August 1944

August 01, 1944

Command Post,
Vic Conde-Sur-Vire, France.
012400 August, 1944
Coord 546556, 1/25,000

The 2nd Infantry Division on the left and 30th Infantry Division on our right continued to attack under ideal weather conditions for a change. 320th Infantry attacked at 0530 hours against slight enemy resistance, which later in the day increased in ferocity; the enemy employing rifle, machine gun, mortar and artillery fire against the attacking troops.

320th advanced and captured two hills west of Gullberville, France, at 1950 hours.

The 134th Infantry attacked at 0800 hours and advanced south against heavy enemy machine gun, mortar and artillery fire. Regiment halted at 1400 hours by enemy dugin positions south of Le Mesnel.

Task Force “S” which was formed around the 137th Infantry, attacked at 0800 hours and encountered heavy enemy fire of all kinds along the line at coordinates 532498-548599, 1/50, 000, making only slight gains during the period. The coordinated attack was launched from coordinates 532495-545496, 1/50, 000. Company “A” supporting 320th Infantry; Company “B” 134th Infantry and Company “C” in support of Task Force “S”. Battery “B”, 116th AAA Battalion, (90mm), attached to the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion remained in anti-tank positions supporting the 654th T.D. Bn., during the period.

The 1st battalion, 137th Infantry, suffered severe casualties without any substantial gains during the period.

Enemy soldiers continue to infiltrate through the lines after the hours of darkness and pick off individual soldiers; selecting officers and noncommissioned officers when possible.

Enemy planes attacked the entire Division sector during the hours of darkness; bombing and strafing positions and command posts, inflicting casualties. The enemy withdrew during the period, fighting a delaying action, to their present positions.

An enemy motorized column left Tessy-Sur-Vire during the night moving to the East.

No further reports on enemy tanks observed in the Division sector yesterday. The enemy is strongly defending his present positions with rifle, machine gun, mortar and artillery fire.

In addition to the 2nd Battalion, 15th Parachute Regiment with a maximum of 500 men, the 119th Field Artillery consisting of three batteries, four guns each, with a range of 14,000 yards, has been located in the Division sector. The 3rd Field Artillery Regiment which is known to be in the sector remains to be unlocated at this time. The regiment consists of three battalions with twelve 105mm guns to the battalion.

Reserves available to the enemy in our sector include the 2nd Parachute Regiment, 11th Panzer Division and elements of the 265th and 343rd Infantry Divisions. All front line elements received concentrations of accurately laid artillery fire throughout the period.

Four ME 109s flew over the sector at 1600 hours on reconnaissance; they did no bombing or strafing.

The Division and attached units captured a total of ten prisoners during the period, who were from the 1194th Field Artillery Regiment. Their morale was low; especially those of foreign decent.

The command post, Headquarters and Reconnaissance Companies and Medical Detachment departed from 1 mile south of St Lo (515620), at 1430 hours, and established in the vicinity of Conde-Sur-Vire, at 1550 hours; a distance of 5 miles, without enemy contact.

Immediately upon arrival the enemy laid down a barrage in the area from 88mm guns across the Vire River.

The command post established in a pasture in an apple orchard which at this time of the year gives excellent air coverage or camouflage. All tents were dug-in by hand and reinforced with sand bags, by hand.

Enemy air patrols were over the area during the night but no flares or bombs were dropped. Purely reconnaissance.

At 2300 hours two enemy planes attempted to bomb the Division command post, located 100 yards from our position, but one was destroyed in the air by the 448th AAA Battalion and the other fled without dropping any bombs.

The personnel of the command post group had an occasion to bathe in a small stream running through the pasture.

The town of Conde-Sur-Vire is in total ruins; obliterated from the earth’s surface. Few French civilians remain in the town as the majority of them have taken to the hills in fear of their lives.

Not a building was standing in the town, and now the enemy is shelling the ruins of the town form his positions from across the Vire River.

Enemy road block s and mine field reported at coordinates 579483 and 562518. One enemy self-propelled artillery position reported at coordinates 579483, 1/25, 000.

The command post of Company “A” moved from coordinates 574578, 1/25, 000, and established at coordinates 575526, 1/25, 000, at 1520 hours, passing through Torigni-Sur-Vire. Command Post was under heavy enemy artillery fire during the late afternoon.

At about 1700 hours a group of French civilians, returning from their hiding places in the hills, were conducting a religious service in the court yard of a large chateau in the vicinity of the command post, when the enemy fired three heavy caliber artillery air bursts over the group, killing twenty one and maiming twenty to such an extent that several died as a result of their wounds.

Captain Little, the battalion surgeon, who attended the wounded expressed horror at the massacre and plainly said that they were the worst mutilated group of humanity that he had ever witnessed during the period of his life time.

Members of the battalion who witnessed this horrorful, gruesome act on the part of the enemy shall always remember this incident. The priest was instantly killed as he knelt in prayer. The arms and legs were blown from the little children. Old men with their intestines blown out and a pregnant woman laying on the ground, living, suffering and screaming with her unborn baby blown from her uterus. A little French girl was screaming in pain and agony with both hands blown off at her wrist. The horrors of war.

Legs, arms, heads, intestines and pieces of humanity littered the area. The wounded were immediately loaded into an American ambulance and taken from the area screaming, praying and hysterical.

First Sergeant George Barnausky, who witnessed the catastrophe rushed to their aid and directed the first aid treatment and removal of the wounded to safety under heavy enemy fire which was continuing. For this act of bravery and disregard of personal safety he and Privates Marquis and Disbrowe, of the Medical Detachment, were awarded the silver star and Bronze stars, respectively.

A fragment from the 88mm shell which exploded in the courtyard hit Captain Eugene Martinez, the company commander in the hand and he was evacuated to the hospital. Captain Ruggles L. Baker, assigned to company assumed command; replacing Captain Martinez.

The command post departed from the area at 1900 hours and was established in the vicinity of Taillaferrie, 544484, 1/10, 000, Tessy-Sur-Vire.

The company continued to support the 320th Infantry during the period; advancing along the rear of the 320th Infantry in direct support.

The 1st platoon maintained antitank positions at coordinates 572551, 1/25, 000, Torigni-Sur-Vire, under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire at various periods of the day and night.

The 2nd platoon maintain antitank positions in the vicinity of 560566 and the 3rd platoon at 515522, 1/25, 000.

Bed Check Charlie was over the area promptly at 2200 hours but dropped no bombs in our area.

The command post of Company “B” moved from Les Hts Vents at 1030 hours and established in the vicinity of Conde-Sur-Vire, France, coordinates 541555 at 1100 hours, a distance of 2 miles. 1st platoon located at 545538; 2nd at 566551 and 3rd in reserve at 553555.

Company remained attached to the 161st Field Artillery Battalion in indirect fire missions upon enemy installations across the Vire River.

The entire company was under artillery fire during the period and was subjected to an aerial attack at 2300 hours; all without suffering any casualties. Company “C” moved from his command post in the vicinity of Brepeuf, France, to vicinity of Conde-Sur-Vire, France, coordinates 545557, 1/25, 000, at 1600 hours, a distance of 3 miles.

Private Joseph A. Mailet admitted to hospital due to illness.

Captain Benton, commanding officer, Company “C” reported that two U.S. Sherman tanks had been destroyed in the vicinity by enemy indirect artillery fire at 1600 hours.

Captain George A. Stevens returned to duty from the hospital and assumed command of Company “B”.

The platoons of company “C”, in antitank positions in support of the 137th Infantry whose lines were along the general vicinity of 560510, 1/25, 000, were as follows:
1st platoon at 546538; 2nd platoon 572538 and 3rd platoon 553555.

All elements were under intermittent enemy artillery and mortar fire during the period and enemy aerial attack after the hours of darkness without casualties. Company remained attached to Task Force “S” supporting the 137th Infantry. The command post of the Reconnaissance Company moved from 1 mile south of St Lo and established in the vicinity of the battalion command post, but nearer Mont Hura than Conde-Sur-Vire, France.

Company “C” had one enlisted man slightly wounded from shrapnel. He was treated and returned to a duty status.

Battery “B”, 116th AAA Battalion, attached to the battalion to reinforce the antitank defenses of the sector fired 24 rounds of 90mm indirect fire at enemy tanks with unknown results.

Forward reconnaissance by attached reconnaissance section was made in anticipation of moving to another area on 2 August, 1944.

General all gun companies of the battalion continued in their primary missions in the rear of the advancing infantry during the period, firing on strong points when the occasion presented.

August 02, 1944

Command Post,
Vic Domjean, France,
Coord 547488, 1/25, 000
022400 August, 1944

The 2nd Infantry Division on left flank of the division continued to attack. The 30th Infantry Division is being pinched out by the 29th Infantry Division.

The 320th Infantry attacked at 0001 hours. The 1st battalion captured La Cabotlore (598462, 1/50, 000). Machine gun fire from church steeple at 573475, 1/50, 000, stopped advance temporarily.

Company “A” pushed two platoons across the Vire River at coordinates 572425, 1/50, 000 at 1200 hours, but were immediately pinned down by enemy fire from Hill 203 across the Vire River.

All battalions of the Regiment ordered to attack at 2400 hours supported by five battalions of artillery and the 81st Chemical Battalion, who will lay a smoke screen covering the attack.

134th Infantry launched a coordinated attack at 0200 hours, but its advance was held up until 0430 hours by stiff enemy resistance, at which time the enemy withdrew abandoning large quantities of supplies. Advance continued until it reached the Vire River when the 1st and 3rd battalions crossed the river at 1630 hours.

The 137th Infantry, the main element of Task Force “S”, attacked at 0100 hours and advanced until it reached the high ground north of the Vire River in the afternoon.

3rd Battalion crossed the Vire River at 2130 hours and continued to advance south.

Company “A”, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion supported the 320th Infantry; Company “C” supported Task Force “S”S and Company “B” remained in reserve during the period.

Battery “B”, 116th AAA Battalion, attached to 654th TD Bn, maintained antitank positions in the sector throughout the period; firing about 25 rounds of indirect fire on enemy positions to the south of the river. All Regiments of the Division crossed the Vire river during the period and continued to attack and advance south during the period.

Enemy artillery firing from coordinates 520435, 1/25, 000, are putting accurate and intensive artillery fire on our forward positions.

The enemy continued to withdraw under heavy pressure, fighting a delaying action to their present defensive positions, which they are strongly defending as our troops cross the Vire River.

Four enemy tanks were reported in the vicinity of the river crossing at 1600 hours, and two were destroyed by P47 dive bombers; the remaining two fleeing to the south.

Between 0005 and 0105 hours an undetermined number of enemy planes approached the Division from the southeast, flew over the area, and departed to the northwest.

They dropped bombs on front line positions and strafed several command posts, causing casualties and damage to equipment.

A total of 34 prisoners were captured during the period from enemy units previously identified in the Division Sector.

The command post group, Headquarters Company, Medical Detachment and the command post of the reconnaissance company departed from the vicinity of Conde-Sur-Vire, France, (546556) at 1830 hours and established in the vicinity of Domjean, France, (547488) at 2000 hours, a distance of 8 miles. No enemy contact was encountered during the move and the weather was fair and warm.

The personnel immediately began digging foxholes and covering them to protect themselves from small arms fire and from shrapnel, using the farmers wood which he had piled in the yard, but he took it good naturedly and made no comment. Two enemy tanks were reported in the vicinity of 531431 at 1800 hours and enemy planes were over the area tat 2220 hours on reconnaissance. No bombing or strafing reported.

At 1500 hours a Black Widow plane, painted black without markings, was over the Division Sector for identification purposes only.

At 1710 hours a column of vehicles was observed leaving Tessy going toward the East. Although the composition of this column was not definitely determine it is thought to have contained tanks.

The command post of Company “A” moved from their area at 1515 hours and established at coordinates 591457, Map 1/25, 000, LeBeny Bocage, a distance of five miles without encountering enemy resistance.

Captain Baker transferred from Reconnaissance Company and assumed command of the company after Captain Martinez was wounded in the vicinity of Conde-Sur-Vire by enemy artillery fire.

The company remained in direct support of the 320th Infantry during the period, in antitank positions as follows: 1st platoon 591482; 2nd platoon 530459 and 3rd platoon at 560146. All elements of the company were under light intermittent artillery fire throughout the period without suffering casualties.

Company “B” moved from the vicinity of Conde-Sur-Vire to the vicinity of La Maladrie, France, a distance of 2 miles. Company relieved from supporting the 161st Field Artillery Battalion and placed in support of 127th Field Artillery Battalion and 134th Infantry on primary mission. Company remained in battalion reserve during the period.

A few enemy planes were over the area during the hours of darkness but did no bombing or strafing.

Private lcl Boyd Driggers assigned to and joined the company from Reconnaissance Company and assigned to the 1st platoon. No enemy contact during the period. Company “C” departed from vicinity of Conde-Sur-Vire at 1400 hours and established 600 yards west of Domjean at 1630 hours, a distance of 4 miles, without enemy contact.

Corporal Clarence D. Hall was slightly wounded by enemy artillery fire and evacuated to hospital.

Enemy planes were over the area during the night dropping flares but did no bombing or strafing. Company remained in direct support of the during the period.

The Reconnaissance Company moved from Conde-Sur-Vire at 1900 hours and established in the vicinity of Domjean, France at 2000 hours, a distance of 8 miles. Company made no enemy contact during the period. Private David Soliz admitted to hospital due to illness during the period. Captain Baker was transferred to Company “A” and First Lieutenant John M. Safley, assumed command of the company.

The enemy is shelling the north bank of the Vire River but crossings have been affected nevertheless.

All towns and villages along the enemy’s route of retreat have been completely destroyed either by shell fire or by burning or demolitions. Civilians have been deliberately massacred and their homes literally destroyed without provocation.

Church bells rang throughout the countryside at 1000 hours summoning people to church to pray for their liberation and for their lives having been spared during the struggle for their liberation. Bells rang throughout the day from every village and church.

August 03, 1944

Command Post,
St. Marie Eautre L’Eav, France.
Coord 539428, 1/25, 000.
032400 August, 1944.

Second Infantry Division on our left and 29th Infantry Division on our right continued to advance. Battery “B”, 116th AAA (90mm), relieved from attachment to the Division and battalion. The weather during the period was overcast with thundershowers.

320th Infantry attacked at 0001, securing Hill 203, but was halted by organized and desperate resistance at 1800 hours.

The 134th Infantry attacked at 0800 hours against scattered resistance, which became more organized and stiffer during the afternoon. Regiment halted at 1700 hours and formed a perimeter of defense for the night.

137th Infantry continued to attack as main element of Task Force “S”. The 1st battalion remained north of the Vire River to protect the right flank of division. Resistance halted the Task Force at 1800 hours.

Company “A” 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion remained in support of 320th Infantry; company “C” attached to Task Force “S” and company “B” in indirect fire missions with 127th Field Artillery Battalion.

The 81st Chemical Battalion fired smoke concentrations upon Hill 203 in support of the 320th Infantry’s night attack.

During the days operations the Division seized high ground to the south of the Vire River and gained about 4000 meters in the entire sector.

The enemy desperately defended high ground to the south of the Vire River during our attack.

The 460th Artillery Battalion has been identified as being in division sector. The 1194th Field Artillery Battalion has been withdrawn from division sector to the XIX Corps sector.

The enemy withdrew under pressure during the period, fighting a delaying action to their present defensive positions.

Forward units received accurate, medium, intensive artillery fire throughout the period.

An undetermined number of enemy planes were over the sector at 1215 hours but did no bombing or strafing.

A total of seventeen prisoners were captured during the day’s operations; one of whom stated that “the retreat was so rapid until they had no time to put in mine fields”.

The command post group, Headquarters company and Medical Detachment departed from vicinity of Domjean, France, (547488), at 1800 hours and established at St. Marie Eautre L’Eav, France, (539428), at 2015 hours, a distance of 7 miles without enemy contact. The weather remained fair and warm throughout the period.

Immediately upon our arrival enemy planes were over the area on reconnaissance, but did no bombing or strafing.

The command post was established in a pasture overlooking the hedgerow country of Northern France. French peasants filed past going to and from church all the time we were there, and as far as sound could be heard, the church bells of the hedgerow country were ringing, calling people to worship and thank God for their liberations from the Nazi heel, and for their lives having been spared, eventho their homes were completely demolished.

On his retreat to the south and the east the enemy looted everything he could carry; including livestock, household effects, clothing, food and all alcoholic drinks.

Three enemy soldiers were killed while they looted the Catholic Church in the little village by an artillery shell, and were buried by the side of the road. The farmer’s land upon which we are now fighting, had all his livestock confiscated by the fleeing enemy. Some things they manage to hide from him but in general he overlooked nothing of any value which he might use to comfort himself or as a weapon against our onrushing army.

The French civilians in the tiny village refused to allow the enemy soldiers, killed in the church, to be buried in their community cemetery, so they were dumped into a hole made by a bulldozer by a culvert and three crude crosses without names on them but with their helmets hung on them to indicate that three enemy soldiers were buried.

G2 of the Division warned battalion of a possible armored threat from the vicinity of 555388 at 1000 hours. Four enemy artillery guns reported at 567234 at 0005 hours by G2 V Corps. At 1245 hours the G2 Section reported a concentration of four or five enemy tanks in the vicinity of 557339, but no attack was attempted by them during the period.

At 0400 hours the British Intelligence reported that the 116th Panzer Division was moving West toward the Division sector. All elements of the battalion alerted for an armor attack. Bazooka teams were set up and camouflaged along the avenues of approach and a double and staggered AT defense was formed around the Division sector to repel any attempt by the enemy to penetrate into our lines. Nothing happened however.

All elements of the battalion started making reconnaissance for crossing of the Vire River at 0900 hours.

The command post of Company “A” moved to 586407, 1/25, 000 and the 2nd platoon went into antitank positions, under enemy artillery fire, at 593403; the 1st platoon at 581427 and the 3rd platoon at 573458.

The Division forced a crossing of the Vire River just south of Torigni-Sur-Vire, and the 1st platoon crossed at 1600 hours and the 2nd crossing at 1731 hours under intermittent enemy artillery and mortar fire, without suffering any casualties.

At 2225 hours the command post of the company moved from 586407 and established at 585413 under intermittent artillery fire without contact with the enemy however.

Company continued in close support of the 320th Infantry throughout the period.

Company “B” moved from its former position and established its command post in the vicinity of LeHamel, France, at 1145 hours, a distance of 4 miles. Company remained in support of the 127th Field Artillery Battalion and 134th Infantry during the period.

Enemy artillery fire fell on 2nd platoon in vicinity of 593403 at 1805 hours. The command post was established in the vicinity of the 320th Infantry command post at coord 586407, at 1805 hours. The 1st platoon in position vicinity 581427 at 1805 hours and 3rd pl in reserve in the vicinity of the company command post.

At 2037 hours the command post closed and reestablished in the vicinity of 539428 under light intermittent artillery fire. No enemy contact during the period.

Company fired a total of 41 rounds of HE into enemy installations during the period with undetermined results.

2nd Lieut. O’Meara, wounded in action north of St. Lo, returned to duty during the period.

The command post of company “C” closed and established in the vicinity of Le Beny Bocage, France, 539428, at 2036 hours, a distance of ten miles without interference from the enemy.

All platoons crossed the river during the period; 2nd platoon crossed at 1510 hours and by 2015 hours the entire company was across. The command post being the last to cross the river.

Company remained in direct support of Task Force “S” and all elements of the company were under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire throughout the entire period.

The 3rd platoon, sergeant King and his destroyer crew, fired 54 rounds of HE into Church Steeple at 564380, being used by the enemy for an artillery observation post. The church steeple was destroyed along with the enemy personnel in it and the Infantry captured five prisoners who had withstood the terrific bombardment.

One platoon crossed the river at coordinates 549432 before the Engineers had completed bridge by fording the river; the depth of the water being about three feet at this point. The Pioneer Section of the reconnaissance Company attached to the company made a thorough inspection of the river bed and banks for possible enemy mine fields prior to the crossing. The other tow platoons crossed the river by bridge at coordinates 548434. There were no casualties sustained in the company during the period.

The Reconnaissance Company remained established in the vicinity of the battalion command post, with reconnaissance platoons attached to the gun companies and one section of the Pioneer Platoon attached to Companies “A” and “C”. Exact location of company command post Pontforcy, France, (541430, 1/25, 000). 1st Lieutenant Healy transferred to Company “A”. Lieutenant Smoot assigned to company from Company “A” and assumed command of the Pioneer Platoon.

Battery “B”, 116th AAA on D/S and attached with battalion reverted to its organization at 030800 August.

“Burp-Guns” are singing their familiar chant in the woods just south of the command post and the enemy is putting up a desperate fight to prevent us from crossing the river.

August 04, 1944

Command Post
St. Marie Eautre L’Eav, France.
Coord 539428, 1/25, 000
042400 August, 1944.

Second Infantry Division on our left and 29th Infantry Division on our right flank continued to advance against slight enemy resistance.

134th Infantry attacked at 0630 hours against automatic weapons, artillery and machine gun fire, and booby traps and mine field. Regiment established contact with Company “H”, 119th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division on right flank of division and halted for the night awaiting further orders.

The 137th Infantry as the main element of Task Force “S” attacked at 0630 hours against light enemy resistance. Task Force “S” dissolved at 1450 hours. Regiment went into holding position with active patrolling.

320 Infantry attacked at 0630 hours and reached objective at 1030 hours against scattered enemy resistance. Resumed attack at 1250 hours until 1600 hours without any appreciable gains. Regimental boundary was extended east to road running southwest from 613352, 1/50, 000 to 610346, 1/50, 000, so that the 1st battalion could be employed to encounter enemy resistance in the vicinity of La Neufbourg and southwest to Coulances.

1st platoon of Company “A”, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion continued to support the 320th Infantry: one platoon Co. “C” remained in support 137th Infantry and company “B” remained in indirect fire missions, with 127th Field Artillery Battalion.

60th Engineer Battalion continued to clear mines and booby traps from the division area.

The enemy hurriedly withdrew from his defensive positions when division attacked them.

Front line units were under medium artillery fire during the period.

A total of 12 prisoners were captured during the period.

Apparently the enemy is in full flight to the south and east and has decided not to attempt to defend his hastily prepared defensive positions in the division sector.

The command post, Headquarters Company and Medical Detachment maintained their positions in the pastureland at St. Marie Eautre L’Eav, throughout the period. A few enemy planes flew over the area in the moon light about 0200 hours but made no attempt to bomb or strafe the area.

In general the enemy is putting up only slight resistance in the vicinity of coordinates 607350, and all roads leading to the south and southeast have been mined and every item which can be, booby trapped.

Major Minton was readmitted to hospital as the result of a slight wound received in St. Lo on 27 July, becoming infected.

The weather during the period was fair and warm (for a change).

Retreating Germans told French civilians that “there are too many Americans; ten times our strength”.

