|Killed In Action||14||11||125|
|Seriously Wounded In Action||18||151||189|
|Lightly Wounded In Action||11||286||297|
|Seriously Injured In Action||0||14||14|
|Lightly Injured In Action||7||69||76|
|Missing In Action||1||24||25|
* Webmaster's Note: The numbers in these columns don't add up correctly. They have been
verified against the actual AAR's and reflect the numbers in those reports.
b, Vehicular *
|Type||Destroyed or Abandoned||Evacuated Carrier|
|Car, Armored, Light||4||1|
|Carr. Mtr., 75 mm How., M8||1|
|Carr. Mtr, 105mm How., M7||3||1|
|Carrier, Pers, H/T, M3 & M3AI||17||5|
|Tank, Light M5AI||1|
|Tank, Med. M4, M4Ai, M4A3, w/75||27||19||Tank, Med. M4A3, w/76||1||Tank, Med. Mr, w/105mm How||1||Trailer, Amo M10||8||Truck, 1/4 Ton, 4X4||37||12||Trailer, 1 ton, Cargo||13||1||Truck, 2 1/2 ton, 6x6, Cargo||4||Vehicle, Tank Recovery, M32||1|
* Webmaster's Note: The numbers in these columns don't add up correctly. They have been
verified against the actual AAR's and reflect the numbers in those reports.
3. AMMUNITION EXPENDITURES AND LOSSES
|Type||Expended||Loss Due to Enemy Action|
|105mm How||16832||675||155mm How|
|Grenade, hand||5717||2145||Grenade, rifle||421|
|Rockets, AT||1278||150||Signals||57||Mines AT||120|
4. COMMANDERS Beginning of Period:
On 1 August 1944 units of the Division were commanded by the following named officers:
5th Armd Div - MAJ GEN LUNSFORD E OLIVER, 03536, USA
Combat Command "A", 5th Armd Div - BRIG GEN EUGENE A REGNIER, 08295, USA
Hq & Hq Co, Combat Command "A" - CAPT KARL W ROTH, 01010340, INF
Combat Command "B" - COL JOHN T COLE, 05256, CAV
Hq & Hq Co, Combat Command "B" - CAPT JOE W PERRY, 01012397, INF
5th Armd Div Arty - COL DOUGLAS J PAGE, 04495, FA
Hq & Hq Btry, 5th Armd Div Arty - CAPT NORMAN W CUSICK, 0466787, FA
Reserve Command - COL GLEN H ANDERSON, 08632, INF
Hq Co, 5th Armd Div - CAPT LARRY H GREENWOOD, 01283065, INF
Hq 5th Brmd Div Tns - LT COL GLEN G DICKENSON, 0197385, CAV
Hq Co 5th Armd Div Tn - CAPT JAMES R BAGWELL, 01011S81, CAV
MP Platoon, 5th Armd Div - MAJ ALEXANDER T NELSEN, 335298, CAV
145th Armd Sig Co - CAPT GLENN A WELDE, 0453447, SG
85th Cav Rcn Sq Mecz - LT COL KENT FAY, 0286301, CAV
10th Tank Bn - LT COL WILLIAM A HAMBERG, 0242156, INF
34th Tank Bn - LT COL THOMAS B BARTEL, 022019, CAV
81st Tank Bn - LT COL LE ROY H ANDERSON, 0239452, INF
15th Armd Inf Bn - LT COL JOHN S WINTERMUTE JR, 022039, INFbr> 46th Armd Inf Bn - MAJ WILLIAM H BURTON, 0366028, INF
47th Armd Inf Bn - LT COL HOWARD E BOYER, 0218680, INF
47th Armd FA Bn - LT CCL JOHN B ROSENZWEIG, 0246291, FA
71st Armd FA Bn- LT COL ISRAEL B WASHBURN, 0235367, FB
95th Armd FA Bn - LT COL JAMES W MC NEER, 0223703, FB
22d Armd Engr Bn - LT COL FRED E RESSEGIEU, 020575, CE
75th Med Bn, Armd - LT COL BENJAMIN H BADER, 0372570, MC
The 5th Armored Division, assigned to the Third U. S. Army and attached to XX Corps, landed at UTAH BEACH and was assembled in bivouac in the vicinity of ST SAUVEUR LE VICOMPTE in NORMANDY during the period 26-31 July 1944.
At 0935 1 August 1944 the Division was attached to the XV Corps. An oral movement order was issued by the Commanding General for the Division to assemble with the Division CP in the vicinity of LA FEUILLIE. The move was started at 1800, 1 August and completed by 1000, 2 August.
At 1100, 2 August orders were received for the first action by the Division. The Division was given the mission to proceed South without stopping, cross the SEE and SELUNE RIVERS, assemble South of the SELUNE RIVER, seize the town of FOUGERES, and reconnoiter vicinity of ST JAMES, ST MARTIN and ST GEORGE for further action.
The Commanding General issued orders to the Major Commands to drive south with all possible speed on two routes and to capture FOUGERES. Order of march: East Route: - CCB and CCR; West Route: - CCA, Division Headquarters, Division Troops; Division Trains to remain in vicinity of MINEVILLE. The movement was started at 1430, 2 August 1944, by the 85th Cav Rcn Sq, Mecz.
Upon departure from initial concentration area duffel bags and baggage were left in open storage in the vicinity of ST SAVEUR LE VICOMPTE with a Warrant Officer and twelve men or the Band as a guard detachment and caretaking detail. Latrine screens, truck tops and extra tentage were utilized to cover this baggage. In anticipation of battle casualties bags were systematically arranged to insure rapid and easy access to baggage of any individual.
The march of the Division was made difficult by cross traffic of troops of the XX Corps, moving East into the First Army zone. Control was very difficult at many points. Columns were cut and held up for so long, at times, that the Division CP could not keep radio contact with the heads of the Combat Commands.
Elements of the 85th Cav Rcn Sq made first contact with the enemy, in the vicinity of the lines ST ELLIER - FOUGERES. Enemy vehicles were pursued by C Troop patrols at 0850, and small arms fire was encountered East of this line at 0930. Five prisoners were taken. Civilian reports and reconnaissance indicated that the enemy was falling back rapidly in a disorganized retreat, without attempting to erect defenses or to establish road blocks or strong points.
At 0320, 3 August a message was received from XV Corps to halt movement until further orders. Combat Commands and the Reconnaissance Squadron were ordered to clear roads, bivouac in adjacent fields, and await orders. By this time the Reconnaissance Squadron was well South and in contact with some light enemy resistance along the line: A Troop at LES VIEUVILLES, B Troop at LE PERHADIER, C Troop at MALVAL DES BOIS. CCA was between ST DENIS and DUCEY. CCB was between ST DENIS and SEE RIVER. CCR and Division Troops were in vicinity of ST DENIS. The Division was attacked at various times during the night 2-3 August by enemy air. All attacks were light.
At 0820, 3 August, the Commanding General departed for Headquarters, Third Army and returned at 1015 with instructions for continuing the action, The Division was to occupy positions in Corps reserve with the leading Combat Command at LA CHAPEL UREE between roads GC 5 and GC 47, the second Combat Command at ST JAMES, and the remainder of the Division between the two Combat Commands.
At 0355, 4 August 1944, CCA had first contact with the enemy when the Service Company of the
46th Armd Infantry Battalion was fired on by enemy snipers. No casualties were suffered. At
1300, 4 August, orders were received to keep Combat Commands in present positions and to move
the remainder of the Division South of SELUNE RIVER; Division Trains to move to vicinity of ST
JAMES; Reconnaissance to start patrol of the line VITRE - LAVAL - MAYENNE, contact being
maintained with 106th Cavalry Group on right and 90th Infantry Division on left.
The reconnaissance screen moved toward the designated line encountering small scattered elements which were easily mopped up. Enemy aviation was active during daylight and evening hours, strafing columns by day when allied fighter cover was absent. 16 PW's and 16 enemy dead were reported by the Division. Civilian reports stressed the absence of transportation with enemy straggler groups which were moving at night along roads towards LAVAL and DOMFRONT.
On 4 August a directive was received from XV Corps to furnish one hundred trucks immediately to help motorize elements of the 79th and 90th Inf Divisions. Assurance was given that no movement of the Division would be ordered until these vehicles had returned. Fuel and lubricant trucks of the unit combat trains were dumped to provide this detail.
At 0730, 5 August, orders were received from XV Corps stating that the Corps mission was to secure crossings of the MAYENNE RIVER from LAVAL to MAYENNE. The Division's mission was to advance, echeloned to the right rear of the 79th Infantry Division, prepared to support the attack of the assaulting divisions; to extend the front to CHATEAU-GONTIER or extend Corps front as far south as ANGERS.
By 1600, 5 August, units were encountering scattered roadblocks and defensive positions, covering small retreating enemy groups. Tanks and artillery were reported by civilian sources by were not encountered by our troops. The Division on this date had taken 80 PWs, identifications being: 5th Prcht Div, 2nd SS pz Div, 266th Inf Div; 17th SS pz Gren Div, 91st Inf Div, 319th Inf Div and scattered service units. Bivouac areas were again strafed and bombed by enemy aircraft with some casualties.
The Division prepared to move on 6 August, using main route ST JAMES - FOUGERES - VIRE. However the 100 trucks had not returned from their detail with the two infantry divisions. On the night of 5 August the 3912th QM Truck Co was attached and ordered immediately to fill trucks with gasoline at the Army C1 III: Trk Hd and join the column at ST JAMES the next morning. Gasoline was not made available at the Trkhd in sufficient time to permit the Company to carry out orders. As a result of our movement this information was not received until Div Hq had reached VITRE. An officer was sent back to locate the Truck Company and to lead the gasoline train forward, Due to delay in the loading of trucks at the Trkhd and traffic congestion at ST JAMES and FOUGERES, these vehicles did not reach the combat elements in time to permit refueling of combat vehicles until the early morning hours of 7 August.
