1st Infantry Division (16-IR) – D Day – Omaha – (Journal)

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Journal entries, 16-IR, 1-ID, June 6 1944 (Raw Data)

0630- First wave lands on schedule on beach of Normandy, France, and meets fierce resistance on beaches. Beach is under heavy machine gun and rifle fire. No advance made inland as beaches were fully covered by pill boxes and mine fields just inland from beaches.

0730- Forward CP lands. Beach still under small arms and machine gun fire. No advance made inland. Casualties extremely heavy. Slight artillery fire on the beach. Heavy machine gun fire covering all exits and the entire beach.

0805- Rear CP lands. Beach still under heavy fire. CP established on beach and infiltration started thru right flank of area at small break thru. Mine field cleared out and all troops on beach commence moving of to flank.

0830- First four prisoners all from 8/916.Regiment (352.Infantry-Division), brought in.


1000- CP established just off beach on side of hill at [984895]. Battalions are moving forward, but are out of contact with regimental CP. Beach and entire territory still under heavy fire and companies are meeting heavy resistance. Several landing craft have received hits and troops still landing on the beach are receiving artillery fire, causing medium casualties. Things are becoming organized, however, and the situation is beginning to clear.

1055- 1/16-IR and 2/16-IR get contact with the Regimental CP and are moving forward slowly, hitting very heavy resistance.

1115- CO to CO 2/16 : Hold up at 38. Right, and we have contact with 2/16. The 5/916 is reported to be located at Surrain.

1135- Negative report to Division by radio.

1145- S-3 to EX 1/16 and 2/16 : 18-IR has landed. They will go in on your right. They will take your objective. You dip in and prepare for a counterattack, OK. Able Co is on the right, Charlie Co on the left, Baker Co following. We are still advancing slowly.

1145- S-3 to CO 2/16 : I talked to Capt Smith and told him about the 18-IR. How soon can you move rear part of your CP here by us up forward ? We have someone on the way back now to pick them up and guide them forward.

1205- EX 1/16 to CO : Can we get any tanks up to Colleville-sur-Mer ? Able Co : No, none of them are up to here yet. They aren’t off the beach. However, as soon as we can possible get anything up, we will shoot it up to you. Kept yelling for it.

1210- CO Charlie Co and CO to S-3 : We must have tanks or artillery up here soon. Will you see what you can do about it for us ? Able Co, OK

1220- Information received that the 3/18, was in, but location at the present time was not given. Probably only a rumor.

1223- MSG to CO 3/16 and 2/16. Has had units in Colleville-sur-Mer for some time. 1/16 Landed on the left of E-1 and is pushing in to assist the 2/16. In taking its objective.

1232- EX 1/16 to S-2. Able Co is at [678892]. Part of Baker Co is with them, and the rest is in reserve. We are going over to Point 19 first, and then towards 38. Charlie Co is at [681884], moving very slowly. Capt Merendino, Baker Co said he lost about 12 men from pill boxes firing on them. He couldn’t get contact with the Battalion. Maj Driscoll said he wanted him over on the right. Maj Driscoll to S-3 : We are 100 yards NW of 20. We are still pushing.

1255- In with 3/16 by wire

1245- MSG to CG 1-ID : Prisoners stated that the CP 10/726.Regiment at St Laurent-sur-Mer. CP 12/726.Regiment at Grandcamp-les-Bains. That is in the 116-IR Sector. 916.Regiment in sector of 16-IR. CP, 5/916.Regiment at Surrain. The 916.Regiment relieved the 915.Regiment two weeks ago.

1301- Out by wire with 2/16.

1312- 1/18-IR, lands and is passing thru the CP area, moving forward.

1318- Maj Lauten to 1/16 : Lt Kolb is trying to find your CP and will follow the wire line up.

1326- S-3 to 2/16 Fwd : Where are you ? CP is now moving forward. We are not in contact with them just now. They took a radio with them to keep in contact with us.