There was no change in the command post of Company “A” during the period. The 737th Tank Battalion had lost a tank due to hitting an enemy mine field at 502387, and just as the tank struck the mine Private Oulliber, of the security section, 1st platoon was passing the tank in the road, and was wounded by fragments from the mine. The jeeps tires were blown off and overturned, about 1320 hours.

1st platoon in antitank positions at 603357 and 606366 during the period in support of 320th Infantry.

The 2nd platoon maintained antitank positions at 588404 and the 3rd platoon at 597392 during the entire period. They were under intermittent artillery fire during the night.

There was considerable enemy air activity over the entire front after the hours of darkness. Flares and bombs were dropped but no casualties were sustained from this action.

2nd Battalion, 320th Infantry, supported by 1st platoon, took objective at 607350 at 1030 hours against light resistance.

Mine fields are delaying our progress to the south and east. Fields planted in every possible place to delay our advance.

The command post of Company “B” moved from LeHamel and established in the vicinity of LaBergerie, France, at 1730 hours, a distance of 8 miles without enemy contact.

Company remained in support of the 127th Field Artillery Battalion and 134th Infantry.

Started firing indirect fire missions in support of 127th Field artillery battalion at 0145 hours and continued until 0715 hours, with undetermined results.

Lieut. With was transferred to company “C” during the period.

Enemy planes raided the command post area and positions of the platoons, dropping flares and bombs and machine gunned the area from the air, but no casualties were suffered.

Company fired 60 rounds of HE into enemy positions between 0145 and 0600 hours.

Company “C” moved their command post and established 500 yards north of LaCaniers, France, at 1800 hours, a distance of 4 ½ miles, without enemy contact during the move.

1st platoon maintained antitank positions in support of 137th Infantry at 573389; 2nd platoon at 588364 and 3rd platoon at 395379.

The front in general lay to the north of coordinates 574367 during the period.

Lieut White assigned and joined company from Company “B” during the period.

The command post of the Reconnaissance Company remained in the vicinity of the battalion command post during the period with all reconnaissance platoons and pioneer sections attached to gun companies of the battalion.

Captain Baker and 1st Lieut. Healy transferred and assigned to Company “A”. Captain Martinez injured in action and now in hospital assigned to company. Lieut Smoot transferred to company from Company “A” and assumed command of the Pioneer Platoon.

August 05, 1944

Command Post,
St. Marie Outre L’Eav, France.
052400 August, 1944
Coord 542428, 1/25, 000.

The Division was relieved from its sector and ordered into assembly area pending orders from the Command General, Third U.S. Army.

All elements of the Division and attached units closed in the assembly area in the early part of the day and immediately began preparations for a long movement; where? No one knew.

The battalion assembled at St. Marie Outre L’Eav in the pasturelands and immediately began first and second echelon motor maintenance.

At 1500 hours the unit was alerted for movement to unknown destination sometime after the hours of darkness, but the orders were cancelled at 2300 hours, after we had sat parked by the side of the road in column for exactly six hours.

Enemy planes were over the area immediately after dark but did no bombing or strafing; evidently on reconnaissance missions to find out what was going on behind our lines.

Some of the finest weather that we were to experience in France was enjoyed along about this time; it being warm and fair with moonlight nights. Excellent for operations.

Company “A” went into assembly area at coordinates 539428, 1/25, 000 for reorganization.

Company “B” moved from LaBergerie, France, to St. Marie Outre L’Eav at 1700 hours, a distance of two miles in assembly area.

Private Ciriello assigned and joined company from replacement battalion during the period and Corporal Ballentine was admitted to hospital due to being lightly injured in action.

Company “C” moved from their former position into assembly area at St. Marie Outre L’Eav.

All battalion in assembly area remained alerted for movement throughout period, and at 2400 hours bunked down for the night.

There was no enemy contact during the period.

August 06, 1944

Command Post,
St. Marie Outre L’Eav, France.
062400 August, 1944.
Coordinates 542428, 1/25, 000.

The following message was received from Headquarters, Third United States Army; on procedure in over running resistance groups as soon as possible:

“Advance elements may expect small unarmed, repeat, small unarmed parties under an officer to be sent forward from resistance groups briefed on their exact locations and dispositions.”

“They have men warned against running, or any other action which may draw fire. Also notify all troops identify and overrun all personnel of the Second Special Air Service Regiment, by password, quote: “ASORBALIS, repeat ASORBALIS”.

“The enemy is capable of launching a counterattack between the See and Saloon Rivers, East of Avranches, with elements of the 2nd SS, 708th and 130th Panzer Lehr Divisions, in order to withdraw his forces now in the Brittany Peninsula”.

The Division and attached units reverted to the control of the Third U.S. Army under Lieut-General George Patton, Junior, upon arrival at Villedico Les Poeises, and was assigned to the XX Army Corps along with the 5th Infantry Division and 2nd French Armored Division.

Division went into assembly area at the above village in preparation for move to join forces of the Third U.S. Army.

Weather remained fair and warm throughout the period.

Prisoners were captured from the 2nd SS and 17th SS Battalions; 708th Panzer Lehr Division and 130th Panzer Division during the period.

The entire battalion remained in the assembly area at St. Marie Outre L’Eav on the alert throughout the period.

All elements of the battalion accomplished motor maintenance during the day.

Enemy planes were over the assembly area at dusk dark and various other periods of the night but no bombs were dropped or any strafing reported in our vicinity.

Battalion alerted at 1410 to prepare for long move during the hours of darkness.

Private Robert S. Bullock of Headquarters company, with two drinks of cognac under his belt decided he wanted to become a motorcyclist and jumped upon Private Sugg’s motorcycle and it ran away with him through the pasture, throwing him into a tree and injuring him to such an extent that he had to be admitted to hospital.

Lieut. Spain transferred from Company “B” to the Reconnaissance Company during the period. Private Millet Company “C” admitted to hospital as the result of illness.

Private lcl Mullins of the Reconnaissance Company admitted to hospital due to illness.

Advance party consisting of 1st Lieut. Gomer D. Hughes, Louis P. Reich, Tech 4 Grade Charles W. Pittmann and Paul E. Peterson and 1st sergeant Francis J. McCormack left assembly area for new assembly area destination unknown.

They were subjected to a terrific aerial attack during the night after they went into bivouac in the vicinity of St. Hilaire, France.

August 07, 1944

Command Post,
St. Hilaire du Harcourt, France.
Coord
072400 August, 1944.

30th Infantry Division on our left flank.

35th Infantry went into assembly area as shown on overlay to counter threat from the northeast. 134th and 137th Infantry Regiments went into an assembly area east of St. Hilaire du Harcourt in the vicinity of the Louvigne Road.

At 071745 hours all elements of the division were alerted to be ready to move into the front lines upon thirty minutes notice.

Combat Teams 134 and 137 moved out at 072030 August to the East to secure Mortain – Barenton – St. Cyr du Bailluel Highway.

320th Infantry alerted to counterattack enemy upon thirty minute notice in Division Zone at 2030 hours.

134th Infantry encountered enemy resistance immediately upon taking up positions along Phase Line “A” in their sector.

Company “A” attached to 134th Infantry; Company “C” to 137th Infantry and Company “B” held in reserve for commitment on any sector of the front.

Reconnaissance elements have reached Phase Line “B”, meeting only light and scattered resistance. No organized defensive organization has yet been encountered.

The only units in contact are small unidentified enemy units, but it is known that the enemy has elements of the 2nd SS, 17th SS Divisions and 708th and 130th Panzer Lehr Divisions which he can commit as reserves or employ in a heavy counterattack.

Enemy aircraft were over the division sector in the early part of the evening and dropped some bombs and strafed the area, causing casualties in the vicinity of St. Claire du Harcourt; enemy aircraft also attacked St. Hilaire du Harcourt between the hours of 2330 and 2400 hours and again at 0200 and 0330 hours causing damage to property and civilian casualties.

One enemy tank was reported in the vicinity of 5605.

A total of 7 prisoners were captured during the period.

At 0010 hours the battalion departed from their assembly area at Ste Marie Outre L’Eav, France, for an unknown destination in the bright moon light of the night.

As the first vehicle turned into the highway a group of enemy planes appeared over the column which halted. They made several reconnaissance flights up and down the column attempting to observe the convoy but the majority of the vehicles had managed to pull into the shade of a tree making visibility extremely poor from the air.

As we rode down the road an occasional enemy plane would fly over the convoy and all element were expecting to be bombed and strafed at any moment.

About two o’clock in the morning the fog began to arise over the low and hilly terrain, which was welcomed by every member of the battalion as it made visibility exceptionally poor form the air, as well as the ground.

At about 0400 hours as the convoy approached St. Hilaire du Harcourt, orders were flashed to every vehicle in the convoy by Colonel Martz, the battalion commander, and who was riding in the first armored car of the convoy, to extinguish all blackout lights immediately.

By that time the fog was heavy and visibility was absolute zero; Thanks to Providence!

Enemy planes zoomed up and down the column as we remained halted in the dark and 88mm shells whizzed over our heads, landing in a field to the right of the road.

We did not know where we were but we did realize that we were in a hot spot of some kind.

About 0430 hours we resumed our march to the southeast.

Upon approaching a town, which we later were to learn was St. Hilaire du Harcourt, every thing in the town was burning and most every building in the town had been leveled to the ground.

The road crossing in the eastern suburbs of the town had been bombed and the bridge across the river had been hit, but wasn’t damaged to an extent which it could not be used by traffic.

The unit 20 minutes ahead of our battalion came face to face with this aerial attack as they entered the town and suffered casualties in both personnel and vehicles.

The town was under an enemy artillery barrage and the battalion passed through as 88mm’s were landing on the right, on the left, in the front and to the rear.

After all this experience, the members of the advance party who were to contact and stop the battalion on the highway at the assembly area, failed to contact us and we passed through the area to the east, when we came upon a lone military police at daylight, who told us that we were approaching the enemy’s front lines and that we had better turn around and get to the rear as fast as possible as he had launched a counterattack and was advancing in that direction.

The entire battalion sat on the road for over an hour before contact could be made with the billeting or advance detail after which we turned around in the road and established six miles East of St. Hilaire du Harcourt about 0700 hours, advancing a total distance of 51 miles during the night without incident, other than running into an aerial attack and artillery barrage.

At 1521 hours, while the battalion was yet in St. Marie Outre L’Eav, we were informed that the enemy’s counterattack had not yet developed, and that he was in Milly, France, as men of the reconnaissance troop had received fire from either self-propelled guns or tanks.

Division G2 section also reported that the enemy’s 2nd SS and 2nd Panzer Divisions were available for counterattack in the sector.

Company “A” was placed in direct support of 134th Infantry upon arrival in the assembly area east of St. Hilaire du Harcourt, and Company “C” in direct support of the 137th Infantry.

Company “B” was placed in support of 127th Field Artillery Battalion.

At 1930 hours all Reconnaissance Platoons of the Reconnaissance Company were attached to the gun companies and battalion alerted for movement to the front to repel a threatened enemy counterattack from the northeast.

United reported involved in the enemy counterattack in the Mortain sector included the 2nd Panzer regiment (1st SS Pz Div), 304th PGR (2nd Pz Div), 6/2 PGR (2nd Pz Div) and elements of the 17th SS PGR (17 Pz Gren Div) attached to 2nd SS Panzer Division. 11;6th Panzer Division was not identified; however, prisoners stated attack might be expected to continue with 116 Panzer Division, 1st SS Division and two Infantry Divisions.

Enemy units identified in the Mayenne sector include the 729th Infantry Regiment and 708th Infantry Division has previously been identified in the vicinity of Laval.

In the XIX Corps sector, elements of the 84th and 363rd Infantry Divisions, fighting a stubborn holding action south of the Vire Gathemo Road, withdrew slowly under heavy pressure.

In the VII Corps sector the enemy launched a counterattack with armor about dawn along line Mortain-Barthelely-Cherence Le Roussel. Enemy strength at noon was estimated to be five battalions of Mark IV and Mark V tanks. The enemy maintained access to his salient via roads from the east and may have augmented this strength but the troops involved in the counterattack received heavy air attacks throughout the day.

On the Third U.S. Army front the enemy is apparently falling back on the major parts of his prepared defenses. Heavy resistance met at Lorient and north of city. The enemy’s front line across the St. Malo Peninsula has been driven back.

Prisoners indicate there may be on regiment, at the most, of the 2nd Para Division in the Peninsula.

The 9th Panzer Division in the vicinity of Mayenne was formed by combining the 155th Panzer Training Division with remnants of the 9th Panzer Division, which returned to France after fighting in Russia.

The 9th Panzer Division includes:
33rd Pz Regiment 9th Pz Rcn Battalion
10th Pz Gren Regt 50th AT Battalion
11th Pz Gren Regt 86th Pz Eng Battalion
102nd Pz Artly Regt 81st Panzer Signal Battalion.

General G2 Summary: The VII German Army has escaped from the Tess-Vire pocket. The XLVII Panzer Corps with four Panzer Divisions, two panzer and 2 SS, composite of 17 SS Pz Gr Div and 2nd SS Pz Div, remnants of Pz Lehr, 116th Pz Div, is attacking on the axis of MORTAIN-AVRANCHES, with a view of separating the First and Third U.S. Armies. The initial objective of the XLVII Pz Corps is most likely the high ground along the line Bracey south to the Selune River. The second objective is undoubtedly AVRANCHES-PONTAUBLAUT area. At the same time the southern flank of the LXXXIV Corps is being extended to the south by reinforcements from the First and Nineteenth German Armies, with the mission of closing the line to the Loire River and roping off both the Brittany and Cherbourg Peninsulas.

It is wholly possible that other divisions, such as elements of the 11th Pz Division, 198th and 159th Training Divisions, may also appear in this sector.

The battalion and 35th Infantry Division were attached to the VII Army Corps at 2400 hours.

Mortain was occupied by the enemy and the enemy knowing that the road over which the battalion was moving to the sector was one of the main arteries in feeding our army reinforcements and supplies was leaving nothing unturned to cut it in two.

Promptly at dusk dark while the battalion was in the assembly area preparing to take up positions at the front it was subjected to a vicious enemy aerial attack which lasted for two hours and repeated in the early hours of the following morning. No casualties were sustained due to well dug-in positions and camouflage.

The area was lighted up by flares to such extent that one could easily read a newspaper in the light from flares, AA fire and bomb flashes. St. Hilaire du Harcourt was also subjected to another vicious air attack at 1000 hours and again at 2400 hours.

The enemy continued to shell the city of St. Hilaire du Harcourt from his positions to the northeast but his counterattack had been halted a few miles from the important town which served our Army as a communications junctions.

August 08, 1944

Command Post
St. Hilaire du Harcourt, France.
Coord
082400 August, 1944.

30th Infantry Division on our left flank continued to contain enemy’s counterattacks supported by the 2nd Armored Division.

At 080930 August the 1st battalion of CT 134 moved into positions to assist the 2nd battalion in cleaning our enemy pocket of resistance.

At 1030 hours G2 reported that enemy tanks were moving into company “A”‘s left boundary in unknown strength, and that there was an enemy strong point, strength unknown at CR just south of Mortain.

An enemy mine field was reported ½ mile south of St. Jean du Corail.
At 0845 the right battalion of 134th Infantry reduced an enemy road block in their sector which would indicate that the enemy realizes that his counterattack is futile.

At 1630 hours three unidentified tanks were reported moving south on the road at 5707, and Company “C” reported enemy tanks on their left flank. At 1835 hours four enemy tanks were reported at 583063 and 578090 in defilade positions, and at 1900 hours the G2 Section of the division reported six tanks at 570070 and four at 565065.

At 2100 hours four enemy tanks were reported at 565065 by Company “A” and at 2220 hours French civilians reported that enemy soldiers were in the vicinity of St. Jean de Corial, 610059, strength undetermined.

At 2051 hours an enemy plane flew over the area and dropped four parachute troops in the Division area, supposedly with radio sets to direct artillery fire.

The only contact with the enemy during the period was in the pocket of resistance south of Mortain.

Prisoners have been captured from the 2nd SS and 116th Panzer Divisions.

Elements of the 1st SS Division also believed to be in the sector.

Enemy aircraft attacked the Division front after the hours of darkness. One enemy aircraft was destroyed by antiaircraft fire from the 448th AAA Battalion.

Civilians report that the road between Ger and Barenton has been thoroughly mined and booby-trapped.

The enemy’s supply point is located at Ger.

Civilians also report a large concentration of enemy forces in the woods between Domfront and La Werte-Mace.

The command post, Headquarters Company, Medical Detachment, and the command post of the Reconnaissance Company remained 6 miles E of St. Hilaire du Harcourt, France, during the period.

At 0200 hours the area was subjected to a vicious air attack by about 25 enemy planes. They dropped about 10 large size bombs and strafed the area with machine gun fire for thirty minutes, without causing any casualties.
Private Louis O. Franklin was admitted to hospital as the result of an injury and Private John O. Robinson, both of Headquarters Company, the result of sickness.

At about 0800 hours after a conference with his staff, in which the enemy situation in this sector could not be fully determined, Lieut-Colonel William V. Martz, the commanding officer of the battalion, in order the clarify the situation decided that it was his duty to investigate the situation and inspect antitank defenses and endeavor to determine the enemy armor situation in this sector.
Accompanied by his radio operation, Technician Fifth Grade Robert S. Allen, and his driver Private lcl Joseph Talon, both of Headquarters Company, colonel Martz departed from the command post in a ¼ ton jeep, armed with a .30 caliber machine gun, mounted on the vehicle and a .45 caliber sub-machine gun on his person to visit the front.

Colonel Martz visited the command post of Company “C” in the vicinity of Le Teilleaul (coord 630979, 1/50, 000), and left that area about 1100 hours to proceed to the command post of the 137th Infantry.

It was established that colonel Martz visited the command post of the 137th Infantry during the morning, and from that point proceeded in the direction of the command post of Company “A”, contacting Lieut Elcano between the hours of 1100-1200 about 1 ½ miles south of St. Jean du Corail, France, (coordinates 617042, 1/50, 000), departing in the direction of St. Jean du Corail, France.

No further contact can be established from this part, but investigation revealed that during the late morning of the 8th of August, French civilians reported observing an American jeep about 1 kilometer south west of St. Jean du Corail, and immediately after it passed a fire fight down in the valley in the direction which the jeep was seen to proceed. They also reported that one dead German soldier was brought out of the area and buried in the field in the vicinity.

Inspection of the area revealed the following facts:
Tire tracks of a ¼ ton vehicle in the road, which evidently tried to turn around in the road, and bullet marks on tree and shrubbery in the area from small arms fire.

It is thought that Colonel Martz and his party were taken prisoner by the enemy, but all were reported as missing in action.

After studying the report and analyzing the accomplishment of Colonel Martz since the unit entered the combat zone, the Command General of the 35th Infantry Division, Major General Paul W. Baade, recommended that Colonel Martz be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, with the following citation:
“Lieut-Colonel William V. Martz, 0-19897, Cavalry, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion, distinguished himself by extra ordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States.

Colonel Martz voluntarily led a patrol to carry from a position exposed to observed enemy fire, the bodies of two officers, which had been lying there for two days. Prior details endeavoring to evacuate the bodies of the two officers had been forced to withdraw by enemy fire.

The proximity of the bodies of their officers had a very demoralizing effect upon the personnel of a vital defense position. The patrol of which Colonel Martz was the leader proceeded for a distance of one mile to secure the bodies, place them upon litters and carry them away. The detail was under accurately observed enemy artillery fire during the entire period.

Upon arrival at the scene it was necessary to extricate one of the bodies from the debris and while this was being accomplished the intensity of the artillery fire increased. The bodies were recovered and removed to the Graves Registration Point under the most adverse conditions.

On a later date Colonel Martz realizing that the successful employment of his battalion of Tank Destroyers was impeded due to the lack of information about the enemy, voluntarily, made a personal reconnaissance of the division sector, which carried him into enemy territory, where he was captured or killed, in action.

During the period July 11, 1944 to including August 8, 1944, Lieut-Colonel Martz visited Tank Destroyers of his command in positions on the front line, many of these occasions under such intense enemy artillery fire so bad that the crews of the destroyers could not leave the safety of their destroyers.
The brilliant achievements and success of this battalion during the period from July 11 – August 8, 1944, in which Lieut-Colonel Martz commanded, reflects great credit upon the personal leadership and devotion to duty on the part of Lieut-Colonel Martz.”

Private Daly, Headquarters Company was admitted to hospital during the period as the result of sustaining an injury.

At 1813 hours orders were issued to all elements of the battalion to display air panels.

The command post of Company “A” established in the vicinity of the command post of the 134th Infantry, coordinates 631047, during the period.
At 0945 company reported that the right battalion of the 134th Infantry had reached Phase Line “B” and that forward echelons had reached coordinates 557033.

At 0303 hours the 1st and 2nd platoons went out of contact with the command post.

At 0945 Lieut Sherman while walking down the road on reconnaissance for antitank positions and fields of fire for direct fire missions, was shot over the heart by a sniper and had to be evacuated. Lieut Healy assumed leadership of the 2nd platoon upon Lieut Sherman becoming a casualty.

The 1st platoon took up antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates 637050, 1/50, 000, Mortain and the second at 605067; both under accurate intensive artillery fire.

At 0948 hours enemy tanks were reported coming into the company’s sector on the left boundary.

Company remained attached to the 134th Infantry during the period. Reserve platoon committed 1930 hours. One platoon ad contact with enemy tanks at coordinates 560056 and 572058. One destroyer was out of action during the period due to mechanical failure of sighting mechanism.

At 1103 hours friendly tanks began to move into the lines to counterattack enemy armored threat.

At the same hour the 2nd battalion, 134th Infantry was held up along Phase Line “A” by strong road blocks covered by automatic rifle fire; 2nd battalion stared surrounding fortified road block at 1215 hours.

At 1440 hours 2nd platoon under Lieut. Healy took up positions in the vicinity of road block on Phase Line “A”.

At 2353 hours 2nd battalion, 134th Infantry, supported by 2nd platoon crossed Phase Line “B” and continued to move forward, against strong enemy resistance.

At 2353 hours the dispositions of the platoons of “A” Company were: First 613048; 2nd platoon 1st section a t 560056 and 2nd section at 572058; 3rd platoon 1st section at 656050 and 2nd section at 525057. All elements of the company were under accurate, observed and intense artillery and mortar fire throughout the period. Only one casualty resulted: Lieut. Sherman.
Company “B” was committed to action as of 2200 hours and was attached to the 134th Infantry.

The command post was established at 36321045 and the 1st platoon went into antitank positions a t coordinates 35251057, 1/50, 000 and the 2nd platoon at coordinates 35021061, 1/50, 000.

The 3rd platoon was placed in direct support of the 134th Infantry with positions at coordinates 35271031, 1/50, 000. The 2nd platoon moved from its antitank positions to direct fire positions at coordinates 35231071 during the evening.

Enemy planes were over the area during the hours of darkness bombing and strafing the area without causing casualties.

