Merrill, Allen E., Sgt

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
745-Rifleman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1944-1944, 745, 1st Special Service Force (The Devil's Brigade)
Service Years
1943 - 1945


Ranger
Sergeant


One Service Stripe



Four Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
1922
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MAJ Mark E Cooper to remember Merrill, Allen E., Sgt.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Buffalo
Last Address
Clearwater, FL

Date of Passing
Feb 18, 2011
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Honorably Discharged WW II 1st Ranger Battalion


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

MERRILL, Allen E. 88, of Clearwater, passed away Feb. 18, 2011. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He proudly served as Sgt. with the 1st and 4th Ranger Battalion (Darby's Rangers), and the 1st Special Service Force (The Devil’s Brigade) in WWII. He is preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Merrill. Allen is survived by his three children, Steve (Wendy), Michael (Janet) and Cynthia and 3 grandchildren, John, Sarah and Katie. A gathering of friends will be held at the funeral home from 6 until service time at 6:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 24th. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society. "He lived for those he loved, and those he loved remember." gardensanctuaryfunerals.com Garden Sanctuary Funeral Home Seminole 727-391-0121


   
Other Comments:
The early successes of the 1st Ranger Battalion precipitated the creation of the 3rd and 4th Battalions. The original 1st Battalion was divided into thirds. One third of the Headquarters and each company was placed in each of the Battalions 1-3-4. The battle seasoned 1st Battalion moved into their newly assigned positions and trained their Ranger brothers. The 1-3-4 Battalions were trained under Darby in Nemours, North Africa and prepared for the invasion of Sicily and Italy. 
Had it not been for the accomplishments of the 1st Ranger Battalion in the early entry of WWII, there would be no Rangers today. Their successful invasions in North Africa opened the sea and its ports for the Allied forces. The Allies were now able to move ships and equipment into the campaigns and raids that followed, enabling the later forces to successfully achieve the infiltration along the coast of Africa, into Sicily, and up into Italy.
Following the invasion of the Anzio beachhead, the 1st, and  3rd Rangers were destroyed behind enemy lines in a heavily outnumbered encounter at Cisterna, Italy. The 4th Ranger Battalion suffered massive casualties while attempting to break through enemy lines to rescue their Brothers in the 1st and 3rd Battalions.  See the story below, an account of Christmas at Oflag 64 by one of the officers captured at Cisterna. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Battalions were known as Darby's Rangers.

