Major Robert F. Burns

90th Division, U.S. Army


War Letters from Europe

Normandy to Germany

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358th Infantry Typed History

July 9, 1944
July 10, 1944
July 11, 1944
July 12, 1944
July 13, 1944
July 14, 1944
July 15, 1944
July 16, 1944
July 17, 1944
July 18, 1944
July 19, 1944
July 20, 1944
July 21, 1944
July 22, 1944
July 23, 1944
July 24, 1944
July 25, 1944
July 26, 1944
July 27, 1944
July 28, 1944
July 29, 1944
July 30, 1944
July 31, 1944

358th Infantry Typed History

July 9-July 31, 1944

12 July 1944

HISTORY - 358th Infantry

The attack at 0800 met little physical resistance. However, stiff resistance in the form of Mortars, 88's and Machine guns met our leading elements at 1300. The Germans were stubbornly defending their new line. Many hasty mine fields were encountered. Some were in pattern and others were just scattered. Interdiction of the roads by 250mm was reported throughout the day. Stubborn and hard fighting was encountered until the close of the day.

By 0108 the 3d Bn reported that they were practically in Lastelle. The CO's were directed to work out defensive fires. At 0245, 3d Bn was in Lastelle. All units now submitted their front lines. Front lines of adjacent units were also called for and received. 3d Bn reported its strength as six (6) officers and 135 EM. All information was relayed to G-3.

At 0815 the news and whereabouts of the 1st Bn was unknown. They had jumped-off but were out of contact. 3d Bn reported they have 193 officers and men.

At 0835 General Landrum was notified that "straggler parties" were out. He was also informed that the 1st Bn affected their relief of 2d Bn 359 without incident.

At 0840: "No enemy in front of us - will keep moving ahead. Patrols out. No firing ahead." This was from CO 3d Bn. "350 yards beyond LD-abreast of the 359". This was from the CO 1st Bn.

At 0910 Lt. Col. Loomis reported mortar fire in Lastelle, also that he was 200 yards past the town. 1st Bn had moved 400 yards and was abreast of 2d Bn 357.

At 0920 the 1st and 3d Bns, 358, were abreast. At 1053 3d Bn reported they were on phase line "C" and still moving.

At 1115 G-3 ordered the 358 to proceed to objective "C" and halt there, on the SE of the objective. By 1142 1st Bn was on Phase line "D" and 3d Bn was 100 yards short of objective.

The Regimental CP now moved forward. Position 260614. At 1227 Lt. Col. Clarke left for Lastelle. 3d Bn was reorganizing and about to move forward and was receiving mortar and artillery fire and was meeting some physical resistance.

By 1334 3d Bn was in La Valaisserie.[?] 2d Bn sweeping down on Beau Coudray.

1400 and 3d Bn again pushing forward. At 1538 the Regimental Boundaries were extended.

By 1710 1st Bn had patrols out "scouting". Major Gelhson ordered artillery fire. At 1727 the 3d Bn was counter-attacked! 1st Bn was attacked on the right flank. "A" Co. was in Gorges and between the Bn and the enemy! The counter-attack, though short, was vicious, but the enemy was repulsed and the regiment again moved forward.

At 1940 tanks were spotted. Capt Spelce, AT CO, was notified and he "went" after them. 3d Bn was reorganizing. 3d Bn was now down to three Letter Co. Officers! And no replacements were available! The relief of the 3d Bn was now underway.

2005 and Lt. Pyes, Ex. O. Regt'l Hq Co., reported that Capt Spelce, AT CO, and one of his sergeants had been hit by a sniper. By 2137 3d Bn was organized and in position with right on the Regimental Boundary. 1st Bn was moving to the right to tie-in. The 3d Bn was unable to advance further. It could, however, split its force into two strongholds. 3d Bn ordered to hold the road. The 1st Bn was directed to protect cross roads and avenues by a series of strong points. The Commanding General directed Lt. Col. Loomis to "secure cross road where you are, provide all around defensive position--particularly south. Use strong AT measures, to the S and SE."

Lt. Col Clarke now conferred with Lt. Grubbs, actg AT CO, about the AT defenses.

At 2303 - H-Hour to be 0730!

Plans were now discussed by the Regimental Commander and the S-3, and were drawn up for the coming day.

And so the Main Line of Resistance of the enemy was crumbled to dust, and its defenders scattered literally to the four winds!

For what the 358th Infantry accomplished during the days 8-9-10-11-12 July it and its Commanders should and very likely will, go down in History. The Battle of the Foret de Mont Castre, and its truly remarkable defense, was now a thing of the past.

Let it be noted that it was here, in this very forest, that Caesar, way back BC, gave the Gauls such a beating --his cry was "I came, I saw, I conquered!" And the 358th Infantry also came--and its cry was "Peragimus!"

13 July 1944

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