HEADQUARTERS THIRD UNITED STATES ARMY APO 403
May 15 1945
Report of Operations
To the Adjutant General, Washington 25, DC
1. In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 10 of Army Regulations 345-105, as changed to include 10 August 1944, there is submitted herewith the report of operations of the Third US Army in the European Campaign. This report includes the planning phase as well as the operations. The operations phase covers, specifically, the period 011200 August 1944 to 090001 May 1945.
2. Inasmuch as this report on operations is reproduced by multiple copy methods, the original records called for in paragraph 11 of the Army Regulations above cited are being submitted to your office only. They have not been reproduced for the general distribution being given this report.
3. Since the contents of the report of operations would be of value to the Armed Forces of any enemy of the United States, and since hostilities with Japan have not terminated, this report is classified as SECRET. It will retain this classification until downgraded by the War Department.
For the Commanding General :
R. E. Cummings
Colonel, A. G. D
UNITED STATES ARMY
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL
Regensburg, Germany, May 15, 1945
With the termination of hostilities, the 3A and its inseparable comrade-in-arms, the XIX Tactical Air Command, completed 281 days of constant battle during which we have engaged in every type of combat except defensive. In each type of fighting successful solutions have been evolved. This report describes in considerable detail the various situations which developed and the tactical combinations utilized for their successful solution. It is noteworthy that while our operations in pursuit or exploitation have at times developed phenomenal speed, they have always been preceded by bitter and sometimes prolonged assaults. This is particularly true in the initial break-through at St Lo in July, in Lorraine from Nov 8 to Dec 19, and in Luxembourg and Germany from Dec 22 to Mar 5. The success of all our operations has been due to teamwork and mutual cooperation, to the untiring efforts of a devoted and experienced staff, to the ability of commanders from Corps and Tactical Air Commands to platoons and individual pilots. But above all to the fighting heart of the American soldier.
G. S. Patton, Jr
The official after-action report of the operations of the 3A is presented in 2 volumes supplemented by maps and supporting documents. Volume 1 contains the over-all Army operations report. Volume 2 is a compilation of he operations reports of each of the general and Special Staff Sections. The presentation of this report by phases of operations rather than by calendar month, although considered, was finally rejected in favor of a faculty correct record of even as they occurred. The fixed dates simplified the presentation of the report and eliminated the possibility of submitting an unintended interpretative study. Separate, identically numbered chapters in both volumes cover operations for a period of one calendar month, with 2 exceptions : Chap 1 is devoted to planning in the UK, Chap 2 is the pre-operational period on the European Continent. Thereafter, in both Volume 1 and Volume 2, Chapter 3 covers August 1944, Chapter 4, September 1944, etc. The grid coordinates of the maps referred to in the report are those of the modified British Grid System. These refer to GSGS (Geographical Section, General Staff) maps. A set of maps covering 3A’s zone of operations accompanies the report. Comparative statistics on casualties and losses of material, both enemy and 3A, are presented graphically in the charts at the close of each chapter commencing with Chapter 3, Volume 1. Likewise, main roads and points of supply are graphically shown. The summary of operations appearing in Volume 1 is for a 24 hour period commencing 1200 (noon). The date shown is as of the commencement of each such period. The annexes accompanying both Volumes are supporting detail for the report. Lessons learned and conclusions appear as the final chapter of this After Action Report. The preparation, compilation and reproduction of this After Action Report continued throughout the Campaigns of the 3A utilizing exclusively Army facilities and Personnel.
Major General, US Army
Chief of Staff
1 – Planing in the United Kingdom – The 3A’s Headquarters was located in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, when it was alerted on Jan 1 1944 for overseas movement to the European Theater of Operations. An advance party of 13 officers and 26 enlisted men left there on Jan 12, to depart 10 days later from the US through the Port of Embarkation at Fort Hamilton, New York, aboard HMS Queen Mary. The ship reached Glasgow, Scotland, on Jan 29, and the group was met on board by Lt Gen George S. Patton Jr, newly designated Army Commander. Immediately on disembarking, the officers and men trained for Peover Camp, about three miles from Knutsford, Cheshire, England, there to begin preparations for reception of the main body. Peover Camp and Toft Camp, approximately 2 miles distant, were former British camps, and were to be used by Army Headquarters. A number of Staff Officers who had served with the Army Commander in Africa and Sicily reported for duty. Conferences were held by the Army Commander with Gen Eisenhower, Allied Supreme Commander, on Feb 16, and in London several days later with staffs of the 1A Group and Headquarters European Theater of Operations, US Army. Soon afterward the Army Commander first letter on instructions for Corps, Division and Unit Commanders was published and distributed. The main body of Headquarters cleared through Camp Shanks, New York, and sailed Mar 13 on the Ile de France, arriving in the Firth of Clyde opposite the port of Greenock, Scotland, on Mar 21. Troops proceeded by rail to Knutsford, and on Mar 23 were addressed by the Army Commander who informed them, along with other officers and men of the Headquarters, of his policies, the standard of performance he expected of them, and what 3A Army would be expected to accomplish in its forthcoming mission. Headquarters was then established as follows :
Peover Camp : Army Commander, Command Group, Forward Echelon
Toft Camp : Rear Echelon
Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force had directed that an operation be conducted to seize and secure a Logement Area in Continental France from which further operations could be developed. This was Overlord, the beginning of the gigantic Allied operation from the west to liberate Europe, and was to be executed in two phases :
Phase 1 : assault and capture of an initial beach head, including the development of airfield sites in the Caen (U06) area and the capture of Cherbourg (012), this being known as the Neptune phase of Overlord
Phase 2 : enlargement of the area captured in phase 1 to include the Brittany Peninsula, all ports south to the Loire River, and the area between the Loire River and the Seine River
The initial assault was to be made across selected beaches between Cherbourg (012) and Le Havre (L82) by American and British forces : 1A (US) on the right (west) and 2A (UK) on the left (east), both under command of 21-AG (UK). The 3A (US) was to land on the Continent during the period D/15 to D/60 through the Cotentin Peninsula. Its mission was to be executed in two phases :
Phase 1 : capture the Brittany Peninsula and open the Brittany ports, unless this had already been accomplished by the US 1A
Phase 2 : clearing the Brittany Peninsula, to concentrate on the right of the US 1A and be prepared to operate to the east, either in close conjunction with the 1A or by swinging south of the Loire River if a wider envelopment was feasible
Start of Planning – The entire Headquarters launched vigorous individual and collective efforts into a period of planning which was to last until US 3A moved from England to the Continent. This planning period can be considered from four standpoints :
1 – reorganization and adjustment of the Command Group and staff to comply with the Army Commander’s requirements as to personnel and policies;
2 – study of the proposed operation, tactically and logistically;
3 – acquisition, reception, training and briefing of troops for the operation;
4 – coordination of operational plans and supply matters with higher headquarters concerned, and adjustments between headquarters of Army level.
