Chapter VIII

[1] Information on mounting and training from [Clifford Jones] NEPTUNE: Training, Mounting, The Artificial Ports (The Administrative and Logistical History of the ETO: Part IV), MS, pp. 275ff. Hist Div files.

[2] The latter was the principal area of Eighth AF installations.

[3] Marinegruppenkommando West, KTB 16.-30.IV.44, 27 Apr 44.

[4] Jones, NEPTUNE, p. 258. Navy figures were 638 killed and 89 wounded. See Report by Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief Expeditionary Force on Operation NEPTUNE (London, 1944), I, 33, cited hereafter as ANCXF Report. Jones, historian for engineer units that were chiefly involved in the disaster, gives 749 killed, and bases his calculations on after action reports of the units and detailed casualty breakdowns. Even so, he feels his figures may be incomplete.

[5] Diary of CinC, 28 Apr 44.

[6] Marinegruppenkommando West, KTB 16.-30.IV.44, 28 Apr 44. On the basis of a Gennan broadcast, the ANCXF Report erroneously stated that the Germans were unaware of the nature of their success. ANCXF Report, I, 33.

[7] ANCXF Report, Vol. III, Rpt, Comdr Assault Force O, p. 5; Ibid., Rpt, Comdr Assault Force U, pp. 13-14.

[8] Cbl. Eisenhower Personal Files.

[9] The first ships actually sailed on 31 May. They were 54 "Corncobs" (Blockships) for the artificial harbors which weighed anchor from Oban.

[10] Account of the meeting from notes made by Air Vice Marshal James M. Robb, SHAEF CofS for Air. Direct quotes are as given by Robb in sgd rpt, Mon A.M., 5 Jun 44. Hist Div files.

[11] Seekriegsleitung/1.Abt., KTB 1.-30.VI.44, 3 Jun 44.

[12] Fifteenth Army, KTB 1.I.-30.VI.44, 5 Jun 44.

[13] Double British Summer Time. German clocks, set by Central European time, showed 2115. All times given in text are DBST.

[14] Rad, 5 Jun 44, Seventh Army to XXV, LXXIV, and LXXXIV Corps. Seventh Army, KTB Anlagen 1.V.-5.VI.44.

[15] Marinegruppenkommando West, KTB 1.-7.VI.44, 6 Jun 44.

[16] Wave heights between five and eight feet.

[17] Seventh and Fifteenth Army commanders thought the weather was not too adverse for invasion, but it is not clear what standards they applied. See the KTB's for the respective armies. The almost complete lack of co-ordination between Army, Navy, and Air Force headquarters makes generalization on German preparedness extremely diffiicult.

[18] One German meteorologist commented that commanders were virtually reduced to looking at the morning skies for their weather forecasts. See Interv with Maj Heinz Lettau, 5 Oct 49. Hist Div files.

[19] It is likely, however, that they would not have considered that the break made invasion possible, since weather conditions were still unsettled and the German Navy view was that at least five consecutive days of favorable weather would be necessary for the success of the landings. Rpt, Beitraege zur Frage der Landemocglichheiten an der Kueste des Kanals, 1 Jan 44. Seekriegsleitung/1.Abt., KTB Anlagen 1.I.-30.VI.44.

[20] The story told by Captain Harry C. Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower (New York, 1946), pp. 646-47, concerning German weather predictions is erroneous. Major Lettau, far from being "the chief German meteorologist," was in fact attached to an antiaircraft outfit and had nothing to do with forecasting invasion weather. He was with the 155th Flak Regiment, stationed in Amiens, and his job was to analyze flying conditions over England from data collected by radio sound stations. See interv cited n. 18.

[21] Marinegruppenkommando West, KTB 1.-7.VI.44, 6 Jun 44.

[22] Hoffmann Report. Seventh Army, KTB Anlagen 1.I.-30.VI.44.

[23] Naval district commander for the Normandy coast, under Admiral Kanalhueste who had the whole Channel coast cormnand. See naval command chart, p. 245.

[24] He reversed himself later in the day to agree with higher command estimates. Tel Msgs. Seventh Army, KTB Anlagen 1.I.-30.VI.44.

[25] See First Army G-3 Jnl.

