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735th RAILWAY OPERATING BATTALION

MILITARY RAILWAY SERVICE


ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES
(With annotations on Tech4 Carl D. Vernoy)
European Operations in World War II

Compiled by ATC(NAC/AW) Mary M. Vernoy USNR-RET


(Last edited 1/21/01)
Carl D. Vernoy was inducted into the United States Army on July 7, 1943, and entered active service on
July 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, CA. He was sent to New Orleans, LA, and then to St. Paul, MN (Ft.
Snelling) to a Diesel Engine Course for one month. Two company pictures take in St. Paul showed he
belonged to the 735th Company “B”. One picture states “Taken in front of barracks before going over to
England for 2 weeks, then to Europe (Omaha Beach)”.

February 3, 1944 -The 735th Railway Operating Bn, Military Railway Service was activated at Camp
Plauche, New Orleans, LA. It was commanded by LT COL H. C. Baughn. From there, they were sent to
St. Paul, MN (Ft. Snelling), then to New York for embarkation to Europe.

20 September 1944 - The 735 ROB left the US. They arrived at Liverpool, England, were sent to Southern
England, then left for France by ship, arriving there 1 October 1944. Tech4 Carl D. Vernoy’s discharge
papers show he left CONUS September 20, 1944 and arrived in the European Theatre October 10, 1944.
1944 – England –(See picture from Carl Vernoy) - “Taken in England 1944”, which shows 4 American
soldiers, right to left, “Carl, David, and two other fellows in our outfit (2nd from left killed in Belgium).”

The 735 ROB fell under the 707th Railway Grand Division (RGD), and was first headquartered in
Coutances, France. Per Lester Dahl, a member of the 735th ROB, who was in Company C, that ran the
trains, Company B “got the yards and docks in shape” in France, and later worked in roundhouses as the
RGD moved forward.

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Pictures: 1. Carl, taken Feb 1943 in the Alamo, San Antonio, TX. One year later was in Germany.

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2. English soldier & Carl 3.25.45
3. English Soldier & Belgium Merchant Belgium 1944 (3.25.45)
4. Joseph Louderzell, was an Auditor in Brussels (one leg artificial) 3.25.45
5. Joseph and Mary, Belgium 1944 (sb 1945?)

6. Feb. 24, 1945 Carl, taken while in Brussels 7. R-L Carl, David, & 2 other fellows in our
outfit. 2nd from left killed in Belgium.

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10. 11.
Captions on above pictures:
8. Nov. 1944 (or 45?) “To the Best Guy I’ve Seen Yet. Carl, Lots of Luck Always To All of you.
Johnny”
9. No Date - “Carl Vernoy. Taken in Brussels, Belgium”
10. 1944 - “Carl on Guard Duty Molines Belgium”
11. 1944 – “Taken in 1944 (1945?) in Molines, Belgium. Carl, his interpretor, & a buddy
from West Virginia”

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The following information comes from the book “RAILROADING IN EIGHTEEN COUNTRIES. The
story Of AMERICAN RAILROAD MEN Serving in the Military Railway Service 1862 to 1953”, written
by Carl R. Gray, Jr., Major General, RTD, Army of the United States. Director General, Military Railway
Service, 1942-1945. Published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York 1955:

“During the month of September the M.R.S. in Northern France consisted of Headquarters, Second M.R.S.,
four R.G.D., twelve R.O.B. and three R.S.B., comprising a total of 472 officers and 9,993 enlisted men.

“They were operating the railroads south of Antwerp and east of Cherbourg and Brest to Laon, France, and
into Belgium and Luxembourg, a total of 4,788 miles of main-line track of which 2,776 miles were double-
tracked lines. During the month of September they handled 355,020 net tons of military freight. The LST
and LCT car ferries brought over loaded 11,288 freight cards of all types and 702 locomotives.

As of 1 October assignments made by Headquarters, Second M.R.S., covered the railroad lines indicated
previously and the assignment of M.R.S. troops and additional lines were as follows: The 706 R.G.D., with
headquarters at Toul, France, was assigned the mission of operating and maintaining military railways from
the east connecting switch Valenton Yard at Paris to Nancy via Sommesous and Commercy and to
railheads off this line except within Belgium and Luxembourg; from east switch Pantin Yard, Paris to
Belgium and Luxembourg border via Meaux, Reims, Vendun, Conflans, and to army railheads in France…

“Enemy planes strafed a number of trains. Two of the trains carried Captain Von O. Zimmerman and 1st
LT Harvey H. Sparks of the 735th ROB. At Ramillies Yard an ammunition train was set on fire, and “C”
Company men acted with dispatch in moving other trains out of danger. At Gembloux, under enemy
strafing, a train was moved out of the yards.

Even with the danger, the bombarding, the strafing, and the fires, the business of the M.R.S. was to move
trains, and in order to move trains it is necessary to have cars and engines in order, so complete running
repairs for both locomotives and cars were set up in many instances in demolished roundhouses. As an
illustration of the capacity to repair equipment, the two roundhouse platoons of the 735th ROB set up
classified repair work at Landen, Belgium, and by the end of the month of December the men were turning
out a heavy repaired locomotive each twenty-four hours.” (Carl Vernoy’s pictures show a number of
scenes in Belgium.)

“The phenomenal tonnage movement of the M.R.S. supporting the Twelfth Army Group for the month of
December totaled 1,308,937 tons, which meant the operation of 3,136 trains. By the end of the year there
had been received from the United Kingdom and placed in service 1,523 locomotives and 19,383 freight
cars of all types.