On Mar 12, a group of staff officers, headed by the Chief of Staff, conferred on London with the US 1A Group G-3, to discuss participation of the 3A in Overlord, and soon afterward an intensive program of preparation was initiated throughout all Amy units. The G-2 Section set up the War Room in Peover Camp Hall, and the Army Commander started daily staff conferences there on Mar 27 in which section chiefs were briefed on security instructions, G-3 Section operational plans, G-2 Section estimates, and staff policy. Rigid security measures were adopted, including the use, around buildings of the Forward Echelon, of a high barbed wire fence and constant guard by military police. A new document classification of Top Secret was directed by Supreme Headquarters, which necessitated establishment of a top secret control room under the Adjutant General for handling these documents. The G-3 Section was concerned immediately with locating available and suitable training areas and accommodations for units arriving daily from the United States, and with the planning and continuation of training of the units and the preparation of future operational plans. 3A Divisions lined up in the UK as follows :
5-ID, (*), further assigned to XV Corps, Jan 2 1944
8-ID, (*), further assigned to XV Corps, Jan 2 1944
4-AD, assigned 3A Feb 1 1944, further assigned to XV Corps, Apr 20 1944
5-AD, assigned 3A Mar 3 1944, further assigned to XX Corps, Mar 9 1944
6-AD, assigned 3A Mar 3 1944, further assigned to XX Corps, Mar 9 1944
90-ID, assigned 3A Mar 5 1944, (Attached to US 1A Mar 27 – Jul 30 1944)
79-ID, assigned 3A Apr 4 1944, further assigned to VIII Corps, Apr 8 1944
83-ID, assigned 3A Apr 4 1944, further assigned to VIII Corps, Apr 8 1944
28-ID, assigned 3A Apr 14 1944, further assigned to XX Corps, Apr 14 1944
2-AD (French), (Attached 3A) Apr 21 1944, (Attached XII Corps), May 20 1944
35-ID, assigned 3A Apr 1944, further assigned to XV Corps, May 5 1944
7-AD, assigned 3A Apr 26 1944, further assigned to XX Corps, May 5 1944
80-ID, assigned 3A Jun 11 1944, further assigned to XII Corps, Jun 15 1944
(*) Units assigned directly to Corps by European Theater of Operations, US Army Headquarters 3A was in the United States on this date.
The G-2 Section’s initial work was with requirements for new equipment, these being made known to Headquarters ETO on Mar 23. Plans were started for organization of a Transportation Section to operate and control all motor, rail, water, pack and civilian impressed transportation of Army agencies. The Engineer Section began a period of endeavor covering terrain analyses, bridge requirements, river crossing sites, road studies, traffic circulation plans, computation of supply requirements, and survey and mapping plans. Study was made of the region of northwest France, north of the Loire River and west of the Seine River, special attention being given to its suitability for tank warfare. The most suitable road net of the area was chosen, in accordance with policies of Overlord, and bridging requirements were estimated on the assumption that all bridges would be destroyed and require replacement. All major rivers were studied to determine the most suitable crossing sites. The task of planning a system of communications for use in the coming operation was initiated by the Signal Section. Primarily this was a matter of mapping wire circuits and radio nets, but as it developed it involved all of 3A’s communications facilities for the gathering of intelligence, the establishment of security, the procurement of Signal supplies and personnel sufficient for the operation.
There was also the matter of establishing communications with subordinate Army units scattered over a large area of the English Midlands, Wales, and North Ireland. The Quartermaster Section was reorganized on Mar 27, a new division Field Service, being created and the Transportation Section, now taken over by the G-4 Section, being dropped. Officers of the Medical Section began a series of conferences and inspections which were to involve almost daily contact with higher headquarters and with the many Medical units of the Army. On Mar 31, for example, Headquarters of Western Base Section was consulted in connection with water supply, sanitation, and venereal disease control among troops in the United Kingdom. Investigation of Medical units revealed that no major personnel shortages existed, as most units had arrived at full Table of Organization strength. However, in order to provide maximum efficiency, a number of Medical officers were shifted, resulting in better balanced professional staffs in hospital units. Medical personnel attended department schools on a quota basis and nurses were placed on temporary duty with Services of Supply hospitals for practical experience.
Formal training inspections were started of all units to determine their ability to perform in the field. Conferences were held with the Office of the Chief Surgeon, ETO, HQs 1A Group, Advance Section Communications zone, and the ETO Blood Bank, regarding availability and distribution of whole blood during the coming operation. The Chaplain, in March, initiated plans calling for complete religious coverage of all units. Civil Affairs was established at special staff level on Mar 31, conferences with the 1A Group on the need for such a section having been started late in February. The Army Commander meanwhile was making personal inspections of his troops throughout the United Kingdom, visiting all principal units and talking with officers and non-commissioned officers. The G-l Section reported the strength of the Army on Mar 31 to be 131,200.
The London Office – As activities of all sections increased, it developed that a tremendous amount of coordination and adjustment with higher required almost constant presence in London of key 3A personnel. In view of these conditions, an office was established early in April in Bryanston Square, adjacent to 1A Headquarters, with the Deputy Chief of Staff, Tactical, in charge, maintain contact with Headquarters ETO Headquarters 1A Group. Officers from the G-4, Medical, Quartermaster, and Signal Sections were originally placed on duty in this office, and as contacts became more necessary and frequent, other Sections sent representatives to London. The G-2 Section gave a preliminary estimate of the enemy at the beginning of April, and announced completion of a terrain appreciation study of the 3A’s target area. Security precautions of this Section consisted of Headquarters security, counter-subversive coverage, security training and preparation of a counter-intelligence plan.
Passwords and replies were prepared for publication and dissemination. A counter-sabotage plan was drafted. The Chemical Warfare Section,knowing if the enemy intended gas warfare at all that the time of initial landings would be a very favorable one, provided troops which would be involved in this phase of the operation, but which later would revert to 3A control, with additional and appropriate equipment. Initial issues of all classes of chemical supplies for this Army’s troops was necessary, and an estimate was compiled on supply requirements. Based on experience of past operations, a decision was made by the Adjutant General to centralize all administration in administration centers of divisions for all assigned and attached troops. A circular was issued April 12 prescribing the personnel administrative plan and the organization and function of the administration centers. A casualty sub-section was added to the Adjutant General Section. An Army Exchange Officer was appointed and an American Red Cross Field Director joined Headquarters in the first week of April. Both were to operate under the Special Services Section, which had recently issued two programs of recreation and athletics for Army troops designed for use either with or without standard equipment. Through the G-3 Section an intensive aircraft identification program was started early in the month for all Army troops. Airplane models, charts, and booklets were utilized, and arrangements made with the 9-AAF to give demonstration flights of Allied and German planes so that personnel could learn to identify them through actual observation.
