Wittschack, Frederick

Frederick Wittschack

Frederick Wittschack

Frederick Wittschack was born on August 6, 1922 at Coram, New York. He was the son of Rudolph and Meta (Sietas) Wittschack. Before entering the service he was employed by Joe Carroll of Middle Island as a farm hand.

Wittschack was inducted into the Army on November 11, 1942 and entered the service at Camp Upton on November 18, 1942. At the time of his induction he was living at Coram. Wittschack was assigned to the service battery of the 337th Field Artillery part of the 88th Division. The Division left the United States on December 1st, 1943 arriving in Africa. He took part in engagements of the Po Valley, Northern Apennines, Arno and Rome. He was awarded a campaign medal with 3 bronze stars, and a Good Conduct Medal.

Wittschack returned to the United States in September of 1945 and was discharged on October 28, 1945 at North Carolina.


88th Infantry Division Combat Narrative

The division arrived at Casablanca, North Africa on 15 Dec 43 and moved to Magenta, Algeria for training on 28 Dec 43. It arrived in Naples, Italy on 6 Feb 44 and staged in the Piedmont d'Alife area and relieved the 36th Infantry Division on Monte Castellone 28 Feb 44. A detachment went into the line before Cassino 27 Feb 44 and the division relieved the British along the Garigliano River near Minturno 5 Mar 44, which it then defended. On 11 May 44 the 350th and 351st Infantry attacked toward Rome against strong opposition, the 351st Infantry losing a company approaching S. Maria Infante 12 May 44. The Germans then offered only rearguard resistance and on 15 May 44 the division pushed through an undefended Spigno. The 351st Infantry came under heavy fire 18 May 44 in attempts to take Monte Grande, and the 349th and 350th Infantry advanced from Rocca Secca across the Amaseno Valley 26 May 44. the division was relieved 29 May 44 and the 349th Infantry detached to the Anzio beachhead, where it linked up. On 2 Jun 44 the 351st Infantry overran S. Cesareo and cut Highway 6, and, after a battle on the outskirts of the city, the division pushed through Rome 4 Jun 44 along the Via Prenestina. After continuing across the Tiber River to Bassanelio, the division was withdrawn for rehabilitation on 11 Jun 44.

The division went into defensive positions near Pomerance 5 Jul 44 and took over the 1st Armored Division zone 8 Jul 44, attacking with the 349th and 350th Infantry, which took Volterra the next day. The advance came to a temporary halt on the last heights overlooking the Arno River above Palaia, which had fallen the previous day, on 18 Jul 44. The division then cleared the region below the Arno in heavy combat 20-25 Jul 44. It then rested and sent the 350th Infantry to assist in Livorno operations 21 Aug 44, and was reinforced by the attachment of the 442d Infantry to the division 20 Aug-2 Sep 44. The division crossed the Arno River 1 Sep 44 and continued advancing until relieved 6 Sep 44 for regroupment.

The division was committed back to the front 21 Sep 44 and the 349th and 350th Infantry advanced rapidly along the Santerno River Valley toward Imola. The division battled on Monte Acuto and repulsed counterattacks 24 Sep 44, seized Monte Pratolungo and Monte del Puntale 26 Sep 44, and ran into strong German opposition. The 350th Infantry fought the Battle for Monte Battaglia 27 Sep-13 Oct 44, which it then abandoned, as the 351st Infantry fought the Battle of Gesso Ridge 10-12 Oct 44, and the 350th Infantry, later joined by the 349th Infantry, fought the Battle of Monte delle Tombe 11-16 Oct 44. The division regrouped on 15 Oct 44 and pushed toward the Monte Cuccoli-Monte Grande Range. Monte Grande was taken by the 350th Infantry with heavy air and artillery support and interdiction to prevent counterattack, 20 Oct 44. Vedriano was taken but lost to counterattack 23-24 Oct 44, and as further efforts to deepen the Monte Grande salient failed, the offensive was halted 26 Oct 44.

The division then maintained defensive positions and later relived the 85th Infantry Division on 22 Nov 44. It was relieved in line 13 Jan 45 for rehabilitation, and then relieved the 91st Infantry Division and reentered the line 24 Jan 45 in the Loiano-Livergnano sector. on 6 Mar 45 the division was relieved astride Highway 6, but the division resumed attacking 15 Apr 45 for the Bologna Offensive. It fought the Battle for Monte Monterumici 16-17 Apr 45. The 350th Infantry took Monte Mario 18 Apr 45 and the division established positions west of the Reno River the next day. It attacked again 20 Apr 45 and the 351st Infantry crossed the Panaro River between Camposanto and Finale 22 Apr 45. The division reached the Po River near Carbonarai 23 Apr 45 and captured large numbers of German troops before the could cross over. The division itself crossed the Po the following day and captured Verona against scattered resistance 25-26 Apr 45. It cleared Vicenza 28 Apr 45 and crossed the Brent River on 30 Apr 45. The division was advancing through the Dolomite Alps toward Innsbruck Austria when the German forces in Italy surrendered 2 May 45, ending hostilities in the division's area.

Nick Esposito
Longwood JHS
June 2005



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