137th Infantry Regiment – Août 1944
After Action Reports
35ème division d’infanterie américaine
Headquarters 137th Infantry Regiment APO #35, New York
31 August 1944
Subject: Action Against Enemy, Reports After/After Action Reports.
To : The Adjutant General, Washington 25, D. C.
Thru: Command Channels.
1 AUGUST 1944 Task Force S attacked at 0530, with the 3rd Battalion on the right, the 1st on the left and the 2nd in reserve. Early reports were that the Germans had been digging in all along the front, with no evidence of withdrawal. Nevertheless the 1st Battalion pushed cross country toward Brectouville, and their supporting tanks moved along the road to that town, which had been reported as the location of a German headquarters the previous day. At 0850 the main body of the battalion was in Brectouville. Farther south, they found new half-track and other large vehicle tracks, and also freshly dug slit trenches and fox holes, which indicated the Germans had just left the vicinity. A large prepared communications cable leading through the area was left behind in their hasty departure. By noon the 1st Battalion was at the stream north and west of Pitaunay, where they were held up by enemy machine gun and mortar fire. At that time the 3rd Battalion had crossed the same stream and were at a point slightly south of le Mt Hebert. With a strong enemy line encountered, extending from south of le Mt Hebert to Pitaunay and west, the task force reorganized and launched a coordinated attack at 1800. After an advance of approximately 1000 yards, the 1st Battalion ran into heavy machine gun and mortar fire again, and in addition direct 88 fire, at 2050. The battalion received heavy casualties, and B and C Companies were cut off for a time. The battalion fell back, and the 2nd Battalion was ordered to move around to the right of the 1st, to march on Tessy and cut the Tessy-Torigni road. It had already been reported that Allied armored forces had entered Tessy during the evening.
2 AUGUST 1944 The attack continued during the night, and a coordinated night attack was made shortly after midnight with the 2nd Battalion jumping off at 0045 and the 3rd at 0130. By 0800 the 3rd Battalion was in Domjean. The 2nd Battalion, now operating on the right of the 3rd, crossed Highway 3 leading northwest from Tessy, pushed down the east bank of the la Vire River, and had reached the double bend in the river south of le Mesnil by 1000. At 1050 the Battalion Commander reported two of its rifle companies and the heavy weapons company across the river. At 1530 the 1st Battalion was reported south of les Verges, and the 3rd Battalion at Beau Costil. All battalions were receiving heavy shelling from German artillery and mortar positions west of the Vire River. However, steady progress was made, and the high ground north of the river was cleared of the enemy resistance by 1800. Four enemy tanks reported at the bend of the river north of Pontfarcy were destroyed by Allied aircraft. At 1845 the main body of the 3rd Battalion was across the river. With the 2nd and 3rd Battalions across the river, the Division Commander then ordered one battalion to remain north of the river. The 1st Battalion remained, to protect the west flank of the Division.
3 AUGUST 1944 The attack again continued through the night, and at 0210 the following morning, Company E was on the objective. The 3rd Battalion was on the objective at 0735. The weather, which had been clear during the first three days of the present operation, became cloudy and overcast, and rain fell during the afternoon, ranging from a light sprinkle north of the la Vire to thunder showers to the south of the river. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions resumed the attack south of the river, and moved forward with very little opposition until the 2nd was held up at 0940 by a dug-in Tank Destroyer position south of la Fortier. The Battalion knocked out this resistance at 1115 and moved on. The advance was again held up at 1225 by machine gun and mortar fire south of Hel Gohier, and by tanks east of that point. The enemy tanks were driven out by our own tank battalion at 1320, and shortly after 1400 the 2nd Battalion pushed through to la Tabourie. The 3rd Battalion in the meantime were receiving heavy mortar and scattered time fire, and increased enemy resistance held up the regiment’s advance late in the afternoon. At that time, contact was made with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 116th Infantry (29th Division), closing our exposed flank to the right. No action other than patrolling was reported after darkness on this day. Casualties in the regiment for the first three days of August were 6 killed, 48 wounded and 1 missing on the 1st; 10 killed, 77 wounded and 3 missing on the 2nd; and 3 killed, 20 wounded and 5 missing on the 3rd. 1st Lieutenant Mueller of Company D was killed on the 1st, and 2nd Lieutenants Packard of Company B, and Frank I. Gonzales, of Company I were killed on the 2nd. Lieutenant Gonzales had distinguished himself during the first week of combat as a platoon sergeant and had been recommended to receive the Distinguished Service Cross and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the regiment’s first battlefield commission, all in recognition of his performance at that time. Few prisoners were being taken as the Germans fought their delaying action. On August 1st there were 8 captured, and only 3 each on the 2nd and 3rd. The prisoners taken were predominately Nazis, in comparison with the Poles, Czechs and Austrians captured north of St. Lo. Some of them maintained their belief that Germany would win the war, and their faith in Hitler remained unshaken. Claims that « total war » was to be waged on the Allies soon, and that pilot-less planes were to be used on the front lines, were expressed by the prisoners, some of them members of the Hitler Youth.