1327- S-3 to 1/16 : Are you with Maj Driscoll now ? No, he is at the forward CP and we can’t contact him now. However, I can give you the dope. Able Co pinned down by a strong point, just at the head of the draw at E-2, over by 20, West of Colleville. Baker Co is going along, sending a couple of sections over to help out Charlie Co. Charlie Co is 100 yards NW of Point 20. Naval Shore Fire Control Party is out with Major Driscoll now. 2/16 is held down. We are in buildings S and E of 20. There is stuff all around. S-3 : Artillery fire is coming in on the beach now. Well, I can’t see where it is coming from up here.

1355- White out by wire.

1422- More prisoners brought in. Prisoners have been coming in by twos and threes since the landing.

1425- MSG 2/16 to CO : Item Co held up at Point 8. Item Co unable to assemble forces to advance and has enemy infiltrating his position. Love Co same situation as Item Co. Item Co and Love Co are just beyond Point 9. Tanks and reinforcements needed. Time : 1330.

1440- 1/16 to S-2 Charlie Co the same as before, and Baker Co has moved up to the right of them. There is no other change.

1502- S-2 to 2/16 ? Have they cleaned out the town yet ? Last report I had a half-hour ago was that they were just on the outskirts of the town. I will check by the 300 set and let you know

1515- 2/16 to S-2 Capt Dawson started into the town. He had a small counter-attack. He had a couple of sections as far as the church. Wozenski is trying to clean up. Dogtag is going thru the town. S-3 : Half tracks are in. I am sending them up. What is you CP location ? CP is at [683885]. We have contact with the 1/16 only by means of passing men. The 2/18, is passing through. Easy Co is working up on the right, between George Co and Red. We received information from a civilian that there were about 150 Jerries in Colleville-sur-Mer. We have only about 200 men left; 115 in George Co, 2 officers and 40 men in Easy Co, and 2 officers and 12 men in Fox Co. There are possibly 20 more around.

1540- 2/16 to S-2 : What is the latest with Blue ? Not so good. Part of Item Co didn’t land. Very low on strength.

1540- 1/16 to S-2 : Charlie Co is moving very slowly. Baker Co is on our right, moving slowly, because of machine gun fire. As far as we know, Able Co is in the same spot.

1640- S-2 to switchboard : Are we in with Danger Advance ? No, sir.

1725- In by wire with Decoy.

1800- Capt Smith, 1/16 to S-2 : Maj Driscoll says we need stuff up here to take out these pillboxes. If we can’t get it, we will be held up. We’re leaving this for your consideration.

1830- 26-IR started landing on beach at 1830. A few enemy artillery shells landed near them along the beach. Shortly after, the cruisers and artillery guns opened up for a short period of time.

1935- Cruisers and ships firing heavy counter battery on guns firing on beach.

1940/- Enemy barrage of artillery landing along the beach where the troops are landing. Casualties light.

2045- S-4 to Danger 6 : Do you have an ammunition supply ? We don’t have any as of yet. S-4 : Do you have any transportation in yet ? No. We are getting some in on DUWKs and as soon as they come in, we will send out one of the DUWKs with ammunition. It will come in at E-1.

2048- Delight line is out.

2100- Capt Robbins to Maj Heath ? A German prisoner had two maps on him with 3 spots underlined. Believe they are strong points. These are at [659874], in vicinity of the road; [665874], running along the road junction and road north of it at [666875]; and at Surrain, they had underlined around [670859]. Very little change.

2115- Col Pickett, Div Sig, to Mr Wiles ? What is your equipment status ? We are very short on our signal equipment. All the men that were carrying equipment were hit and we had to salvage what we could off the beach. Col Pickett : OK. I will try to get you another signal crew and what equipment I can.

2124- Capt Bour, White 1, to S-1 : Any improvement on the evacuation of wounded ? If at all possible, we will send them out to the ships tonight. Send them up to us as soon as you can, and we will take care of getting them out.

2140- S3 18-IR to S3 : Williamson is located just north of goose egg on your map. One company at [702872], one at [702872], one at [695873], and one at [788875]. They are advancing to the high ground and then will move toward the West. We are holding back out 1/16. Do you have anyone in Colleville ? Not that we know. S3 18-IR : Is your 2/16 at [682878] and your 1/16 at [679878] ? Yes, that is right.

