Diary of Ira Thomas Wyche

Diary of Ira Thomas Wyche
Typescript diary of General Ira Thomas Wyche, 79th Division operations, March 1944 to August 1945. Diary entries discuss his daily activities in Germany as a general during World War II. Also includes a document labeled 'secret' from the headquarters of the 79th infantry division, dated 6 January 1944, as well as a handwritten incident report from July 17th. Pages appear in reverse chronological order.
March 1944 - August 1945
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East Carolina Manuscript Collection
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Tom Tompkins Feb 04 2018

The classified memo (frame 38) also describes the U.S. relationship with the Free French Forces. During this battle, as a calculated military decision wrt an over extended front-line, Eisenhower was (allegedly) going to allow the Nazis to retake Strasburg, liberated just weeks before. Knowing that reprisals against civilians were certain, the horrified French asked General de Gaulle to appeal directly. The city was saved as a result (again, allegedly).Little is known about this 11th hour Franco-American dispute. Fortunately, it's just a footnote, and was overshadowed by the war's conclusion. I found only one old (i.e. period)French documentary.Had the general not kept this memo, it's possible it would remain classified today due to the sensitive nature of this subject.

Tom Tompkins Jan 05 2018

The classified memo from 79th INF HQ appears dated as "1944" but the last digit appears intentionally removed; even though we can see it was a "4". Also, the subject matter closely aligns with the same date in 1945 and makes no sense at all for 1944. Clearly the year is an uncorrected typo. The General would have known this, which is why the record appears out of order by chronology as your web site warns.Not sure why the General saved this particular correspondence, but early Jan 1945 would have been a time of chaos and consternation for him in particular. When the memo was written the General was very much on the defensive; not something he would have been accustom to. The memo is important because it reveals the urgency of that time, both by the chronology it describes and indeed its own typo. It indicates that American lines were thin at his location and relief troops were not available. Words like "regroup" and "await" indicate the Americans are taken aback and unsure how to proceed.What we now know is that he was on the receiving end of Operation Nordwind: the last major Nazi offensive of World War II on the western front, ordered by Hitler himself. Its goal was to pave the way for Operation Zahnarzt: annihilation of the Third Army...I know, right? I'm so sure... The battle is well documented and a riveting story.This period was likely the most significant and exciting for him as a combat General, and he may have saved this memo as a keepsake from that time.

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