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Annotated Bibliography regarding 66th Army Division directly or indirectly

March 3, 2013

 

 

 

Ambrose, Stephen E. Citizen Soldiers: the U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944—May 7, 1945. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.  This widely read author devotes about a page to the SS Leopoldville disaster, and quotes Henry “Hank” Anderson, one of two living Army veterans who said he remembers Carl Bonde.  Mr. Ambrose’s book survived a most compelling critic:  Gordon Weber, a 96-year-old friend with failing eyesight and dwindling strength,  said he read every word.  Himself an WW II Army veteran of the ETO, Gordon said that he would have been more frightened if he had known then what he learned from Mr. Ambrose.

Andrade, Allan. Leopoldville: Remembrance for Sacrifice. Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2005.  This is a picture book of persons whose lives were changed by the sinking of the SS Leopoldville.  Mr. Andrade has taken on this disaster as his personal crusade.

Andrade, Allan. Leopoldville: Remembrance for Valor. Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2007.  This sequel contains a photograph of Carl Bonde posing with Irvin “Junior” Weaver, prior to his making sergeant.  Somehow the negative got flipped and the Panther Division patch is backward on the incorrect shoulder.

Andrade, Allan. S.S. Leopoldville Disaster: December 24, 1944. New York: Tern Book Co., 1997.  This patriotic book conveys many personal accounts of the tragedy.  Unfortunately it is out of print and very expensive.  It does contain Carl R. Bonde Jr.’s name, but William Moomey’s name is misspelled “Mooney.”

Anonymous. Tactics and Technique of Infantry Basic 8th Edition: a Text and Reference Book of Infantry Training. Harrisburg, Pa: Military Service Publishing Co., 1939.  A contemporary of Carl Bonde’s, Lieutenant MacWilliams used this book at West Point Military Academy.  I bought it on line.  This book has some resemblance to one Carl left at his parents’ home in Kalispell.  I am thinking Carl got his copy at Missoula or Grand Forks, ND where he took Army training.

Blumberg, Nathaniel. Charlie of 666: a Memoir of World War II. Big Fork, Mont.: Wood FIRE Ashes Press, 2000.  Nathaniel taught me in Missoula aat the School of Journalism in 1967-8 and in 1977-8.  He remembered the sinking of the SS Leopoldville because he was nearby in the English Channel on an LST on the same day in 1944.  Nathaniel devotes some of his book to the sinking of the Leo.  He died Valentine’s day, 2012.

Boy Scouts of America. Handbook for Boys. New York: BSA, ca 1930.  The similarities of the first aid illustrations in the Boy Scout handbook with the book of infantry training are startling.  They suggest a unity of culture perhaps stemming from WW I.  Carl Bonde was a Boy Scout in Kalispell.

Bradham, Randolph. Hitler’s U-Boat Fortresses. Guilford, Conn.: Lyons Press, 2003.  Dr. Bradham belonged to Carl Bonde’s Army Company E, but he was among those placed on the HMS Cheshire in the confusion the morning of December 24.  I met Randy at an Army reunion and we spent several days together.  His book set the stage for our visit to France with Josiah Corson in 2009.  We visited Saint-Nazaire, the site of one of the German fortresses.

Braeuer, Luc. Guide Souvenir: le Grand Blockhaus Musee de la Poche de Saint-Nazaire. Batz-Sur-Mer, Fr.: SPEI-Pulnoy, 2005.  I bought this book in France at a shop near the huge German Bunker, along with the following.  

Braeur, Luc. Souvenir Guide: Saint-Nazaire During World War II. Batz-Sur-Mer, Fr.: SPEI-Pulnoy, 2004.  Although the books have similarities, one is not simply the translation of the other.  We met the author who asked me if I knew about Randy Bradham’s book, previously mentioned above.

Brokaw, Tom. The Greatest Generation.  New York: Random House, 1998.  This gives insight into the aftermath of World War II, and the effect of the returning masses of soldiers.

