Segment 7


George Griffenhagen went in on a Dutch ship [Annotators Note: when he travelled from Sicily to Great Britain]. They passed by Gibraltar and ended up landing in Glasgow, England [Annotators Note: Glasgow, Scotland]. When they arrived in England, Griffenhagen’s unit [Annotators Note: the 20th Engineer Regiment] was split. Engineers and artillery were the only units that had separate units. Every division had engineer and artillery units in them. The 20th Engineers was attached to every US unit in Europe with the exception of the units that were the late comers to Italy. In England it was decided to break the unit into two battalions to make it more flexible. The original 20th remained the 20th Battalion [Annotators Note: 20th Engineer Combat Battalion] with companies A, B, and C. Companies D, E, and F of the 20th became companies A, B, and C of the 1340th Engineers [Annotators Note: 1340th Engineer Combat Battalion]. Griffenhagen’s E Company became B Company of the 1340th. Even though the regiment was split, when histories are written they treat the 20th and 1340th as the same unit. In North Africa they were connected to a British unit for a time but their most unusual connection came as they approached Paris. Eisenhower told De Gaulle that the French 2nd Armored could liberate Paris. The French 2nd Armored did not have any engineers so in order to be able to check the bridges over the Seine River and make sure they would not blow up, Griffenhagen and other engineers were sent to do that job the day before the city was liberated. As they passed through Paris they were greeted by girls and people with wine. They went straight through the city to the island where Notre Dame was. Griffenhagen spent the day guarding the trucks while the other engineers went up and down the Seine checking the bridges. The next day De Gaulle entered the city.


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