2145- Danger 2 to S2 : What’s the situation in front of you ? Very vague. There is a pill box in the draw near Colleville, and its causing us trouble. G2 : Is the enemy close to the edge of Colleville ? The 18-IR is at the top of the hill south of Colleville, but our right flank is still held by the enemy. There is no enemy North of the road except at E-3 exit, where there is a pill box. There’s a heavy gun at Formigny and a few small ones at Russy. A few tanks were seen yesterday in Colleville. G2 : What about your left company ? They are on the edge of Le Hamel. G2 : Did you run into any tanks ? No reports of any today. We got prisoners from 10/916 and 14/916 is the only company we are in contact with now. G2 : There is a lot of shelling from the southeast and the Maisy area.

2205- G3 to S3 : Any more dope on your two units near Colleville ? The general says that place must be cleaned out tonight. The 18-IR two battalions in front of you. No, no more dope on that.

2242- Danger 4 to S3 : Do you know where the temporary vehicle area is ? Yes. It is at Ex-1. Capt Fish has been out there. G4 : I’m setting up a temporary ammunition dump there. The ammunition will be rationed. Do you know anything about the 116-IR ? Yes. They are getting along OK. They are southwest of St Laurent.

2255- Capt Toby 7-FAB to S2 : I had a report from a Medic that people in St Laurent had 29 Jerries billeted with them. They left tonight and were to meet in Louvieres.

2257- S2 to danger 2 : Col Evans, we had a report from the 7-FAB, who talked to some civilians who said that the 29 officers who had been billeted at St Laurent. They were gone tonight and the officers were to meet at Louvieres.

2300- Maj Tegtmeyer to Col Ficchy : We are not able to evacuate any of our people. There are no evacuation facilities at the beach and something must be done. We will try and see that this is taken care of at once.

2310- CO 2/16 to S2 : Can you give me any dope ? Yes. Two battalions of the 18-IR are on that hill by you. OK. People are infiltrating. We are digging in and need reorganization. Tell the Colonel.

2310- Air raid on ships, beach, and short distance inland.

Group #2

#1 SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) incoming messages from Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower to Gen George C. Marshall COS concerning the first reports of the Normandy landings June 6 1944.

#2 SHAEF message from Gen Eisenhower to Gen Marshall reporting on D-Day landing area, June 8, 1944.

Top Secret Eyes Only / SHAEF STAFF MESSAGE CONTROL / INCOMING MESSAGE / SHAEF CP
SHAEF 83/06 / Filed 060800B June / TOR 060930B June / URGENT

FROM : SHAEF COMMAND POST, PERSONAL FROM GENERAL EISENHOWER
TO : AGNAR-TO GENERAL MARSHALL FOR HIS EYES ONLY, SHAEF FOR INFORMATION

REF NO : 90016, 6 June 1944
Local time is now 8 in the morning.

I have as yet no information concerning the actual landings nor of our progress through the beach obstacles. Communique will not be issued until we have word that leading ground troops are actually ashore.

All preliminary reports are satisfactory. Airborne formations apparently landed in good order with losses out of approximately 1250 airplanes participating about 30. Preliminary bombings by air went off as scheduled. Navy reports sweeping some mines, but so far as is known channels are clear and operation proceeding as planned. In early morning hours reaction from shore batteries was sufficiently light that some of the naval spotting planes have returned awaiting call.

The weather yesterday which was original date selected was impossible all along the target coast. Today conditions are vastly improved by sea and air and we have the prospect of at least reasonably favorable weather for the next several days.

Yesterday, I visited British troops about to embark and last night saw a great portion of a United States airborne division just prior to its takeoff. The enthusiasm, toughness, and obvious fitness of every single man were high and the light of battle was in their eyes.

I will keep you informed.

