This work is generally considered to be a primary source of information on the D-Day landings, but although it is in the public domain, it seems to be all but unavailable. A search of the internet revealed no copies for sale, no reprints, and no scanned versions of the text. So to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day, I scanned it and will post it here, in three parts. I have tried to carefully proof it, but there may still be mistakes. The page numbers appear at the bottom of the pages. Here is the first part:
ARMOR IN OPERATION NEPTUNE (ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NORMANDY BEACHHEAD)
A RESEARCH REPORT PREPARED
COMMITTEE 10, OFFICERS ADVANCED COURSE
THE ARMORED SCHOOL
1948 - 1949
LIEUTENANT COLONEL MAYNARD D. PEDERSON
MAJOR DONALD W. ETHER
MAJOR LESTER R. PATRICK
MAJOR E. S. P. DORMAN
MAJOR HILARIO G. FUSILERO
CAPTAIN HARRY G. HILL
CAPTAIN WILLIAM C. WARREN
CAPTAIN ROBERT M. BLAIR
FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY
The purpose of this report is twofold: first, to record the role of Armor in assaulting the NORMANDY beaches and expanding the beachhead; and second, to present conclusions and recommendations relative to such employment. The committee compiled the report from information secured through after action reports of the tank battalions engaged, interviews with participants, and published works concerning the operation as a whole. The study revealed that the tank destroyer units were not used on their primary missions since no enemy armor was encountered; and that the armored field artillery reinforced divisional artillery supporting infantry. Therefore, the actions recounted are limited to the separate tank battalions because only they were in the role of armor.
It should be remembered that in such a tremendous operation, with its accompanying confusion, records are apt to be inaccurate and incomplete. The attempt to follow small units, such as the fragments of tank battalions, through this invasion, disclosed an unexpected dearth of detailed material. The non-availability of after action reports of the infantry which the tanks reinforced limited both the completeness and accuracy of the study. The committee checked and re-checked the actions and incidents to arrive at a logical conclusion as to actual events.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART ONE - INTRODUCTION
I. PREPARATION FOR INVASION
Preliminary Military Operations
Embarkation and launching of the Assault
PART TWO - UTAH BEACH
II. ASSAULT LANDINGS ON UTAH BEACH
III. THE 70TH TANK BATTALION
IV THE 746TH TANK BATTALION
Clearing the Beach to the North
Reinforcing the 101st Airborne on the Southern Flank
The 82d Airborne at STE. MERE EGLISE
The Drive to MONTEBOURG RLDGE
Crossing the MERDERET at LA FIERE
Employment of the Light Tank Company
Supply and Maintenance
V SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS ON UTAH BEACH
PART THREE - OMAHA BEACH
VI OMAHA BEACH
VII 741ST TANK BATTALION
VIII ACTION OF THE 747TH TANK BATTALION
The Battalion (Minus) Supporting the 175th Infantry
Action of Company D Reinforced
IX RESULTS OF OMAHA BEACH
PART FOUR - CONCLUSIONS
X SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
I Order of Battle
II Terrain Analysis
PREPARATION FOR INVASION
The purpose of this report is to collect and set out in chronological order all available facts pertinent to the employment of armor in the landings on the NORMANDY coast. It will cover the period considered as the invasion landings and establishment of the beachhead, which is taken as the sixth through the eleventh of June .944. The data on which the report is based were obtained from interviews with personnel who participated in the operation, from after action reports, and from other documents listed in the bibliography.
This introduction will discuss in broad outline the preliminaries of planning and training for the invasion of NORMANDY. This Operation was to be known as Overlord but was called Neptune when the time or place of execution of the plans was included..
An idea of the events leading up to the assault and the establishment of the beachhead during the initial six days is necessary background for this report. The Overlord plan included the planning, training, and logistics for the invasion. COSSAC, Chiefs of Staff, Supreme Allied Command, initiated work on the project in January 1943.
COSSAC, with its original plans for Overlord, was still extant in October 1943. In November and December, I943 the combined Chiefs of Staff met with Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt at the Sextant conference in CAIRO and later, with the addition of Marshal Stalin, in TEHERAN. Resulting revisions of the plan involved simultaneous assault landings by separate American Corps with British and Canadian forces a few miles to the east. Relative to the actual landings, this report will deal only with the American forces.