4 AUGUST 1944 The attack jumped off at 0630 on August 4, with the 2nd Battalion on the right and the 1st Battalion, which had been brought up from across the la Vire River, attacking on the left. The 3rd Battalion, after being passed by the 1st, reverted to regimental reserve. The weather was again clear, but the roads remained slightly muddy. Light scattered resistance was encountered at 0830, and enemy mine fields were reported south of Beaumesnil and extending west, which caused some trouble. The 2nd Battalion pushed across the stream south of Beaumesnil, and were reported on the new objective at 1000. The 1st Battalion, after overcoming mortar and machine gun fire, reached the objective at 1447. Thereupon, Task Force S ceased to operate as such, and all units comprising it reverted to their former status. The 137th Infantry during the remainder of the day secured and patrolled the area. All elements of the Division continued to reach their objective during the day, and a review of the operations showed that in four days the Division had advanced almost the entire distance from St. Lo to Vire. At this time the 2nd Division continued to operate on the left of the 35th, with the 29th Division on the right. Reports showed 9 killed, 96 wounded and 25 missing in action, but many of these were no doubt casualties which had occurred during previous days and had not yet been reported. No prisoners were taken on the 4th. More information was now being obtained from French civilians than formerly, and their attitude was generally more cooperative. The 60th Engineer Battalion had maintained a bridge across the la Vire River in the face of heavy enemy shelling, which greatly assisted the task force in its rapid advance.
5 AUGUST 1944 The 137th Infantry moved into an assembly area north of Beaumesnil and prepared to move by motor to a distant area upon order of the Division Commander. Enemy aircraft was reported during the night, and mines left behind by the Germans resulted in light casualties. One enemy prisoner was taken on the 5th.
6 AUGUST 1944 The regiment remained in the same area and awaited further orders. Casualties for the 5-6 August were 1 killed on the 5th, 2 wounded on the 5th, 6 missing on the 5th, and 2 missing on the 6th. A resume of casualties incurred to date, before leaving the St. Lo-Vire area, would show: In the battle for St. Lo, from 10 July to 19 July, 106 were reported killed, 592 wounded, and 32 missing in action. Additional casualties during the continued operation of the area taken, up to 30 July, and delayed reports of earlier casualties, together with information gained from various sources, boosted these figures to 145 killed, and 704 wounded, while these missing were reduced to 6. One officer remained missing in action, 11 officers had been killed, and 29 wounded, of whom 4 had already been returned to duty. After beginning the attack south of St. Lo, operating as Task Force S with the XIX Corps in the drive through Tessy toward Vire, the regiment lost 30 killed, 260 wounded and 34 missing from 31 July to 4 August. Scattered casualties during the continued occupation of this area brought the total to 31 killed, 262 wounded and 42 missing in action before leaving this sector. Among those killed were 3 officers, while 6 officers had been wounded and 2 were missing. Twenty-one prisoners had been taken. Since arriving in France the 137th Infantry had suffered 1183 casualties, consisting of 177 killed, 956 wounded, and 40 missing in action. Many of the wounded had returned to duty, and these and new replacements totaled 826. At 1750 the 137th Infantry left the St. Lo-Vire area. Their destination was the vicinity of Louvigne, lying southwest of Avranches, where the latest German thrust was threatening to cut off the entire Brest Peninsula. Proceeding to Pontfarcy, the motor convoy turned southwest, swung around Villendieu, then continued southwest to Ponts, within sight of Avranches on the Mont Saint Michel Bay. Turning east at Ponts to Brecey, then south, the convoy reached the devastated city of St. Hilaire at midnight. With the regiment now fully battle tested, it became apparent that time should be taken to cite certain members for outstanding acts of heroism displayed in previous battles. By the end of the week, fifteen men had been recommended for awards ranging from the Bronze Star to the Distinguished Service Cross. On the 4th of August 1944, Hq., 35th Inf Div. announced the following awards to men of this regiment: T/5 Peter G. Seiwert, member of medical detachment from Garden Plains, Kansas, for gallantry in action was awarded the Silver Star; Sgt Allen C. Allburty member of Co. I who hails from Aberdeen, Washington, for heroic achievement was awarded the Bronze Star; Pfc Cofford F. Goza who drives a truck for Company M and answers the roll call from Avans, Georgia was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement.