G-2 and G-3 Air Subsections – An Air Sub-section of the G-3 Section was activated to fill the vital and recognized need for coordinating close combat Air support for ground troops. A G-2 Air Sub-section was organized for the purpose of securing information about the enemy from Air sources. The Quartermaster Section began large scale planning to supply the forthcoming operation. During this period, the Inspector General Section made extensive alert inspections of and contact visits to many units, special attention being given to the indoctrination of troops. Schools in radio security were established by the Signal Section. To hasten communications, especially to higher headquarters, the Section set up an air courier system with officers as couriers, using planes of the 14th Air Liaison Squadron which was assigned to Headquarters.
On Apr 11, the final draft of Joint Operations plan US forces for operation Overlord was received. Also at this time a Mounting Plan prepared by Headquarters ETO was received which set forth the procedure involved for staging troops to the embarkation points. In short, this plan stated the method by which each unit in the United Kingdom would be moved from its present location to the concentration areas, there to receive the last necessary items of equipment, and then to the marshaling areas, wherein they awaited movement to the various ports of embarkation. The responsibility for the administrative control to insure the movement of each 3A unit to the Continent rested with the A.C of S. G-3. This entailed the compilation of all necessary movement tables, and the coordination of all changes in each unit’s status from the time the unit was alerted for overseas movement until that unit reached the embarkation point.
The data compiled enabled Headquarters ETO to control and exercise the movement of all units in the United Kingdom to the designated embarkation points for the cross channel voyage. On Apr 16, a training memorandum, Use Of Tanks in Support of Infantry, written by the Army Commander, was issued. Commanding Generals of the VIII and XV Corps were briefed on the operation Overlord on Apr 24 at Peover Hall, and those of the XII and XX Corps on Apr 26. Target Analysis #1, the first of a series of reports on 3A’s potential target area, was issued Apr 23 by the G-2 Section. It covered Strategical Terrain Study, Tactical Analysis of Terrain, and Possible Airfield Sites Suitable for Landing Areas.
G-2 Section Estimate #1 – On the same day the Section issued G-2 Estimate Number 1. Under enemy situation it reported that in the west (France, Belgium, and Holland) there were an estimated 52 German divisions, elements of German Army Group D, commanded by GeneralFeldmarschal Gerd von Rundstet, with Headquarters at St Germain en Laye. The Army Group consisted of 4 Armies, the 1. German Army, with 6 divisions, occupied the area along the Bay of Biscay from Nantes, to the Spanish Border; the 19. German Army with 9 divisions along the Mediterranean from the Spanish Border to the Italian Border; in Northern France and Belgium, the 15. German Army with 18 divisions; and Holland occupied by 4 divisions of the German LXXXVIII Corps.
3 other divisions with no known assignment or attachment were also estimated in France. The estimate outlined in detail the enemy situation as it then existed in the projected Lodgment Area, that part of France west of a line from Caen to Nantes. 12 divisions, under 7. German Army, were located in this sector, which included Brittany, the Cotentin Peninsula, and extended east to Chartres and Orléans. Under Enemy Dispositions, the estimate examined in detail ground, naval and air defenses. The over-all European situation, including the battle-fronts of Russia, Italy, Norway, Finland, Denmark,and the Balkans, was covered. One section contained assumptions and enemy capabilities, concluding with the following statements : for estimate of enemy capabilities to bring to and commit reinforcements in the target area, it is not feasible at this time to forecast the situation likely to confront the US 3A when its first elements debark on the Cotentin Peninsula. The situation as it might effect US 3A is currently too obscure to prognosticate further at this time. US 1A Group requested an Allocation of Tonnages estimate, which was submitted by the A. C. of S. G-4 on Apr 23 in 3 charts :
1st – a detailed tonnage phasing chart
2nd – a reserve buildup chart
3rd – a breakdown chart.
US 1A Group approved the estimate soon afterward.
Army Group D (Heeresgruppe D) was formed on Oct 26 1940 in France. Its initial cadre coming from the disbanded Army Group C (Heeresgruppe C). On Apr 15 1941, the status of Army Group D was upgraded. From that date on, the commander of Army Group D was also to be considered Oberbefehlshaber West (or OB WEST – the Commander in Chief for the Western Theater). As a result of this, Army Group D is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Army Group West.
Order of Battle – Herresgruppe D – June 1944
– OB West
Gen Fld Marschall von Rundstedt
CoS, Gen Lt Günther Blumentritt
Gen d. Flieger Friedrich Christiansen
CoS, Gen Lt Heinz-Hellmuth von Wühlisch
– LXXXVIII Armeekorps
Gen d. Infanterie Hans Wolfgang Reinhard
CoS, Oberst d.R i.G Curt Eichert Wiersdorff
– 347. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Wolf Trierenberg
– 16. Luftwaffe Feld Division
Gen Maj Karl Sievers
– 719. Infanterie Division
Gen Maj Carl Wahle
– Heeresgruppe B
Gen Fld Marschall Erwin Rommel
– CoS, Gen Lt Hans Speidel
– 15. Armee
Gen Ob Hans von Salmuth
CoS, Gen Lt Rudolf Hofmann
– LXXXIX Armeekorps
Gen d. Infanterie Werner Freiherr von und zu Gilsa
CoS, Oberst i.G. Fritz Ulrich
– 70. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Wihelm Daser
– 712. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Friedrich Wilhelm Neumann
– 48. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Karl Casper
– LXXXII. Armeekorps
Gen d. Artillerie Johann Sinnhuber
CoS, Oberst i.G. Rudolf C. Freiherr von Gersdorff
– 18. Luftwaffe Feld Division
Gen Lt Joachim von Tresckow
– 47. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Otto Elfeldt
– 49. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Sigfrid Macholz
– LXVII Armeekorps
Gen Lt Alfred Gause
Gen d. Infanterie Otto Sponheimer
CoS, Oberst i.G. Schaefer
– 344. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Eugen-Felix Schwalbe
– 348. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Paul Seyffardt
– LXXXI Armeekorps
Gen d. Panzertruppe Adolf Kuntzen
CoS, Gen Maj Otto Zeltmann
CoS, Oberst i.G Hubert Wiese
– 245. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Erwin Sander
– 17. Luftwaffe Feld Division
Gen Lt Hans Kurt Hoecker
– 711. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Josef Reichert
– 19. Luftwaffe Feld Division
Gen Lt Erich Baessler
– 84. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Erwin Menny
– 85. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Kurt Chill
– 182. Reserve Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Richard Baltzer
– 326. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Viktor von Drabich-Waechter
– 331. Infanterie Division
