On 15 May 1942 the 505th Engineer Light Ponton Company was organized at Camp Gordon, Georgia. They left New York Harbor on 29 December 1943 aboard the "Dominion Monarch" and arrived in England 8 January 1944 and trained until June 1944 in preparation for the D-Day Invasion. Captain Francis Carson was the Company Commander.
The Company crossed the Channel on LST 534 and 396 unloading on Utah Beach on 28 June 1944. The Company repaired and improved roads on the main supply routes leading from Utah Beach around St. Mere Eglise & St. Marcouf, as well as clearing debris from Pont L' Abbe until the breakout.
Following the breakthrough at St. Lo Marigny the 505th as part of the 1st Army helped clear roads quickly of the debris from the heavy bombardment, and opened the way opened through devastated villages in order to permit rapid exploitation by armored columns and motorized infantry. Five divisions, including two of the big armored divisions, were passed through this narrow gap without a pause in record breaking time, thanks to the superb work of these Engineers.
17 August 1944 the 505th was assigned to do continuous road maintenance between Torigny-sur-Vire and Tessy-sur-Vire which included marking of minefields, mine removal and disposal, and sign posting. The 505th delivered a floating Bailey Bridge to the Seine on 28 August 1944 just north of Paris near Meulan at the time of it's liberation, for XIX Corps.
From October through December 1944 the Company supported various road maintenance jobs and guarded several bridges over the Meuse River, near Liege, Belgium were they were severely Buzz Bombed. The 505th also participated and conducted Engineer training on the Meuse River involving floating boom cables, infantry support rafts, and assault boats in preparation for the crossing of the Rhine.
During what was the largest battle in modern history beginning on December 16, the Battle of the Bulge, the 505th was part of the northern shoulder defense against the Sixth Panzer Army, Peiper's 1st SS Panzer Division from Stavelot, through Malmedy, to Elsenborn. They helped evacuate the 654 Eng. Topo. Bn. from Spa and were strafed and bombed as they removed bridging equipment from the Engineer depot at Camp Elsenborn. Regrouping a section at a time they were then part of the VII Corps offensive to push the Germans out of the Bulge by 24 January 1945.
In February of 1945 the 505th was engaged in support of the VII Corp, 104th Infantry and 3rd Armored Divisions with the other units of the 1106th (237th) Engineeers from the successful crossing of the Roer to the subsequent break through to the Rhine and the capture of Germany's third largest city Cologne. This was some of the Company's most intense action. At the Roer River the Company delivered an infantry footbridge to the river during the early hours of the assault, moving into Duren followed and in the days that followed constantly supplied bridge equipment, primarily Bailey Bridges to cross the Roer & Erft Rivers in several locations leading up to the crossing of the Rhine at Honnef by the 104th Infantry and 3rd Armored Divisions at the northern extreme of the Remagen bridgehead.
On 23 March of 1945 the 505th was released from the First Army, moved south and attached to the Seventh Army. They supplied the Seventh Army with Engineer materials and maintenance from the Depot at Luneville to forward posts in preparation for the Rhine Crossing. After crossing the Rhine in support of the Seventh Army the 505th moved into Kaiserslautern, Wurzburg, and finally Ulm Germany pressing on to the Swiss Border. Following the surrender of Germany the 505th built camps for occupation forces in France.
Light Ponton Company History
WWII 505th Engineers
On 17 November 1945 the 505th sailed for home from La Havre, France aboard the "William Victory" arriving in New York City on 26 November 1945. The 505th was inactivated on
27 November 1945 at Camp Shanks, New York.
On 17 April 1945 at a Company formation, the Bronze Star Medal was presented to Captain Francis M. Carson, 0-1100043, 505th Engr. L. Pon. Co. for “Meritorious Service” in support of active combat operations from 14 February 1945 to 8 March 1945, in Germany.
On 22 April 1945, at a company formation, the Silver Star Medal was presented to “Pfc. Melville I. Kramer, 3264006, 505th Eng. L. Pon. Co. for gallantry in action and disregard for personal safety displayed on 23rd February 1945 (Roer River Crossing) in Germany, which reflects highest credit upon himself and the armed forces of the United States.
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