A site dedicated to the soldiers of the Regiments of the
3rd Engineer Special Brigade.


This page has been developed as an introduction to the service record of the 3rd ESB which served in the Southwest Pacific during World War II.



"3rd Engineer Special Brigade 2010 Reunion"

The 533rd EBSR,543rd EBSR, 593rd EBSR and any others of the 3rd ESB and Engineer Special Brigades and Army Amphibians came together for a combined reunion held Thursday June 24th to Sunday June 27th, 2010 at the DOUBLE TREE - OAK BROOK, 1909 Spring Road, Chicago .

Host for the reunion was Steve Pentek Company F 533rd EBSR. His contact information is:

Steve Pentek
12631 W. 187th St.
Mokena, IL 60462
(708) 205-4695
swpentek@yahoo.com

Your unit contacts are : 533rd 593rd EBSR and other Engineer Special Brigade Units
Steve Pentek
12631 W. 187th St.
Mokena, IL 60462
(708) 205-4695

swpentek
@yahoo.com

and

Eric Pederson
426 Harold Ct.
Freehold, NJ 07728
(732) 409-0925

543rd EBSR
John Cooper
11781 Julie Dr.
Baltimore, Ohio 43105
Work Phone - (614) 692-4218
Home Phone - (740) 862-6373
Email - john.cooper@dla.mil

This reunion was open to all 3rd Engineer Special Brigade personnel or any other Army Amphibian who wished to join us!!

A few photos from the 2010 Chicago Reunion


Left to Right Walt Molo 533rd, Charlie Lott 533rd, Eric Pederson 533rd, Steve Pentek 533rd, Jerry Beamish 543rd, Wayne Weyghandt 3rd ESB Band, Herbert DeWalt 533rd and 2nd ESB, and seated right Gordie Ritchie. Missing from photo Paul R. Shuldt 593rd.

































Other Amphibian Engineer Units
from "Surf and Sand"
by
Robert Amory Jr.

The rest of the 3rd Brigade

Headquarters and Headquarters Company 3rd ESB

543rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment (EBSR)

593rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment (EBSR)

563rd Engineer Boat Maitenance Battalion

198th Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company

263rd Medical Amphibian Battalion

163rd Ordnance Maintenance Company

3499th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company

693rd QM Truck Company

288th QM Signal Company Amphibian

417th Army Service Forces Band
Information being added soon.

The "stateside" story of the other units of the 3d Brigade is virtually identical to that of the 533d. The two other regiments trained alongside it and participated with it in the full division maneuvers in Carrabelle. The 543d EB& SR (composed of the old 3d Battalions of the 533d Engineer Shore Regiment and the 593d Engineer to the Gulf of Mexico in November 1942. The 593d EB&SR (consisting of the 2d Boat Regiment) made a spectacular convoy trip with LCMs from Massachusetts Battalion, 533d Engineer Shore Regiment and Headquarters, and 1st Battalion 593d Engineer Boat Regiment) took a group back from Florida to Cape Cod in April. These voyages provided the first effective demonstration that small landing craft could be usefully employed far beyond their originally intended ship-to-shore range. On the other hand, the combined training with the 4th Marine Division at Oceanside, California, was exclusively a 533d affair.

In giving a brief account of the overseas history of the Brigade units, separate consideration by regiments is almost essential. Actually the Brigade never participates in actual operations as a unit. Brigade headquarters exercised administrative control over the regiments only as to matters of officer promotion and technical reports. Its primary function was obtaining and forwarding to the regiments equipment and supplies peculiar to amphibian operations, especially landing craft and marine parts and supplies. In addition it acted as adviser to the Theatre and Army commanders in amphibian matters and maintained a separate radio net that provided ready communications between all the scattered elements of the Brigade.

Brigadier General David A. D. Ogden commanded the Brigade from the time of its activation until July 20, 1945 when he was assigned to command the principal base to be established in Kyushu in the Olympic operation. Colonel Moore of the 533d succeeded him and held command until the Brigade was shipped home for inactivation from Yokohama in December 1945. General Ogden's ceaseless efforts to cut red tape and bring Army and Navy agencies together in order that critical supplies might reach the line units when needed and his continual educational pressure on division and corps commanders to insure that his amphibian engineer units were employed with maximum efficiency were a vital contribution to the campaign in the Southwest Pacific. His original executive, Colonel Edward Kraus, was succeeded in January 1944 by Colonel Gerald E. Galloway of the 543d EB&SR who ably held this difficult and thankless post to the end.

