Division Headquarters report – July 1944
After Action Reports
35th (US) Infantry Division – Battle of Normandy
Headquarters 35th Infantry Division APO # 35, c/o Postmaster, New York, N. Y.
5 August 1944
SUBJECT: Report of Action Against the Enemy
TO: The Adjutant General, Washington, D. C. (Thru Channels)
1. In compliance with C-3, Par 10, AR 345-105, the following report of action against the enemy by the 35th Infantry Division during the period of 1 July 44 to 31 July 44 is submitted.
2. The 35th Infantry Division arrived in France during the period 5-7 July 1944. The Division was concentrated in an area two (2) miles west of Columbiers and attached to the XIX Corps, First U. S. Army.
3. The 2d Battalion of the 134th Infantry was placed in XIX Corps reserve on 8 July 1944 and moved to a point southwest of Carentan to relieve the 2d Battalion of the 120th Infantry. It occupied and maintained a defensive position on this line until 10 July 1944, when it was reverted to Division control and rejoined the Regiment at Les Essarts, France.
4. On the night of 9-10 July 44 pursuant to Field Order #1, the Division moved from the concentration area to an assembly area, and prepared to relieve elements of the 29th and 30th Infantry Divisions. The assembly area was within a circular line including the towns of La Blanerie, Moon-sor-Elle, La Ballollerie and La Pegotterie. The 137th and 320th Infantry Regiments, with attached troops, took battle positions on a line running from the Vire River on the right eastward to the vicinity of La Nicollerie. The 134th Infantry was in reserve. The 29th Infantry Division was on our left, and the 30th Infantry Division was on our right.
5. The 35th Infantry Division objective at the time was to take the north bank of the Vire River west of St. Lo.
6. The attack opened at 0530 11 July 1944 with a thirty-minute preparation by 35th Division Artillery reinforced by the fire of XIX Corps Artillery. At 0600 the 137th and 320th Infantries attacked. After taking the town of La Meauffe, the Division on the right advanced one and one half miles before being held up by a fortified church and chateau at St. Gilles.
7. The enemy appeared to be elements of the Lehr Division and of the 897th, 898th and 899th Infantries comprising the Kampfgruppe Kenthner.
8. The attack was resumed at 0800 on 12 July 1944. The enemy’s heavy artillery fire, previously prepared positions, and the necessity of clearing mine fields by the 60th Engineer (C) Battalion slowed the advance. The Division advance for the day was 200 to 300 yards.
Following a thirty-minute artillery preparation, the 137th Infantry, with one platoon of the 737th Tank Battalion attached to each battalion, attacked at 0800, 14 July 1944, and made a general advance. On the same day, the 134th Infantry completed the relief of the 2d Bn., 115th Infantry (29th Infantry Division) thereby widening the Division zone on the left to Highway G.C. 6. The objective was the capture of Hill 122 to the north of St. Lo and reduction of St. Lo itself.
At 0515 on 15 July 1944, the 134th Infantry attacked with elements of the 654th T.D. Bn. and elements of the 737th Tank B. attached. By early afternoon the town of Emilie was taken. At 2100 the 1st Bn., 134th Infantry, reached the north slope of Hill 122 and prepared defense for expected counter-attacks. The 161st F.A. Bn. with the 82nd Chemical Bn. attached and reinforced by elements of the 963rd F.A. Bn. and the 127th F.A. Bn., was in direct support of the 134th Infantry. The 320th Infantry gained 200 to 300 yards during the day with the direct support of the 216th F.A. Bn.
The attack by the 134th Infantry continued on 16 July 1944 while other elements of the Division consolidated and strengthened their positions. The 2nd Bn. of the 320th Infantry was reverted to Division reserve.
The Division attacked at 0430 on 17 July 1944. The 137th Infantry was delayed by enemy heavy A.W. fire until 0700 when they advanced 400 to 600 yards and consolidated positions. Elements of the 320th Infantry patrolled the gap between the 134th and 320th Infantries. The 134th Infantry met heavy artillery resistance in the vicinity of Les Romaines until 200 and then gained about 600 yards.
On 18 July 1944, the 35th Infantry Division continued to advance in the face of heavy concentrations of mine fields, booby-traps, machine gun and mortar fire, and reached their objective along the north bank of the Vire River. Patrols of the 134th Infantry entered the city of St. Lo.
On 19 July 1944, the Division began movements to occupy defensive positions. At 2200 elements of the 134th Infantry began to relieve the 115th Infantry and Task Force C of the 29th Division.
On 20 July 1944, the 134th Infantry completed the occupation of St. Lo. The 320th Infantry completed relief of elements of the 29th Division and occupation of the left defensive zone of the Division. Mopping up of scattered resistance in St. Lo was continued.
On 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 July 1944, elements of the Division maintained contact with the enemy and consolidated defenses.
At 2200, 27 July 1944, the Division was relieved of its assignment to the XIX Corps and assigned to the V Corps. At 1500 the 134th Infantry with the 1st Bn. 137th Infantry and Co. A, 60th Engineer (C) Bn. attached, attacked and advanced southwest of St. Lo along highway G. C. 28. Prior to the attack Division artillery with 12 battalions of Corps artillery fired a ten-minute preparation on the high ground south of St. Lo.
At 1000 on 28 July 1944, the Division attacked and despite strong resistance advanced an average of 4,000 meters. The initial objective was reached at 2100. At 2130 a large group of the enemy was surrounded by elements of the 320th Infantry and numerous prisoners were taken. At 2245 an enemy plane was shot down in the vicinity of the Division C.P. by elements of the 448th AAA AW Battalion.
The Division again attacked on 29 July 1944 and reached their objective about 1730. A new objective was designated and the advance continued. An average of 4,000 meters was gained within the zone.
At 0900, 30 July 1944, the 320th and 134th Infantries attacked with elements of the 737th Tank Bn. attached. The tanks were held up by heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire. The two leading tanks were disabled by direct fire. The 137th Infantry moved to an assembly area to prepare plans as the main element of Task Force S.
At 0800, 31 July 1944, the 320th Infantry with all three battalions abreast, attacked from behind a smoke screen and advanced from St. Amanis to La Detourbe. They continued after reconnaissance and the 2nd Bn., 320th Infantry, occupied the city of Torigni sur Vire. In this city our troops were assisted by information from uniformed members of the French underground. The remainder of the regiment continued to advance to La Pane where they encountered heavy resistance.
At 0815 the 134th Infantry attacked and advanced to their objective west of Torigni sur Vire, and continued to advance until heavy resistance was met at 2130.
At 0618 the 137th Infantry attacked as the main elements of Task Force S. The 3rd Bn. met resistance of mortar, MG and artillery fire. A platoon outflanked this resistance while the main body fought on for a 500-yard advance where they encountered mine fields covered by heavy AW fire.
9. A total of 786 Prisoners of War were taken by the Division during this period.
10. The following casualties were incurred by the Division during the period.
|Type of Casualty|
|Killed in Action|
|Seriously Wounded in Action|
|Missing in Action|
|Slightly Wounded in Action|
|Slightly Injured in Action|
For the Commanding General:
Richard G. Chadwick Lt. Col., A. G. D. Adjutant General