At 1430, 6 August, orders were received to push forward rapidly on LE MANS by all possible routes in Corps Zone that would not interfere with advance of the 79th Inf Div. The advance was to be made as follows: CCA to cross the MAYENNE RIVER in the vicinity of CHATEAU GONTIER, to proceed East on the axis CHATEAU GONTIER - GREZ EN BOUFRE - BOUESSY - CHANTENAY - CHEMIRE LE GAUDIN - LE MANS, to stay north of SARTHE RIVER, seize and hold LE LANS, to block all movement of enemy to South and East; CCB to cross the MAYENNE at HOUSSAY, proceed East on axis VILLlER - CHARLEMAGNE - MEXLAY - CHEVILLE - LOVE - CASSILLE - COULANS -LA MILESSE; CCR to follow CCA; Division Headquarters, Division Troops and Division Trains to following axis of CCR. Only light enemy resistance was met and the advance was rapid. CCA attacked the town of CRAON where some enemy resistance was met and the bridge was blown. CCB's column met only light resistance and at 1900 had reached the town of DEPLOY. CCA at 1800 had reached LAIGNE after by-passing a blown bridge at CRAON. The Division CP was in the vicinity of COSSE LE VIVIEN. By 2200 CCB was in HOUSSAY. The bridge at HOUSSAY was taken intact by CCB and its columns were crossing at 0005 7 August. However, lack of fuel resulted in the halting and bivouacking of the column; the major position of CCB on East side of river, Division CP on West side in the vicinity of HOUSSAY.
In the meantime, the organic fuel and lubricant trucks had been released from their detail with the 79th and 90th Divisions. They returned to their old areas, picked up dumped loads and joined, their parent organizations about 0530, 7 August. An additional 100,000 gallons of gasoline was moved by Third Army to COSSE Le VIVIEN on trucks which arrived 070700*. This was moved across the MAYENNE RIVER in the vicinity of VILLIERS CAMPAGNE where a Division Class III Dump was established under the control of the assistant Division Quartermaster. A platoon of Engineers was left as a security detachment until Civil Affairs Section could secure a sufficient number of FFI to provide adequate guard for the Dump. Communication was maintained with Division thru the SCR 399 radio of the Division Quartermaster station in the Administrative Net.
* Webmaster's Note: The time noted here stands for the 7th day and the 7th hour of the current month. This is a standard military time designation generally used in mapping. Greenwich time is also used on occassion and would be written 070700Z.
Prior to crossing the MAYENNE one platoon of the attached Quartermaster Truck Company was attached to each of the three combat commands to carry a fuel reserve. This was deemed necessary due to the uncertainty of being able to maintain supply points at a reasonable distance behind an Armored Division operating on an exploitation mission deep in enemy held territory. This plan proved to be sound in subsequent operations throughout FRANCE where distances between supply points and the using elements were habitually abnormal.
With the arrival of fuel at 0530 the morning of 7 August the units of CCB were ready to push on within a half hour.
The resistance in front of CCA at CHATEAU GONTIER proved to be about one company, reinforced. The bridge was repaired and crossing started at 0700. Enemy resistance was much less at this time and by 1100 CCA was in GREN BOUERE and CCB was at MESLAY. The advance of the Division continued throughout the day and night of 7 August, against enemy delaying actions on both columns.
The XV Corps order for the advance from the MAYENNE RIVER to LE MANS designated a zone of advance for the 5th Armored Division and for the 79th and 90th Infantry Divisions, who were to shuttle. The 5th Armored Division, was given permission to use any routes in the Corps Zone providing the advance of the infantry divisions was not hindered. The original Division plan was for CCB to cut Northeast ahead of the 79th and 90th Infantry Divisions and by passing on the west side of LE MANS to move to the North and East of the city to prevent escape of the enemy therefrom to the North and East. CCA was to approach the city from the South and Southwest and to prevent escape of enemy therefrom to East and South. The 79th and 90th Infantry Divisions were to attack the city from the West.
However, the shuttling of the infantry troops was so rapid that it was impossible for the Division to take advantage of routes other than those in its assigned zone. Midway of this rapid advance a shuttling column of the 79th Infantry Division moved via a route which entered the 5th Armored Division Zone and so conflicted with the advance of CCB that it was necessary to completely re-route both CCA and CCB by shifting to the South. Fortunately the road net permitted. However, this also necessitated a complete change in the tactical plan for the containment of LE MANS, as is shown below.
The enemy was using AA units for scattered AT positions, two Mark IV tanks were knocked out by our troops, snipers continued to annoy our columns but with little effect. A moderate number of tanks and some artillery were reported by civilians as retreating toward LA VAL. On this date 55 PW's and 2 enemy killed were reported. During this period considerable difficulty was experienced by units of the Division below major commands, due to the lack of operational maps. Up to this time they had been using Michelin road maps, ungridded. No other maps were available.
Reconnaissance by 8 August was patrolling North and East of LE MANS along line BONNETABLE - BOULONE - TRESSONY. LE MANS was being used as a straggler point by the enemy, who there reorganized men into provisional units for delaying actions. Some artillery was encountered but was of little consequence. Combat aviation lessened its activities on both 7 and 8 August. Demolitions by the enemy were being carried out in LE MANS and MAIGNE.
At 080900 the Division was advancing on LE MANS with heads of columns three kilometers from their objective. CCA and CCB both crossed the SARTHE RIVER South the city; CCA swung in a wide arc East of and around the city and took a position North and Northeast of the city from the river to the main LE MANS - PARIS road; CCB took position South and Southeast of the city, covering the section between CCA and a point midway to the river; CCR took position immediately South of the city covering the section between CCB and the river. The Division CP located five kilometers Southeast of LE MANS. All exits from LE MANS were closed by 082300*. Units were instructed to make all possible preparations for a further move, possibly to North and East.
* Webmaster's Note: This time has been verified against the actual AAR. Apparently a typo in the original report, it has been left in for authenticity.
Our casualties were light throughout this operation. Six enemy tanks were destroyed in various engagements East of LE MANS and enemy infantry activity had considerably increased. Enemy killed were reported for this date as 50, PWs 200.
At 0400, 9 August, orders were received from XV Corps to reconnoiter line ST MARTIN DES MONTES - COSME DE VAR - COURGINS - FRESNAY SUR SARTHE, prepared to advance to North and to protect East flank of the corps. At 1940, 9 August the Division was given the mission of seizing and holding the crossings of the ORNE RIVER between MONCE and STE JAMME, and to reconnoiter to line NOGENT LE ROTROU - MORTAGNE - ALENCON.
During the consolidation in the LE MANS area normal maintenance and evacuation was accomplished and basic loads of most items were reconstituted. Diesel fuel and WP ammunition were in short supply and neared the critical point. There was some delay in providing adequate stocks of CI I, III and V supplies at the Army dumps Northeast of LE MANS but reserves carried by units proved sufficient to provide for such contingencies.
At 0300, 10 August, information was received that XV Corps would attack at 0800, 10 August to seize line SEES-CARROUGE. The Division was to attack in the East Zone with 2d French Armored Division on the left. The Division crossed the line of departure at 0800 with CCA on the left and CCR on the right, and at 1100 both columns were meeting strong armored and artillery resistance. Some 50 enemy tanks were active and several counterattacks were repulsed in securing the river crossings. Hostile elements identified were portions of 708th Inf Div on the left, 9th Pz Div in center, and 130 Pz Lehr Div on the right. AT units were found at road junctions and critical points. 9 tanks and 2 armored cars were destroyed on 10 August, with 84 enemy dead and 116 PW's. Morale of the enemy was reported by IPW teams as somewhat better and greater resistance was noticed in enemy positions. Weather continued warm and dry.
By 1700 all elements of CCA had pushed North of the river and the situation was more favorable in its sector. By nightfall 10 August CCA contacted strong tank forces in vicinity of MORROLLES and CCR was in contact with the enemy in vicinity of MAMERS. The enemy had been steadily withdrawing before our pressure all day. Both Combat Commands remained in position for the night with instructions to continue the attack at 0700, 11 August on the same objective with same axis of advance, CCA to by-pass the town of MOROLLES and CCR to by-pass MAMERS. The 79th Infantry Division was to take the towns. Reconnaissance was to stay forward and on the flanks.
It was during this day's action that the Division experienced its first loss among battalion commanders. Lt Col John S. Wintermute, Jr, Commanding Officer of 15th Armd Inf Bn, an element of CCB, was seriously wounded in action and evacuated. Major Toney Giorlando, Battalion Executive Officer, 15th Armd Inf Bn, assumed command.
The advance of the Division was much slower during 11 August due to enemy road-blocks and armor. Bitter resistance was encountered at some road blocks, and the rear guard action of the enemy continued. Concentrated fire from 105mm and 150mm artillery howitzers was reported for the first time. Advance reconnaissance had reached the Southwest corner FORET DE PERSEIGINE - MAMERS - BELLEME - ROGENT LE ROTRCU - East around FORET DE PERSEIGNE - Northeast FORET DE BELLEME - North to FRESNAY - RER VENCHERES - MAUVES.
The Division plan contemplated that CCA should pass through the FORT DE PERSEIGNE and directly North to the objective. Information indicated that the enemy held the FORET in some strength and that it was a tank trap. CCA was, therefore ordered to by-pass the FORET to the East and to push on to the North. Further information was received that the FORET was to be bombed with oil bombs on the following day, but the bombing was subsequently cancelled.
At 1800 CCR's column was at LEMES LEVE and CCA was passing to the East of FORET DE PERSEIGNE which had the appearance of being and enemy trap, due to dense woods. The Division CP was just South of BONNETABLE.
3907th QM Truck Co was attached to the Division on 11 August and generally was used in this and subsequent operations for drawing Class II supplies from depots in the rear areas.
