennet Member

    I am looking through documents dated March 12, 1945. They are orders for the beachhead landing for March 18th. These documents are listing the medical detachment to get a copy, but does not list the 716th medical detachment as being one of the specific units involved in the landings. Other medical detachments are listed however as landing with the "first echelon". These include Co B 115th Medical Bn, and Med. Det. for 185th Infantry.

    But then I came across a document labeled as Medical Plan for the landings from 716th Headquarters APO 70. It directed casualties to be evacuated to the battalion aid station.
    It was signed by HENSHALL Major Battalion Surgeon.

    I found Henshall's name again in a roster of officers dated June 30, 1945 His entire name was Major George K. Henshall 0368873 Roger Wilder was also listed

    At this point, I have looked through about 1/3 of the documents. I will continue searching and get back with you later. Thanks!

  3. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    To complete the information available, what was the date on this document?

    One-third of the documents, oh my!!! It is a difficult job.

    Excellent find for Major Henshall but I'm afaid he might be the largest needle in the hay stack, ha.

    Thank you so much. Let me know if there anything about the 716th that I can answer for you.
  4. embennet

    embennet Member


    The date of Major Henshall's document is 12 March 1945.

    I do have a few questions; do you know who wrote the narrative history that is contained within the documents? In the narrative, I have come across hand drawn maps of the battalion's movements and positions,as well as 3 really nice sketches of jungle scenes on Mindanao. One scene includes a lone tank and a soldier in the jungle. Another shows a landscape looking across what looks to be cliffs leading to fields. I know that sometimes, units had artists that moved with them, sketching scenes of battle. Do you think that is the case with these sketches or do you think they were done after the fact? They seem to depict certain parts of the narrative. Have you come across these sketches in your research of the narratives? Just wondering, these sketches have always been really interesting to me.

    I did just find a list of the Medical Detachment. Not sure if it is for the Good Conduct Medal as the documents are not in order for this section. The names are:
    Major George K Henshall; Capt. Sewell S. Gordon; 1st Lt. Roger C Wilder; S Sgt. James B. Baker; S.Sgt. George W. Whaley, Jr.; Tec.3 Charles L. Wyrick; Tec.4 Harold J. Audas; Tec.4 Alfred C. Hoad; Cpl. William C. West; Tec5 Anthony C. Hettorscheidt; Tec5. Arnold W. Houghtaling; Tec.5 William T. Stovall; Tec5 Edward C. Young; Pfc. George N. Bedore; Pfc. Anthony Brescia, Jr.; Pfc. Garland A. Johnson; Pfc. Raybourne T. Johnson; Pfc. Archie C. Kaston; Pfc. Lowell C. Marsden; Pfc. Willard P. Savage; Pfc. John S. Wind; Pvt. Robert T. Cicero

    This seems like a pretty comprehensive list. If you want me to try to scan and upload it, I will. However, the copy is a bit difficult to read. I am hoping I got all of the letters correct in the names. Let me know what else you need.

  5. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Excellent, yes your list for the Medical Detachment looks complete and comprehensive. I think we are good there. I am glad that venture had a satisfying result. Bless you.

    The only sample of a 'nice' maps and artwork that I have seen was provided by 716_Grandson in this post:
    Is this one of the maps you have seen or of similar quality, possibly from the same artist?

    Judging from that one sample, I would say that it was rendered by a member of the 716th Tank Bn and completed after the campaign. Unless we can find a set of initials hidden somewhere I have little hope of finding the artist.

    Hopefully 716_Grandson will check-in and have something to add.

    Army artwork (no samples from the Pacific war though)

    I am fairly certain several officers of the battalion wrote the combat reports. However given the make-up of the WWII Army there is the possibility for a well educated private to ghost write some portions. As an Army document it comes from the Battalion Commander, and submitted up "through channels", but that does not mean he wrote it.

    For anyone looking for more general histories of the Philippines campaigns there are these online from the MacArthur Reports. I can't say there is anything new or interesting about them -- just another option to re-reading the official history (also available online).


    Southern Philippines
  6. embennet

    embennet Member


    I forgot to include the date of the list of medical detachment names. It was dated Oct. 3, 1945.

    The map from 716th Grandson is somewhat similar, however the maps in my documents are simpler as each one deals with one particular order/objective. There are several of these maps for each of the islands that the 716th was on.

    Thanks for the link to the art! The sketches in my collection are simple pencil sketches but very well done. I will try to upload them here as I think they are unique. What you told me about the reports make sense, and now I am sure that the sketches had to have been done by someone who was there. I will also upload some of the maps just in case anyone is interested.

    Your knowledge of this subject is amazing! Thank you for sharing it!

  7. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    You mentioned artwork that seems to illustrate the text of the combat report. That would be interesting to see and match to a passage of the text.

    The maps that were a part of the combat report are essential to understanding the text. I don't know how anyone could understand the report without those maps. Even so both the narrative style text and maps that only contain essential information -- sketches really -- leave many gaps in the day-to-day events. With a period map and a careful dissection of the text one could possibly expand the understanding of those events described.

    The official US Army history of the Luzon campaign has around fifty sketch maps. While these illustrate the text clearly it is difficult to understand which division was where and when. Because I wanted to know I spent some time plotting that data on the attached.

    Similarly, on Luzon, knowing where each of the companies of the 716th TB were located and when is almost impossible. I suspect that kind of information is hidden in the text and sketch maps. Careful study of both could yield some new information.
    716th TB Luzon sketch/map
  8. embennet

    embennet Member

    Thank you for the maps. They are great! I will attempt to post some of the sketches, maps, and text this weekend. I hope they will be useful in shedding some light on details.