Company was unable to establish contact with Company “A” at 1230 hours.
3rd Reconnaissance Platoon attempting to make contact with enemy tanks at 2324 hours under artillery and mortar fire, and enemy air attack.

Company “C” remained in direct support of the 137th Infantry in the vicinity of Barenton.

One platoon encountered some enemy resistance at coordinates 615040, 1/50, 000, Mortain, at about 2200 hours.

Communication very poor throughout the period due to the enemy ‘jamming the air’.

The 1st Reconnaissance Platoon under 1st Lieut Alexander M. Smith attempting to maintain communication between Company “A” and “C”, but due to situation it is hardly impracticable.

1st and 2nd platoons reached Phase Line “A” at 2300 hours.

FFI reports that rolly-polly (tanks) are operating on the company’s left flank at 1550 hours. Enemy tanks were reported on left flank of company at 1631 hours, and enemy mine fields south of St. Jean du Corail, covered by enemy antitank guns.

One friendly tank of the 2nd Armored Division was knocked out by enemy fire in our sector about 1705 hours.

Command post established at 631047, at 2040 hours under light artillery fire. 2nd platoon in antitank position at 616040 at 1958 hours; 3rd platoon at 639053.

The command post of the Reconnaissance Company remained in proximity of the battalion command post during the period and was subjected to enemy air attacks during the hours of darkness without casualties.

One civilian, thought to be enemy soldier or agent was arrested and brought to command post where he was turned over to the Intelligence Department for questioning.

August 09, 1944

Command Post,
Notre Dame de Touchet, France.
092400 August, 1944.
Coord 577033, 1/50, 000.

30th Infantry Division on the left flank of the Division met stiff resistance when they attempted to push the enemy out of Mortain and St. Bartheimy. 1st Infantry Division on right flank continued to protect flank between Mayenne and Amerieres Le Grand, and the 2nd Armored Division was committed in the 137th Infantry’s sector during the period. 30th Infantry Division continued to mop up in the village of Mesnil Dove.

134th Infantry attacked at 090600 August to the East. 3rd battalion 137th Infantry attacked to 134th Infantry.

137th Infantry, 1st battalion, captured Barenton. 320th Infantry, 3rd battalion, moved to vicinity of St. Hilaire-Mortain Highway, dismounted and deployed astride highway at 529073 and moved east meeting little resistance. The 2nd battalion withdrew 200 yards to allow artillery to be laid on pocket of resistance.

At the beginning of the period one tank destroyer company of the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion was attached to CT 137; two companies attached to CT 134. At 091800 hours battalion reverted to Division Artillery control, and at the end of the period one tank destroyer company was attached to each light artillery battalion.

Enemy resistance over the entire Division front was fierce throughout the period.

The enemy attacked all the Division front from the air during the night inflicting casualties among personnel and equipment.

The enemy is believed to have a strong defensive line in the Foret de Mortain.

Enemy units in contact with Division include elements of the Reconnaissance and Engineer Battalions of the 116th Panzer Division; elements of the 1st and 2nd SS Panzer Division. The enemy continued to hold out in his pocket of resistance and launched limited counterattacks with tanks and Infantry.

At 2230 hours two tanks, supported by Infantry, launched a counterattack down the road leading southwest out of Mortain. Tanks proceeding to the southwest. A total of 18 prisoners were captured during the operational period.

The weather remained fair and warm; excellent for operations.

The command post, Headquarters Company, Medical Detachment, departed from 6 miles E of St. Hilaire du Harcourt at 1440 hours and established at Notre Dame de Touchet, coordinates 577033, 1/50, 000, at 1520 hours, a distance of 12 miles. When the command post was being established in the deep ditch East of Mortain, hand-to-hand fighting was raging in the adjoining hedgerow, and the familiar song of the ‘burp-gun’ was ringing through the still afternoon breeze. The weather remained fair throughout the period; excellent for operations.

The German Air Force made its appearance promptly at dusk dark, dropping flares and a few bombs, without inflicting casualties. The command post was under heavy enemy artillery and small arms fire during the latter part of the period, and double security measures were instituted.

Violent artillery duels are raging around the perimeter of Mortain, while the enemy makes a desperate effort to accomplish his mission; breaking through our lines to the coast by the continual bombing of St. Hilaire du Harcourt and all road junctions in the area around the important communications city.

The 134th Infantry attacked at 0600 hours and captured the RJ at coordinates – – at 1230 hours. The enemy continued to withdraw to the northwest in the sector of St. Jean de Corail, one company of the 134th Infantry spearheading the attack.

At about 1400 hours several enemy tanks, supported by Infantry, drove a wedge between the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 134th Infantry; splitting the battalions, and isolating the 1st reconnaissance platoon and a pioneer section of the Reconnaissance Company, and the 2nd Tank Destroyer Platoon of Company “A”. The 2nd battalion of the 134th Infantry and supporting units were completely surrounded by the enemy at this phase of the operation and little hope was held for their survival.

The enemy maintained air support of his attacking troops after the hours of darkness, bombing and strafing our lines and positions; the enemy marking his positions for the Luftwaffa with flares fired from very pistols, etc.

The enemy was employing captured American guns against our forces and at 1930 hours the G2 section of the Division reported that the enemy was using our air panels in marking his vehicles.

The enemy demanded the surrounded battalion and supporting troops to surrender, and after they refused began to spray the area with artillery air bursts and machine gun fire. After the hours of darkness the enemy definitely marked his lines with orange and green flares and the Luftwaffa bombed an strafed the trapped troops for three long, horrible hours, inflicting severe casualties upon them and destroying a large amount of equipment. The trapped battalion was subjected to terrific artillery fire throughout the day and night, and once our own artillery laid on them through mistake, which the men said was the most horrible part of their experience, stating that the German artillery is terrific, but that ours was “just plain hell on earth”.

The companies remained attached to the Infantry until 1900 hours when they reverted to the control of the Division Artillery. Tech 5 Grade Leroy Alston and Private Rupert Bayer assigned to and joined Headquarters Company from Replacement Company.

The command post of Company “A” moved and established in the vicinity of coordinates – – 1/50, 000, Mortain, under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire, and the command post area was attacked during the night by the Luftwaffa without inflicting any casualties however. The 2nd platoon in direct support of the 2nd battalion, 134th Infantry, under 1st Lieut. Healey and Staff Sergeant James D. Finger, were in positions to beat off any attempted enemy armored counterattack along the Notre Dame du Touchet-Mortain Highway.

During the morning Sergeant O’Brien, commander of destroyer #4, with positions to the rear of the platoon, observed an enemy Mark V Tank approaching his position from the rear, along the highway. Due to his position, not expecting an attack from the rear, he could not fire on the approaching enemy tank, and started to move out toward the highway to engage the tank, but before he could get into position or get the enemy in his sights, the enemy tank opened fire upon him, hitting him in the sighting mechanism of the gun and putting it out of order. Sergeant O’Brien realizing his position immediately began to withdraw back into the woods, so that he could fire on the tank from a point blank position without the aid of sights, but the enemy tank approaching his position along a sunken road, pumped a round of APC into Sergeant O’Brien’s destroyer, setting it afire and forcing the crew to abandon it. No personnel of the destroyer were killed or wounded and they withdrew into the woods where they obtained cover in a small ravine.

Sergeant Wright, commander of destroyer #3 of the 2nd platoon, in antitank position 100 yards further down the road heard the gun fire and he and his crew immediately began to get their destroyer into position whereby they could bring fire upon the enemy tank approaching from the rear; they too not expecting an attack from the rear and not knowing that they were surrounded by the enemy.

After destroying Sergeant O’Brien’s destroyer the enemy proceeded straight on down the sunken road. Sergeant Wright had his driver Technician 5th Grade Robert S. James, back the destroyer off the road back into the edge of the woods at an opening, giving them an excellent field of fire; but, the rear of the destroyer hit the embankment of a hedgerow and could not be backed any further without excavating a passage through the hedgerow.

The destroyer crew immediately dismounted and were furiously digging a passage through the hedgerow when the enemy tank opened fire upon them; the round hitting the gun, ricocheting through the drivers compartment and into the transmission, setting the destroyer on fire, and destroyed. No personnel casualties were suffered as the result of this action. The crew immediately ‘hit the dirt’ and realizing that their destroyer was burning and that they were helpless, they began to crawl on their stomachs down a small ravine which afforded protection from small arms fire but which would give no protection from air bursts of HE. The enemy from his position in the sunken road evidentially failed to observe the crew making their get-a-way as he did not open fire on them, which he would have surely done should he have realized their position.

After crawling on their stomachs for several hundred yards and getting out of range of the enemy tank the crew assembled and found the command post of the 2nd battalion, 134th Infantry, which was under a hail of enemy fire of every type.

The battalion commander directed that they take cover and remain in defense of the command post, which they did, and it was at this point that they first learned that the battalion was completely surrounded and cut-off from the rest of the Division, and were at that time in the process of being completely annihilated.

At 2300 hours the command post was subjected to an aerial attack for three hours; killing and wounding a number of Infantrymen but the destroyer crew escaping through some sheer luck or through the will of Providence.

The enemy supported by four tanks cut off the 2nd battalion of the 134th Infantry, the second section of the 2nd platoon, Sergeants Wright and Bowden and the 2nd platoon security section by driving behind the battalion and supporting elements, cutting their road of withdrawal between Notre Dame and Mortain.

The 3rd platoon was covering the RJ o the Mortain-Notre Dame Highway. Lieut Kneer, the platoon leader with the 1st section of the platoon; Sergeants Branch and Crabtree, reinforced by two destroyers from the 2nd platoon, proceeded to relieve the two destroyers which had been cut off with the 2nd battalion, 134th Infantry; Sergeants O’Brien and Wright; leaving the 2nd section of the platoon, Sergeants Owens and McEchern, under the command of the platoon Sergeant, Staff Sergeant James P. Davis to protect the left flank of the first section.

Upon turning a curve in the road the leading destroyer command by Sergeant Branch, and in which the platoon leader was riding, Lieut. Kneer, they came head-on with an enemy antitank gun and a Mark V tank parked in the middle of the road, and who opened fire upon the destroyer immediately. The destroyer was hit a t point blank range with four rounds of APC ammunition; killing Privates Thompson and Nelson, whose bodies were destroyed by fire when the destroyer burned, and seriously wounding Lieut. Kneer the platoon leader and Sergeant Branch, the destroyer’s commander. Corporal Harrington and Corporal Fischer were also wounded but not as badly as Lt Kneer and Sergeant Branch. The destroyer was completely destroyed by burning.

Sergeant Henderson of the 2nd platoon pulled upon the left flank of the enemy tank and destroyed the tank and crew with APC and HE, when the tank burst into flames killing all its crew.

A second enemy tank was sighted further down the road but when he saw his buddy go up in flames he ‘took off’ at full speed ahead, but its command who was on the rear of the vehicle attempting to fix his radio aerial was killed when Sergeant Crabtree pumped several rounds into him with his carbine rifle.

The burning enemy tank which Sergeant Henderson destroyed burned for at least a day as exploding ammunition in the turret kept the blaze kindled.

Private Harrington, Schimek and Searcy were thought to have been missing in action but they reported to the company command post the following day after having hid out in the woods over night in enemy territory.

The 2nd and 3rd platoons maintained antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates 570058, 1/50, 000, Mortain, during the period, under continual enemy artillery, mortar and small arms fire, and air attack during the hours of darkness for a period of three hours. The 1st platoon remained in reserve and in antitank positions in the vicinity of the company command post during the period.

The 3rd platoon opened fire on a concentration of enemy foot troops just East of Mortain, killing about fifty and wounding at least that many, for which no credit could be given due to the results being in enemy held territory.

The Security Section of the 2nd platoon, plus elements of the 1st Reconnaissance Platoon and Pioneer Platoon of the Reconnaissance Company, cut off in the pocket, fell in by the side of the Infantry and helped slug it out with the enemy.

This was the enemy’s desperate effort. He bombed, strafed, shelled and machine gunned every portion of the front throughout the period endeavoring to smash resistance. The battle at Mortain will go down in the annals of the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion as one of the toughest fights of the war.

The command post of Company “A” established 1 mile Northeast Notre Dame de Touchet, coordinants 581053, 1/50, 000, a distance of 6 miles without enemy contact.

Lieut George White assigned to and joined company from Company “C”.

Company remained attached to 134th Infantry during the period. The 3rd platoon was credited with the destruction of one MK IV tank.

The 1 ½ ton security truck of the platoon was hit by artillery fire and destroyed. Lieut Alexander H. Smith, Jr., Platoon leader of the 1st Reconnaissance Platoon, along with Sergeant Williams, the platoon sergeant and Private Beatty, attached to the 2nd tank destroyer platoon were cut off in the pocket, along with a wounded Infantryman from the 2nd Battalion, 134th Infantry, manned an outpost on the flank of the battalion during the hours of darkness. Privates 1st Menengolla, Moriarity and Sinclair were reported as missing in action.

Six men from the reconnaissance platoon and nine men from the 2nd tank destroyer platoon, whose destroyer had been destroyed by the enemy, made their way to the command post of company “A” during the night.

The 2nd platoon made contact with enemy tanks at coordinates 560056 and 572058, 1/50, 000, Mortain.

The command post of Company “B” moved from St. Hilaire du Harcourt and established 1 mile south of Notre Dame at 1600 hours, a distance of 12 miles without enemy contact. Company placed in direct support of 320th Infantry with antitank positions: 1st platoon 35251057; 2nd platoon 35021061 and 3rd platoon at 35271031, 1/50, 000, Mortain. The second platoon changed from antitank positions to direct fire positions at coordinates 35231071 during the period.

Command post established at 36321045 with the 3rd platoon in direct support of the 134th Infantry. (Get this straightened out: In support 134th or 320th Inf?). (Coordinates wrong?).

Sergeant Staniorski admitted to hospital due to illness during the period. Private lcl Nelson, Privates Anderson, Beauford, Pedraja, Hilbert and Bell assigned to and joined company from Replacement Battalion during the period.

Enemy attacked all positions from the air during the hours of darkness. The command post of Company “C” departed from St. Hilaire du Harcourt and established at Notre Dame at 1540 hours, a distance of 12 miles without enemy contact.

Company supported the 137th Infantry during the period. 2nd platoon in antitank positions at coordinates 618038 was under intensive artillery fire during the night.

About 2330 hours while enemy planes were attacking the front and the town of Le Teilleul, Captain Benton, the company commander noticed light being flashed from a building in the town; as a matter of fact from a hotel window. Captain Benton directed Technician 5th Grade Pouche, his French interpreter to instruct the individuals who were flashing the light to discontinue it at once as enemy planes were over the area. They replied “OK”. When the enemy planes headed back in the direction of the town they flashed the lights again. They were warned not to do it again in a firm tone of voice. As the planes flew over the area the third time, the lights flickered once more. Immediately one round of HE was fired into the window and the building surrounded by the platoon security section. The following morning with the aid of the FFI the two men were brought out of the building and turned over to the CIC for questioning.

Private Myron L. Mason returned to duty from hospital and Private Michael J. Yoor, was assigned to the company from Replacement Battalion.

A few flares went up in front of the 3rd platoons area during the night but no artillery barrage resulted.

The Reconnaissance Company’s command post left St. Hilaire du Harcourt and established at Notre Dame de Touchet at 1525 hours, a distance of 12 miles. One civilian, French, supposedly, was turned over to the Military Police at 2420 hours, acting suspicious. Taken into custody at coordinates 5604.

The 1st Reconnaissance Platoon under 1st Lieut. Smith and Staff Sergeant Williams were cut off with the 2nd battalion, 134th Infantry at 1400 hours. Platoon was forced to abandon two jeeps in the vicinity of Milly and they were destroyed by the enemy.

Platoon helped man an outpost during the critical period of the attack and were under heavy enemy artillery, mortar and small arms fire throughout the period and attacked from the air after the hours of darkness.

Private Youngblood was admitted to hospital as the result of being wounded in action in the vicinity of Mortain at 0600 hours.

At 2130 hours when the enemy attacked the front from the air he dropped about six one ton bombs in the vicinity of the 2nd Reconnaissance Platoon and the command post of the 3rd Tank Destroyer platoon. At least three of these landed only 5 yards from Lieutenants Safley and Taylor; after which they dropped butterfly bombs and thoroughly strafed the area with machine gun fire. One time bomb was dropped and did not explode until the following morning, blowing up a command post of the 2nd Armored Division and killing the company command, Executive officer and First Sergeant. During this ferocious attack and aerial bombardment Lieut Smith dug himself a temporary foxhole with a mess kit spoon.

The 137th Infantry, with attached units, including Companies “A” and “C”, comprising Task Force “S” attacked at 0618, encountering mine fields covered by automatic weapons, and heavy and accurate enemy fire caused the force to withdraw about 500 yards.

The 60th Engineer Battalion continued to clear roads and the area of enemy mine fields during the period.

The FFI reported that German parachute troops defending Torigni-Sur-Vire, now south of the town, are members of the same unit who participated in maneuvers in that area during 1942.

1st Battalion 320th Infantry captured Torigni-Sur-Vire and advanced to LaPax. Troops upon entering the town were greatly assisted by the local FFI.

Casualties for the months operation were: Killed in action: 38 officers and 437 enlisted men. Seriously wounded: 6 officers and 119 enlisted men. Missing in action: 6 officers and 62 enlisted men. Lightly wounded in action : 82 officers and 1638 enlisted men.

Enemy in general fought a delaying action during the period. Thirty five or forty enemy tanks were reported by aviation reconnaissance in the vicinity of 5646, 1/50, 000.

Between 0040 and 007 hours an unknown number of enemy planes flew over the area, dropped flares, bombs and machine gunned the area. At 2345 hours another undetermined number of planes were over the area without firing or dropping bombs; mission undetermined. Seven prisoners were captured from the 8th Parachute Regiment during the period. Civilians report that the enemy is in flight to the south and to the east in a disorganized manner, and that only groups of well trained and disciplined soldiers are fighting a rear guard action.

The command post group, Headquarters and Reconnaissance Companies and the Medical Detachment maintained their command posts in the same positions during the period. Enemy planes attacked the area promptly at 2300 hours, preceded by “Bed Check Charlie”. Planes flew in from the southeast, dropped flares, bombs and methodically machine gunned the entire area for thirty minutes. No casualties were suffered.

An occasional round of artillery, thought to be 88mm, fell in the area during the period. Torigni-Sur-Vire officially fell at 1600 hours to the 320th Infantry and the enemy continued his withdrawal across the Vire River.

Lieut-Colonel Martz, Battalion Commanding Officer, inspected all antitank positions during the period.

The enemy has blew all bridges upon his withdrawal across the river and has subjected the north banks of the river to heavy artillery and mortar concentrations in an effort to prevent our Engineers from putting a bridge across the river, or units fording it a fordable places.

The odor from deteriorating enemy bodies in our area is increasing. There is no odor to compare with that of deteriorating human flesh. Sickening!

Two enemy tanks were reported parked on the side of the road at 550500, 1/50, 000; and thirty or forty enemy tanks in the vicinity of 560460, 1/50, 000. Two towed 88mm guns reported at coordinates 532534.

Friendly front line generally along 567551 to 587547. M-4 tanks along this line. The position of company “A”s command post did not change during the period. Continued in direct support of the 320th Infantry throughout period, but little progress was made due to heavy enemy mine fields. Command post remained at 574578, 1/25, 000, Torigni-Sur-Vire.

Lieut. Smith and 1st Reconnaissance Platoon made reconnaissance of the area vicinity of 5655 until dark.

At 1830 hours the command post moved to coordinates 574578. 1st platoon to antitank positions vicinity 553572; 2nd platoon vicinity of; 1st section 555721 2nd section 564565; 3rd platoon 536551.

All elements of the company were under light enemy artillery fire during the period and attacked from the air by enemy planes at 2340 hours; without casualties.

1st Lieut. Eugene Martines to Captain; 2nd Lieut. John J. Sherman and 2nd Lieut. Thurlow B. Smoot, promoted to 1st Lieutenants, effective .

The command post of Company “B” moved its command post from 1 mile south of St. Lo, France and established at Lest Hts Vents, France, at 2300 hours, a distance of 2 miles. All elements of the company remained din support of 134th Infantry in primary mission during the period.

Pvt lcl Warren C. Adams, Privates Alfred F. Lefhoz and Ernest L. Arn, assigned to and joined company from Replacement Company.

The command post of Company “C” remained unchanged during the period in direct support of 137th Infantry as an element of Task Force “S”, 35th Division.

Two enemy 88mm guns reported by reconnaissance at point 10a at 0930 hours; front lines along Points 4, 5, and 6. At 1130 hours friendly tanks were moving to vicinity of point 6 to fire on strong point; 3rd platoon reinforcing tanks.

At 1535 hours machine gun positions and strong point at points 5 and 6 and are moving forward. 2nd Lieut. Arnold promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Enemy air patrols were over the area during the night, dropping flares, but no bombs were dropped.

Company destroyed five houses containing enemy machine gun positions killing an undermined number of enemy soldiers and houses left burning.

Two enemy tanks found parked on the side of the road at 550500 at 1725 hours. They were abandoned by their enemy crews. Of Torigini-Sur-Vire from positions

Enemy is shelling the town south of the Vire river. During the period the company fire a few indirect fire missions on enemy targets in the vicinity of 545541, 1/25, 000.

The Reconnaissance platoons and pioneer sections of the Reconnaissance Company were assigned to the various gun companies during the period; including the battery of 116th AAA Battalion attached.

During the period of operations from 12 July, 1944, until 31 July, 1944, the battalion was attached to the 35th infantry Division, and suffered the following casualties:

Missing in action: 1
Killed in action: 11
Wounded in action: 26
Sick, nonbattle cas: 8

Enemy killed, captured and equipment destroyed during the period consists of:

Company “A”: 8 pieces artillery; 7 machine guns; 2 mortars; 1 ammunition dump; 1 strong point; 11 enemy soldiers killed; 9 prisoners and 2 prisoners captured.

Company “B”: 10 machine guns; 6 enemy soldiers killed; 2 prisoners; 1 bridge destroyed.

Company “C”; 22 Machine guns; 1 mortar; 1 strong point; 38 enemy soldiers killed; 39 prisoners; 1 anti-tank gun and 1 command post destroyed.

The above figures represent only that which was produced by evidence. It is estimated that the battalion during the period killed and wounded over 300 enemy soldiers; destroyed six strong points; 25 machine guns; 10 artillery pieces; 10 mortars and sever antitank guns.

August 10, 1944

Command Post
Notre Dame of Touchet, France.
Coord 577033, 1/50, 000
102400 August, 1944

30th Infantry Division attacking on our left flank throughout the period. 4th Infantry Division moved into 137th Infantry sector, preparing to relieve the 137th Infantry.

The 134th Infantry continued to advance east against heavy enemy resistance. The 320th Infantry continued to attack east meeting heavy enemy resistance. First battalion attacked at 1500 hours, Infantry riding on tanks. At the end of the period Task Force occupied road on slope of Hill No. 317.