At 1945 orders were received giving a new objective and at 2210 the CP moved into an area four miles North of MAMERS to prepare plans for new advance. The Division was given the mission of continuing on the way to ARGENTAN, to cut all communications to North, and to help close the "ARGETAN - FALAISE GAP". The Division Artillery was ordered to have fires prepared to catch enemy trying to get out the East. CCA was to cut communications to Northwest, CCR to Northeast, and CCB to fill in the gap to South and East. At this time the head or CCR's column was in contact with the enemy in vicinity SEES, and CCA was North of the FORET DE PERSEIGNE.
The resistance in front of CCA on the morning of 12 August was very light, CCA having turned in the direction of SEES to relieve the pressure on CCR. The town of SEES was taken by the combination of CCA - CCR at 1000 and the advance continued to the North. The Division was in vicinity of LES MESLE at this time. The advance of the Division was held to a slow pace until noon. By afternoon the main line of contact was North of FORET DE BELLEME - ST VCVEA DE BINVCV - GOULANGES SUR SARTHE - Narth of MONTREE. The enemy continued withdrawing, attempting to evacuate troops to EVREAUX, DREUX and BERNAY. Armored forces, appeared in greater number in an effort to stop the advance, as many as 200 tanks being reported in the general area. Tanks replaced AT at some roadblocks, showing more tenacious defensive tactics.
Support from our Air Forces materially assisted in regaining and maintaining the rapid rate of advance. At 1445 CCR cut the railroad at MARMOUILLE and at 1635 was advancing on GACE. The Division CP at this time was in the vicinity of SEES. By 1700 CCR had the railroad cut at an additional point and had roadblocks out to the Northwest on Highway N 24. The 10th Tank Bn, advancing on the town of GAGE, ran into a well defended mine field in vicinity of NONANT. Enemy appeared in considerable numbers, with several tanks to North and East of GACE. At 1900 the head of CCA was at MORTREE. By 2000 CCA was five miles South of ARGENTAN but was unable to carry out the attack due to the lack of fuel. During the afternoon and early evening a column of a combat command of the 2d French Armored Division blocked the supply route through SEES. SEES was some five kilometers East of the boundary between the 2d French Armored Division and the 5th Armored Division Zones. Refueling of CCA was delayed six hours by this conflicting traffic. Consequently CCA's attack towards ARGENTAN was not launched until just before dark and was stopped short of the town by darkness. During the night patrols did enter the town.
Hostile aviation was active, strafing out columns three times during the day. Casualties of the enemy this date were: Killed 301, captured 362; vehicles destroyed: 70 tanks, 88 miscellaneous motor vehicles, 2 armored cars, 7 pieces of artillery. Units identified through PW interrogation: 2d SS Pz Div, 6th Prcht Div, 9th Pz Div, 9th SS Pz Div, 10th SS Pz Div, 12th SS Pz Div, 17th SS Pz Gren Div, 130th, Pz Lehr Div and scattered service and GHQ units.
At 0700, 13 August CCA resumed the attack on ARGENTAN. It met with strong resistance and was repulsed. During the night the enemy had moved in more infantry and AT guns. 88's had been placed in concealed positions on the flanks and on the dominating ground to the North or the town. The 34th Tank Bn lost seven M4 tanks, and its commander Lt Col Thomas B Bartel who was seriously wounded and evacuated. Major Glen L Foote, Executive Officer, assumed command.
At 1200 CCA was reinforced by the attachment of the 639th Tank Destroyer Battalion and Reconnaissance was started with a view to going around the town.
At this point orders were changed and rechanged. Corps ordered that the town of ARGENTAN be taken. After the attack was again started by CCA, this order was counternmanded. Orders were also received to send a combat command up the ARGENTAN FALAISE Highway in an attempt to join the Canadians in the vicinity of FALAISE. This plan also was changed before it could be put into effect. The Division was then ordered to follow a plan as follows: The 2d French Armored Division would relieve CCA at ARGENTAN. CCA was to be put into position Southwest of ARGENTAN; CCR which had put in additional roadblocks at AGAISE to remain n position on roadblocks, being given the 15th Armd Infantry Bn from CCB to perform this mission; CCB to move into position just North of SEES. The necessary moves to put this plan into effect were accomplished on 13 August. The Division was ordered to perform as much maintenance as possible and get ready for further movement.
At 0500, 14 August, orders were received to withdraw all patrols from ARGENTAN and shell the town. In the gap North of ARGENTAN the enemy continued to pour through under our heavy air attacks attempting to escape from the gap. The artillery concentration was begun at 0620. Orders received at 0800 to withdraw CCA from its holding mission South of ARGENTAN and move it East of the railroad to the vicinity of ALMENACHES. This was accomplished without delay. During the morning of 14 August, CCB repulsed a harassing attack by ten enemy tanks. At this time enemy disorganization became general throughout the entire area. Columns of various sizes, from three to fifty vehicles, were reported in all sections of the Division Zone as well as in the zones of other friendly divisions. The only known major unit facing us at the time of withdrawal was the 331st German Inf Div, which was holding North half of sector East of MOULINS - LANCHES line. Our Air Force was actively engaged in bombing and strafing. At 1030 a column of enemy foot troops and tanks was bombed between the CP of the 5th Armored Division and the CP of the 79th Infantry Division (vicinity of LE MESLES). Two enemy tanks were destroyed at ST HILAIRE. Enemy casualties resulting from the Division's action were 410 PW's, 215 killed; 1 tank and 6 motor vehicles destroyed and 3 armored cars and 16 trucks captured.
Colonel Gustin M Nelson, who had been serving as Executive Officer of CCA returned to his former command, Headquarters, Division Trains, taking over from Lt Colonel Dickenson.
At 2240 our units were alerted for movement early 15 August. The Division's new mission was to proceed East, seize line of SEINE RIVER between MEULAN and VERNON. Formation: two Combat Commands abreast, CCB on the right, CCR on the left; CCA in reserve; both CCB and CCR marched in two columns. The Division Headquarters, Division Troops and Division Trains followed CCB in the right zone with CCA following CCR in the left zone.
On 15 August the enemy front line was in the vicinity of DREUX with isolated strong points in the bend formed by the junction of the AVRE, EURE and BLAISE RIVERS along a general line with a salient facing directly East like a spearhead. Our attacks were to be in the direction of the EURE RIVER around both sides of DREUX to the North and South. Elements of 1st SS Pz and 2d SS Pz Divisions were identified near DREUX and a concentration of tanks, infantry and artillery was reported at CHARTRES. All regiments of 331st Infantry Division and elements of 116th Pz Division reported in addition to the other two panzer divisions.
During the day (15th) the 90th Infantry Division relieved the Division in the ARGENTAN -GAGE sector and the Division started on its new mission. CCB moved at 1600 and CCR at 1630. During the march maintenance of radio communications was very difficult due to enemy interference and unfavorable terrain features. At numerous times the Combat Commanders lost contact with heads of columns, which made control difficult. The enemy resistance on all routes was light, consisting mostly of road blocks. These were not strongly defended, an occasional anti-tank gun being the only armament. The enemy withdrew to DREUX and East of the EURE RIVER. 85 enemy were killed, 160 captured. Weather was good.
At 1100 on 16 August, 1944, CCB had accomplished its mission, a crossing having been seized and held to the South of DREUX. Our forces found the town defended, with large forces of enemy fleeing to the East out of the town. The enemy resistance was reported to be strong tank forces and anti-tank defense.
At this point the boundary between CCB and CCR was changed to give the town of DREUX to CCB. The energy line along the AVRE RIVER extended GLOCHES - HOUDBN - BRISSARD - then along bank of AVRE RIVER from Junction West to VERT EN DROURS. Reconnaissance elements of our Division were pushing East and Northeast to establish a line MANTES - GASSICOURT - POISSY - THAPPES. Of two enemy battalions left in DREUX one was destroyed on late afternoon or 16 August, and the other retreated across the EURE RIVER pursued by our Rcn Squadron. AAA fire was active during this period and artillery fire was reported in vicinity DANNEMARIE and BOURG ABBE. Engineers demolished bridges across EURE RIVER leaving only three. One company of tanks was reported vicinity of HOUDAN and we engaged a company across the EURE RIVER, damaging 7 out of 30 tanks. Hostile planes were active, 6 attacking once, and 13 at another time. 129 enemy were killed, 181 captured, and 6 motor vehicles mere destroyed. Civilian reports indicated that the German withdrawal through this area had been going on for about 7 days, SS troops earliest.
The Division CP closed in bivouac this day in vicinity of MARVILLE, having marched one hundred ten (110) kilometers. CCA, following CCR, had met some tank opposition, also heavy artillery fire, and had dropped behind. CCA was ordered to push rapidly to just North of DREUX by any routes. The town of DREUX was taken by CCB at 1745.
By 0600, 17 August, CCA was in bivouac in vicinity of BLAINVILLE, Southeast of DREUX, and the assembly of the Division in DREUX area was completed at 0830. At 1035 CCR was given the mission of securing crossings from DREUX to TURY inclusive. At this time, 1035, 17 August, the Division CP received its only strafing to date. One plane only was employed and it was shot down on its first attack. At 1420, 17 August, orders were received from Corps that not more than four crossings over the EURE RIVER were desired for use of the 2d French Armored Division at MONTREUIL, MARCILLY - SUR - EURE, CROTH and EZY - SUR - EURE, but that the Corps Commander did not want the Division to become involved in a serious fight to seize these crossings. CCR had secured a crossing at MUZY and had considerable enemy opposition in tanks, infantry and artillery.
