PERSONAL PHOTO COLLECTION of Vincent Heggen, Fouron le Comte, Belgium.
Altembroek Castle, Belgium...Col. Edwin Sutherland and a few days later Gen. Leland Hobbs slept here. It is on the Dutch border. Photo courtesy of Vincent Heggen of Fouron le Comte, Belgium.
Grasshopper Piper Cub type L4 of the 30th Division in a field near the village of Fouron le Comte, Belgium, September 12th, 1944. Serial Number 298522. This is the last village before the Dutch border. Fouron le Comte was liberated by the 119th. These photos were provided by Vincent Heggen of Fouron le Comte. We would appreciate any additional information.
Additional Information from Philip Whiteman:
Just a quick correction in the spirit of being helpful from a British
Piper L-4 Cub owner: the aircraft S/N 298522, fuselage marking 44-J,
shown in the 12 September 1944 photo supplied by Vincent Heggen
reproduced on your Old Hickory website is actually a Stinson L-5.
I own an ex 2nd Armd Div Piper L-4H, S/N 479744, fuselage marking 44-
M. The other Heggen picture does show an L-4; what a shame the
markings cannot be made out!
I have been in touch with several 2 Armd Div veterans over the years,
as well as the current owner of another L-4 seen alongside my own in
pictures taken in December 1944 at Baesweiler, just inside the
frontier with Belgium.
Pick of me and my Cub attached. As you will see, it has been restored
to its wartime markings,
I did promise to do a bit more research:
There were two basic types of Liaison aircraft attached to units in
the European Theater of Operations: the 'big' Stinson L-5 Sentinel,
which was a two-seat adaption of the civilian four-seat 105 Voyager
and was powered by a six-cylinder Lycoming O-435 producing 185
horsepower; and the smaller and more numerous Piper L-4 Cub, which
was fitted with a 65 hp Continental A-65 engine. (The joke, as told
to me by long serving pilot and 92nd FA vet Cromwell St. Clair, was
that Fort Sill instructors treated the L-5 as some kind of "rocket
ship", and the Army was always unduly worried that the Air Force
would take over L-5 operations.)
30th Infantry Division would have operated one L-5, assigned to Div
Arty HQ, and nine L-4s – one at Div Arty HQ and two each assigned to
the four FA Bns (118th, 197th, 230th and 113th in May 1944).
Not long before D-Day, unit markings should have been applied to all
Twelfth Army Group Liaison aircraft (some got missed). 30th Inf Div
aircraft were all coded 44, and this number was painted in white on
the fuselage, followed by an individual aircraft letter code. Records
are hard to come by but, from published photographs, letters A
through to F, H and J to L would have been applied to the ten
aircraft – i.e. 44-A, 44-B etc. (G and I appear not to have been
used, probably because a G is easily confused with a C and I looks
Ken Wakefield's books, 'The Fighting Grasshoppers' and 'Lightplanes
at War', provide a great deal more information – Ken is our national
expert on the subject – as well as showing several pictures of 30th
Inf Div Piper L-4 44-J, piloted by Jack Blohm (and I think you have
other images of this aircraft posted on your website).
My own Piper L-4, 49-M (tailcode 479744) was a 9th Armd Div aircraft,
delivered to England in July 1944. I have long been trying to find
either its regular pilot (Lt George McCaleb, I believe) or anybody
else who flew in the aircraft.
We were very proud of our 1994/95 restoration,
going for a semi-flat paint finish and the right marking colors,
until a better copy of the wartime photograph I used as a reference
showed that the fuselage codes had curved edges and were stenciled.
One thing that is right is that the 'invasion stripes' do not go over
the top of the fuselage. These markings were quickly painted out
after D-Day when it was realized that they made the aircraft unduly
visible on the ground. Cubs arriving after D-Day like 44-79744 (they
always left off the first 4 from the tail-code) had stripes applied to
just the lower fuselage.
Not many restored L-planes have the medium green blotches on the
wings and tail. Note how they look darker than the overall olive
green on the wings, yet lighter in the direct sunlight on the tail;
this is the sort of detail that drives aviation historians and
My aeroplane has a modern antenna in more or less the same place as
the original (and much longer) Jeep-type antenna would have stuck
through the roof. The extra wing tank is a modern addition, but it
does at least have the correct red filler cap!
Please feel free to publish any of the above, together with the
picture provided, on your website,
Click to enlarge.
This picture was taken on the Belgian/Dutch border on September 12, 1944. The spot is called Withuis between Moelingen (Mouland in French) and Eisden, Holland. The 117th was the first regiment in Holland. I suppose this is the 2nd battalion off the 117th with a light medium Stuart tank of the 113th Cavalry group.
This soldier of the 117th is resting on the pavement of a house in the area of Sint Geertruid ( Zuid Limburg, Holland ) on September 13th, 1944.
This photo was taken in the area of Noorbeek, Holland on September 12th, 1944, 17:00. Noorbeek is the first Dutch village after Altembroeck (see 1st photo on this page) where Mr. Heggen's father lived during the war. It's the area the 119th liberated.
197th Field Artillery
2nd Bn, 119 IR, a few soldiers are resting for a while , speaking with Belgian civilians before moving on.
119th IR, 1st Bn. a soldier standing with a Belgian civil on September 12, 1944 around 3:30 pm.
German strays are surrendering to soldiers of the 117th
Rgt. in the area of
" Moerslag" a few miles from Mesch on the Dutch ground.