Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

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nhlrox88
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Joined: 21 Aug 2018 08:08
Location: Philadelphia

Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by nhlrox88 » 21 Aug 2018 08:11

Hello everyone,

I was just informed that my Grandfather, Paul J Rothwell, served in the 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion Company A during his time in WWII. I know that his unit was part of the invasions of Saipan and Tinian (apparently this is where he was awarded his Purple Heart) but I was wondering if anyone could give me any more details about this unit.

Are there any 'after action reports' available for the 534th during this time period? I also have a letter from his mother during the war stating that he was in Okinawa, as well as a record of him being awarded a Philippines Liberation Medal, so he must have been there as well. I would just love more proof. I would also love to find out exactly how he got wounded to receive the Purple Heart on July 24th 1944.

Anything would be great, thank you all!

Branch: Army
Unit: Co. A 534th Amphibian Tractor Bn
Rank: Cpl
Dates of Service: May 5th 43 - Jan 26th 46

Army SSN: 33778228

Josh

firstflabn
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Posts: 23
Joined: 22 Jul 2014 03:07

Re: Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by firstflabn » 24 Aug 2018 02:48

You can ask NARA for a box list for the unit. They will send you a list of what type of records they have for the unit.

Being so close to College Park, you should consider making a trip and look for yourself - with or without the box list. They have a crew of very knowledgeable WWII archivists that will help you request the records. After that, it's up to you to copy whatever documents you like. They will even provide you a camera stand to hold your cell phone (a lot quicker than hiking over to the copy machine). The box list could help you plan your stay. I would show up just after morning rush hour (good luck with that), get through security and get your researcher card, then talk to one of the experts who will show you how to fill out the forms. By noon you could be looking at WWII reports created by the unit.

If there's a lot of stuff, spend the night and show up on their doorstep at 8:45 the next day. And don't forget to go upstairs to the still photo department. They do a really good job indexing photos by unit. Good luck.

LineDoggie
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Re: Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by LineDoggie » 25 Aug 2018 02:07

534th lands at Tinian using 22 LVT-2 on 24 July 1944


On Saipan the 534th Suffered 8 KIA, 25 WIA and had 64 LVT-4 on issue

the activities of the 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion were divided among the four Blue and Yellow beaches and were used to land reserve troops and artillery reconnaissance parties for the Fourth Marine Division and the 27th Infantry Division. The 534th Battalion was completely reorganized to meet the requirements of the ground units. "B" Company was reinforced with LVTs from Headquarters and Service Company and the third platoon of "C', Company. The forty-eight tractors of "B" Company and the remaining too platoons from "C" Company, with twenty-two tractors, were attached to the Fourth Marine Division for the purpose of landing reserve troops of the 23rd and 25th Marine Regiments.

The first platoon of Company "A", reinforced with half of the second platoon, was attached to the division Artillery of the Fourth Marine Division. Fifteen tractors were allocated to this platoon. Another twelve tractors from ''A" Company were attached to three artillery battalions of the 27th Infantry Division. Two tractors were reserved for use by Headquarters for control and maintenance purposes.


SOURCES- https://history.army.mil/documents/WWII/amsai/amsai.htm
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

nhlrox88
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Posts: 2
Joined: 21 Aug 2018 08:08
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by nhlrox88 » 04 Sep 2018 20:30

firstflabn wrote:
24 Aug 2018 02:48
You can ask NARA for a box list for the unit. They will send you a list of what type of records they have for the unit.

Being so close to College Park, you should consider making a trip and look for yourself - with or without the box list. They have a crew of very knowledgeable WWII archivists that will help you request the records. After that, it's up to you to copy whatever documents you like. They will even provide you a camera stand to hold your cell phone (a lot quicker than hiking over to the copy machine). The box list could help you plan your stay. I would show up just after morning rush hour (good luck with that), get through security and get your researcher card, then talk to one of the experts who will show you how to fill out the forms. By noon you could be looking at WWII reports created by the unit.

If there's a lot of stuff, spend the night and show up on their doorstep at 8:45 the next day. And don't forget to go upstairs to the still photo department. They do a really good job indexing photos by unit. Good luck.
Hello, thank you very much for your response! How would I go about asking the NARA for this box list for the unit? And should I expect this to take quite a while? This is a trip I will definitely have to make as it is probably less than three hours from me. Does this cost to get in or to get a research card?
What kind of documents could I expect to find there, after action, operation reports, morning reports?
Photos sound great too. I could probably spend all day searching for photographs.
Thanks for the suggestion!
Josh

firstflabn
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Posts: 23
Joined: 22 Jul 2014 03:07

Re: Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by firstflabn » 05 Sep 2018 20:31

This will get you started:

https://www.archives.gov/college-park/researcher-info

Morning reports are in St. Louis.

Mil-tech Bard
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Posts: 666
Joined: 06 Jan 2010 15:50

Re: Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 13 Sep 2018 01:43

See also this book:

Across the Reef: The Amphibious Tracked Vehicle at War
By Victor J. Croizat

This is the Google snippit view --

https://books.google.com/books?id=2vRYg ... on&f=false

bferro50
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Joined: 15 Oct 2020 22:58
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by bferro50 » 15 Oct 2020 23:28

My dad, Herman Ferro, was in the 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion, company B. Attached is a letter he received.
wwII30 (2).jpg
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Lyonors
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Joined: 21 Oct 2020 17:35
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Help Finding Info on WWII Unit: 534th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

Post by Lyonors » 21 Oct 2020 17:58

Thank you so much for that letter! I’m doing work researching my Grandfather, also a Corporal In this unit/company. He never liked to talk about his service, and didn’t keep things like this. I really appreciate it.

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