3rd Signal Co. Photography WWII :: U.S. 3rd Infantry Division
d o g f a c e s o l d i e r
WWII images from five combat
photographers of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division
surf all sections : ANZIO | ROME | DRAGOON
BREAKOUT | MONTELIMAR |
STRASBOURG | COLMAR POCKET
RHINELAND | GERMANY | AUSTRIA
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3rd Division Clubmobile in Germany.
THE U.S. 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION'S WWII battle road began in Casablanca in November 1942 and ended in Salzburg, Austria in May of 1945.
A part of this journey was documented by a team of five 3rd Signal Company photographers assembled on the Anzio Beachhead in February 1944 that went on to frame over 1,500 photographs of 3rd Division history from Anzio to Austria.
The five photographers developed and printed in a darkroom trailer they pulled to Rome and through France and Germany as part of the Seventh Army. Three photographers assigned to the unit on Anzio, John Cole, Howard Nickelson, and William Heller, were later joined in Rome by William Toomey and Robert Seesock. The group's most famous member Eddie Hausner, who joined the team in Austria after the German surrender, went on to become a senior news photographer at the New York Times.
< Pop Heller and Howard Nickelson with "Fuzzy's Folly"
From the Anzio breakout in May of 1944, pulling their beachhead-built darkroom named "Fuzzy's Folly", the photo unit followed the 3rd Division to Rome as lead elements of the U.S. Fifth Army entering Rome as liberators on June 4, 1944.
On August 15, 1944 the 3rd Division landed in southern France after sailing from Naples as part of Operation Dragoon and over the next nine months the 3rd Division would serve as an integral and decisive combat force in its campaigns through southern France and Germany: driving through the Vosges Mountains to the Rhine River, fighting a fierce and frigid battle in the Colmar Pocket, breaching the Siegfried Line near Zweibrucken, securing both Nuremberg and Munich and ending its fight with an alpine view at Hitler's Bavarian fortress.
< Operation Dragoon
Red Beach – Aug. 15, 1944
On August 15, 1944 the 3rd Division landed in southern France after sailing from Naples as part of Operation Dragoon. Dragoon was originally destined to be part of a simultaneous attack on northern and southern France and was later threatened with extinction. Under General Dever's Sixth Army Group, Dragoon assembled the French First Army with the American Seventh Army consisting of the 3rd, 36th and 45th infantry divisions (VI Corps) to assault the southern coast of France near the Riviera.
The 3rd Division drove through the Vosges Mountains to the Rhine River, fought a fierce and frigid battle for the Colmar Pocket, breached the Siegfried Line in only three days near Zweibrucken, secured both Nuremberg and Munich and ended its fight with an alpine view at Hitler's Bavarian fortress.
< Prisoners in Munich
THE PHOTOS EXHIBITED HERE are from a collection of over 700 chronicled by photographer William Toomey of Everett, Massachusetts who entered the war on the Anzio beachhead as a 15th Regiment radio operator before assignment to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battle Patrol. He joined the five-man photo crew in Rome in June 1944 after the Anzio breakout. Also shown are photographs from the collections of photographers Howard Nickelson and William Heller along with the work of the 163rd Signal Photographic Company, National Archives images and other images related to the 3rd Division and the action portrayed here.
The 163rd Signal Photo Company was attached to the Fifth Army in Italy and the Seventh Army in France and Germany. Two three-man photo teams along with jeeps and trailers were assigned directly to the 3rd Division and the 3rd Signal Company, acting under Corps command during this time. Performing a direct combat photography role, various soldiers of the 163rd shot film and stills directly documenting the action of the 3rd Division along with the work of the five 3rd Division photographers. Throughout this website, some of the images shot by the 163rd are displayed along with references to their work. Of note is the fact that the 163rd created the three-man jeep team of driver, movie cameraman and still photographer that became a standard operating procedure for the signal company photography units.
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