"...we captured the guns..."
… June 6, 1944 – D-Day, the ramp of our LCA (# 668) goes down, and I’m the FIRST man in D Co to get shot ! A German machinegun slug hits me in my right side, I then step into the water over my head, and the other guys have to pull me out, and together we just rush toward the base of the cliff that we are supposed to capture … We grab any rope we can get hold of, and up the cliff we go as fast as we can, trying to avoid enemy fire …
1st Lt. Gilbert C. Baugh, O-1296636 (E Co / 2d Bn) was the first person I ran across on top of the cliff . He had also been shot, having his hand almost blown off, and wasn’t in too good a shape . The time must have been around 0730 a.m.. Speed however was of the essence, and D Company, my outfit, had its assignment too … enemy fire was coming from everywhere, from the craters, from the pillboxes, from the bombed casemates … one of my NCOs, T/Sgt Morris N. Webb, ASN 37040361, when charging out of a bomb crater, was suddenly fired on by a machinegun, he jumped back into the crater, and landed right on top of one of his men’s bayonets !
We charged, yelled, and tried to keep low, still being fired upon by the enemy, we jumped from crater to crater, in order to reach the enemy gun positions, our main target (i.e. 5 x 155mm French artillery guns) ! It turned out, there were NO guns in the positions !
We thought about an alternate artillery position, maybe we would hear them, or see them – so the road, behind the cliff, was our next objective . We were supposed to reach the coastal road and set up a roadblock between Vierville-sur-Mer and Grandcamp (to stop any possible German reinforcements, and wait for the link up with the 116th Inf Regt / 29th Inf Div coming from Omaha- Beach), all of a sudden we heard men and vehicles moving, and laid low in a ditch . Since I only had about a dozen men left, attacking those fifty odd Germans was like suicide, besides, we still had a mission to accomplish . The enemy group was moving in the direction of Utah Beach . Then S/Sgt Jack E. Kuhn, ASN 33173086, my Platoon Sergeant (I was Acting Platoon Leader First Sergeant, at the time), discovered some marks in a sunken road that looked like something heavy had gone thru it, so Jack and I decided to get down this sunken road to reconnoiter the area .
2nd Lt Len LOMELL – picture taken in Dec 44
picture of one of the destroyed 155mm guns
T/Sgt Harvey W. Koenig, ASN 36917605, was meanwhile blowing up the telephone poles along the coastal road,
while the other guys of my Platoon were manning the roadblock . Jack and I came upon this kind of draw with camouflage netting and foliage
all over it, and when peeking over this hedgerow, discovered the guns ! This was pure luck, but the ‘missing’ guns were there ! In firing
position, with the necessary ammo piled nearby, everything ready, and pointed at Utah Beach (not, Omaha Beach, as we thought) . There was
nobody around … so, we decided to destroy them . All we had, was a couple of thermite grenades . I approached the first two guns and put a
thermite grenade in each traversing and recoil mechanism , then I destroyed the sights, and we ran back to the road, got all the thermite
grenades that could be spared from the other guys at the roadblock, and rushed back to the abandoned guns ! We just destroyed everyone of
them, without any noise . Then Jack and I decided to get out of there on the double . We traversed the hedgerow and suddenly the whole place
seemed to blow up – I thought it was a short round (14” shell) from the USS Texas, BB35 … BUT no, it was a patrol from
E Co, led by S/Sgt Frank A. Rupinski, ASN 13097753, who had come around to our left, stumbled
onto the enemy ammo depot, and had blown it up ! We went flying, and dust and debris rained on us, so we just ran, head over heels, to the
roadblock . The guns and ammo were now out of action, and it was not yet 0830 a.m.; T/Sgt Harry Fate, ASN 36182049
, volunteered to go back to our boss, Lt. Colonel James E. RUDDER, O-294916 and report ‘mission
accomplished’, while S/Sgt Gordon C. Luning, ASN 12065767, volunteered to take a similar message via a
different route .