The enemy’s pocket of resistance in the Division sector has been cut in half and the artillery is laying TOT’s on all cross roads.

Enemy positions around Mortain were bombed by 1500 friendly planes at 1500 hours; the artillery marking targets with smoke shells. The weather was excellent during the period for operations and visibility.

The enemy remains to defend his positions south of Mortain. He also has a defensive line in the Foret de Mortain.

Enemy forces in the “so-called pocket of resistance” included the Reconnaissance Battalion of the 116th Panzer Division and the Reconnaissance Battalion of the 2nd SS Panzer Division, estimated to be about 880 men supported by 10 medium tanks; but, it is known that at one phase of the counterattack the 1st and 2nd Panzer SS Divisions and the 116th Panzer Division were attacking in our sector.

Artillery fire enemy positions was light, but accurate, in our forward areas during the period. One enemy artillery battery located at coordinates 605152.

Enemy planes were over the Division Sector beginning at 0015 hours until 0130 hours dropping flares and bombs upon our positions, causing casualties and damage to personnel and equipment. One delayed action bomb of 500 pounds, exploded three hours after it was dropped, killing two officers and one enlisted man of the 2nd Armored Division.

Troops should be immediately warned to stay away from unexploded bombs and to report them to this headquarters at once. The enemy infantry continued to defend his position in the Division zone with automatic fire.

Civilians report that sniper patrols of not more than six men hide out in the woods during the daylight hours and at night take positions on logical avenues of approaches and pick off personnel from our advancing patrols.

No tanks were reported in our forward area during the period.

The Engineer Battalion of the 116th Panzer Division is equipped with, and is firing a weapon called the Dogerat; copied from the Russian Rocket Gun.

A total of 18 prisoners were captured by the division and attached units during the period.

Division artillery reported a large column of enemy tanks moving south on road at 562161 at 0020 hours.

Enemy planes bombed the road along Phase Line “B” and a counterattack is being made northwest of the town of Barenton (?). Company “C” instructed to try to hold them until reinforcements can be brought to them at 0050 hours, but by 0200 hours, it was determined that it was only a small patrol in a fire fight with friendly patrols.

The Division artillery picked up the following message at 1125 hours from the 2nd Armored Division: “Six, repeat six, enemy tanks moving south at 653084.

At 1700 hours Company “A” reported that enemy paratroops were being dropped to the northeast of the command post, but was later determined that American planes had dropped supplies and equipment to the isolated battalion of the 30th Infantry Division cut off by the enemy.

There was no change in the positions of the command post group, Headquarters Company, Medical Detachment or the Reconnaissance Company’s command post during the period; established at Notre Dame de Touchet, France.

The enemy is putting up a desperate fight in an attempt to hold on to Mortain. He still holds the high ground to the West of the city and the Foret de Mortain, which gives him excellent observation and cover.

The enemy is employing artillery, rockets, mortar, tanks and small arms fire against our positions in an attempt to make a break through, but to date, he runs into a ring of steel which he can’t dent. He has exploited to the utmost, his dwindling, run down air force in an attempt to help his ground forces, but so far they have caused only slight damage and personnel casualties.

One battalion of the 30th Infantry Division’s Infantry is cut off and surrounded in a pocket by the enemy, but they are battling it out with the enemy, and medical supplies were shot to them in artillery shells during the afternoon from 240mm guns.

The surrounded battalion is reported to be commanded by a Lieut-Colonel and the battalion has great hope of it being Lieut-Colonel Martz, who has been missing since 8 August, 1944. Major Schuster, 35th Division Artillery placed on special duty with the battalion and assumed command pending the return to a duty status of Major Minton, the battalion executive officer.

At 0025 hours a large column of tanks reported moving south on road at 562161 and a TOT artillery concentration was laid upon them; three are burning.

Division requested that one platoon of tank destroyers be sent to coordinates 591035, 1/50, 000, Mortain.

Four large size enemy bombs were dropped at coordinates 092400 at 0600 hours, causing casualties among civilian population.

At 1005 hours Company “B” was directed to send a platoon of destroyers to coordinates 583059 to protect Milton Bridge; two enemy tanks having been observed in that vicinity at 1000 hours.

At 2015 hours a large enemy column was reported moving into Mortain from the North and six enemy tanks reported moving south from coordinates 653084 at 1152 hours.

The command post of Company “A” moved and established 1 mile northeast of Notre Dame de Touchet, France, coordinates 581053, at 1000 hours, a distance of 10 miles without enemy contact.

The 448th AAA Battalion shot down two enemy bombers during an air attack at 0053 hours in the vicinity of the command post. All destroyers in antitank positions under small arms fire throughout the period and under enemy air attack starting at 2400 hours for three hours; all without casualties. The 1st section of the 1st platoon in antitank positions at coordinantes 583059, 1/50, 000, in the vicinity of cross road, and 1 section of the 2nd platoon east from coordinates 560056, 1/50, 000 in support of the 1st platoon.

At 1115 hours the 134th Infantry in the vicinity of coordinates 585059, 1/50, 000, Mortain. The 1st platoon under a heavy artillery barrage moved from their positions to antitank positions at coordinates 599013, 1/50, 000 Mortain.

2nd and 3rd platoons in antitank positions at coordinates 560056, 1/50, 000 during the period.

Corporal George Fischer who was slightly wounded in action on the 9th returned to duty. Pvtlcl Joseph Schimek and Private Charles Leary, reported as missing in action on the 9th reported for duty at the company command post during the period.

2ns Lieut. George White assigned to and joined company from Company “C”.

All elements of the company were under heavy enemy artillery, mortar and small arms fire throughout the period and were attacked form the air after midnight.

Company remained in support of 134th Infantry. A reconnaissance of the area in which the company operated on the 9th inst., revealed that one 105mm Howitzer, one 57mm antitank gun and one 2-1/2 ton truck, all American equipment, captured and being used by the enemy were destroyed by fire from the guns of the company.

At 1445 hours the command post moved to coordinates 581053. French civilians report that enemy Infantry is moving south in the direction of our sector.

Intense enemy artillery falling in the vicinity of the 1st platoon in antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates 583059 at 1405 hours.

The command post of Company “B” remained in the vicinity of coordinates 35658020, 1/100, 000 (1 mile south Notre Dame de Touchet).

Company in primary mission with 161st field artillery battalion. Entire company under terrific enemy aerial attack beginning about 2400 hours for three hours, without suffering casualties.

At 2030 hours command post moved and established in the vicinity of coordinates 662001 1/50, 000, Mortain.

One platoon remained in support of the 134th Infantry during the period and the other two platoons in direct support of Task Force formed around the 320th Infantry.

The command post of Company “C” did not change during the period.

2nd Lieut. George White transferred to Company “A”.

The entire company was under intensified enemy artillery, mortar and small arms fire throughout the period, and attacked from the air by a strong formation of enemy planes beginning at 0015 hours; all without suffering any casualties.

Company remained in direct support of the 137th Infantry during the period. At about 0230 hours an enemy patrol attempted to attack the company command post.

Captain D. L. Benton, Jr., the company commander, formed skirmish line with about five Infantrymen and attacked the enemy patrol, which consisted of about 10 or 15 men, forcing them to withdraw from the town of LeTeilluel, France.

Four heavy bombs were dropped by enemy aircraft during air raid about midnight did not explode until; on e at 0300 hours and the other three at 0600 hours. No casualties resulted from these time bomb explosions however, in the vicinity of coordinates 628981, 1/50, 000, Mortain. A few civilian casualties resulted.

August 11, 1944

Command Post,
Notre Dame de Touchet,
Coord 577033, 1/50, 000
112400 August, 1944.

The 30th Infantry Division on Division’s left flank and 4th Infantry Division on right flank continued to attack to the East in ideal weather conditions.

The 134th Infantry continued to attack and advance to the East toward phase line “C” as its objective with 137th Infantry attacking in direction of Division objective.

320th Infantry continued to attack to the East with the 1st battalion maintaining its position in the vicinity of RJ 588093, 1/50, 000, Mortain.

Supporting Division artillery fired 3276 rounds of HE in support of Divisions attack. The enemy continued to defend his positions from the high ground in the Foret de Mortain, launching limited counterattacks with tanks and infantry.

Artillery fire was light but accurate during the period.

Unidentified aircraft were over the Division sector at 0415 and 0445 hours; no bombing or strafing reported.

Enemy infantry continued to defend their positions in the middle and north sector with automatic weapons fire.

The enemy launched a counterattack in the vicinity of coordinates 590100, 1/50, 000, with 4 tanks supported by infantry during the period, but was repulsed with heavy losses. He also launched a counterattack with tanks and infantry upon Bioh, which likewise was repulsed.

Enemy supply lines run from Mortain to Domfront.

The Deutschland Regiment of the 2nd SS Panzer Division, the Reconnaissance Battalion and Engineer Battalion of the 116th Panzer Division, and the 10th SS Panzer Division have been identified by the 2nd Armored Division on our front.

Remnants of the 1st SS Panzer Division, 2nd SS Panzer Division and the 116th Panzer Division are still available as reserves in our sector.

There was no change in the position of the command post during the period; remaining at Notre Dame de Touchet. A few enemy shells fell in the area during the night without causing damage or casualties and enemy planes were over at 0030 and 0430 hours dropping flares but did no bombing or strafing.

At 1450 hours the 35th Division Antitank Officer reported four enemy Tiger Tanks moving southeast at coordinates 590098; and at 1456 hours enemy tanks moving northeast in the vicinity of coordinates 612069, 1/50, 000 Mortain. At 1618 hours the G2 Section reported 20 enemy tanks on the road just south of Mortain, and at 2230 hours enemy prisoners reported that there were 10 enemy tanks at Bion, France, preparing to attack our positions, and at 2240 hours four Tiger tanks were reported approaching “A” Company’s area. Company alerted for armor attack, but at the close of the period threat had not developed.

The enemy continued his last ditch stand and struggle in the Mortain Sector with a view of gaining his objective; breaking through to the sea, but his forces have taken such a hammering and mauling until he is nearly at the point of exhaustion. His counterattacks, each of which has been thrown back with heavy casualties inflicted upon him, are becoming weaker and weaker, and further and further apart.

The Luftwaffa which so strongly supported his attacks at the beginning in conspicuous by his absence, only for reconnaissance missions after the hours of darkness, and then due to the intensity of the antiaircraft fire the encountering black widow night fighters in the moonlight, his reconnaissance is hardly worth the effort and chance.

Headquarters Company remained in the vicinity of the command post during the period without enemy contact.

Private Thomas F. Daly was admitted to hospital due to an injury.

The command post of Company “A” moved from its former location and established 1 mile southwest of Notre Dame du Touchet in the vicinity of the command post of the 134th Infantry at coordinates 610058, a distance of 6 miles, without enemy contact.

The 1st platoon cleared an enemy mine field from antitank positions at coordinates 606062 and took up positions in that vicinity, in support of the 134th Infantry.

At 1103 hours the 2nd section of the 1st platoon moved into antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates RJ 604062 under light enemy artillery fire without casualties.

At 1300 hours an additional enemy mine field was located at coordinates 613061, 1/50, 000. 2nd platoon went into antitank positions at coordinates 503059 and the other section into antitank positions vicinity 560056, 1/50, 000.

The battalion, 134th Infantry is being held up by fierce enemy resistance in the vicinity of Bion, France, coordinates 598075, 1/50, 000, at 1420 hours. At 1528 hours the 1st platoon was subjected to an intensive artillery barrage for 10 minutes, without suffering casualties. At 1830 hours the 1st plt were in antitank positions at the following coordinates: #1-610063; #2-608063; #3-606062; #4-608061, 1/50, 000.

At 2145 hours 2 destroyers sent north on phase line “B” as assault guns with leading elements of tanks to take town of Mortain, France, and set up primary defense. Company remained in direct support of 134th Infantry during the period.

The 3rd platoon maintained antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates 620059 and 6020070, Map, Mortain, 1/50, 000.

Private Michael J. Yoor, admitted to hospital (ss).

The command post of Company “B” did not change during the period. At 0007 the 3rd platoon went into antitank positions vicinity of coordinates 585068, 1/50, 000. At 0755 hours the enemy laid a heavy barrage on platoons positions without casualties. 2nd platoon maintained antitank positions in vicinity of 560088 and 560079 during the period. Platoon was under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire throughout the period.

Company remained in direct support of 320th Infantry during the period, with the 3rd platoon on special mission with Task Force moving north from La Houliene to Mortain, France. 3rd platoon captured 2 prisoners and one machine gun at 1216 hours in house at coordinates 358.5-107.8. The company was bombed and strafed by enemy planes during the hours of darkness without suffering casualties.
Private Robert E. Ciriello admitted to hospital due to illness. Lieut. McNaught, 3rd platoon reported enemy antitank gun vicinity of coordinates 566089 and 580096, 1/50, 000 at 0855 hours.

The position of company “C”‘s command post did not change during the period. The entire company was under intensive artillery and mortar fire during the period, and was subjected to enemy air attack at 1100 hours; all without suffering casualties. At 0250 hours the 2nd platoon was fired upon by U.S. Artillery; landing 100 feet to the rear of one destroyers position. No casualties. All elements of the company were under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire during the period and were bombed and strafed by enemy planes during the hours of darkness, but no casualties were suffered due to well dug-in positions and camouflage.

Private Michael J. Yoor, admitted to hospital during the period as the result of illness.

The command post of the Reconnaissance company remained in the vicinity of the battalion command post. Enemy planes strafed the area during the night without causing casualties. All reconnaissance platoons, and one section from the pioneer platoon, attached to each gun company.

Pvtlcl Everette Youngblood was wounded in action and admitted to hospital during the period.

Private Phillip Sorrel, Medical Detachment was admitted to hospital during the period due to illness.

August 12, 1944

Command Post,
Notre Dame de Touchet, France
Coord 577033, 1/50, 000.
12 2400 August, 1944.

The 30th Infantry Division on the left and 4th Infantry Division on the right of the division; both attacking during the period. The 4th Cavalry Squadron and 183rd Field Artillery Group were relieved from attachment to the division during the period.

The 134th Infantry continued to attack to the northeast after crossing phase line “C”; meeting heavy and determined enemy resistance. Attack was suspended at 122100 to organize positions with a view to being relieved by the Second Armored Division.

The 320th Infantry accomplished the relief of the 2nd battalion, 120th Infantry who had been encircled by the enemy in the vicinity of Mortain and then continued the attack to the east in direction of Hill at coord 608094, 1/50, 000, against increased and determined enemy resistance. A total of 52 enemy prisoners were captured during the period.

The enemy withdrew to new organized defensive areas during the period under heavy pressure, leaving small groups of resistance along the division’s route of advance, and launching limited and weak counter-attacks from bypassed positions.

Artillery fire from self-propelled 88mm and 75mm long barrel guns was light but accurate during the period.

An undetermined number of enemy aircraft were over the sector between 0025 and 0100 hours. Flares and bombs were dropped about two miles west of Notre Dame causing casualties and damage to equipment.

A small patrol from the 134th Infantry was ambushed by a strong patrol of enemy soldiers at coord 588090, 1/50, 000 at 1645 hours; killing or capturing the entire patrol.

At 1720 hours two Mark V tanks supported by a company of infantry counter-attacked in our extreme right sector. The attack was broken up, the tanks destroyed, and heavy casualties inflicted upon foot troops.

The German Regiment “Duetschland” has attempted to exchange medical personnel with the division during the past 72 hours. Personnel notified that if a further request is made that the Division G2 Section should be immediately notified.

Enemy mine field located vicinity of coordinates 592075, 1/50, 000; now being cleared by the Pioneer Section of Reconnaissance Company.

Friendly mine field in sunken road at coordinates 621059, 1/50, 000.

The command post, Headquarters, Reconnaissance Company’s command posts and the medical detachment did not change positions during the period.

A thorough search was made today of the area in which Lieut-Colonel Martz is known to have been killed, captured or wounded. By questioning French civilians in the area, Sergeant Conrad LeBlanc of Headquarters Company as interpreter, they stated that about 1100 hours on the morning of the 8 August, 1944, a jeep in which three American soldiers were riding passed their farm, traveling in a westerly direction. A few minutes after the vehicle had passed, and just below his home in front of a church, in a draw, a machinegun opened up and rifle fire was audible; then all was quiet. About one hour later the Germans brought one of their dead from the woods and buried him in the edge of the field. They saw no other American troops in the area prior to then.

Mortain fell to the 30th Infantry Division at 1000 hours, thus breaking forever the enemy’s ambitions and stronghold in the Mortain pocket.

Enemy planes were over the entire front beginning at dusk dark dropping flares and a few bombs; some of which seemed to be time bombs as no detonation was heard when they hit the ground.

The Air Force bombed the enemy’s positions in de Foret de Mortain at 1500 hours. Prior to the bombing they dropped thousands of gallons of captured 60 octane gasoline which we cannot use, into the forest and then set it afire with tracer fire. He was burned out of the forest and as he emerged P47s and P51s were loitering high in the sky behind the clouds and billows of smoke to unleash a terrific strafing upon him during his confusion and stampede. Explosions in the forest after the bombing and burning could be heard for several hours; apparently ammunition dumps and vehicles exploding.

The command post of Company “A” remained in the vicinity of St. Jean du Corail, France, throughout the period and was subjected to artillery and mortar fire. The company remained in direct support of the 134th Infantry during the period. Two enemy tanks reported roving around in the area just north of the company’s positions. The 134th Infantry to be relieved in the lines after the hours of darkness by the 119th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division. The 1st platoon in antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates 606062, 1/50, 000. It has been under a continual enemy artillery and mortar barrage throughout the day and night. Corporal Rollins Nash, Private James Garrett and Private Louis Russo were wounded during the period as a result of this enemy action. The 2nd platoon is in direct support of 134th Infantry on an assault mission upon the town of Bion, France. 1 section of 2nd platoon at coordinates 599076 and the 2nd section at 620059 at 0920 hours. 1st platoon took up antitank positions at 614069 at 0930 hours under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire. Three destroyers of the 3rd platoon are in antitank positions at coordinates 620059 and 624064 at 1700 hours. At 1830 hours Company “A” reported that about fifteen enemy infantrymen had infiltrated behind the 3rd platoon’s positions but were being taken care of by the 134th Infantry.

Pvtlcl Robert Harrington reported as missing in action on the 8th of August found in hospital wounded. Pvt Horace Brown was admitted to hospital as the result of illness during the period. Tech 5 Grade Henry Thompson and Pvtlcl Walter C. Nelson, missing in action since 8th dropped from company. They are believed to have been killed when their destroyer was destroyed by enemy tank fire, and their bodies cremated inside the destroyer when it burned.

Two enemy tanks preceded by infantry observed at coordinates 654079 at 1620 hours evidentially awaiting darkness to attack. Company on alert status until they are dispersed or destroyed.

At 1510 hours forward elements of 134th Infantry attacking to the northeast were in the vicinity of coordinates 635073, 1/50, 000, meeting stiff, determined enemy resistance. Considerable small arms fire in the vicinity of the company command post during the period but no casualties have been suffered.

Enemy aircraft attacked the command post and all positions during the hours of darkness, dropping flares, bombs and strafing the area without inflicting casualties. The positions of the command post of Company “B” did not change during the period.

Company remained in support of the 161st Field Artillery Battalion and all elements were under heavy enemy artillery and mortar barrages throughout the period and were bombed and strafed by enemy planes during the night, all without suffering casualties.

The 2nd section of the 1st platoon were in antitank positions at coordinates 568061 1/50, 000 at 1512 hours. The 3rd Reconnaissance Platoon completed clearing enemy mine field at coordinates 522075, 1/50, 000, at 1825 hours.

Company “C” moved their command post to 1 mile north of Barenton, beginning at 1530 hours a distance of 5 miles. All platoons are in direct support of respective infantry battalions on primary missions. The entire company was under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire and air attack during the hours of darkness.

An enemy artillery barrage was laid on the positions of the 3rd platoon while they were supporting the battalion, 320th Infantry, wounding staff sergeant George Talley, 1st Lieut. Manning Taylor, and Tech 5 Grade Ben Hubbell in the vicinity of Notre Dame de Touchet at 1500 hours. Corporal Hubbell was seriously wounded and his recovery is doubtful as he was hit under the heart with a large piece of shrapnel while he was outside camouflaging his destroyer.

The disposition of the company at 1532 hours was: Command Post at coordinates 660042; 1st platoon 662048; 1st and 2nd sections, 2nd platoon at 694048 and 683072, respectively; 1st and 2nd sections, 3rd platoon at 668082 and 668075, 1/50, 000, respectively. At 1910 hours the 1st platoon moved and took up positions at coordinates 654075, 1/50, 000. The 3rd platoon was relieved in the lines and went into assembly area at 2223 hours. Lt Taylor’s destroyer overturned enroute to the assembly area.

The reconnaissance platoons of the reconnaissance company were attached to respective gun companies throughout the period.

August 13, 1944

Command Post
Notre Dame de Touchet,
Coord 577033, 1/50, 000.
13 2400 August, 1944.

The battalion and division was relieved in the lines during the period by the 4th Infantry Division and 2nd Armored Division and all elements assembled in respective assembly areas, and the battalion reverting to battalion control. All elements of the battalion had closed in the assembly area in the vicinity of Notre Dame de Touchet, France by 1230 hours. Motor maintenance was immediately begun upon reaching assembly area and the unit alerted for movement to the south.

In a final effort to determine the unfortunate disappearance of Lieut-Colonel Martz and his party the reconnaissance platoons of the reconnaissance company made another thorough search of the area in which he was last known to have been in, but no further information or details were learned.

The weather during the day was fair and warm.

Enemy reconnaissance planes were over the area during the night but no bombs or strafing occurred in our immediate sector.

The enemy’s onslaught toward the sea and his ambition of roping off both the First and Third U.S. Armies in the Cherbourg and Brest peninsulas respectively has been crushed and severe casualties inflicted upon him as the result of his gamble. All that remains for him to do now is to endeavor to get his battered forces out of the pocket. As a result of this operation the battalion has lost a total of men killed, wounded, missing in action destroyed and vehicles of the other types lost or damaged.

Private Horace A. Brown, Company “B”, returned to duty from hospital and Private Myron L. Mason was admitted to hospital due to illness. Private Michael Yoor was also returned to duty from hospital. Private George C. Adamski was assigned and joined Company “B” from Replacement Depot.

August 14, 1944

Command Post,
Lemans, France.
Coord
14 2400 August, 1944.

The 35th Infantry Division and battalion were relieved from the Corps and assigned to the XII Corps, during the period. 4th Armored Division placed in direct support of the division and the 574th and 255th Field Artillery Battalions, consisting of 155mm and 105 hows, respectively, were attached to the division during the period. Task Force “S” composed of the 137th Infantry, Company “C” 737th Tank Battalion, 127th Field Artillery Battalion, Company “B” and 1st Reconnaissance Platoon, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion, formed under the command of Brigadier General Sebree, with mission of proceeding to Orleans, France, to assist in driving the enemy from this city and then securing it by covering all approaches, and guarding the northern banks of the Loire River.