The enemy resisted stubbornly along the EURE RIVER to allow his troops escaping from ARGENTAN GAP to withdraw safely. Reinforcements from 17th GAF Division arrived on CCR's front. Small groups of tanks were reported around HOUDAN and ST LUBIN DE LA HAYE. Enemy front lines were South bank or AVRE RIVER LE MESNIL - thence Northwest. The Reconnaissance Squadron found a line of resistance from TILLY South for about 6 miles. The 17th GAF Division was to our North and West along the AVRE RIVER, having come from the channel coast to defend DREUX, too late to accomplish the mission. One ME-110 was shot down by CCR but little air activity was reported in the area. A USAAF escapee reported that the enemy was moving everything out or the SOMME and SEINE RIVER areas.
The action was carried on throughout the afternoon and at 1845 CCR reported that the bridge at ARVE could be used, but enemy opposition made it impossible to cross before dark. The Commanding Officer CCR, was ordered to hold along ARVE for the night. CCB had crossed the EURE RIVER to the North by 1900. At 2030 a warning order was issued to all units for a probable move or the Division on 18 August. The enemy opposition had been strong throughout 17 August but our losses were light in both personnel and equipment. Enemy casualties during the day were 65 killed, 44 captured; and 6 tanks 2 artillery pieces and 8 motor vehicles destroyed; 2 motor vehicles and 9 artillery pieces captured. Morale of the 17th GAF Division was reported high by one PW, due to promises of a counteroffensive.
At 0815 on 18 August 1944, new orders were received. The Corps mission was to secure an objective in the vicinity of MANTES -GASSICOURT. The Division was to occupy the MANTES - GASSICOURT area, to interdict the SEINE RIVER and roads East or the river and to protect the left flank of the Corps. Orders were issued at 1015, 18 August, for movement of the Division with CCB on the right, CCA on the left, CCR to protect the bridgehead at DREUX until relieved by elements of the XX Corps (7th Armd Division), Trains to remain in vicinity of BLAINVILLE, the Division CP to follow in the right zone. CCB moved out at 1220 and CCA at 1230.
Enemy resistance on this march was very light. CCA had first contact at 1800, some light machine gun resistance which was easily reduced. CCB had its first resistance at 1735 and either drove out or destroyed the opposition. At 1900 CCB combat elements had closed in assembly area. Orders were received from Corps that CCR, upon being relieved of its mission in vicinity of DREUX was to proceed to and hold high ground four kilometers East of ANET to prevent movement of enemy to East of the EURE RIVER in that vicinity. Orders were sent to Division Trains to move to vicinity LES BOSSIS early 19 August. The combat elements of CCA closed in their assembly area at 2215, 18 August. The Division CP bivouacbed in the vicnity of LES BOSSIS at 2245.
On 19 August enemy front was along line LE HAYE DE BREANVILLE - CEAUFOUR LES BONNIERES - ILLEGATS - BREUILPONT. Our roadblocks along this line were picking up PWs coming from scattered disorganized groups, who offered no opposition. The enemy offered slight delaying action at isolated points, such road junctions. The 22d Armored Engineer Battalion column was attacked about 0100, when passing through GILLES, by 100 infantry with MG's. The column lost 6 vehicles. CCR repulsed several counterattacks South of AVRE RIVER, killing 100 foot troops, and destroying 3 tanks and 3 75mm AT guns. At BREVAL Troop B, 85th Cav. Rcn Sq, captured 142 PW's from 146th Repl & Tng Bn of 116th Iz Div, without the loss of a single man. Other PW's were captured during the night, when overrun by the advance of the Combat Commands. AT guns were reported in several localities in roadblocks, but little armor was reported. Hostile aviation was extremely active. 30 planes attacked CCR's column in the morntng, and other columns were attacked; planes were over our area both day and night.
The Division CP moved from LES BOSSIS to vicinity CRAVENT at 1345. During the day of 19 August CCA placed interdiotory fire on PACY-SUR-EURE and surrounding roads and CCB placed fires on roads and targets or opportunity in its sector. The Division Trains closed in their assembly area at 1840 completing the move of the Division from the DREUX area. At 1920 both CCA and CCB reported tanks to their front. Artillery fire dispersed those in CCA sector to the Northeast. CCB reported that two enemy tanks have been knocked out in its sector others dispersing into the FORET DE BEZET. CCR reported that the enemy had withdrawn from the town of ANET; that enemy mortor fire was falling in the town and that the enemy had withdrawn anti-tank guns from that area by hand. At 1800 on 19 August the Commanding General ordered the Division Engineer to blow a lock on the SEINE RIVER. At 2130 the Engineer reported the lock out of commission. The Division Artillery was placing fires on known enemy assembly areas at 2100. At 2030 orders were received from Corps that a new mission was planned for the Division with probable operations early 20 August. Total enemy casualties this date: killed 100 captured 260; 3 tanks, 6 motor vehicles, 1 armored car, 20 SP 105mm guns, and three 75mm AT guns destroyed. PW's from scattered division had apparently been banded into March battalions. The units of the 17th GAF Div predominated in PW;s from regularly organized units.
At 0700, 20 August, CCA was ordered to move North between the EURE and SEINE RIVERS to block crossing at LES ANDLYS and to occupy ground at HEDEBCUVILLE and cut road net there. CCA started this action at 0845. At 0930 orders were issued to CCB to move North between EURE and SEINE RIVERS to occupy plateau South of ANTHEUIL and to cut road from ANTHEUIL to GAILLON, the limit of its sector on the EURE to be from GAILLY inclusive to CHAMBRAY inclusive, and to secure a supply route from its zone to CCA zone. CCR was ordered to move North to the vicinity of LA HEUNIERE to cut roads runinng between EURE RIVER and PACY to VERNON and to secure supply routes in Division zone to CCB zone, the limit of its sector to be along EURE RIVER from CHAMBRAY exclusive to a point six hundred yards Southeast of PACY, the town of PACY exclusive. The 85th Cav Rcn Sq was to reconnoiter line EURE RIVER from point six hundred yards Southeast of PACY to road junction at (396583), to protect the Division Trains and to secure supply route from Trains zone to CCR zone.
At 0900, 20 August CCR was attacked Southeast of ANET by approximately three companies of enemy infantry with some artillery support. The attack was repulsed and the command continued on its new mission. At 1100 CCA, was moving up GC 75, had its first contact, some enemy machine gun fire. The opposition was cleared away and the advance continued. At 1220 CCA had further contact with an enemy force of 15 tanks and some infantry. The enemy was engaged by artillery fire. Air support assisted CCA to resume its advance by 1300. At 1415 CCAB again met strong enemy resistance from tank anti-tank and infantry elements. Losses of CCA to this time were three M4 tanks and three attached M10 tank destroyers. By 1620 the advance had carried only one quarter mile but by 1920 CCA was by-passing to the West in an effort to regain Highway 75 in. vicinity ST VINCENT DE BOIS, and to reach CHAMPENARD by dark. By 2055 it had reached a point two miles North of DOUAINS and was held up by relatively strong resistance. CCA continued its attack, and at 2345 its advance guard was holding the town of LA HEUNIERS with outguards on the East-West highway North of the town. CCR, at 2000, went into bivouac in vicinity of CRAVENT, having had no furthercontact with enemy.
The enemy front line on 21 August was FIBRES E'AUTILE - ST ETIENNE SOUS BAILLEUL - VILLEE SOUS BAILLEUL - CHAMPENARD. The enemy resisted our advance with road blocks and strong points. There were still enemy forces in the FORET DE BIZY and vicinity PACY SUR SEINE. The East bank of the EURE RIVER South of PACY was clear and the enemy was driven out of CHAUSSE D'IVRY. AAA was reported at BONNIERES and BONNECOURT. Dual purpose 88mm guns were located in the FORET DE BIZET and nearby towns, being used as AT. Enemy tanks encountered increased in number. Artillery fire also increased. Hostile aviation was limited to reconnaissance at night.
At 0845 the Corps Commander visited the Division CP and stated that the enemy was reported attempting to cross the EURE RIVER to the East between ANET and IVRY. The 85th Cav Rcn Sq was directed to observe the road net between these two towns and to report any major movement across the river to the East. CCR was alerted to move to the South in the event of a serious threat to the Division rear and lines of communication.
The Division Commander visited the front, returned to the CP and at 1100 ordered CCB to proceed as soon as possible to the FORET DE BIZY to relieve the pressure on CCA. CCB was ordered not to operate North of nor in the vicinity of Highway GC 75, so as not to interfere with the operations of CCA and not to advance North of Highway N 181 without orders from Division. The Division Artillery ordered to furnish all available artillery support to CCA and CCB.
At 1100 CCA's advance guard was still holding LA HEUNIERE, the main body of CCA had not yet effected a junction with it. There were still. some enemy tanks and ground machine guns between the two forces. At 1100 our reconnaissance made contact with reconnaissance of XIX Corps in vicinity of IVRY. At 1600 CCB started its attack into the FORET DE BIZY with dismounted infantry and had made no contact by 1700. The Commanding General ordered CCB to continue to its objective to probe the town of VERNON, and if no serious opposition was encountered to take possession of the town, and to continue to clear out woods along the west bank of the SEINE RIVER as far to the Northwest as the stream which runs from GOULET Southwest to LA CHAPELLE. At 1720 CCR was ordered to block the two main highways running East and Northeast to PACY SUR EURE, to be prepared to move early 22 August to clear out FORET DE PACY. By 1720 CCA was approaching AMERCY. Some anti-tank opposition had been met and overcome at ST VINCENT, At 1800 CCB had a medium tank company skirting the Southwest edge of the FORET DE BIZY proceedingto Northwest. Its infantry at this time was halfway through the forest, meeting no opposition. At 1845 the advanced elements of CCB were at MERCEY. At this point there had been a misunderstanding on the time of a concentration of artillery fire, and elements of CCA advanced too closely to the point of concentration. The result was six casualties including the former Executive Officer of CCA, Lt Col Scott M Case who had been placed in command of the 46th Armd Inf Bn, and who was seriously wounded,. At 2030 the infantry of CCB had passed through the FORET DE BIZY and were on the main highway to VERNON. Here they stopped for the night, having reported VERNON clear at 2300. By 2045 CCR had the road blocks placed, in two cases using German mine fields reinforced with out mines. At 2235 CCA had reached a point just South of CHAMPENARD, and stopped for the night, probingthe town by dismounted reconnaissance. No strong enemy resistance appeared at this time.
