HISTORY

606 ARMY ENGINEER CAMOUFLAGE BATTALION

BATTALION HISTORY

This is a factual history of the entire battalion. So see humorous histories by unit, click on the units below:
Headquarters & Service Co.       Company  "A"    "B"    "C"    "D"

          The 606th Engineer Camouflage Battalion was activated on 16 April 1943 at Camp Carson, Colorado under the command of Major Joseph L. Knipper.  The cadres for the original organization were derived from the 603rd and 604th Engineer Camouflage Battalions, the 636th Engineer Camouflage Company in Hawaii and 637th Engineer Camouflage Company in Panama.  Filler personnel making up the bulk of the command came from the states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

      During the second half of 1943, the battalion successfully completed basic, unit and combined training.  B and D Companies took part in the Tennessee maneuvers, leaving Camp Caron on 22 October and returning on 22 November.  
A Company went to Camp Hale, the ski-troop center, to conduct a camouflage school for the 10th Division, while C Company held courses for the 89th and 71st Divisions at Camp Carson.

      On 14 February 1944, the entire battalion moved to the Tennessee Manoeuver Area to engage in extensive operations of all types including camouflage instruction, depot and equipment pool operation and salvage.  Bn. Headquarters was located at Lebanon, Tennessee.  On 31 May 1944, the battalion moved to Camp Forrest, Tenn.

      Upon arrival at the new station, the organization was honored by the arrival of Captain Chuan-Chung Chen who was attached to the battalion as an observer from the Chinese Army.  During this period, the battalion was reduced to cadre by the transfer of the bulk of the enlisted personnel to other Engineer units.  Shortly replacements arrived from the 637th, 639th and 643rd Engineer Camouflage Companies.  The men of the 639th were veterans of long service in the Aleutians, while the 637th had been in Panama.

     On 19 June 1944, Lt. Col. Knipper was transferred to the 4th Army for eventual duty with the 10th Army.  Captain Bernard A. Reymann assumed command until the arrival of the new commander, Lt. Col. W. H. Mohr, on 23 July 1944.

      From Camp Forrest, the battalion moved by motor convoy to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, arriving there on 15 September 1944.  Training for overseas continued there until 10 January 1945, interrupted by a short manoeuver period in October with the 66th Division at Camp Rucker, Alabama.

      Following a rail movement to Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts , the 606th Engineer Camouflage Battalion, one man short of full strength, sailed from Boston, Mass. For the European Theater on 18 January 1945 on the USS Santa Maria.  The battalion disembarked at Le Havre, France, on 29 January 1945 and moved via motor to Camp Lucky Strike, near St. Valery, Seine, Inferieure, France under assignment to the Fifteenth United States Army.  At Lucky Strike, vehicles and equipment were procured in preparation for a move towards the front and active participation in the conflict.  A shortage in camouflage supplies temporarily delayed this movement, enabling the battalion to locate at St. Aubin Le Cauf until 18 March 1945.  On this date, D Company departed for duty with the British Second Army, participating in the Rhineland Campaign until 1 April when they returned to join the Battalion.  While attached to the British Forces and under assignment to the U. S. Ninth Army, this company assisted in the crossing of the Rhine near Wesel, Germany, suffering one casualty on 22 March 1945.

    D Company departed on 4 April 1945 for duty with the XXIII Corps of the Fifteenth U. S. Army at Osterath, Germany.  Two days later C Company joined the XXII Corps at Gustorf, Germany.  On 5 April 1945, the entire battalion was relieved from the Fifteenth Army and assigned to the Ninth U. S. Army.  Headquarters, Headquarters & Service Company, A and B Companies plus the Medical Detachment moved on 10-12 April 1945 to Gutersloh, Germany and Bielfield, Germany.

      Headquarters of the 606th Engr. Cam. Bn. were set up in Gutersloh when Headquarters and Service Company commenced the operation of a camouflage factory plus a sign and box factory.

      Subsequently, factories were opened at Munchen Gladbach, Germany and Maastricht, Holland.  Extensive employment of civilian labor, including German Nationals and displaced persons resulted.

     Companies A and B assisted in the operation of the Ninth Army Engineer Depot at Bielefield, Germany while separate detachments from these companies operated advanced depots at Gardelegen, Oschersleben, Germany and the Rhur Pocket.  Assistance in operational camouflage was rendered to advance units.

     Lt. Col. W. H. Mohr acted as camouflage officer for the Ninth Army while also supervising the numerous activities of the battalion during this period.  C and D Companies were engaged in the operation of engineer depots and factories for the XXII and XXIII Corps of Fifteenth Army in the Rhine Valley, although like the rest of the battalion, assigned to Ninth Army.  In the middle of May, they moved to Isselhorst, Germany, a short distance from Gutersloh.

     On 31 May 1945, the battalion moved to Korbach, Germany, the assembly area for return to the United States for redeployment.  At Korbach, the battalion passed briefly into the control of the Seventh U. S. Army.   On 11-13 June 1945, a motor movement was made to Camp Lucky Strike, France, where packing was completed for the return voyage.

      On 19 June 1945, the battalion embarked on the USS General Gordon at Le Havre , and arrived at Hampton Roads on 28 June 1945, entraining there for Camp Patrick Henry, Va.  After processing, all members of the organization left for a period of recuperation at their homes.  On 4 August, the members of this battalion began reassembly at Camp Shelby, Miss.  While at this last station, the war ended and plans for redeployment were abandoned.  Discharge of eligible men from the service proceeded at a rapid pace.
      

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