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Record 455/959
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Admin/Biog History George R. Dempsey was born in Oshkosh, WI on February 22, 1918, the son of Edward J. and Sadie Dempsey. He graduated from St. Peter's High School in 1935 and Notre Dame University in 1939. He took post graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1940 and began working for Pusey & Jones shipbuilders in Wilmington, Delaware. He was drafted in January 1941 and began training as a tanker at Fort Benning, GA. He was assigned to officer training school at Fort Knox, KY and became a 2nd lieutenant in January 1942, assigned to the 1st Armored Division. He returned to Oshkosh and married Catherine A. Schwalm on January 10, 1942. He left for overseas duty in May of 1942 and trained in Northern Ireland with British forces. They left for the North African Campaign in November 1942 and entered combat in Tunisia on January 21, 1943. He was quickly promoted to 1st lieutenant and command of a tank company. He received the surrender of a German Panzer (tank) Division and received the Silver Star and was promoted to Captain. His division fought in the Italian Campaign in November 1943 and fought at Casino and Anzio. While engaged north of Rome, he was wounded on June 4, 1944 and awarded the Purple Heart. At his own request, he was discharged from the hospital on June 24, and returned to the fighting on June 26. He was killed in action on June 28, 1944 near Siena, Italy.
Classification Archives
Collection George R. Dempsey
Dates of Accumulation 1944
Abstract Letter from George R. Dempsey, 13th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, to an unidentified recipient. The letter is possibly a typescript of the original. The letter was written when George was fighting in Italy.

[May 8, 1944]

Am in receipt of the Jim Dan Hill letter you sent me April 12. Of course he and I are in disagreement on many forces. The cause of it is probably my contacts in England, North Ireland, and in the Army with the British were on a totally different plane than his. The middle class were the ones I knew, being a 2nd Lt. at the time.

In the army also I got the view of the English in combat beside the Americans, a sight he has yet to see and may never see. If he does it will probably sober him a great deal. Also he hasn't viewed American dugouts, foxholes, burning tanks, among dying men and broken minds some 4000 miles away from the place. It doesn't look like the same place as it does from the bar of the Park Lane Hotel or other London Vistas, which try unsuccessfully to cater to American tastes.

I don't contest his conclusions about the British system of education vs. ours; except that I would much rather have an M. A. from Oxford than my B. A. from Notre Dame. On the other hand, a degree from St. Johns of Annapolis might be quite equal to one from Oxford.

He reveals the wonderment of the British officers at the ability of our EM's in artillery technique. Perhaps this is true. I've worked considerably with artillery in the past year. Fire direction work is purely mechanical and the responsibilities of vertical computing rests at all times with the officers who check the data before it goes to the guns. The surveying in our guns, and laying them is all done under the officer's close supervision. I take direct issue with Hill on that subject. And let him not preach to me on the accuracy of American bombing. He has been misled and thinks that the beautiful, publicized exception is the rule. Censors won't pass my refutation of that one. (As I read this letter it gets more and more off base).

Is the success of the Russian Army in artillery and technical aspects of mobile warfare due to her great educational system? Is it due to the weapons we sent Stalin as products of our technicians?

Was the guts that held Stalingrad and the military genius that has consistently walloped the Germans a result of taking a semester in mechanical drawing in High School and Sociology in College? I think not. An objective view of mechanical achievements of all Armies certainly doesn't put America at the top of the list. A rating of all plane types shows that England has as many "Bests" as America. For years what had we to compare with the Spitfire? Unquestionably Russia, of all the allies, turns out the finest tanks.

This is common knowledge. British, German, and Russian radios are at Least our equal and in many instances superior.

The greatness of our technicians should have automatically made our stuff vastly better than that produced by anyone in Europe. But it hasn't, strangely.

High Schools and Colleges just don't produce Armies and hence don't win wars.

What does? A variety of obvious things which I needn't enumerate. And a lot of intangibles such as guts, the combat "touch", wholehearted unselfish support of an army by a civilian population and a few others. In none of them have we got the stuff in the quantities that the European Armies have. We've a bunch of military amateurs trying to get by with as little personal sacrifice and effort as possible. No High School or College can give a man the guts and "savvy" of a great soldier.

I could write a lot more but I have to go to work, in a tank with modifications I copied from the British to make it fit for combat.

May 8, 1944
Event World War II
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID RG73.12
Object Name Letter
People Dempsey, George R.
Dempsey, Edward J.
Subjects World War II
Tanks (Military science)
European Theater of Operations
Military art & science
Title Letter
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009