[26] Allied airborne operations required 1,087 transport aircraft including lift for the pathfinders but excluding aircraft used to tow gliders. See AEAF Memo, Operation "NEPTUNE," Employment of British and American Airborne Forces, 27 May 44. SHAEF G -3 file 24533/Ops (Future Operations). Pathfinders of the 101st Airborne Division began dropping at 0015; the first serial of combat troops was scheduled to drop at 0119. See Leonard Rapport and Arthur Norwood, Jr., Rendezvous with Destiny (Washington, 1948), pp. 73, 94.

Records of airborne operations in the Cotentin are very sketchy; those of the 101st Airborne Division in particular are all but useless. The narrative following is based on a set of comprehensive interviews conducted during July 1944 by Col. S. L. A. Marshall with officers and men of the airborne units. Colonel Marshall, subsequently European Theater Historian developed the information thus secured in a number of battalion and regimental studies which in mimeographed form are in the Historical Division files. The airborne material is exploited in greater detail than here in [R. G. Ruppenthal] Utah Beach to Cherbourg (Washington, 1948), to which the author is generally indebted for the bulk of the story of U.S. VII Corps operations during June 1944. See Bibliographical Note.

[27] 377th FA Bn AAR.

[28] Bombing had not injured the six Russian 122-mm. guns at the St. Martin emplacement but had so damaged the fire control setup that the guns were moved before the invasion. See MS # B-260 (Generalmajor Gerhard Triepel, gen. Schulze). Triepel during the first half of June commanded the 1261st Army Coastal Artillery Regiment; in the latter half, he was artillery commander of LXXXIV Corps.

[29] Summers was awarded the DSC. Details of the action from interviews by Col. S. L. A. Marsball. Hist Div files.

[30] General Taylor, commissioned in the Corps of Engineers from West Point in 1922, transferred to the Field Artillery in 1926. As chief of staff of the 82d Division in 1942 he assisted in organizing the first airborne divisions. In 1943 he went overseas as artillery commander of the reorganized 82d Airborne Division. After serving through the Sicilian and Italian campaigns he received command of the 101st Airborne Division in March 1944.

[31] Probably of the 3d Battalion, whose headquarters was at St. Côme-du-Mont.

[32] MS # D-330 (Blumentritt).

[33] Another of the batteries was captured still later by the 8th Infantry. See below, p. 329.

[34] Total D-Day casualties calculated in August 1944 amounted to 1,240 including 182 known killed and 501 missing and presumed captured or killed. See 32d MRU Rpt, Analysis of Battle Casualty Reports. Received from 101st Airborne Division, 13 Aug 44. FUSA file CC 21, dr 4, item 704.

[35] See below, pp. 293 ff.

[36] The account here follows that of Col. S. L. A. Marshall, who interviewed a number of the officers and men, including Colonel Johnson, soon after the action. See Marshall's account in The Fight at the Lock, mimeo MS. Hist Div files. Some doubt has subsequently arisen as to whether Johnson reached the lock during the morning before he made contact with Major Allen. See Lawrence Critchell, Four Stars of Hell (New York, 147), pp. 524. In view of Colonel Johnson's death, the issue cannot be finally settled. The evidence for Critchell's version does not seem conclusive. See Leonard Rapport and Arthur Norwood, Jr., Rendezvous with Destiny (Washington, 1948), p. 111. Rapport tried unsuccesfully to resolve the diffliculty through extensive correspondence with survivors.

[37] See above, n. 34.

[38] General Ridgway, a 1917 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, served with the War Plans Division of the War Department from 1939 to 1942. He then became assistant division commander of the 82d Division at its activation in March 1942 and commander three months later. When that division was reorganied as the 82d Airborne Division he continued to command and led it in the Sicilian and Italian campaigns.

[39] For extraordinary heroism in the capture and defense of Ste. Mère-Eglise Colonels Krause and Vandervoort were awarded the DSC.

[40] General Gavin, a graduate of West Point in 1929, took command of the 505th Parachute Infantry in July 1942 and led that regiment into combat in Sicily a year later. He commanded the same regiment in the parachute landing on Salerno Bay in September 1943 and the following month became assistant division commander.

[41] By the original plan Ridgway was supposed to come in by glider just before dawn, but this was changed a few days before D Day. See Ltr, Ridgway to Maj Gen Harry J. Malony, 12 Nov 48. Hist Div files.

[42] See S. L. A. Marshall, La Fière Bridgehead, mimeo MS. Hist Div files. The account in Ruppenthal, Utah Beach, p. 38, differs slightly.

[43] Undoubtedly units of the 100th Panzer Replacement Battalion equipped with light Russian and French tanks.