7 AUGUST 1944 When the convoy had almost cleared St. Hilaire it was caught in a heavy bombing by a large force of German planes, which pounded the city and the highways leading south to Louvigne and St. James, after first dropping flares. Despite the vulnerability of the long convoy in the brightly lighted highway, the vehicles were damaged only slightly and the convoy moved on to the assembly area northwest of Louvigne immediately after the raid. However, four men were killed and three wounded by the bombing, with one missing. Shortly after 1500 the 137th Infantry moved east to the area near St. Symphorien and at 1830 received the Division order to begin movement by motor to secure the high ground in the Mortain-St. Cyre area. With the enemy threatening from the northwest and already reported in the 134th Infantry area, the plan called for an attack at 2000 – only one and a half hours notice. The 35th Division was now under XX Corps of the Third Army. The coming operation called for the 30th Division on the left, with the 2nd Armored Division operating within the sector. Various sources of information indicated that a large force of Germans were pocketed in the Mortain Forest. With Company B of the 737th Tank Battalion and Company B of the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion attached, the 137th jumped off on schedule, but met no resistance. They continued to advance until 2230, then dug in for the night, in conformance with Division orders. At this time their line was in the vicinity of Villechien.
8 AUGUST 1944 The attack was resumed in the morning according to schedule, and at 0720 companies E and F were on the objective, followed by the 1st Battalion, which was about 1000 yards back. The 3rd Battalion was released to the 134th Infantry on order of the Commanding General, 2nd Armored Division, after confirmation by the 35th Division’s Commander. The 1st and 2nd Battalions, after reaching their objective, assumed outpost, roadblock and patrol activity previously done by the 3rd Battalion. At 1200 the 137th Infantry received orders to assume responsibility of the area occupied by the 3rd Battalion of the 120th Infantry. Our troops moved into Barenton and the area between there and le Teillul, securing the road and the trains of the 2nd Armored Division. The 1st Battalion established an outpost at St. George de Rouelle, and the 2nd Battalion at St. Mars de Egrenne, with a motorized patrol covering the road net from the le Teillul to St. Cyr, and to the regimental boundary between Barenton and Mortain.
9 AUGUST 1944 The 35th Division was attached to the VII Corps on 8 August at midnight. On 9 August the 137th Infantry’s only activity was the conducting of patrols to the front and flanks; and continuing to secure the town of Barenton. The 3rd Battalion remained attached to the 134th Infantry, and that regiment continued the attack, while the 30th Division was meeting strong resistance on our Division’s left. The 3rd Battalion of the 134th Infantry was attached to the 137th on this date.
10 AUGUST 1944 The 137th Infantry continued to occupy and secure its position. Elements of the 4th Division moved in on the 35th Division’s right and began to take over part of the 137th area. The 134th continued to meet strong resistance, principally machine gun, mortar and small arms fire. Our 1st Battalion received artillery shelling at 1300, and the 3rd Battalion of the 134th Infantry reported mortar fire from tanks in the vicinity of St. Jean du Corail, at about the same time. No other enemy action was reported during the day. Casualties for the past three days in the 137th Infantry were very light. No men were reported killed; one man was wounded on the 8th and three on the 10th; five men were missing on the 8th, eight on the 9th, and four on the 10th. No prisoners were taken from the 7th to the 10th.