The battalion in assembly area in the vicinity of Notre Dame de Touchet, France, began to move south in the direction of Lemans, France, at 0400 hours in the bright moonlight of the wee hours of the 14 August, 1944, and arrived just south of Lemans, France, at 1640 hours, a total distance of 110 miles. The command post and headquarters and Reconnaissance companies established 2 miles south of the city; and companies “A”, “B” and “C” 2, 3 and 5 miles south of it, respectively.

This part of France is typically Fort Benning country. The tall, scrawny pine trees and the red clay are identical.

Enroute to Lemans the entire French population along the countryside turned out to welcome and greet the unit as it proceeded south. The streets of towns, villages and the roadsides were lined with French civilians throwing flowers and screaming “vivi la Amerique” until they were hoarse.

Each time the convoy would slow down people would scramble onto tanks, armored cars, trucks and jeeps to shower the men with kisses and give them wine, cognac, apples, tomatoes an other types of fruits.

The city of Lemans was decked out in its best upon our arrival at 1600 hours; thousands and thousands of people lined the streets to welcome us and it was necessary that military police escort the convoy through the city. The city was wild with excitement. American troops had fought in the outskirts and around the city, but we were the first body of American troops to enter the city since the Germans fled to the south and east.

Beautiful French girls climbed into the destroyers and armored cars and the other vehicles to shower the men with kisses. This was the first time, that is since our departure from Notre Dame de Touchet, that we had encountered the true French population. Those in Normandy were friendly, yes, but there was that ever suspicion of them being pro-nazi, which a great number of there were.

The command post was established in the southern outskirts of the town at 1622 hours and soon the area was overrun by civilians of all description.

A total of eight vehicles fell out of the column during the march; 4 destroyers and 4 jeeps, which were repaired by the battalion motor maintenance section and joined the battalion during the early part of the evening.

A strong double 24-hour patrol was established around the unit during the period as G2 reports indicate an undetermined number of enemy hiding out in the woods and countryside of the battalion area and in the vicinity of coord 6151, 1/50, 000.

August 15, 1944

Command Post,
Binas, France.
Coord 320421, 1/100,000
15 2400 August, 1944.

The battalion, less Company “B” which is attached to Task Force “S”, departed from Lemans, France, beginning at 151420 August, and established bivouac only in an open wheat field on the outskirts of the village of Binas, France, at 152400, traveling total distance of 71 miles in the rain and darkness. No enemy contact was made during the advance. Enemy planes flying above the column dropped numerous flares and one time attempted to strafe the column but due to the interval of the vehicles and darkness it was noneffective.

Major Schuster, acting battalion commander, led the convoy to Binas, and at 2400 hours he decided to establish an overnight bivouac and allow the men to get a little rest. The same ovation was extended to us enrooted as was on the trip to Lemans, France. The civilian population utterly lined the road, in the rain, some under umbrellas and some without, throwing flowers, fruits, and vegetables to the men, and when they could passing them cognac and wine into the vehicles; some by the drink, and some by the bottles.

As we crept down the road in the blackest of darkness, without lights of course, a stream of tracer fire could be observed occasionally to our right; then to our left and sometimes to the front. An occasional burst of AA fire would illuminate the sky and bomb flashes could be observed in the distant east; so far the sound was not audible. This particular part of France is on the plain order; greatly resembling Texas and visibility under normal conditions is excellent for miles.

At 2400 hours we pulled off the road into the edge of a large wheat field and bedded down for the night. The rain had ceased and everyone got a little rest prior to daylight. Enemy aircraft zoomed over the column several times and dropped a few flares trying to pick up the position of the convoy which they knew was in the general vicinity, but they done to bombing or strafing during the night, due to the extreme darkness and poor visibility.

Company “B” as part of Task Force “S” departed from Lemans, France, at 1100 hours with the remainder of the Task Force, and closed in Coulmiers, France, at 152400 August, 1944, without enemy contact.

There is no enemy activity reported in our zone of advance as far east as 9 kilometers east of Saint Calais, France, but a total of 8 prisoners, stragglers which had been left behind by their units were rounded up by elements of the division during the period.

Two enemy ammunition dumps were captured intact at coordinates 4251 and 5559, 1/50, 000, when the enemy was forced to hastily abandon them. Disorganized small groups of enemy foot troops are reported running to and fro, scared, lost and confused, to the east and north of our zone of advance. The enemy evidentially planted these groups to harass our advance by a delaying action and limited counterattacks, but after they were left, they suddenly realized their situation and have been completely overcome with fear and confusion.

Company “B” after closing in assembly area placed the 1st and 2nd platoons in indirect fire positions in support of the 127th Field Artillery Battalion and the 3rd platoon took up positions in Orleans, where it engaged in a small skirmish with a group of isolated enemy troops, killing and wounding an undetermined number without suffering casualties. The 1st and 2nd platoons were relieved from support of the 127th Field Artillery Battalion and entered Orleans on primary mission at 151900 hours. The companies were under battalion control during the move but remained in direct support of their respective infantry regiments; company “A” 137th and company “C” 320th Infantries.

The Reconnaissance Company established their overnight bivouac at Chantome, France, at 2345 hours. Private Charles W. Sanders was transferred to Headquarters Company during the period.

As the battalion departed from Lemans, France, the gas and oil section under Corporal Max H. Tauber, and consisting of Pvtlcl Joseph H. Canavan, Privates Wilbur I. Beard, Stanley J. Budzenski, Boyd P. Greason, Theodore L. Gressel, Marcus D. Jones, Philip Klein, Private lcl Robert E. Abbott, with motorcycle guides and messengers Tech 4 Grade Casper G. Scheel, Junior, and Lee J. LaBorde, Junior, and Tech 5 Grade Vander D. Suggs, was left in the battalion assembly area at Lemans, France, to guide the section to the battalion upon its arrival from the gasoline DP. The section arrived at the old assembly area about 1800 and started to catch up with the convoy but due to the extreme darkness and inclement weather was forced to bivouac by the roadside for the night.

The weather was fair until 1530 when it became overcast with light cold rain for the remainder of the period.

320th Infantry departed from Lemans, France, at 152130 August, with mission of capturing the town of Chateaudun, France. The 134th Infantry advanced to Binas, France, and there established guards and sent patrols across the Loire River in the vicinity of Freteval, France. Task Force “S” moving down Lemans-Orleans Highway behind CCA of the 4th Armored Division, reaching railroad at coordinates 627407, 1/50, 000, where they encountered fierce enemy resistance.

August 16, 1944

Command Post,
Thiville, France.
Coord 259548, 1/100,000.
162400 August, 1944.

At daylight all the female population, some beautiful too, turned out to greet the tired and sleepy Yanks. Gangs and gangs of them run down the column pulling the blankets from over the Joe’s faces who were sleeping in the ditches by the roadside and smothering them with kisses, shouting “viva la Amerique”. Major Schuster, the acting battalion commanding officer decided that if his unit was to be committed during the day as a unit he’d better get them away from the girls, which was good sound judgment (even if he himself did hate to go), so we mounted our vehicles and among the screaming and shouting of the entire town we continued in our chase of the retreating demoralized enemy. Company “A” in support of the 134th Infantry, remained in the vicinity of Binas, France, with one platoon in antitank positions and the remainder of the company performing motor maintenance and resting.

The Command Post Group departed from Benias, France, at 0730 hours and established in the town of Ouzouer-Le-Marche, France, at 0930 hours, a distance of 9 miles. The command post remained in this little French town until 1830 hours. During the period the men were allowed to visit the town, the first American soldiers to enter it since the last world war. The entire population turned out and threw their places of business and the doors of their homes wide open to the men of the battalion. The mayor of the town made a public address to welcome us to his village.

Wine beer and cognac was served to the men by places of business and individual families. At 1300 hours the town turned out in a dress parade to celebrate their freedom. Religious services were held at the Tomb of World War I dead; the first time such formation had been held since 1940 when the Germans overrun the country. The Star Spangled Banner and the French National Anthem, The Marseilles were played in the town square by the town’s official band. Town officials addressed the population and American soldiers. Later the officials paraded down through the town and around the square. The town was wild and out of control. Everywhere one could see two or three French girls pulling at the arms of the soldiers, and some even arguing with one another as to found him first. The town was immediately decorated with American and French flags which were brought from their hiding places and it gave the impression of an old timey American fair and carnival. Occasionally the spokesman for the mayor of the town would call attention in French from his rostrum in the square and they would sing and then shout: “viva la Amerique” – “la Bosche kaput”. The Germans thought they did a good job on looting the town of all items which they could use, especially the liquors and wines, but the French knowing their traits had outsmarted them by burying it in nearby fields and they were digging it up and bringing it into the town in columns. Immediately upon our entry into the town the French underground elements (FFI), came forward in full dress French uniforms which they had concealed awaiting this hour for years. Church bells rang throughout the day from churches in the town and surrounding villages proclaiming liberty once more.

German collaborates were immediately rounded up and shot by the FFI without trial or even a mock trial. They were executed before the entire population of the town. French women and girls who had been friendly with German soldiers were rounded up, brought before the town officials, belittled, undressed, their heads shaved and hands tied behind them and paraded through the main section of the town surrounded by husky FFI guards who would occasionally lash one with a long whip, cutting a gash inches long in their legs or backs. Some, the habitual type, were branded on each breast with the nazi symbol with red-hot branding irons.

About 1500 hours a group of German prisoners were being escorted through the town by three American military police. Someone shouted “Bosche, Bosche, Bosche”, and it appeared that the entire town made a surge for them simultaneously; beating them in the face, spitting upon them, pulling their hair and cursing them in German. The men of the battalion were forced to rescue them from the mad Frenchmen. Those prisoners were happy Germans when we intervened to keep the Frenchmen from killing them, which they were going to do on the spot. The French even after we had take over, threw rocks at them as long as they were in sight. The military police got them out of the town in a hurry and directed others enroute to the prisoner of war cage to take another route around the city.

Money was of no value as far as the American soldier was concerned in the town; he could not spend it as the population would not stand for it whatsoever. The population, as well as the men of the forward echelon of the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion command post will forever, yes forever, remember the welcome the people of Ouzouer-Le-Marche, accorded them. It made one feel, that after all, some people appreciated what they were doing by fighting this war.

At 1800 hours the command post group departed from the little town and proceeded to the vicinity of Thiville, France, where the command post was established under light and intermittent enemy artillery fire at 1930 hours.

The gas and oil section having spent the night on the roadside during the night was directed to proceed to Orleans, France, to refuel company “B” who were in support of the 137th Infantry and Task Force “S”, attacking the city of Orleans, France.

When the two trucks and the section, plus three motorcycle guides approached the outskirts of Ormes, France, a member of the FFI and down the road toward them and told them that CCA of the 4th Armored Division had just attacked the town, killing a number of Germans but that the town was full of the enemy in dug in positions and that they were going to resist and fire on anything that looked like an allied vehicle or soldier.

Corporal Tauber and his crew, plus the motorcycle guides immediately dismounted and forming a skirmish line, attacked the town from all sides. The section killed and wounded an undetermined number of the enemy who were firing upon them from foxholes in and round the village, and after about one hour seventy five enemy soldiers surrendered to the section. After the prisoners were placed under guard they set out to search any foxholes which might still contain German soldiers and found one Polish prostitute hiding in a dugout where she had been living with a German soldier. The woman was turned over to the local FFI, who immediately stripped her clothing from her body, shaved her head and eye brows and when the gas and oil section departed were horse-whipping her with whips. For this heroic and meritorious act on the part of the section each member was awarded the Silver Star Medal.

The prisoners were turned over to CCA of the 4th Armored Division for internment. At 1400 hours the local FFI reported enemy troops in the town of Meung, France, and two platoons of the reconnaissance company were dispatched to obtain further information. Company “A” departed from vicinity of Binas, France, and established CP 1 mile northwest of Ferte Villeneull, France, at 1955 hours, a distance of 11 miles.

The command post of Company “B” departed from vicinity of Lemans, France, and established command post 1 mile northwest of Bucy, France, coordinates W5344, 1/250, 000, at 1800 hours; traveling a total distance of 80 miles without enemy opposition.

All platoon occupying primary positions in the city of Orleans in direct support of 137th Infantry. 1st platoon supporting the 1st battalion; 2ns platoon 2nd battalion and 3rd platoon, which entered the city of Orleans at 1300 hours, the 3rd battalion, 137th Infantry.

The 3rd platoon, Company “B” destroyed 2 enemy tanks, one 75mm self-propelled gun, one truck, observation tower and an undetermined number of enemy soldiers at a concentration point on the south bank of the Loire, River. One M-10 was slightly damaged when it was hit by enemy artillery fire but remained operational. There were no personnel casualties.

Company “C” departed from Binas, France, and established in the vicinity of Chateau-de-Champs Romain, France, at 1910 hours, a total distance of 13 miles. No enemy contact was made during the period. Company remained in direct support of 320th Infantry.

The reconnaissance company departed from vicinity of Benias, France, where they were bivouacked in the wheat field with the remainder of the battalion, less company ?B? and proceeded to Chateaudun, France, at 2000 hours, a distance of 25 miles. Enroute to Chateaudun made contact with enemy and participated in fire fight after which the enemy withdrew and company proceeded to Chateaudun, France.

The 3rd reconnaissance platoon commanded by 1st Lieut. John W. Spain and staff sergeant Raymond R. Wilson, and attached to Company “B” with positions in Orleans, France, established and maintained an observation post in the steeple of the tallest church in Orleans during the first part of the period. The enemy realizing that our forces were using the steeple as an observation post fired upon it continuously attempting to knock it out, but sergeant Wilson and Pvtlcl Joseph A. Ebert and Pvtlcl Italo P. Gatto, eventho they were under a continual artillery and mortar barrage and also small arms fire, refused to leave the position, from where they were directing the fire of the 3rd platoon of Company “B” on enemy positions, tanks, troop concentrations, etc. They were not relieved until 1900 hours, at which time the platoon was given the mission of patrolling the road leaving Orleans to the southwest throughout the night.

When a strong force of enemy troops were reported in the village of Meung-sur-Loire, France, the 1st and 2nd reconnaissance platoons under 1st Lieut. Alexander H. Smith, Jr., and Staff Sergeant Ruel R. Windham, respectively, were immediately dispatched to the vicinity of the town to investigate the report. They arrived in the village at 1700 hours, being the first U.S. Troops to enter the town since 1918. The platoons were on the outskirts of the village by the local FFI as guides and as they entered the city the population first thought them to be Germans and all went inside their homes.

The village ‘crier’, which is a custom of the French who still maintain the old ancient custom of announcing special news events by a village or town crier who walks or rides up and down the street crying out the new, when he realized that American solders had entered the village started running up and down the streets calling to the top of his voice ‘les Amerique’. The people of the town at first refused to believe the report. But, when they finally realized that U.S. troops had entered the village they went absolutely wild. Within ten minutes the village was decorated from end to end with French and American flags. In short order the vehicles of the platoons ere covered with flowers and each jammed full of girls hugging kissing the men. The platoons were utterly mobbed. They could not move! The girls kept scrambling up the sides of the dusty, grease-soaked vehicles and kissed the dirty, dusty and unshaven faces of the men. This was another duplication of the demonstration at Ouzour-Le-Marche. The platoons remained surrounded for three hours with girls, women, men and boys, and when the FFI did re-establish order it was determined that the Germans had passed through the village during the night and morning; some walking, some riding mules, some limping, some riding oxen, goats, wheel-barrows and pulling donkey carts, muttering “too many Americans”; “too many airplanes”; “too much artillery”. Some were crying as they staggered to the east under the onslaught of the 35th Infantry Division and Third U.S. Army.

The platoons departed from village at 1900 hours and rejoined the command post in the vicinity of Chateaudeun where they made a thorough reconnaissance around the town and of all roods running east, south and northeast, going as far east as Yevres, France. Task Force “S” advancing down the Lemans-Orleans Highway entered Orleans city hall at 161900 August against stiff resistance, and the city was completely occupied by 170600 August, 1944.

The 320th Infantry advancing on Chateaudun, detrucked in the vicinity of Vogay, France, and attacked town of Chateaudun against fierce enemy resistance. Patrols entered the town at 161950 August, 1944, but stiff resistance in the vicinity of Jallone, France, held up the main body of the regiment and made it necessary that a readjustment be made of the lines south and southeast of the town. The 3rd battalion captured the town of Cloyes at 161930 August, 1944, where the battalion was relieved by then 167th Engineer Battalion.

Heavy concentrations of artillery were placed on enemy positions on the outskirts of Orleans and south of the Loire, River on enemy artillery, mortar and machinegun positions. Also on strong points, observation posts and troop concentrations points. One platoon of Company “A” ordered to Cloyes, France, to protect vital crossings on the Loire River.

CCA, 4th Armored Division spearheaded the attack upon Orleans by Task Force “S”; overcoming resistance at Ormes, France, and assisted Task Force “S” in capturing Orleans. During the period the division and attached units captured the cities of Cloyes and Orleans in the most part and were attacking Chateaudun on the outskirts of the city. At the end of the period the enemy was retreating to the northeast out of Chateaudun, France, but he was determinedly defending roadblocks in the city of Orleans, France. He is also laying minefields in the streets of Orleans, all of which are covered with automatic weapons.

No artillery fire fell in the Chateaudun sector but light artillery fire fell in the northern approaches of Orleans, France. Troops from all branches of the service have been identified in the Orleans sector, but nothing but SS troops have been identified in the Chateaudun sector.

Two enemy ME109’s bombed and strafed our positions in the Orleans area at 1100 hours. One enemy plane over Chateaudun at 1530 on reconnaissance. No strafing or bombing reported. A total of 40 prisoners were captured by the division and attached units during the period.

Weather during the entire period was warm and clear with excellent visibility.

August 17, 1944

Command Post
Thiville, France.
Coord 259548, 1/100,000.
172400 August, 1944

The enemy continued to resist in the outskirts of Chateudun and Orleans; American artillery placed TOT’s on all strong points in the edge of the cities and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy as he attempted to withdraw at the beginning of the artillery barrage. Chateaudun and Orleans both were completely occupied by the division during the period against fierce enemy resistance.

Immediately after the enemy was completely routed from Orleans he began to shell the city from positions south of the town along the banks of the Loire River. Prisoners are still being rounded up from rear echelon establishments.

In the Chateaudun sector the enemy withdrew to the north and northeast about 0600 hours, and he harassed our advance in Orleans with defended road blocks, mines and artillery.

One ME 109 flew over the division sector at 2120 hours evidentially on reconnaissance mission as no bombing or strafing was reported. Scattered groups of infantry continued to surrender after putting up light resistance as they are dug-out of their hiding places. It is estimated that the enemy has two battalions of infantry in the bend of the river just south of Orleans. Reports form FFI in the vicinity of Patay indicate that there is about 100 enemy soldiers in the town with anti-tank guns. A total of 44 prisoners were captured by the division and attached units during the period. The FFI reports that they had been in Vallainville, France, and had fired upon enemy soldiers in that town, and that the enemy had withdrew to the vicinity of Domerain, France.

Task Force “S” advancing down the main road towards Orleans behind CCA, 4th Armored Division. 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry opened attack and advanced to City Hall at 161900.

City completely occupied at 171900 August, 1944. Chateaudun captured by the 320th Infantry at 171200 August, 1944. Cloyes captured by 320th Infantry at 161700 August, 1944. The command post, Headquarters Company and Medical Detachment, less some elements, remained within the vicinity of Thiville and Chateau de Champs Romain, France, during the period. FFI reports scattered isolated groups of enemy troops overrun in the woods in and around the command post. One group consisting of 800 enemy soldiers bypassed by our advancing elements are resisting in the vicinity and a FFI officer, a former colonel in the Field Artillery of the French Army has obtained permission form General Baade to go in and attack them with his 1,000 FFI members.

The weather during the period was warm and fair; excellent for operations.

Some enemy air activity over the area during the night but no bombing or strafing reported. Company “A” took up anti-tank positions in the vicinity of Headquarters XX Corps, at coordinates 152532, 1/50, 000. Company command post remained in the vicinity of Binas, France, on the road to Chateaudun, France.

The command post of company “B” was established 5 miles southeast of Chateaudun, France, coordinates 257548, 1/100, 000 at 2230 hours without enemy contact. All platoons in anti-tank positions in the city of Orleans, France. When the 3rd platoon destroyed the two enemy tanks, one 75mm SP gun, the observation town; they also destroyed one enemy general purpose truck and captured one enemy soldier.

The command post closed in its previous area and established at La Ferte Villeneuil, France, 255253, 1/50, 000; a distance of 4 ½ miles without enemy contact. 1st Lieut. George C. Little was admitted to hospital during the period due to illness.

The command post of the Reconnaissance Company remained in the vicinity of Chateau de Champs Romain, France. All reconnaissance platoons remained attached to gun companies during the period. No enemy contact by the command post group.

At 0835, Captain Allin, acting division antitank officer, took the 1st platoon of company “A” into the town of Cloyes, where they established antitank positions.

A reconnaissance patrol led by 1st Lieut. Alexander H. Smith, Junior, went into the outskirts of Yevers, France, without contacting enemy opposition. Civilians report that no enemy armor has been in that sector. 1st Reconnaissance platoon has listening posts set up on the outskirts of Chateaudun, France; established at 2030 hours.

At 2350 hours Company “C” occupied the following positions; 1st pl, 1st section at 248617; section at 241625. 2nd platoon: 1st section at 224624 and 2nd section at 225611. 3rd platoon: 1st section at 24080 and 2nd section at 242572, 1/50, 000.

August 18, 1944

Command Post,
Vicinity of Thiville, France.
Coordinates 259548, 1/50, 000.
182400 August, 1944.

Task Force “S” continued to occupy Orleans, France. The enemy shelled the town with heavy caliber artillery from the north and northeast at 170600 hours.

The 320th Infantry continued to occupy Chateaudun with one battalion on the high ground in vicinity of Chateney, coordinates 220645, and one on the outskirts of the town. Patrols went as far as Bonneval during the period which was accomplished by the 3rd Cavalry Squadron, without contacting the enemy.

Field artillery of the division fired harassing and interdictory fire after the hours of darkness with unknown results.

The 60th Engineer Battalion replaced blown-out bridge at St Dennis Les Power, France. The main accomplishments of the division and attached units during the period was the continued occupation and security of Orleans and Chateaudun, France.

The 320th Infantry captured 101 prisoners during the period; Task Force “S” 317, and 140 were turned over to the prisoner of war collecting point by the local FFI working with the division.

The enemy at present has no cohesive front line in the division sector. Elements of the 358th, 348th and 360th Marsch Battalions are reported south of the Loire River in the Orleans sector, Scattered, inaccurate artillery fire fell in the vicinity of the 137th Infantry command posts at 171600 hours to 1800 hours. Enemy infantry columns were reported moving south and east of Etampes, France, at 1100 hours by air observers.