(Leonard G. LOMELL, 2nd Lt, D Co, 2d Rngr Inf Bn, USA, O-886900, recollections)
England, early June 1944 – Weymouth Harbor, A Co personnel,
5th Rngr Inf Bn are boarding their British LCAs …
Normandy, June 1944 – after the D-Day landings,
from L > R – Capt John C. RAAEN Jr (CO Hq Co) and
Capt Joseph R. LACY (Chaplain)
… "Dog White Beach" 0750, June 6, 1944 -
we were almost reaching the beach when the coxswain gunned the LCA’s engine and we hit the bottom with a jolt . The ramp dropped and I dashed
out to the right shouting: "Headquarters ! Over here !" . The water wasn’t as high as my boots, the British coxswain
had done a good job ! Ten yards of shallow water to cross under enemy fire . I was now on the beach, it wasn’t sand, but shingle gently
sloping upward . When reaching dry beach there was another 50 feet to the seawall … it was packed with men two and three deep . I looked around,
my men were coming up, dropping to the right and left of me and friendly bodies were strewn all over the beach, from the water’s edge to the
seawall . I looked back at LCA 1377, men were still bolting down the ramp – there was Father Joseph R. LACY
(our Chaplain), he was the last man out . He wasn’t 10 yards from our landing craft, when an enemy artillery shell hit the engine compartment .
Luckily Captain Lacy wasn’t hit, I thought, this was my first ‘dry’ landing, and the British coxswain and petty officer probably paid for it
with their lives … (they did however survive)
(John C. RAAEN Jr, Capt, Hq Co, 5th Rngr Inf Bn, USA, O-25486, recollections)
…I was born in Georgia in 1924 and graduated from High School in June 1942. I had a job in a warehouse in Miami, Florida and in November, several of my
buddies and I decided we would volunteer for the Armed Forces – I was planning to maybe join the Air Corps, but at the Enlistment Office I
read a sign indicating the Army …"offered $ 50.00 a month (jump pay) more to join the Paratroops …" So, why hesitate, I surely could use
the money, so I joined the Airborne on November 25, 1942 ! I left the Camp Blanding ‘Induction Center’, Starke, Fla (IRTC with a
troop capacity of 2,157 Officers & 58,570 EM) . I then got transferred to Camp Toccoa, Toccoa, Ga (Basic TC),
where I joined the 501st PIR (the new unit, not the one that moved to Panama) end November 1942 . As I later
contracted pneumonia, I think it must have been either January or February 1943, I was laid up for some weeks, thus missing some of the
valuable training, and eventually got transferred out of the Airborne . I then joined the 26th Infantry Division
(Massachusetts National Guard unit) and I kept on moving from place to place, first Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC
(ITC), followed by Camp Gordon, Augusta, Ga (Division Camp), it was there that I saw an ad stating that the
Rangers were looking for men ! I signed up, and became a Pfc with the Rangers … in September 1943 .
My job was that of 60mm Mortar Gunner . Most of the Rangers I learned to know, had a good reason to get out of the ‘chicken-shit’ unit they were in . Being a Ranger, you were at least treated like men and respected by the Officers ! That certainly was not the case in the 26th Inf Div ! In the US we were trained by veterans of the 1st Ranger Battalion and by men who had not only seen combat, but had participated in the invasion of North Africa and Italy . Prior to the Invasion of France, we also trained with British Commandos in England and Scotland .
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, I was a Mortar Squad Leader in C Co, and fought the rest of the war with the 5th Rngr Inf Bn, in all of its major campaigns . C Company played a vital role in clearing the way for the use of the Vierville-sur-Mer beach exit ! We lost many good men in Normandy ! Then followed the Brittany campaign and the battle for Brest . I was hospitalized in November 1944 and forced to leave the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion because of medical reasons . I received an Honorable Discharge on February 20, 1945 .