Evanier, David. Making the Wiseguys Weep: the Jimmy Roselli Story. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. It has so many misstatements that it is certainly unreliable.  Example:  the author says that Jimmy fought in northern France against the Germans.  False.  He kept the German U-boat soldiers and sailors penned up in Western France and there was limited combat, according to Wally Mersa, who was Jimmy’s buddy.  It says Jimmy was in Company E, 266th Regiment of the 66th Division.  False.  He was in the 262nd Regiment.  There was no record of any 266th Regiment. I don’t think the book will give much.  That said, Walter Merza, a veteran whom I met at the Army reunion, who had belonged to Carl Bonde’s Army Company E, absolutely adored Jimmy Roselli.  Wally invited us all to his home and he played some of Roselli’s recordings for us.

Graduating Class of 1928. The Flathead. Kalispell, Mont.:  1928.  Bud’s sister owned this high school annual.  Recall that Bud was born in 1923.  His sister Helen must have asked 5-year-old Bud to autograph it, which he did with a fine scrawl.

Hadden, Alexander H. Not Me! The World War II Memoir of a Reluctant Rifleman. Bennington, Vt.: Merriam Press, 2009.  In NOT ME! The World War II Memoir of a Reluctant Rifleman, in its 4th edition, originally published in 2007, Alexander H. Hadden told how he was drafted, assigned to A.S.T.P, and was assigned to the 66th Panther Army Division, same as Carl Bonde.  He described the chicken-shit treatment he and his fellow soldiers received at Camp Rucker, near Ozark, Alabama.  Useless, sadistic treatment and gratuitous orders for no purpose other than to bully and harass:  chicken-shit.  Mr. Hadden’s title Not Me refers to the maxim in the army that one should not volunteer for anything, and if volunteers are requested, just “keep your head down.”

Mr. Hadden described the difficulties the college A.S.T.P. soldiers had when the program was abruptly closed and they returned to GI life as infantry, as private soldiers, and when they faced older noncoms who did not have much schooling.

 

Loomis, Stanley B. My Life – My War – World War 2. Bloomington, Ind.: Authorhouse, 2010.  

Pool, Raymond J. Basic Course in Botany: the Foundations of Plant Science. Boston: Athenaem Press, 1940.  Carl R. Bonde Jr. wrote his name inside the cover of this text.

Roberts, Raymond J. Survivors of the Leopoldville Disaster. Sequel to Survivors of the Leopoldville Disaster. More Tales of the Leopoldville Disaster. Unknown City: Unknown Publisher, 1997.  Mr. Roberts published many accounts of the sinking in the survivors own words.  Roberts himself, though, was nowhere near the disaster when it occurred. 

Sanders, Jacquin. A Night Before Christmas. Cutchogue, NY: Buccaneer Books, 1963.  This is the best account available describing the fate of the men of the 66th Army Division who died crossing the English Channel en route from Southampton, England, to Cherbourg, France.  Note the date of publication.  Mr. Sanders was on a nearby ship and witnessed the men die at the hands of the Germans.  He seems to be an independent, and thorough, historical researcher who amassed lots of information.  The book has 320 pages, hardcover, and cost only about $10 new from Amazon.com in 2009.  Mr. Sanders writes in a narrative style, drawing from extensive research.

Strengths:  This account was the most contemporary of any after the SS Leopoldville was torpedoed and sunk.  Its author was a trained historian and a professional writer and presented the views of many survivors in the late 1950s and early 1960s whose mailing addresses were systematically tracked down, questionnaires mailed out, then many of the responders were carefully interviewed by the author personally.  He also located and reported historical records about the ship itself and researched and interviewed those responsible for the safe passage of its passengers and crew.  One is impressed by Mr. Sanders thoroughness.

The book reads like a novel.  A book about a ship’s sinking is, similar to a train wreck, a book about chaos.  This ship’s sinking was complicated by chaos ashore as well as contradictory information aboard the ship.  Of the three main books written about the SS Leopoldville, this is the best edited and organized chronologically.  The narrative is divided into 16 chapters, starting with the troops of the 66th Division boarding the ship and finishing with a critique of the many investigations into why there was such a large number of casualties. 

Weaknesses:   It has no index nor table of contents, however Mr. Sanders does have acknowledgements in the back, including a list of all of those who responded to his questionnaire, those whom he interviewed, including the relatives of principle figures of the tale and officials in the US, UK, Germany, France, and Belgium.  

