Much of the desired information for this battalion is missing because we have been unable to obtain it. If you can help supply some of it, especially the name and address of a contact person, please let us know. Send e-mail to the Webmaster, or postal mail to Rodney Young, 251 Pine Mdw, Spring Branch, TX 78070. Thank you very much.
Activated: 24 Jun 1944 as 98th Chemical Bn Motorized in Buna, New Guinea, from 641st Tank Destroyer Bn. The 641st TDB was activated 18 December 1941 at Ft Lewis, WA, from personnel of the 41st Infantry Division.
Redesignated: 20 Mar 1945 as 98th Chemical Mortar Bn
Inactivated: 26 Dec 1945 at Camp Anza, CA
Overseas: Departed New York Port of Embarkation 4 March 1942, arrived in Australia via the Panama Canal on 9 April 1942. Arrived New Guinea 21 January 1943. Entered combat in May 1944. Arrived Philippines 9 Jan 1945; returned to LAPE 24 Dec 1945.
Campaigns: Luzon, New Guinea
Number of men killed in action: 7
Number of men wounded in action: 64
Number of days in combat: unknown
Number of rounds fired: 106,727
Writings of 98th CMB veterans
- History of 98th Cml Mortar Bn, by Bennett M. Saunders.
- Observations & Reflections, by William P. Adams
- Tale of Five Musketeers, by Clare Prendergast
- A Soldier's Journal, by John A. Olson
- 98th Chemical Mortar Battalion, Armed Forces Chemical Journal Oct. 1953, by Alexander Batlin
Apple pie and fettlers. My name is Jack Baker of Melbourne, Australia. Whilst surfing the net, I saw your request for info re this battalion. In 1942/43 my sister June was 18, 6 years older than me. She had made friends with some of the guys from the 641st TD Bn [predecessor of the 98th CMB] when they were in camp at a place called Mangalore, 70 miles north of Melbourne, and used to stay at our house when they were on leave in Melbourne. Our place was well known to some of the members for the apple pies/lemon meringue that my mother used to make for them to take back to camp. But I doubt they ever lasted more than the first five minutes of the train ride back to camp.
Three names I can remember are Ralph Rollins from Oklahoma, John Schirmer from a northwest state, and a "Gandy" Ratzlaff from unknown. I believe he was called Gandy because he was a railway fettler (track worker). I seem to recall that Ralph got the silver star but I do not know what for. We had built up such a friendship that some of them when on leave from New Guinea even came down to Melbourne. Our address then was 491 George St, Fitzroy, Melbourne. I am sorry I can't recall any more but as a 12-year old, your sister's friends seem so adult. But I was really pleased when they gave me an artillery-banded cap and a gas cape as a souvenir on one of their trips to Melbourne and their badge really impressed me a black panther with a tank in its jaws. Whilst I can't remember any more, I do remember the pleasant, courteous and well mannered guys from the 641st. If you contact any of them (bearing in mind, if alive, they would be about 80+) that remember the Baker family in Fitzroy, please give them my regards.
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