“By the first of the year the total force of the Second M.R.S. troops in northern France and Belgium was
17,500, made up of 750 officers and 16,750 enlisted men. With the coming of the New Year, Allied
strategy was to drive the Germans out of the Siegfried Defenses and face them across the Rhine River for
the final push in the spring, which was to bring victory.”

May 8, 1945-The 735th ROB was at Hamm, Germany with the 723rd at Munchen Gladbach, both under the
707th RGD. During the war (per Gray’s book) “the 735th moved a total of 1,222 trains handling 1,588,600
tons. Many of the trains were prisoner of war and displaced persons trains, an important and sizable job in
itself, in addition to the regular supplies handled by rail.”

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12. Back: “Johnny & Carl, Belgium 1944” but front of picture says “ Bruxelles 1945”
13. Back: “Souvenir to our Friend Carl Vernoy 12/4/45 Joseph and Mary” Also says “Jos. Piessens-
Broothaerts, 70 Rue St. Joseph, Londerzeel” and Carl had written: “Sent to me in LA Cal”

`Per Gray’s book, “The assignment of the M.R.S. at the time of the unconditional surrender of
Germany was as follows:
“General Headquarters, M.R.S., office of the Director General, was at Paris. Headquarters, First
M.R.S., office of the General Manager, was at Strasbourg, France. Troops of the First M.R.S. were located
as follows:
703 RGD (Furth, Germany) 712 ROB-Hanau, Germany; 728 ROB-Nurnberg, Germany, 750
ROB-Wurzburg, Germany, 761 Railway Transportation Company-Augsburg, Germany.
704 RGD (Nancy, France) 713 ROB-Ludwigshafen, Germany, 727 ROB-Heilbronn, Germany,
733 ROB-Neustadt, Germany.
706 RGD (Frankfurt, Germany) 716 ROB-Metz, France, 718 ROB-Metz, France, 732 ROB-
Saarbrucken, Germany, 753 ROB-Hanau, Germany.
“The 756 Railway Shop Battalion at Marseille, France, the 765 Railway Shop Battalion at Thionville, and
the 766 Railway Shop Battalion at Bischheim all reported direct to Headquarters, First M.R.S., and were
not a part of any Railway Grand Division.

“Headquarters, Second M.R.S., office of the General Manager, was at Brussels, Belgium, with the
following units under its command:
707 RGD (Wesel, Germany) 720 ROB-Wesel, Germany, 723 ROB-Munchen-Gladbach,
Germany, 729 ROB-Hanover, Germany, 735 ROB-Hamm, Germany.
708 RGD (Warburg, Germany) 722 ROB-Warburg, Germany,” …(rest listed on page I don’t
have).

“ At Hamm, Germany, under the 735 ROB, the Second Track Platoon under Lt. Joseph P. Green started the
task of rebuilding the Hamm Passenger Station facilities and the roundhouse. His force for the job included
part of “A” Company of the 717 ROB and German labor. All bridge and water work necessary was done
by the Bridge and Building Platoon under Lt. Nicholas V. Back of the 735 ROB. The job was pushed to a
finish in thirteen days to meet the opening of the bridge over the Rhine at Duisburg on 12 May 1945.

“Headquarters, Second MRS, moved from Brussels where it had been since February 1945 to Frankfurt on
12 August 1945. The 707 RGD was at Haltern-Herne, Germany, with the 720,723,729 and 735 ROB in its
command. The 707 RGD moved to Furth, Germany, on 21 July 1945, and had under its command at that
time the 716, 735, 746,750 and 752 ROB and the 762 RSB.

(Note: it appears that sometime between May 1945 and August 1945 Carl Vernoy was transferred to the 2nd
Platoon, 977th Eng. Maintenance Company, because of the 1 August 1945 picture noted below. Also, his
discharge papers indicate that he departed Europe 3 September 1945, arrived in the United States 14
September 1945, and was discharged from the 977 Eng Maint. Bn. at Ft. Mac Arthur California on 11
November 1945.)

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2nd Platoon, 977 Eng. Maintenance.Company.
Marseille, France Aug 1, 1945
T4 Carl D. Vernoy, ASN 39701656
TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Ricken, Harrison, Spinger, Trunk, Maricle, Retter, Mahaney, Fischer,
Orvis, Sullivan, Feye, Pratt, Harrington, Laltrell
SECOND ROW: Lonnet, Pracel, McCarthy, Nickleson, West, Thistle, Geockler, Bridgeman, Rasmussen,
Love
THIRD ROW: Geottman, Kidwell, Bedning, Willowghby, Ryan, San Antagloe, Peason, Morsund,
Yeandle (or Veandle)
FOURTH ROW: Cooke, Hawkins, VERNOY, Russo, Giachetti, Majeski, Bledsoe
BOTTOM ROW: Stafford, Frank, Schultz, Kintsel, Cahill

Carl Vernoy departed Europe September 3, 1945, and arrived back in CONUS September 14, 1945. He
was discharged from the 977th Eng. Maint. Bn. at Ft. MacArthur, CA on November 11, 1945. He was
awarded the following decorations and citations:
• American Campaign Medal
• European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
• Good Conduct Medal
• Victory Medal
His battles and campaigns were listed as: Central Europe. His mustering out pay was $300 plus $6.15
travel pay. His total service was 2 years 4 months 5 days.

February 10, 1946- The last units of the Military Railway Service (MRS) in Europe (the 734th, 735th, 741st,
746th, 750th, and 752nd ROB’s) were inactivated there on this date. Headquarters, Second MRS, was
inactivated 13 February 1946. The last unit, the 716 ROB, left for the United States 15 February 1946.
The 735th Railway Operating Battalion TC was awarded the following combat steamers:
• Central Europe
• Rhineland