DISTRIBUTION :
1. SUPREME COMMANDER
2. CHIEF OF STAFF
3. SGS
4. Gen Strong (G-2)
5. Gen Bull (G-3)

TOP SECRET

AT NOON ON JUNE SEVENTH GENERAL BRADLEY FELT THAT CONDITIONS WERE IMPROVING ON OMAHA BEACH AND STEPS ARE BEING TAKEN TO REPLACE ARTILLERY WHICH WAS LOST IN LANDING DUE TO HOSTILE ARTILLERY FIRE AND SINKING OF LANDING CRAFT.

BECAUSE OF THE CONFIGURATION OF THE GROUND IN THIS PARTICULAR AREA SPOTTING FOR NAVAL GUNFIRE WAS RATHER DIFFICULT AND SINCE TROUBLE CAME FROM FIELD WORKS RATHER THAN FROM FIXED BATTERIES – BOTH AIR BOMBARDMENT AND NAVAL GUNFIRE WERE RELATIVELY INEFFECTIVE IN ASSISTING THE LANDING.

ON THE WHOLE US ARMY FRONT THE IMMEDIATE TACTICAL PLAN HAS BEEN ALERTED WITH THE PURPOSE NOW OF BOTH CORPS MAKING AN EARLY DRIVE TOWARD CARENTAN TO JOIN UP – AFTER WHICH THE ORIGINAL CONCEPTIONS WILL BE PURSUED.

ON THE FRONT OF THE FIFTIETH BRITISH DIVISION PROGRESS WAS VERY GOOD ALTHOUGH AS AT EVERYWHERE ELSE UNLOADING WAS INTERFERED WITH BY THE ROUGH WEATHER.

LIKEWISE ON THE FRONTS OF THE THIRD BRITISH AND THIRD CANADIAN DIVISIONS PROGRESS WAS GENERAL SATISFACTORY ALTHOUGH ROUGH WEATHER HAD FINALLY COMPELLED THE NAVAL FORCE COMMANDER TO DIRECT THE DRYING OUT OF LST’S BECAUSE RHINO FERRIES COULD NOT WORK.

ON THIS PARTICULAR FRONT THE BEACHES WERE FLAT AND HARD ANT IT WAS BELIEVED THAT NO DAMAGE WOULD RESULT TO THE LST’S.

THROUGHOUT THE FRONT WE LOST CONSIDERABLE NUMBERS OF THE SMALLER LANDING CRAFT – BOTH BECAUSE OF ROUGH WEATHER AND MINES IN THE TOUCHDOWN AREAS.

THESE WERE TELLER MINES WHICH BLEW SIZEABLE HOLES IN THE LANDING CRAFT BUT LARGE NUMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE REPAIRED AS SOON AS MAINTENANCE GROUPS CAN BE PLACED ASHORE AND START TO WORK.

THE LOSS OF THESE CRAFT – ADDED TO THE ROUGH WEATHER SLOWED UP THE LANDING OF ALL SUPPLIES AND AT NOON ON D PLUS ONE WE WERE APPROXIMATELY TWENTY FOUR HOURS BEHIND OUR EXPECTED SCHEDULE OF UNLOADING.

THE WEATHER IMPROVED MARKEDLY AT NOON ON D PLUS ONE.

IF THIS CCS, SCAF 48 GOOD WEATHER STRETCH CAN BE PROLONGED FOR A FEW DAYS WE WILL DO MUCH TOWARD CATCHING UP.

THE COURSE OF THE DAY I TALKED WITH GENERAL MONTGOMERY AND GENERAL BRADLEY AND WITH ADMIRALS KIRK AND DOUGLAS PENNANT AND OLIVER.

ALL WERE DISAPPOINTED IN THE UNFAVORABLE LANDING CONDITIONS AND ALL FELT THAT IMPROVEMENT OF THE WEATHER WOULD SEE A CORRESPONDING GREAT IMPROVEMENT IN OUR POSITION.

UPON RETURN OF ADMIRAL RAMSAY AND MYSELF TO ADVANCE HEADQUARTERS ABOUT TEN P M WE LEARNED THAT WE HAD APPARENTLY CAPTURED BAYEUX.

