On This Day, 26-FEB 1945 We Remember a Fallen Hero
Norman T. Dieckmann was born on March 20, 1922. His father was Herman Eugene (Gene) Dieckmann (1881-1964) and his mother was Francisca Lena Ellen Buenemann (1894-1966). He had three sisters: Josephine, Hazel and Darlene.
According to the Marthasville Record on 13-APR-1945, “He spent his entire life in the Augusta area and was a graduate of Augusta High School in 1942.” He enlisted in the Army at Jefferson Barracks on 17-DEC 1942 and served during World War II. He had the rank of Private First Class and served with 743rd Tank Battalion.
Norman’s unit landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day. The battalion was selected to be one of the three tank assault battalions that would land with the first wave on D-Day. At Omaha Beach the 743rd Tank Battalion supported the 29th Infantry Division’s assault. Omaha beach featured the strongest defenses and toughest set of natural obstacles of any of the Allied landing beaches. By the end of D-Day, the 743rd Tank Battalion could report 38 operational tanks. The much larger numbers of tanks that made it to the beach from the 743rd Tank Battalion by all accounts proved critical in suppressing and destroying German positions. This greatly helped the 29th Infantry Division’s men to get off the beach.
On 18-DEC, the 743rd Tank Battalion withdrew into Belgium to the vicinity of Malmedy, where they continued to support the 30th Infantry Division, which had also been reoriented to repel the attacks during the Battle of the Bulge. The battalion was primarily engaged by elements of the elite 1st SS Panzer Division and in a very confused tactical situation fought a series of hotly contested engagements around Malmedy, Stavelot, La Gleize, and Stoumont. The situation stabilized by Christmas. The battalion remained in contact but did not go back on the offensive with the 30th Division until 13-JAN 1945.
The battalion went into 30th Infantry Division reserve from 28 January to 3 February, at which time they marched back into Germany, passing through Aachen and bivouacking near Rohe. Waiting for the floodwaters of the Roer River to recede, the battalion assaulted across the river on 23-FEB 1945.
It was during the breakout following the Battle of the Bulge, Norman T. Dieckmann was killed in action on 26-FEB 1945. The first telegram to his parents Mr. and Mr. Eugene Dieckmann, reported Norman as being wounded in Germany on 26-FEB 1945. A second telegram delivered the sad news, he died of his wounds. He was 22.
Norman T Dieckmann is buried at Plot G Row 14 Grave 11, Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission.
Norman T. Dieckmann is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.