Contact with small isolated enemy groups were reported by reconnaissance elements of the 3rd Cavalry, along the general line Patay-Cormainville, France. Two tiger tans were reported in the vicinity of Aigexville, coordinates 360770, by air reconnaissance at 1230 hours. There was scattered, but light artillery fire in the city of Orleans, France.

One JU-52 flying from west to east at 300 feet altitude flew over the command post, vicinity coordinates 615446, 1/50, 000 at 1350 hours. French civilians traveling from Bordeaux to Orleans report movement of supply and vehicles to the north and east along main road in general direction of Orleans, Metz-Troyes, France.

American air strike at coordinates 443674 announced at 1350 hours; strike will be made upon enemy supply points and troop concentrations.

At 1430 hours 320th Infantry moved to general line coordinates 235645 east to 270645. FFI reported to staff sergeant Windham, platoon leader, 2nd reconnaissance platoon that there were no enemy tanks in the woods of the Bois-de-Moleans.

The reconnaissance company reports that the bridges at Sheury and Moleans are intact and that they are capable of holding out destroyers. Enemy armored column sighted on road south of La Conie River at 1915 hours. All roads reported clear to Cormainville by the reconnaissance company.

At 2145 hours the 3rd reconnaissance platoon under 1st Lieut. John W. Spain and staff sergeant Raymond R. Wilson, reported that at least 150 German soldiers crossed the Loire River at Orleans; but, that the FFI are efficiently taking care of them the hard way. One of the sergeants of the platoon on outpost thought that he heard the Germans withdrawing from their positions south of Orleans.

The positions of the command post groups of the battalion, Headquarters, Reconnaissance companies and the Medical Detachment did not change during the period.

Colonel Lansing McVickar, the former battalion commander, now in command of the 9th Tank Destroyer Group, to which the battalion is presently attached, visited the command post during the day, inspecting installations and renewing his acquaintances. He was well pleased with his former organization and was full of praise in its accomplishments.

The command post of Company “A” did not change. The 3rd platoon in antitank positions guarding the XX Corps was relieved by the 1st platoon during the period. No enemy contact was made by any element of the company . 2nd Lieut. Raphael B. Jenkins was transferred to company “C” during the day.

The command post of Company “B” remained 5 miles southeast of Chateaudun, France, during the period; coordinates 257548, 1/100, 000, Sheet 9H. No change in positions of the company during the period. The FFI have taken over Orleans and the enemy has withdrawn completely from the northern banks of the Loire River.

Company “C” closed in their former command post area and established 3 miles south of Chateaudun, France, coordinates 249571, 1/50, 000, at 0215 hours, a distance of 3 miles.

2nd Lieut. Jenkins joined the company from company “A” during the period.

No enemy contact during the period. 2nd battalion, 320th Infantry moved to a line, coordinates 255645, east to 270645. Bridges intact at Dheury and Moleans, France.

The command post remained at Chateau de Champs Romain, coordinates 291547. Private Charles W. Landers? Transferred to Headquarters Company as of the 15 August, 1944. Tech 5 Grade Wallace T. French? To Headquarters Company and Private Paul A. Peterson, from Headquarters company to Reconnaissance Company.

August 19, 1944

Command Post,
Vicinity Poupry, France.
Coord 613626 1/100,000
192400 August 1944.

The 134th Infantry made a thorough reconnaissance of the area Chateaudun – Orleans – Beaugency and Moree, which was completed at 181400 August, 1944. Units in the vicinity of Beaugency received quite a bit of small arms fire from south of the Loire River. One platoon guarding bridge in the vicinity of Freteval, France.

Task Force “S” dissolved at 181200 August. 137th Infantry remained in the city of Orleans but moved to the outskirts of the city.

The 320th Infantry moved to an assembly area north and east of Chateaudun, France at 191200 August, 1944, to secure town.

The enemy has no cohesive front line in division sector. Contact with small isolated groups are reported by the 3rd Cavalry during the period. 1500 Germans were reported moving north to Olivet at 181645 August, south of Orleans. Approximately 100 enemy soldiers reported in woods at coordinates 5370 and 200 at Janville, France. A road between Janville and Allainee is reported covered by enemy artillery fire. One enemy tank reported in woods at coordinates 5370, 1/100,000.

FFI report that the towns of Varize, Cormainville and Orgeres-en-Beauce, have been cleared of the enemy.

83 prisoners of war were captured during the period from antiaircraft units, security units and Marsch Battalions.

The command post, headquarters company and the medical detachment closed in the vicinity of Thiville and Chateau-de-Champ Romain at 1940 hours and established 1/4 mile northeast of Poupry, France, coordinates 612623, 1/100,000, at 2350 hours, a distance of 43 miles, without enemy contact.

The weather was fair during the first part of the period; turning to overcast with rain about 2200 hours.

The command post of company “A” departed from 1 mile northwest of Villeneull, France, and established command post 3/4 mile north of Santelly, France, coordinates at 1945 hours, a distance of 48 miles. Company remained in direct support of the 134th Infantry during the period without enemy contact. Company commander, platoon leaders and platoon sergeants made reconnaissance of area for antitank positions.

Company “B” moved from 5 miles southeast of Chateaudun at 1940 hours and established command post 1 mile north of Poupry, at 2200 hours, a distance of 25 miles. Present coordinates of command post 614626, 1/100,000. No enemy contact. All platoons remained in primary mission in and around the city of Orleans, France. Lieut. McNaught, platoon leader, 3rd platoon, crossed the Loire River south of Orleans with a French patrol and verified the fact that ???? knocked out two towed guns on 17 August, 1944 by direct fire.

The command post of Company “C” closed in old area and established 1/2 mile northwest of Le-Puiset, France, coordinates 631721, 1/250,000, at 2030 hours, a distance of 26 miles. No enemy contact during advance. Company notified of Tech 5 Grade Ben Hubbell’s death as the results of wounds received in action in vicinity of Mortain, France, 12 August, 1944.

All platoons in antitank positions in the vicinity of Chateaudun in support of the 320th Infantry, but no contact was made with the enemy during the period.

The command post of the Reconnaissance Company closed 3 3/4 miles southeast of Chateaudun at 1930 hours and established 1/4 mile northeast of Poupry at 2150 hours, a distance of 43 miles without enemy contact during the advance.

At 2300 hours, the rain started to fall and all the men were sleeping in an open wheat field, without shelter or foxholes since most all arrived after the hours of darkness. All were thoroughly soaked, including their bedding the remainder of the night. Miserable! No ???? we thought at that time. We just did not know then what was ahead.

The 3rd reconnaissance platoon continued to make reconnaissance in and around Orleans. This platoon captured 2 prisoners, both in civilian clothing during the period. This platoon also patrolled the road running southwest from Orleans along the Loire River to Beaugency, France, screening the right flank of the division. Road was patrolled from 171900 August until 180930 August. The 1st reconnaissance platoon continued their reconnaissance to north of Chateaudun, France, and neighboring towns. Patrolled to the outskirts of Yevres, France, and back to Chateaudun, France without contacting any enemy. Lieut. Smith, platoon leader, 12t reconnaissance platoon turned over enemy maps and documents that he picked up in a former German Headquarters. The remainder of the reconnaissance company remained in assembly area in the vicinity of the command post on an alert status. All platoons were out ahead of the infantry on their reconnaissance in both sectors: Orleans and Chateaudun.

August 20, 1944

Command Post,
Vicinity Poupry, France
Coord 613626, 1/100,000
202400 August 1944.

134th Infantry remained in assembly area. 137th Infantry in assembly area in the vicinity of Orleans, France. 320th Infantry captured and secured the towns of Toury, Janville and Allaines, France, during the period. The 35th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop maintained contact with XX Corps on the north flank of the division. CCA, 4th Armored Division, relieved from attachment to the division. Field artillery fired on all roads leading out Orleans during the period. Fired harassing fire on known enemy positions.

It is believed that the 3rd Company, 668th Engineers (German), is located in Pithiviers, France, and it is further indicated that at least one enemy infantry division is maintaining dug-in positions in the woods north of Fontainebleau, France. There is an enemy ammunition DP at Fontainebleau, France.

A few anti-tank defenses with antitank guns emplacements are scattered in the division sector.

Several anti-tank units, according to the FFI have withdrawn to the north and east during the period. A little artillery fire fell in the city of Orleans during the night.

Personnel mines made on the order of an ointment box were encountered in the city of Orleans. One of these mines was covered with a plastic material and very closely resembled a rock. Another one was covered with paper and camouflaged to represent horse manure.

A total of 3 prisoners were captured during the period.

The division G2 section estimates that there are 1 German General and 3000 troops at Montargis; 12 antitank guns, 1 88 mm guns, 7 machine guns and a road block at Pithiviers. 300 soldiers and 5 antitank guns and 3 machine guns at Beaune-Larelande. 200 soldiers, 5 antitank guns and 3 machine guns at Bellegrade. All roads leading into Pithiviers are heavily mined.

The FFI also report that there are 20 enemy tanks, 12 antitank guns and one 88mm gun in the city of Pithiviers, France.

The command post, Headquarters and Reconnaissance Companies remained in the vicinity of Poupry, France, during the period. Weather was rainy and cold during the period. Some enemy air activity over the are but no bombing or strafing reported.

Company “A” remained 3/4 miles north Santilly, France, coordinates 652682, 1/100,000 in direct support of the 134 Infantry. Command post in wheat field during the period and enemy planes were over the area during the period making reconnaissance of the area.

The 3rd platoon took up antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates 704671, 1/ 50,000 during the period. Combat Team 134 with Company “A” attached began advance on Barville-en-Gatinais at 1200 hours.

The command post of Company “B” was established 1 mile north of Poupry, France, coordinates 614626, 1/100,000, at 1600 hours; a distance of 20 miles without enemy contact.

One platoon attached to 134th Infantry; the remainder of the company in assembly area.

There was no change in the command post of Company “C” during the period. 1st and 2d sections of the 3rd platoon in antitank positions vicinity of coordinates 698711 and 699721, 1/50,000. The advance and attack upon the town of Pithiviers, France, was begun by the 320th Infantry and Company “C” at 0700 hours. City fell under heavy attack at 0915 hours.

The command post of the reconnaissance company remained in vicinity of Poupry, France, coordinates 613625, 1/100,000. No enemy contact during the period. All reconnaissance platoons attached to gun companies. 1st to company “A”; 2d to Company “C”; and 3rd to Company “B”. The company established a tank warning screen during the hours of darkness.

No indications of enemy armor operating in division sector.

Contact with the XX Corps and 5th Infantry Division maintained in the vicinity of Mainvillers, France. 4th Armored Division moved forward with their objective as Sens, France.

August 21, 1944

Command Post,
SW Pithiviers, France
Coord 883652, 1/100,000
212400 August 1944.

CT 134 began attack to the east at 210700 August, 1944, with objective as Barville and Gatinais, France. At 1200 hours the main body was in the town of Attray, France.

137th Infantry in assembly area in division reserve.

320th Infantry began advance to the east with objective of Pithiviers, France, which was occupied at 211200 August, 1944.

The enemy is covering the city of Montargis, France, and all approaches there to, with mines of all types, trip wires, delayed charges, booby-traps and antitank guns.

FFI and French civilians report that the enemy has withdrawn for the surroundings areas of the country, in a disorderly and hysterical retreat. Some enemy soldiers hiking under the hot summer sun and in the dust were reported crying, and muttering “too many Americans” “The Fuehrer did not tell us to expect this”.

At 211800 August, 1944, the commanding general, 35th Infantry Division issued the following order:

Headquarters, 35th Inf Div APO 35
211800B, August, 1944

Subject: Information Re Task Force “S”

To: See Distribution.

1. Task Force “S” moves bulk of forces this evening to assembly area in woods west of Brienne-Le-Chateau (6282). Mission: Prepare to attack or counterattack from new position to northeast, east and southeast. Initiate reconnaissance at once upon arrival with this mission in view; continue to protect southeast flank of division.

2. Movement begins at approximate 211900B. Column 1, Colonel Byrnes, commanding, consists of CT 320 (lest 1 Inf battalion) (w/3905 Truck Company attached), moves via Vendeuvre – Brienne road. Column 2, Colonel McMahnon, commanding, (CO 183d FA Gp), consists of 182d Field Artillery Group (-), 737th Tank Battalion, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion (less Company “C” and 2d Reconnaissance Platoon), moves via roads west of road used by CT 320 (-).

3. 35th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (-1 platoon) attached to Task Force “S”, protects right flank of Task Force “S” during move; during night outpost principle roads leading from Brienne, France.

4. 3rd Battalion, 320th Infantry (w/ company “C” and 1st Rcn Pl., 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion attached) and (with 802nd FA Bn in direct support), remains generally in present position; defends line Vendeuvre – Bar-sur-Seine. Bulk of force in vicinity of Vendeuvre. Not to exceed one reinforced company vicinity of Bar-sur-Seine. Prepared to execute demolition of bridge at discretion of battalion commander. Mission: To protect south flank of Task Force “S”.

5. Division command post: No change. Other division units: No change.

OFFICIAL: BAADE
Renfroe,
G-3

Contact with the XX Corps and 10th Infantry, 5th Division was maintained during the period.

10th Infantry, 5th Division in contact with enemy 6 kilometers west of LaChapelie.

CT 134 with Company “A”, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion in support moved out of their assembly area in the vicinity of Pithiviers, France, captured Ese in their zone of advance and are preparing to attack Montargis, France.

320th Infantry, with company “C”, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion in direct support, advanced to Ese France, prepared to attack Montargis, France.

The command post moved from the vicinity of Poupry, France, and established southwest of Pithiviers, France coordinates 883652, 1/100,000; closing at 1900 hours.

Enemy air reconnaissance planes were over the sector during the night but no bombing or strafing was accomplished by the enemy.

Company “A” and the 1st reconnaissance platoon in support of 134th Infantry, advanced and established their command post in the vicinity of Bouilly-en-Gatinais, France, coordinates 942587, 1/100,000, for the night; advancing a distance of 25 miles without enemy contact.

Company “B” moved from the vicinity of Poupry, France, at 1710 hours and established command post 4 miles west of Pithiviers, France, coordinates 872676, 1/100,00, at 1900 hours; a distance of 24 miles. The 3rd platoon on primary mission in Orleans, France.

Remainder of company in assembly area in the vicinity of the command post, 4 miles west of Pithiviers, in the vicinity of Assas, France. One prisoner was captured by the 3rd platoon in Orleans during the period.

Company “C” closed in their old area and established command post 3 1/2 miles east of Pithiviers, France, coordinates 947677, 1/100,000, at 1910 hours; a distance of 31 miles without enemy contact. Company in direct support of 320th Infantry prepared to attack the city of Montargis, France.

The Reconnaissance Company, less reconnaissance platoons, moved from their previous area and established command post 1 1/4 miles southwest of Courvilliers, France, coordinates 882645, 1/100,000, at 1910 hours without enemy contact; a total distance of 27 miles.

One reconnaissance platoon established a Tank Warning Screen from coordinates 693709 to 713655, 1/100,000, along the highway at 202000 August, 1944.

August 22, 1944

Command Post,
1 1/2 Mile E Villemoutiers, France.
Coord 162459, 1/100,000
222400 August 1944.

Division maintained contact with XX Corps and 5th Infantry Division on the north by the 35th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop. 5th Infantry Division in contact with the enemy 6 kilometers west of La Chapellie-la-Seine, at 221115 August, 1944. CCA, 4th Armored Division reported to be on the outskirts of Montargis, France, preparing to attack the city from the north and west.

CT 134 in assembly area in the vicinity of Pithiviers, France, departed at 211840 August, 1944 and by 220700 August, had captured Ese, France, and were shuttling toward their next objective; Montargis, France.

The 137th Infantry was attached to the 4th Armored Division, with Company “B”, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion in support, for attack upon Montargis, France.

CT 320 went into an assembly area in the vicinity of Pithiviers, France, on 21 August, 02 and at 0700 hours started shuttling into Montargis from where they could attack the town. At the end of the period they were receiving artillery fire from the western approaches of Montargis, France.

At the close of the period at 2400 hours, the entire division was in attack positions on the western approaches of Montargis, prepared to attack the city upon orders from the division commander.

The enemy is covering the approaches to Montargis with mines, antitank ditches, road blocks, booby-traps and antitank guns. A few tanks are reported in dugin positions on the western approaches. Ten prisoners were captured from the 1010 Marsch Battalion during the period who stated that their unit came to Montargis to relieve the 11th Motorized Regiment who are already in the city. Upon arrival, the replacements found that the 11th Motorized Regiment had withdrawn. It is estimated that two companies of enemy infantry are west of the River in the outskirts of Montargis and about a regiment in the woods east of the city. The enemy is prepared to make a determined defense of the city from all reports of both the FFI and prisoners. The FFI reported that two AA guns and between 100-150 men in the town of Vitry-aux-Loges, are ready to surrender to American troops,. The FFI further reported that four enemy tanks are in hull-defilade position in the vicinity of coordinates 265451, 1/50,000. Two armored cares were knocked out in the vicinity of coordinates 243423, 1/50,000.

50 enemy soldiers were killed during the period and 10 prisoners captured.

At 1150 hours the army laid an artillery concentration in the vicinity of Jargeau, Bellegarde and Lorris, France.

The enemy has antitank positions, estimated to be two, at coordinates 250449, and a road block at 233449, 1/50,000, mined and protected by small arms fire.

There is also an enemy strong point, two tanks and a minefield in the vicinity of 2334?? 1/50,000. Reported by FFI at 2241 hours.

The command post, Headquarters and Reconnaissance Companies moved from southwest of Pithiviers, France, and established 1 1/2 east of Villemoutiers, France, coordinates 162459, 1/100,000, closing at 1650 hours and traveling a distance of 27 miles without enemy contact. Enemy reconnaissance planes were over the area during the night but no bombing or strafing reported.

Violent artillery duels raging in the outskirts of Montargis which is now in the primary stages of being attacked by the division and attached units.

Company “A” with the 1st Reconnaissance Platoon attached moved out as flank guard to the new assembly area; ran into enemy resistence and bivouacked in the vicinity of coordinates 205455, 1/100,000. The 1st platoon took up antitank positions at coordinates 206460; 2d platoon at 223439 and 3rd platoon at 223449, 1/100,000, under weak enemy resistence. No contact was made with the enemy during the hours of darkness. The command post of the company was established 4 miles west of Montargis, France, at coordinates 205455, 1/100,000.

Enemy road block discovered by reconnaissance platoon just at the west edge of Montargis, which consisted of fallen trees and two obsolete French tanks, mined and booby-trapped, was removed by Tech 4 Grade Eugene Lowry, Corporal Carl J. Schmidt, Corporal Lee C. Landrass, while enemy snipers fired upon them from their concealed positions along the river banks. Private Gussie Bowden admitted to hospital due to illness during the period.

The company was in direct support of the 134th Infantry during the period making final preparations for assault upon the city of Montargis, France.

The command post of Company “B” closed and established 2 miles east of La Don, France, at 1837 hours; a distance of 19 miles. No enemy contact during advance. All platoons on primary mission supporting 137th Infantry; except for the 3rd platoon which is yet attached to the 134th Infantry for direct assault mission. Command post established at coordinates 840535 in the vicinity of Joplin Blue. Mission to protect the south flank of the division.

Road blocks established and covered by the platoon at the following coordinates 842198 – 917193 – 053135 – 112082, all 1/100,000. The 1st platoon covering the first two and the 2d platoon covering the last two road blocks. 137th Infantry plans to move to the east during the day and capture the town of Bellegarde, France. All positions of the company were subjected to enemy artillery fire during the hours of darkness.

The command post of Company “C” closed in old area and established 1 mile northeast of Pannes (?), France, coordinates 210483, 1/100,000 at 0615 hours; a distance of 29 miles, without enemy contact. Company remained in direct support of the 320th Infantry and made final preparations for the attack upon the city of Montargis, France, on 23 August, 1944.

The Reconnaissance Company closed their command post at Gourvilliers, at 1500 hours and established 1 mile west of St Maurice-fur-Fessard, France, coordinates 167459, 1/100,000 at 1720 hours; a distance of 26 miles without enemy contact.

All reconnaissance platoons remained attached to gun companies during the period.

August 23, 1944

Command Post,
3 M E Montargis, France.
Coord 162459, 1/100,000
232400 August 1944.

The command post remained established 3miles east of Montargis, France during the period.

Weather overcast during the latter part of the period.

Division maintained contact with the XX Corps to the north during the period. CT 134 advanced to the outskirts of Montargis, France, during the period, meeting only slight and weak enemy resistence, mine fields and road blocks; and, a little enemy armor. At 1200 hours the 1st battalion, 134th Infantry fought their way in an encircling movement to the south outskirts of the city, with CT 320 attacking the city from the east. At 1200 hours patrols had entered the city proper from the southwest section of the city.

At 1400 hours the enemy had withdrawn in disorder, except for scattered groups, to the woods east of Montargis. Many antitank guns were destroyed in the attack upon the city but according to FFI reports at the end of the period there were as many as 12 antitank guns on the road between Montargis and Courtenay, France.

Scattered units commanded by an SS Lieut-Colonel defended the city of Montargis but when he saw it was useless he withdrew to the woods east of the city; withdrawing with his force as many guns as was possible; mostly antitank guns.

Enemy forces previously reported at Fontainebleau have withdrawn from the town. Also the AA guns and infantry reported in the vicinity of Vitry-aux-??? have retreated to the east. 12 enemy aircraft, identified as ME-109s and FW-190s strafed the division sector at Souppes and Sens, France, during the afternoon. Four of these aircraft were shot down by the 448th AAA Battalion.

The enemy is maintaining a road block about 4 kilometers northwest of Gien, France, defended by about 100 enemy soldiers.

Prisoners captured during the period totaled 42 and were from the 11th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, a part of the 9th Panzer Division. A total of 100 enemy soldiers were killed by the division and attached units during the period.

Company “A” established their command post in the vicinity of the command post of the 134th Infantry, in the vicinity of coordinates 233450, 1/50,000. The 1st platoon was placed in direct support of the 1st battalion; the 2d platoon in support of the 2d battalion and the 3rd platoon maintained antitank positions in the vicinity of CR at coordinates 233449, 1/50,000. At 1200 hours the platoon in support of the 1st battalion entered the city of Montargis from the south, and at 1300 hours the 134th Infantry and both platoons were established in the city. Bridges in the city were found intact. All elements of the company moving forward in pursuit of the retreating enemy, who is withdrawing to the woods east of the city. The 2d platoon in direct support of the 2d battalion continued their assault upon the enemy to the east and southeast of the town in the direction of Hill No. 130 and Amilly, France. The 1st platoon in direct support of the 1st battalion, moved into the town in the vicinity of the railroad, occupying that portion of the town south of the main road running northwest. The 3rd platoon went into antitank positions covering bridge in the vicinity of coordinates 273455, 1/50,000. The command post of Company “A” was established in the city of Montargis along with that of the 134th Infantry at 231700 August, 1944. The 1st and 3rd platoons assisted in talking the city of Montargis and the 2d platoon continued the assault to the east with the 2d battalion, 134th Infantry.

