175th Infantry Regiment
After Action Report
29th Infantry Division – June 1944 – Battle of Normandy
Phase 1 – Beach landing 7 June 1944 to capture of Isigny 9 June 1944.
June 7, 1944, D plus 1, the 175th Infantry landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France beginning at 1230 hours. Several of F Company’s and one of L Company’s landing craft were destroyed by under-water mines and machine gun fire as they approached the beach. The 1st and 2nd battalions landed abreast one mile Eaet of Vierville sur Mer. Machine gun and small arms fire were encountered on the beach. Four hours later, the remainder of the regiment landed one mile East of Saint Laurent sur Mer.
One ashore, the leading battalions moved inland to Vierville encountering occasioned mortar and machine gun fire. The regiment, in a column of battalions, first, second and third, marched to Gruchy. During the march, detachments were deployed from time to time to wipe out small pockets of enemy resistance and snipers.
At 2330, in the vicinity of Gruchy, Company “F” and Regimental Headquarters Company were fit from the flank by enemy gun and artillery fire. Supporting tanks of the 747th Tank battalion moved up, supported the motion to clean up the opposition and the advance continued.
From 0200 to 0400 8 June, a halt was made for reorganisation. Then turning West on the highway to Isigny, the 1st battalion passed through and captured La Cambe about 09h00. Outside La Cambe, the column was attacked and strafed by aircraft bearing allied insignia at 0930. Six men were killed, 10 wounded.
At 1600, the third battalion was committed to reduce an enemy strong point at St Germaine du Pert consisting of infantry and mobile 88s. This strong point was reduced and driven back across the causeway after heavy fighting.
At 1800, the 2nd battalion attacked through the 1st battalion to reduce the strong point at Cardonville, a radar station, which was strongly hold and in concrete emplacements. Assisted by fire from the cruiser Glasgow, the 2nd battalion, despite heavy resistance consisting of machine gun, mortar and 88’s captured this position.
Meanwhile, the 1st battalion had continued the advance toward Isigny. They reached Isigny at 0430 on 9 June and by 0730 had pushed in through the city.
From Isigny, “K” and “E” Companies, supported by three tanks, were sent West to take Hait, secure the bridge over the Vire River and protect the right flank of the regiment. This was accomplished and concluded the first phase of operations.
Phase 2 – Capture of Lison 1800 9 June 1944.
At 1005 on 9 June, the Regiment marched South and east with Lison as its next objective. This order of march was 3rd battalion, regimental Headquarters Company, 1st battalion and 2nd battalion. The column moved through La Madeleine, Pont Renard and La Heresneserie, South of the latter place it encountered elements of the 352 Field Artillery, acting as infantry. These troops lay in the ditches, head to foot, while our troops and tanks slaughtered them. An estimated 125 were killed, together with 30 from 513 Schnelle Battalion.
The advance was resumed, passing through La Foret and occupying La Potelaie with little resistance by 1800 9 June.
Phase 3 – Capture of Lison 9 June to capture of Hill 106 – to 30 June.
The period 1800 9 June to 2400 10 June was used to consolidate defensive positions around Lison. On 11 June, active patrolling was done by all units. The night of 11 June, Major Miller, Executive Officer of 1st battalion, was put in charge of a task force with the mission of crossing the Vire River, attacking Montmartin en Craignes and securing crossing of the Vire et Taute canal against use by panzer units moving against our right. Brigadier General Cota, the Assistant Division Commander, accompanied this task force, which consisted of companies “C” and “E”, each with a section of heavy machine guns attached and sections of 81mm mortars.
At 0645 on 12 June, the task force, with “C” Company leading, crossed the River Vire. It then pushed South to Montmartin en Graignes, with Company “E” on the left, Company “C” on the right. Stiff resistance was encountered on the outskirts of the village. Company “E” attacked to the West against the group of houses North West of Montmartin. Major Miller attached with Company “C” against the main village. The two forces became separated and Company “E” after suffering heaving casualties, withdrew across the river. Meanwhile, Company “C” with Major Miller and General Cota, pushed through the village and occupied the high ground South of Montmartin en Graignes.
