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
26 July 1944
HISTORY - 358th Infantry
The Div Order, FO No. 15 (Corrected) dtd 242300 July 1944 was the "Bible" for today, and is excerpted as follows:
Hq 90th Inf Div
FO No. 15
1. b. VIII Corps, 4 Divs abreast, (79th, 8th, 90th and 83rd from right to left). Attacks H-Hour D Day to seize objectives to the South. 4th AD supports the attack of the 90th Div. by fire.
2. 90th Inf Div:
Attacks at H Hour, D Day and making its main effort on the right, captures PERIERS and objectives to the South.
Formation, Bdrys, Objs, Phase lines, and Schemes of Maneuvers - see overlay.
LD: Present front lines.
3. c. 358th Inf:
Using the Div Order as a basis, the 358th Inf planned and issued its Regt'l Order, which follows:
1. 358th Inf supports attack of 359th Inf and 357th Inf 260530 July by fire from its present positions.
a. 3rd Bn fires with supporting weapons, targets at (3) (4) (5) commencing at 0528. Fire sustained until 0533, and on targets of opportunity thereafter. Lift on order.
b. 2nd Bn fires on (1) (2), same schedule, continues firing on targets of opportunity (1) to (5) incl. Lift on order.
c. Cannon Co engages targets of opportunity. Lift on order.
d. 1st Bn - Regt'l Reserve.
Thus did the Reg't prepare for the coming day. During the night the 3rd Bn called for fire on the vehicles moving on the Island. Flares, shot from the ground was dropped from enemy aircraft over the Bn areas were reported.
At 0320, a 1st Bn patrol reported contact with a German OP but got away. Rifle fire was heard on the South side of the Island. They also spotted some positions. The weather forecast stated that the clouds would rise and break by noon. Division was kept informed of all activities and developments. And at 0519, time was coordinated throughout the Reg't.
At 0530, the Arty preparation commenced.
By 0720, elements of the 2nd Bn, 359th, were reported across the stream. 3rd Bn reported no small arms fire since 0600 but much mortar fire. At 0812, the 357 was by-passing RAIDS. Two companies of 359 men were on the Island but were making very slow progress. At 0825, the 358th 3rd Bn was still receiving heavy 88 and artillery fire, and some of the fire, the heaviest yet, was coming from a tank.
At 0835, Col. McNary stated that the 2nd Bn had fired all its weapons to give the men confidence in them.
The Island attackers met fire- mortars, artillery, tanks and preponderance of automatic weapons.
At 0855, the 2nd Bn was notified that smoke was to be laid on the Island, and that when it was, they were to "loosen-up" with all kinds of fire, so that the 359th could move.
Gen. Landrum directed that the 3rd Bn place observers to note results of the smoke screen on the Island. Major Falvey stated that there was, at least, one Panzer Div on the Island. A PW stated that the Island defenders were well armed and expected to be reinforced. Arty knocked out a tank - type unknown. Companies on the island were not moving.
At 1026, the 3rd Bn reported an OP knocked out by 88 fire, that everyone was dug in, that they received 6 or 7 casualties so far.
Positions of attacking units and adjacent units were reported and plotted as fast as they happened. Cannon Co knocked out a tank. Another was knocked out by a bazooka.
At 1120, Lt. Col. Clarke and Gen. Devine made plans in the event the 358th was called upon to attack the Island. "Fore-armed is the thing!" Road block overlays were prepared and sent to units concerned.
Hot meals for the day!
3rd Bn OP was receiving high velocity fire at 1200.
By 1215, the whole of the 359th had been committed. The Island resistance was still terrific.
German trickery was in evidence at noon when it was discovered that they were wearing american uniforms on the Island to confuse the observers.
Col. McNary and Major Falvey made plans for patrols to go out tonight. Bns were notified an 88 had landed in 2nd Bn area.
Col. McNary, Lt. Col. Clarke, and Major Wallace made plans for a possible attack.
At 1330, the two companies of 359 on the Island reported they had been counter-attacked three times and were now expecting another. Each counter-attack had been supported by German armor, and at all times they were getting mortar, arty, MG fire.
The enemy was now reported to be booby-trapping all houses that they, themselves were not using.
By 1400, the 3578th was generally enjoying comparatively little front line action except for a little mortar fire from the Island. The 357th, however, was pinned down in the vic of the LD and could not move. It was now waiting for the 8th Div to "come up" before attempting a further advance.
At 1405, Stockler, IG officer, arrived. An enemy aircraft was reported over ST LO. Bns were informed to check their camouflage.
The 607th TD Comdr, at the CP, stated that bazookas are effective against tanks, even those with skirts. He suggested that the 358th cover its attacking fronts with his guns.
At 1500, 1st Sgt. Cloutman, C Co, arrived and was interviewed by the Capt., from the IG. The 8th Div sent in an overlay of their positions.
At 1525, the OP moved to a church near NAY as their present OP was now "too hot".
At 1550, Col. Clayton, 6th AD, conferred with Lt. Col. Clarke. He stated he "might" take over the sector. He was briefed on the whole situation by Major Falvey.
At 1645, a platoon of tanks that crossed the stream to support the 2nd Bn, 359th ran into terrific resistance but were holding. The 90th Rec Tp, less one plat, pulled out from our left flank to our right flank. The 8th Div reported to be having a difficult time. The 2nd Bn, 359th, now received its fourth counter-attack.
Lt. Col Bealke, at 1735, moved heavy MG's to a point where he could fire on an enemy supply route. By 1800, the 359th had two and one-half companies across stream and "about" six tanks.
At 1845, it was announced that 10 batteries of artillery would fire to enable attackers to move.
At this point, let it be well considered and understood, just what the 358th Inf alone, was confronted with a few days ago!
At 1855, Div informed the Reg't that there were friendly troops due South, below the Island.
The night patrols were to go out to the Island. At 2000 3rd Bn reported it would drop interdictory fire on the main island road. Lt. Col. Stilwell phoned Co. McNary and stated that patrols tonight should be combat patrols of no less than 1 squad each.
At 2105, the Reg't received the Division orders for 27 July 44. Jump-off at 0900 - 358 to remain in place until further orders.
By 2200 the 359th reported they might withdraw their 2nd Bn from the Island and have their 3rd Bn attack in the 8th Div zone. The 357th attack was postponed until 0900. They will attack with the 2nd Bn of the 329th Inf. 10 Bns of Arty will support them. At 2230, 3rd Bn 358th reported 10 shells landed in their area. Capt Burns stated that they came from due south.
At 2237, G-3 phoned the following messages.
Corps Order - patrol vigorously tonight. If enemy has withdrawn, we attack dawn, if not, at 0900.
Major Falvey phoned units concerned and impressed them with the importance of contacting the enemy. The 90th Rec Comdr stated he had had the Island Chateau under observation but saw no enemy activity.
At 2300, two OP's reported a single artillery piece. Major Wallace gave the position to the artillery. Lt. Swinehart "out of action" when L Co was shelled at 2300. The 359th reported their plans for tomorrow.
At 2400, the Regt'l OP reported bright flashes on the horizon, indicating heavy shelling by our side!
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