11 AUGUST 1944 The 2nd Battalion reverted to Division reserve, while the 1st Battalion advanced northeast from Barenton to Bourentier, then westward toward the Mortain Forest. The 134th 3rd Battalion advanced also, on the left of our First Battalion. Our own 3rd Battalion continued the attack through with the 134th Infantry, in the vicinity of Bion. Very little opposition was reported on the 11th, and no casualties were suffered by the 137th Infantry. No prisoners were taken.
12 AUGUST 1944 The attack continued and early in the morning the ridge of high ground north of le Gil Bouillion was gained. The enemy was pushed from the north slope of the high ground and during the day a general withdrawal was reported, with long columns of enemy vehicles leaving Ger and St. Barthemy. American P-47s, punching with a lightning strike, pounced upon the fleeing Germans and bombed and strafed continuously during the afternoon. Despite the withdrawal, enemy artillery and mortar fire inflicted heavy casualties on our 1st Battalion late in the day. The « Screaming Mimi » was also brought into use by the Germans against our troops. After reaching the vicinity of Rancoudray, the attack was ordered halted, at 2100, and the regiment was to be relieved by elements of the 2nd Armored Division at 2200. However both the 1st Battalion and the 3rd Battalion of the 134th Infantry were still engaged in a heavy fire fight at 2200, and the relief was not affected until the following morning, 13 August. At that time the 134th 3rd Battalion reverted to the control of their parent unit. Casualties for the 12 August were the heaviest of the week, with two men killed, forty-three wounded and 12 missing in action. Seventeen prisoners were taken, including SS troops and one 1st Lieutenant. Most of the prisoners were from the 21st Panzer Regiment of the 10th Panzer Division, and were about 19 years of age.
13 AUGUST 1944 The regiment, after being relieved by the 2nd Armored Division, moved to an assembly area south of Barenton. Our 3rd Battalion reverted to regimental control, and their casualty report brought the total for the day to 17 killed, 90 wounded, and nine missing. 2nd Lieutenant Joseph T. Hart was one of those killed. Nine additional prisoners were captured. The regiment prepared to move from the Mortain sector by motor, with a tentative destination of le Mans, and an ultimate destination of Orleans. Total casualties in the Mortain sector, from August 7 to 13, were 23 killed, 140 wounded, and 40 missing in action. Shortly before midnight the regiment departed, headed south through le Teillul, and continued to Ernee. No enemy aircraft appeared during the night, and the convoy moved southeast without interruption. During the period 6 – 13 August an additional 31 men were recommended for decorations. Eight men who had been previously recommended for decorations were awarded battle honors during this period, as follows: On 8 August Lt. Strong from Long Beach, Calif., platoon leader of Co A, was awarded the Silver Star; Lt. Simpson, Rgt Hq. Co., who lives at Billings, Mont., received the Bronze Star; T/Sgt Zimmerman of Co C, formerly of Jetmore, Kans., was decorated with the Silver Star; T/Sgt Blair, platoon sergeant of Co A, and a product of Atchison, Kans., also was awarded the Silver Star; S/Sgt Quintasket, another member of Co A and a native of Boyds, Washington, also received the Silver Star. On the 13 August the following awards were made: T/5 Harvey, Med Det., from Wichita, Kansas received the Silver Star; T/Sgt Hughbanks, platoon Sgt of Co. L., from Anthony, Kansas, received the Bronze Star; T/Sgt Waller of Co C., from Coldwater, Kansas received the Bronze Star. With these awards newly presented, it brought to a total of 13 the number of individual awards in this regiment.
14 AUGUST 1944 From Argente the convoy proceeded east on Highway N 157 to Varges, then south to Soulges, east to the outskirts of Brulon, then north to St. Denis. At St. Denis the column again turned east and moved into le Mans on Highway N 157. At le Mans, the largest French city yet entered by the 137th Infantry, the regiment was greeted by wildly enthusiastic civilians who lined the streets and cheered the Americans as they passed by. Little damage had been done to le Mans in it’s capture four days previously, and apparently the city was « open for Business. » During the afternoon of August 14 the regiment closed in at a bivouac area 1½ miles east of le Mans where they remained for the night.