EARLY THIS MORNING I AM INFORMED THAT A GERMAN COUNTER ATTACK BY PARTS OF TWO PANZER DIVISIONS IS PUSHING IN ON THE RIGHT OF THE BRITISH SECTOR AND HAS MADE SOME PROGRESS.

HOWEVER – YESTERDAY AFTERNOON WHILE I WAS PRESENT ON THOSE BEACHES THE SEVENTH ARMORED DIVISION WAS BUSY UNLOADING AND THIS EARLY ENEMY THREAT SHOULD BE EFFECTIVELY COUNTERED.

ON THE AMERICAN BEACHES THE SECOND AND NINETIETH DIVISIONS WERE DUE TO BEGIN LANDING LAST NIGHT AND – WHILE I HAVE HAD NO REPORTS THIS MORNING – I BELIEVE THAT THE GOOD WEATHER LAST NIGHT SHOULD HAVE PERMITTED THE LANDING OF CONSIDERABLE REINFORCEMENTS IN THOSE DISTRICTS.

DUE TO THE FLUID NATURE OF THIS BATTLE IT HAS BEEN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO GIVE LOGICAL TARGETS TO MUCH OF OUR AIR FORCES BUT I AM CONFIDENT THAT IF WEATHER PERMITS OUR AIR WILL INTERVENE EFFECTIVELY IN ANY ATTEMPTED COUNTER ATTACKS BY THE ENEMY.

end of message

CCS, SCAF 48

SHAEF MESSAGE FORM

ACCOMPANIED BY ADMIRAL RAMSAY I MADE YESTERDAY A COMPLETE TOUR BY DESTROYER OF THE LANDING AREAS BEGINNING ON THE RIGHT.

PAREN 90024 T04SCC TO THE COMBINED CHIEFS OF STAFF FROM EISENHOWER CITE SHSAC.

THIS IS SCAF NUMBER FORTY EIGHT.

UNPAREN THE LANDINGS ON THE CONTENTIN PENINSULA APPARENTLY WENT ABOUT AS WELL AS COULD BE EXPECTED WITH THE ONE HUNDRED FIRST AIRBORNE DIVISION CARRYING OUT ITS MISSIONS IN GOOD STYLE.

INFORMATION OF THE EIGHTY SECOND AIRBORNE IS MEAGER BUT GENERAL BRADLEY INFORMED ME THAT THE SEVENTH CORPS HAD MADE CONTACT WITH IT.

ON BEACH OMAHA REPEAT OBOE ATTACKED BY THE FIFTH CORPS OPPOSITION WAS UNEXPECTEDLY HEAVY DUE TO THE PRESENCE ON THE BEACHES OF A FULL GERMAN DIVISION WHICH WAS ON MANEUVERS.

LOSSES HAVE BEEN CONSIDERABLE IN THIS FORCE AND LANDINGS HAVE BEEN MOST DIFFICULT DUE TO THE COVERAGE OF BEACHES BY HOSTILE ARTILLERY.

MOREOVER A LARGE PORTION OF DD TANKS FOUNDERED ON THEIR WAY TO THE BEACHES.

DUE TO THE ROUGH WEATHER DECISION WAS MADE ON THE OTHER BEACHES NOT REPEAT NOT TO ATTEMPT TO SWIM IN THE DD TANKS.

THESE WERE UNLOADED DIRECTLY ON THE BEACHES FROM THE LCT’S CARRYING THEM.


The diary of Lt Sidney J. Montz, US 4th Division, May 15- June 17, 1944.

May 15 Monday (21 days before June 6) Moved from Healthfield to Shiphay, Marshalling area arrived at night

May 16 – June 1 Took things easy, drew equipment, time off to Torquay, took a few short marches to keep in shape (6 mi and 4 mi). A few days before June 1st we were briefed, shown maps and sand table of where we were going. Everything in good shape. I was exec. off. but will take 81-MM in Wittenberser does not know Mortar, off in Co. 1st Pn Buckles, 2nd Pt Woodruff, 3rd Pt Wittenberger, 1st Sec. Leyy, 2nd Buckalew, 3rd Olson, Exec. Montz, CO Samson.