Some excellent tales are missing.  Many of the most lucid and complete accounts by persons actually aboard the ship when it was hit and sunk are, through no fault of Mr. Sanders, not in this book.  Absent are the particularly thorough, articulate accounts by E.P. “Bill” Everhard, Bill Loughborough, Bill Moomey, Maurice O’Donnell, Randall Bradham, Henry “Hank” Anderson, Bob Carroll, Al Salata and others that surfaced years later.  

Although this is a weakness of Mr. Sanders’ book, he should not be blamed. Survivor Bill Moomey said that he remembers receiving one or two letters from Jacquin Sanders asking him for his account of the sinking of the SS Leopoldville, but Bill said he discarded them.  Bill (and probably some of the other soldiers who escaped death Christmas eve 1944) did not want to recall and publicly share such a sad event that robbed him of so many of his dear friends only 15 years earlier.

Mr. Sanders lived in the Northeastern US and his interviews of the survivors were a sample of convenience of those living in his vicinity.  Remember that travel and communications was far more difficult, expensive, and slower in 1960.  

Read this one first.  It is readily available, well made, inexpensive, readable, and as well researched as the technology and logistics in 1960 would permit.  This book contains the testimony of some of Carl Bonde’s military acquaintances in Co E:  Medic Cloyd Grubb, mortar men Ole Jensen and George Miller, and possibly others.

 

Sciboz, Bertrand. Epaves Des Cotes de France. Rennes Fr.: Editions Ouest-France, 2000.  Sciboz has dived to the SS Leopoldville and gave the Struckmans a copy of his book, written in French, when they chartered a boat ride to visit the wreckage in the English Channel Christmas Eve, 2007.  Clive Cussler located the SS Leopoldville 50+ years after it went down.

Senior Class of Flathead County High School. The 1940 Flathead: a Year Book. Seattle: Western Engraving & Colortype Co., 1940.  Bud’s copy survived and it contains nearly 70 inscriptions to him from his high school classmates.  They are transcribed in Appendix A. and also on the Internet at an historical website.  This is a rich source of information, albeit written by adolescents in the throes of, well, adolescence. 

66th Infantry Division (Panther Division), US Army. The Black Panthger. US Government, 1943.  Camp Robinson, Arkansas, hosted the 66th division until 1944, when it moved to Camp Rucker, Alabama.  Many of the junior soldiers in the photographs in this souvenir publication were shipped out from Camp Robinson to replace casualties in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).    However, when the 66th was repopulated with A.S.T.P. soldiers, the division trained and shipped out in October, 1944, as a coherent unit under General H.F. Kramer to New York, and ultimately to England in mid-November.

Stokker, Kathleen. Folklore Fights the Nazis: Humor in Occupied Norway, 1940-1945. Madison, Wisc.: Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1995.  Bud’s cousin, Earl Bonde, recommended this book telling of the Norwegian resistance in the early 1940s.

Terkel, Studs. The Good War: an Oral History of World War Two. New York: The New Press, 1984.  Studs was one of the best at interviewing.  One realizes no war is good.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Timequake. New York: Berkley Books, 1997.  I liked the premise behind this book.  In researching and telling histories, one has such an experience.

Wobeck, Earl F. Old Mill Stream: an Autobiography. Victoria, B.C.,: Trafford, 2004.  Earl Wobeck’s book told how he was assigned to the ASTP at the University of North Dakota, same as Bud was.  He attended college in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with civilian students, mostly girls.  The dorm accommodations were relatively new, located, according to Mr. Wobeck, on the Red River plain on the outskirts of town.  He said it was potato country, close to Canada, and quite cold from the wind.  He attended just Fall quarter before the ASTP was disbanded.  Some, like Mr. Wobeck, intentionally failed their classes in order to prevent being sent back to the army as privates in the infantry.  

Mr. Wobeck’s photograph appears several times in his memoir, but I was not able to identify Mr. Wobeck in a photograph of Carl’s Co. B of A.S.T.U 3713 Grand Forks, ND Jan. 1944.

 

 

 

 

 

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