CCA resumed its attack at 0700, 22 August. It reported that two enemy "Panther" tanks had infiltrated into its position during the night and had knocked out three light tanks just after daylight. The infiltrating tanks were destroyed. CCB continued its advance at 0800, 22 Aug and at 0940 was still moving North without opposition. At 1030 CCB had made contact with light resistance. The advance continued with artillery support. At 1045 the Infantry of CCA had taken the town of CHAMPENARD and was deployed in the fields North of the town. opposed by some infantry and two "Panther" tanks. The fog was so dense at this point that observation of artillery fire was impossible. The weather cleared by 1230 and at that time Air Support and artillery were used on targets in front of CCA, just North of CHAMPENARD.
At 1245 CCR was taken under Corps control and ordered to dislodge the enemy from the area within the boundary MENILLES - DOUAINS - CHAFOUR LES VONNIERS - the main highway through PACY -MINILLES then to return to original position. By 1315 the right column of CCB had reached the stream running Southwest from GOULET to LA CHAPPELE, and was waiting to cross. It crossed behind the left column at 1335 and at 1550 was opposed by enemy anti-tank guns and dug-in infantry. At 1600 CCB was attacked from the air by ten ME-109's, bombed and strafed. Casualties were ten wounded. By 1700 on 22 August Combat Command B had penetrated North ofCHAMPENARD and was facing Combat Team WAHL-FRANKE, which had 30 tanks and10 assault guns, plus 500 to 600 infantrymen. A fortified line was reported in front of them. Combat Command "B" was through the FORET DE BAZY to ST ETIENNE SCUS BAILLEUL were about 200 infantry opposed it, backed up by an estimated reserve of 200 infantry with one tank in the vicinity. CCR on the North side of the FORET DE PAZY was confronted by a Combat Team of 20 tanks and 300-400 infantry in the North half or the forest. the 85th Cav Rcn Sq was holding a line along the the East side of the EURE RIVER South of PACY, facing elements of the 17th GAF Division, Combat Team WAHL-FRANKE, including elements of 1st SS Panzer, 17th SS Pz and 2d SS Pz Grenadier, 4th SS Panzer Grenadier, 711th Infantry, 7th SS Mountain, 12th SS Panzer Divisions, scattered AA and replacement units. The enemy had been digging in and reorganizing along the front between EURE and SEINE RIVERS, while task forces composed of tanks and infantry were delaying us at strong points to the North. Tank fighting was heavy in the vicinity of CHAMPENARD where enemy infantry fought from dug-in positions. All three combat commands were bombed and strafed by hostile aviation. One plane was shot down by CCR.
At 2300 CCB. reported that its forward elements were just short of the objective. Four British Paratroopers, having eluded German captors, escaped to our positions. Total enemy casualties for the 24 hours period included killed 80, captured 42, tanks destroyed 7. Visibility was poor during this period.
The attack was continued early 23 August 1944. Resistance continued as the enemy strove to keep us from harassing the armor escaping between EVREUX and LOUVIERS. Small groups of infantry, anti-tank guns, and armor all stubbornly resisted our advance up the narrow neck of land bordered by the two rivers. The front line was in vicinity of LE PIPET and West of GAILLON. Progress was still slow though enemy resistance did not appear as strong as the night before, at 1030, the control of CCR was released by Corps. CCR was given orders to move to an area West of LA HEUNIERE and to proceed along the East bank of the EURE RIVER to clear out the woods on the Division left flank as far as the road between ST CALOMBE and CHAMBRAY. Upon reaching the road it was to establish liaison with CCA and if the situation permitted to proceed Northwest to the main highway running Northeast from ANTHEUIL. Upon reaching the highway it was to request instructions from Division. CCR was also to maintain liaison with the 30th Infantry Division to our left. The Division Commander directed CCB to form "Task Force 15" under the Commanding Officer of 15th Armd Inf Bn consisting of the 15th Armd Inf Bn less one company, with one platoon of light tanks, and one platoon of Tank Destroyers attached, This force was to proceed from its position in vicinity ST PIERRE DE BAILLEU in the direction of GAILLON, to clean out woods between present location and GAILLON, as far as the main road leading Southwest from the town. At this point the Task Force would pass to the control of CCA until CCB reached its objective, at which time the task force would be returned to control of CCB. The remainder of CCB was to clear out the dug-in enemy position reported to its front. The 744th Infantry Regiment or the 711th Infantry Division as well as elements of 17th GAF and Combat Team WAHL-FRANKE continued to oppose us. No artillery or aviation was reported. CCR moved on its mission at 1130 and by 1630 the combat elements had reached the objective, They reported the area clear of enemy by 1700 and contact made with friendly troops in AUTHOUILLET at 1800. The only enemy contact reported on this mission was fifteen enemy at CHAMBRAY, all killed by Troop D, 85th Cav Rcn Sq.
CCB's Task Force 15 moved at 1250, and at 1620 had reached its objective astride the highway southwest of GAILLON. No enemy resistance was met during the advance. CCA's progress, though slow, was steady. Artillery fires placed on the town of AILLY at 1200 and a heavy concentration was requested for 1600. The advance continued until 1700 at which time elements were in contact with enemy at LES QUAIZES - AILLY - GOURNAY. The enemy was estimated to be one enemyinfantry battalion reinforced with some tanks. Liaison had been established with Task Force 15 which was being moved up on the right. At 1450 the 85 Cav Rcn Sq was relieved of its mission of securing the left flank of the division and moved to reconnoiter and secure the right flank. Our infantry grenaded infantry positions in wheatfields under shooks of wheat with great success. Four out of nine tanks which opposed CCA near CHAEPENARD were destroyed.The Cavalry reported that Germans returned to the town of AIGLEVILLE on the night of 22 August after we had passed through, killing 21 civilians. Citizens of VERNON were afraid of the same situation. German outposts were visible across the SEINE from VERNON, and enemy troops crossed by a footbridge, which was still usable, when American patrols were not present. Enemy losses during this day were: Killed 295, captured 35; vehicles destroyed: 15 tanks, 1 anti-tank gun, and 1 mortar,. USAAF destroyed 50 to 60 vehicles vicinity GAUDEBED LES ELBEUF. Visibility was bad; weather dull.
CCA continued the attack early 24 August. Observation was very poor due to fog. At. 0855 CCA was preparing to attack the town of GRUCHET, GOURNEY, FOUNTAINE, GELLENGER, INGREMERE and HEUDEBOUVILLE in order. The artillery preparation was being fired at that time. The Division CP was now located one and one half kilometers Northeast of CHAMPENARD. The Division Commander received oral instruction from Corps to move one Combat Command to the vicinity or JUMERAHVILLE to clean out area West of MAUDRE RIVER North of BEYNES: to coordinate action with 106th Cavalry Group (Mecz) the remainder of the Division to assemble and move on Corps order to assembly area South of MANTES - GASSICOURT prepared to cross the SEINE RIVER. This combat command mission as given to CCR. CCR, 95th Armd Fa Bn attached, moved at 1330 and at 1600 had reached BREVAL. At 1800 it made contact with 106th Cavalry Group East of ARMOURVILLE. Orders were received by CCR, direct from Corps, to cross the river at BEVILLES and clear out a pocket North of SEINE; to reconnoiter to POISSY but not to cross East of the AMULDRE except an Corps order. Then Combat Command was assembled in vicinity of BEVILLES for the night. CCA continued its attack through the day in heavy rain and mud which hampered movements of all types of vehicles. By 1800 it was about one half mile South of HEUDEBOUVILLE, with an artillery concentration being fired on the town.
The 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron moved to oppose a reported infantry regiment observed along East bank of EURE RIVER vicinity PACY. Strong fortified positions were reported along reverse slope area on both sides of the river in vicinity of MOIDS. Air reconnaissance was active during the night. Mine fields were reported in vicinity of VERNON on the East bank of the SEINE RIVER.
At 1620, 24 August, information was received that XV Corps had been attached to the First US Army at 0600, 24 August. At 1800, orders received to move the Division to the MANTES - GASSICOURT area, the 85th Cav Rcn Sq to be left to screen HEUDEBOUVILLE - GAILLON and the road net Northwest of VERNON. The 85th Cav was to be relieved by 1800, 25 August, by the 113th Cav Group. The Division less 85th Cav Rcn Sq, was ordered to the South of the line BONNIERS - PACY by 0800, 25 August. The march was started at 1950 on the 24th by the Division Headquarters, followed by Division Troops and CCB.
CCA had released Task Force 15 at 1735 and at 2100 broke contact. Reconnaissance screening the withdrawal. At that time the enemy had been driven from HEUDEBOUVILLE and was retreating North. CCB likewise withdrew, and CCR continued its corps mission East of MAULDRE RIVER reconnoitering area THIVERVAL - DAVRON - ORCEVAL. CCR encountered heavy 88mm fire at LES CLEVES, and a short contact was made by 121st Cavalry Group, working with it, with a force or about 400 Germans. A transport plane was captured intact with other air corps equipment near THIVIERVAL. 126 Germans were killed, 57 captured; 5 tanks, 3 armored cars, 11 cannon and 1 motor vehicle destroyed by Division during the day.
