World War II:  Lawrence Specht - 14th Inf Anti-Tank Company


Lawrence Specht, anti-tank company,
14th Infantry Regiment
 with the 71st Infantry Division
in World war II

Thanks to Andy Specht, son of Lawrence Specht, for submitting the photos and personal information on this page.
The general overview of the 14th's activities comes from a combination of Organization Day Programs, Newspaper archives and other regimental history.

Lawrence Specht, member of the 14th Inf anti-tank company

Lawernce Specht served from 1942 to 1943 with the 14th Infantry Regiment in Panama as a rifleman.  With the start of World War II, the Regiment shipped, on June 7, 1943 for San Francisco, California, and from there to Camp Carson, Colorado, near Pike's Peak which became their training camp on June 21, 1943.

The 71st Light Division was actuated on July 15, 1943 and the 14th became one of three colorful regiments comprising the 71st Lt. Div.

About February 10, 1944 the 71st Lt. Div. was ordered to Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation in California (see photos taken by a 14th infantryman) for the most grueling maneuvers known in the United States Army, after which the 71st Div., of which the 14th was an active regiment, moved to Fort Benning, Georgia on May 24, 1944.

In January, 1945 the regiment moved to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey and sailed from the New York port on the Navy troop ship "General J. R. Brooke on January 26.  13 days later they debarked at Le Harve after a quiet crossing and established themselves at Camp Old Gold.

Early in March the regiment moved by truck and rail 350 miles across France to the assembly area in the vicinity of Dueze in the rear of the Seventh Army's lines bordering the Saar-Mosselle Triangle.

First action came on the nights of March 13-14 as the regiment shifted into position guarding the right flank of the Fifteenth Corps.  The first battalion, under the command of Lt. Col. (then Major) Samuel E. Hubbard, made the Fourteenth's first contact with the enemy on March 16, when it relieved elements of the 399th Infantry, on the right flank of the 100th Division's attack on the city of Bitche.  Colonel Carl E. Lundquist assumed command of the Regiment on March 19, relieving Colonel Donald T. Beeler.

After helping mop up the Bitche area, the regiment took part in the breaching of the Siegfried Line on March 22, protecting the right flank of the Division’s attack. Two days later, the regiment was on the bank of the Rhine River, near Speyer, Germany, where a feigned crossing of the river drew the enemy’s attention from the Seventh Army’s successful attack above Mannheim.

On March 29 and 30 the regiment crossed the Rhine and covered 105 miles. The month’s end found it in a position near Frankfurt-on-Main. During its first twenty days of combat the Fourteenth had constantly found its positions on the "right of the line" while helping in the clean-up of the Saar-Moselle Triangle, and had crossed the Rhine.

During the month of April the regiment continued its push across central Germany from the vicinity of Frankfurt, reaching Meiningen, on the edge of the Thuringer Forest. On the afternoon of 1st of April the 2nd Bn. under Lt. Col. Brandt raced to the left side of the 3rd Army spearhead where the XII Corps supply line had been cut. At 1600 hours contact was made and the small force found themselves faced with the 6th SS Mountain Division on the north. Attacking without artillery, the Mountain Division was driven to cover. Replacements were brought up during the night. Three days later the entire SS Mountain Division ceased to exist. On April 10 the attack swung to the southwest and elements of the Fourteenth were fighting their way into Bayreuth, and by noon the following day the city had fallen.

From April 17 to April 22 the regiment attacked down the Bayreuth-Amberg highway in five days of fighting against a determined enemy effort. The Third Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Paul G. Guthrie, dislodged the enemy from Amberg, and on the 22nd had occupied the city.

The month’s end brought no relief to the regiment, as three assault river crossings followed in rapid succession across the Regan, Isar and the Danube rivers. The city of Regensburg was surrendered to the Fourteenth on the morning of April 27.

On April 30 the regiment made a quick thrust towards the Isar River. The swift and treacherous river, the third for the regiment in six days was crossed, and a narrow bridgehead near Landau was established.

The following day the bridgehead was widened, and the regiment had once again gained speed in its relentless drive against the now shattered enemy. Striking toward the Braunau-Lambach highway on May 4 to cut the only remaining escape route from central Germany area to the Redoubt area in the Bavarian Alps.

War’s end on May 9 found the regiment in the middle Danube plain at Droissendorf, Austria, faced with the problems created by thousands of prisoners and displaced persons. The Fourteenth remained in this sector until June 1, when they moved to Gunzburg, Germany to take up occupational duties.

Click on the thumbnail images to see larger versions...
First and last photos are pictures of a concentration camp reportedly liberated by the 14th Infantry in 1945
Middle photo is the 14th anti-tank company practicing at Metzeldorf, Austria, 1945.  Lawrence Specht is at right, wearing the helmet.

World War II:  Lawrence Specht - 14th Inf Anti-Tank Company
Photos Copyright © 2014  Andy Specht, son of Lawrence Specht, with thanks for submitting the images
Copyright © 2014  14th Infantry Regiment Association
Last modified: November 17, 2014