90th (US) Infantry Division
After Action Reports – Battle of Normandy
APO 90, U.S. Army
As of 1 June 1944, the 90th Infantry Division was disposed in marshalling areas as follows: The main body of the Division was stationed in the XXIX District, Western Base Section, located generally North and East of the Cities of Cardiff and Newport, Wales. The Division’s residual elements were located at Bournemouth, England, while Group A (Composed of foot elements of the 1st and 3rd Battalions 359th Infantry Regiment and forty vehicles) was located at Camp Syon Abbey in Devonshire, England, and attached to the 4th Infantry Division. The 358th Infantry Regiment was stationed at Cam Llangattock, Wales; the RCT9(-) and the 90th Rcn Troop at Camp Court-Y-Gollen, Wales; the RCT 7, 344th FA Battalion, Co B, 315th Medical Battalion and Co B 315th Engineer Battalion at Camp Chepetow, Wales; and Division Headquarters, Division Artillery Headquarters, 345th FA Battalion, Special Troops at Heath Camp, Cardiff, Wales; and 315th Engineer and 315th Medical Battalions (each less 3 Cos) also at Heath Camp.
The Division had completed its preparations for overseas movement to the coast of France and was in the midst of loading vehicles aboard motor transport ships.
1st june (D-5) :
The Main elements of the Division were loaded on 9 MT ships at Cardiff and Newport, Wales. Group A initiated embarkation at Dartmouth, England. THe 24th Cavalry Squadron was attached to the 90th Infantry Division through Corps order to take effect D+5.
2 june (D-4) :
The detachment accompanying the vehicles of CT 9 (- Group A) embarked as per schedule during the day. The remainder of the Division completed last minute preparations for movement. Group A completed embarkation at Dartmouth.
3 june (D-3) :
The personnel accompanying the 9 MT ships went aboard their assigned craft. CT 9 (- Group A) and the Division advance detachment went aboard the personnel ship, the Susan B. Anthony, and moved into the Bristol Channel at 1800. Group A moved to or remained at anchorage in Dartmouth-Salcombe Bay and the English Channel.
4 june (D-2) :
The remainder of the Division, less residual elements, went aboard transports as follows: One-half Division Headquarters and CT 8 (less 3rd BN) on the Excelsior at Newport. CT 7 (less 3rd Bn) on the Explorer at Cardiff. One-half Division headquarters, plus the 3rd Battalions of the 357th and 358th, and Division Troops on the Bienville at Cardiff. Group A, still at anchorage, conducted briefing.
5 june (D-1) :
All units remained at anchorage until late in the evening when Group A, joined convoy and initiated the Channel crossing.
6 june (D-Day) :
The main body of the Division sailed from Bristol Channel for the coast of France. Group A landed on Utah Beach at 1000-1600 and moved to an assembly area in the vicinity of St Martin de Verreville (404983) as part of the 4th Infantry Division’s Reserve.
7 june (D+1) :
Group A moved to an assembly area in the vicinity of Reuville (380968). The Susan B. Anthony, which carried the Division’s advance detachment and CT 9 (- Group A), Struck a mine off Utah Beach at mid-morning and sank in approximately two hours. All men were saved, but the bulk of the equipment other than individual was lost. Elements of CT 9 (- Group A) assembled at Reuville by nightfall. The remainder of the Division sailed eastward along the coast of England.
8 june (D+2) :
The main body of the Division arrived off Utah Beach at mid-morning and began debarkation from all three transports simultaneously at 1200. By midnight, all foot elements had closed into allocated positions in the Division’s Assembly Area – Turqueville – Reuville – Audonville – Le Hubert – Ecoquenesville – with the Division CP set up at the village of Loutres. Only 5% of the Division’s transport vehicles were available because MT ship unloading was far behind schedule. The Division Commander received warning orders that the 90th Infantry Division would attack across the Merderet River through the lines of the 8nd Airborne Division with a view to cutting off the Peninsula. The RCT 9 moved by battalion to the vicinity of Bandienvielle, still part of the 4th Infantry Division’s Reserve.
9 june (D+3) :
Infantry and Engineer reconnaissance parties were dispatched by the Division to reconnoiter possible crossing sites along the Merderet River within the contemplated zone of action. Particular attention was paid to the bridges opposite the towns of Chef du Pont (330938) Les Dupres (330933), and Grainville (315997). Corps order gave the Division the mission of attacking to the West on 10 June to seize the high ground East of the Douve River in the vicinity of St Sauveur le Vicomte to deepen the Corps bridgehead. CT 9 was still to remain attached to the 4th Infantry Division. During the day, the 82nd Airborne Division, supported by the 345th FA Battalion of the 90th Infantry Division drove a bridgehead across the Merderet River at 308910. It was determined that the crossing at Chef du Pont was lightly held. The situation in the vicinity of the Division’s equipment had been put ashore, and shortly befor3e dark, the 90th Division was set in motion towards jump off position for the morning. A new CP was chosen at 2200. In the meantime, elements of CT 9 were employed by the 4th Infantry Division to mop up by-passed resistance, and to make a reconnaissance in force within its sector. The 2nd Battalion was only 50% equipped as a result of loss during the sinking.
