HISTORY

606 ARMY ENGINEER CAMOUFLAGE BATTALION

HEADQUARTERS & SERVICE COMPANY HISTORY

This is a verbatim transcription of what is on the back of the map.
You may click here to go to the history for Company  "A"    "B"   "C"   "D" or the more serious history
for the battalion as a whole.

     The following is not to be blamed on any one person but is intended as a true account of the adventures of H & S Co. itself.  We feel that H & S Co. has been a living thing -- whether good or bad -- and hope that the following may recall pleasant memories to some.

     We boarded the USS Santa Maria on January 15th, 1945 at Boston, Mass.   
A small merchant ship with Navy escort guard.  Later joined a convoy from New York, made up of freighters, destroyers and one British Battle Wagon.  Running into a storm half-way across it was a common sight to see someone hanging over the side and not forgetting ALLIO flat on his back for three days.  Before arriving in England we had a submarine alert, followed by depth charges.  We docked at Le Harve, France, January 29th and saw our first sight of destruction.  We disembarked at 2300 and loaded onto open trailers that were filled beyond capacity.  Towns we passed through were dark and quiet; the only sound was the sullen drone of the truck motors, a dreary noise to accompany the cold and falling snow.  After four hours the convoy of almost frozen men reached camp to find the tents poorly erected and having drifted snow inside.  Soon we were asleep on the frozen ground in Camp Lucky Strike.

     A mushroom bed of tents, was to be our home for the next two months.  A mudhole at first, it soon became a dust bowl, still haven’t decided which was worse.  We had no more than dropped our duffle bags until we had to more to another area.  All of which surprised no one, as the 606th has always moved often.  We bathed and washed clothes in our helmets and when changing wet socks during the day, we would dry them next to our body beneath our undershirt.  Finally settling down to the scramble for food and fuel (scarce items), we began the wait for orders to move up.  There were passes to break the monotony.  Rouen, in pretty bad condition but still interesting, followed by Fecamp, a quaint old French town on the Channel, hardly touched by the War and affording a much better example of France as it used to be.  Also, the Monastary of the Benedictine Abby, where the famous brandy is made.  The supply section, more fortunate than the others, was able to make trips to Paris, Brussels, Rhems, Chernoug and Le Harve.  The middle of March, we got a break and moved thirty miles up the coast to St. Aubin le Cauf, a little town just outside Dieppe.  We were more comfortable living in a Chateau and were adopted by the French in the town.  We remained there until April 8th, when our long awaited orders came, we were going to Germany at last.  We arrived in Gutersloh, Germany by motor convoy on April 10th and found the city of 40,000 had only recently surrendered.  White flags were hanging from every house and inhabitants seemed very quiet.  Our officers soon found the section of the city we were going to live in and we settled in German homes, complete with bath. With sudden orders for a platoon to return to Munchen-Gladbach, a truck piled high with men and equipment, took off for a thirty day jaunt filled with the complexities of German life and things.  Our mission was to take over a sign shop and camouflage factory.  First, we moved the sign shop to Gutersloh, and then we ran out of garlands, our production was so high in the manufacturing of camouflage nets.  Next, the labor board wanted our three hundred men in exchange for women.  German women had the usual pains and aches, besides allergies, itches, rashes, frozen fingers, etc.  Women can have the darndest things to contend with – just ask our medics.  All of these were solved in their own particular way, not always found in a Field Manual.  Honest, we did work and 3 ˝ million sq. feet of garnished nets, 300,000 sq. feet of  dyed burlap and 20,000 miles of road space prove it.  Suddenly a squad of carpenters were ordered to Braunschweig to repair a home for Lt. General Simpson.  Midnight Charlie helped make their trip interesting.  Our mission in Gutersloh was to take over a factory in the unbombed section and immediately begin the garnishing of camouflage nets for the Ninth U. S. Army.  The factory had been producing wood parts for German airplanes.  The stock of materials was very complete and their machinery was in good order.  The owner of the plant was informed of our intentions and cooperated very well with our officers.  We were fortunate to have two very capable translators among our company to give the Germans orders, their names will not be forgotten, Sgt. Bautner and Tec.4 Kutiner. At first we used only men for this work, but soon we got women as well, complete with all the problems previously mentioned.  They soon learned the work and produced more than the men.  Our orders for nets increased and we expanded, by taking over another factory.  Soon we had 700 women and 200 men working.  Our products increased and we began to make signs by the thousands plus wooden boxes.  We had an office force headed by Officers but used German girls as clerks.  We had a finance department as we were required to pay the workers.  The peak of production was reached in early May, then the war ended.  We were plenty happy about that.

     Later in the month we were informed, that we were being relieved by another Engineer outfit.  We were to move Southward to Korbach.  That was wonderful news because it meant we were going home.  Our stay in Korbach lasted about 12 days, at which time we turned in all our equipment which had to be hauled to depots in Belgium and France.  We then started our trip South out of Germany.  That in itself was very pleasant as it carried us through the Moselle Valley and across the Mainz and Rhine rivers.   We passed through such historic cities as Frankfort-on-the-Mainz and Trier.  The second day of the trip we left Germany and passed through the Country and city of Luxemburg and into France.  The second night we stayed at a transit camp in Soissons, France.  Next day we traveled across the country through Reims and arrived at Camp Lucky Strike, near St.Valery to wait for a boat.  After processing was completed we headed for the boat and this time we had a good ship, the USS Gen. Gordon.  “Chow” was excellent and living quarters were crowded as usual, but the weather was nice until we hit the edge of a hurricane which we finally rode out and then we tied up at Newport News, Va, the United States of America.

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