The Brigade command post was established initially at Goodenough Island in December 1943, and moved to Finschhafen in March 1944 and to Biak in September of the same year. In May 1945 it moved to Batangas, Luzon, and in September to Otaru on Hokkaido Island, Japan. An advance section of the Brigade headquarters operated as part of I Corps headquarters in the Lingayen Gulf landing and was preparing to act as IX Corps shore party headquarters in the invasion of Kyushu.


New Guinea Campaign Issue of the RAMP


Following is a transcript of the special issue of the RAMP, publication of the 3rd Engineer Special Brigade, issued Saturday February 17,1945.


N.E.I.
Edited and published by Head-
quarters , 3rd Engineer Special
Brigade, APO 920. Distributed
Tusday, Thursday and Saturday.
Editor-------T/5 Max M. Moses
Ass't Editor-Pfc Armand Kovitz
Art----------Sgt Alex B. Cook
-------------T/Sgt Earl Hoshall
-------------T/4 John Whisler
Humor--------Pfc Robert Svatos
Advisor------Capt. L. S. McCaslin

Specially Passed By GHQ
This issue MAY be mailed home.

MILNE BAY TO SANSAPOR

THE STORY OF THE THIRD ENGINEER SPECIAL BRIGADE IN NEW GUINEA

With over a year's training behind them, the bulk of the Third Engineer Special Brigade embarked from San Francisco for overseas duty in November and December 1943. They were well skilled in the art of amphibious warfare and New Guinea beckoned as a proving ground.

The early period in New Guinea was one of organization and careful preparation for the tasks to come. The 563d Boat Maintenance Bn had preceeded the remainder of the Brigade overseas and was busy turning out the all important LCM's at an assembly line in Milne Bay.

With the supply of LCM's being built up, the Brigade waited impatiently at Milne Bay and Goodenough Island for it's first mission. The opportunity to prove themselves came in January of 1944 when the 533rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment left for Cape Cretin, near Finschhafen, New Guinea. Finschhafen at that time was still being subjected to enemy air raids and unloading facilities for cargo ships were in the early stages of development.

In spite of these difficulties the regiment handled the task of unloading Liberty ships with the care and speed of veterans. During a one month period they emptied 35 Liberty ships of their cargo, setting a SWPA tonnage record with 2110 tons unloaded in one day and daily average of 1550 tons.

In February the remainder of the Brigade followed the 533rd to Finschhafen. The Amphibians began to train with the 32nd Division at Scarlet Beach in preparation for future operations. In addition a shuttle service by boat units was begun to more distant points along the coast of New Guinea and New Britain. Under this system, dubbed "milk runs" by the Amphibs, a total of 144,580 ton-miles of cargo was transported in the first month alone and in five months this figure climbed to 2,147,593 ton-miles.

The time for the Brigade to get its baptism of fire was rapidly approaching. The first unit to leave the shelter of Finsch Harbor was again the 533rd which on the 23rd of February moved to Saidor to stage for their first operation



Our Business is Beachheads!

THE MONTH OF MARCH MARKED THE DATE OF THE THIRD BRIGADE'S INITIATION TO COMBAT OPERATIONS. IT IS FITTING THAT THE 533D SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO MEET THE ENEMY, THE MEN HAVING SPARKED THE BRIGADE IN TWO SUCCESSIVE MOVES. WITH STARTLING RAPIDITY THEY SPEARHEADED TWO LANDINGS IN AS MANY DAYS.



ROUND 1

YALAU


On March 5th, with Saidor as their starting point, Company C of the 533d landed troops of the 32d Division at Yalau Plantation, northwest along the coast of New Guinea from Saidor. The operation called for a sweep as far north as Bau Plantation east of Melanua Harbor, and was part of the growing Allied move on Madang and Wewak.

The assault was made by 65 landing craft, including LCVP's LCM's and 9 PT boats. Complete air cover starting at 0700 was maintained throughout by three bombers and eight fighters. The initial landing achieved all objectives, and was run with precision split-second timing. Light resistance was met on the beach, but as they pushed inland artillery fire was encountered by H-Hours plus 12.

