questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

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tzt4
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questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by tzt4 » 03 Aug 2018 11:35

Hello,
I'm searching for references to a small German unit in Normandy, in Allied records that would be at NARA.
I have found among the few Divisional and Corps level G-2 files that I have seen so far:
1. Interrogation of Prisoner of War (IPW) Reports and
2. Consolidated Interrogation Reports (CIRs)
These are daily, with occasional gaps, although more gaps among armored units.
3. PW lists of individuals, very rarely so far.
4. Divisional Monthly PW Report with counts captured by the divisional elements, broken down by day and enemy unit. very rarely so far.
5. IPW Team reports, often used as the draft of a Divisional IPW/CIR report.

Questions:
1. What is the difference, if any, between IPWs and CIRs?
2. Trying to effectively find a good concentration of the Divisional G-2 Periodic Reports and CIRs, without wading through the Corps/Division G-2 Journal/File. Does either the First Army and Third Army G-2 File have theirs all together, say, by month?

3. Are IPW Team reports available as their own set of records, apart from being sometimes embedded in the attached Divisional G-2 file?

Thanks for any info.
Tom Zarnock

Mori
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Mori » 03 Aug 2018 15:16

Tom,

When it comes to online resources, the best (and I think the only) source relevant to your research is the 1st Division records, fully digitalized here: http://firstdivisionmuseum.nmtvault.com ... esults.jsp

You will find all the division's G2 as well as all G2 they received a copy of, and that's typically from 10 other divisions. Naturally, records from other divisions are incomplete, but it's an excellent start.

However, I think you will be somewhat disappointed with data on small German units, except if you just want to build an order of battle. Interrogation reports in the G-2s are far and apart. Obviously, it's not in the daily G2 reports that one finds systematic interrogation results. I can't tell where they are, if they exist at all - maybe if there exists records of guards of PoW cages or something equivalent.

When it comes to nomber of PoW, I recommend to use the corps G2 daily reports rather than the divisions, as:
- most corps are always in the frontline, so that their data yield longer series that divisions and have better consistency than smaller units
- corps data also include PoW made by non-divisional units, which there were many
Also, it looks like the corps G2 daily reports are what the official historians used, meaning they were probably the best available source in terms or reliability x accessibility.

I can share some of these documents. I think you already have my email.

tzt4
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by tzt4 » 04 Aug 2018 23:00

Mori, Thanks for your insights. I did discover the 1st Division Museum's digitized records last fall 2017 and have visited them frequently ever since. They are a precious resource, being digitized AND searchable. You are right, that is the single best place to start, being the only fully digitized set of G-2 Journal+File for the entire war that I have come across.
You do have to try some variations on terms to get hits, and even then, some of the scanned language does not return hits.

I recently reviewed at NARA, VIII Corps G-2 records for 01-15 July 1944. Excellent coverage of their own G-2 Periodic Reports and CIRS. NO G-2 Periodic Reports of their attached Divisions and very little of the adjacent VII Corps.

Contrast that with XII Corps for August 1944. Its G-2 File contains the reports of its divisions: 4AD, 35ID, 80ID, as well as the G-2 reports of the adjacent XV, XX and some of VIII Corps.

But, you (at least I) found that I spend almost one hour through one day's file, taking apart the clipped file, digging through it, and reassembling it afterwards.

That led to my hope and inquiry here about a concentration of the G-2 Periodic Reports and CIRs. For now, I will continue to visit NARA when I can and work through my list. I can see it will take over 1 year. :-(
Tom Z

Mori
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Mori » 05 Aug 2018 07:53

You should also email me again :)

steve248
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by steve248 » 12 Aug 2018 18:36

In the days following D-Day - 6 June 1944 - German prisoners of war from any branch of the German Armed Forces, please captured Russian Hiwis from various units, were brought back to the UK for interrogation. I think only British interrogators were used at the various holding centres. The resultant interrogation reports taken within days were sent to SHAEF G-2 who disseminated them to Allied commanders in the Normandy bridgehead. Only after the major expansion of the bridgehead were holding centres established and the different Allied armies able to get intelligence information more quickly.
ee my post below

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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by steve248 » 12 Aug 2018 18:38