Gen Maj Heinz Furbach
– 346. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Erich Diestel
– 7. Armee
Gen Ob Friedrich Dollmann
CoS, Gen Maj Max Pemsel
– LXXXIV Armeekorps
Gen d. Artillerie Erich Marcks
CoS, Oberstlt Friedrich von Criegern
– 716. Infanterie Division
Gen Maj Wilhelm Richter
– 352. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Dietrich Kraiss
– 709. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben
– 319. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Rudolf graf von Schmettow
– Ostregimentstab 752
Oberst Julius Coretti
– 74. Armeekorps
Gen d. Infanterie Erich Straube
CoS, Oberst i.G. Ludwig Zoellner
– 77. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Rudolf Stegmann
– 266. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Karl Spang
– XXV Armeekorps
Gen d. Artillerie Wilhelm Fahrmbacher
CoS, Oberst i.G Robert Bader
– 343. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Erwin Rauch
– 265. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Walther Duevert
– 275. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Hans Schmidt
– 30. Schnelle Brigade
Oberstleutnant freiherr von und zu Aufsess
– 91. Luftlande Division
Gen Maj Wihelm Falley
– 243. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Heinz Hellmich
– II. Fallschirmjäger Korps
Gen d. Fallschirmjäger Eugen Meindl
– 3. Fallschirmjäger Division
Gen Lt Richard Schimpf
– 5. Fallschirmjäger Division
Gen Lt Gustav Wilke
– Armeegruppe G
Gen Ob Johannes Blaskowitz
CoS, Gen Maj Heinz von Gyldenfeld
– 1. Armee
Gen d. Panzertruppe Joachim Lemelsen
Gen d. Infanterie Kurt von der Chevallerie
CoS, Gen Maj Gerhard Feyerabend
– LXXX Armeekorps
Gen d. Artillerie Curt Gallenkamp
CoS, Oberst Herbert Koestlin
– 158. Reserve Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Ernst Haeckel
– 708. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Hermann Wilck
– LXXXVI Armeekorps
Gen d. Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder
CoS, Oberst d.R i.G. Helmuth von Wissmann
– 159. Reserve Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Hermann Meyer-Rabingen
– 276. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Kurt Badinski
– 19. Armee
Gen d. Infanterie Georg von Sodenstern
CoS, Gen Maj Walter Botsch
– IV Luftwaffe Feldkorps
Gen d. Flieger Erich Petersen
– 272. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Friedrich August Schack
– 277. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Albert Praun
– 271. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Paul Danhauser
– LXXXV Armeekorps
Gen d. Infanterie Baptist Kniess
CoS, Oberstltnt Rudolf von Oppen
– 338. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Rene de l’Homme de Courbiere
– 244. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Hans Schaefer
– LXII Reserve Armeekorps
Gen d. Infanterie Ferdinand Neuling
CoS, Oberst i.G. Rudolf Meinshagen
– 242. Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Johannes Baessler
– 157. Reserve Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Karl Pflaum
– Panzergruppe West
Gen d. Panzertruppe Leo Geyr freiherr von Schweppenburg
CoS, Gen Maj Sigismund-Hellmut Ritter und Edler von Dawans
Gen Lt Alfred Gause
– I. SS Panzerkorps
SS Obergruppenfuhrer Josef “Sepp” Dietrich
CoS, Oberst der Waffen-ss Fritz Kraemer
– 1. SS Panzer Division
SS Brigadefuhrer Theodor Wisch
– 17. SS Panzergrenadier Division
SS Oberfuhrer Werner Ostendorff
– Panzer Lehr Division
Gen Maj Fritz Bayerlein
– LVIII Reserve Panzerkorps
Gen d. Panzertruppe Walter Krueger
CoS, Oberst Eberhard Thunert
Oberst i.G. Hans-Juergen Dingler
– 189. Reserve Infanterie Division
Gen Lt Richard von Schwerin
– 2. SS Panzer Division
SS Brigadefuehrer Heinz Lammerding
– 9. Panzer Division
Gen Maj Erwin Jolasse
– LXVI Reserve Armeekorps – XXXXVII Panzerkorps
Gen d. Panzertruppe Hans freiherr von Funck
– 2. Panzer Division
Gen Lt Heinrich freiherr von Luettwitz
– 21. Panzer Division
Gen Maj Edgar Feuchtinger
– 116. Panzer Division
Gen Lt Gerhard Graf von Schwerin
– 11. Panzer Division
Gen Maj Wend von Wietersheim
The Civil Affairs – The mission, responsibility, and object of Civil Affairs was out lined on Apr 26 by the Army Commander thusly : The sole mission of Civil Affairs Administration is to further military objectives exercise of Civil Affairs control is a command responsibility. The object of Civil Affairs is to assist in military operations. The order also said that the Army Commander would provide policies for the Civil Affairs Section, including composition, size, relationship with other staff Sections, scope and general directives for operations. A special order on Apr 29 detailed the chief Civil Affairs officer to the General Staff Corps, and next day the section was designated G-5. A Public Relations Section was originally planned as an auxiliary agency of the G-2 Section, but in keeping with a plan being followed in higher headquarters, work was started late in April, following a conference between the Army Commander and two officers from the Publicity and Psychological Warfare Detachment of US 1A Group, to set up a Publicity and Psychological Warfare Section.
Parts interchangeability charts were started during the month by the Ordnance Section, and basic ammunition load charts for all types of Army organizations concerned were prepared. On Apr 22 the Army was allotted control over certain established training areas and artillery ranges. The G-3 Section placed artillery ranges under control of the Artillery Section, which coordinated and controlled their use on a monthly basis so that more than thirty Artillery, Tank and Tank Destroyer battalions used them during the month. AAA units were inspected to determine the status of their training and equipment, and all were sent to ranges for refresher and familiarization firing. The dual function of the Headquarters Commandant and Provost Marshal was altered late in the month and an Army Provost Marshal appointed,with a special staff section established under his command. VIII Corps was alerted on Apr 14 for overseas movement, XV Corps on Apr 22, and the Forward Echelon of Army Headquarters on Apr 24. On Apr 30, the G-l Section reported total strength of the Army was 219,800.
Activities of May – Early in May the G-2 Section received Engineer terrain studies from Headquarters ETO and US 1A Group, including detailed studies of beaches. The terrain model covering the southern portion of the target area was completed. A demonstration of the use of tanks with infantry was given by the 4-AD, supervised by the Army Commander. First assignments of the US 3A Air Liaison officers to elements of its supporting XIX Tactical Air Command were made. The G-5 Section during the first week in May started to recruit staff officers. The Civil Affairs Sections of US 1A and Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force were studied to obtain a basis for G-5 organization. The Army Commander personally instructed branch chiefs of the section in what the Army expected of Civil Affairs. A War Department Army Historical Section was attached on May 6 to the G-3 Section for the purpose of writing the history of the US 3A and its supporting troops for the War Department Record.
