Little is known about most Signal Corps Photographic units that were attached to US Armored and Infantry Divisions. These Signal Photographic Companies were divided into smaller detachments. Detachment No. 6 of the 166th Signal Photographic Company was a group of seven photographers who followed the 5th Division during its combat on the European front, and was is responsible for the many excellent photographs and action pictures appearing on the internet and in several books.

According to the official history of the 5th Infantry Division, the detachment commanded by Lt. Mark A. Freeman, has decorations consisting of 1 Silver Star, 1 Croix de Guerre, 4 purple hearts and 5 bronze star medals.

Detachment No 6, 166th Signal Photographic Company. (NARA through great grandson of Harry E. Stevenson)

Members of the detachment are , left to right, Sgt John T. Raia, Cpl, Gerald V. Horton, Pvt. Robert J. Schneider; rear row, Sgt. Robert R. Brill, Pfc Albert J. Smith, Pvt Henry (Harry) E. Stevenson, Lt. Mark A. Freeman.

Photographs by Lt. Mark A. Freeman O-312369

Lt. Mark A. Freeman was also responsible for the film shot by Detachment No. 6. Below you can find a film produced by Lt. Freeman about the liberation of Angers, France. The cameraman is Willie Breedlove.

Photographs by Pfc Gerald V. Horton, 35530760

Photographs of Albert J. Schneider

Pfc Albert J. Smith & Pvt Harry E. Stevenson

Without the proper archive material it is more difficult to explain the role of Smith and Stevenson. The great grandson of Harry Stevenson contacted me several years ago after spotting Albert Smith on one of the 5th ID photographs. He explained to me that he was both related to Smith and Stevenson. At one point Albert met Stevenson’s sister and the two fell in love. Stevenson and Smith were on good terms, so it all worked out. The great grandson further explained that ‘Harry and Albert were “drivers” in the detachment. They would obviously drive the jeep(s) that hauled the photographers and their equipment. The drivers were also issued Thompson submachine guns and were to provide protection for the photographers if need be. I’m told that the drivers were crucial to the operation of the detachment as a whole.’

Pvt. Albert Smith, a member of the 166th Signal Photographic Company, attached to the 5th Infantry Division, inspects a 5 barreled 21 cm Rocket Launcher “Screaming Meemie” (Nebelwerfer) north of Diekirch near the ‘Kippenhof’ farm, close to the skyline drive.

More interesting information about the Signal Photographic Companies can be found on Facebook. Several great pages exist:

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8 thoughts to “The US 5th Division Photographers – 166th SPC

  • Edgar N Valderrma

    A n official photographer took my picture licking an icicle while walking up frozen river in Luxembourg or maybe Germany. Has anybody seen such a pic & where? I’d like to see it.

    Reply
    • George

      What unit were you with Mr. Valderrma?

      Reply
      • Edgar N Valderrma

        I was in the 3rd army, 5th Div. 11th Reg. 2nd Bat. Co C.

        Reply
        • George

          My wife’s grandfather was in the 2nd Infantry Regiment and we have been trying to learn details of his service. He died January 20, 1945 around the time of the Kippenhof Farm assault (near Dierkirch).

          Reply
          • Edgar N Valderrma

            I remember being in Dierkirk but I was in the 11th Reg.

  • Russ

    Very interesting.

    Reply
  • MICHAEL S GREGORIC

    Great photos Joe !

    Reply
  • Nancy Freeman

    Brilliant work ,Joey, collecting and showing all of this! I am the daughter of Mark A.Freeman❤️

    Reply

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