15 AUGUST 1944 The 137th Infantry proceeded on its mission — to capture the city of Orleans, 65 miles south of Paris on the north bank of the Loire River. Again organized as Task Force S under the command of Brigadier General Sebree, the regiment was operating with CCA of the 4th Armored Division as part of the XII Corps. Little was known of German strength east of le Mans, and the regiment was to be responsible for its own protection at all points east of St. Calis. The I & R platoon preceded the convoy, which moved out shortly before noon. The route to Orleans took the regiment to the town of Change, then northwest to Highway N 157. Traveling east on this main road to Orleans, the convoy proceeded cautiously, stopping at many points as the country ahead was screened for hostile resistance. Through Ardenay and Boulore there was no evidence of Germans remaining. However, farther east, near Buslouys and Preteval, the enemy had just left that morning, after blowing up ammunition and destroying supplies. Scattered Germans were rounded up, and 12 prisoners were taken at one point by the I & R Platoon. Also 12 unexploded flying bombs were located. On the road from le Mans was much evidence of the losses of equipment suffered by the enemy, as burned and overturned German tanks, guns, trucks, trailers and various materiel were strewn along the countryside. In several places, complete enemy motor pools had been destroyed. Proceeding eastward, the column passed through Binas, Ouzouer, and Charlsonville. At Charlsonville, cooperative French civilians directed our troops to a large German buried communications cable crossing under the city. A crew from the Regimental Communications Section destroyed the cable. After encountering a heavy rainstorm, the regiment reached Coulmiers shortly after dark, and remained in that vicinity during the night. During the night, great fires were observed to the northeast, where Allied airmen had been playing havoc among enemy installations and transportation, and as the Germans continued to destroy their own ammunition and supplies which could not be taken with them in their rapid withdrawal. Casualties reported on August 14th and 15th were 6 wounded and 3 missing on the 14th, and 2 missing on the 15th.
16 AUGUST 1944 Patrols sent out during the night and early morning worked their way to within a few kilometers of the objective. The enemy continued to occupy Orleans, and were also in strength at Chateaudun, to the northwest. In the morning the regiment began its move on Orleans, with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions advancing on the city from the north, and the 1st Battalion pushing south to the river, west of Orleans. Some resistance was encountered in the woods between Coulmieres and Ormes, and the 3rd Battalion suffered 2 casualties at this point. At Ormes a large German warehouse was taken, with a complete stock of new kitchen and dining room supplies and equipment, including high grade china and silverware, vast quantities of pots, pans, brushes and other utensils, brooms, and considerable heavy equipment such as electric meat slicers, mixers, etc. A large quantity of motor fuel was also taken at Ormes. The 1st Battalion captured a large enemy machine shop, with airplane motors and other ordnance, in their sector. Pushing into Orleans, the 2nd Battalion reached the railroad crossing on the Ormes highway at the outskirts of the city at 1300. Two hours later, the 3rd Battalion was in the northwest part of the city, and at 1645 the city hall was captured. Despite machine gun fire and heavy artillery fire from German positions across the Loire River, and a constant sniper menace within the city, Orleans was captured with very few casualties in the regiment. Only 2 officers and 1 enlisted man were wounded. There were 42 enemy prisoners captured.
17 AUGUST 1944 During the night, occupation of the city was completed, and by morning all hostile resistance had withdrawn across the river. The Germans had left dynamite, bombs, and other explosives in the post office, telephone building and other locations, but their only successful work of demolition was in blowing up the bridge over which the city water main passed. Thus the city was without water for two days, until an auxiliary plant could be put into operation. With headquarters set up in the former German headquarters in the heart of Orleans, Task Force S set about to care for a city of 73,000 with no water or electricity. The Regimental Civil Affairs Officer, who had moved into Orleans the previous day long before the city was captured, efficiently brought about the cooperation of city and military officials and French civilians to restore the city to normalcy. The Free French forces organized themselves so rapidly in the city after the Germans had withdrawn, and were of great assistance. Throughout the next few days there were enthusiastic rallies, parades and other demonstrations by the liberated French, as they crowded the streets, parks and squares. German collaborationists were sought out and roughly treated. Orleans women who had been too friendly with the Nazis were gathered up, their hair clipped short, and paraded through the streets. Mined streets were encountered near the river, and the city received artillery fire most of the day. Casualties on the 17th were 17 wounded, 7 killed and 2 missing.
