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
24 July 1944
HISTORY - 358th Infantry
At 0108 the 3rd Bn, still occupying a defensive sector, reported considerable motor movement on the Island. As to the situation, the Bn reported but little shelling and no casualties. However, at 0220 L Co reported a shelling and three casualties.
At 0300, G-3 was notified of the activities. 3rd Bn Ex O, Major Oehlson, reported mortar movement on Island quieting down, and shelling had ceased.
The Regt'l CP at 0400 received artillery shells which landed just South of it, and twelve minutes later received a barrage of artillery and mortar fire. G-3 was notified by Capt. Shipe. This fire continued until 0540. All units were contacted and warned that this might be either a preparation for a counter-attack or a concentration on roads to keep us from making a dawn attack.
At 0600, the weather reports came in: Clouds to break at 1200, clear by 1500, visibility 1/2 mile in fog, 3 miles by 1200 - 6 miles by 1500.
By 0610, L Co and 3rd Bn reported all quiet. There were no casualties in the Bns as a result of the night's shelling except those reported (3) in L Co and 3 in the Regt'l CP. At 0735, L Co reported "a few" enemy to their front. At 0850, L Co reported an enemy patrol, 6 men, to their front and requested fire on them. This request was passed on to Division.
At 0912, Major Schulz was made Bn Comdr of the 2nd Bn and Major Lytle Ex O. It was expected that the Regt would go into a defensive position at noon.
At 0920 the Bn Command was:
Plans for defensive positions were now begun by Major Wallace.
At 1020, Col. McNary announced that at the earliest possible time, the 358th Infantry would assure the defensive position of the Div (less the 359th Inf) and will have combat groups covering the front. It must include a reserve, as it has a big front to cover. Offense weapons might be taken away and given to units attacking the Island. The Reg't is to be assisted by the 90th Rec Tp. 3rd Bn to occupy its present position.
Col. McNary contacted the 357th Inf and coordinated plans for defense, Bn Comdrs were briefed.
At 1100, Col. McNary informed G-3 it would be after dark before the relief of the 357th would be completed. Bns were alerted and informed that orders would be issued later.
At 1110, Bn Cmdrs were ordered to report to the CP. The S-4 left for the QM to obtain weapons for men without the proper arms. Bombers (friendly) passed over and circled the Island and PERIERS. Bn Comdrs arrived at CP at 1140 and were informed on newest plans - that there would be 4 OPs, also patrols to the bridge and the Chateau. The bns would occupy sectors assigned by 1600. AT and Cn Co's would be prepared to fire in compliance with orders at that time.
The artillery was informed of the 358th plans. Bombing mission was delayed until aerial reconnaissance spots guns on Island.
At 1235, Col. McNary left for Division to confer with Gen. Landrum on the coming operation. The Division Historian arrived with newsmen to get the story of the two chaplains who arranged the truce on the Island.
At 1333, Col. McNary returned from Div Hqs. The relief of the 357th by the 358th was now postponed. Reconnaissance, however, was to be continued. Units were now informed to hold up on moving troops. The arty was likewise informed.
Col. McNary stated that the tanks would remain with the 358th Inf. The 4th A.D. would not be used to attack the Eastern end of the Island. The air preparation today was not in the 90th Div sector. For movement onto the Island, our own artillery would be used, plus 2 other FA;s on call. There would be no Cml. Mortars supporting us for offense or defense. However, tanks might be used on either offense or defense or both. The 358th Inf attack depended on the progress of the adjacent units. The 358 would be in Division Reserve when the next phase starts, hence must be ready to move in any direction. He directed that the S-3's plan for the use of tanks and the movement of troops.
At 1356, Lt. Col. Clarke briefed Major Nichols, who had just returned with information of the 357th on the newest plans. All Bns would be in their position not later than 1600.
At 1419, Lt. Donohue, Ln O, reported MP's are halting all vehicles to ascertain if arms and belts are being carried and worn.
Information on enemy strongholds and positions that the 358th had observed and hit on the Island was now passed on to units concerned.
At 1449, Major Chandler, relieved CO of 2nd Bn, arrived at the CP.
Information and plans were exchanged with adjacent units during the afternoon.
Lt. Hougan, I & R Leader, reported, after a reconnaissance, on possible OP locations.
At 1630, Gen Landrum directed Col. McNary to have Bn CO report to the Regt'l CP at 1720. Major Nichols notified the Bns.
At 1715, the 3rd Bn reported that the Germans were dug in across the river, West of Seves. There was, however, no unusual activity.
By 1720, the three Bn Co's were at the CP. Major Wallace notified 3rd Bn that there were to be two (2) air missions; 1 at 1730 1 at 1740. He suggested 3rd Bn "take cover".
At 1728, Gen Landrum entered the CP and had a conference with the Regt'l and Bn Staff Officers. By 1830, the conference was over and the General left.
The S-2's and S-3's now conferred with Tank Officers on the use of tanks in the forthcoming operations. The Bn commanders discussed personnel. The 712th Tank Officer notified his unit to move nearer to the 358th CP. It was learned that Major Knouf was now at the 45th Surgical Hospital.
Three Colonels from the IG arrived at 1950 and conferred with Col. McNary. Co I reported incoming shells at 2040 - no casualties. At 2115, the IG party left.
At 2210, Lt. Rudes, 3rd Bn, reported on the Island Bombing mission. The planes came in low and really bombed mortar and machine gun emplacements. Some bombs failed to explode because they were dropped from too low an altitude. The planes also strafed as they bombed. (Observers were unable to the effect of the strafing). The effect of this bombing was a 100 percent morale booster for the front line troops.
At 2227, 3rd Bn also reported shells that landed in their area. They were directed to get location or direction of fire.
At 2240, Lt. Aughtry reported the enemy was endeavoring to use our radios that they had captured. Major Wallace notified 1st and 2nd Bns that relief would be effected some time tomorrow as it had been scheduled for today.
By 2300 CO, Co A 712th Tank Bn, reported his unit all closed in its new area. The OP reported trucks moving on road on the South side of the Island. Capt Foster, 344 FA, called his unit to fire on this road.
Thus ended another 24 hours of History making for the 358th Infantry.
Casualties for the day:
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