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My short, but vivid memories served with F Company of the 1st Ranger Battalion were now history. We survived the Arzew landing with a surprise attack taking out the big coastal guns on the high ground overlooking the Bay of Arzew. The French called this Superiur with Ft. Du Nord to the right. We trained night and day at Arzew until we were called for a mission in Tunisia. The object mission was Sened Station, a raid with Companies A, E, and F. The Battalion was airlifted to an airport near Gafsa. We had very little information about this raid other than to get about ten prisoners and wipe out this outpost. I called this one a good mission; it was what we had been trained for.
We were saddened at the loss of Elmer Garrision, F Company.
After the Tunisia campaign on April 19, the battalion returned to Nemours to form up two new battalions to be known as the 3rd and 4th Rangers. E and F companies were to form the 4th Battalion. Captain Roy Murray with Captain Walter Nye as his executive officer, was in command of the 4th Battalion. We were now getting many volunteers to complete the battalions and get ready for our next mission, which was Sicily.
On boarding ship, I was struck down with an appendix attack. Dr. Hardenbrook ordered me taken off this ship to a station hospital in Oran, where I had surgery. The next news I heard was that the Rangers had landed in Gela, Sicily on July 10, 1943. This was where my good friend Walter Wojcik lost his life when a mine exploded on the beach.
After my one-week hospital stay and month long recovery period, it appeared that no attempt was going to be made for me to rejoin the 4th Ranger Battalion. That was the way the Replacement Centers operated. I decided to go AWOL with three other soldiers. We got to Palermo, Sicily where we commandeered a car, got some C-rations and Jerry cans with gas. We struck out to look for the 4th Battalion, which we found near Caltanessetta. The 4th Battalion was now outfitting and getting ready for the Italian invasion. Again, we trained night and day for who knows what lay ahead.
Our next mission was the beachhead at Maiori, Italy. The 4th Battalion landed after midnight September 9, 1943 and occupied the town. Quickly, the 1st and 3rd Battalions passed through the town and occupied the high ground overlooking the plains of Naples and Mt. Vesuvio. The 1st and 3rd occupied the Chiunzi Pass area and stayed there about three weeks where many battles were fought. The 4th Battalion occupied the extreme left flank of the Lattari Mountains, where it stayed about three weeks. The element of surprise was the Rangers answer to a good mission.
Finally, the 8rh Army reached us and the Germans pulled back to the winter line north of the Volturno River. We had a brief rest in Naples, then were pulled back to the sinter line north of the Volturno River. We had a brief rest in Naples, then were pulled back to Sorrento for rest and refitting. The 4th Battalion occupied a large schoolhouse and the Tramontano Hotel. We had a good time there; the food and weather were both better. Also, we had a few trips to the Isle of Capri.
Some soldiers were fighting malaria and jaundice. I came down with jaundice about October 15th and it laid me low. The medics said to eat white bread and candy. I hadn't seen either of those since the States. 
Our next mission was on November 4th to cross the Volturno River to occupy Mt. Cannavinelle and prevent German forces from getting through the hairpin curve on Highway 6 going to Venafro. We were told three U.S. divisions were to cross the Volturno and make an envelopment on our positions to relieve us on the 4th or 5th of November 1943.
Captain Nye, with E and F companies in his command, led us to our next objective, which we reached by sun-up. At 6:30 a.m. on November 4th, we had the two companies take a break to eat and smoke in a draw near our objective. Captain Nye and I cut the wire to take their OP out. It was probably occupied, but we didn't check it out. We didn't go far as we saw three German companies coming up the hill towards us. They stopped when they saw us, about 200 yards away.
Captain Nye said, "Don, you cover me and I will indicate they should surrender." About one minute later, they went right and left into fire position. Nye, the radio operator and I got over the ridge and dropped back about 200 yards in a good defensive position. We decided to bring E Company up. When they got to us, I sent one platoon to the left flank where Captain Nye was and one platoon was with me to watch the right flank. It wasn't long before the Germans came over the ridge in the wide open. I would guess there were about fifty men. They were company front and coming over open terrain. At 100 yards, I gave the order to fire. The Germans stopped and ran off the hill below the ridgeline. They left their casualties behind.
About fifteen minutes later, below us on Highway 6, tanks and armor moved up and took us under fire with 88 shells. Again, the Germans sent their companies against us and again the Rangers turned them back. This time, I had two wounded men in a draw below me. I went down to see what I could do. They were in bad shape. I was just about to give them morphine when I looked up to find I was covered by eight Germans. Behind them were Lodge, Ryan, and Rodriguez with their hands up. They had run out of ammo and were flanked and taken prisoner. I had to help carry wounded Germans as I was led to Venafro.
We came to a building where inside about 50 Germans lay on the ground. My captor, who had a Luger barrel to my neck, said, "Look!" They wanted me to see their casualties. Shortly, a German lieutenant who spoke good English, came up and said, "Are you Lt. Frederick?" I said, "Yes." He held out his hand and said, "Congratulations on the firefight we had today." He then asked why so many of his men were shot through the head. I said, "You came at us three times and then dropped back to Hill 689 where you had prepared positions. This was the only target my men had." He said that was true. Then he told my captors to get me some food and anything else I could use. We shook hands and he said, "Tomorrow, I may be in your position."
I believe this lieutenant probably saved my life by showing up when he did. They were going to fly me to Berlin, but due to weather conditions, we took a boxcar with eight British officers to Berlin. My war was now over, or was it just starting?" This was not a good mission-no air, artillery, or tank support. You don't fight tanks with M-1 rifles. 
I was in solitary confinement a month, then sent to officer camp in Poland. It was here that I met Captain "Bing" Evans, Captain Kitchens, Lt. Teal, and other Ranger officers who told me about how the Anzio  campaign ended. After 17 months, on January 21, 1945, we started walking back into Germany. My diary says it was about 576 miles before we reached Hammelburg, Germany. It was there I was liberated by Captain Baum of the 4th Armored Division, and recaptured. The war was soon to end.
Col. Murray spent a week at my home in 1998. We re-fought many battles, some good missions and some bad. He sent me a 4th Ranger cap after this and I treasure it. A good Battalion C.O. for the 4th Rangers and I was glad to be under his command.
-Contributed by Donald S. Frederick
1st & 4th Ranger Battalion
   
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 Unit Assignments
 1st Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger)Ranger Training Brigade1st Special Service Force (The Devil's Brigade)
  1943-1943, 745, 1st Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger)/HHC
  1943-1944, 745, 4th Ranger Training Battalion (Cadre) Ranger Training Brigade/HHC
  1944-1944, 745, 1st Special Service Force (The Devil's Brigade)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Anzio Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 Southern France Campaign (1944)/Operation Dragoon
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rome-Arno Campaign (1944)
  1944-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
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