The names on this souvenir, are most likely significant battles and locations that are a part of the 100th Infantry Division’s drive through the ETO.
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One of the most interesting theater made souvenir pillow sham/ embroidered pieces that we have had, this one made for a Military Policeman, from this platoon sized unit within the Division. Embroidered on a medium blue silk panel are the names that the 100th ID battles Not being able to spend time researching all of these names (besides it leaves nothing for you to delve into), I looked into two of this city’s history in connection with the 100th.
Bitche, France, an area well fortified by the Germans. The 100th Division assaulted this area in December of 1944, and on the 16th of December, with the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) the 100th ID was ordered to surround the city and hold it. It was after this engagement that the members of the Division became known as the “Sons of Bitche.”
Heilbronn, Germany, was a 9 day battle which began on April 4, 1945, and for the 100th it was a victory, but a costly one. The city had been hit hard by Allied bombing, still resistance was strong. Fighting was house to house, room to room, against seasoned troops, Volkssturm, composite units, Hitler Youth and more. 85 men and probably 3 times that number wounded was the cost of taking Heilbronn. I am not sure of the white star after the name of this city; perhaps it was the last major engagement of the war for the 100th, or it may be significant to the MPs this souvenir was made for.
The names on the panel are all expertly chain stitch embroidered, on either side of the MP crossed pistols, the 100th ID patch, the “Military Police” in white chain stitch, over a banner that bears the name of the division commander, Withers A. Burress, Major General U.S. Army. The border is done with a golden rope, looped at each corner. The reverse side is a white cotton. The cotton shows a good deal of water staining, that under hard inspection can be seen coming through to the front side. The staining show up most in the white embroidery of the zero’s in “100.” I believe some cleaning is possible, but it displays well as is. Beside, not only does the souvenir displays it history in embroidery, it also has the one about what dangers, travels, and party celebrations this souvenir when through just to get home. OK, maybe that’s a stretch.
A very scarce item, from only a platoon sized unit within this hard fighting “Century Division.”