The final draft of US 3A Outline Plan was sent to London on May 11 for approval. On May 16 the revised US 1A Group Joint Operations Plan for Operations Overlord was received. Forms for Report of Progress of Preparation for Continental Operations were published for all alerted units on May 12 by the G-4 Section. The object of this report was to keep the US 3A and its corps informed of the progress of the various units, which were scattered throughout the United Kingdom. The US 1A Group notified Army Headquarters on May 13 that it would be possible to move all troops of the 3A through beaches and ports of the Cotentin Peninsula, extended to the west to include St Malo, assuming that supplies were to be brought through the Quiberon Bay area to full capacity; that from an operational viewpoint it was desirable that a maximum number of 3A’s troops be brought in from the north, and requested that plans be made accordingly. It was considered essential that VIII and XV Corps be brought in through the Cotentin Peninsula and if experience proved the entire 3A could not be brought in by this means it was desired that alternative plans be made to bring in the XX Corps and the XII Corps through the Quiberon Bay area as early as possible after its capture. Target Area Analysis N° 2 was issued May 14 by the G-2 Section, Section 1, prepared by the Engineer Section, comprised a Strategical Terrain Study. Sections 2, 3, and 4 were prepared by the G-2 Section and wore entitled respectively Tactical Terrain Analysis, Beach Studies,and Railroad Situation in France. By the middle of May, the G-3 Section’s planning on the Army’s part in operation Overlord continued at an intense pace. Build-up priority lists were revised continually, accommodations were obtained for the great influx of units which included the movement of the XV Corps HQs and supporting troops from North Ireland. Plans which required participation by the Navy and Army Air Forces were discussed with the Tactical Air Command and Western Naval Task Force. Many such conferences were held before plans were considered final.
On May 15, the HQs Commandant began reconnaissance south of the line London – Bristol for suitable accommodations for the Headquarters, in order for it to be nearer the designated embarkation area and to the bulk of troops assigned to the Army. The area within a ten-mile radius of Breamore Hall, Hampshire was selected. On the assumption that all units of this Army would land across the beaches of France, a general purpose vehicle (1/4 to 2 1/2 ton) waterproofing school was set up on May 15 to provide sufficient instructors for unit schools. XX Corps opened a waterproofing school on May 22 to augment the program. The QM Section completed a chart on Typical Plan for the Evacuation of Deceased in a Division, and started work on the Graves Registration Plan. To provide religious services for the large numbers of units arriving in the United Kingdom in the first half of May, especially battalions and companies whose T/O did not authorize chaplains, the nearest chaplain was told to assume responsibility for all small units in his vicinity. Vectographs were made available by G-2 Section. Preparations were begun on what was called a Going Map; a map of the terrain to show its accessibility to various types of military movement, to show areas subject to inundation, marshy or swampy, mountainous, forested, or other types of areas.
Army Information Service – On May 16 the Army Commander directed the 6th Cavalry Group to establish a channel, both physical and technical under Army control, to make and report front-line G-2 and G-3 information direct to the Army Advance Command Post, by-passing normal communications channels. Information was to be based on front-line observations in collaboration with all subordinate echelons of command. The plan, called Army Service, called for the Group to monitor continuously friendly battalion, regimental, division, and reconnaissance units operating in the 3A, and to use an officer patrol system of visits to regimental and battalion command posts and observation posts periodically, and also to contact Division A.C. of S. G-2s and A.C. of S. G-3s for exchange of information. The Army Information Service proved invaluable on the Continent, once the Army became operational, by providing the Army Commander with the latest tactical information. A Tank Destroyer staff section was established on May 18.
Authority to issue one tank dozer blade for medium tanks M1 in each armored division prior to leaving the United Kingdom was requested of Service of Supply, ETO. Ammunition tonnage estimates were submitted by the Ordnance Section for US 3A units attached to US 1A, based on an expenditure of 1/3 of a unit of fire per day and a seven-day operational reserve for all troops ashore from D 29 to D 41. The G-4 Section published revised Basic Loads of Ammunition during May. Plans were made by the Medical Section with the 9-AAF for use of air evacuation facilities for Army personnel. 6 C-47 planes furnished by the 9-AAF and Air Evacuation personnel aided Medical personnel to train in the methods of loading casualties into planes. Medical officers arranged for the release of supplies to build assault medical packs. Releases were obtained for the unit assemblies of all evacuation hospitals (400-bed) then in the United Kingdom. Nutrition of troops was studied by the section. Conferences were held on May 19 for the A.C. of S. G-4s for all corps and divisions. They were oriented on procurement policies and procedures for Continental operations and given a resume of the supply picture as foreseen at that time. By May 20, all Medical units which had been in the UK for three weeks or longer were 90% equipped. The 45 general surgeons and 90 surgical technicians requested for Landing Ship Tank duties by Headquarters ETO, reported for briefing. A Chief Nurse was assigned. On May 22, the Build-Up Control Organization Section of Headquarters, known as BUCO, left for Portsmouth, where it operated under BUCO West, supervising the priorities and loading of units moving to the Continent.
A conference on May 22, at which representatives of the G-4 Section, US 1A Group, 9-AAF, Advance Section Communications Zone, and ETO US Army were present, determined : That not more than 15 divisions could be supported by St Malo and the Cotentin Peninsula area. Entrance of further divisions would have to await capture and development of the Quiberon Bay area in order for such troops to be maintained. The Finance Section, on May 22, obtained 3,760,000 Francs in Invasion Money for the use of contracting and purchasing officers. Loading lists for all three echelons were published on May 22 and 23 by the Headquarters Commandant to facilitate movement to the ports and loading on landing craft. On May 24, the XX Corps and attached units were alerted for over seas movement. The Graves Registration plan was published by the Quartermaster on May 25. On the same date, revised ammunition estimates for expenditure during the period D 42 to D 90 were submitted by Ordnance. While the Publicity and Psychological Warfare Section was being organized, a Public Relations Officer was named on May 26 to take charge of arrangements for Public Relations and a Press Camp for war correspondents who were to be assigned to the Army during combat operations. On May 28, the US 3A was assigned supply priority to No.5, which equaled 80% of all organization equipment. The A.C. of S. G-4, issued a memorandum to A.C. of S. G-4s of corps and divisions saying supply discipline is an essential part of training and a continuing function of command; that the standard of supply discipline is an indication of the general efficiency of an organization and its commander.