(Thomas E. HERRING, Pfc, C Co, 5th Rngr Inf Bn, First US Army, USA, 14085673, recollections)
picture taken in 1944
My first meeting with Ranger Tom Herring took place in 1994, the town was Grandcamp-Maisy, France, and a group of Ranger
Veterans was on site for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day . I also had the privilege to personally
meet other Rangers, such as Len Lomell and others . After this very first interview, more correspondence was exchanged in 1998 and 1999; and
we again met at Grandcamp-Maisy in June 1999 – this proved quite special . Being there with a mixed group of re-enactors portraying
D Co / 5th Rngr Inf Bn, I clearly remember Tom inspecting us; we stood in line while he personally walked by, gently firing away
remarks about some pieces of equipment that we did not exactly carry as on D-Day, and correcting our individual impression . We further
discussed various aspects of his military career, and D-Day of course, until Tom and his busload of fellow Veterans and next-of-kin drove
off, for another ceremony, leaving us in front of the Hôtel Du Guesclin …
Tom and I carried on further correspondence in 2000 and later, and we had planned to meet at Vierville-sur-Mer in June 2004, where we were setting up a large US Base Camp . Unfortunately, our rendez-vous did not take place, and we reverted to writing . The notes I had already taken finally resulted in a rather short Testimony, but they will be treasured, because like the other reminiscences, they come from a true Vet ! Tom Herring passed away on May 30, 2005 - Rangers … lead the way !
… I was born in 1920, and graduated from West Point MA in 1943 . After attending
The Infantry School, I was assigned to the 254th Infantry Regiment, 63d Infantry Division
(activated 15 June 1943, at Cp. Blanding, Starke, Fla. IRTC, and trained under VII and III Corps) . I only joined the Rangers later, being
assigned to E Company, 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion, with which I fought in the E.T.O. during WWII . My
campaigns included the D-Day landings in June 1944, the Battle for Brest, Brittany, in August 1944, and the operations in Germany, December
1944 – March 1945 .
I remember the Brittany Operation quite well, one of the toughest fights was for ‘Fort du Portzic’, it stood opposite the tip of the Crozon peninsula, one of the numerous defensive positions outside the Port of Brest, where the garrison continued to resist, although bombed on a daily basis by US artillery and fighter-bombers . It overlooked Brest and its naval installations and was a very important position in the city’s defense . The area around Brest was indeed covered by mutually supporting pillboxes and casemates, and its MLR was based on a system of strongpoints, old forts, artillery and antiaircraft artillery, defensive installations and earthworks . In August 1944, “Festung Brest” consisted of approximately 32,000 men under overall command of General der Fallschirmtruppe Hermann B. RAMCKE (1889-1968) who defended the sector from August 7 to September 19, 1944 . August 29, 1944, VIII Corps requested Rangers for the operation against Brest, and our Battalion was split up into two groups; A and C Companies were attached to the 2d Inf Div to provide flank security and man defensive positions; under command of Captain Hugo W. Heffelfinger, O-416865, E Company (my outfit) was to be responsible for maintaining contact and links between the 2d and 8th Inf Divs, while the rest of the Battalion operated with the 29th Inf Div . Major Richard P. SULLIVAN, O-399856 was in overall command of the Rangers . Aggressive reconnaissance, patrolling, and probing were the main activities . After September 4, A – C - and E Cos were relieved of their initial attachments and rejoined the Battalion . We had to seize high ground and constantly move forward in order to capture and hold these grounds for additional actions against the numerous defense installations … in most cases, this could only be achieved with help of air support and tanks … of course the German responded effectively with counterattacks and heavy artillery fire … another means of advance was moving under cover of darkness, yet, still being subjected to withering enemy machinegun and artillery fire – moving was then done without any digging, so as to avoid any noise, quickly reconnoitering the area, and getting ready for another jump-off, next morning . Advancing across open ground proved very treacherous, because of the relentless enemy fire, but had to be done, with or without friendly air support .
partial aerial view of Fort du Portzic – July 1944
Click image to enlarge
after capture, elements of E Co posing with captured nazi flag
Click image to enlarge
September 17 – while operating to the right of the 116th Inf Regt / 29th Inf Div, the
5th Rangers were assigned the critical mission of knocking out and securing the five forts protecting ‘Fort du Portzic’ . A platoon
of E Company, under 1st Lieutenant Richard H. Aust, O-1316362, attacked one of the five pillboxes with TD
back-up . Demolition charges were placed in the embrasures of the pillbox, and after the charge was blown, it was found to have had absolutely
no effect at all ! These fortifications (old French-built defenses) had been constructed to withstand any possible attack ! We discussed and
tried to find additional ways to overcome this formidable obstacle … At 2140 hours, it was our turn . I was to lead another patrol (pertaining
to E Co) consisting of eleven men, up to the same pillbox . We carried two 40-lb demo charges and another
50-lb charge, including 20 gallons of a gasoline and heavy oil mixture . We approached the pillbox cautiously, placed the charges around it,
and started pouring our mixture into the air vents, then we all took cover … an enormous explosion followed at 2210 and the pillbox erupted
in bright flames, illuminating the area all around, while we watched full of awe … it had worked ! Our patrol returned safely, not one man
was lost !