June 2 Left camp at 1020 for Torquay, got on LCUP to go to ship (the SS Diekman) on ship life was OK.

June 3 Sat. More briefing and plans for landing.

June 4 Sun. Too busy to go to church ? Marking final preparation ? Heard we sail to-day for landing to-morrow ? Weather very bad so things called off. Spent most the night in lounge, drinking coffee and listening to Radio. Heard the fall of Rome, in bed by 0200.

June 5 Mon. Heard we sail at 1300, Gen Ike Message read over the loud speaker after we sailed. Told D-Day June 6 H Hour 0630. We anchor at 0200 June 6 and get in LVP. Checked all equipment that was already in LCUP. Men in good shape and ready to go. Told that 10,500 planes would be in operation, 6000 bombers, rest fighter bombers. Did not know anything except we land on Utah beach Red and Green with 12,000 paratroops landing H-4 inland. Messed around, shooting bull and kidding each other. Channel pretty rough. Men will be fed at 2200, off at 2400.

June 6 – D-Day

2400- Eating a good meal, may be the last one, went down to compartment with my boat team. Sea very rough.

0230- Started loading about 0230, went over side down net and it was really tough. Took off to rendezvous area, had a tough time finding it, made it OK. Started circling, finally the other boats came in. Planes lit up the beaches, AA fire starting, flares dropping, beautiful sight but it scares the hell out of you. Hit line of departure, first and 2nd.

Wave practically on the beach, all hell broke loose from the beach, some boats hit by 88, they are on beach and going in. We are near beach and 88 opened up on the boat on our right and almost hit us. Some boats hit landmine, lucky we landed because much more we would have sunk, water still rough. Jumped out in waist deep water, about 500 or 600 yds from seawall, the longest I have ever seen in my life, MG, Mortar and artillery fire around us, finally in shallow water and able to run, had to miss all times of obstacles in and out of the water.

Picked up six rds of 81-MM ammo on the way, it seemed as though we would never reach sea wall. Men being blown up and hit all around me, you could hear them scream, it was horrible.

Finally hit sea wall, stopped to get a blow and bearing. Gen Roosevelt walking around telling everyone to clear beach or they would get killed. Rockets hit the third section, insured ? Lt Levy, Arps, Singer, Cole, Sgt Hasting, Killed, Cpl Herr, Brandt, Wadja. Check with CO.

Time to move or they will kill us all. Gen Roosevelt gave me lots of courage. Able Co about 500 yds to front finally got over with Wittenberger and one section, another sec. coming up under small arms and artillery fire. Navy left us 1000 yds. too far left, the left outfit caught hell. Moved in very fast, every house and tree loaded with men, they fire at you from all directions, very hard to see them as they use smokeless powder. Will get on to them soon then they will catch hell.

June 10 Saturday

1400- Hit by sniper as taking A sqd. to Able Co right flank, 100 yds. from road west of Montebourg. We were catching hell but know we will hold them, had 400 yds to get to objective. On way to aid station, hit in neck and right leg. Bandaged up and put in ambulance to be taken to beach, then sent to England. Spent the night in field tent, caught in air raid

June 11 Sunday Put on LCM and sent to hosp. ship, impossible to sail due to E boats in channels

June 12 Monday Sailed for England, destination Naval Hospital at South Hampton. Got in pretty late, was fed, a good bath, clean clothes, a bed with sheets. Doctors looked at us

June 13 Tuesday Rested, ate, slept. Doctor came

June 14 Wednesday Same as Tuesday, had two x-ray taken of a jaw and leg. Saw a show

June 15 Thursday Prepare to leave at 1930 for army Hosp. Board Hosp. train for 53rd Gen. Hosp near Malvern, about 200 miles from South Hampton

June 16 Friday Arrived 0700, took ambulance to hosp. Food and bed. Rest

June 17 Saturday Eat, sleep, rest. Doctor

For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
rue des Thiers 8
Francorchamps 4970
Belgium
Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be





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(NB : Published for Good – March 2019)

 

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