Landing the troops was only part of the Amphibian's mission. Once the infantryman were ashore, medical supplies, food and ammunition had to be brought up in the small landing craft, and the wounded had to be evacuated. The men of the Brigade did all this with efficiency, and in addition ran combat patrols to the outskirts of the neutralized area. The total tonnage discharged ran to a daily average of 809 tons, a startling figure under the conditions of poor anchorage and choppy surf.



ROUND 2

TALASEA


While Co C of the 533d was meeting their baptism of fire, companies A and F of the same regiment were getting ready at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, for another telling blow against the Japs. The mission, consisting of 60 landing craft of various types with and escort of five PT's left Iboki on the 6th of March for an assault landing at Talasea. Aboard the Amphibian's LCM's were troops of the 1st Marine Division, heros of Guadalcanal.

Hastily planned and rapidly conceived, the operation was none the less a tribute to the Boat and Shore Companies of the 533rd. So hurried were the preparations for the landing that several LCM's carrying supplies to the point of embarkation were drafted into operation almost before they started unloading.

Led by the PT boats, the LCM's and LCVP's ploughed through a choppy sea to reach their destination, despite a night of rain and low visibility, within minutes of the appointed hour.

As the first wave snaked it's way towards shore, it was met by light rifle fire and a stream of mortar fire that continued until after the last wave reached the beach. In some places the reefs were so treacherous that the boats were forced to proceed in single file.

As the troops advanced through Volopai Plantation on their drive to Talasea, a shore of the Brigade organized the beachhead, set up their dumps and out roads through the forests for the heavy equipment that was to follow. Beach defences were set up and foxholes dug around the CP. The preliminary work was now complete, and another advance base had been successfully established to complete a ring around Rabaul.



ROUND 3

GASMATA


Before the month of March came to a close, the men of another regiment added further distinction to the work of the Third Brigade. On 17 March 44, a reconnaissance patrol of Amphibian Scouts of the 593d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment was the first Allied air, sea or land unit to enter Gasmata, former big Jap base on New Britain, since the Nips captured the area on 10 Feb 42.



ROUND 4

AITAPE


At 0645 the first wave of Brigade LCVP's raced towards the shore at Aitape to establish the beachhead that spelled doom for the Jap 18th Army at Wewak. The actual landing was spearheaded by Company A of the 593d EBSR.

The first wave of V's was met by only desultory rifle fire. Some distance inland light machine gun fire from an enemy emplacement was quickly stopped by one of the tanks carried to the beach by a Brigade LCM. On the beach the unloading of supplies and equipment was carried out by the Shore Bn of the 593d.

Undoubtedly the most outstanding engineering achievement of the initial operation was the construction of seven jetties, each 40 feet long, and running out to where the larger landing boats had beached in four feet of water. All seven jetties were completed in one hour.

Immediately following the initial phase of the landing, combat patrols and resupply missions were run by A Company for 25 to 50 miles up and down the coast. Co A also teamed up with the shore Bn to unload 30,000 tons of cargo in three weeks.

After a months work spent in consolidating the Aitape beachhead, the 593d was relieved by the 533d EBSR. In a period of five months the 593rd unloaded 153,506 tons of cargo, a daily average of 1,210 tons.

The Shore Bn was also active along the defense perimeter, necessitated by the attempted breakthrough of the Jap 18th Army. The weapons sections of the 533d rendered much assistance in setting up defensive positions. They also helped to man the pill boxes and held down a section of the main defense.

ROUND 5

MADANG


While the Shore Bn of the 593d was setting up the initial beach operations at Aitape in april, Company C of the 593d, attached to the Australian 5th Division, spearheaded the Allied advance from Saidor to Madang, and later Alexishafen.

The Madang landing took place on the 24th of April. While the Australian ground forces marched into Madang from the beach, LCM's manned by C Company carried assault trops into the inner harbor to complete the occupation of what was once the leading enemy air and naval base in that section of New Guinea.

The occupation of Madang was the end of two months of backbreaking struggle against the jungle and the Japs by the Aussies and their Amphibian Barge Company. Together they formed a hard-striking team that displayed unbeatable cooperation and teamwork.

The score now stood at four landings and the Brigade had established itself as an outfit that could do the job of infantry, navy, and engineers.