At 0045 on 25 August the Division CP was in the vicinity of BOINVILLE. By 0125 all elements except the Reconnaissance Squadron were below the indicated line. CCR continued its Corps mission, reconnoitering along the West bank of the SEINE RIVER from VILLENNES to MUREUX. The latter town was found clear. Infiltration by elements of 6th Security Regiment and 3rd Sturn Battalion "Paris" was attempted in area ORGEVAL and SEINE RIVERS vicinity LES ALLUETS LE RCI VILLIENNES, North to BOIS DE VERNEUIL and MUREUX. CCR received orders direct from Corps for an attack early 25 August in direction of CRESPIERES - ORGEVAL - VERNOUILET. CCR at the time was in position just West of LA COUPIERE. It crossed the river at BEYNES at 0900 and attacked at 1200, encountering enemy bicycle troops North of DAVRON. Clearing the woods in the area was a slow process and the advance was carried slowly to the hill line extending Northwest of FEUCHEROLLES. By 1800 combat elements were moving on the town of MORAIN VILLIERS, disposed to move through MARSIVAL and VERMOUILLET and swing left for a crossing of the MULDA RIVER. CCA at 1930 was closed in new assembly positions in the MANTES - GASSICOURT area. CCR reverted to Division control at 1500, 25 August. At 2015 CCR had reached the line MARSENVAL - CHAPET and had sent strong patrols into MUREUX and VERNEVILLE, to rally for the night East of ORGEVAL between CHAPER and MORAIN VILLERS. At 1500 the Division Commander had received orders to be prepared to advance one combat command across the SEINE RIVER in vicinity of MEULAN. CCB was alerted for this mission.
CCR continued mission on 26 August and at 0850 was driving enemy out of the woods in the vicinity of VERNEUEL and MUREUX. It moved West through ECQUEVILLY - FLINS - EPONE at 1230, having cleared the entire area.
At 1330, 26 August, the 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was relieved of its Corps mission and immediately started to move to its assembly area with the remainder of Division. Its commanding officer reported that the Squadron had been strafed by enemy aircraft and that hostile air reconnaissance had been active early in the morning. At 1430 all orders with reference to an attack across the SEINE RIVER by the Division were cancelled. The Division would instead assist the attack of infantry division of the Corps by artillery fire from positions South of the SEINE, reconnoiter routes to the vicinity of St CYR, and be prepared to move to that vicinity on order of First Army through XV Corps. When released by XV Corps the Division would be assigned to V Corps. By 1500 CCR had completed its mission and had outposted the river line from MEULAN and POISSY. The outpost was necessary due to the return of the enemy to areas which had been cleared earlier.
On this date numerous civilian reports were received of fortifications in the PARIS area, Germans were also reported fleeing towards the frontiers, via BEAUVAIS - AMTENS - GISORS - GORNEY. The Division reported this date 90 enemy killed, 30 captured, Thirteen guns were destroyed: nine 88's and four 105's. Forty bicycles were also destroyed. Among PW's were some from 3rd Sturm Battalion "Pairs", made up of civilian workers in Paris who had been given uniforms, rifles and a few days training, and from the 6th Security Regiment which was originally used to guard military installations around PARIS but had recently bean sent out as infantry, There were 100 men per company, of ages between 38 and 45 years.
On the next day, 27 August, CCR reported that the enemy was withdrawing further to the East and Military Intelligence reported troops massing in the vicinity of PONTOISE. Some artillery and mortar fire was received vicinity MEULAND. 7 training planes were discovered and destroyed by CCR in BOIS DE VERNEUIL. Some marked with swastikas, others with British insignia.
A report from CCB stated that the sector along the SEINE had been active with enemy all day, that the enemy had considerable installations around MEULAND and to the East and also in the POISSY loop of the SEINE. Artillery was used on all known targets. Air support was used on the town of MENUCOURT against a reported concentration of enemy motorized infantry, and on CHATEAU VILLETTE, reported to contain an enemy headquarters. The general movement of the enemy had been to the East along the North bank of the SEINE and it was reported that anti-tank guns, mortars and machine guns were being installed in considerable numbers, All day the Division Artillery supported the 79th and 30th US Infantry Divisions in their bridgehead across the SEINE RIVER, firing on enemy retreating in direction of the MEULAN RIVER. Units opposing these 2 divisions were from left to right: 49th Infantry Division, 17th GAF Division, 18th GAF Division, Parachute Regiment Lehr (6th Prcht Division?).
At 2230 the Division Artillery was relieved of its mission of supporting XV Corps and the Division was released from attachment to XV Corps and attached to V Corps. Forty eight PWs were taken this date: four 105mm guns mere destroyed; two warehouses in MAREUX were captured, with an estimated two million dollars worth of GAF equipment.
During the period 25-30 August the Division utilized all available time for heavy maintenance, for which this was the first opportunity. Needed tank parts, engines, tracks and replacement vehicles were received and vehicular rehabilitation accomplished.
On 28 August Major William H Burton returned to duty with the 46th Armd Inf Bn and resumed command. Lt Col. Gilson, who had been assigned to the battalion to command during Major Burton's absence, was transferred to the 15th Arnd Inf Bn and assumed command of that unit on the same day.
Unit commanders of the Division as of 28 August were:
5th Armd Div - MAJ GEN LUNSFORD E OLIVER, 03536, USA
Combat Command "A", - BRIG GEN EUGENE REGNIER, 08295, USA
Hq & Hq Co, Combat Command "A" - CAPT KARL W. ROTH, 01010340, INF
Combat Command "B", - COL JOHN T COLE, 05256, CAV
Hq & Hq Co, Combat Command "B" - CAPT JOE W PERRY, 01012397, INF
5th Armd Div Arty - COL DOUGLAS J PAGE, 04495, FA
Hq & Hq Btry, 5th Armd Div Arty - CAPT NORMAN W CUSISK, 0466787 FA
Reserve Command, 5th Armd Div - COL GLEN H ANDERSON, 08632, INF
Hq Co., 5th Armd Div - CAPT LARRY H GREENWOOD, 01283065, INF
Hq 5th Armd Div Tn - COL GUSTIN M NEISON, 014512, INF
Hq Co, 5th Armd Div Tn - CAPT JAMES R BAGWELL, 01011081, CAV
MP Platoon, 5th Armd Div - MAJ ALEXANDER T NELSEN, 0335298, CAV
145th Armd Sig Co - 1st LT GLENN A WELDE, 0453447, SC
85th Cav Rcn Sq Mecz - LT COL KENT Fay, 0286301, CAV
10th Tank Bn - LT COL WILLIAM A HAMBERG, 0292156, INF
34th Tank Bn - MAJ GLEN L FOOTE, 0450438, Cav
81st Tank Bn - LT COL LE ROY H ANDERSON, 0239452 INF
46th Armd Inf Bn - MAJ WILLIAM H BURTON, 0366028, INF
15th Amd Inf Bn - LT COL JKENNETH P GILSON, 0359160, INF
47th Armd Inf Bn - LT COL HOWARD E BOYER , 0218680, INF
47th Armd FA Bn - LT COL JOHN B RESENZWEIG, 0246291, FA
71st Armd FA Bn - LT COL ISRAEL B WASHBURN, 0235367, FA
95th Armd FA Bn - LT COL JAMES W MC NEER, 0223703, FA
127th Ord Maint Bn - MAJ ROLAND S BIERSACH 0318269, Ord
22d Armd Engr Bn - LT COL FRED E RESSEGIEU, 020575, CE
75th Med Bn Armd - LT COL BENJAMIN H BADER, 0372570, MC
On 29 August orders were received from V Corps for the Division to move on 30 August through the city of PARIS on three routes: Route "A", Highway N 13 through ST GERMAIN EN LAYE to N 310; Route "B", Highway N 30 through ROUQUENCOURT and N 307 through AUBERVILLE; Route "C", Highway N 10 through VERSAILLES and N 186 to N 306 to N 24. All routes ran through PARIS to a line of departure about six kilometers Northeast of AUBERVILLE. CCA was given Route "C", CCB Route "A", followed by CCR; Division Headquarters, Division Troops and Division Trains moved an Route "B", following a married infantry-tank company to and through PARIS.
The march of 'the Division started with CCB moving out at 0625, 30 August, CCB moving out at 0630, and the Division Headquarters moving out at 0740. The Headquarters moved through MANTE - ST CLOUD - CRESPIERES - BAILLY and entered the outskirts or the city of PARIS at 1000, clearing the city at 1130. Orders were issued to the 85th Cav Rcn Sq to continue on and report condition of crossings of OISE RIVER over five routes in the Division zone. At 1600, CCA had reached the town of CLAYE - SOUILLY, and CCB had reached SENLIS, where light enemy resistance was encountered. Troop B, 85th Cav Rcn Sq, captured ninety prisoners at this point. The Division CP was located just South of DUCY, with the head of the column held up by enemy anti-tank guns and infantry, Lt Col Kent Fay, commanding 85th Cav Rcn So, was killed in this action. Major John P Gerald, Executive Officer of the Squadron, assumed command. The Division Headquarters and Division Troops columns ware shelled by enemy artillery fire at this location. One casualty resulted from shrapnel. At 1700 CCA was refueling at MESSY. CCB's left column was in contact with the enemy at LAMORLAYE, and its right column was still engaged at SENLIS. The reconnaissance of CCB was moving on BARBERY, the remainder of the task force and the CP were Southwest of CHAMANT. The Division Trains went into bivouac just South of BARON.
Both CCA and CCB were given instructions to move forward until dark, then bivouac and report locations, both to continue attack at daylight 31 August. CCB took the town of SENLIS at 1845 and reported enemy to Northeast and to West of the town. At 2330, 30 August, orders were issued to CCR to move at daylight to clear route North of Division Headquarters. During the day 30 August, CCA had no enemy contact along its routes. CCB still in contact with enemy at dark.