1st Lieut. Alexander H. Smith, Junior, platoon leader, 1st reconnaissance platoon, in direct support of the platoon killed an enemy soldier with his pistol when the enemy opened up on him with a “burp-gun”. Private Holboch of the 1st reconnaissance platoon captured 2 German prisoners in the city.

The 3rd platoon in antitank positions in the vicinity of bridge at coordinates 273455, 1/50,000, are under intensive small arms fire.

Lieut. Smith and Staff Sergeant Jolly White, platoon sergeant, 1st reconnaissance platoon were among the first U.S. Soldiers to enter the city form the south; leading the 1st battalion 134th Infantry into the city after making reconnaissance of the sector.

Company “C” in direct support of the 3rd battalion, 134th Infantry, remained in the vicinity of Bellegarde, France, guarding road blocks and acting as rear guard for the division during the period. 1st and 2d platoons covering road blocks and the 3rd platoon in antitank positions in Bellegarde, France, on the Loire River.

The command post of Company “C” remaining in the same position until it moved into Montargis during the period. At 1400 hours a message was received from the company commander for Company “C” to the effect that his company alone had captured the city of Montargis.

Message as follows: We are in position 2746. We have taken the town alone. Infantry came up and established themselves after we captured town. We captured 100 prisoners. Knocked out two tanks and number of machine guns. Also captured unaccounted amount of AA, AT and machine guns; horses, wagons, cars, etc. Will give details later. All this done with the assistance of Dogpart who are with us. Lieut. Zach the battalion S-2 officer was dispatched to the city to investigate the civil population or determine any intelligence information about the enemy as the population could give him. He sent the following message at 1540 hours: I am trying to round up all rifles and machine guns. FFI seem to have taken everything of value. Forward this to Division G2 through Berry.

Company “B” established their command post at coordinates 200263 at 2115 hours after having been relieved of assignment of guarding road blocks and division rear.

All Company “A” had closed into Montargis by 1705 hours without casualties.

No personnel or vehicular casualties were suffered by Company “A”s and Company “C”s assault upon the city of Montargis. One M10 of Company “C” was hit by a round of artillery fire but caused only slight damage to the vehicle and no personnel casualties. The 2d reconnaissance platoon under Staff Sergeant Windham, spearheaded the assault of company “C” upon the city. Also with the 2d reconnaissance platoon was one section of the pioneer platoon of the reconnaissance company.

The following is a complete and detailed report of the action submitted by Captain D. L. Benton, Junior, the company commander of Company “C”, 654tyh Tank Destroyer Battalion:

Subject: Report of action, Company “C”, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 22-23 August, 1944

To: Commanding Officer, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

1. Mission: Direct support of CT 320.
Maps: 1/100,000, France.

a. 22d August 1944: CT objective – high ground west and north of Montargis. At approximately 221300 August, 1944, the 320th Infantry was in positions in the vicinity of Pannes, France and company “C” in antitank positions as follows:

1st platoon coordinates 222482
2d platoon coordinates 215520
3rd platoon coordinates 165486

The 2d reconnaissance platoon an pioneer section under Staff Sergeant Ruel Windham, were in the assembly area with company headquarters at coordinates 210484. I received a message that the units were planning to cross the stream directly to their front and immediately began reconnoitering for a route to cross the stream. I found that the bridge at coordinates 241471 had been completely demolished and further reconnaissance found that all bridges in our sector had been demolished, and that the canal was not fordable. I continued down the stream until I reached a bridge in the 134th Infantry’s sector, which would be adequate to make a crossing. Further reconnaissance revealed that a small trail on both sides of the stream could be used by very little work. We immediately began to work on the trails, enlarging them into a passable road for the destroyers, and by 2400 hours were ready to move across the stream as soon as the infantry was firmly established. At about 2330 hours, one company of the 3rd battalion, 320th Infantry was across the stream and in position. The 1st battalion was in position in the vicinity of Pannes, slightly east of, and along the banks of the canal.

b. 23 August, 1944: At 0200 hours after consultation with the Combat Team Commander, and after notifying all friendly units, including CT 134 that we would be moving to the selected site of crossing, so that we would not be mistaken for the enemy, the 1st platoon moved along the cleared trail by the canal banks, south across the bridge at coordinates 199450, and then north to positions at coordinates 235169 into the 3rd battalion sector. The 3rd platoon was moved into position in support of the 1st battalion at coordinates 240273. The 2d platoon remained in antitank positions on the west side of the canal with the mission of guarding the rear and left flank of the attack.

It was learned that the 1st battalion planned to cross the stream at about 0600 hours, but crossing was not actually effected until about 0630-0700 hours. The men across the stream requested antitank support and the 2d platoon was brought from their positions to take the place of the 1st platoon, already across the stream. The 1st platoon then took up positions in the 1st battalion sector. Enemy troops were discovered directly northeast of the positions to which the company was to occupy. Their infantry was supported by two Mark IV tanks and it appeared that the tanks were maneuvering into position to bring fire upon the 1st platoon.

It was decided to allow one section of the platoon remain in front of the enemy tanks and maneuver in defilade, so that it would appear that they were still moving in the direction of the enemy tanks, while the other section moved by bounds to a firing position to the right flank (north). At this time, the reconnaissance platoon was called forward. The section started moving on its mission of flanking the enemy tanks with one-half of the security section furnishing flank protection against enemy bazooka and antitank fire. The section had almost reached their selected firing position, when a 37 mm antitank gun was discovered to the right of the section. They took up positions covering the escape route of the AT gun, but they were instructed not to fire as it would expose their positions. From these positions the area in front of the 3rd battalion could be covered and at the same time allow free use of the 2d platoon. At this time enemy tanks were moving into cover and across country. The 2d platoon moved under cover, and by bounds to a position 600 yards forward to try to cover the escape route of the enemy tanks. They reached their designated positions but the enemy tanks began to move again. The 2d Reconnaissance Platoon arrived and was committed on the flanks of the platoons. The battalion commander of the 3rd battalion, 320th Infantry was then informed of the situation. He stated that Company “I” was enroute to the area and should have arrived. Friendly artillery began to fall in the area and Lieut. Ellis, company liaison officer with the 320th Infantry was told of the fact and directed to give the artillery our positions and to lift their fire. Enemy tanks were observed moving again and some German foot troops milling around in an area about 400 yards from the platoons positions to the left. One destroyer was moved into position between two houses when an enemy MK IV tank was observed less than 200 yards distant attempting to escape by a route which had been overlooked. He appeared to be having difficulty and with his flank facing the platoon made an excellent target. Some enemy AT guns were also attempting to withdraw from the area, and tank destroyer commanders were reporting movement to their front. The situation had gone far enough so all personnel were immediately instructed to fire upon anything that looked like it was German. Private Ramsey, .50 caliber gunner on my armored car opened up on the sides of the tank, and he stopped immediately to investigate or something went wrong with his motor. One of the destroyers opened fire upon him, knocking off a track and destroying the bogies on that side of the tank. A second shot went through the side of the tank and a third through the motor, setting the tank on fire. The tank burned and all personnel were killed. All antitank guns that were observed previously were either destroyed or captured along with the personnel. Civilians reported a group of enemy soldiers hiding in a barn. A few rounds of .50 caliber machine gun fired into the bard the enemy soldiers surrendered. At this point, it was observed that another group of enemy soldiers with antitank guns were attempting to get out of the area and other equipment. They were directly in the line of fire with a group of civilian homes and it was decided to hold our fire and try to outflank them. Staff Sergeant Windham with his 2d reconnaissance platoon, covered the only escape route the enemy had which was not under fire along the banks of the canal in the vicinity of coordinates 268457. The 2d platoon proceeded around the left flank, leaving the 1st platoon to take care of the prisoners and any other resistence that might arise in the area.

The 2d platoon was nearing their firing positions when it was noticed that several AT guns, drawn by horses, were moving along the banks of the canal. Private Ramsey fired about 100 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition, and those living, stopped their horses and surrendered.

About the same time, a TD from the 1st platoon was moving into a better firing position when an enemy AT gun on the right flank fired a shot at him, striking the front and ricocheting and striking the track, breaking a block and causing the track to break and collapse. The maintenance section under Staff Sergeant Windham was called and the track on the destroyer was rapidly repaired and back into action within 20 minutes.

The destroyer section on the right flank opened up on the AT gun and destroyed it and captured the crew.

From our positions we could see the east side of the city of Montargis, and from this position we could easily cover it with fire. It appeared that all resistence in the area had ceased, and that anything in our vicinity could be taken care of by one platoon, as they were either attempting to get out of the area or were surrendering.

The 2d platoon and the 2d reconnaissance platoon were moved into position to block any attempted retreat from coordinates 276447 – 278468 – 270450, overrunning a number of AT guns being pulled by prime movers and a number of infantry trying to escape by foot. The security section was employed to guard the prisoners and captured material while the 2d platoon and the 2d reconnaissance platoon moved on to their objective, overrunning another column of horse drawn vehicles loaded with mortars and other equipment. As the 2d platoon and the 2 reconnaissance platoon drew into position they caught a kitchen truck and two large personnel carriers coming from a side street, loaded with clothing and ammunition, etc.

By 1130 hours, it appeared that all organized resistence had ceased. We entered the German Headquarters in the city and French civilians stated that the German General and his staff had been gone only a matter of minutes. At this point CT 134 and CT 320 started entering the city while the civilian population went wild and mad with joy; breaking all German signs, hanging out hidden U.S. and French flags and passing out drinks to the men.

Enemy prisoners and equipment continued to be brought in. Some enemy soldiers, just realizing that they were trapped, swam the canal, but the canal had been covered with fire and they swam directly into prison as they emerged from the water.

The total toll inflicted upon the enemy by this bold action of Company “C” was:

DESTROYED: Two MK IV tanks; five antitank guns; 1 self-propelled assault gun; ten machine guns, caliber .31 and three strong points.

CAPTURED: Twelve horses; 15 antitank guns; 6 AA guns; 2 kitchen trucks; 10,000 rounds .31 caliber ammunition; one 1/4 ton jeep; 1 ton truck (?) ; 3 general purpose trucks loaded with blankets and clothing; two 10 passenger vehicles; one 30 passenger personnel carrier; five automatic rifles; 140 enlisted men and 10 officers (all them ugh-bred Nazis).

CT 137 captured and secured Sens, France, during the period. CT 137 remained attached to 4th Armored Division. 35th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop maintained contact with 5th Infantry Division on the north, and secured bridges in the vicinity of Souppe, France.

August 24, 1944

Command Post,
3 Miles East of Montargis, France.
Coord 162459, 1/100,000.
242400 August, 1944.

CT 134 occupied the city of Montargis, France, during the period against very little resistence. One battalion moved to the southeast of the city to prevent the escape of enemy troops from the city to the north.

CT 137 remained attached to the 4th Armored Division.

CT 320 assisted in the capture of Montargis. One reinforced rifle company sent to Fontenay, France, to guard Engineers building bridge there as enemy troops were reported in the area planning to attack the Engineers, and were in position by 240400 August, 1944.

At the end of the period Montargis had been completely liberated and scattered enemy troops were being rounded up; some in civilian clothing and hiding in sewers of the city.

At the end of the period, the enemy had no organized front line in the division sector.

There were no defensive positions contacted upon reconnaissance as far east at Courtenay, France and Joigny, France. French civilians report about 200 enemy soldiers in woods at coordinates G425220, 1/100,000. Air reconnaissance reported about 40 horse drawn vehicles moving south and east form Aillant-Sur-Thelen, at 1100 hours.

Small groups of enemy resistence were encountered to the east and southeast of Joigny, France.

Remnants of the 243rd Division and 708th Division are in this area and are capable of interfering with the movement and advance of the division to the north and east.

In addition to the 758th Infantry Regiment of the 338th Division and the 9th Regiment of the 11th Panzer Division, 348th Marsch Battalion, in the sector now positively identified, prisoners were also captured form the 9th company, 921st Regiment, 243rd Division and 708th Engineer Battalion and 728th Regiment of the 708th Division were identified.

A total of 168 prisoners were captured by the division and attached units during the period. 20 enemy soldiers were killed.

A grand total of 725 prisoners were captured in Montargis by the division and attached units.

The command post of the battalion remained 3 miles East of Montargis, France, in the vicinity of Villemoutiers, France.

The weather during the period was overcast, with light showers.

The command posts of Companies “A” and “C” established in Montargis upon its liberation on the 23rd remained in the city during the period, with antitank positions covering all bridges and approaches to the city form the east, southeast and northeast. One platoon of Company “A” in antitank positions east of Montargis. No enemy contact during the period by either of the companies. Continued to mop-up in and around Montargis, France.

Company “A”‘s CP in large Hotel in Montargis, on the main square of the city. 2d platoon continued assault to the east. FFI in all types of uniforms, with all types of guns sprung up in the town when the Germans were driven out on the 23rd. FFI reported to headquarters that they had captured the retreating German General and his Staff as they were getting out of Montargis, on foot, and had shot the entire party. The FFI take no prisoners. All German collaborists were immediately rounded up, tried and shot during the afternoon. Women, and girl friends of the Germans, were disrobed, their heads shaven, hand tied behind them and paraded around the main sections of the city in the nude, guarded by FFI with horse whips, who would occasionally lash one just of the hell of it. The 2d platoon in position in the vicinity of Amilly, France, just east of Montargis has established a road block on the main highway, and are covering it with their guns. Enemy mine field reported in the vicinity of coordinates 291428, 1/50,000. 134th Infantry has strong patrols going east to edge of Foret de Montargis but at 0855 hours no enemy contact had been made. French civilians report about 2000 enemy soldiers at Ouzeuer-Sur-Trozee, France and 2d Calvary reports enemy force in the town of ST Maurice, France at 1831 hours.

The command post of Company “B” remained in the same location, attached to the 3rd battalion, 134th Infantry. At about 1515 hours, the 1st platoon, along with the 3rd reconnaissance platoon under 1st Lieut. John W. Spain, and Raymond R. Wilson, attacked entered, captured and occupied the town of Gein, France against strong enemy resistence.

A total of 19 prisoners were captured in the town of while 11 were Italian artillery men, 1 German flak artillery man and seven German infantrymen, causing the others to flee the town in front of a hail of steel from the battalions guns. These platoons were the first American soldiers to enter this town since World War I, and they received a reception by the population that is noteworthy of history. The 2d and 3rd platoons of Company “B” remained along the Loire River, guarding road blocks and protecting the south flank of the division. No enemy contact.

Headquarters Company and Medical Detachment remained in the vicinity of the command post.

Some enemy air activity occurred over the area during the night but no bombing or strafing reported in our immediate sector.

Division maintained contact with XX Corps and 10th Infantry, 5th Infantry Division, on the north in the vicinity of Montreau, France. 11th Infantry, 5th Infantry Division occupied Fontainbleau, France and the 2d Infantry, Montreau, France, during the period.

CT 134 (- 3rd battalion ) occupied Montargis at 231315 August, 1944

August 25, 1944

Command Post,
2 1/2 Miles West of Courtenay, France.
Coord 468474, 1/100,000.
252400 August, 1944.

CT 134 continued to mop up in the city of Montargis, France. The 3rd battalion, 134th Infantry, after being relieved from guarding road blocks along the Loire River, reverted to battalion control. The town of Joigny, France, was liberated by the 134th Infantry during the period.

CT 137 (- 3rd battalion) remained attached to the 4th Armored Division, after liberating the city of Sens, France, established strong guards in and around the city as to secure it.

The 3rd battalion, securing Orleans, was relieved during the period and reverted to regimental control.

CT 320 remained in Montargis, France, mopping up in the town, and sending strong patrols and guards to secure the towns of Sueppes and Fontenay, France. CT (-2d battalion) started advance toward Courtenay, France, at 0700 hours, mopping up woods along the route of advance.

All division advancing toward Courtenay, France, at the end of the period, capturing many enemy stragglers who were cut off and left in the woods by their retreating units.

At the end of the period the enemy had no organized front line in the division sector.

It was established that there are no strong enemy defenses as far east of Courtenay, France. Small scattered groups of enemy cut-off and surrounded continued to surrender to our advancing troops, but the bulk of the enemy’s forces in this sector have withdrawn to the east and southeast. Enemy troops guarding road blocks in the vicinity of Gien, were attacked, captured and annihilated and put to flight by the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Enemy attempted to put up a fight at Fortenay, but was overrun and his forces either annihilated or captured. A civilian report as of the 24th reported that about 200 enemy soldiers, with horse-drawn vehicles and artillery, were retreating southwest out of Chateaurenard, France. Prisoners were captured from the 758th Regiment, 338th Division. Some prisoners were from scattered units who were in the vicinity of Montargis, when it was attacked by our forces. The 757th and 759th Infantry Regiments of the 338th Division are thought to be available as disorganized reserves in our sector. A total of 725 prisoners were captured during the period by the division.

At 1255 hours, the FFI reported enemy vehicles in woods just north of Chuelles, France, and two officers and an undetermined number of soldiers in woods in the vicinity of coordinates 430445, 1/100,000. At 1550 hours, the FFI reported an estimated group of enemy soldiers in woods at coordinates 420230, 1/100,000. Air reconnaissance reports 40 horse drawn vehicles, moving south and east from Aillant-Sur-Thelen, France at 1900 hours. Prisoners captured in the town of Joigny, France, are from the artillery, which is from south France. They report that their division is thoroughly cut-up and disorganized.

The command post closed 3 miles East of Montargis, France, at 250900 August, 1944, and established 1 1/2 miles east of Courtenay, France, coordinates 468474, 1/100,000 at 251055 August, 1944, advancing a total distance of 22 miles.

The weather during the period was fair and warm; excellent for operations.

All companies directed to double outposts to prevent a surprise attack by surrounded enemy forces in the sector. At 1414 hours, 100 enemy soldiers were reported 300 meters north west of Chuelles,France.

The command post of Company “A” was established in the vicinity of Les Pays, France during the period, and was relieved from direct support of the 134th Infantry, except for the 1st platoon and 1st reconnaissance platoon under Lieut. Alexander H. Smith, Junior, which remained in direct support of the 3rd platoon, 134th Infantry.

The 1st platoon of company “A” under 1st Lieut. Michael P. Elcano and Staff Sergeant Walter P.Moore, in support of the 3rd battalion, 134th Infantry, supported that battalion in mopping up in and around Montargis, France, and in reconnaissance missions to the east, liberating the town of Joigny, France, capturing over 900 prisoners from the 338th and 708th German Infantry Divisions.

The 2d platoon, Company “A” upon arrival in assembly area at Les Pays, France, took up antitank positions in the vicinity of coordinates 470755, 1/50,000.

Company “B” after taking the town of Gien, France, was relieved from supporting the 3rd battalion, 134th Infantry, and closed in assembly area in the vicinity of Thimony, France, and from there it moved to Les Pays, France, under battalion control to the battalion assembly area., Company was relieved from supporting the 320th and the 134th Infantry Regiments.

Company “C” was relieved from direct support of the 320th Infantry, and moved from Montargis, France, to the battalion assembly area, 1 mile northeast of Chuelles, France.

First Sergeant Barnausky of Company “C was transferred to Company “A” during the period. First Sergeant Owen, the company first sergeant, was transferred to Company “A” during the period.

The command post of the reconnaissance company established in the battalion assembly area in the vicinity of Les Guaguins, France, during the period.

Reconnaissance platoons remained attached to companies “A,”B”, “C”, during the period.

The 1st reconnaissance platoon under 1st Lieut. Alexander H. Smith, Jr. and Staff Sergeant Jolly White, accompanied the 1st platoon of Company “A” on their mission with the 3rd battalion, 134th Infantry ; occupying and mopping up in and around Joigny, France.

At 1630 hours while the platoon was patrolling the road between Joigny and Auxerre, France, they were attacked by a group of enemy soldiers in the vicinity of Appoigny, France. As a result of this action Pvt1cl Aloysious J. Morarity and Private Paul E. Anders are missing in action, and Private Robert T. Beatty, wounded in the leg by enemy mortar fire. It is reported that Private Morarity was seriously wounded in the abdomen and was evacuated by the FFI who were also supporting the attack in that sector; and, that Private Anders is yet hiding out with the FFI in the area.

One jeep and one motorcycle were completely destroyed by the enemy in this action. Private 1cl Ernest Prough, Medical Detachment, platoon aid man accompanying the attack, was slightly wounded and was rescued by the local FFI who advised him to change his uniform for civilian clothing and try to get back to our lines; which he did, returning to the unit the following day where he was awarded the purple heart.

The sky vibrated at 2300 hours with British planes enroute to Germany. Captain Witherspoon and Sergeant Koon(?) on duty in the command post was sweating them out.

Captain Samuel L. Goldheim, missing in action since 12 July 1944, reported recaptured in hospital, when the city of Soissons, France, fell to advancing American troops.

At 1801 hours a message was received from the G2 section of the Division to be on the alert for an enemy attack from the chewed-up elements hiding out in the woods in the sector.

Machine gun posts and bazooka-teams were immediately established and skirmish lines fixed so as to give the enemy a reception when he entered the area.

3rd battalions of 134th and 137th Infantries relieved in Orleans during the period.

The 5th Infantry Division has completed 3 bridges across the Seine River and another under construction. 319th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division, relieved 3rd battalions, 134th and 137th Infantry Regiments, in Orleans, France during the period.

It is reported that the 4th Armored Division, with 137th Infantry attached, have entered the city of Troyes, France, or are operating in its outskirts.

August 26, 1944

Command Post,
2 1/2 Miles West of Courtenay, France.
Coord 468474, 1/100,000.
262400 August, 1944.

The 2d battalion, 320th Infantry, guarding bridges at Souppes and Fortenay, France, were relieved and joined the regiment during the period.

137th Infantry remained attached to 4th Armored Division now operating in the vicinity of Troyes, France.

134th Infantry in assembly area 2 1/2 miles West of Courtenay, France.

35th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop maintained contact with XX Corps on the north; patrolling Sens, Cheroy, Pont-sur-Yonne, and the south flank of the division between Douchy and Gien, Franc; making contact with the 319th Infantry, 80th Division, in Gien, France.

In general, the division mopped up in Cheroy, Douchy, Montargis, and sent elements as far east as St. Florentine; patrolling the right flank of the XII Corps.

Units continue to capture small overrun groups of enemy prisoners and stragglers with respective sectors, with large number of prisoners coming from the south in the vicinity of Joigny, France.

At this phase, the enemy has no organized front line in our sector. No defensive positions have been contacted, other than local, weak positions of scattered units.

Enemy south of our sector is reported moving to the east, southeast and northeast.

Prisoners continue to be captured from the 758th Regiment, 338th Division; and the 728th Regiment, 708th Division. Many prisoners have also been captured form the Marsch Battalions in our sector.

A total of 1,134 prisoners were captured during the period.

Weather was fair and warm throughout the period.