There were many factors which necessarily delayed the launching of the assault. The greatest of these, by far, was the critical shortage of landing craft. There was even a shortage of the more substantial craft required to transport troops from the American Continent to the United Kingdom to build up the invasion force. This shortage was overcome by the following means:
(a) Stepping up production in the United States and
(b) Reducing the quota for the Pacific and Far East.
(c) Concentrating the invasion to the NORMANDY coast instead of simultaneous landings on the south coast of FRANCE.
After August 1943, the United States forces in the British Isles increased, from 75,000 to 1,533,000 by D-Day. Corresponding quantities of supplies of all kinds had to be ferried across the Atlantic. It is worth noting that within a maximum of thirty
days after disembarking, divisions were fully equipped and ready for action.
Preliminary Military Operations
Actual operations preparatory to the invasion were as extensive and as long range as the planning. In the air, the strategic bombing of the continent by the Royal Air Force at night and the Eighth Air Force in daylight was in full swing as early as July 1943. Between that date and D-Day, the strength of the United States Air Force alone increased from two thousand to ninety-five hundred planes. Until the spring of 1944, the main weight of our air assault was directed at German industry and communications. Three months before D-day, air assault began to prepare the way for the invasion. One of the primary aims was to dislocate communications to such an extent that the Germans would not be able to move their strategic reserves by rail. These reserves consisted largely of armor. The proof of the success of this air assault was that during the initial expansion of the beachhead the United States forces met little German armor.
One of the most valuable preliminary military operations was the landing at DIEPPE which gave a costly but nevertheless invaluable ideal of the kind of opposition ground forces might expect. Secondly, a mock armada put to sea to try to draw the German Air Force and Navy into battle and to find out what opposition we might expect. Either the German intelligence did not pick up the armada or they were unable to meet it. At least it
did not draw any opposition but the presumption that there would be no air or navy opposition to the actual invasion could not be drawn.
United States Forces arriving in the British Isles were already trained, but the task of perfecting the training of the troops for an amphibious operation was a major responsibility of the Combined Staff functioning there. This presented considerable difficulty. Firing ranges were limited and sufficiently large training areas to hold exercises on a regimental or divisional level were not available. No precedent existed for an operation on the contemplated scale, and large scale tests were mandatory. The bulk of this planning, training, and preparation devolved on V Corps Headquarters since it was the largest United States Army Field Force Headquarters then in the United Kingdom. These preliminary phases were carried on by V Corps continuously, starting in July 1943. There was no basic data at hand upon which to base the training of the forces for the coming operation. It became obvious, therefore, that the defects could be remedied only by large scale testing.
A full scale amphibious exercise in which each group -- Ground Forces, Services of Supply, Air Forces, and Navy -- could cooperate was essential. In addition to the size of the area necessary, these was also the problem of finding a beach where conditions were similar to those to be encountered on the NORMANDY beaches. Eventually the area of SLAPTON SANDS was selected. Here the conditions of currents, surfaces, cliffs, and tides, were
considered identical with those existing in the invasion assault area. Subsequent exercises proved that the area was ideal.
Exercise Tuck was planned and executed to land a division in an assault upon the SLAPTON SANDS area, with another division in the follow-up force. It was planned and executed in detail, as for an actual operation, and was carried through all the phases of mounting, embarkation and assault. Lessons learned from Duck were brought out in critiques. The exercise proved conclusively that more than one division could be mounted in any one of the ports available. The final plans were based on these findings. Actually, the American part of the invasion followed the plans devised for exercise Duck. Several smaller scale exercises followed and numerous Corps troops engaged in amphibious training at SALCOMBE and DARTMOUTH, practicing embarkation from landing craft as well as assault technique.
Exercise Fox was a second large scale amphibious exercise planned and executed on a Corps level. It involved the embarkation of two divisions and an assault upon the SLAPTON SANDS area. It was carried out in March 1944, after as detailed planning as would be require for an assault upon the continent of Europe.
These two exercises Tuck and Fox, were carried out with normal tanks, which beached off landing craft, as it was decided to keep the DD Duplex Drive, tanks a secret from the bulk of the Army until D-day. Tank battalions did, however, take part in these exercises in the ratio of one tank battalion to one infantry regiment.