Next morning, September 18, 1944, all remaining defenses of Brest surrendered . The pillbox, we had successfully destroyed, was thoroughly searched, and seventeen dead Germans were found inside . Apparently the successful attack and subsequent explosion must have severely demoralized the enemy …
The battle for Brest was over – another job well done – but over a hundred Rangers never returned …
(James F. GREENE Jr, 1st Lt, E Co, 5th Rngr Inf Bn, USA, O-2590001, recollections)
5th Ranger elements near Brest, Brittany, August 17, 1944
Click image to enlarge
postwar picture of Col. J.F. GREENE Jr.
Click image to enlarge
Being a member of ASMIC (American Society of Military Insignia Collectors), I contacted Colonel J.F. Greene
Jr., for the first time in 1984 ! I was then, as a US Army WWII Collector, very much interested in learning more about the
Rangers and the Airborne, this was indeed a golden opportunity, since Col. Greene was not only
President of ASMIC (he joined in 1947), but also a 5th Ranger Veteran ! We
continued writing in 1985, 1986 and got briefly back in touch during 1992 … in the meantime, we exchanged some views, data, and reminiscences
about World War II, the campaigns in which the Rangers participated, not only Normandy, but also Brittany, and Germany . Col. James Greene
survived the Omaha-Beach landing, the battle for Brest, Hill 400, and the bitter fighting for the Irsch-Zerf road . I later contacted ‘Jimmy’
again, but could not get a reply to my letters . When trying to reach him once more, via the ASMIC Board of Directors, I sadly found out he
passed away in June 2003 – Rangers … lead the way !
5th RANGER INFANTRY BATTALION
Constituted July 21, 1943 in the Army of the United States as the 5th Ranger Battalion . Redesignated 5th Rngr Inf Bn August 1, 1943 . Only activated on September 1, 1943 at Cp Forrest, Tullahoma, Tennessee . 34 Officers and 563 Enlisted Men joined the Battalion over the next three days .Major Owen H. CARTER was the Battalion CO, while Captain Richard P. SULLIVAN was the Executive Officer . After four months of strenuous training in the ZI, the 5th finally shipped out of New York P/E January 8, 1944 abord HMS Mauritania, docking at Liverpool, England, January 17 . Training resumed in England, followed by Commando training in Scotland . From Scotland, it went back to England to the Assault Training Center, Woolacombe Sands . Major Max SCHNEIDER joined the Battalion at the ATC as the new Commander . The 5th Rangers having prepared for assault against the French coast, now moved to Weymouth Harbor on June 1, 1944, to start boarding the Invasion ships .The 5th assaulted Omaha-Beach West, June 6, 1944 and was only relieved on D 3, after Battalion elements attacked and captured Grandcamp-les-Bains and Maisy . The Invasion cost was heavy, 114 casualties or 22% losses ! On August 29, elements pertaining to A, C, and E Cies relieved part of the 2d Inf Div northwest of Brest, and the Rangers now started their Brittany campaign . Casualties for this particularly campaign were 156 or 37.5% losses . The 5th Rngr Inf Bn then moved into Belgium and Luxembourg finally receiving some well-earned respite .On November 7, 1944 the Rangers were attached to Third Army’s 6th Cav Gp (‘Patton’s Eyes and Ears’) and started campaigning for the Saar . Aggressive patrolling and bloody firefights followed on a regular basis, with heavy losses and but few replacements to bring the Battalion back to its original T/O & E strength … On March 6, 1945 the 5th Rangers were moved to Luxembourg for a partial rebuild, accepting 191 replacements to add to the survivors . Mid March, another activity awaited the Rangers, that of participating in Military Government for a number of German towns and localities .The 5th returned to the States, and was inactivated October 22, 1944 at Cp Myles Standish, Boston, Massachusetts (staging area for Boston P/E, troop capacity, 1,298 Officers and 23,100 Enlisted Men) . Campaigns; Normandy (6 Jun 44 > 24 Jul 44) Northern France (25 Jul 44 > 14 Sep 44) Rhineland (15 Sep 44 > 21 Mar 45) Ardennes-Alsace (16 Dec 44 > 25 Jan 45) Central Europe (22 Mar 45 > 11 May 45) . Special awards; PUC (Army) with Battle Streamer embroidered “Pointe-du-Hoc” French Croix-de-Guerre, and PUC (Army) with Battle Streamer embroidered “Saar River Area”
