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-   -   ID needed for US vehicle and unit in Holland, 1945 (http://www.mapleleafup.net/forums/showthread.php?t=23738)

Hanno Spoelstra 05-05-15 21:30

ID needed for US vehicle and unit in Holland, 1945
 
1 Attachment(s)
This picture was taken in Zeist in May 1945. As you can see it features a US Army vehicle - but as far as I know no US units were involved in the liberation of this part of the Netherlands.

Who can ID the vehicle? And the unit? See the bumper markings: OWI = Office of War Information? UKB = UK Branch?

Thanks in advance!

Attachment 73231

Alex van de Wetering 05-05-15 22:56

Interesting picture. OWI does indeed sounds like "Office of War Information", but I have no idea what they actually did (apart from what I just read on wiki :D) and why they were in UK/Canadian territory.

The vehicle has to be a Chevrolet. The low stance made me think it could be a small pickup, but the cut fenders and big wheels suggest something bigger....maybe a 1,5ton truck??? Is that a seam above the windshield?

Alex

lynx42 06-05-15 09:37

I agree with Alex, definitely a Chev. Here in Australia we call them the Lend-Lease Chevs. The bumper bar dates it from 1942 on and the placement of the headlights and the shape of the windscreen confirm it.

It is unusual having a chrome or silver painted grill.

It may be one of the smaller 1 tonners but it looks to have the 17" wheels of the 1.5 ton trucks.

Regards Rick.

Hanno Spoelstra 06-05-15 12:34

3 Attachment(s)
Thanks Alex & Rick,

Yes, Chevrolet, but which one? Attached goes a picture of the Truck, Carryall, 1/2 Ton, 4x2 Chevrolet, based on the 1941 Chevrolet Suburban. This does not have the seam above the windshield:
Attachment 73285

Combined with your remarks about it being a 1.5 ton truck, it triggered my memory about a picture I had seen before in a book titled Dordrecht 1939-1945 - deel 4. It shows a large woody wagon-bodied vehicle based on a Chevrolet truck chassis on the Town Hall Square in Dordrecht, May 1945:
Attachment 73286

From the book Professional Cars: Ambulances, Hearses and Flower Cars, by Greg Merksamer I learned "Eureka constructed field ambulances and woody wagon-bodied Navy staff cars on the 1.5-ton Chevrolet truck chassis”. Could this be the type of vehicle in question?

If so, riddle solved? Possibly, yes, but what about the OWI? According to the article Preparing for Victory. The U.S. Office of War Information Overseas Branch’s illustrated magazines in the Netherlands and the foundations for the American Century, 1944-1945 they were active in the Netherlands.

Judging from these two photos they were somehow taking part in the liberation of at least two towns. Strange, for a non-combattant unit? Laying the foundation to today's general public perception that "Holland was liberated by the Americans", that's for sure... :rolleyes

Hanno

Edited to add pdf version of report linked above: Attachment 102652

cletrac (RIP) 06-05-15 16:15

The Chevs with the vertical grille bars don't have that heavy piece of chrome going across the top of the grille.

motto 06-05-15 20:04

They look to me to be 20" wheels. The bumper is also the heavy truck type as used on military/government contract vehicles.
The cab has a join above the windscreen which to me means that the manufacturer supplied the vehicle with front end sheet metal finishing at that point. The body work aft of the join would have quite possibly been built 'in theatre'.
What appears to be 'a heavy piece of chrome bar going across the top of the grill' is simply light reflection off wet body work. The front end is standard for the 1-1/2 ton truck.

David

motto 10-05-15 20:44

Not specific to this vehicle but rereading this thread i remembered a comment made to me by a fellow I met many years ago.

I had been driving past a Lend/Lease Chev in a factory yard on my way to and from my job for quite a while when I noticed it standing over to one side with the body gone. I went in and enquired and sure enough the truck was at the end of its life and was to be disposed of. I purchased it for the scrap price and when I went to pick it up one of the workmen came over to me and said, 'Be kind to that old truck. I was in Holland right through the war and the first Allied vehicle I saw was one of those.'
You never know what memories or connections these old vehicles are likely to bring out.