18 AUGUST 1944 The Germans continued to shell the city from their artillery positions across the Loire. Their fire was extremely accurate, with hits on the Task Force Headquarters, the Regimental motor park, and the kitchen train, since the occupation of the city. A church tower in St. Jean le Blanc was undoubtedly being used as an observation point, and a tank destroyer from the 654th Battalion removed the tower clearly with three shots. There were 14 prisoners taken on the 17th, and 42 on the 18th. On the latter date, 4 men were killed and 25 wounded.
19 AUGUST 1944 Reports of large numbers of Germans marching from the south failed to materialize, and the 137th Infantry conducted only patrolling activities within the city, as it moved its headquarters to the outskirts. Only 1 man was wounded on the 19th and 2 men were reported missing. Nine prisoners were captured. Colonel Sears, Regimental Commander, was decorated on the 19th by the Commanding General, XII Corps, receiving the Silver Star for his outstanding performance in the capture of Orleans.
20 AUGUST 1944 The regiment moved to the vicinity of Artenay and prepared to move east upon order. The 3rd Battalion was left in Orleans. On this day General Baade presented the Bronze Star to 6 members of the 137th Infantry at a ceremony at the regimental command post at Assas. Those honored were Lieutenant Colonels Albert M. Butler, George T. O’Connell, and John H. Stowers, Major Alfred K. Clark, Captain Jack L. Smith and 2nd Lieutenant Anders N. Kullander. All awards were for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding service in the campaign south of St. Lo from 31 July to August 4. No casualties of any kind were reported on the 20th and 13 Germans were taken prisoner. In making its thrust of nearly 200 miles to capture Orleans, the 137th Infantry lost a total of 11 killed, 52 wounded, and 9 missing in action. During the week of 14th to 20th of August 110 prisoners were taken by the 137th Infantry. Private Dagenhart, a bazooka man of Company B, became the first man in the battle for France to be twice decorated in the 137th Infantry Regiment when he received the Silver Star and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star. In addition to the other awards given out previously in the regiment, the following awards were announced for this regiment during the period 14th to 20th August: On the 15th: Silver Star Posthumous awards to — S/Sgt Julian and Pfc Trepanier of Co B, and T/Sgt Parks of Co. G. Silver Stars were awarded to Pfc Nichols of Co. A, T/Sgt Schultz, Co. C, T/5 Hild, Med Det., Pfc Rullo, Med Det., Pfc Sumner and Pfc Berry of Co. E., Lt. Giacobello, Co. F., and Pfc Zalnerovich of Co. H. Bronze Stars were awarded to T/Sgt Pucket, Cpl Mahurin, and S/Sgt Lighter all of Co. D., Lt. Schock and S/Sgt Frost of Co. E., Sgt Rosencutter of Co. F, Pfc Coker, Pfc Cooter of Company G. On the 19th: Silver Stars to: Pfc Lamberth and S/Sgt Jack Frost of Company B., and Pfc Swenson of Company E. Bronze Stars were given to: Sgt Auman and S/Sgt Hill of Company E, and to Sgt English of Company A. On the 20th: Silver Stars to: Pfc Crabtree and Sgt Ulmer of Co. M., and Pfc Hall of Company I. Bronze Stars to: Sgt Weddle, Co. C., Pfc Sawyer and T/5 Strope of the Medical Detachment., T/Sgt Griffith of Co. A, Pfc Keller, Pfc Gambill, and S/Sgt Shawgo all of Company I. In just more than one month’s time of combat service the 137th Infantry had a total of 55 men who had been decorated for heroic action and gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States. Task Force S was dissolved at the close of the Orleans operation, and all elements again reverted to their original status.