PROVISIONAL RANGER GROUP
In view of the coming Invasion of the continent, i.e.“Operation OVERLORD”, the Group was formed in England on May 9, 1944 . It consisted of both the 2d and 5th Ranger Infantry Battalions under overall command of Lt. Colonel James E. RUDDER . It further included 2 Naval Shore Fire Control Parties (NFSCP) and 1 Air Liaison Party . Although technically subordinated to the 116th RCT, the elements of the Group were also to fight their own separate battles . The Provisional Ranger Group was subdivided into three main operational groups; Force “A” 2d Rngr Inf Bn – E Co, F Co, D Co, under command of Lt. Col. James RUDDER for assault of Pointe-du-Hoc, Force “B” 2d Rngr Inf Bn – C Co, under command of Capt. Ralph GORANSON for assault of CHARLIE Beach (Omaha-West), and Force “C” 2d Rngr Inf Bn – A Co, B Co, 5th Rngr Inf Bn under command of Lt. Col. Max SCHNEIDER for assault of part of Omaha-Beach West . Radio Callsigns for the various units involved were; MASTER (First US Army) DANGER (1st Infantry Division) LATITUDE (29th Infantry Division) MARS (Provisional Engineer Special Brigade) MARBLE (5th Engineer Special Brigade) MENTOR (6th Engineer Special Brigade) VETERAN (2d Ranger Infantry Battalion) and VAT (5th Ranger Infantry Battalion)
1st RANGER INFANTRY BATTALION
Consituted May 27, 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 1st Ranger Battalion . Activated on June 19, 1942 at Carrickfergus, Sunnyland Camp, Northern Ireland . It was subsequently redesignated 1st Rngr Inf Bn August 1, 1943 and transported to North Africa where it arrived November 8, 1942, being assigned to II Corps . It further participated in the Sicily campaign, where it landed on July 9, 1943 . The 1st Rangers then fought in Italy, landed at Salerno, 9 September 1943, and also fought the battle for Anzio January 31, 1944, where it was annihilated ! The few surviving elements were returned to the ZI course of April 1944 . The unit was disbanded August 15, 1944 . Campaigns; Algeria-French Morocco (8 Nov 42 > 11 Nov 42), ) Tunisia (17 Nov 42 > 13 May 43), Sicily (9 Jul 43 > 17 Aug 43), Naples-Foggia (9 Sep 43 > 21 Jan 44), Anzio (22 Jan 44 > 24 May 44), Rome-Arno (22 Jan 44 > 9 Sep 44) . Special awards; PUC (Army) with Battle Streamer embroidered “El Guettar” PUC (Army) with Battle Streamer embroidered “Salerno”
2d RANGER INFANTRY BATTALION
Constituted March 11, 1943 in the Army of the United States as the 2d Ranger Battalion . Activated on April 1, 1943 at Cp Forrest, Tullahoma, Tennessee (Infantry Division Camp, troop capacity, 1,886 Officers and 32,368 EM) . Redesignated 2d Rngr Inf Bn August 1, 1943 . It departed NY P/E November 23, 1943 with destination England, where it arrived November 29, 1943 . Elements of the 2d Rangers assaulted Pointe-du-Hoc and Omaha-Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944 . It participated in the various campaigns throughout the ETO . In August 1945, its location was Dol Lukavice, Czechoslovakia . The unit returned to the States and arrived at HR P/E October 22, 1945 . It was then transferred to Cp Patrick Henry, Oriana, Virginia (staging area for Hampton Roads P/E, troop capacity, 1,621 Officers and 22,916 EM) where it was inactivated on October 23 . Campaigns; Normandy (6 Jun 44 > 24 Jul 44) Northern France (25 Jul 44 > 14 Sep 44) Rhineland (15 Sep 44 > 21 Mar 45) Ardennes-Alsace (16 Dec 44 > 25 Jan 45) Central Europe (22 Mar 45 > 11 May 45) . Special awards; PUC (Army) with Battle Streamer embroidered “Pointe-du-Hoc” French Croix-de-Guerre
3d RANGER INFANTRY BATTALION