10 june (D+4) :
Upon order of Corps, the Division attacked on 10 June 1944 with the object of seizing the high ground east of the Douve River. Plans called for two regiments to attack abreast, take an intermediate objective and then push on to the final goal. The 357th Infantry was assigned to the left sector of the drive and the 358th Infantry to the right sector. The remainder of the 358th was place in Division Reserve to be prepared to advance in either of the regimental zones. The Division Artillery was ordered to prepare to mass its fires in either of the regimental zones, while the normal support battalions were to render support to their respective Infantry Regiments. CT 9 remained attached to the 4th Infantry Division. Both Infantry Regiments crossed the LD at the prescribed time (the 358th at 0400 and the 357th at 0515). The 358th successfully crossed the Merderet River and after sever resistance reduced a chateau which was occupied by the Germans. The 357th advanced in its zones of action and encountered enemy resistance in the vicinity of the town of Amfreville. The 358th’selements made an attempt to capture Etienville, but strong German counter-attack forced a platoon which had entered the town to withdraw. Fighting slowed down at 2300. Verbal orders were given to continue the attack the following day.
11 june (D+5) :
Both Regiments supported by effective Artillery barrage continued to press the attack in their respective sectors during the day. The 358th, with two Battalions abreast, made an assault against the town of Pont l’Abbe (Etienville) from the East. One BN served as a holding force on the Northwest side of the town. The Division Artillery supported this attack. The 359th (-1 BN) was released from assignment to the 4th Infantry Division and reverted to the control of the 90th Division on 10 June. It moved to an alert area and was committed to action in the vicinity of Picauville to the East of Pont l’Abbe. Units of the Regiment received a severe shelling during the move to that sector. By nightfall, the entire Regiment had been committed. Elsewhere, the units adjusted their lines and made preparations for a continuation of the attack on the morrow.
12 june (D+6) :
The two regiments continued to push forward upon the opening of the new day. The 357th Infantry pressed its attack at 0800 with the mission of capturing the high ground in the vicinity of Amfreville. It then planned to reorganize and attack in the general direction of Gourbesville. The 358th Infantry continued its attack upon Point l’Abbe with the plan of eventually pushing on to occupy the high ground beyond the town. The 359th Infantry was ordered to continue its offensive in the vicinity of Picauville. The 1st Battalion, 359th infantry was kept in readiness for Division Reserve. The 357th Infantry fought fiercely throughout the day, but due to the ferocity of the enemy, they were able to make very little gain. THe 359th Infantry encountered severe resistance in its sector and was forced to press the enemy back in hedgerow to hedgerow combat. American planes bombed Pont l’Abbe at 1700. Their attack was very effective it greatly aided the 358th Infantry in its approach to Pont l’Abbe. A coordinated attack preceded by the support of all available artillery was launched upon the town at 1900. By 2030, patrols of the 1st and 2nd Battalions had entered the town. By 2130, the two Battalions had mopped it up completely and had begun the move to occupy the high ground to the North and Northwest. At nightfall, and under the cover of darkness, unit commanders regrouped their forces in preparation for the continuation of the attack on 13 June. Major General Eugene H. Landrum assumed command of this Division on this day.
13 june (D+7) :
At 0500 the Division continued its attack, concentrating on the capture of the town of Gourbesville. The main attack was preceded by the attempt on the part of a task force consisting of an Engineer Company to capture the town. This failed to materialize due to the severity of the enemy resistance. The 357th Infantry then attempted to force their way forward only to meet strong resistance which lasted throughout the rest of the day. In the 358th’s sector, the Division’s units were successful in capturing and occupying the high ground to the North and West of Pont l’Abbe. Effective patrolling was conducted by the 359th Infantry covering a three mile sector.
14 june (D+8) :
Corps order called for elements of the 82nd Airborne Division and the newly arrived 9th Infantry Division to pass through the 90th Division and secure the Douve River in our zone. The 358th Infantry was ordered to make a limited attack in order to mask the move. After elements of the 82nd Airborne Division had passed through satisfactorily, 358th Infantry assembled in the vicinity of Pont l’Abbe to await further orders. The 357th Infantry continued its attack on Gourbesville, while the 359th Infantry was ordered to assume the attack on Orglandes to the Northwest. Elements of the 3rd Bn of the 357th Infantry fought their way into Gourbesviille at 2020 and held their control of the town until the next morning.
15 june (D+9)
Corps order assigned a new mission to the 90th Division. The Division was ordered to seize and hold a line running from the railroad station (288024) to Terre de Beauval (2901). Accordingly, the 357th Infantry was given the task of seizing and holding the line from Gourbesville to Beauval, while to the 359th went the task of holding that part of the line which ran from Raven (225012) to Haut David (208012). The 358th Infantry was ordered to move into an assembly area approximately 1000 yards to the east of Gourbesville. Because of the severity of the fighting in the vicinity of the town, the 3rd Bn of the 357th was forced to withdraw from Gourbesville. The Bn Commander, Lt Col. Kilday reorganized his men and laid the foundation of plans which resulted in the recapture of the town. At 2240 elements of the Battalion had again entered the town, and by 2330, Gourbesville had passed completely into the possession of the 3rd Bn of the 357th Infantry.