With the arrival of DD tanks, it became necessary to train the tank battalion to which they were issued. This training was carried out net far from the SLAPTON SANDS beach under the direction of Colonel Severne S. McLaughlin, Third Armored Group Commander. For secrecy, this beach was also used for other special training., The Corps Engineers trained here in demolition and construction activities specifically designed for the NORMANDY beach obstacles. Firing from off shore from landing craft was also tested. To keep secret the nature of this training, the area selected was sufficiently far removed from SLAPTON SANDS to avoid observation by the remainder of the troops. The DD tank training consisted of teaching the tank crews to launch their tanks and using the duplex drive, to drive them ashore under their own power on the surface of the water. Once ashore, they abandoned their bouyancy equipment and proceeded as normal tanks.
As an example of a typical battalion's training without DD tanks in England, we will follow the movements of the 747th Tank Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Stuart Fries. The Battalion arrived in GLASGOW, SCOTLAND about 26 February directly from the United States. Immediately after arrival, they drew their pre-shipped equipment. The only significant shortage was the 105-mm assault guns, which were not available; standard M4A3 tanks were issued in lieu of these. These were used in NORMANDY until the assault guns became available, about two weeks after the landings.
While the Battalion had trained for extended maneuvers in the United States, it had no prior training for the loading or logistical planning incident to the invasion. A list of the LCTs on which they were to sail was provided. Lieutenant Colonel Fries, with his staff, organized the boat loads fundamentally by platoons. Since each craft must be loaded to capacity, supply trucks, half-tracks, and other miscellaneous vehicles provided the balance of the load. Each was organized so that the loss of any vessels would not impair the future operations beyond proportions of the actual loss. Sections of Headquarters made separate packets: where possible an individual of each section was in another packet; and each platoon and company headquarters was on a separate craft.
Since the British LCT has a considerably larger vehicle loading deck than the American LCT, the 747th, as well as most armored and motorized units, shipped on British LCTs. A typical load is illustrated by the LCT on which Captain Scott, D Company Commander, sailed. It contained six light tanks, one half-track, and the three two and half ton trucks attached to the platoon. Battalion Headquarters' personnel were spread with platoon packets. S-1, Captain W. J. Hyde, was with a platoon of C Company. Colonel Fries was with the assault gun platoon. S-3, Captain Frank N. Heywood, was with the reconnaissance platoon.
Each load also provided for the logistical self-sufficiency of the unit for initial operations. Colonel Fries and his staff
devised ammunition racks for the tanks.. They designed these extra ammunition racks to be built on the floors of the turrets just behind the gun.
Although the Battalion had the mission of Corps reserve, it was scheduled to lead the second major wave in landing, All tanks were water proofed and all personnel were prepared to wade ashore. Each vehicle was combat loaded. Each platoon was prepared to operate as an independent unit for a short period of time. Such independence came through attachment of three trucks from the Service Company to each platoon. These trucks carried gasoline, ammunition, and rations for approximately five days.
Besides the logistical planning and preparation, the battalion received a smattering of training in many diverse fields. They conducted training in waterproofing and tested results in wading pools, B Company participated in amphibious assaults at SLAPTON SANDS with the infantry during the last half of April and first half of May. The Battalion had had no training with infantry, so some of this was provided, including indirect fire control. Finally, the troops occupied dug-in positions on the English moors while the tanks over-ran them. The object of this training was to demonstrate to the infantry that they were safe in fox-holes, and that they could then destroy the accompanying infantry.
Time was not available for any actual tank-infantry team training. They had not practiced this in the United States either.
As Corps reserve they might not need it. When they went into action this cooperation had to be achieved on the battle field.
The scale of the logistical problem may best be understood by the fact that it was intended on D-day and D-plus one to land 20,111 vehicles and 176,475 personnel.. The vehicles included 1,500 tanks, 5,000 other tracked fighting vehicles, 3,000 guns of all types and 10,500 other vehicles from jeeps to bulldozers. As may be imagined therefore, the main problem became one of shipping.
