About This Project . . .
Longneck is the story of the 274th Armored Field Artillery Battalion during World War II. Serving as a Captain in General Patton's US 3rd Army, my grandfather fought along side the other brave men of the 274th during the Battle of the Bulge. Upon his return to the states, he set out to write down the experiences while overseas. What began as a personal project to preserve family history has grown to sharing this knowledge with others as well as finally locating surviving members of the 274th.
The original Longneck book was privately printed in 1946 by R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company (The Lakeside Press, Chicago). In an attempt to have additional copies printed up, I contacted the printing company. I was told that at the time, R. R. Donnelley only had two printing plants, one in Chicago and one in Crawfordsville. The book was printed using letterpress plates (which they no longer have or use) as oppossed to film. So they had no record of the printing and recommended another source to have additional copies made.
Rather than allow Kinkos to butcher a copy just for the sake of making more, I opted to recreate the book digitally. I figured if my grandmother could type the book using her typewriter, surely I could do the same with today's technology. I proceeded to recreate the book and tried to maintain the original formatting as it was originally laid out. The main difficulty being some of the graphics that were in the book, namely the 2 page illustrated map (I have since recreated this as well but it is not included in the downloadable version of the book).
I first set out merely to preserve some of my family history, but it quickly turned into something much more. Now there is this website, which shares the story of the 274th with the world. At one point, I was able to send out copies of the book to anyone who had asked and mailed copies to the United States, Europe, and even Australia. Due to cost constraints, the book is now only available via this website in the "Your Copy" section. It includes the original book, in it's entirety, the full roster,a list of ribbons, a list of units supported and reinforced by the 274th, rounds fired per battery per month, rounds fired by battalion per month, and commendations.
This has been a very rewarding project to become involved in. I am happy to report that several people are actually able to find some lost family history from the site, as well as reunite with fellow battalion members at the reunion.
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