Episode 003: Preserving the Legacy the Spearhead Doughboys

Clyde Grubb (left) and Dan Langhans (right) at the Company A reunion in South Carolina in 2005. (Photo Credit: Dan Langhans)
Lewis Langhans (left), Dan’s father, with an unidentified soldier in Germany circa late 1945. The 3rd Armored Division patch on his right shoulder denotes combat service with that unit. (Photo Credit: Dan Langhans)

Dan Langhans is the editor of a monthly historical newsletter called The Spearhead Doughboy. The Spearhead Doughboy promotes the World War II service history of Company A, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division. This newsletter project has been in continuous publication since the 1980s after it was started by the World War II veterans of Company A. The efforts to establish this newsletter and associated unit archive are some of the main stories we’ll explore in this episode.

What You’ll Get From This Episode

Dan talks about who his father Lewis Langhans was growing up and what were the circumstances of him joining the service during World War II.

Dan shares stories of what it was like growing up with his father and how lucky he was to have such caring and loving parents.

Not knowing much about his father Lewis’ service during World War II, Dan shares what information he was able to find out over years of conducting research about his father’s experiences. He would eventually learn that his father served in two different units while serving overseas, the 3rd Armored Division and the 1st Armored Division.

After his father’s death, Dan learned that Lewis was assigned to Company A, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division for part of his overseas service. Company A veterans have been getting together for reunions since the 1980s.

Dan discusses attending his first Company A reunion and the great impact it has had on his life.

Company A veterans produce a monthly newsletter titled The Spearhead Doughboy that highlights the unit’s participation in World War II. Dan discusses the background of this newsletter and how he came about eventually taking over the duties of Editor.

Dan provides an overview of Company A’s history in World War II from their inception in Louisiana in 1940 through the end of war.

Dan talks about some of the projects he’s been able to accomplish in capturing, preserving, and sharing the World War II history of Company A.

Dan shares with us a story of how the stories collected over the years have helped family members of Company A veterans learn more about their relative’s experiences.

Dan reflects on his time connecting with the Company A veteran “family” and explains how he believes his efforts at preserving and sharing their history are replicable for anyone with the motivation to take on such a project.

Resources for Topics Discussed in the Episode

Spearhead in the West. An outstanding history of the 3rd Armored Division’s participation in World War II from its formation in Louisiana to the unit’s deactivation in 1945 produced by the Division at the end of the war. Original copies and a later modern reprint can be found for sale online. A few public and college libraries scanned a copy of the original and have posted it online for the public.

3rd Armored Division History Foundation. An online archive of the 3rd Armored Division covering World War II, the Cold War, and Desert Storm.

Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II. New York Times best-selling author Adam Makos tells the engaging story behind the most famous tank duel of World War II. Company A veteran, Malcolm Marsh, Jr., is one of the key supporting characters profiled in this book.

3rd Armored Division Association Archives. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign holds the 3rd Armored Division Association Archives and is a valuable resource for research, especially studies involving the actions of the 3rd Armored Division and the First Army. The wide range of items donated by veterans of all units within the division has made the Association archives a comprehensive historical record of one of the finest U.S. army divisions in World War II.

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