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Interview on experiences in World War II

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Creator: Stenzel, Ralph V.

Date: July 18, 2006

Level of Description: Item

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: World War II Oral Histories Project

Unit ID: 211477

Biographical sketch: Ralph Stenzel enlisted in the Army Infantry in August 1942 and was inducted into the service at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was sent to St. Louis, Missouri for processing and to Camp Perry, Ohio for basic infantry training and then to Camp Campbell, Kentucky and Aberdeen, Maryland for advanced training in tanks, vehicles, and weaponry. He describes what training was like at the camps. He was sent to the General Motors School in Flint, Michigan for training with diesel engines and then sent back to Camp Campbell, Kentucky and to Fort Knox, Kentucky for further training. After maneuvers in Tennessee, he was sent by convoy to Camp Shakes, New York to prepare for embarkation to England with the 502rd Heavy Maintenance Tank Company. He describes going to New York City on leave and being part of a huge troop convoy to England. The Company was stationed in Basin, England and trained for the D-Day invasion. They were loaded onto a Landing Ship Tank (LST) with tanks and Stenzel describes crossing the English Channel with high winds and 20-30' waves. They landed on the Normandy beach as part of the fourth or fifth wave on D-Day and he describes driving a sealed tank under water from the LST to the shore. He describes the battles in which he participated in France (including shooting down a German airplane in St. Lo), Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Austria. He didn't have enough points to be sent home when the war ended in Europe, and was still in Austria when Japan surrendered. He was sent back to the States and discharged from the Army in June 1946. Stenzel was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, Army Service Medal and ribbon, American Theatre Medal Ribbon, EST Ribbon, American Defense Medal, four Bronze Service Battle Stars, Belgium, France and Holland ribbons, Bronze Star, World War II Victory Medal and ribbon, Normandy Commendation Pin, Normandy Medal of Jubilee of Liberty of France, Unit Citations, two Unit Citations and Performance, and Basic Training Badges (Expert Infantry, Small Arms Medal, Gun 30, 50 calibers, 75 millimeter, three inch gun, tanks gun, and all kinds of explosives) for his service.

Summary: Staff Sergeant Stenzel enlisted in the Army (Infantry) in 1942 and served until 1946 in the 503rd Heavy Maintenance Tank Company, 12th Armored Division, 3rd Army. Interviewed by Lynette Stenzel on Jul 18, 2006, Stenzel talked about military experiences in the Second World War. The 2005 Kansas Legislature passed a bill funding the WWII Veterans Oral History grant program. This transcript is from one of the nine community institutions that received these grants. The transcript from the interview is presented here; the original video copy of the interview is available through the Frank Stull American Legion #152 (Ness City) and through the Kansas State Historical Society.

Space Required/Quantity: Video

Title (Main title): Interview on experiences in World War II

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019-14-04-01  DVD 

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