While the problem of assault craft was being resolved, the build-up of American troops and supplies in the United Kingdom continued under the direction of Lieutenant General John C. H. Lee. Planning for Bolero, the name by which this logistical program was known, had begun in the United Kingdom as early as April 1942. The small original staff was divided for the North Africa operation Torch, but expanded in 1943 and 1944 as the Overlord task became larger, until by D-day, the communications zone establishment contained 31,500 officers and 350,000 enlisted personnel. By July 1943, some 750,000 tons of supplies were pouring through English ports each month, and this amount was steadily increased, until in June 1944, 1,900,000 tons were received from the United States. Much of this material was used to supply the troops already in England, and other amounts wore stored for use as Overlord progressed; but the stock pile earmarked for the American
forces over and above basic loads and equipment, was a full 2,500,000 tons for the invasion alone. By 1 June the number of United States Army troops in the United Kingdom had risen from 241,839 at the end of 1942 to 1,562,000.
The operation of transporting supplies from the United States to the United Kingdom was facilitated by the fact that cargos were discharged through established ports and rail lines. Additionally, large quantities of material required for the invasion were made directly available from British resources within the United Kingdom itself. This condition could not exist on the continent, and plans were accordingly made to overcome the difficulties envisaged. It was recognized that the major tonnage reception on the, continent would be over the NORMANDY beaches in the first two months, with the port of CHERBOURG being developed at an early date. Successively, it was anticipated that port development would proceed in BRITTANY, the major effort in that area to be an artificial port at QUIBERON BAY, with complimentary development of existing ports of BREST, LORIENT, ST NAZAIRE and NANTES. While these were being brought into use, the flow of supplies over the beaches was to be aided by the two artificial harbors, Mulberry A and Mulberry B. As the campaign progressed, it was anticipated that the bulk of American supplies would flow directly from the United States through the BRITTANY ports. Parts to the north, including OSTEND and ANTWERP, would be developed for British use. These expectations did not materialize due primarily
to enemy strategy. That both the American and British supply systems were able, in spite of this, to support the armies to the extent they did, shows the flexibility of these organizations. Subsequent questioning of German commanders indicated that they were amazed at the flow of supplies. The impossible was achieved; there was a steady and continuous supply to the forces, not only after they landed but actually with the troops as they came ashore. One important factor was the complete ignorance of the Germans as to our artificial harbors, a secret as closely guarded as the time and place of the assault itself.
Embarkation and Launching of the Assault
Movement from the marshalling areas to the ports and hards for embarkation began the thirtieth of May, and was under control of the Transportation Carps, Service of Supply. Troops were called from the camps, where they had been concentrated by boat serials, as the ships and craft became ready for the loading. Embarkation was accomplished during the last few days of May and early June. The American forces loaded at the ports and hards in the PORTLAND, PLYMOUTH, FALMOUTH, HELFORD RIVER, TORBAY, SOUTH-HAMPTON and WEYMOUTH. Craft were furnished by the United States Navy through the Eleventh Amphibious Force, under control of Western Naval Force 122. The ships and craft were loaded in accordance with lading tables which had been prepared as a part of the operation plan. The diagrams, which showed the exact place aboard each craft to be occupied by each piece of equipment and
vehicle, were followed. Embarkation was accomplished in an orderly manner and as a result of the completeness of detail in the plans, was completed according to schedule without any major difficulties arising.
As the ships and craft were loaded, they left the ports and hards, and proceeded to anchorages where they awaited the completion of loading the assault forces, and the signal to put out to sea for the movement to the French coast. Convoys were formed, and at the proper tine, put to sea to join other convoys before heading for the assault coast.
The provisional D-day was 5 June, but the weather forecasts which came in on 3 June were so unfavorable that General Eisenhower postponed it for at least twenty-four hours. By that time, part of this assault force had already put out into the Channel, but so heavy were the seas that the craft were compelled to turn about and seek shelter. By the morning of 5 June, conditions in the Channel showed little improvement but the forecast for the following day was a bit better. The latest possible date for the invasion on the present tides was 7 June, but a further twenty-four hour postponement was impracticable. At 0400 on 5 June therefore, General Eisenhower made the final decision and the convoy sailed again, scheduled to make the assault landings at 0600 hours 6 June, twenty-four hours and thirty minutes later than the original plan had contemplated.
This, in broad outline, covers the planning for Overlord, the logistics for the operation, the training for the troops in the United Kingdom and the sailing of the assault force, Subsequent chapters will pick up the armored units in their landings and trace their actions in the establishment of the beachhead. The training of these units might have been more thorough; their numbers might well have been greater; but their action was successful in spite of these handicaps.