[44] Their tenacity may in part have been caused by the shooting on two occasions of enemy soldiers who stood up apparently with the idea of surrendering. See Marshall, La Fière Bridgehead.

[45] All three were captured. Pvt Zwingman was kilied in December 1944 while still a prisoner. The three men were awarded DSC's.

[46] Seventh Army KTB 1.I.-30.VI.44, 6 Jun 44. Schlieben denies that the 1058th Regiment was attached to his division and in fact the regiment's action on D Day does not seem to have been directed at first by the 709th Division. MS # B-845 (Schlieben).

[47] Again the subordination ordered by Seventh Army was apparently not effected. Von der Heydte directed the operations of his regiment without any orders from the 91st Division. MS # B-839 (von der Heydte).

[48] The regiment, nominally the 922d, contained a battalion of the 922d, a battalion of the 920th, and the division's Engineer Battalion. MS # B-845 (Schlieben).

[49] MS # B-845 (Schlieben); MS # 260 (Triepel) .

[50] MS # B-845 (Schlieben).

[51] This paragraph and the following two are from von der Heydte's report, MS # B-839. The Wannsee is a lake near Berlin, a favorite place for Berliners to spend a Sunday.

[52] See below, Ch. IX.

[53] 82d Div AAR. At noon, 8 June, the division reported still only 2,100 effectives-or les than a third of its combat strength.

[54] See Phantom Intercept in 21 A Gp Sitrep 4. SHAEF G-1 file 704/6, 21 A Gp Casualty Rpts, Vol. I.

[55] 32d MRU Rpt, Analysis of Battle Casualty Reports received from 82d Airborne Division, 13 Aug 44. FUSA file CC 21, dr 4, item 704.

[56] ANCXF Report, Vol. III, Annex D, p. 44.

[57] Prov Eng Spec Brig AAR.

[58] Marinegruppenkommando West, KTB 1.-7.VI.44, 6 Jun 4.

[59] Notes by Col B. B. Talley, Asst CofS, V Corps. Hist Div files. Talley also says the rocket-carrying LST's did not come up on line and consequently did not fire their rockets simultaneously as planned.

[60] General Barton had been chief of staff at headquarters of the 4th Division in 1940. In June 1942 he took command of the 4th Motorized Division, which subsequently became the 4th Infantry Division, and in January of 1944 arrived with his unit in the European theater.

[61] 4th Div FO 1, 12 May 44.

[62] 4th Cav Gp AAR.

[63] Brig. Gen Theodore Roosvelt, assistant division commander, who went ashore with the first wave and helped organize the attack inland, was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry displayed in his leadership under fire.

[64] First Army G-3 Jnl.

[65] Maj. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow was graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1911. Between 1920 and 1940 he was on four separate occasion assigned to War Department staff duty: in the War Plans and Organization Section (1923-24), in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War (1926-29), in the War Plans Division (1935-39), and as Assistant Chief of Staff with duty in the War Plans Division (1940-41). He commanded the 29th Division in 1942 and took command of V Corps in July 1943.

General Huebner enlisted in 1910 and was commissioned in the infantry in 1916. He went overseas as commander of a company of the 28th Infantry in 1917 and served with the 1st Division at Lunéville, Beaumont, Cantigny, and the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. He was twice wounded and received the DSC with cluster, the DSM, and Silver Star. In 1940 he was chief of the Training Branch of the Operations and Training Division of the War Department and in 1942 Director of the Training Division, Headquarters SOS. In August 1943 he took command of the 1st Division in North Africa.

[66] See above, p. 187.

[67] The road that passes through les Moulins will be called hereafter the les Moulins Exit. The St. Laurent Exit will refer to the road immediately east which leads up the valley of the Ruguet River. Note that the towns of Vierville, St. Laurent, and Colleville in this sector all bear the suffixes "sur-Mer." Only in the case of Vierville will the suffix be retained in order not to confuse it with the other Vierville in the UTAH Beach sector.