Throughout the day the enemy had fought a delaying action as he retreated North, launching small counter attacks to slow down our advance elements and by steady shelling from his rear guard units. During this period the enemy was withdrawing from his last positions only about two hours before our forward elements reached them. Enemy casualties for 30 August were: killed 104, captured 184, The 190th Security Battalion was practicality wiped out during the day as it tried in vain fighting desperately from road blocks supported by anti-tank guns, to stem the Division's advance.
On 31 August the delaying tactics of the enemy continued, as he retreated slowly to the Northeast, in order to keep an escape route open West of CISE RIVER along the FORET DE COMPIEGNE and the FORET DE L'IGUE for units in the path of our advance.
The advance or the Division was resumed at 0600 31 August. CCB made contact with an enemy roadblock at 0630 just North of SENLIS, quickly reduced the resistance and contained a rapid advance. At 1000 both columns or CCB were moving forward without opposition in an attempt to obtain crossings over the OISE RIVER at COMPIEGNE and Southwest of COMPIEGNE . At 1100 CCA still advancing had made no contact with enemy. At 1115 CCB reported the bridge at VERBERIE blown. Also reported by CCB was the capture of an air field near VERBERIE with concrete runways not greatly damaged and believed repairable for heavy bomber use. CCR reported contact made with the enemy at BETH at 1215, that bridges were blown and the enemy observed digging in across the river. At 1315 troops A B and C, 85th Cav Rcn Sq were attached to Combat Commands A, B and R respectively and the Squadron less A, B and C attached to Division Trains in vicinity of BARON to furnish protection. At 1430 CCR was closing in on the river. Enemy resistance was strong but undetermined, CCB reported that an enemy horse-drawn artillery column had run into its column and was being destroyed by tanks. At 1500 CCB reported the bridge out at GRLEL. CCB made first contact (small arms fire) with the enemy at the same hour. At this point in the advance all routes ran through heavily wooded areas and the advance slowed considerably. The bridges at COMPIEGNE and POMMIERS were reported intact.
Effort was being made to force crossings the night or 31 August and push forward to a line CHAUNY - NOYON - LASSIGNG. At 1800 the right column of CCA crossed the river at POMMIERS, unopposed, at 2000 CCB was five hundred yards South of COMPIEGNE, preparing to attack to secure bridges there. CCR was meeting heavy enemy resistance in the forest North of ORROUY and GILOCORT. Enemy resistance made it impossible to cross any units over river on 31 August, except the right element of CCA. This crossing was made at POMMIERS on the extreme flank of the Corps Zone. At 2310, 31 August, the left column was in the vicinity of PONT ST MAXENGE helping the 28th Infantry Division to hold a bridge head there until a bridge could be built. The right column of CCB was just short of COMPIEGNE . The 112th Infantry Regiment was passing through to attack the town and secure crossing. During the day 180 enemy were killed and 194 PW's captured. The advance was fast and the enemy were forced to abandon five Russian 76,2mm AT guns, five 105mm howitzers complete with prime movers, and 12 trucks intact. 4 tanks and 13 artillery pieces were destroyed.
Total enemy casualties for the month of August were: Enemy killed 2811; captured, 2960; tanks, captured and destroyed 203; armored cars captured and destroyed, 11; motor vehicles captured and destroyed, 404; artillery pieces captured and destroyed, 125.
While the Division was now engaged in operations in the FORET DE COMPIEGNE, its supply points were located Southwest of PARIS, resulting in a long turn-around. Traffic congestion and much confusion around PARIS complicated the process of resupply.
The Division's first month of combat brought forth a number of lessons believed worthy or being recorded. These comments are divided into four parts corresponding roughly to the activities supervised by the four General Staff Sections.
Section I - Personnel Matters
a. Replacements: During the Division's first month in combat the first group of replacements was received in the vicinity of Perier, France. This group made up of 22 enlisted men was. picked up at the 3d Replacement Depot, requiring a round trip of 100 miles.
Groups of 50 or more picked up during the month, and the total for August, were as follows:
|15 Aug||Vicinity of Sees, France||6||180|
|22 Aug||Vicinity of lee Bossus, France||14||141|
|23 Aug||Vicinity of lee Bossus, France||7||175|
|27 Aug||Vicinity of Thoiry, France||3||147|
|Total Received in August||37 (Rpls)||622 (Rpls)|
|7 (Rtd's)||85 (Rtd's)|
All groups picked up required long trips back to Replacement Depots.
For example, at Les Bossus, a 300 mile round trip was required.
All replacements were received under combat conditions. The units to which they were to go were constantly in action or on the march. Immediately upon pick-up of replacements, a roster was made and checked. They were then placed in charge of a billetting NCO working under the direction or the Commanding Officer, Headquarters Company Division Trains and the Division Classification Officer. The replacements were quartered and rationed with Headquarters Company, Division Trains, and remained with that unit during processing and classification and until forwarded to their assigned units.
Included in this period was an Ordnance check of personal weapons and ammunition as well as checks by the Quartermaster of personal equipment and medical check for questionable or limited assignment personal. Further, a brief orientation talk was given by the Classification Officer. A resume of the tactical situation by the Commanding Officer, Division Trains was given and, whenever time permitted, a brief history of the Division from its activation date. Also included were talks which included new APO, allotments and insurance. Every effort was made to make the men feel they had finally found their permanent home.
Throughout this period assignments were being made by the Classification Section. They were based on qualifications, personal interview and unit requisitions and needs. Upon completion of assignments a final check was made and the replacements were then ready for shipment.
Units were notified of the number assigned to them and when they would be available. Usually, direct contact was made with units concerned. When this was impracticable because of lack of communications, the information was relayed thru the Combat Commands. Replacements were then picked up by or shipped to the units. No replacements were moved from Headquarters Company, Division Trains without clearance from unit to which assigned, Thus, units had a supply of replacements moving to them, but only at such times as they were in a position to receive them.
Difficulties have been encountered in several instances, namely:
(1) Replacement Battalions were at first not cognizant of the type of personnel needed by an armored Division and did not carry the stockage required, This was remedied by personal interviews between Division and Army and later with the Replacement Depot or Battalion Classification Officers.
(2) Much checking was necessary to track down non-receipt of replacements who were on order to the Division. The usual result was a long trip to pick up the missing replacements.
(3) While Division was an the march or in action, transportation of replacements obtained but not sent out to the units, from old Trains area to new Trains area, presented a transportation problem which was usually overcome by shuttling.
(4) Replacements were received in some cases over-equipped and in others with less than required equipment. This condition was remedied by personal contact with the Replacement Battalions. Very few RTD's were received in August.
(5) By making almost daily requisitions it was intended that a steady stream of replacements be maintained, consisting of groups small enough that transportation problems could be reduced to a minimum; processing and assigning made easier; and absorption of the replacements by the units greatly simplified.
b. Graves Registration and Burial: Despite the nature of the Division's mission during August and the speed' with which it moved, practically all men killed in action were evacuated for burial in the Army Cemetery. Of more than 100 killed in action, all but four were evacuated and for these, though interred by hasty burial, it was found possible to accurately mark the location or the graves and insure the identification of the soldiers buried so that later removal for burial in the Army Cemetery was possible. In only ten cases was the tactical situation such that it forced the abandonment of men killed in action.
Positive identification was made of killed in action by the presence of identification tags or Soldier's Individual Pay Record Card. In their absence, unit commanders were required to submit certificates of identification. Except for this one requirement the units were relieved of all administrative requirements. Final checks were made against the Battle Casualty Reports and Admission and Disposition Reports. The primary difficulty encountered was lack or transportation. Despite the commands being either constantly in action or on the march, and with all units having sustained vehicular losses, it is felt that this difficulty was overcome by the wholehearted efforts of all concerned. The extremely small number of hasty burials clearly evidences the determination of every unit to never abandon its dead.
c. Decorations and Awards: During the first month of operations-August 1944; 2 Distinguished Service Crosses, 11 Silver Star Medals and 51 Bronze Star Medals were awarded for extraordinary heroism, gallantry in action or outstanding achievement.
During the two months that followed many recommendations from Division units were received and approved for acts that had occurred during August. These had been delayed because of the constant combat in which the Division was engaged. In appraising the decorations won by the Division during this month it is, therefore necessary to survey the combat period or not only this month but for September as well, toward the end or which action had slackended to the point where many decorations won during August were recommended and awarded in September and October.
d. Prisoners of War: The securing and evacuation of Prisoners of War armored division is a problem that for its solution depends upon the availability of sufficient personnel and transportation. During August 1944 neither was available to the extent required. In that month more than 3000 prisoners were evacuated. The number captured by the Division alone, based upon a head count at the many Prisoner of War Cages was 2,960. To this must be added many sent by the various units to Prisoner of War Cages other than those of the Division. The rapid advance of the Division required that many cages be established, the long marches meant evacuation back over correspondingly long distances. The problem was met by keeping available in the Division Headquarters Forward Echelon, sufficient Military Police to at once establish a cage as the necessity arose; and at the same time closing the cage to the rear and leap-frogging the personnel forward to take over release the Military Police for the establishment of the next cage. The highly mobile nature or the Division operations made traffic control largely unnecessary. Had this not been true it would have been necessary to employ combat troops in the guarding and evacuation of Prisoners of War.
In only one case was it necessary to turn over prisoners to the French Resistance. This occurred when approximately 500 were taken at the same time that orders for the Division to move were received. When the turn-over was made explicit instructions were given to the French as to the treatment to be given the prisoners and arrangements were made for another unit to take over and evacuate the prisoners.
e. Civil Affairs: The highly mobile operations of the Division during August 1944 made a great deal of activity by the Civil Affairs Section not only largely unnecessary but, in most cases, impracticable.
The system set-up by higher headquarters whereby a Detachment was made available to take over a community, remaining behind as the Division moved on, worked very well.
No evacuation of civilians was necessary; nor did they consititute any problem in impeding progress by using roads on which the Division was moving. Occasionally the enthusiastfe crowds in cities and towns which welcomed the Division's advance boiled over the sidewalks and into the streets. When necessary the Civil Affrairs Officers obtained the cooperation of municipal authorities to prevent injury to the civilians from our moving vehicles.