At 1400 hours, the FFI reported that a strong enemy force was attempting to re-enter the town of Appoigny, France; coming out of the woods west of the town.

At 1800 hours, the Reconnaissance Company encountered one enemy tank; one AT gun and 60 infantry men in the town of Appoigny, France; who were taken care of by the platoon.

The entire battalion, less the 1st platoon of Company “A” and 1st Reconnaissance Platoon, remained in the assembly area west of Courtenay on an alert status, prepared to move, attack or repulse any enemy threat which developed within the sector. First echelon motor maintenance was performed during the period and the men had a chance to somewhat relax and rearrange and clean their equipment in preparation for the next attack.

Company “C” captured one enemy soldier in civilian clothes in the assembly area. In making a reconnaissance of the sector, small disorganized demoralized groups were encountered, but they were promptly and efficiently eliminated.

All outposts in the assembly are doubled and antitank and machine gun positions manned on a 24 hour basis.

A few enemy planes flew over the area during the hours of darkness but no bombing or strafing was accomplished by the Luftwaffa.

New tracks are being put on the destroyers during the period the battalion is in the assembly area.

The 5th Infantry Division is crossing the Seine River at Montreau, France. The 2d Infantry, 5th Division, crossing Yonne River at Misy, France, with their objective as Nogent, France. Elements of CCA, 4th Armored Division operating in the vicinity of Villeneauve L’Archeveque, France. 80th Infantry Division vicinity Corbellies, France.

2d Cavalry patrolling south flank of XII Crops.

The 1st platoon Company “A” and 1st Reconnaissance Platoon remained on assault mission with the 3rd battalion, 134th Infantry, vicinity of Joigny, France. The 1st section of the 3rd platoon, Company “A”, relieved the 1st section of the 1st platoon, in their mission at Joigny, France, so that tracks could be changed on their destroyers.

Strong local security maintained in the are during the period due to the presence of enemy troops and armor hiding out in the woods in division sector. FFI reported that enemy maybe planning a coordinated attack from three directions upon the assembly area during the night. All weapons and rocket-launching teams alerted.

August 27, 1944

Command Post,
2 1/2 miles West Courtenay, France.
Coord 468474, 1/100,000
272400 August, 1944.

CT 134 patrolled the road from St Romain to St Florentine, France, during the period.

CT 137 remained in the vicinity of Lorris and Courtenay, France and reconnoitered area in the vicinity of Orleans, France – Gien, Chateaurenard and Saint Romain.

CT 320 remained in the assembly area in the vicinity of Courtenay, France, prepared to move to vicinity of Troyes, France, upon orders.

The Division assumed responsibility for the protection of the south flank of the Third U.S. Army from Orleans, Gien, Sens and Troyes, France, during the period; dispersing units lightly along the sector, with strong mobile reserve forces in the vicinity of the division command post.

The enemy at the end of the period had no organized line in the division’s sector.

Small concentrations of troops have been reported in the vicinity of Mansilly and Vouzon, France. No new unit identifications have been contacted.

An enemy column containing infantry and artillery, estimated to be one regiment, passed through Molosmes, France, moving in a southeasterly direction. This force may be committed on the south or east flank in a counterattack at any time.

All enemy activity was moving to the east, northeast and southeast during the period.

FFI report 300 enemy soldiers at Argent-sur-Sauldry, France. Enemy has no artillery in the town. A column of enemy tanks was reported moving in the direction of Troyes, France, during the afternoon.

213 prisoners were captured during the period.

White markings on fighter-bomber planes removed on the 17th August, 1944.

At 1515 hours it was reported that the enemy had pulled a Panzer Division into position in the woods southeast of Troyes, France, in the vicinity of Courtenot, France. Division was alerted for immediate movement to the sector if there is any indication of attack.

The reconnaissance elements of the division maintained contact with the XX Corps on the left flank during the period. The 4th Armored Division northeast of Troyes, France, continued to advance against stubborn enemy resistence. The 90th Division went into an assembly area in the vicinity of Sens, France; having been relieved by the 137th Infantry.

CT 134 with Company “A” protects south flank of the TUSA from Saint Romain le Preux to Troyes, France, inclusive.

CT 137 protects flank from Orleans to Saint Romain le Preux, France. It relieved elements of the 80th Division along the Loire River.

CT 320 relieved the 4th Armored Division holding the city of Troyes and secured the city from the East and South. Local FFI cooperating in securing the sector.

The command post of the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion remained 2 1/2 miles west of Courtenay, France, during the period. Very little activity. Small groups of enemy cut-off and surrounded continue to be rounded up with very little resistence.

The weather during the period was warm and fair, with excellent visibility.

All elements of the battalion remained in the assembly area on an alert status. Tracks continued to be changed on the destroyers, along with the performance of first echelon motor maintenance. Reconnaissance was made of outlying sectors and survey missions accomplished in the sector. The 1st platoon of Company “A’ and the first reconnaissance platoon remained in the vicinity of Joigny and St Florentine, France, securing those towns and guarding bridges in the sector.

Enemy planes were over the area during the night but no bombs or strafing were reported in the division sector. At 1315 hours the pioneer platoon of the reconnaissance company was sent to Villenenve-sur-Yonne, France, to ascertain the status of bridges spanning the Yonne River in that sector. Bridges were found to be intact and capable of accommodating the battalion’s destroyers.

August 28, 1944

Command Post,
Enroute to Troyes, France.
282400 August, 1944.

Private Italo Gatto, Rcn Co., Bronze Star Medal, for heroic service.

Lieut. Scott P. Cooper, awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service was not present to be decorated; having been wounded in action north of St Lo, France, on 24 July, 1944. Pvt1cl Joseph F. Talon, awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic service, likewise was not present for decoration, having been missing in action in the Mortain Sector since 8 August, 1944. (Also, Private Mack H. Leggett, Rcn Co., was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic service). (Erroneously omitted from the above list).

In his talk to the battalion General Baade told the men that it was seldom that he said that an outfit, or an individual, was doing a fine job, but that he wished to say that very thing upon this occasion; that the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion was doing a fine job and he was proud to have them as an attached unit of the division.

He also said that “others of you will have the opportunity to win medals and be decorated”. He pinned the medals upon the left chest of each man, and shook hands with each and congratulated him as he went down the line.

During the time that the ceremony was being held a message was received that the German 15th Panzer Division was in the woods between Troyes and Chaumont, and that there were about 50 trucks, twenty five half tracks in the woods southeast of Troyes, France, and that all indications were that they were preparing to attack the city within the next 24 hour period.

The battalion departed immediately after the ceremony, at 2015 hours, for Troyes, France, as a part of TF “S” to meet the enemy threat last reported.

The battalion traveled a distance of 56 miles during the night; bivouacking about 1mile west of Troyes, France, in a wheat field, for the remainder of the night.

A few enemy planes were over the convoy enroute but attempted no bombing or strafing.

The weather during the period was fair and warm, with moonlight at night; excellent for operations.

August 29, 1944

Command Post,
East of Troyes, France.
Coord 317728, 1/100,000.
292400 August, 1944.

80th Infantry Division reported in vicinity of Chalons, France. 4th Armored Division at Vitry, France and the 2d Cavalry Group screening line Gien, Bar-sur-Seine, relieved effective this date.

Task Force “S” closed in the vicinity of Troyes, France, prior to daylight. 182nd Field Artillery Group in direct support Task Force.

Task Force “S” attacked immediately upon reaching Troyes, France, and is progressing swiftly. Division continues to protect the south flank of the Third US Army. Task Force “S” cleared area from Troyes to Vendeuvres-sur-Barse on the 30th of August.

Division moved to vicinity of Troyes, France, during the period; established 10 miles west of the city. Preparations being made to attack enemy forces reported in assembly areas in and around the city of Troyes, France.

At the end of the period the enemy had no organized front lines in the divisions sector. Road blocks were reported at coordinates Y364709, 1/100,000. 320th Infantry reported receiving mortar fire from vicinity of coordinates H385678, 1/100,000 at 1600 hours. No other indications of defensive positions in the sector.

Prisoners continue to be captured from the 348th and 360th Marsch Battalions. Two prisoners were captured from the 9th Panzer Division, 11th Regiment in the vicinity of Joigny, France. Several enemy officers were captured from the 589th “Feldkommanoatur” (Field Administrative Unit) during the period.

The 4th Armored Division reported that elements of the 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment in the town of Courteranges, France. FFI and civilians continue to report troop concentrations, with 88mm and light artillery pieces in the vicinity of Poaisy, France – Peimot-sur-Laignes, Arrelles, France. Either force can be used against our south flank, and also east flank at any time.

The 4th Armored Division continued to mop up in and around the city of Troyes, France.

The 137th CT closed in an assembly area in the vicinity of Montargis, France.

The 1st battalion, CT 320 relieved the 4th Armored Division in Troyes, France, during the period. Guards were placed on captured enemy supply train in the vicinity of Villeneuve, and on supply camp at Sens, France.

Task Force “S”, consisting of the 320th Infantry, 737th Tank Battalion, 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion ( less Company “B” and two platoons of Company “A” and Reconnaissance Companies; 1st Rcn Pl) and other components of CT 320 was organized with the mission of protecting Troyes, France, from the East, South and Southeast. Task Force commanded by Brigadier General Sebree, and departed from the vicinity of Courtenay, France, beginning at 1400 hours.

At the end of the period there was no known enemy organized front line in the division sector. Prisoners continue to be captured from the Marsch Battalions, 728th Infantry Regiment and other small disorganized scattered units.

Civilian sources report the movement of an enemy Panzer Division from Lourges, France, (about 60 miles South of Orleans) in an easterly direction at 1530 hours. This force could be effectively used on the south flank of the division after 1700 hours.

The enemy continued his withdrawal to the north, northeast and southeast.

Six 105mm guns were reported by the FFI in the vicinity of Argent-sur-Sauldre, France, (15 miles southwest of Gien, France), along with about 600 infantrymen, who are trying to withdraw to the east. Scattered groups of infantry have also been reported south of Orleans, moving to the East via Tigy. About two battalions compose this group.

Fifty trucks, 20 half-tracks with heavy guns and other vehicles moved north to Bois-de-Bidan, France, at 2130 hours.

A total of 118 prisoners were captured during the period.

At 1500 hours the battalion (less Company “B”, the 1st platoon Company “A” and the 1st Reconnaissance Platoon, who were in antitank positions in support of the 134th Infantry in the vicinity of Joigny, France), were alerted for movement to the east as a component of Task Force “S” under Brigadier General Sebree, with the mission of meeting an enemy threat in the vicinity of Troyes, France; (and the 3rd Reconnaissance platoon which remained to secure the division command post in the vicinity of Courtenay, France ) began movement at 2015 hours in the moonlight.

At 2100 hours the first decorations were awarded to twenty two enlisted men and one officer of the battalion by Major General Paul W. Baade, Commanding General, 35th Infantry Division, in an open pastureland, 3 miles west of Troyes, France.

A battalion formation was held for the occasion and the division photographer was present to take pictures of the first ceremony ever held by the battalion for that purpose.

Those decorated included:
1st Lieut. Michael P. Elcono, Company “A”, Bronze Star Medal, for meritorious service.
1st Sergeant George Barnausky, Company “A”, Silver Star, for gallantry in action.
Staff Sergeant Jolly White, Reconnaissance Company, Bronze Star for heroic service.
Staff Sergeant Raymond R. Wilson, Reconnaissance Company, Bronze Star for heroic service.
Sergeant Dewey E. Barrington, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Sergeant Frederick G. Easley, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Sergeant George L. Lewis, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Sergeant Lonzo P. Miller, Company “C”, Bronze Star for heroic service.
Corporal George D. Babcock, Company “C”, Bronze Star for heroic service.
Corporal George P. Carey, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Corporal Boyd Driggers, Company “B”, Bronze Star for heroic service.
Corporal Roscoe P. Reeves, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Tech 4 Gr Robert E. Marquis, MD, Bronze Star Medal, for heroic service.
Tech 5 Gr Allan L. Disbrowe, MD, Bronze Star, for heroic service.
Tech 5 Gr Fred Cross, Company “C” Bronze Start Medal, for heroic service.
Tech 5 Gr William C. Laughter, Company “A”, Bronze Star Medal, for meritorious service.
Tech 5 Gr Willie C. Sykes, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Pvt1cl Claude F. Cornett, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Pvt1cl Travis D. Fowler, Rcn Co., Bronze Star for heroic service.
Pvt1cl Lawson T. Green, Company “A”, Bronze Star for meritorious service.
Pvt1cl Walter Sidorek, Rcn Co., Bronze Star for heroic service.
Pvt1cl William C. Cockfield, Rcn Co., Bronze Star Medal for heroic service.

August 30, 1944

Command Post
East of Troyes, France.
Coord 317728, 1/100,000
302400 August, 1944

80th Division in Chalons, France. 4th Armored Division east of Troyes, France, attacking ESE on the north flank of Task Force “S”.

Task Force “S” attacked at 300800 August, 1944 from Troyes, with mission to clear area north of the Seine River from Troyes to a general line Venieuvre-sur-Barse – Bar-sur-Seine, France.

The attack of Task Force “S” progressing rapidly. Completed mission of clearing area from Troyes to Vendeuvres-sur-Barse. completed at 301830 August, 1944.

Division continued to protect south flank of TUSA and XII Corps during the period.

A total of 21 officers, 320 enlisted men were killed in action during the month of August; 3 officers and 59 enlisted men died of wounds; 6 officers and 271 enlisted men missing in action; 13 officers and 111 enlisted men seriously wounded in action, and 66 officers and 1269 enlisted men slightly wounded in action during the month of August, 1944, from the 35th Infantry Division.

The enemy has no organized front line in the division sector at the present time.

The enemy outposted the town of Lusigny-sur-Barse until he could clear his withdrawal route through Vendeuvre-sur-Barse, France. Civilians report enemy column of approximately 10 hours long cleared Vendeuvre-sur-Barse at 0700 hours.

Units of the division advanced approximately 20 kilometers during the period without enemy contact, other than light mortar from the outskirts of Lusigny-sur-Barse.

FFI continue to report enemy troops, estimated at one battalion, south of Orleans. This force is considered as no immediate threat to the division in this sector. However, they are capable of harassing missions from across the Loire River to the north at any time.

The enemy continued to withdraw his forces to the north and east, covering his withdrawal with small forces armed with automatic weapons and mortar fire.

Heavy German traffic reported moving north on Bourge-Charite, Barzy, Chamegy Road. 40 enemy tanks reported 15 kilometers southeast of Bourges at 1140 hours.

A total of 37 prisoners were captured during the period and all of them according to the interrogator had very little, if any, morale.

The enemy continued to weakly defend the towns of Chatillon, Chaumont and Neaufchateau.

The command post remained in the vicinity of Troyes, France, during the period, on an alert status.

The men taking advantage of being on the banks of the Seine River swam and bathed in the river; mostly in the nude, when they embarrassingly noticed that the river banks were lined with hundreds of civilians; woman and girls included. Some stayed in the cold water until they almost froze before they could swallow their embarassment and wade ashore in the nude before the throngs of spectators. They think nothing of this in France; that is appearing in the nude under these conditions; but for the boys of the 654th it was a hard pill to swallow.

Company “C” and the 2d Reconnaissance Platoon, in direct support of the 320th Infantry established their command post in the vicinity of Renault, France, coord T382631, 1/100,000. The enemy is putting up only light resistence in the division sector. He has been able to withdraw his Panzer Division from the sector during the hours of darkness, and has left small isolated groups to his rear to cover his withdrawal.

The 1st platoon of Company “A” in support of the 134th Infantry in the vicinity of Joigny, France, joined the rest of the battalion during the period, in the assembly area. Lieut. Safley and his Reconnaissance Company completed the 35 ton bridge across the Seine River at 1200 hours.

Company “C” in support of the 320th Infantry established their command post at coord 482599, and the platoons maintained antitank positions at coordinates as follows: 1st platoon 382633′ 2d at 418605 and 3rd 410642. Company “B” maintained antitank positions in the vicinity of the division command post. There was no enemy action during the period except for a few planes which were over the city during the hours of darkness on patrol missions.

1st Lieut. Smoot and Staff Sergeant Anthony Slezak admitted to hospital as the result of illness and Private Sherill admitted as the result of a self-inflicted GSW when his M1 rifle exploded from ruptured cartridge.

(Note: 29 Aug: CP first closed in vic of Torvillies at 290050 August, 1944.)

Weather Cool, overcast with rain throughout the period.

Enemy continued to withdraw to the East and Northeast. Considerable forces estimated to be delaying units seem to be concentrating in the vicinity of Poligny, France, and Mesnil St Pere, France. 88mm and 77mm gun batteries reported in the vicinity of Polisot, France.

An enemy fighter base captured by 134th Infantry in the vicinity of Seiglay, France in good condition. No enemy air activity reported in the division sector during the period.

One prisoner was captured in the city of Troyes, France, during the night from the 349th Marsch Battalion. This is a new unit in our section.

292 prisoners were captured by the division and attached units during the period.

The battalion in an overnight bivouac 3 miles west of Troyes, France, began movement to the East at 0930 hours in a slow, summer rain. Entered the city of Troyes, and was held up in the city for about an hour due to enemy activity within the city. Upon proceeding the unit, led by Captain Carson, the acting executive officer, overrun the boundary line to the East and got out ahead of the infantry. The unit was stopped by a motorcycle messenger which overtook the column, heading directly into the enemy’s line and it turned around on the road, after sitting for one hour, and established command post just 2 miles east of Troyes, France, on the Seine River at coordinates T316728, 1/100,000, travelling a distance of 9 miles from the overnight bivouac area.

The weather was cool and rainy during the period.

Company “B” remaining in the vicinity of the division post 3 miles west of Courtenay, France, joined the battalion at 1500 hours, and went into antitank positions in the vicinity of the division command post, 300 yards west of Nacy, France, at 1830 hours. No enemy activity was reported during the advance by either column.

One platoon of Company “A” and the 1st Reconnaissance Platoon under 1st Lieut. John W. Spain, remained in direct support of the 134th Infantry in the vicinity of Joigny, France, during the period. Company “C” and the 320th Infantry jumped off at 0800 hours and attacked the enemy in the sector with fury. The remainder of the battalion, less Company “B”, one destroyer and reconnaissance platoon, remained in the assembly area in the vicinity of Troyes, on an alert status throughout the period.

The reconnaissance company went into an assembly area in the village of St Palles-at-Tertres, France, at 1315 hours, and began the construction of a bridge over the Seine River in the city of Troyes, France, at 1200 hours; bridge capacity of 35 tons as the enemy had made a complete and thorough job of blowing all bridges in the path of his retreat.

At 1200 hours Staff Sergeant Windham, platoon leader of the 2d Reconnaissance Platoon, was directed to investigate a road block across the Troyes-Chaumont Highway, about 3miles from the assembly area, at coordinates 3969, 1/100,000. One platoon of the 121st Cavalry Squadron were already in the vicinity and had been fired upon by the enemy from this road block. A platoon from Company “K”, 320th Infantry was also in the general area and had also been fired upon by the enemy.

Sergeant Windham and his platoon flanked the position and the Germans realizing the position they were in fled in wild retreat, Sergeant Windham opening upon them with his machine gun but could not determine the results of his firing. He and his platoon took over the road block and gathered up the abandoned enemy equipment which included one British and one American jeep each, one motorcycle, belonging to a unit of the Third Army, several cases of ammunition and 5 machine guns, demolitions and personal equipment.

Enemy prisoners continue to be captured from the 360th and 348th Infantry Regiments, 9th Panzer Division and from the 589th Feldkommanaotur Division.

About 100,000 cases of cognac was confiscated or captured in the city of Troyes, France, bearing the label “For the Wehrmacht”.

August 31, 1944

Command Post
1 mile E Precy, St Martin, France.
Coord 588846, 1/100,000
312400 August, 1944

The 80th Division attached East for Chalons, France with the mission of liberating and securing the town of Commercey, France. 80th Infantry Division supported by the 4th Armored Division. CT 134 remained in division reserve and CT 137 continued to protect the south flank of the Third Army, XII Corps and Division during the period.

Task Force “S” completed the mission of clearing Vendeuvre-sur-Barse and Bar-sur-Seine at 301830 August, 1944.

The enemy has not established an organized defensive line in the zone of the division’s attack. He continues to defend the towns along his route of withdrawal, including Chatillon, Chaumont and Neaufchateau, France.

Prisoners from the 2d SS Division were captured during the period on the road from Colombey to Chaumont, France.

FFI reports troop movement south of Orleans, France, an estimated strength of two infantry battalions and some tanks and self-propelled guns.

It is estimated that there are about 1500 enemy troops defending Neaufchateau, and an unestimated group of infantry on the road between Colomby and Chaumont, France.

There are 2000 enemy troops defending Chatillon, supported by some artillery and the bridge at Charite is defended by about 300 infantrymen.

An enemy ammunition DP was located 3 kilometers northwest of Seignelay, France, during the period. A total of 23 prisoners were captured during the period.

The Reconnaissance Company maintained a strong guard on the bridge they constructed over the Seine River in Troyes, France during the period.

The battalion closed their command post, less Company “C” and the 2d Reconnaissance Platoon, and departed from Troyes, France at 1915 hours, and went into an assembly area 1 mile east of Precy St Martin, at 2215 hours, travelling a distance of 36 miles without enemy contact. The weather was fair and warm during the advance.

Company “C” and the 2d Reconnaissance platoon remained in primary missions with the 3rd battalion, 320th Infantry, the remainder of Task Force “S”, with the mission to defend the sector to the south of Troyes, France, and the east side of the Seine River.

The reconnaissance company outposted the new assembly area during the period upon arrival.

French civilians of the little town reported upon our arrival in the area, that enemy SS troops occupying the town, realizing that we were approaching, destroyed the town and killed the majority of the population prior to the withdrawal. A total of 22 women were raped and the most of them killed. Fifty or sixty old men, women and children were thrown into burning buildings alive and burned to death and their bodies destroyed by the fire. All the houses of the village were looted; all food items in the homes were confiscated or destroyed, and any money found was taken by the SS troops.

Numerous townspeople are still hiding in the woods. When we entered we found the survivors of the brutal attack hovering in groups; some crying some praying. The homes were still burning. The town hall was in flames and those that remained alive were hysterical. This is one of the most brutal acts that I have ever witnessed during my life. Hand grenades were ruthlessly tossed into homes; killing and wounding the entire family then the house set on fire with incendiary grenades and the occupants left to die in the flames. One case which I shall always remember was a baby laying in its cradle with a German bayonet through its body; pinned to the mattress by the ruthless inhumane killer. The town was looted and ransacked for anything that was of value which the Germans took for their own use, and the remainder, insofar as possible was destroyed by fire. The civilians said that they laid this deed to the fact that several men of the community had slipped out of town and joined the FFI in other towns in the neighborhood. The town was nothing less than a cemetery with hysterical people screaming and praying. It must have been an awful thing to have witnessed. Those that have lived through it weep and go into hysteria at the thought of a German SS trooper.