TECHNICIAN FOURTH CLASS ALFRED GINI was the son of Joseph and Ida Gini, who had come to America in 1911 with their son Tony from Italy. Once in America. Eugene, Charles, Alfred and sister Ida were born. In 1930 the family lived on Hoffman Avenue, near Marlton Pike (present-day State Highway 70) in what was then Delaware Township NJ. The family moved to Pennsauken NJ in the 1930s, settling on Beacon Avenue, not far from the Highland Fire Company on Marlton Pike.
Alfred Gini worked for the RCA-Victor Company in Camden prior to being inducted into the United States Army. He was assigned to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. The Division did Arctic training in Northern Michigan.
The 2nd Infantry Division crossed the North Atlantic to Ireland in October 1943, and was stationed at Armagh near the Irish Free State border. The division trained for seven months in night operations, small unit tactics and extensive Ranger training.
Selected for the Normandy “D-Day” landings, the Division went to England in late May of 1944. The Division landedin France on Omaha Beach, and saw much combat in the fighting in Normandy. Typical was the experience of F Company, 23rd Infantry Regiment. By the third day of combat, only 1 of the 6 officers and about 100 of the 187 enlisted men were still in the field.
After the Normandy Campaign, the 23rd fought in the Battle for Brest. A French fortified city, seaport and German submarine base. Many more casualties were sustained in the siege of the Brest.
The 23rd Infantry bore the brunt of German attacks in the Elsenborn area during the December 1944 Ardennes offensive, the Battle of the Bulge. While holding defensively at Elsenborn Ridge (the northern corner of the Bulge), the 23rd fought the enemy troops in fierce hand-to-hand battles. The Division received this commendation from Lieutenant General Hodges, commander of the First United States Army, on Dec 20, 1944:
It wasn’t until much later that the Division learned it had stopped the 12th SS Panzer Division, Hitler’s Jugend. This Panzer unit was characterized by the British as “filthy beasts” and “fanatical” with the aim to kill as brutally as possible. Prior to the attack, the Panzer commander had told the troops:
Because it wore the Indianhead patch, the German’s called the 2nd Division “the barbarians” or “savages.” During the period of January 13-23, 1945, while attached to the First Division, the 23rd Regimental Combat team fought under the most severe climatic conditions (as brutal as any in history, including the French and German retreats from Moscow in midwinter, 1812 and 1941, and as miserable as the winter at Valley Forge.). It spearheaded a drive that broke the determined enemy resistance in the vital Ondenval—Iveldingen Pass to clear the way for armored thrusts into St. Vith, Belgium. Sleet, rain and bitter cold froze the men’s clothing to their bodies as they struggled through the waist-deep snow over rough terrain. The enemy forces, the 8th Regiment and 3rd Panzer Division, were decimated. Losses in men and material were so heavy that the 8th ceased to exist as a fighting force.
Technician Fourth Class Alfred Gini was killed in action during this fighting, on January 18, 1945.
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