Occasionally duties involving civilians arose which Civil Affairs was particularly well adapted to handle. An example occurred in the vicinity or Raudin when a large load of gasoline had to be dumped and the tactical situation made it inadvisable to use combat troops to guard it. Free French to the number of about 80 were secured, armed and instructed thru the efforts of our Civil Affairs Officers.
Food stuffs, clothing, medical supplies and the like were frequently located by Civil Affairs Section in areas the Division had liberated and arrangements made for guarding and distributing them.
In every case where local conditions warranted and where the Division remained long enough to make it possible, the circulation of civilians was regulated and curfews put in effect. Local municipal authorities were found to be fully cooperative.
f. Religious and Special Service Activities:
(1) Religious. During the month of August despite the rapidity with which the Division moved, the spiritual welfare as well as the entertainment of the men was met to the full extent permitted by the tactical situation. Division Chaplains made approximately 700 visits with the sick and conducted conducted 2800 communions and more than 1000 confessions; and held 150 services.
(2) Special Service. Two "live" shows and about 20 moving pictures were shown during August. Stars and Stripes was distributed throughout command on an average of every other day, on a ratio one for each four men. Yank Magazine proved more difficult to secure but sufficient copies were obtained for circulation throughout the Division.
Gratuitous PX rations first received in the Marshallng Area were continued on the Continent; but due to transportation problems distribution was somewhat below the average that was originally established for each man. This was particularly felt by the men, first, in so far as cigarettes were concerned and second, candy. The use of 10 and 1 rations partially alleviated the situation.
SECTION II - Intelligence Matters
It is felt that on the whole, intelligence sections and agencies of the Division functioned very well for their first combat test. It is believed that the considerable emphasis placed on Intelligence Training during the pre-combat Training of this Division has paid good dividends. The operation during this period, being as it was a very rapid pursuit of a fleeing enemy, and with the Division operating far behind enemy lines in enemy territory, it was extremely important that the Division and its units have as accurate and timely information of the enemy as possible. Generally reporting of enemy information was very good. Practically no detailed information of the enemy was given to the division before it went into the first engagement and actually at the time very little detailed information was available due to the rapid break-through which had been made. Soon after contact was established, and generally thereafter, the Division was able to keep a fairly accurate picture of the enemy. Much of the credit for this can be given to Commanders and unit S-2's who were aggressive in obtaining information. All of S-2's had been in the position for a period of at least 5 months before the action started; and were trained in their duties and had some degree been able to indoctrinate their units with the importance of timely and accurate reporting of information. It is believed also that the repeated emphasis placed on Intelligence Training by the Division Commandeer had imbued unit commanders and through them other officers and men of the Division with the importance of reporting information. The information obtained from Reconnaissance was generally good.
The reporting of information by all units of the command was generally good. Although at times confused messages were received, it is felt that the message writing program by which every man in this Division was required to write messages, was well worth while and paid dividends. It is believed every man, before entering combat should be required to write at least one message describing some actual happening. This would do much to eliminate confused messages.
PWs proved to be very fruitful source of information. If there is one thing in which the German army has failed, it is in the giving of security training to its soldiers. Throughout the period approximately 4,325 PWs were taken. Out of this total number hardly a single one refused to talk and generally the information given by them was accurate and reliable if properly evaluated. PW Interrogators were kept forward with the combat units so that interrogation could be made on the spot and information was obtained quickly in this way. In some instances interrogators travelled with Reconnaissance units. Generally the practice of keeping a trained interrogator and 2 assistants at each Major Command engaged works out very satisfactorily. (Note: PW documents proved to be very valuable source of information, although they were frequently inadequately marked as to time, place, etc.)
French civilians also proved very excellent sources of information, although many reports received from civilians were greatly exaggerated. Properly evaluated, however, these civilian reports often gave warning of enemy which saved many lives and much equipment. Several French Officers, French Combat Volunteers and MII interrogation of civilians gathered much valuable and timely information.
It is believed that there should be at least one person, who speaks the language of the particular section in which the fighting is occurring, with each Battalion. It is well worth any effort, it takes to get them.
During this period the map supply was totally inadequate and for the first week the Division operated on limited supply of ungridded road maps which made accurate reporting difficult. Throughout the whole period no adequate supply of maps was furnished, and supply received often were maps of areas over which we had already passed.
Considerable information was obtained from fighter-bomber planes, but it is not felt that this Source or information was fully exploited. Perhaps the most disappointing failure of information was from Tactical Air Reconnaissance, which, it is thought, should have proved a very valuable source of information in an operation of this kind. Actually, during the period practically no information was received from Tactical Air Reconnaissance, and although repeated requests were made, it was not possible to obtain information from this source or to obtain an answer was to whether requested missions would be flown.
The movement during this period was so fast that little information was obtained from aerial photography since it was not possible to obtain photographs to keep up with the movement.
Communications with Corps was inadequate. Telephone was often impossible and frequently the necessary radio link to span the distance between Corps and Division was not advanced far enough forward. At times this resulted in poor dissemination of information both to and from Corps.
During this month this Division was in actual contact with sizable elements of 22 different divisions. The Division was also in contact with 28 additional various casual units. During the day of 17 August 1944 in the vicinity of Le Mans, PWs from 27 different divisions and numerous other casual units were identified. The enemy's lack of communication and lack of knowledge of the situation, of their forces apparently added greatly to their downfall. The known damage done to the enemy during the period is listed below. Much additional equipment was certainly destroyed but not reported.
Section III - Operations
During the month of August 1944 this Division covered well over 1000 miles; it moved rapidly and both day and night. This rapid advance brought out the following points:
(1) An armored division, if given a mission of reaching a certain distant objective deep within enemy-held territory, should not attempt to clean out every obstacle in its path, but should by-pass and proceed. After reaching its objective, then should it act to destroy and cripple enemy personnel and installations. If an armored column on an exploitation mission attempts to mop-up every town and every patch of woods that contain enemy, it will never reach its objective. Main routes should be avoided, the enemy, it was found, invariably defends these routes. Secondary routes, circuitous though they may be far better. The enemy cannot be strong everywhere.
(2) When an armored column meets strong enemy resistance at night, it is far better to wait for daylight. Enemy infantry with bazookas can get in close to tanks in darkness.
(3) For tanks to attempt to fight in heavy woods against an enemy who is prepared to defend that wood, is suicide. Tanks must be able to maneuver and must be able to see what they are fighting.
(4) this division utilizes a system which it knows as the "Married formation". The armored infantry platoons are married to the tank platoons; they live together and fight together. The tanks provide the armor and fire protection for the infantry; the infantry provide security for the tanks against such enemy weapons as bazookas, grenades, etc. and mop up what the tanks over-run. This system has proven very successful, particularly in the close country found in central Europe, as compared to the desert. It must be added that this marrying process does not in any way preclude the separate use of the infantry when the situation so demands. Further, the addition, to each tank platoon, of two squads of armored infantry as an integral part of the tank platoon, has already been recommended. This could provide protection for the tanks without tying up the normal armored infantry battalions.
(5) When an Infantry Division, motorized or shuttled, follows an Armored Division thru enemy territory, it must be remembered that: (1) The armor is usually having to advance by fighting against enemy delaying forces which are bound to slow down the advance, and (2) infantry, moving in trucks at speeds up to 30 m,p.h. over road already opened up by the armor, is bound to be held up by the armored columns. There must, therefore, be some time interval allowed, or the armor and infantry must be given objectives far enough apart in depth to effect this difference in speed of movement forward and to permit the armor to "tuck-up its tail". It may be added that this division at least partially solved the problem of a "long tail", by adopting the procedure of "coiling-up" into fields, off the roads whenever forward movement was halted for any appreciable time.
(6) In a rapid advance such as experienced by this Division during August 1944, it was found that reconnaissance in front or armored columns must be done by light fast vehicles such as the Truck 1/4 ton. If reconnaissance elements attempt to "slug it out" they lose their value and hold up the following armored columns. A mission to a reconnaissance element should give the element an objective to reach and upon which to report, not simply a route to be reconnoitered. Reconnaissance, if expected to furnish information should not be used as an advance guard.
Section IV - Supply and Maintenance Matters
Third echelon maintenance functioned quite satisfactorily during the month by having one maintenance company support each of the Combat Commands, A forward detachment of 40-50 men of the automotive repair, parts and recovery sections operated with the combat trains while the remainder of the company operated from the Division Trains area. This forward detachment was able to make "on the spot" repairs and adjustments, including engine replacements, to keep a maximum number of vehicles in condition for combat. Liaison was maintained at all times between forward detachment and the parent company.
The need for a larger reconnaissance section in Division Trains Headquarters was bought out in the operations. The Division passed rapidly through enemy held territory without mopping up and many disorganized groups or the enemy were encountered by the rear elements as they trailed at variable distances behind the combat elements. Bivouac areas had to be cleared of such groups before they could be occupied. As at present constituted the reconnaissance platoon of Train Headquarters Company is not large enough to effect reconnaissance on multiple routes of advance.
Liaison between G-4. and the QM Section was maintained by having the Division QM or the Assistant Division QM in the forward echelon. The QM officer made a daily trip to the C1 I and III supply point and returned to the forward echelon each evening. TheDivision C1 II section was established at the C1 I-III Trkhd serving the Division and moved with the Trkhd. Thus all QM supplies were picked up at one place.
Ordnance liaison was maintained by using an officer of Hq Co of the Ord Maint Bn as liaison between G-4 and the Battalion.
Considering the type of operations involved, supply, maintenance, and evacuation present no major problems.
For the Commanding General:
EDWARD G FARRAND,
Colonel, G. S. C.,
Chief of Staff