45th Infantry Division Thunderbird, Second World War

Gerald J. Hall

Photo Gallery

157th Infantry Regiment , 45th Infantry Division, Second World War
NOTE THAT LINKS WHICH LEAD TO THIS SITE ARE BEYOND OUR CONTROL,
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Introduction to the WWIIRA and 45th Infantry Division, World War II Reenactors

An explanation of who the WWIIRA and World War Two reenactors are

What you will want to know if you have an interest in working with us.

The photo gallery has historical images of the WWII, Thunderbirds and 45th ID reenacting photos.

Information about Venturing Crew 1941, Boy Scouts of America

HomeWho We AreWant to volunteerPhoto Gallery Venturing Crew

These are the World War II events that you will find the WWIIRA in attendance.

Learn about the Men and campaigns of the 45th Infantry Division in WW II.

Links to 45th related, World War 2, or community support websites

Learn about our project to help our present day Military with civilian relations

Table of Contents listing all of the pages on our WW II 45th Division and Reenacting website, including a list of Maps.
Schedule of Events Unit History Wounded Warrior Project    LinksTable of Contents


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The following photos and article that follows are used with the permission of Don Hall, the son of Gerald Hall, a mechanic in the 157th Infantry Regiment. We would gladly appreciate any help you could give in identifying people and places. Even where names were on the back of photos they were not placed in any order. If you can help E-mail our
WWIIRA history department.

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Click the thumbnail to view the full size photo and captions.

Sicily & Italy Photos
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Jerry Hall and Theodore Mozar , Italy Neat Salerno, Italy Crater where Jeep once was, Anzio beachhead shot down ME- 109
S. France & Alsace Photos
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Germany Photos
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same ME-109 German Graves near Nettuno, Italy Landing in Southern France Visiting a French Brewery.
Veterans Now and Then
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Veterans Now and Then,
157th Infantry Regiment

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Hubner, Willet, Doc, Prestone, Nitzel, Heuer, Theodore Mozar, France Heuer and Hall, France Jerry Hall and Hubner Jerry and the "Service Team"
Gerald Hall Photos
(157th Infantry Regiment)

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Burned out Panther Tank France German Panther tank Panzerkampfwagen IV Our Gun emplacements, Germany
Veterans Now and Then,
179th Infantry Regiment
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Pontoon bridge over the Rhine. crossing the Rhine river, Germany Germans waiting to be captured, 29 April 1945, near Dachau Germans waiting to be captured
Veterans Now and Then,
180th Infantry Regiment

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KZ Dachau in the distance looking at a dead German in a train car. Contents of train of death. Signs in SS compound
Veterans Now and Then,
645th Tank Destroyers

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A Dead SS soldier Bear Hall in Munich with Eddie Spears Graphitti. Memorial Day 1945, Munich Germany FW 190, Neubiberg airfield, Germany
Veterans Now and Then, Division Artillery
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German Pilot lands and gives up. ME 262 Jet fighter, Neubiberg airfield, Germany Jerry Hall in a Focke Wulf 190, Neubiberg airfield, Germany Arado 234 B Jet bomber, Neubiberg airfield, Germany
Gilbert Wailes
A Battery,
160th FA Bn.

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  Jerry Hall and the Service Team at War's end    
Reenacting Photos
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Ridin' Hitler's Horse and Farewell to Dad

Riding on a horse at Hitler's stable; AH monogramed on saddle.

By Donald J. Hall
My father died last year, may he forever rest in peace. His suffering is now done. He was 76. He left a secret legacy though, unknown to all the family except my mother, who just thought nothing of the matter until a World War II photograph in my dad's album caught my eye. I looked at my dads war album many times and this special picture eluded me over and over again.
The album was always whisked away. Dad never bragged on the war.
Jerry Hall was a foot soldier in World War II, infantry, and tracked up through Africa right up to Germany. He was pulled off a farm in the middle of Illinois to go fight Adolph Hitler. He took pictures all the way, country to country, battle after battle, horror after horror. His war album was awesome! Airplanes, jets, bombers, tanks, buildings, piled up dead soldiers, dead S.S. guards, and even pictures of Hitler's beer garden. Dad didn't like to talk about the gruesome details and the horrors of World War II. Like most proud soldiers, you had to somehow pull the war stories from him. My father's unit was sent up to the very front line one day to fight a fierce battle with the Germans (Reipertswiller). At the last moment, my father and another soldier were kept behind to fix mechanical problems on damaged trucks. No one returned from his unit. They were all killed. His friends were gone.
The war went on dad said. New soldiers replaced the dead.