[68] German coastal defense works were of four classes depending on size and complexity. The smallest and most usual was the resistance nest (Widerstandsnest), a single self-contained defensive position manned by one or two squads sometimes though not necessarily with heavy weapons. When several resistance nests were combined for co-ordinated defense of a larger sector the defense was called a strong point (Stuetzpunkt). Strong points in general were manned by at least a platoon of infantry with heavy weapons and a local reserve. Strong points might be grouped in Stuetzpunktgruppe either for command unity or for defense of a small fortified area. None of these strong point groups existed in the invasion area. Finally, certain strategically important places like ports, submarine pens, and mouths of large rivers were organized into defensive areas (Verteidigungsbereiche) garrisoned by units whose size was conditioned by the size and importance of the area and the forces available. All had both local reserves within the defensive area and reserves in general support stationed outside. See Grundlegender Befehl des Oberbefehlshabers West Nr. 7, Begriffsbestimmungen in der Kuestenverteidigung, 28 May 42. OKW/WFSt, Op. (H.), Grundlegende Befehle West 28.IV.42-7.V.44.

[69] Three of the five were beached by an LCT which could not lower its ramp at sea. For details of the difficulties in initial landings at OMAHA see [Charles H. Taylor] Omaha Beachhead (Washington, 1945). The narrative of U.S. V Corps operations is largely based on Taylor's study. See Bibliographical Note.

[70] Ltr, OB WEST, O.Qu. to OKH/Generalquartiermeister, 4 Feb 44. OKH/Generalquartiermeister, Stuetzpunktbevorratung an der Atlantik- und Kanal-kueste.

[71] About 80 yards of sand would be covered each hour.

[72] For a complete list of the DSC winners, see App. I, below.

[73] Major Bingham was awarded the DSC.

[74] Carrying heavy communications equipment through the surf under enemy fire was a formidable task that took many lives. Five men of the 16th Infantry were decorated for their heroic work in struggling ashore with vital radios and wire despite serious wounds. T/5 John J. Pinder, Jr., received a posthumous award of the Medal of Honor for his intrepidity in recovering two radios and other equipment, while suffering two severe wounds. On his third trip into the fire-swept surf he was killed.

[75] Reasons for this failure remain one of the more interesting mysteries of the war. Allied intelligence had otherwise a remarkably detailed and accurate picture of the German defenses and troop dispositions. It was unquestionably difficult to get reliable information from agents in the coastal zone since all persons whom the Germans allowed to remain in these areas were carefully screened. In this connection the short distance of the move of the 352d Division from St. Lô to the coast may have contributed to concealing it, although a similar inching forward of the 21st Panzer Division was found out. Another interesting surmise is suggested by the fact that one agent known to be active in the zone of the 352d Division as late as May was working in the Grandcamp area which happened to be the sector of the 3d Battalion of the 726th Regiment of the 716th Division. That the 726th Regiment had been attached to a new division could easily have been unknown to him. In May the Germans shot down a carrier pigeon carrying a message from this agent. The message was a report of the location of the 3d Battalion of the 1716th Artillery Regiment, also in the Grandcamp area and also a 716th Division unit, attached to the 352d. See MS # B-022 (Ziegelmann). Brigadier Williams, G-2 of 21 A Gp, has said since the war that just before the invasion he did find out about the 352d's presence on the coast but was unable to inform the troops. See Interv, Pogue with Williams, London, 31 May 47. This is partially confirmed by 21 Army Group Weekly Neptune Review 17 of 4 June which warned: "It should not be surprising if we discovered that it (the 716th Division) had two regiments in the line and one in reserve while on its left 352d Division had one regiment up and two to play...." The fact remains noteworthy that for almost two and a half months the Allies were unaware of the true position of the 352d Division.

[76] MS # B-432 (Ziegelmann).

[77] Talley Notes, cited n. 59. The milling of the landing craft offshore was actually caused at least as much by an order from the 7th Naval Beach Battalion at about 0830 to suspend the landing of vehicles pending clearance of some beach exits. This fact seems to have been unknown to Talley. see below, next section. Cf. Taylor, Omaha Beachhead, p. 79. Talley was awarded the DSC for his liaison work on 6 June.

[78] Facts on British action furnished by the British Cabinet Office Hist Sec.

[79] MS # B-432 (Ziegelmann).

[80] Admiral Hall, commander of Task Force O, paid special tribute to U.S. destroyers Carmick, Doyle, McCppk, Thompson, Frankford, Harding, Emmons, and Baldwin, and British Hunt class destroyers Melbreak, Talybont, and Tanatside. ANCXF Report, Vol. III, Rpt, Comdr Assault Force O, p. 56.

[81] Colonel Rudder was awarded the DSC for extraordinary heroism in continuing to lead his battalion despite being twice wounded.

