Did you know Army and Army Air Force Company Morning Reports may tell you a very detailed story about your soldier or airman’s service? This is one of the most important records you need to reconstruct military service, even if the OMPF (service file) survived the 1973 fire.
Morning Reports listed many details about the company which include:
- The location of the company for the date of the report.
- Strength of the unit in numbers of men
- Details of those entering and leaving the company
- Names of those declared AWOL, Missing In Action, Killed In Action, or wounded.
- Details about promotions or demotions.
- The reports also provided information on the day’s events. Some clerks reported weather conditions, in addition to the usual information on where the unit was fighting, and other enemy encounters.
- The companies were required to report numbers of men at each meal, which provided information to the Army, who then was able to provide food and appropriate supplies for the soldiers. These numbers also alerted headquarters when the ranks were depleted and replacements were needed.
Telling A Story
It’s important to know that not all Morning Reports (or any military records) are created equally. Yes there were guidelines but some report writers documented a lot more than the basics.
It has been my experience that Armored Infantry Battalions and Tank Battalions give the most description in their reports. This isn’t to say other units do not provide such rich detail, but this has been my experience after 12 years of research, teaching, and writing.
This Morning Report is from HQ Co 51st AIB (Armored Infantry Battalion). Here are a few days in October 1944 that tell us a story about the men in this unit.
7 October 1944 has moved to ¼ mile South of Serres, France. Company starting moving from old area at 1845. Closed in present location at 2230. 8 October 1944, unit enjoys pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Plenty of seconds too! First meal cooked by mess personnel for quite some time. Plenty of men in the process of cleaning up. Movies tonight in MG platoon area. Received two replacement today. Issue of cognac and Vermouth. All men digging slit trenches. Requisitions take for all shortages. This is definitely not a rest period. Two companies of the Battalion ready for movement at a very short notice. Two thirds of Company ready to move, also Catholic church services attended by many men of the Battalion. Services conducted in church in Serres also both services held in bivouac area this afternoon. Many men attended. First time the entire company has been together for quite some time. [i]
9 October 1944 unit remains ¼ mile South of Serres, France. Movies are shown today. Four shows, at 1000, 1400, 1900 and 2100. Very good relaxation for all men. Name of show, “Cover Girl”. All platoons commence training. Cleaning up of all vehicles also. Showers at 1030 and 1230. Twenty-five men allowed at earn period, the swimming pool was also available to men going for showers. Red Cross Club mobile in area this afternoon serving coffee and doughnuts. Many men expressed the worth much more than the coffee and doughnuts. The donuts were succulent. Officers commissary open in schoolhouse in Serres. Most of the Officers in company waited in line to buy some necessary clothing. Very good spaghetti sauce and noodles for supper tonight. Meals were enjoyed by all. [ii]
10 October 1944 unit remains ¼ mile south of Serres, France. Enemy planes are overhead at 2300. On 11 October 1944 unit remained in same location, sunshine at last. Pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Steak and potatoes for lunch. Movies and showers continue. Catholic church services in Med Detention area. Red Cross Club mobile in battalion area. Delicious doughnuts and coffee. Battalion addressed by General Wood and he commented on the excellent job being done. Division Awards presented. Issue of clothing and equipment. Inspection of men in ranks under arms. Two enemy planes were heard overhead about 1800, probably out on a reconnaissance.[iii]
12 October 1944, location remains the same. The company awakened at 0700 and breakfast served at 0730. New drill schedule starts at 0830 including inspection in ranks, close order drill and crew training. We received four replacements today, and men were immediately assigned to platoons. Showers and shows continue. Break down of clothing and equipment and issue of PX rations. Care and cleaning of weapons. Protestant and Jewish services in Med Detention area. Post exchange sales store in company area. [iv]
13 October 1944 unit continues to be ¼ mile south of Serres, France. Enemy planes are heard at 0200. Morning training continues and inspection in ranks with weapons occurs. Toast with breakfast and pork chops for lunch. Showers and movies are still in effect. Jewish services are at 1600, men permitted to attend. PTA money taken in to be sent home. Requisitions made on all sorts of clothing and equipment. Maintenance on vehicles continues. Care and cleaning of weapons Enemy planes are overhead again at 1230. Music in battalion area furnished by Division Band. Sounded very good to hear some real American music. PI sales in company area.[v] The movie projector went out of operation after the first reel had been shown at the first show. Disappointment to many means it was a good show. Enemy planes are heard overhead at 2200. [vi]
That’s quite a lot of great contextual information about the soldiers in this Company! Add this to your family history stories and people will definitely be more interested in reading the stories!
If you are ready to start a research or writing project, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a free phone consultation. I’m excited to help you bring your family’s military history to life and preserve it for generations.
[i] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 11 October 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.
[ii] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 11 October 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.
[iii] Company Morning Reports HQ Co 51st AIB dated 13 October 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.
[iv] Company Morning Reports HQ Co 51st AIB dated 13 October 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.
[v] Company Morning Reports HQ Co 51st AIB dated 15 October 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.
[vi] Company Morning Reports HQ Co 51st AIB dated 16 October 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.
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