  9. embennet

    embennet Member


    I have posted part of the narrative history along with its included maps and sketches to the following link. I have also posted some other documents that I thought were interesting. Let me know what you think...


  10. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I am so sorry I missed your second post with the links. I was thinking July 5th was the day you first responded. I feel so terrible, please forgive me.

    I just downloaded the documents, thank you so much!!! I have not had a chance to read them yet but the Mindanao narrative looks very interesting. I grabbed these three landscapes and they appear to be actual terrain. There were other sketches of jungle and a Sherman tank. All finely done, someone was a budding artist or illustrator.

    Let me study this and I'll post something later. Thank you again.

    Attached Files:

  11. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    The hand drawn landscapes seem to depict this area described in the Mindanao narrative.

    Access to the canyon would have been easy after the war as the 716th rested near the Macajalar Bay.

    I attached a map from GoogleTerrain of the battle area. The Americans approached from the west. Google searching images of Mangima Canyon has several images of the miles long canyon but only a few of the battle area.

    Attached Files:

  12. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Since I had previously transcribed the other sections of the battalion history, my OCD compelled me to transcribe the missing Mindanao section provided by embennet. This section was actually of good quality and I was able to OCR all the text. I only needed to clean up the o's, e's and c's.

    Since I made a major error on the Luzon section I'll post all three sections here.

    Attached Files:

  13. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Maps from the battalion history

    Attached Files:

  14. embennet

    embennet Member


    Thank you so much for all of your feedback/transcriptions on the texts that I scanned! I have been on a trip to the mountains, where I did not have online access, so now it is my turn to apologize for a late response. I really appreciate the fact that you OCR'd the text, as that is something that should be really helpful to those looking for something/someone in particular. I really appreciate your dedication and help in interpreting these documents so everyone on this site can benefit from them!

    You are a blessing to the families of the 716th!

  15. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Welcome back, I hope you enjoyed your holiday.

    I really appreciate the kind words, that's my reward.

    Thank you so much for the Mindanao history. I had completely forgot that that portion of the history was missing.

    Unless you have some more surprises, not much to do now but wait and see who turns up. As we pass through the +70 year commemorations -- the 716th Tank Bn just arrived at Buna this month -- I think more families will be searching.

    I was browsing the I Corps history and thought this map useful. Though not technical, it contains the assembly point off Leyte and the general route of the invasion convoy through the Philippines. For the 716th Tank Battalion there are the embarkation points of Sansapor, Hollandia, Aitape and Oro B[ay] (Buna).

    Attached Files:

  16. embennet

    embennet Member


    Nice map! Thank you very much! I will save it with all of the other information I have gathered from this site.

    You're welcome for the Mindanao history. I guess I will check back from time to time to see if there is any other information I can learn or search for within the documents.

    Once again, I really appreciate all of your help and sharing of knowledge.
  17. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    Hello again embennet,

    Re post #147above, would it be possible to post the rosters? I am attempting to find out who the other members of his tank's crew were. There are a couple of group photos posted elsewhere in this thread in which my uncle (Edward J. Sofsak), is standing next to or very near the same people. From my own experience, I know that one tends to stand next to one's buddies whenever possible in unit photos, so I am hoping eventually to be able to piece together the names to go along with the faces. For example: The unit history (and lists posted above) mention PFC Albert F. Nolting as one of two Co. C enlisted men killed on Jan. 24, 1945 in the assault at San Manuel, the second KIA being my uncle. I'd like to establish whether PFC Nolting was part of the crew of my uncle's tank.

    It's possible that crews may have gone through the weapons qualifying process together, so the rosters might help out here if they list by platoon, crew, etc. I'm hoping that one of the other posters here might be able to chime in with their perspectives and/or family lore as well on this topic. Worth a try anyway.

    If it's not inconvenient for you, I'd really appreciate your assistance. Thanks again.
  18. embennet

    embennet Member

    Hello 716thresearcher,
    It makes sense as to what you are saying. Just to clarify, though, it is the qualifications for arms rosters that you are needing? I can try to scan those for you this week and get them to you. My goal is to eventually scan all of the documents and get them to a place where they would be accessible for all on this forum. Earthican has kindly pointed me in the right direction for doing so. I also think that there may be a way to find out the platoon that your uncle was in, as you have mentioned in a previous post. Several of the narrative histories will mention specific platoons involved in action for a particular engagement, so I can try to find if there is a narrative mentioning San Manuel and the participating platoons.

    I will try to have something for you by the end of this week.

  19. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    <p>Hi embennet,</p>
    <p>Thanks for your willingness to help!&nbsp; Yes, those rosters would certainly help for a start.&nbsp; Also, I believe I've mined the unit narrative history (mentioned several times in this forum thread and quoted in part several times) for useful info already, so please don't worry about downloading any of that.&nbsp;</p>
    <p>To be sure, the unit narrative history does mention actions and&nbsp;movements of&nbsp;companies and even individual platoons, but it&nbsp;does not identify platoons as to first, second, or third platoon of any given company. Also commanding officers (usually lieutenants) of platoons are occasionally mentioned, but again, which platoon was under which officer's&nbsp;charge is missing.&nbsp; That kind of granularity of information is what ultimately would be very valuable, in that it makes&nbsp;the drawing of&nbsp;connections possible and serves to generate new lines of inquiry.&nbsp; Does that make sense in terms of helping to target your search?&nbsp; I certainly don't want you to go on a random fishing expedition</p>
  20. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member


    Sorry for the extraneous machine language in the post above--the text editor function did not deliver a clean final version.

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