ROUND 6

WAKDE


On the 15th of May the Shore Bn of the 593d EBSR left Aitape to join a task force for the Wadke landing. Because of a last minute change in plans, they were given only eight hours notice of the impending move, and in that time had to load their own equipment, as well as continue their work of loading the Task Force. Bulldozers worked up to the last minute before being loaded.

Preceeded by heavy air and naval bombardment the infantry landed at 0715, H-Hour, and met no opposition. By H plus 60, the troops of the 593d came in on LST's and immediately went to work establishing dumps, building jetties, and assisting in the unloading.

On the morning of D plus 1, the infantry landed on Insoemar Island. Heavy resistance was encountered and Co E, 593d, was rushed to the island to begin the unloading. During the unloading, sniper fire harassed our troops continuously and Co E suffered a few casualties. Headquarters Co Shore Bn Weapons platoon eliminated one pillbox by-passed by the infantry, and also accounted for several of the snipers. Co E mopped up in their area on the right flank and established a bivouac area on the high ground there. a perimeter was formed bt Hq Co Shore Bn and Co E weapons platoon.

By D plus 2, the 593d's defense perimeter had been strengthened by the arrival of D and F companies weapons sections and the men felt more secure. The Japs, however, still had a great deal of fight left in them and in the early morning of D plus 3 at 0530 they infiltrated thru the left flank, set a jeep on fire and killed sveral of our troops with machine guns and bayonets attached to long poles. The tires on the regimental trucks and and weapons carriers were machine gunned and slashed. The attack was wiped out by the combined efforts of all weapons sections of the 593d. Grenades were the best weapon due to the confusion, but 30's and 50's were also used effectively. Forty-five dead Japs were counted in the extreme left flank and in the center of the area.

The gains in the Wadke area were consolidated during the month of May. The Shore Bn of the 593d engaged in beach, dump and access road developments and training for future operations.

ROUND 7

NOEMFOOR


The Shore Bn of the 593d EBSR with the Wakde mission still fresh in their memories, formed part of the Task Force that hit Noemfoor Island in the early morning hours of July 2. They were accompanied by another Brigade unit, Company A, of the 543d EBSR, who distinguished themselves even before the landing was made. The company made a continuous trip from Finschhafen to Noemfoor, a distance of 900 miles in order to participate in the operation.

On the heels of the assault troops of the first wave, Co A LCM's loaded with heavy equipment and reserve troops, hit the beach. The Shore Bn of the 593d was ashore by H plus 50 and engaged in clearing cuts through the beach area, unloading equipment and setting up supply dumps.

The beaching facilities were very poor, and the large offshore reef made unloading a tough job but in spite of the difficulties they unloaded 2000 tons on D-Day and between D-Day and D plus 19, 23,630 tons. These figures do not include organic engineer equipment.

The part played by Co A, 543d was equally important. Besides their work on D-Day they participated in the secondary landing of D plus 5 at Namber strip and landinga small force of paratroopers on Manin Island. working in cooperation with the 593d they also assisted in salvaging equipment lost in the fissures lost in the coral reef on D-Day.



ROUND 8

SANSAPOR



The second operation during the month of July, and the eighth and last of the New Guinea campaign, was the landing at Sansapor. It was executed by the 543d EBSR which teamed up with the infantry to make the landing on July 30,1944.

No opposition was met in the initial landing and the Shore Bn immediately set up beach control, smoothly took care of unloading, roads, dumps, and jeties. Unloading operations after D-Day were carried out in the face of increasing air attacks.

THE LANDING AT SANSAPOR BRINGS THE ROLE OF THE THIRD BRIGADE IN NEW GUINEA TO A CLOSE. THE RECORD IS A GOOD ONE AND THE MEN ARE PROUD OF IT. TOKYO ROSE GAVE A GOOD CLUE TO THE REACTIONS OF THE JAPS WHEN SHE LABELED THE MEN OF THE BRIGADE "DESPERADOS". THE AMPHIBS CONSIDER THE TITLE A JUST REWARD FOR NINE MONTHS OF COMBAT.



Chronology of The 3rd ESB
from "Surf and Sand"
by Robert Amory Jr.
and
"Down Ramp"
by Brigadier General William F. Heavey

1942

1943


1944

1945

Return to 533rd EB&SR Page

Additional information on the other Engineer Special Brigades may be found at the 594th EB&SR website.
This page established 11/11/98
This page updated 07/01/10