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* 94th Infantry Division * Northern France * Rhineland * Ardennes-Alsace * Central Europe *

 

 

Great Uncle Freddie
    Alfred J. Dionne or "Freddie" as my family calls him, was born in July 7, 1918 in Manchester New Hampshire. He was the second surviving son of Jule and Eugenia Dionne’s seven children. He only attended five years of grade school, as did many of his generation. Times were tough and worked started at an early age, no work meant no food. That was the motto of the day. His family settled in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Freddie found work in the city at the Electric Truck Company, as an assembler along with his brother Leo, and his brother-in-law's brother Rolland Despres. Freddie was a warm fellow but he had a quick temper. He called himself "Shorty" because everyone else did, due to his height. He also told me that he was called Shorty because he could "crouch down low during the shooting and shelling". Uncle Freddie past away on November 1, 2000 he was the last living relative in my family from the World War II generation. Freddie was part of the 94th Infantry Division, he served with the 301st Regiment, in C Company. He was a 60 mm Motarman for the weapons platoon, attaining the rank of Tech Sergeant , but later losing his stripes after a brawl with his First Sergeant in England. I spoke with him a few times on his exploits during the war. He told me of his experiences from Northern France to Germany and Czechoslovakia. Freddie was a fighter, he was never afraid to get into a scrap. "Freddie was always getting into fist fights" as my Great-Aunt Yvonne Dionne Despres would tell me. "He was always picked on about his height, but he had no fear of anyone" she continued, "But after the war he would never fight anyone. It (The War) changed him". Change him it would, Freddie would soon see the horrors of war. Fighting trench warfare reminiscent of First World War in the Lorient and St. Nazaire pockets. Later, he would face the stubborn German defenses in the "Siegfried Switch Line" near the Luxembourg-Germany border, earning the Bronze Star for his actions during the battle for Munzingen Ridge. He would suffer along with his buddies through the coldest winter recorded in more than 50 years. Fighting the elements as well as the enemy, for just yards of territory. Finally, he would fight the Nazi's on their home soil during General Patton's race to the Rhine, and then into Hitler's precious Thousand Year Third Reich. Yes, he got a belly full of fighting, enough for a lifetime.

Camp Phillips gate     94th divisions in July 4th parade in Occupied Czechoslavakia

94th Infantry Division "On The Way"

    The 94th Infantry Division Landed at Utah Beach on D-Day + 94. From there the moved into Brittany to contain the Germans in the the Lorient and St Nazaire Pockets. They kept nearly 30,000 troops penned up at those two cities and later stretched clear across France guarding the Allied Army's rear from attack. Three months later the Battle of the Bulge started and the 94th was called into action. Sent to General Patton's Third Army in the Saar- Moselle Triangle region they assaulted and cracked the vaunted "Siegfried Switch Line" which had kept the Third Army at bay since September.  After destroying the Switch the division vaulted across the Saar River and then Raced to the Rhine to capture a bridge across. The Germans however blew all the bridges and the offensive was temporarily stopped. The Division was then sent to Krefeld, Germany. There it assumed responsibility for containing the western side of the Ruhr Pocket. With the pocket's reduction by mid-April the division was sent  to Dusseldorf and assumed military government duties until the German surrender. From there the 94th was transferred to Czechoslovakia for Occupation duty. The 94th was a division to reckoned with, well trained and battle  experienced it's three Infantry regiments the 301st, 302nd, and 376th were always at the forefront of any mission. Freddie Dionne served with the 94th from the beginning at Camp Phillips, Kansas until the very end in Czechoslovakia, he fought with great courage and distinction earning the Bronze Star for Valor, the EAME medal with Four Bronze Service Stars,  the Occupation Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal.

http://www.angelfire.com/va2/worldwar2family/freddie/phillips1.jpg    INDUCTION AND TRAINING: The Beginning
stnaz1.jpg (17712 bytes)   NORTHERN FRANCE:  The "Forgotten Front"
http://www.angelfire.com/va2/worldwar2family/freddie/serrig.jpg   ARDENNES-ALSACE: The "Siegfried Switch Line"
Orscholz  SPECIAL! Disaster at ORSCHOLZ! Fierce First battle of the Switch
http://www.angelfire.com/va2/worldwar2family/freddie/tdestroyer.jpg   RHINELAND: The Race to Ludwigshaven
http://www.angelfire.com/va2/worldwar2family/pictures/nuremburg.jpg   CENTRAL EUROPE: Surrender and Occupation
Dad.jpg (136311 bytes)  SPECIAL! John W. Ryan, Jr's WWII Photo Album
http://www.angelfire.com/va2/worldwar2family/pictures/newflag.gif  References, Sources, and Links