ASSAULT LANDINGS ON UTAH BEACH[1,2]
To gain a clear picture of the UTAH BENCH activities in the overall operation, we should consider it in three phases. First we will consider the background for the specific selection of UTAH BEACH; second, the pre-landing activities off the beach; and last, the actual landing on the hostile shore.
The tactical planning by the Allied High Command had been dominated from the beginning by the need for adequate port capacity, on which the later build-up of forces in the lodgement area largely depended. Therefore the capture of the port of CHERBOURG became imperative. It was recognized that a landing on the CONTENTIN PENINSUIA proper, on beaches northwest of the VIRE estuary, would be highly desirable in order to insure the early capture of this objective.
UTAH BEACH, located directly east of STE MERE EGLISE, on the CONTENTIN PENINSULA, is a smooth beach with a shallow gradient and compact grey sand between high and low water marks. Direct access to the beach is blocked only by the ILES ST. MARCOUF. The beach is backed for nearly ten thousand yards by a masonry sea wall which is almost vertical and from four to eight feet high at the proposed landing point. Gaps in the wall marked the beginnings of roads leading inland from the beach, but these gaps were blocked with defensive obstacles. Behind this wall, sand
dunes from ten to twenty feet high extend inland from one hundred fifty to one thousand yards. Beyond then were the inundated areas whose western banks and exits could be easily defended by relatively small enemy forces. On the beach itself, rows of obstacles had been emplaced at a distance of fifty to one hundred thirty yards to seaward. These obstacles were in the form of steel or wooden stakes or piles slanted seaward; steel hedge-hogs and tetrahedra; and "Belgian Gates" which were barricade-like gates constructed of steel angles and plates and mounted on small concrete rollers.
The "Belgian Gates" were used also to block roads or passages where mobile obstacles were needed to make defensive lines continuous. The fixed infantry defenses were sparsely located in the UTAH BEACH area because the enemy relied on the natural obstacle provided by the inundated area directly behind the beach. Defenses immediately behind the beach, along the sea wall, consisted of pillboxes, tank turrets mounted en concrete structures, "Tobruk Pits", firing trenches, and underground shelters. These emplacements were usually connected by a network of trenches and protected by wire, mines, and anti-tank ditches. A more detailed analysis of this beach is given in Appendix B.
The COTENTIN PENINSULA lay within the defensive zone of the German Seventh Army, commanded by Colonel General Friedrich Dollman. Allied intelligence estimates between March and early May 1944 placed the German force occupying the peninsula at two infantry divisions, the 709th and 243rd. Further intelligence
reports early in May indicated that the enemy had been strengthening his coastal defense units to bring them up to the level of field divisions in strength and equipment. It was not believed, by Allied intelligence early in May, that the Germans had panzer battalions or reserves of regimental strength in the COTENTIN area. On the basis of these reports, the enemy was estimated to be capable of (1) rigid defense of the beaches, manning the crust of the coastal fortifications and obstacles with the 709th Infantry Division reinforced; (2) reinforcing the 709th in the assault area with elements of the 243rd Infantry Division commencing at H-hour; (3) piecemeal counterattacks with a maximum of four battalions and a battalion Combat team on D-day; and (4) a coordinated counterattack with motorized armored reinforcement from outside the COTENTIN PENINSULA at any time after D plus 2 days.
The mission of capturing CHERBOURG was assigned to the VII Corps, commanded by Major General J. Lawton Collins. The VII Corps assault on the east COTENTIN was to constitute the right flank of the overall Allied invasion. Field Order #1, 28 May 1944, read: "VII Corps assaults UTAH Beach on D Day at H Hour and captures Cherbourg with minimum delay." The major units of the VII Corps were the 4th, 90th, and 9th Infantry Divisions. The 4th Division, principal seaborne unit in the assault on UTAH BEACH, was heavily weighted with attachments for its special mission. Among these attachments wore the 70th Tank Battalion, 746th Tank Battalion, 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion,
the 1106th Engineer Combat Group, the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion, one battery of the 980th Field Artillery Battalion (155-mm), plus antiaircraft artillery units and a detachment of the 13th Field Artillery Observation Battalion. This division was to assault UTAH BEACH at H-hour, establish a beachhead, and then drive on CHERBOURG in conjunction with the 90th Infantry Division, which was to land on D plus 1 day.