Preparations by Artillery – Preparations for Artillery Operations loomed importantly through the May planning. In addition to operations memorandum, annexes were published on Serenade (to expedite the massing of all artillery within a corps sector in extreme emergency when lack of time preclude prearrangement of fire) :
Special radio nets for Artillery;
Special radio nets for Tank Destroyer units;
Observation of artillery fire by fighter-type aircraft;
Anti-tank measures in offense and defense;
Field Artillery Intelligence;
Field Artillery Communications and reports.
Anti-Aircraft Artillery operations memoranda published included one on the use of Radar. Strength of the Army on May 31 was 253,500 (G-l Section Report)
On Jun 1 corps outline plans for operation Overlord,prepared the VIII, XII, XV, and XX Corps,were received and approved by Headquarters. The A.C. of S. G-5 obtained Supreme Headquarters approval to attach Civil Affairs troops to US 3A with an approximate strength of 1,200 officers and enlisted men, with 390 vehicles. On Jun 4 the G-5 Section received copies of the Supreme Headquarters Field Handbook for Civil Affairs, France, enabling planning to take definite shape for events to come. Military Intelligence Interpretation and Interrogation of Prisoners of War teams commenced instruction and indoctrination of neighboring units. The Office of Strategic Services Special counter-intelligence unit and Office of Strategic Service secret intelligence detachment and the evasion and escape unit reported to the G-2 Section for duty. The Publicity and Psychological Warfare Section became officially known as the G-6 Section on Jun 1. From the publicity standpoint, an organization to service war correspondents in the field was contemplated.
This included a field hotel, transportation, conducting officers, a censorship group to censor correspondents’ copy at Army level, and communications facilities by which censored copy could be transmitted on relay to main communications centers in England and the United States. The Psychological Warfare Branch of the G-6 Section was organized to monitor enemy and other radio broadcasts, to originate leaflets and other publications to persuade the enemy that his cause was lost, and to lift the morale of the French citizenship in occupied areas by such means as news broadcasts by mobile units. Radio monitored intelligence was considered of particular significance in determining the enemy situation. Personnel of this branch consisted in part of American and British civilians and British officers, in addition to US Army personnel. On Jun 2 the Army Commander addressed assembled corps and Army troops in the vicinity of XX Corps. HQs ETO notified the Ordnance Section on the same date that Class II, Class IV, and Class V supplies on the Continent would be normal after D 41 and that it would be their responsibility to maintain supplies without further action on the part of US 3A.
Several matters of importance were handled by various sections on Jun 5, the following being examples. The A.C. of S. G-3 ordered officers from that section on duty in the War Room 24 hours a day, to maintain situation maps. The final draft of the Operation Chastity was completed, presenting the operational manner in which Belle Isle and the Quiberon Bay area would be secured. XII Corps and attached units were alerted for overseas movement. Finance obtained 352,256,000 francs for use of disbursing officers. The A.C. of S. G-4 was informed it was probable that US 3A units would be equipped with major essential T/E or T/BA items of equipment, but not far in advance of operations. VIII Corps was equipped with its essential T/E equipment and arrangements were made to carry additional ammunition for 155 howitzers and eight-inch howitzer battalions. Target area analyses N°4 and N°5 were published by the G-2 Section. N°4 included A Study of Northwest France and Area South of the Loire River As to Suitability of Terrain for Mechanized Operations and German Underwater Beach Obstacles.
N°5 included four sections, first the two of which were prepared by the G-2 Section. Subjects were :
(1) Additional Material to Supplement Tactical Study of the Terrain, Belle Ilse en Mere
(2) Terrain and Defense Characteristics and Order of Battle, Quiberon Bay Area
(3) Study of Feasibility of Mounting a Seaborne Assault Force from Vicinity of Granville
(4) Tactical Study of the Terrain, Northwest Brittany
The G-2 Section Estimate N°4 was issued the same day, reporting a total of 60 and 1/2 enemy divisions in the west (France – Belgium – Holland). This was an increase of 8 and 1/2 since Estimate N°1 dated Apr 23. The report dealt in detail with the Cherbourg area. The Cotentin Peninsula was estimated to include 6 and 1/2 enemy divisions. The enemy had 45 infantry and 2 tank battalions on or in the immediate vicinity of the Cherbourg Peninsula. Rommel, with headquarters at La Roche Guion, was reported to be in command of Heeresgruppe B, which included the 7. Armee, the 15. Armee and the LXXXVIII Korps. It was also indicated that parachute divisions were being concentrated in France. The enemy had shown an increasing trend to thicken his coastal defenses and it appeared that he was building up double,and in some places triple, lines of defense. In the first line were limited limited type infantry divisions; in the second, field type infantry divisions; and in the third, Panzer divisions.
As the US 3A entered the final period of its planning phase in England, news that the whole world was waiting to hear was announced on Jun 6. Airborne and Seaborne landings by Allied Forces, under command of 21-AG British had started in Normandy early that day, the 82d Airborne Division landing in the vicinity of St Mère Eglise, 10 miles southwest of Valognes, while the 101st Airborne Division landed in the vicinity of Carentan and British forces parachuted into an area northeast of Caen. Supported by tremendous naval and air bombardment, seaborne landings were made by units of the V Corps, US 1A, on Omaha Beach northwest of Bayeux, while troops of the VII Corps fought their way ashore on Utah Beach east of St Mère Eglise. British forces made seaborne landings north and northwest of the strategically important city of Caen. The enemy was reported to have been surprised as to the scope, nature, and area of the assault. Preparations continued throughout the US 3A for the task ahead. Authority was received from HQs ETO to move Army Headquarters to the concentration area around Breamore. On Jun 9 the Army was informed that it would be responsible for receiving the HQs, US 9A, due to arrive in the UK on or about Jun 29.