21 AUGUST 1944 The 137th Infantry left the 35th Division for its next operation, and became attached to the 4th Armored Division. With elements of the 4th, the regiment was divided into three parts. The 1st Battalion combined with one battalion of the Armored Division to form CCA. The 2nd Battalion with another armored battalion formed CCB. One battery of the 448th Antiaircraft Battalion was attached for the operation. The 3rd Battalion was attached to CCR. The plan for the coming operation called for a daring and spectacular move. Sixty miles southeast of Paris was the city of Sens. Located on the navigable Yonne River just below the junction with the Seine, this rail and highway center was reported to be a central supply point of the Germans for their strong points to the northwest as far as Paris, and southwest to Montargis. The mission of CCA and CCB was to capture Sens and cut this supply route. CCR was to remain in Orleans. Moving in a column of tanks, tank destroyers, self-propelled artillery and trucks, the forces would travel approximately ninety miles, with no flank protection, a large part of the way. It was believed that the Germans were in considerable strength on the Loing River at Montargis, and further north at Fontainebleau. It was decided to move between these reported strong points and cross the Loing River at Souppes, then push east into Sens. The success of such an operation would depend largely on the surprise element, the enemy being unaware of the proximity of the American forces due to his own shattered transportation and communication lines. At 0900, CCA left Artenay, followed by CCB at 1300. Swinging back through Patay and Ormes to Orleans, the column then turned northeast. Main highways were avoided as much as possible as far as Nibelle. The force moved through Boigny, Trainou, Sully la Chapelle and Ingrannes, then east through the Chene Pointu Forest to Nibelle. Taking to the main highways, the column moved into Boiscommun, east to St. Loup les Vignes, then to Juranville and Corbeilles. This was the first sight of Allied troops in these towns, and in most of them the Germans had left the day previously. From Corbeilles, CCA proceeded northeast toward Sens, through Chateau Landon and Souppe, then east through Egreville, Jouy, Montacher, St. Valerien, and Villeroy. Moving into Sens, our forces caught the Germans in complete surprise. Not a single casualty was suffered by the 137th Infantry, and almost the entire German garrison was taken prisoner. Many German officers were captured in dress uniform, and they admitted they had not realized the Americans were within miles of the city. By 2200 Sens was completely liberated and in the hands of the Allied forces. In occupying the city, the 137th Infantry had now advanced farther east into France than any other Allied troops yet reported. In the meantime, CCB had reached Corbeilles at 2030, and remained east of that town for the night.
22 AUGUST 1944 In the morning CCB moved on to Chateau Landon, then ran into enemy resistance at Souppes. This point had been passed by CCA the previous day, and at that time no Germans had exposed themselves to make a stand. By noon all resistance was wiped out, but Company F lost 5 men by enemy machine gun fire, 2 of which were killed and 3 wounded. CCB then moved on east leaving Company F at Souppes. However with Sens already securely held, the 2nd Battalion was sent to Courtenay, 18 miles southwest of Sens. At Sens, the Americans were again enthusiastically welcomed by the liberated French, and as in Orleans, parades, demonstrations and public gatherings were numerous. Reports of the city as being a supply point proved true, as warehouses and storage caves were found. Some of the warehouses had already been completely leveled by Allied airmen. Large stores of canned goods, flour, chocolate, coffee and other foodstuffs were taken. In addition, many enemy vehicles were taken in good repair. So complete was the surprise in over running the city, 4 Germans were captured as they returned from pass. On August 21st, 125 captured Germans were cleared through the 137th Infantry, and on August 22nd, 43. In addition, over 500 more prisoners taken in the vicinity of Sens and Courtenay were cleared through the 4th Armored Division. The only casualties in the 137th Infantry during the two days were 2 killed and 4 wounded, all on the 22nd. With the exception of 1 man wounded, all casualties were incurred at Souppes.
23 AUGUST 1944 On this date the 134th Infantry and 320th Infantry liberated Montargis, thus clearing the main route from Orleans to Sens. The 137th Infantry reverted to 35th Division control on the 24th. The 3rd Battalion was relieved at Orleans by the 319th Infantry of the 80th Division, then moved to Lomereuil. Elements of the 137th Infantry remained in Sens until August 25th. Company A was placed on the high ground west of the city, Company B at St. Clement, north of Sens, and Company C to the southwest at Meillot. The 2nd Battalion remained at Courtenay.