The 82nd Airborne Division was to land by parachute and glider in advance of the beach assaulting forces. The mission of this division was to secure the western edge of the beachhead by capturing STE. MERE EGLISE, a key communications center, and by establishing deep bridgeheads over the MERDERET RIVER, on the two main roads westward from STE. MERE EGLISE, for a drive toward ST. SAUVEUR-LE-VlCOMTE. The 101st Airborne Division was to clear the way for the seaborne assault by seizing the western exits of four causeways from the beach across the inundated area. This was to be accomplished by air-drop and glider landings. At the same time the division was to establish defensive arcs along the southern edge of the invasion area and establish bridgeheads across the DOUVE to weld the VII Corps (UTAH) and V Corps (OMAHA) beachheads, in the vicinity of CARENTAN.
The VII Corps, or Task Force "U", comprised approximately 865 vessels and craft in 12 separate conveys. It sailed for the transport area, 22,500 yards off UTAH BEACH, on 5 June 1944.
At 060200 June the marker vessel was passed at the entrance to the transport area; and at 0229 the Bayfield, headquarters ship for Task Force "U", anchored in its assigned berth. Primary and secondary control vessels took their stations. H-hour was to be 0630.
Early planning provided for the assault of the ILES ST. MARCOUF to capture what was suspected to be a hostile observation post or casemate for minefield control. These islands presented the main obstruction to the approaches to UTAH BEACH and had to be taken prior to an assault of the main beaches. At 0430 (H minus 2 hours) detachments of the 4th and 24th Cavalry Squadrons, under Lt. Col. E. C. Dunn, landed on this obstacle, encountering only heavily mined areas which caused some casualties. All elements of the detachment were ashore by 0530. No enemy troops were encountered.
Meanwhile the unloading of troops into assault landing craft proceeded uneventfully in the transport area. After the transfer, LCVPs circled the transports awaiting the order to rendezvous for the movement to the hostile shore. At 0550 (H minus 40 minutes) warships, of the Bombardment Group of Task Force 125, began firing on enemy shore batteries. A few minutes later 276 Marauders of the Ninth Air Force made their first strike on the beaches. At 0455 the Green beach primary and secondary control vessels and the Red beach primary control vessel left the transport area for the beach. The Red beach secondary control
vessel fouled her screw and was unable to proceed. The DD tank-carrying LCTs were supposed to launch the tanks at 5,000 yards, but to save time, they ware brought to within 3,000 yards of the beach and then discharged. Planning provided for two waves of infantry in LCVPS; and intermediate wave (lA) of DD tanks; Wave 3 of LCT(A)s; with, Demolition units in LCVPs and LCMs landing with Wave 4 at H plus 17 minutes. However, due to the late arrival in the transport area, loss of one primary control vessel, and inability to make up time because of slow speed, the DD tanks actually landed at H plus 20 minutes. A late decision was made to move some demolition units from the 4th to the 2nd wave thereby starting demolition work 12 minutes earlier. During this time the transfer of the troops of the first four waves had been completed and the craft assembled in their assigned rendezvous arena and were proceeding toward the beaches.
UTAH BEACH, for control of the landings, was divided into two sectors subtitled as follows: on the right, Tare Green beach, opposite the strongpoint at LES DUNES DE VARREVILLE; on the left, Uncle Red beach, 1000 yards farther to the south.
When the LCVPs were from 300 to 400 yards from the beach, the assault company commanders fired special smoke projectors to signal the lifting of naval gunfire support. Almost exactly at H-hour the assault craft lowered their ramps and six hundred men walked into waist-deep water to wade the last 100 or more yards to the beach. 'the actual touchdown on the beach was therefore a
few minutes late, but the delay was negligible and had no effect on the phasing of the succeeding waves. Thirty amphibious tanks from the 70th Tank Battalion, launched 3000 yards offshore, arrived on the beach. These tanks, by virtue of their armor protection and great fire power, greatly assisted the progress of the assault across the beaches. The first troops to reach shore were from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry. The 1st Battalion landed a few minutes later. Both came ashore considerably south of the designated beaches. The 2nd Battalion should have hit Uncle Red beach opposite Exit 3. The 1st Battalion was supposed to land directly opposite the strongpoint at LES DUNES DE VARREVILLE. The landings, however, wore made astride Exit 2 about 2,000 yards south. (Map 2a) This error appears to have been caused by the loss of the control vessels, together with the dust and smoke thrown up by the naval gunfire. The errors in landing actually proved fortunate. Not only was the beach farther south less thickly obstructed, but the enemy shore defenses were also less formidable than those opposite the intended beaches. The 70th Tank Battalion, attached to the 8th Infantry Regiment, landed on UTAH BEACH, losing five tanks from A Company. D Company, the light tank company of the battalion, on landing late in the day, was attached to the 101st Airborne Division, and moved immediately to make its way off the beach to join that unit. The 746th Tank Battalion landed at 061140 as general support for the 4th Infantry Division. On landing, C Company was attached to and
moved to the support of the 82nd Airborne Division.