At 2200 on 12 June, Company “G” with one mortar section and one machine gun section attached was sent across the River Vire to the aid of Company “C”, the remainder of the task force. Colonel Good, the Regimental Commander, assumed command of this group.
The morning of 13 June, a battalion of Paratroops came up on the right of the task force, relieving the pressure on their right flank. Later in the day, these were forced to withdraw, leaving the task forces again to face the enemy alone. Rations and ammunition were dropped from the air.
An enemy Panzer Division was reported to be approaching Montmarin en Graignes and it was consequently felt that in spite of the fact the task force was on the high ground of Montmartin en Graignes, the village must be shelled. The battleship Texas shelled the town with its 16-inch batteries, without hitting the task force.
At 1205, 13 June, Company “G” recrossed the River Vire, having run into stiff enemy opposition. Colonel Goode was missing, having been wounded or killed in this action.
The morning of 14 June, the Division Commander ordered the task force to with-draw across the River Vire and rejoins the regiment. They fought their way back to the river and returned late that night.
On the 14th of June, a new division attack order was issued. The objective: St Lo. This plan hinged on the 30th Division coming on line for a coordinated attack with the 1st battalion leading, 3rd battalion and 2nd battalion to its rear, echeloned to the right to protect the right of the division.
The attack started on schedule. By 1118, the 3rd battalion had captured its objective, in the vicinity of Amy, despite determined opposition. The 1st battalion also encountered stiff opposition being hindered by apparent mine fields, which proved on coordination to be dummy mines. By 1305, it had cut the road East of La Meauffe.
At 0730 on 17 June, the 1st battalion again moved out in the attack with Hill 108 as its objective. During this advance, Lieutenant Colonel George, the Regimental Commander, was seriously wounded by an enemy hand grenade while leading a patrol against an enemy machine gun position. At 1045, the battalion was held up by heavy machine gun and machine pistol fire. An enemy counter-attack, launched against the right flank of the 1st battalion, was beaten off by the 2nd battalion.
Meanwhile, the 3rd battalion was attacking South from Amy and captured the town of Le Meaune at 1100.
At 2210 on the night of 17 June, the 1st battalion was only 600 yards from its objective, but encountered determined resistance. Patrols located the German position about this time and after artillery and mortar preparations, an attack was made and the ground which was being organized by the enemy was occupied just as it became dark. An 88mm gun, a 150mm mortar, a 20mm gun, and much miscellaneous equipment were captured and 15 prisoners taken. Under continued enemy fire a temporary defensive position was assumed for the night. At 0620 the following morning, while preparation of a defensive position as ordered by the Division was under way, the Germans delivered a strong counter-attack. Although many casualties were suffered, including the battalion Commander and Executive Officer, the ground was held with the exception of about 200 yards. This was finally organized completely. During the entire remainder of the day until after dark that night, the battalion was completely isolated by enemy mortar and artillery fire from the balance of the regiment. Further severe losses were suffered during this period, but the position was maintained.
During the night and early morning of 18-19 June, the 3rd battalion relieved the first and the latter was withdraw to a less exposed position immediately to the rear of the defended area.
The operations to this point resulted in the regiment being situated in a salient extending to the farthest point of advance of the 1st battalion, which was within 3 miles of St Lo, the closest approach to that place by any part of the enemy on three sides, was successfully held against one major and several minor counter-attacks from 19 June up until the end of the period, during which time the battalions were restated no that each held the foremost part of the position for a portion of the time. Active and vigorous patrolling was conducted by day and by night, eventually developing an accurate picture of the enemy organization.
The close of this period finds the regiment defending with the 1st battalion and 3rd battalion on the position in the order xxxx and the 2nd battalion withdrawn to reserve. The creation of a reserve had become possible by constant improvement of the defence despite continuous artillery and mortar fire of varying intensity during the entire time.