The 3d Ranger Battalion (Provisional) was activated on May 21, 1943 at Nemours, French Morocco . Only constituted July 21, 1943 in the Army of the United States . Redesignated 3d Rngr Inf Bn August 1, 1943 . It arrived in North Africa, May 21, 1943 and was later transferred to Sicily August 1, 1943. In Italy, all three active Ranger Battalions, i.e. the 1st, 3d and 4th were grouped under a temporary unit known as the 6615th Ranger Force (Provisional) which came into being January 16, 1944 under command of Colonel William O. DARBY (XO > Captain Herman W. DAMMER) . It also fought in Italy where it debarked September 9, 1943 . In 1944, it was almost destroyed as a fighting unit in Italy, during the heavy fighting for the Anzio Beachhead, January 31, 1944 . The rest of the unit was returned to the ZI, where it arrived on April 15, 1944 . The 3d Rangers was subsequently disbanded August 15, 1944 . Campaigns; Sicily (9 Jul 43 > 17 Aug 43) Naples-Foggia (9 Sep 43 > 21 Jan 44) Anzio (22 Jan 44 > 24 May 44), Rome-Arno (22 Jan 44 > 9 Sep 44) . Special award; PUC (Army) with Battle Streamer embroidered “Salerno”
4th RANGER INFANTRY BATTALION
The 4th Ranger Battalion (Provisional) was activated on May 29, 1943 at Nemours, French Morocco . Only constituted July 21, 1943 in the Army of the United States . Redesignated 4th Rngr Inf Bn August 1, 1943 . It arrived in North Africa, May 29, 1943, transported into Sicily July 9, 1943, and later landed in Italy September 9, 1943. Being almost decimated after the battle for Anzio, the 4th was returned to the ZI, where it was disbanded at Cp Butner, Durham, North Carolina (Division Camp, troop capacity, 2,403 Officers and 41,700 EM) on October 24, 1944. Campaigns; Sicily (9 Jul 43 >17 Aug 43) Naples-Foggia (9 Sep 43 > 21 Jan 44) Anzio (22 Jan 44 > 24 May 44) Rome-Arno (22 Jan 44 > 9 Sep 44)
Remark : the 6th Ranger Battalion did NOT fight in the European Theater ! It was constituted December 16, 1940 as the 98th Fld Arty Bn and activated on January 20, 1941 at Ft Lewis, Tacoma, Washington (AGF Training Center, troop capacity, 3,542 Officers and 63,727 EM) . Converted and redesignated 6th Rngr Inf Bn September 25, 1944 at Hollandia, New Guinea . The 6th was later transferred to the Philippines where it arrived on October 17, 1944 . 107 Rangers belonging to C and E Cies, helped by Filipino scouts and guerrillas were instrumental in liberating American PWs from Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines, during a raid which took place January 27, 1945 . The 6th Rngr Inf Bn was finally inactivated December 30, 1945 in Japan . It participated in following campaigns; New Guinea (24 Jan 43 > 31 Dec 44) Leyte (17 Oct 44 > 1 Jul 45) and Luzon (15 Dec 44 > 4 Jul 45) . Special awards; PUC (Army) with Battle Streamer embroidered “Cabu-Luzon” (C Co, 6th Rngr Inf Bn only), Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, with Battle Streamer embroidered “17 October 1944 to July 4, 1945”
26th INFANTRY DIVISION "YANKEE"
Inducted into Federal service in Boston, Massachusetts as the 26th Division (Massachusetts National Guard unit) on January 16, 1941 . The Division moved to Cp. Edwards, Massachusetts January 21 and later transferred to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina for the October and November 1941 Carolina Maneuvers . It returned to Cp. Edwards December 6, where it was redesignated 26th Infantry Division February 12, 1942 . Then came A.P. Hill Mil Res, Virginia July 9 and Ft. Dupont, Delaware October 9, 1942; followed by Ft. Jackson, South Carolina January 27 and Cp. Gordon,Georgia April 18, 1943 . The Yankee Division moved to Cp. Campbell, Kentucky September 1, 1943 and participated in the Second Army No. 5 Tennessee Maneuvers in January 1944 . After returning to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, March 30, the Division finally staged at Cp. Shanks, N.Y., August 20, until it departed the ZI via New York P/E August 27, 1944 . It landed in France September 7 and crossed into Luxembourg December 19 ; due to the German counter-offensive the 26th Inf Div had to regroup and maintain defensive positions, before recapturing Wiltz January 22, 1945, and proceeding to the Rhine River which it reached March 21 . With help of the 4th Armored Division and support of the 11th Armored Division, the Division eventually reached the Thüringer Wald April 10, 1945 . The 26th Inf Div crossed the Austrian border May 1, now trailing the 11th Armd Div, and assisted in the capture of Linz May 4 . When hostilities ended on May 7, 1945, it had already crossed into Czechoslovakia . The Yankee Division was inactivated in Germany December 29, 1945 .