David

Alex van de Wetering 08-01-18 11:39

1 Attachment(s)
I saved this picture from the web some time ago, but now I can't remember where I found it. I think it came from one of the many albums on the WW2radio facebook page.

Alex

motto 08-01-18 20:11

Trucks & planes
 
The truck backed up to the aircraft definitely came from the same stable as the one pictured in post #4 lower but they don't appear to have the join line above the windscreen as is so obvious in the post #1 photo.
The aircraft is a C87 Liberator Express the not so well known cargo version of the B24 Liberator bomber.

David

David Dunlop 08-01-18 21:13

Hanno.

What are the odds the truck in the two town photos posted is one and the same truck?

In the second photo, the gentleman looks to be waving a helmet, and wearing gloves. In the first photo, the gentleman on the left is wearing gloves and has a helmet.

Whatever this American unit was doing in Holland at that point in time, it would be highly unlikely that organization would have sent a bunch of teams to Holland to do the work. How do these two towns lay out on a map of Holland? Is there a main road, direct connection between them, or would one have to drive about a bit to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’?

Would this American unit have had free access to move about Holland at that time, or would they have had to coordinate access with appropriate Canadian authorities, becoming embedded or attached to some Canadian unit?

Perhaps, the two towns noted line up in some way with the general flow of the liberation of Holland and this truck and it’s crew were following along. If so, they might have also been photographed in other towns ahead of, and behind these two.

Haven’t a clue what the OWI did, but if the information they were gathering related to what the German forces had been up to in Holland during the war, then what would have been significant about the two towns noted, to attract OWI attention. Then again, the crew might just have been sight seeing. I hear Holland is pretty at that time of year.

One last thing. The first photo shows a plate above the bumper on the left side with what appears to be ‘U.S.A.’ on top and maybe a number below. Can that number be read with a higher res image and help ID the vehicle? It is there on the second photo but not at a useful angle or distance.

For better or worse, Hanno, that’s all I can come up with at the moment.

Cheers,

David

Hanno Spoelstra 03-10-18 12:26

1 Attachment(s)
Hello David,

Thanks for your input and apologies for my late response. You could well be right in this being the same vehicle. Zeist and Dordrecht are some 65 kms apart, Zeist was liberated on 7 May and Dordrecht on 8 May.

To be sure I'd have to look into the routes the Allied units followed to liberate the Western part of Holland. This was done after the German Army surrendered, so it was more a case of driving into territory occupied by an army which had laid down its weapons to reinstate Dutch government control. That said, there were skirmishes with German troops who did not want to surrender and both soldiers and civilians were killed in these engagements.

I have found a better photo of the Chevrolet woody at Dordrecht:

Attachment 102651
Source: http://beeldbank.regionaalarchiefdor...496/showbrowse

Hanno Spoelstra 16-03-20 00:18

"Holland was liberated by the Americans"?!?
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra (Post 209085)
...but what about the OWI? According to the article Preparing for Victory. The U.S. Office of War Information Overseas Branch’s illustrated magazines in the Netherlands and the foundations for the American Century, 1944-1945 they were active in the Netherlands.

Judging from these two photos they were somehow taking part in the liberation of at least two towns. Strange, for a non-combattant unit? Laying the foundation to today's general public perception that "Holland was liberated by the Americans", that's for sure... :rolleyes

Triggered by a picture sent to me by Alex, I searched and came across this picture taken during the liberation of Amsterdam, 8 May 1945.

Take a close look and tell me what you see.... are these OWI people again?!?

Attachment 112472
Source: https://flic.kr/p/2grbkVE

Ed Storey 16-03-20 01:32

Dodge Command Reconnaissance Truck
 
I believe it is a Dodge Command Reconnaissance Truck; and after studying the uniform, I don't believe the driver of the vehicle in the photograph is Canadian.

Hanno Spoelstra 16-03-20 10:24

Yank truck
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed Storey (Post 267474)
I believe it is a Dodge Command Reconnaissance Truck; and after studying the uniform, I don't believe the driver of the vehicle in the photograph is Canadian.