The clearing of the beach obstacles, as were necessary, was the mission of Beach Obstacle Task Force, a special Engineer force. By hand-placed charges and tank dozers, they were to clear four 50-yard gaps in the obstacles on each beach from the high water mark seaward. The detachment of eight tank dozers working with this force was from the 612th Light Equipment Company and the 70th Tank Battalion. Tank dozers worked effectively against some of the pilings and pushed the obstacles up on the beach, but hand-placed charges accounted for most of these obstacles. Few mines were found attached to the obstacles. "Belgian Gates" were found in small numbers, a few on the beach and a few blocking the roads leading from the beach. The reserve engineer teams which came ashore on Green beach blew these gates and assisted in blasting additional gaps in the sea wall. The demolition of the sea wall and the clearance of paths through the dunes were accomplished very early. Two gaps were blown in the wall on Red beach and two on Green beach. The engineers then accompanied the infantry, removing mines and "dozing" roads across the dunes.
Considerable congestion of traffic in movement to the beach exits was experienced. This was partly duo to the error in landing. The original traffic plan envisaged the use of Exit 2 and Exit 3 for vehicles. Exit 3 could not be used because of the nearness of the enemy positions to the north. The traffic
became congested when all vehicles tried to use Exit 2. The 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry, supported by tanks of the 70th Tank Battalion and engineers, had begun to move down the causeway toward Exit 2.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions, 22nd Infantry, came ashore about 1000 hours on the northern and southern beaches respectively. Those two battalions were to march inland through Exit 4. Since the eastern end of this exit was still covered by fire and the causeways to the south were already congested, some of the 22nd Infantry's units were compelled to wade two miles through the inundated area. The 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, upon landing, had moved north and than inland through Exit 3 while the 2nd Battalion moved down the coast to Exit 1.
There are too many factors involved in the landings to evaluate the effect that the order of landing of the various waves-might have had in the success of the assault at the beaches. However, the sequence of events and order of landing would appear to be: demolition units, infantry, tanks.
As D-day, drew to a close, all ranks were surprised at the relative ease with which the assault had been accomplished. The losses in personnel were astonishingly low. During the first fifteen hours, the 4th Infantry Division (less one field artillery battalion); one battalion of the 359th Infantry; the 65th Armored Field Artillery Battalion; the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion; the 8199th Tank Destroyer Battalion (less two companies;
the 70th and 746th Tank Battalions; components of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade; and many smaller units had been landed. A total of over 20,000 troops and 1,700 vehicles reached UTAH BEACH by the end of 6 June 1944.
NOTES FOR CHAPTER II
 From UTAH BEACH to CHERBOURG, by Historical Division, Department of the Army.
 Commander Assault Force "U", TAS, G-2 Documents Files.
THE 70th TANK BATTALION
Previous chapters have discussed the background of the operation and movement to the landings. This chapter will deal exclusively with the 70th Tank Battalion and the units with which it was associated in battle, usually as reinforcement, from the beach on D-day, 6 June 1944, through D plus five.
The 70th Tank Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John C. Welborn, touched down on UTAH BEACH at H-hour, 0630, reinforcing the 8th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel James A. Van Fleet, of the 4th Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Raymond O. Barton. A and B Companies were equipped with duplex drive amphibious tanks, commonly referred to as DD tanks. They landed in the first wave, reinforcing the 1st and 2nd Battalions respectively. C Company, not DD equipped, had four dozer blades and landed in the third wave at H plus fifteen minutes, directly on the beach from LCTs, with detachments of the 299th and 247th Engineer Combat Battalions. These engineer units also had four tank dozers. Elements of the tank battalion forward echelon followed in later waves.