24 AUGUST 1944 – no entry
25 AUGUST 1944 The regiment was orderd to assemble at Courtenay and during the morning began the move from Sens and Orleans. However a change in orders returned the 1st Battalion to Sens. The 3rd Battalion moved to an area north of St. Germain, and the 255th Field Artillery Battalion was attached. Patrols were organized from Montargis east along the l’Ouanne River to St. Romain.
26 AUGUST 1944 On the 26th this line was extended from Orleans to St. Romain. The 3rd Battalion moved to the vicinity of Lorris on the 26th and the 2nd Battalion to the vicinity of Chateaurenard.
27 AUGUST 1944 The regiment moved to an area south of Montargis, and patrols were continued from Orleans to St. Romain. Scattered Germans continued to be rounded up. On the 23rd, 21 had been taken, 10 on the 24th, 8 on the 25th, 22 on the 26th, and 10 on the 27th. Casualties in the 137th Infantry were slight for the same period, with 1 officer wounded on the 24th and 1 enlisted man wounded on the 27th. No men were reported killed or missing in action.
28-31 AUGUST 9144 The 137th Infantry remained behind with no change in location or mission, while the remainder of the 35th Division pushed on east beyond Troyes. On the 30th, 2 prisoners were taken, and on the 31st, 18 more. There were no casualties in the regiment during this period. As the month came to an end, the 137th Infantry encountered its first critical supply shortage — gasoline. With the regiment in its present status there were no serious results, although patrols were necessarily reduced, in some cases by as much as two-thirds. Men of the regiment were further honored during the last 10 days of the month of August by the announcement that the following men had been decorated for their individual heroism in battle previous to this time. On the 25th: Silver Star was awarded to 1st Lt. Paul H. White of Company B. Bronze Stars went to Lt. Warren of Co. D, Pfc Cline of Co. I, Pfc Whiteside and Sgt Wood of Company A, Pfc Bell, Sgt Strong, T/5 Nash, and T/5 Simpson all of Headquarters Company 1st Battalion. On the 27th: Silver Stars to Pfc White of the Medical Detachment, Pfc Riley of Company M, and Pfc Butler of Company C. Bronze Stars went to Pfc Wolftail, S/Sgt Childs of Company A, T/5 Long and Pvt Wiatrowski of the Medics, Lt Mullen and T/Sgt Anderson of Company K, Sgt Cassidy of Company M, Pfc Wilson of 1st .Bn. Headquarters Company, S/Sgt Rowen, Sgt West and Pfc McConaghy all of Company L, Sgt Teague, Pvt Peters, Pfc Harp and Pfc Warducyzk of Company I, S/Sgt Kupper, Pfc Wilson and Pfc Vaught all of Company E. On the 29th: Two attached artillery officers were rewarded for outstanding work in past battles on this date. Lt. Hites and Lt. Hacke of the supporting 219th Field Artillery Battalion were awarded the Bronze Star. By the end of the month of August, 87 men of this regiment had received either Bronze or Silver Stars. This impressive total speaks very highly for the individual heroism of men of this unit but we are to be reminded at this time that only through cooperation of the unit as a whole were these awards made possible. At the close of August, after nearly two months in combat, the cumulative total of casualties in the 137th Infantry showed 213 killed, 1165 wounded, and 31 remaining missing in action. During the time the regiment had traveled nearly 400 miles, and had advanced more than half way across France to establish itself as one of the finest units in the present campaign. R. SEARS, Colonel, Infantry, Commanding. Incls: Journal and Supporting Papers Aug 1944 (1 copy)
319.1 1st Ind RGC/mla (31 Aug 44) HQ 35TH INF DIV, APO 35, U S Army, 20 Sep 44
TO: Commanding General, XII Corps, APO 312, U S Army
Forwarded in compliance with paragraph 2, Memo 2, Headquarters XII Corps, 2 August 1944.
For the Commanding General:
RICHARD G. CHADWICK Lt. Col., A. G. D. Adjutant General