Commanders : MG Roger W. Eckfeldt (Jan 41), MG Willard S. Paul (Aug 43) and MG Harlan N. Hartness (Jun 45) . Organization : 101st Inf Regt, 104th Inf Regt, 328th Inf Regt, 101st Fld Arty Bn, 180th Fld Arty Bn, 263rd Fld Arty Bn, 102nd Fld Arty Bn, 26th Rcn Tp, Mecz, 101st Engr Cbt Bn, 114th Med Bn, 26th CIC Det, MP Pltn, 726th Ord Lt Maint Co, 39th Sig Co, 26th QM Co attached units . Campaigns : Northern France – Rhineland – Ardennes-Alsace – Central Europe .
501st PARACHUTE INFANTRY REGIMENT
New 1st Bn activated and consolidated with the 501st Prcht Bn at Cp. Toccoa, Georgia 15 November 1942, and assigned to Airborne Command 15 December 1942 . The new 501st Prcht Inf Regt (Separate) moved to Ft. Benning, Georgia on 23 March 1943 and further to Cp. Mackall, North Carolina 13 April 1943 where it was assigned to the 2nd Airborne Brigade on 3 September of the same year . The Regiment now staged at Cp. Myles Standish, Massachusetts 2 January 1944 until ready to leave for overseas via Boston P/E January 18 . It arrived in England 31 January 1944 and was attached to the 101st Airborne Division from 1 May 1944 onward in view of Operation Overlord (it remained attached to the 101st Abn Div until past 9 May 1945) . The 501st air-assaulted Normandy, France 6 June 1944; it returned to England 13 July and prepared for future airborne operations . On 17 September 1944, it assaulted Nijmegen, Holland . After this operation, it moved to the Rheims area, France, 28 November 1944 for rest and rehabilitation . At the outbreak of the German counter-offensive in the Bulge, 16 December 1944, it was sent to Belgium, as part of the SHAEF reserves, to counter the enemy, and got surrounded in Bastogne ! After their heroic stand, as members of the “Battered Bastards of Bastogne” the Regiment entered Germany 4 April 1945 … the 501st was eventually inactivated in Germany 20 August 1945 .
radio callsign : KLONDIKE
nickname : none
motto : Geronimo
D.I. : on a silver shield, a dark blue Ojibway thunderbird garnished transparent red, a dark blue scroll with motto Geronimo in silver, approved 9 April 1941 for 501st Prcht Bn, and approved 8 July 1943 for 501st Prcht Inf Regt
campaigns : Normandy (with arrowhead), Rhineland (with arrowhead), Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
special awards : Distinguished Unit Badge to 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment with streamer embroidered “Normandy”, French Croix de Guerre with Palm streamer embroidered “Normandy”, Netherlands Orange Lanyard, Distinguished Unit Badge to 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment with streamer embroidered “Bastogne”, Belgian Fourragère and Citations in the Orders of the Day of the Belgian Army for actions at “Bastogne” and in “France and Belgium”
63rd INFANTRY DIVISION “BLOOD AND FIRE”
Activated June 15, 1943 at Cp. Blanding, Florida – trained under VII and III Corps . The Division moved to Cp. Van Dorn, Mississippi August 22, 1943 and trained there under IX and XXI Corps . The 63d Infantry Division staged at Cp. Shanks, New York December 28, 1944 until it departed from N.Y. P/E January 5, 1945 . Advance elements already arrived in Marseille, S. France December 8, 1944 and participated in the drive on the Rhine, the defense of the Vosges and the Maginot Line area, while the remainder of the Division only landed in France January 14, 1945 .
