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
Foret 9 July 1944
HISTORY - 358th Infantry
The hands on the clock proclaimed a new day. To the officers and men of the 358th Infantry this meant --- nothing. A situation continued --- that was all that counted.
The 3d Bn, at 0030 reported all "OK". Lt. Col. Clarke remarked, very correctly, that we were in "Jungle-like terrain." Contact with units, in this type of terrain, proved to be very difficult. 1st Bn reported all was quiet. "B" Co. was echeloned behind "C" Co. As yet, they had not contacted 3d Bn.
At 0100 Major Wallace advised Lt. Col. Bealke to "cover main line" with at least two companies. He also informed the 3d Bn CO that the Engineers "will leave their mortars there to help you out."
By 0130 G-3 was notified of the 3d Bn plan and also that the Engineers were ready to "pull out". G-3 was also given 3d Bns Plan of Defense.
At 0315 Lt. Taylor, Ln O, took some replacements to the 3d Bn. Lt. Col. Stilwell, G-3, phoned at 0335 to state that the present plans would remain in effect for the coming attack. Time of attack would not be before 1000, and possibly, not before 1200. 2d Bn reported firing "somewhere" to their left. At 0410 the 3d Bn had not yet completed the relief of Engineers. At 0450 359 reported that some of their elements were on the hill, about 22 grid, and at 0440 1st Bn reported "all quiet". Two PW's were reported at 0520 by 2d Bn. At 0630 G-3 enquired about the relief of the Engineers. "Not quite complete", we was informed.
At 0730 Lt. Col. Gorton reported enemy mortar fire -- 05 shells -- fell in his area. Lt. Col. Clarke passed this information on to Capt Danovsky, artillery Ln O., along with the approximate location of the enemy guns. The 359 now reported that they had received a counter-attack during the night -- the pressure seemed to be in between their 3d Bn and our 3d Bn.
At 0750 the G-3 announced the time of the attack -- 1400:
He wanted troops to have some rest first. All units concerned were notified. The 357th Inf reported "all quiet" on their front.
Capt. Falvey, at 0910, called Division for the situation of the 8th and 4th Divs. He stated that "the boys in the front lines should know the 'big picture'".
By 0934 the 8th Div (on our right) had passed thru the 1st Bn 359 and our 2nd Bn. Again all units concerned were contacted and informed.
At 1000 Capt Rice, CO Cn Co., reported "plenty of mortar fire" falling in and near his CP.
Lt. Donahue, Ln O, reported, at 1017, that the 8th Div HAD NOT COME UP YET! It was only a patrol that had come up! Everyone was more or less confused by now, concerning the 8th Division. They didn't seem to be operating according to any particular plan.
Lt. Col. Clarke conferred with Major Conn as regards to the shooting of the coming plan. He also planned to use the Engineers automatic fire. At 1125 the Cml Mortar Unit was informed of the Jump-off time.
At 1155 the Commanding General, via Col. Fuller, ordered all Bns to dispatch "aggressive patrols" to the south and report the situation to him. Lt. Col. Clarke then gave him a detailed report on the 358th situation.
Lt. Col. Clarke then notified the Bns concerning the patrols, explaining that this was to enable us to use artillery effectively, prior to our attack.
Capt Falvey informed G-3 that patrolling was hardly necessary as our Battalions could see the enemy from where they were!
At 1900 the Cml Mortar outfit reported our 3d Bn had been heavily counter-attacked and needed reinforcements. The wire to the 3d Bn was shelled out, and there was no contact with radio. The Regimental Commander immediately contacted G-3 and got "B" Co. Engineers, released to him. He also started the artillery and Cml Mortar outfit going to aid the 3d Bn. Lt. Col. Clarke now informed the Commanding General of the 3d Bn's plight. Other Bns reported "all was quiet". At 1906, Capt Burns, 3d Bn S-3 reported "Germans coming down road--we need reinforcements!" He was informed that "B" Co of the Engineers had been released to him. The Regimental Commander explained the situation to Capt Spelce, AT CO, and ordered him to take a platoon "up there" and "help Bealke out!" With the help of the Engineers, AT Co and the Cml Mortars, the enemy attack was being, at 1925, successfully repulsed. This information was passed on to Division.
Wire crews, under Capt Steckla, Reg'l Comm. O., and M/Sgt. White, Section Chief, were out in the "thick of it" checking and maintaining communications.
Now the 359 complained that some of our mortars were falling on them. Capt. Shipe gave the mortar CO the "safety line" for the 359.
By 1940, with the Engineers en route, Lt. Col. Bealke stated that he had the situation in hand. The Regimental Commander so reported to the Commanding General. "L" Co. has been committed on the right. At 1945 Lt. Donahue started back to 3d Bn for more "dope". The Cml Mortar CO, was en route to the Regimental CP.
At 2000 hours, G-3 informed the regiment that the Engineer Bn was not attached to the 358th infantry. Major Gilchrist, its CO, was en route to the CP.
Capt Steckla was ordered to get "more wire" to 3d Bn. 359 was now informed of the counter-attack and advised we might put another company in between the two regiments.
At 2030 Lt. Col. Bealke officially announced that the counter-attack had been repelled. He recommended, however, that six companies be used. 3d Bn could now be contacted through 3d Bn, 359.
By 2035 the Engineers submitted their plan of defense. Line to the 3d Bn again out! Lt. Col. Clarke conferred with Major Seibert (Engr) concerning their part to play in supporting the 3d Bn. "A" Co., Engr and "L" Co. 358 will be in reserve.
At 2040 Capt Burns arrived at the CP and stated 2d Bn must be receiving fire. He thought break-thru was thru 2d Bn. Their radio operator had been killed, hence the tie-up in communication. Capt Burns predicted another counter-attack tonight. He claimed that the enemy "feinted" about "I" Co. during the day and they attacked heavily around the other flank.
It was now decided that 3d Bn use a 610 radio. Capt Burns stated that the Germans fire less when our artillery harassed them. During the recent attack the enemy layed down a great deal of fire, but didn't seem inclined to move up.
At 2100, Col. Bacon, 359, requested our artillery fire plan. Lt. Col. Bealke again called Lt. Col. Clarke. ""I" - "K" - "L", in that order alone-in with "B" Co., Engr, on right. Still two companies in res. tonight. "C" Co., Engrs, probably be on left. "B" Co. Engrs will revert to Bn CO (Engr Control)" Capt. Steckla reported he had wire to send to 3d Bn and would send it right away. Capt Burns reported that the terrain in the area was scrubby - foot high ferns, and woods.
By 2120 Radio contact with Cml Mortars and CP was established. At 2227 Lt. Donahue reported that the 8th Div would be behind 359 "sometime tonight". It was apparent now that the Germans were, or had been, feeling us out. 1st Bn now submitted their disposition and their plans of defense and defensive fires.
At 2245 regiment was informed that Corps H*Hour was set at 1000. "Step ladder" plan would still be used. 1st and 2nd platoons of "B" Co., Engr, were now in position. Major Knouf reported that there was a supply shortage.
At 2330 Lt. Col. Clarke requested the 344 FA to include the 358th in their distribution of fire plans. He, at the same time, warned the artillery of several positions on the current plan which were too close to friendly troops. The Regimental Commander now phoned 3d Bn CO and discussed plans for now and tomorrow. Then he contacted Lt. Col. Loomis, 1st Bn actg CO.
Alas so the clerk proclaimed still another day gone--but not forgotten!
The casualties for the day:
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