16 june (D+10)
Elements of the Division in conformity with Corps order continued their efforts to secure their now defensive line. The 358th took over the mission of the 357th. The 357th reverted to Division Reserve in the vicinity of Gourbesville. The swamp to its immediate front caused the 358th to experience great difficulty in its advance. Plans were made to by-pass the swamp and the towns of Le Calais and Reuville in the process of advance. Resistance continued to be severe throughout the day. The 359th Infantry was attached temporarily to the 9th Infantry Division for part of the day, but reverted to Division control at 2100.
17 june (D+11)
The Division continued its efforts to seize its assigned defensive line throughout the day, and by the latter part of the afternoon, units of the Division occupied the desired defensive position, thus affording the necessary protection for the VII Corps from Terre de Beauval to the railroad station at 288024.
18 june (D+12)
The Division’s units continued to occupy their defensive sectors. CT 7 was motorized and moved to take over the defensive positions formerly occupied by the 47th Infantry of the 9th Infantry Division in the vicinity of Portbail. This Division came under control of the VII Corps.
19 june (D+13)
During the day, the Division maintained its defensive sector while elements of the newly arrived 79th Infantry Division passed through its lines. CT 7 continued with its mission to prevent enemy movement either from the North to the South or from the South to the North between the two cities of St. Saveur de Pierre Pont and Portbail. After the passage of units of the 79th, the Division’s two assault Regiments (358 and 359) assembled in place to await further orders. In the meantime, the Division’s Artillery supported the units of the 79th Division until it passed out of range effectively Artillery coverage.
20 june (D+14)
All units of the Division maintained their respective positions. The 357th Infantry occupied its defensive sector. The 2nd Bn of the 359th Infantry occupied a defensive sector to the left of that of the 358th Infantry. The 359th (-) remained in Division Reserve. Division Artillery made preparations to move into a new assembly area. On two occasions during the day, German tanks appeared in the area of the 357th Infantry.
21 june (D+15)
Operations memorandum covering the subjects of rehabilitation, housekeeping and Tank-Infantry training was drawn up and put into effect immediately. German mines were issued to all units for training purposes. The Division’s Regiments continued to hold their positions. The 2nd Bn of the 259th was relieved of its assignments and rejoined the rest of the 359th. Several times throughout the day, the 357th was attacked by the enemy Infantry and tanks, but al enemy efforts were beaten back. Enemy Artillery was active in the 357th Infantry area.
22 june (D+16)
All three Regiments continued to organize their defensive positions. The 2nd Bn of the 357th launched an attack of a limited nature in order to strengthen its position. The attack was successful. A reinforced Battalion of the 359th proceeded to the vicinity of the 357th. This Bn was attached to the 357th. necessary readjustments were made by the 358th and the 359th so that they might tie in with the defensive positions of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.
23 june (D+17)
The 358th and 359th Infantries relieved the 507th Parachute Regiment in the areas South of the Douve River. The 357th conducted mop-up operations in the town of Portbail. Along the entire front, aggressive patrolling was conducted by the respective units in their defensive sectors.
24 june (D+18)
Corps order directed active patrolling by the 359th from their sector down to the river line with the mission of eliminating all German resistance in that pocket. The mission was completed and no Germans were found. Throughout the night German patrol made contact with the 90th front lines.
25 june (D+19)
The activities of the 90th remained unchanged The various Regiments continued defending their respective sectors. Civilian report of an impending attack against the 357th Infantry was found to be inaccurate. Nevertheless, the 358th was ordered to motorize one battalion and hold it on call. The VIII Corps directed all Artillery in the Corps to fire one-sixth of a unit of fire to represent a simulated attack.
26 june (D+20)
The mission for the Division remained unchanged. The units continued to improve their defensive positions. During the night of the 25th and the morning of the 26th, an enemy patrol struck in force in the area of the OPLR of the 357th and made slight penetration. Hand grenades were used extensively between our units and the enemy patrols. The enemy was destroyed or taken prisoner. The 357th’s lines ere restored. 40 Prisoners including 1 Regimental Commander and 2 LTs were taken. 357th suffered 13 casualties.
27 june (D+21)
The Division’s units continued to hold their defensive sectors, and to await further orders from Corps.
28 june (D+22)
The mission for the Division remained unchanged. An air mission made on Vesley to knock out Artillery and Command Posts was very successful. Preparations for the relief of the 357th Infantry were made with representatives of the 79th Division
29 june (D+23)
Plans were made for the 79th Infantry Division to initiate relief of the 357th Infantry. It was planned to move one Bn by motor immediately upon their relief.
30 june (D+24)
The 358th and 359th Infantries continued to defend their sectors. The 357th Infantry upon being relieved by the 79th Infantry Division reverted to Division Reserve.