Initially only conducting patrolling activity until mid February, the 63d renewed its vigorous attacks against the West Wall near Saarbrücken and entered Germany March 20 . It crossed the Rhine River March 28, 1945, relieved the 44th Infantry Division, crossed the Neckar, and reached Heidelberg ; it then continued its advance, behind the 10th Armored Division for a while, crossing rivers and seizing bridges, while actively pursuing the enemy . The 63d Inf Div finally reached the Danube River April 25, 1945 . The Division was relieved three days later and subsequently withdrawn from the line . Its main job was now security duty from the Rhine to Darmstadt and Würzburg on a line to Stuttgart and Speyer, when hostilities ended on May 7, 1945 … The Division returned to the ZI arriving at Boston P/E September 26, 1945 . It was inactivated at Cp. Myles Standish, Massachusetts, September 27, 1945 . Commanders : MG Louis E. Hibbs (Jun 43) and BG Frederick M. Harris (Aug 45) . Organization : 253rd Inf Regt, 254th Inf Regt, 255th Inf Reg, 718th Fld Arty Bn, 861st Fld Arty Bn, 862nd Fld Arty Bn, 863rd Fld Arty Bn, 63rd Rcn Tp, Mecz, 263rd Engr Cbt Bn, 363rd Med Bn, 63rd CIC Det, MP Pltn, 763rd Ord Lt Maint Co, 563rd Sig Co, 63rd QM Co, attached units . Campaigns : Rhineland – Central Europe .
29th INFANTRY DIVISION “BLUE AND GRAY”
Inducted into Federal service February 3, 1941 at Washington D.C. (Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia National Guard units), as the 29th Division and moved immediately to Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland . Relocated to A.P. Hills Military Reserve, Virginia September 14 and to the Carolina Maneuver area September 29 . The Division participated in both the October and November 1941 Carolina Maneuvers . It returned to Ft. George G. Meade December 9, 1941 where it was redesignated 29th Infantry Division March 12, 1942 . It participated in the VI Corps Carolina Maneuvers July 9, and left A.P. Hills Mil Res to move to Cp. Blanding, Florida where it arrived August 15, 1942 . The “Blue and Gray” finally staged at Cp. Kilmer, New Jersey September 20, and departed N.Y. P/E October 5, 1942 . It arrived in England October 11, and after severe and repeated training, assaulted Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 ! One of its Regiments, the 116th was temporarily attached to the 1st Infantry Division with which it stormed Omaha Beach . It further relieved the 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion at Pointe-du-Hoc . Isigny, Vire, St. Lô, were bitterly fought over and eventually captured . The 29th further took part in the battle for Brest . It crossed into Holland September 27, 1944 and into Germany October 6, 1944 . After some heavy fighting in the Roer, Muenchen-Gladbach fell on March 1 ; in April 1945, the Division assisted the 5th Armored Division and reached the Elbe River . Late on May 2, 1945, Division patrols established contact with advancing Soviet forces . The 29th Inf Div then moved to Bremen for Military Government duty May 6, 1945 . The Division returned to the States, arriving at NY P/E January 16, 1946 and moved to Cp. Kilmer, New Jersey, where it was inactivated January 17, 1946 .
Commanders : MG Milton A. Reckord (Feb 41), MG Leonard T. Gerow (Feb 42) and MG Charles H. Gerhardt (Jul 43) . Organization : 115th Inf Regt, 116th Inf Regt, 175th Inf Regt, 110th Fld Arty Bn, 111th Fld Arty Bn, 224th Fld Arty Bn, 227th Fld Arty Bn, 29th Rcn Tp, Mecz, 121st Engr Cbt Bn, 104th Med Bn, 29th CIC Det, MP Pltn, 729th Ord Lt Maint Co, 29th Sig Co, 29th QM Co, attached units . Campaigns : Normandy – Northern France – Rhineland – Central Europe .