Dodge Command Car with an American driver, that's what I see also.

What were they doing in Amsterdam on 8 May? Can't think of anything else like that OWI unit or something comparable.

David Dunlop 16-03-20 11:51

A little wild and crazy perhaps, Hanno, but at that point in time, could the Americans have been moving teams into possible exit routes to be on the lookout for known, missing, high ranking German Military and Government officials? Maybe there is more to these OWI Teams than we know.

David

Ed Storey 16-03-20 16:57

American in Amsterdam
 
There are any number of potential reasons why an American would be photographed caught up in the Amsterdam VE-Day Celebrations; and these range from a media team covering the events to a liaison officer from one of the Allied formations taking in the celebrations to an Op Eclipse Team carrying out their assigned task. Could be as simple as someone on a joy-ride.

Alex van de Wetering 16-03-20 19:27

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Triggered by a picture sent to me by Alex, I searched and came across this picture taken during the liberation of Amsterdam, 8 May 1945.
Here is the picture; also from Flickr . I have enlarged the Dodge Command in the column of Diamond T's, Otter, Dodge D60L, CMP 3 tonner, jeep etc.

source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hab304...7600038464181/

Alex

Attachment 112480

Attachment 112481

Hanno Spoelstra 17-03-20 10:29

Same one?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering (Post 267497)
Here is the picture; also from Flickr . I have enlarged the Dodge Command in the column of Diamond T's, Otter, Dodge D60L, CMP 3 tonner, jeep etc.

Would this be the same Command Car, photographed while it was lining up to enter the city?

Hanno Spoelstra 17-03-20 10:53

Press or liaison?
 
David, Ed,

You could well be right that the Americans moved in with the Commonwealth forces on a special mission. It was planned to march off the German Army up North through the province of North Holland, across the Afsluitdijk into the provinces of Friesland and Groningen and onwards into Germany. The hunt for high ranking nazi's was on and they could hide well among the masses of German Wehrmacht PoW's. But would the Commonwealth troops not have been capable to carry out such a mission themselves?

5-8 May was mostly about disarming the German Army and re-establishing local government, the fact that troops were welcomed by thousands of civilians who were desparate to be liberated does not mean it was a celebration as such. A series of Victory demonstrations took place in the weeks after 8 May.

But, would a special ops team use a Command Car? I guess they would use a number of Jeeps and/or a Weapons Carriers. Command Cars were relegated to non-frontline units, so a more leisurely unit like a news reporter could be likely. Also look at the Chevrolet Woody, defintely a non-frontline vehicle as well. OWI, or a press/media team is one option (OWI seems to have been a sort of marketing team).

Lots to ponder over, but I am leaning towards these being press/media vehicles, or maybe from a liaison officer.

What would the link with Op Eclipse be?


Quote:

Originally Posted by David Dunlop (Post 267485)
A little wild and crazy perhaps, Hanno, but at that point in time, could the Americans have been moving teams into possible exit routes to be on the lookout for known, missing, high ranking German Military and Government officials? Maybe there is more to these OWI Teams than we know.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ed Storey (Post 267494)
There are any number of potential reasons why an American would be photographed caught up in the Amsterdam VE-Day Celebrations; and these range from a media team covering the events to a liaison officer from one of the Allied formations taking in the celebrations to an Op Eclipse Team carrying out their assigned task. Could be as simple as someone on a joy-ride.


Alex van de Wetering 23-05-20 13:40

2 Attachment(s)
The same OWI Chevrolet again?

This time entering Den Haag in this film:
http://in.beeldengeluid.nl/collectie...944/false/true

and here:
http://in.beeldengeluid.nl/collectie...945/false/true

source: http://in.beeldengeluid.nl/collectie...sultsOnly=true

Hanno Spoelstra 24-05-20 22:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering (Post 269772)
The same OWI Chevrolet again?

This time entering Den Haag in this film:

Yes, same one again, we've spotted it three times now!


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