MAY 15, 1945 TO JULY 30, 1945
On the 15th
of May 1945, while at Camp Crookston, this unit was assigned to Task
Force "A" per Troop Assignment No. 91, Headquarters European Theater of
Operations, dated 15 May 1945. Since the plan called for a Heavy
Automotive Maintenance Company less one Automotive Platoon, it was
necessary to begin the selection of men who would be left behind and at
the same time the Service and Supply section was working 24 hours a day
in order to cope with the last minute departure by other units arriving
at Camp Crookston in preparation for this operation. Trucks had to be
dispatched to all parts of the United Kingdom to pick up Ordnance
It was also necessary to hold a
last minute clothing inspection and the
old clothing that was to be salvaged had to be taken down to Q-114 and
the new clothing brought back.
At the same time we were joined
by our old friend of the Camp Gordon,
Georgia days, Major Robert E. Sheriff, who was to be the Ordnance
Officer of the Task Force.
On the 26th
of May, 1945 we were fully loaded and left Camp Crookston at 0800
hours, leaving behind the men who had been transferred to the 624th
Ordnance Battalion and also the equipment which had to be turned in.
Sergeant Hardy took charge of this and obtained all necessary tallies
for the unit. We arrived at Leith borough at 1200 hours to find much
confusion, as no one seemed to know when we were boarding the
transports. The trucks and other automotive equipment were lined up in
the park and the troops were loaded into trucks, and taken to a British
Transient Camp where everyone was given something to eat and a place to
sleep for the night.
1st Lt. John S.
Weaver and his group were notified to load on the afternoon of the 26th
and the remainder of the unit loaded the following day. The convoy was
made up the following morning and sailed out of the Firth of Forth and
we were all set for a rough ride on the LSTs.
The lights of Oslo, Norway were
a welcome sight as we sailed up the
Fjord on the night of 30 May 1945. The ships docked at 2300 hours, but
did not unload until the next morning, at 0930 hours.
Our convoy was
formed at the dockside, and at 1100 hours we began our
drive out to Huseby Camp. This camp had been built by the Germans, but
for the last three weeks had been used by British Forces. The barracks,
mess halls, and other buildings on the post were in bad shape, and very
dirty with German equipment and ammunition strewn all over. At the same
time when were busily engaged in making the camp a fit place to live we
began setting up our shops.
Knowing the exact
number and type of vehicles in the Task Force we had
brought with us a good stock of parts, but now we found that for the
time being our business was going to be mostly in civilian sedans.
These sedans had been taken from the Norwegian people, and also brought
from Germany by the Germans and now they were being collected at
various points in preparation for their being turned back to the
Norwegian people and the Task Force was taking some for use while in
On June 2 and 3 we took drivers
up to Heistedmoen and brought back 75
sedans. Nearly all of these vehicles were in need of some repairs and
so the problem of parts developed.
Lt. Melvin M. Specter and the men of the parts supply department then
began an extensive search for parts from all possible sources,
Norwegian Army, German Army Stores, and civilian sources and enough
parts were obtained to take care of most of the demands.
On the 10th of
June, 1945 Captain Irving P. Nelson was transferred to the Ordnance
Section of Task Force "A" Headquarters and 1st Lt. John H.P.
Jones assumed command of this unit and ordnance depot.
On the 16th of
June, 1945 1st
Lt. Weaver and Tec 5 Stephen N. Messkat went to Camp Nyland as this was
the depot to which all German Ordnance Equipment and stores would be
turned in. On the 20th of June 1945, 1st Lt.
Clyde W. Cloninger was placed on detached service to the Task Force "A"
Headquarters as Motor Officer for this Headquarters. Of the original
five officers and one warrant officer now only two officers and one
warrant officer were left to cope with the ordnance problems and the
problems of maintaining the depot and camp.
At this time Ulleval Stadium
was also taken over by this unit and Sgt.
Euell E. Francis was put in charge of this operation and during the
time this was maintained as an American installation 200 sedans and
trucks were issued and at the time it was turned over to the Norwegian
authorities 650 vehicles of various types remained.
A vehicle park was also opened
at Gressbanen. T/Sgt. George W. Rose
opened this installation, and received a total of 185 sedans and trucks
from the Germans which was eventually turned over to the control of
On the 19th of June
1945, Brigadier General Owen D. Summers came to the camp and addressed
all personnel on the post in the 863rd Ordnance Heavy
Automotive Maintenance Company Mess Hall.
On the 1st of July
General Omar Bradley, accompanied by Brigadier General Owen D. Summers,
made an inspection of the camp.
On the Fourth of July this unit
participated in the parade in Oslo and
received a Commendation from Brigadier General Owen D. Summers on the
appearance of both the men and the equipment.
On the 7th
of July a dance was held for the company in the mess hall with music
being furnished by the Globe Trotters Band from Task Force "A"
Headquarters. A very enjoyable time was had by all those present.
On the 19th of
July, Major R.E. Urquhart, accompanied by Brigadier General Owen D.
Summer, made an inspection of the camp.
On the 24th
of July General Sir Afam Thorne, accompanied by Brigadier General Owen
D. Summers, visited the camp and made an inspection of the entire
During the months of June and
July, 690 job orders were completed, 650
of these being vehicles repaired and made ready for issue, and 40 being
unit job orders. During this period the Parts Section was kept busy
handling the flow of Ordnance material. Twenty tons of parts were
unloaded from the parts vans and set up in bins in the parts supply
Four hundred and twelve (412)
tons of ammunition (14,333) boxes, and
one hundred sixty-six tons (166) (3576 boxes) of ordnance material were
received during this period. Twelve tons of ordnance material was
shipped back to the United Kingdom. A total of three hundred and
sixty-four (364) requisitions and a total of five thousand seven
hundred and thirty-six (5736) were filled. There is now bulk storage on
hand totaling over 93 tons, all this being ordnance material.
As work tapered off during the
last part of July a few furloughs were
given. This is the first furlough for most of the men in two years. As
this account closes, maintenance problems are still presenting
themselves, but most all difficulties are being overcome.