He once commented, that "there cannot be a God in this world who cares"-after what he saw on the battlefield. There was one picture, piles upon piles of dead German soldiers, all naked. There were pictures of dead concentration camp bodies, piled ten feet high. My father was put in hell without his permission, so he decided to simply picture it the best he could. It was a way to block out the war.
My dad's unit was a behind lines support company, often moving right behind the fighting units. He spoke of German bombers flying right over his unit to the front lines to drop their loads. Many times the enemy planes would save a bomb for them on the way back-dad said they would fly so low they would smile at them. I asked why no one tried to shoot the planes down. Dad said that every one was too busy running for cover. A 500 pound bomb is not to be reckoned with in the open. It was over in a few seconds anyway. The German renegade planes usually settled for a truck or a tank being repaired as a target.
He never questioned his orders. My father was bombed, shot at, frozen for months, deprived of all humanity and exposed to inhumane conditions for years, for his country. Hardly anyone at home knew what was happening first hand.
My father told of a night time advance into enemy territory, no one knew for sure where the company was headed. On a blind road in the darkness, they marched right past another German company headed in the opposite direction, on the same road, within speaking distance of one another, within earshot-in the dead of night. I asked my dad why no one opened fire on one another, that's how it happens in the movies? Dad simply said, "I guess they were just as scared of us as we were of them and no one wanted to fire the first shot, everyone was waiting for the first fire order. It never came. Our unit talked about it for weeks." Dad often said that war is not like you see in the movies. He laughed at the movies.
All that my father brought home were his horrid memories and his photo album. I didn't even see the album until I was over 40. It was hidden away, buried as deep as his memories of that horrid war. A couple of times a year the album would surface for discussion and we would go over the pictures. I had no clue what I was looking at. I had no clue what real war was like.
After someone dies, we tend to care suddenly about the person in ways we should have while they were still alive. All of a sudden I could not get enough of my dad's World War II photos and the history he created with his buddies in combat. I should have talked more with dad. My father was lucky to come home, Hitler could not have him, and Germany would not keep him. There was one photograph that passed me by time and again in my dad's war album.

I called my mom into the room one day and asked her "Whose horse is this dad is riding?" Born and raised on farms in Illinois, horses were second nature to him.
But where did he find a horse to ride in World War II?

My mom replied like it had been on the tip of her tongue forever.
"Oh, that was Hitler's horse your dad was riding! When his unit entered one of the towns in Germany, Hitler had a mansion down the road with a stable nearby, and a personal `beer' garden- The stable was full of his own personal high bred horses. The saddle had Hitler's name on it. The men in your dad's unit were going to kill all the horses but your dad threatened to shoot any one who killed a horse. Your dad loved animals and said the horses did nothing wrong."
Dad saddled Hitler's horse up, mounted and rode off in defiance of a world terrorist.
My father rode Hitler's horse and we never knew? Go figure. As the Infantry finished the dirty job of cleansing Germany of its terrorist and his followers, my dad mocked Hitler himself and the country he ruled by riding one of the 'mans' pride and joys, just because he could.
Near the end of the war while Hitler and his S.S. troops were all on the run, my father's unit came up on the death camp Dachau.
Most of the soldiers could not comprehend what they saw and what was done in this camp-terrorism at its utmost level, dictated by Hitler himself. My father took many photos of dead Jewish bodies stacked 20 deep. The infantry took liberties on any of the German soldiers left behind after what they saw. There often was no mercy my father told. There were no questions asked.
S.S. guards were shot on site or hung.
I pondered the picture, my dad riding Hitler's horse, and the death camp scenario for weeks and could not get what my dad did and saw out of my mind.
We must never forget what my dad did. The United States Military went in on foot in World War II and finished the war. My father mounted and rode Hitler's horse because Hitler himself 'ran away!' Our infantry drank Hitler's pride and joy of beers in his own personal beer garden.
It was good versus evil.
My father rode Hitler's horse, a prolific symbolic act in a horrible war, so we could all be safe from terror for a while. Now terror it is back.
Let a brave foot soldier ride the terrorist's horse somewhere in a forbidden land. Take the picture!
To my dead father. God bless him.
Thanks for hopping up on Hitler's horse and taking a ride for us all, because you could.

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