The Forward Echelon of the Army was phased in to be lifted to the Continent on D 29; the Rear Echelon, on about D 44. On Jun 10 it became apparent that there was a possibility the Forward Echelon might become operational while the Rear Echelon was still in the UK. Furthermore, on D 29 the great bulk of the troops assigned to this Army would still be stationed in the UK. Many were still to arrive from the United States. Their equipping and preparation for combat was a task of considerable magnitude. Accordingly, following decisions were made : (1) The CG, XII Corps, was designated as Deputy Army Commander, to assume command of the US 3A troops in the UK upon the departure of the Army Commander for the Continent; (2) The normal Forward Echelon of Headquarters was to be provided with operational groups from the following sections normally in the Rear Echelon :
This new grouping of the staff was known as Forward Echelon, Group X, (3) The Rear Echelon of the Headquarters was to be provided with operational groups from the following sections normally in the Forward Echelon :
(attached) G-2 teams
(attached) Engineer teams
This grouping was known as Rear Echelon,Group Y, (4) To reinforce the staff of the XII Corps and to assist in its new Army mission, in addition to its own responsibilities, another group of personnel, designated as Group Z, was formed,with the following sections represented :
Chemical Warfare Service
Group Z was to rejoin Army Headquarters when the XII Corps arrived on the Continent. Medical supplies and equipment were flown from England to Northern Ireland on Jun 10 to complete the equipping of the 5th Infantry Division and the 8th Infantry Division. On Jun 10 and 11, public relations officers of the :
4th Infantry Division
5th Infantry Division
6th Armored Division
7th Armored Division
8th Infantry Division
35th Infantry Division
held a conference at Army Headquarters for briefing, planning, and discussion of public relations activities on the Continent. The Army Commander explained the public relations function at Army, Corps, and Division levels. Waterproofing schools previously set up had trained approximately 4,880 instructors in the waterproofing of vehicles for Continental operation. Transfers of Medical personnel were completed between Jun 10 and 20, balancing the staffs of Army hospital units, and it was considered that all were now qualified to perform their mission, except that field hospitals would need assistance through attachment of surgical teams. US 1A Group approval of the US 3A plan for the Operation Chastity was given on Jun 14. XX Corps was directed to make detailed plans for the operation, designed to secure Belle Isle and the Quiberon Bay area. The Provost Marshal Section, recently designated a special staff section, held a planning conference with representatives from all corps, divisions, and Military Police battalions and companies of the Army present. The Army Commander discussed the importance of traffic control, the handling of prisoners of war, appearance and aggressiveness of Military Police.
Engineer Map Depot – The Engineer Section on Jun 15 established for the first time an Army Map Depot, at A ltsincham, England, to make distribution of operations maps to build-up troops leaving for the Continent. VIII Corps Headquarters, with certain supporting troops, was attached on this date to the US 1A, and became operational on the Continent. Liaison representatives from the G-2, G-3, Provost Marshal, Quartermaster, and Signal Sections of the 3A Headquarters accompanied VIII Corps into action. Liaison officers from the G-l, G-2, G-3, G-4, Engineer, Medical and Quartermaster Sections were attached to the Advance Section Communications Zone. During the period Jun 17 to Jun 24, the A.C. of S. G-4 sent a letter to all units on Embarkation Procedure, covering points to be stressed in loading,movement of vehicles on craft, preparatory to the embarkation of the Army for France, and on request from HQs ETO, the G-4 Section obtained 10,000 bayonets and scabbards from various 3A units for use by the US 1A. In this period, the G-2 Section Issued Target Area Analysis N°6, containing a preliminary study of crossings of the Loire River, Orléans to Saumur (by the Engineer Section), a Study Vannes, and appendices entitled Terrain Estimate and Strategic Points in the Road Net (by the Engineer Section).
On Jun 24, Group X of Headquarters was directed to move by motor transport to Breamore. In the last week of June, a G-2 Section memorandum outlining the function and policies of the Army Photo Center was concurred in by the commanding officer, 10th Reconnaissance Group. The A.C. of S. G-2 (Air) and the 10th Group commanding officer agreed to a daily photographic cover of the Army front to a depth of ten miles at 1/15,000. Pinpoints of artillery locations, bridges, and known or suspected enemy locations were to be taken on a larger scale. In slow-moving or static situations, photographic reconnaissance would be employed to the utmost, while in fluid or mobile situations tactical reconnaissance would be employed. In this period the Engineer Technical Intelligence team reported for duty, its mission being to search for and examine captured enemy material and to send to higher echelons any new-type equipment for evaluation.
A liaison staff of 4 US Navy officers reported to the G-5 Section for duty in the French coastal area.
The Headquarters Commandant was concerned with several important matters pertaining to efficient movement of and service in the field to Army Headquarters. The need for utility engineers, carpenters, masons, plumbers, sign painters, and electricians was met. Quartermaster truck and car companies were attached, plus an Ordnance automotive maintenance company to service the motor transportation. The 6th Cavalry Band, later redesignated the 61st Army Ground Forces Band, was attached to the Army Headquarters.
New Headquarters – On Jun 29 Army Headquarters moved by motor from Peover and Toft Camps to the area around Breamore, 19 miles west of Southampton. On Jul 2, verbal orders were received from higher headquarters to prepare for immediate movement to the Continent. Strength of the Army was reported by the G-l Section to be 264,843 on Jun 30. On Jul 3 the G-6 Section, in its staging area at Brookheat Mano, near Breamore Hall, was joined by its Psychological Warfare Branch personnel, the Second Service Team of the 72d Publicity Service Bn, and 43 war correspondents who were to cover US 3A activities on the Continent for newspapers, news and photographic services, magazines, and radio stations around the world. On Jul 4, XX Corps was directed to prepare plane for the seaborne aspect of the Operation Hands Up, to expedite the cutting off of the Brittany Peninsula and the capture of the Quiberon Bay by 3A.
Move to the Continent – The UK planning phase of the Army’s activities came to a close during Jul 5 to Jul 7, when the Forward Echelon, Group X, sailed from Southampton for France, covering a distance of approximately 150 miles in convoy, average time for transit being fourteen hours. Liberty Ships and Landing Ships Tank were used. The transports anchored off shore, and their loads were transferred to small landing craft and amphibious trucks for unloading on Utah Beach, vehicles going ashore through shallow water. LSTs were beached at high tide, left dry when the tide ebbed, and debarkation was carried out across dry land. All vehicles moved inland about eight miles to a transit area for de-waterproofing, and then proceeded in convoy a distance of 28 miles to the Headquarters bivouac area near Nehou, 7 miles southwest of Valognes, 15 miles south of Cherbourg and 8 miles from the front lines of VIII Corps.
The Army Commander and Chief of Staff flew to France to join Headquarters, which was set up under canvas in the orchards and fields of Normandy, lined by the famous hedgerows. Immediately upon arrival of Army Headquarters in France, emphasis was placed upon security, particular effort being made to conceal the presence of the US 3A on the Continent, documents being closely safeguarded, and telephone security and physical checks of the surrounding areas being maintained. Radio silence was imposed. The only troops available at the time for defense of the CP were those of various the sections and the 503rd Military Police Battalion, so each Section set up its own interior guard, including a perimeter defense of exposed boundaries until defense was taken over by the 6th Cavalry Group and the 546th AAA Battalion, coordinated through the Provost Marshal Section.
The XIX Tactical Air Command, previously designated to provide aerial support to the Army upon entry into action, established its Headquarters adjacent to Army Headquarters and detailed plans for air-ground cooperation were started. Representatives of all Headquarters Sections began a series of observation tours of the front and of opposite number sections of the US 1A in order to profit by their lessons learned from battle experience. Sections studied the tactical situation and terrain estimates. Daily briefing of section chiefs was resumed. Liaison was established with British 21-AG, US 1A, and US 12-AG (formerly known as US 1-AG). The Army Commander made personal inspections of those divisions in the V and VIII Corps which were to revert later to 3A control, and conferred with the US Secretary of War during the latter tour of the battle areas.
