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-July 31, 1944
13 July 1944
HISTORY - 358th Infantry
During the early morning hours, Lt. Col.'s Clarke and Stilwell discussed the previous day's activities and the activities of the coming day. Both agreed that it is never safe to assume that the enemy has retreated or withdrawn. The Germans, they agreed, were an unpredictable lot and it was always best to play safe. Lt. Col. Stilwell, before he left the CP, stated that we would have mobile showers at PRETOT when we're pinched out.
At 0045, the Artillery was requested to fire phosphorous and artillery on GORGES tonight but the artillery was unable to do so until morning.
Tomorrow's attack will be by 1st Bn with remnants of the 3rd Bn echeloned. There will be doubled AT defense. By 0225, the coordination of boundaries was taken up with the 357th Inf. Frontages were lessened.
At 0255, Lt. Col Clarke telephoned G-3 and pointed out why the plan for the coming day can't work out. He explained that Col. Bacon's 359th is echeloned too far back to make coordination possible. Explained also that the attack was originally planned for a much larger attacking force than we have, and that, with the 359th so far back, the enemy could "walk right in" on the gaps we would leave.
By 0330, the following plan was submitted:
1st Bn jump-off first, with 3rd Bn echeloned to the right rear. 1st Bn to by-pass East of GORGES and attack to SE to Regt'l Obj. Combat patrols to be sent out at daylight for 1000 yards. Artillery preparation on call. H-Hour 0730. LD-present positions. Attack will pass E of GORGES and thence SE to contact 357th.
By 0700, patrols were out. All units were contacted. All units were ready.
By 0755, moved CP.
At 0903, established new CP at [blank]
At 0940, 1st Bn was held up 2000 yards from the LD by heavy MG fire. General Williams arrived at CP. At 1000, German troops were reported behind the 1st BN and also behind the 344th FA. "Roads cleared of mines" overlay was sent to the units concerned. At 1025, 1st Bn was again on the move, but at 1055 they ran into more resistance. Adjacent units were keeping the CP informed of all their movements and this information was passed on to the 358th units. By 1127, the 1st Bn had advanced 300 yards. 1st Bn, through French civilians, learned of forward German gun positions. They were turned over to the Regt'l S-2. The artillery was firing on GORGES only on call.
At 1230, reports that the Germans were mining ammo dumps were received. Units were informed and warned to be cautious.
At 1330, Lt. Donohue reported that the 359th, minus its 3rd Bn, is holding fast and pinching out the 1st Bn 358th. At 1340, 3rd Bn position at CP reported unchanged. The enemy, about a company, not far away. Lt. Col Loomis reported he was using mortars and artillery.
At 1350, Major Seegar (CO 1st Bn) was directed to coordinate with CO 2nd Bn 357th to avoid incorrect artillery concentrations.
At 1400, 1st Bn reported that they were confronted with heavy flat trajectory fire. At 1435, Major Seegar stated he had advanced to within 150 yards of the enemy and was "pouring" RE? and Mortar fire on them. He was also "creeping up" some arty. Smoke enabled Co E, 357th, to cross to GORGES. Now part of the 357th opposition was crossing Major Seagar's front and he "was making targets" of them!
PW's stated that "about 100" Germans wanted to surrender but were afraid to do so. Capt Falvey made arrangements for a loud speaker system to contact them.
At 1525, Lt. Col. Clarke ordered Major Seegar to commit his reserve and push ahead. He then notified artillery of this action and advised them to keep their fire wall in advance of the troops. Division was then notified.
At 1700, 1st Bn reported "some stuff" out in front, but "not much".
The plan was now to use loud speaker on Germans about midnight. If any earlier, German officers and NCO's would "drown it out" with artillery fire. Capt Falvey planned to shoot propaganda leaflets first.
At 1750, word was passed along that ST PATRICE was to be bombed tonight. At 1800 G-3 was given positions of the 1st Bn. Co C was on the black-top. 3rd Bn 358 and 1st Bn 359 reported "no enemy movement". At 1822, 1st Bn CO stated enemy still in position. At 1845, Lt. Col. Stilwell phoned "same objectives - same boundaries". 3rd Bn was notified of 1st Bn positions. Co A advanced 200 yards and took 5 PW's.
At 1850, Major Wallace informed 3rd Bn that they would have 1 Co Medium Tanks atchd tomorrow and advised that they be used as Infantry support weapons.
At 1900, Lt. Col. Bealke arrived at CP and Lt. Col. Clarke explained the whole picture to him. At 1910, Lt. Flynn reported the positions and situation of the 357th Inf. And Lt. Donohue gave the situation of the 359th Inf.
The following information was given to G-2 at 1930:
Co A nearly to stream (270798). They pocketed resistance and captured several PW's. Co B echeloned 150 yards to the left rear. Co C still not committed, 500 yards down the road in the rear of 2nd Bn 359. (A PW stated that there were but a few Germans in GORGES.
At 1954, the situation changed: Co B moved into GORGES. Co A to right rear all around defense in town. By 2020, all of Seegar's Co's across the stream. Permission for all around defense granted. Also told to hold bridgehead, and use radio.
At 2040, Lt. Col. Bealke is going to 3rd Bn soon and relieve Lt. Col. Loomis. General stated 2nd Bn would be returned to 358th tomorrow.
PW's stated that their units to the front had withdrawn without the order to do so. Capt Burns reported that the enemy was digging in. At 2130, Lt. Col. Bealke told Major Seegar to "button up". Lt. Col. Bealke took over the 3rd Bn again.
Plans were now under way for the coming day. Lt. Donohue brought attack orders of the 359th for 14 July 1944.
At 2300, Lt. Clark brought the Division Order. Lt. Col. Loomis back again as Ex Officer. At 2350, Lt. Flynn reported the disposition of the 357th Inf.
During the entire day any movement of the 358th Inf was immediately met with heavy mortar and artillery fire, or small arms and MG fire. The 1st Bn, 358, took the town of GORGES at approximately 2000 hours.
F.O. No. 10
MAPS: FRANCE 1:25,000 G.S.G.S.
1. Division resumes attack. (For boundaries, LD, Phase Lines, and Objs see Opns overlay) No boundary between Bns initially.
2. Regt attacks 0730 in column of Bns echeloned to right rear with 1st Bn leading, 3rd Bn following.
3. a. 1st Bn, from present positions, will attack at 0730, by-passing GORGES to the West and thence attacking to the Regtl Objective.
b. 3rd Bn will initially support the attack by fire from present positions. It will be prepared to advance on orders, echeloned to the right rear of 1st Bn. It will be the Regtl Res.
c. 1st Bn will send out reconnaissance patrols to the Southeast to the high ground across the creek. Patrols will start out at daybreak and will return by 0645.
d. AT Company - SOP. Special attention to the right flank of the Regt. AT defenses will be well forward.
e. Cannon Company - Be prepared to fire on call of 1st and 3rd Bn Comdrs at any time after 0700.
f. Artillery fire will be on call of 1st and 3rd Bn Comdrs.
g. Co A, 86th Cml Bn, will be prepared to fire on call of 1st and 3rd Bn Comdrs. It will provide Ln O's to each of these Bns.
4. No change.
5. No change.
x. Forward Regt'l CP - 254814.
Official: WALLACE S-3
Division released its FO #13, and the order is excerpt below:
Hq. 90th Inf Div
(1) attack within its zone at 141000B and making its main effort on its left, secure Phase Line B
(2) 2d Bn reverts to Regt'l control on order this Hq.
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