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Stephen M. Moravick: WWII History

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:59 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Experience of T/Sgt Stephen M. Moravick, Sr.
329th Infantry Regiment
83rd Thunderbolt Division 1944

At the age of 18, I was inducted into the Army on September 8, 1943. I had 17 weeks of training in the 63rd Infantry Division at Camp Van Dorn in Mississippi. The Army transferred me to the 83rd Thunderbolt Division at Camp Breckenridge in Kentucky where I entered into the 329th Regiment. On March 24, 1944, I went to Camp Shanks in New York and then on April 1, 1944, I arrived at Camp Smith in New York, where I obtained a new M1 Grand 30-06 rifle. I zeroed the rifle in for two hundred (200) yards and within three rounds of firing the rifle; I was ready to use my rifle.

On April 6, 1944, I boarded the H.M.S. Samaria, a British transport ship along with five thousand (5,000) Allied troops. The troops received two meals a day while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. On Easter Sunday, there was a mass for three thousand (3,000) men. We finally saw the coast of Ireland twelve (12) days later, on April 18, 1944.

We docked at Liverpool, England then went by train to Wrexam, Wales. While in Wales, we trained in swamps and high mountains, where the ground was our bed and we had only two woolen blankets for warmth. We left Wales for South Hampton, England on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Unfortunately, due to storms in the English Channel, we could not land to help our first waves of troops. Once the storms subsided, we landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, on June 18, 1944.

During my first battles as a private, my fellow troops and I encountered the German 17th SS Division and the 6th Parachute Regiment. The battles were slow and hellish, as swamps, mortars and enemy artillery fire bottlenecked our advances.

The battles advanced and the 329th Infantry captured Culot, France and eased the pressure on the 330th Infantry, who had vigorous counter-attacks from the Germans. Artillery battalions aided the Infantry, as several times the artillery saved the day by blowing up German tanks. The engineer battalion also helped to destroy mines and booby traps set up by the Germans.

As my experience increased, I became in charge of a Platoon of men. I was now a Technical Sergeant and with the help of an engineer, we destroyed a German tank with a mine and I aided in the capture of two Germans. As the days progressed, we continued to destroy mortars and shoot and/or kill any German soldiers we confronted.

During my platoon leadership role, new soldiers arrived everyday whom would tell me that they had had no rifle training in basic Infantry. I would give each one of them a 30.06 M1 Grand Rifle and teach them how to use it.
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Experience of T/Sgt Stephen M. Moravick, Sr.
329th Infantry Regiment
83rd Thunderbolt Division 1944

While in battle in the hedgerow country of France, a shovel and pick were the best tools a soldier could have, besides a rifle. I showed the men of my platoon how to dig a hole about eighteen (18) inches deep and five (5) feet long under the hedgerow for protection. I would show the men how to dig at right angles in these holes, and how to make a covering for their heads. This technique helped save the men, as when a shell would burst over our heads, and it would rain down shrapnel.

While in France, on July 24, 1944, I sustained a near fatal gunshot wound by a German sniper. The bullet entered my left side at the belt-line and remained lodged inside my abdomen. The bullet damaged my intestines and the doctors said that the bullet missed my femoral artery by only one quarter (1/4) of an inch. I had a field surgeon from Chicago who operated on me and then sent me to England, where I remained for three months as my wounds healed. It was now the fall of 1944, and after regaining my strength, I relocated to Antwerp, Belgium. I was the acting First Sergeant in the 78th Port Company in the port of Antwerp, Belgium.

The Germans desperately wanted the Port of Antwerp, Belgium for shipping purposes therefore; the Germans sent buzz bombs into the city and dock of Antwerp, Belgium. During my time in Antwerp, Belgium, we were under buzz bomb attack for over three months, every day and every night. The people of Antwerp, Belgium received double wages for working the docks, as they called it "Shiver Pay," due to the daily and nightly barrage of buzz bomb attacks. Antwerp, Belgium became the city that the Battle of the Bulge was to gain.

While in Antwerp, Belgium, the war in Europe ended. I had orders to lead thirty-six (36) Allied soldiers to Japan. The thirty-six soldiers and I went to Southern France to board a ship that would take us to Japan. Before we could leave for Japan, the United States dropped two Atom bombs on Japan, which ended World War II. I finally boarded a ship home and returned to Lincolndale, New York on Christmas Day, 1945.

History

Item list and details

Picture of Stephen M. Moravick

Person the story/items relate to

Stephen M. Moravick

Person who shared the story/items

Dr. Suzanne Moravick

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

He was my father.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID

112663