This is the distribution list from one of these interrogation lists, shows the US addresses.
I believe these thousand or so interrogation reports can be found at US NARA.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Richard Anderson
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Aug 2018 21:21

steve248 wrote:
12 Aug 2018 18:36
In the days following D-Day - 6 June 1944 - German prisoners of war from any branch of the German Armed Forces, please captured Russian Hiwis from various units, were brought back to the UK for interrogation. I think only British interrogators were used at the various holding centres. The resultant interrogation reports taken within days were sent to SHAEF G-2 who disseminated them to Allied commanders in the Normandy bridgehead. Only after the major expansion of the bridgehead were holding centres established and the different Allied armies able to get intelligence information more quickly.
ee my post below
No, sorry, the distribution list is those copied on the information gained by the British interrogations.

Prisoners captured by U.S. forces were initially interrogated by the MIS IPW team attached to the capturing division. Typically, team members worked at regimental and/or battalion headquarters during operations in order to be able to question the prisoners as quickly after they were captured as possible. Divisional G2 Journal & File (NOT the AAR or History) will usually contain some of the interrogation reports, but frequently they are only found in the regimental S2 Journal & File. Consolidated POW Reports above division level sometimes contain digests of IPW reports that sometimes include quoted material, as well as POW counts by unit and other data, and those were frequently shared between American and British intelligence.

Problematically though for the U.S. sources, nearly all the VIII Corps G2 AARs, Histories, Journals & Files for the period from June-December 1944 were destroyed to prevent its capture before Corps Headquarters evacuated Bastogne on the morning of 19 December so are no longer in existence.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

tzt4
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by tzt4 » 13 Aug 2018 14:51

Richard, that is interesting about VIII Corps. I have been reviewing their records for Jun-Aug 44 for G-2 material and can corroborate what you said. The G-2 file for 04-15 July ( one box) which took me hours to go through, had VIII Corps own Periodic reports, with CIRs. It also had S-2 reports of the attached 106 CAV GRP. It does not have any Component divisional Periodic reports of 82ABD, 8, 79, 90IDs. It does have G-2 status/highlight messages from them.

I contrast that with partial review of XII Corps for Aug 44. That has the daily Periodic reports of 4AD, 35, 80IDs.

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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Aug 2018 17:36

tzt4 wrote:
13 Aug 2018 14:51
Richard, that is interesting about VIII Corps. I have been reviewing their records for Jun-Aug 44 for G-2 material and can corroborate what you said. The G-2 file for 04-15 July ( one box) which took me hours to go through, had VIII Corps own Periodic reports, with CIRs. It also had S-2 reports of the attached 106 CAV GRP. It does not have any Component divisional Periodic reports of 82ABD, 8, 79, 90IDs. It does have G-2 status/highlight messages from them.

I contrast that with partial review of XII Corps for Aug 44. That has the daily Periodic reports of 4AD, 35, 80IDs.
Yep, I did and found the same thing about sixteen years ago when working on the EPW project. I went through the Army and Corps G2 files for Normandy and the Army files and select Corps (primarily III Corps) for Ardennes. I also went through a large number of Division files and made a stab at the S3 files for select divisions (primarily the 90th ID).

Part of the problem is that there was no SOP in place for exactly what to consistently record and what records to keep. Some units just counted and recorded total PW, others gave counts by unit identification, which are invaluable in determining opposition and estimating German casualties. The result are some huge holes in the records - the VIII Corps is simply the worst case. At one point I was hoping to assemble an accurate accounting of PW by unit as Fifth US Army did in Italy (well, until June 1944 when Clark's staff apparently lost interest because he had won the war by capturing Rome :D seriously, they simply stopped recording a daily consolidated PW count by unit or else filed the reports somewhere else I was never able to find in NARA II after years of periodically looking for it). Unfortunately, FUSA/TUSA/NUSA and 12th AG never did anything similar. Instead, SHAEF consolidated the PW numbers captured, recording a daily and monthly total, by capturing "nationality".
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Mori » 13 Aug 2018 19:03

Isn't there a consolidated PoW report in the TUSA AAR for April or May 1945 detailing PoWs by unit? I quote from memory - I can't check the document right from where I am - but it was especially interesting to tell whether PoW where from regular, fighting units or from any other type of organizations (Luftwaffe, Todt organization, prison guards, hospitals...).