[82] The 352d Division, anticipating commando assaults on the cliffs, had laid 240-mm. shells hooked to trip wires, along the crest at 100-yard intervals. They were designed to roll down and explode over the water with an effective radius of about 650 yards. These shells caused no difficulty for the Rangers although they hindered beach clearance parties later on. See Talley Notes, cited n. 59; MS # B-432 (Ziegelmann).

[83] For a detailed account of the Ranger action, see Charles H. Taylor, "Pointe du Hoe," Small Unit Actions (Washington, 1946).

[84] Both General Cota and Colonel Canham were awarded the DSC for extraordinary heroism shown during their D-Day leadership under fire.

[85] American losses were one killed and five wounded. Thirty-one German prisoners were taken at the strong.point. See Combat Interv, 16th Inf.

[86] Not the 149th, as given in Taylor, Omaha Beachhead, p. 82.

[87] Notes on V Corps Plan, 17 May 44. Pre-Inv file 670. Compare this use of a floating reserve with that proposed by British Commanders following the Dieppe raid. See above, p. 191.

[88] Ltr. Gerhardt to Gen Malony, 2 Jan 47. Hist Div files. General Gerhardt was commissioned in the cavalry from West Point in 1917. He served with the 89th Division in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives in 1918. In May 1942 he became commander of the 91st Division and in July took command of the 29th Division in England.

[89] 18th Inf S-1 Jnl, 6 Jun 44.

[90] This is frankly a guess, based on a number of estimates of various dates and various headquarters, none of which agree. Under the Army's present casualty reporting system, it is unlikely that accurate figures of D-Day losses by unit will ever be available. The V Corps History gives D-Day losses as 2,374, of which the 1st Division lost 1,190, the 29th Division 743, and corps troops 441. The after action report of the 1st Division and the 29th Division history both scale down their own losses slightly. See Joseph H. Ewing, 29, Let's Go (Washington, 1948), p. 306. Source for the 1st Division report is its own G-1 report of daily casualties; source for the 29th Division figures is not given. On 8 June the 1st Division G-1 issued a "corrected" casualty report for D Day and D plus 1 which reduced total losses reported for the two days from 1,870 to 1,036. See V Corps G-3 Jnl. Neither the original report nor the corrected one conforms to the division G-1's accounting in his monthly report of operations. See study of First Army casualties during June 1944, prepared by Royce L. Thompson, MS. Hist Div files.

[91] It is possible that the Germans were interpreting as concentration of force what was actually only congestion of landing craft backlogged by the difficulties of beaching them. See above, n. 77.

[92] Consisting of the 1st Battalion, 915th Regiment, the 352d Fuesilier Battalion, and one company of the 352d Antitank Battalion (the 1352d Assault Gun Company) equipped with ten assault guns. MS # B-432. Ziegelmann's reference to the 1352d Assault Gun Battalion is an error. Cf. Kriegsgliederung, 18 May 44. Seventh Army, KTB Anlagen 1.I.-30.VI.44.

[93] This story has been pieced together from the telephone diary of the 352d Division and from reports of British action supplied to the author by the British Cabinet Office Hist Sec. The account (MS # B-432) written after the war by Lt. Col. Ziegelmann, G-3 of the 352d Division, telling of a counterattack smashed by Allied fighter bomber interception and overrun by British tanks seems considerably exaggerated.

[94] From information furnished by British Cabinet Office Hist Sec.

[95] MS # B-441 (Feuchtinger).

[96] This timing is given in MS # T-121 (Zimmermann et al.). See also Rad, 0445 (0545 DBST), OB WEST to OKW/WFSt, 6 Jun 44. OKH/Op.Abt., Lagemeldungen OB WEST l.IV.-8.VI.44; cf. Fifteenth Army, KTB 1.I.-30.VI.44, 6 Jun 44. Rundstedt's reasoning detailed in the remainder of the paragraph is as reported in MS # T-121.

[97] Under the German command system it would have been perfectly proper for Rundstedt to have appealed directly to Hitler, since OKW itself did not have command authority except as it spoke in Hitler's name.

[98] MS # B-621 (Richter).

[99] Seventh Army, KTB 1.I.-30.VI.44, 6 Jun 44.

[100] MS # B-432 (Ziegelmann).

[101] MS # B-620 (Buelowius).

[102] [Lt Col Robert H. George] Ninth Air Force, April to November 1944 (Army Air Forces Historical Studies: No. 36), MS, p. 81. AAF files.

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