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  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by steamer69
RailVet wrote:You called it the "226th CROTB." What does CROTB mean?
That may have come just out of all the resurch I have been doing trying to get the 14th Engineers (light Railway) reenacting unit off the ground, but I was told that the 226th was designated as a Combat Railway Operations Transportation Battalion. I know that they dropped the S&DE designation from the opeerations battalions a long while ago, I just guessed that they had kept the CONUS vs OCONUS designations for the units.

Anyone who may be interested in the 14th Engineers, we are always looking for a few good railroaders.....

One of our original uniforms is below.
  by RailVet
steamer69: Whoever gave you the unit designation of "226th Combat Railway Operations Transportation Battalion" was being exceptionally creative. The 226th has always been a company, not a battalion, and I can't think of any TC units that have had "Combat" as part of their designations - especially not railway units.

The parenthetical use of S&DE has indeed been gone for a very long time. The last active duty railway battalion to use it, the 714th Trans Bn, was inactivated in June 1972, leaving behind the platoon-sized 1st Railway Detachment, a TDA unit to run the Fort Eustis post utility railway, conduct training (there were five of us in my class) and host annual training visits by the few remaining USAR rail battalions. Railway MOSs left the active Army in May 1976 and the 1st Rail Det was inactivated at the end of September 1978.

You wrote, "I just guessed that they had kept the CONUS vs OCONUS designations for the units." I don't know of any difference in unit designations for rail units, as rail units typically did not stay OCONUS when wars ended, and in fact most of them were in the Reserve, so they wouldn't stay overseas during peacetime. (Nor did Regular Army rail units, for that matter.) TOE units follow a standard organization no matter where they're located, so being CONUS vs OCONUS would make no difference in the organization or designation of a unit. TDA units, such as the 1205th TROB and 1355th TROC discussed earlier, had organizational structures tailored for a specific mission, hence their unusual designations.
  by RailVet
Kevin: Thanks for the correction on the 226th. My notes indicate the unit at Granite City carried the designation of 1151st Trans Co in 2002 and sometime later it became Det 1, 1150th Trans Co. Meanwhile, the 1151st flag has moved to Wilmington, NC. There has been a lot of turbulence within the 757th over the years, company locations have changed numerous times, and one really needs to watch closely to avoid missing yet another change.

From April 1983 to August 1984 I was stationed just east of Granite City at Scott AFB, IL, and I visited the 226th during one of its drill weekends. At that time the unit was repairing railway cars and was keeping busy on drill weekends. Later it was reorganized as a track maintenance unit. I became aware of the change when I saw a copy of Soldiers magazine with a story about the unit doing MoW work at MCLB Barstow, located in the blazing hot southern California desert. That didn't look like fun.
  by RailVet
steamer69: The US Army Center of Military History website is a good place to find information on correct unit designations. Here's the URL for the 757th:

http://www.history.army.mil/html/forces ... 57trbn.htm

Unfortunately the CMH does not track parenthetical designations, such as (Railway Operating) and (Motor Transport), and the number of unit lineages posted online is only a fraction of the total, but you'll get a good idea of what's right and what's not just from browsing the lineages of units at this website:

  by steamer69
I have been through the links that you sent as I am a unit historian for the band field. I did however find referances to CROTB and CTROB S&DE units in my WWI resurch. They used the designators for the state side units as oposed to the overseas units at that time. For example there was a 14th Engineers (Light Railway) and a 14th Engineers (CTROB S&DE). I have not gone into depth on the standard gauge side of things, but I can tell you that this is what I have found on the 14th (Light Railway).

The 14th Engineers began training at an old race track near Salem, NH called Rockingham Park on June 25th, 1917. Although the training was going very well, uniforms and gear were in very short supply for the 14th. Some of the men didn’t get overcoats, and others didn’t receive ANY uniforms until they were en route to France. This carried over to the weapons as well, with pistols being issued without holsters, and rifles being the Model 1889 "Trapdoor" Rifle or the Model 1896 Krag-Jorgensen Rifle from the Spanish American War. The 14th was in basic training for only a month, and left for war with 37 officers and 1168 men. They arrived in England on August 13th, 1917 and met up with the 12th Engineers (light railway) parading through London on their way to France. By the 18th of August, they were in Boulogne France assigned to the British 3rd Army at Boisleux and Poziers.