As of D 30, the enemy was continuing to launch counter-attack against the British sector, using infantry supported by tanks. In the American sector, enemy units were reported cleared from the western tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula, while fighting for the port continued. Determined pressure was being maintained along the US 1A front.
July 25, 1944 : Patton asked the Third Army Band to play at his good friend, Col Paddy Flint’s funeral. (US Army)
The G-2 Section’s report on enemy capabilities listed the following significant facts :
1 – There had been a continued retarded build-up in enemy infantry strength against the assault, approximately 50% of pre-DDay estimates
2 – In contrast, the build-up in armor by D 25 had reached predicted possibilities in the number of Panzer divisions, but total tank strength was far below previous estimates, which had given the enemy a force of between 1,750 and 2,600 tanks. (As of Jul 1, HQs 21-AG (British) estimated the actual enemy tank total in the battle area at 400 to 900, 50% of which were Mark IVs)
3 – The continued disruption of enemy lines of communication by air bombing and sabotage by Resistance elements had materially hampered the movement of enemy reserves into the battle area
4 – The further stripping of the Brittany Peninsula by commitment in the battle area of one entire division and battle groups from three other divisions left the 450 mile Brittany coastline defended by a crust of two divisions and elements of three others
5 – An apparent thinning out of the forces in the Bay of Biscay and Mediterranean areas had started
6 – The enemy continued to maintain a margin of safety in the Pas de Calais sector
7 – Practically all armor was concentrated in the Villers le Bocage – Caen sector
8 – A severe scarcity of tanks was indicated, due either to inability to transport them to the battle area or actual lack of armor
9 – The piecemeal commitment of reserves in an effort to contain the Lodgment Area had impaired the enemy’s capabilities to launch a coordinated major counter-offensive.
Enemy casualty figures as of Jul 7 were : Prisoners of war captured by US 1A : 46,219, enemy dead : 4,739 (buried).
The general tactical scheme of the British 21-AG was to secure the eastern flank around Caen, captured on Jul 10, and around the mouth of the Orne River, and to contain as much of the enemy strength in that sector as possible while aggressively pushing the attack in the US 1A zone. Reception of the US 3A troops arriving daily on the Continent was one of the first and biggest concerns of the Headquarters. Control points were established on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach to receive all arriving troops. Military Police were utilized as escorts from points of debarkation on the beaches to the concentration areas. Plans for circulation and movement of this traffic were coordinated through Traffic Control Headquarters of the US 1A and the A.C. of S. G-3, US 3A. Some 500 units of the US 3A were thus moved over the narrow, crowded roads of the Peninsula.
Adjustment of Supply – Constant readjustment of supply plans was necessary. Arrangements were made with the US 1A to establish Quartermaster supply points for Class I, II, III, and IV supplies for the US 3A troops on the Continent, and those due to arrive. Request was made by the G-4 Section to the Communications Zone for provisions for the supply and evacuation of units when they became operational, with special provisions for keeping supplies pushed forward in anticipation of a breakthrough. Communications Zone became operational on Jul 17, under the US 1A control, its Advance Section thereafter being the supply agency for the US 3A. The G-4 Section, among its varied activities, requested completion of arrangements to provide, by Sep 25, the following winter clothing for troops :
370,000 Pairs of Overshoes
50,000 Mackinaws Jackets
Units of the Army were placed on equal priority within the availability of equipment, divisions to have first priority, units on troop movement tables second priority, and all other units to have equal priority of 100%. All previous Army priority lists were rescinded. Late in the month, conferences were held between the A.C. of S G-4 and representatives of the Navy and the Transportation Corps over possibility of using water transportation between the UK and such ports as Granville, St Malo, St Brieuc, Morlaix, Brest, and the Quiberon Bay, to supply units moving down the Brittany Peninsula. The US 12-AG was also contacted on policies and procedure regarding supply of the US 3A by air.
Back in England, a small detachment from Army Headquarters, attached to XII Corps, was working with that corps equipping and moving th US 3A troops for Continental operations. Units were arriving in the UK and being marshaled so rapidly that it was found necessary to devise means of completely equipping them in less than
21 days. Build-up Control Organization was forced to defer shipment to the Continent of a number of units for lack of equipment.
One of the first missions carried out by the Signal Section was to make a reconnaissance of existing communications in the 3A area on the Continent. Messenger service was established to the Air Dispatch Letter Service landing strip, and an axis of communication was constructed following VIII Corps as closely as possible in its advance down the coast toward Brittany. On Jul 14, the 3A was given jurisdiction of all circuits to its rear boundary. Coordination with the Provost Marshal Section resulted in an agreement that any prisoner of war documents passing through the latter’s hands would be inspected for information of value to Signal Section Intelligence. Plans were made for lateral communications between 1A and 3A.
The Engineer Section opened its Army Map Depot for the first time on the Continent at Bricquebec, on Jul 19, for issuance of operational maps in limited quantities. Reconnaissance of roads in liberated areas was made to acquire data for comparison with the road information used during the planning period in England, and indicated that the enemy had not destroyed as many bridges as expected. No major changes were made in the 3A estimates bridging requirements, however, which were carried to D 90 to D 120 period. Engineer units concentrated on training in elimination of mines and booby traps.
Following a series of experiments, the Ordnance Section formulated plans to equip Armored divisions, Tank battalions, Tank Destroyer battalions, and Cavalry Reconnaissance squadrons with hedgerow cutting devices, over 1,000 of these eventually being produced. As of Jul 26, certain tank recovery vehicles for divisions and tank battalions were still not available, so it was decided to issue M-2 half-tracks, not as a substitute but to enable the units to carry necessary tools and equipment which might be utilized for recovery purposes.
Hospitals in Service
The US 3A evacuation hospitals were being placed in service, through attachment to the US 1A, as they arrived on the Continent. Among decisions of consequence affecting the Medical Section during the pre-operational phase were the following : the Communication Zone detachment was made responsible for bringing blood from airstrips to the Blood Bank detachment, to be delivered on a prorata basis to all units; the Surgeon’s plan for the movement of collecting, ambulance, and clearing companies on orders of the Army Group Commander without previous notification of 3A’s Headquarters, was approved; and immediate release on arrival for all medical supplies bearing markings for this Army was agreed upon.
Among problems solved by the Artillery Section during this period was one pertaining to the movement of liaison-type aircraft to the Continent from the UK. A marshaling airdrome and special over-water equipment were obtained, and a procedure established whereby a unit’s planes were dispatched in coordination with the unit’s movement by water. Preparations were made for truck loading of aircraft when cross-channel flights to the Continent were not possible.
(to be continued)