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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Aug 2018 20:11

Mori wrote:
13 Aug 2018 19:03
Isn't there a consolidated PoW report in the TUSA AAR for April or May 1945 detailing PoWs by unit? I quote from memory - I can't check the document right from where I am - but it was especially interesting to tell whether PoW where from regular, fighting units or from any other type of organizations (Luftwaffe, Todt organization, prison guards, hospitals...).
Mori,

They only recorded figures for four period between 1 January 1945 and 23 May 1945 and only broke them down as "Panzer-type divisions", "Infantry-type divisions", and "Miscellaneous units". Those data were obviously taken from the daily consolidated PW reports of Third Army, but the problem is when the Third Army AG compiled the two-volume After-Action Report Third Army, 1 August 1944-9 May 1945 for publication, the committee of authors pulled the Army G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, and Special Staff files to work from, and never put them back in proper file order. The result is that all Third Army files at NARA II are simply packed into boxes without any organization, which makes finding anything in them a real dumpster dive. It would be nice if NARA could afford to assign someone to properly reorganize those files, but it will never happen.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Mori
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Mori » 13 Aug 2018 21:12

Richard Anderson wrote:
13 Aug 2018 20:11
Those data were obviously taken from the daily consolidated PW reports of Third Army, but the problem is when the Third Army AG compiled the two-volume After-Action Report Third Army, 1 August 1944-9 May 1945 for publication, the committee of authors pulled the Army G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, and Special Staff files to work from, and never put them back in proper file order. The result is that all Third Army files at NARA II are simply packed into boxes without any organization, which makes finding anything in them a real dumpster dive.
Interesting! I hadn't realized that.

As for researching these files, as long as they are in the 3rd Army boxes, it shouldn't be that complicated. I once checked the G2s and they are sorted properly (the Dec 1944 folder having been read by a lot of people, you can tell when you look at it). I'd say it's a 3 days work to process all the TUSA boxes - I did not say to copy them :) - especially if you know what type of documents you're looking for.

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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Aug 2018 22:00

Mori wrote:
13 Aug 2018 21:12
Interesting! I hadn't realized that.

As for researching these files, as long as they are in the 3rd Army boxes, it shouldn't be that complicated. I once checked the G2s and they are sorted properly (the Dec 1944 folder having been read by a lot of people, you can tell when you look at it). I'd say it's a 3 days work to process all the TUSA boxes - I did not say to copy them :) - especially if you know what type of documents you're looking for.
Good, then someone has been busy since I last looked at them in c. 2009. When I first looked at them they were simply stacks of folders with no organization whatsoever jammed into boxes, almost at random. They weren't even in the standard archive boxes, but in the plain brown cardboard boxes used for record accessions to NARA from agencies.

Perhaps one of my numerous complaints about poorly maintained files and boxes finally had an effect? My favorite remained the account of an engagement by the 25th ID in Vietnam that was shoved into one of the 84th ID boxes covering Geilenkirchen, but there were many others...IIRC Rudder's original AAR for Point du Hoc was in one of the 29th ID Combat Interviews boxes...
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Mori » 14 Aug 2018 09:38

Richard Anderson wrote:
13 Aug 2018 22:00
Good, then someone has been busy since I last looked at them in c. 2009. When I first looked at them they were simply stacks of folders with no organization whatsoever jammed into boxes, almost at random. They weren't even in the standard archive boxes, but in the plain brown cardboard boxes used for record accessions to NARA from agencies.
That's definitively different today. All G2s in their proper folders, a file per month. All neatly organized and each daily report bound with a paperclip.

Looks like someone heard your suggestions for improvement!

Mori
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Re: questions about PW reports in US army records (NARA)

Post by Mori » 14 Aug 2018 09:42

And I would add it's *very* interesting to learn it wasn't the case less than 10 years ago. This just means that for a significant number of scholars it used to be too much of an effort, ie a few decades of secondary litterature just did not leverage these documents. Probably, no one but the official historians...

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