The disappointments of uniform issues and the British equipment continued for the boys during this time though. They finally got overcoats, but the overcoats were Canadian ones with the British crown on the buttons. The British locomotives and equipment were in such a poor state that the 14th was forced to run their repair shop 24 hours a day, and the track sections as well worked to try and fix the “utterly disgusting” track conditions that lead to the 14ths first casualty on September 13th when one man was killed in a collision.
The 14th was always very close to the front lines, and always in range of the Axis guns often taking heavy artillery and bombs in their areas. They stayed with this for 9 months with surprisingly few casualties. One man died of pneumonia, a few were gassed when a German gas shell hit the gas mechanical locomotive they were running, and 2 were wounded by shrapnel walking the track. During the March push by the Germans, the 14th worked through and in the worst of the shelling to evacuate British wounded to first aid and hospitals farther back from the front. With a little bit of luck, no one from the 14th was killed during this and they were able to withdraw with the British from Boisleux to Wailly.
After what they had endured for 9 months, the 14th was sent to camps farther from the front in Hauteville and Berneville where they were refit, and even received “new” and modern British Enfield rifles that they used to train in infantry tactics because there was real possibility that they would be sent in as infantry, and needed to be ready. Thankfully though, this didn’t happen and on May 18th, 1918 the regiment found itself in Calais for some well deserved R&R from front line duties. They still were working while there though, and while working on the standard gauge in late June and early July, 70% of the unit caught the Spanish Flu. Somehow, only one mad died from meningitis following the flu.
Everything all better, and the regiment rested, they detached from the British and went to work for the American 1st Army in the Aisne-Marne sector. They stayed there until Oct 3rd, when the 1st battalion 14th was ordered to Abainville and Sorcey Railhead. They stayed there until March 6th 1919.
The 2nd Battalion meanwhile on Oct 2nd 1918 took over operation of the German light railways that had been captured in the Argonne offensive. After stabilization work on the connecting track between the two (Allied and German) rail systems, the 2nd Battalion was ordered to Rattentout to take over from the 12th Engineers. There the 14th was in charge of supplying the right flank of the 1st American Army and the left flank of the 2nd American Army with everything from beans to bullets. They stated there getting ready for the major american offensive that never came due to the armistis.

The above came from the book Narrow Gauge to No Mans Land.

Thank you for all the awsome information, I have not kept up my notes on the railroad units past WWII...and I think it would be awsome to combine our notes sometime. I have almost everything up to about 1950.

I've got stuff on the
12th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 712th, 713th, 714th, 716th, 717th, 718th, 719th , 721st-728th, 732nd, 733rd, 740th, 743rd-746th, 748th, 749th, 752nd, 753rd, 755th, 758th, 759th, 760th, 762nd, 763rd, and 770th. I have a few things from the 3rd TMRS durring their time in Japan after WWII, but that's about as late as I go. I haven't gotten into the Korean stuff yet.

  by RailVet
steamer69: For further information on unit designations, lineages, etc., contact Jennifer Nichols at the US Army Center of Military History. Her email address, altered slightly here, is jennifer(dot)a(dot)nichols(at)us(dot)army(dot)mil

If there's ever any question regarding unit designations, organization, lineage, etc., she has the answer, as she is the POC for TC units.
  by steamer69
I'll shoot her a message. If they have anything more on the 14th I would LOVE it! Stuff on the light railway units is hard to come by.
  by RailVet
Some of the records on WW I Army support units, such as transportation units, are very slim. Apparently few felt at the time that their activities were worth recording.
  by steamer69
Tell me about it. It's like pulling teath to get anything on the 14th. There were in theater almost longer than any other combat unit, and there is mostly jack squat about them. They had more CPCs than most other units because they were awarded action with the BEF and CEF. They served with 2 different armies (nationality wise) and got gassed. Not easy to get away from the gas while runing a train......
  by kevin.brackney
Steamer 69: Excellent information; I'm sure it was an unintentional slip, but the "Axis" is a WW 2 reference. Germany and it's allies in the Great War (WW 1) were referred to as the "Central Powers."
  by steamer69
Yea, it's a typo that I have yet to fix from the Unit History. Thanks though. You should see some of the stuff on these guys. Awsome unit.
  by steamer69
I figured I would let you know that I did send an e-mail to the contact you gave me and got a lot of great information! Most of it I had, and I can pass along to you sometime if you would like. I was able to get a lot of the movement cards and stuff, so that was cool.
  by RailVet
steamer69: Glad it worked out for you. The CMH has a lot of information that you'll find very useful in your research.
  by NJT4115
Anyone drive trains for the Military/Navy?
  by RailVet
I did at one time.