A Company, commanded by 1st Lieutenant De Witt C. Fair, landed with the first Battalion, on beach Tare Green, immediately in front of the fortifications in and around LA MADELEINE. B Company, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Francis E. Senger, landed
with the 2nd Battalion, on beach Uncle Red, about 1300 yards southeast of LA MADELEINE. It was also faced with fortifications upon landing. These were field fortifications covering the causeway roads. They were reduced with little difficulty by company-size forces. Other small groups cleared houses along the roads which parallel the beach. These fortifications were much less formidable than these at the beaches where the landings were intended. This allowed much greater early success than could have been obtained against the others. C Company, commanded by 1st Lieutenant John L. Ahearn, landed with the engineers on both Tare Green and Uncle Red beaches. They cleared the beaches of enough obstacles to insure unobstructed landing of troops to follow. The dozer tanks provided cover from small arms and artillery fire for the dismounted engineers while they placed charges to blow those obstacles which could not be pushed aside by the tank dozers. The Battalion Commander, the Communications Officer, and one liaison officer came ashore in two 1/4-ton trucks with the assault waves.
Exit 3 was covered by 88-mm guns which prevented A Company from accompanying its infantry over the causeway through that exit. Instead, A Company and part of B and C, passed through Exit 2 with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry. Halfway over the causeway to Exit 2, directly inland from the landing sites, they found a culvert blown and the road covered by an antitank gun. The first tank, a DD, was stopped by a mine. Another was knocked off the
road by the antitank gun. Still another moved up. This one silenced the enemy gun. The blown culvert was not serious in itself because, after the gun was knocked out, the troops and tanks were able to ford the stream and push on. They passed through Exit 2 and on to the area just southwest of LA HOUSSAYE. Here the tanks stopped for reorganization.
Meanwhile, elements of B and C Companies, with the C Company Commander, Lieutenant Ahearn, and the Second Battalion,. Eighth Infantry commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Carlton O. MacNeely, moved south along the beach toward POUPPEVILLE. They encountered continuous small arms fire all the way. G Company received artillery fire and ran into a mine field as well, when it approached a strongpoint at BEAU GUILLOT. Tank fire forced the enemy in the town to capitulate. The tank-infantry team pushed on toward Exit 1. As they passed the minefield, C Company's commander saw a wounded paratrooper lying in the minefield behind the sea wall. Lt. Ahearn stopped his tank, told his crew to stay in it, dismounted to rescue the wounded man. As he was picking his way through the minefield, he tripped one or more mines which blew his feet off. His crew dismounted and, with the aid of ropes, succeeded in getting both men out of the minefield without accident. They evacuated them to the beach for return to ENGLAND.
The entire force was assembled at the road junction northeast of POUPPEVILLE and advanced on the village. First
contact was made there with the 3rd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry, which they relieved. From POUPPEVILLE, they pushed west until they received antitank fire from a church steeple in STE MARIE DU MONT. The tanks knocked this out soon after it was located. These tanks now turned toward LA HOUSSAYE and joined the battalion which was reorganizing. 1st Lieutenant Dwight McKay assumed command of C Company. The tank dozers, which had been left on the beach, came through Exit 2 to rejoin C Company.
The S-1, S-4 and Reconnaissance Officer, with two 1/4-ton trucks, one half-track and six 2 1/2-ton trucks of gasoline and ammunition, had landed about 1115. After a reconnaissance on foot by the S-1 and S-4 had located the battalion, they moved over the causeway to Exit 2 and on to the assembly area where the battalion was reorganizing and dewaterproofing. The vehicles were refueled but required no resupply of ammunition. After the reorganization was complete, the companies moved out to join the infantry they were assigned to reinforce.,
Lieutenant Fiar led A Company north on the road to AUDOUVILLE LA HUBERT just west of Exit 3 and joined the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry. This team then pushed on through enemy artillery fire with little other opposition until they approached a strong point at TURQUEVILLE about evening. They stepped there for the night. (Map 3a) The battalion, less A and D Companies, moved west toward LES FORGES. They joined the 2nd and 3rd
Battalions, 8th Infantry, who were astride the road west of STE MARIE DU MONT, moving toward LES FORGES. The tanks stayed on the road as the infantry moved cross-country to the town, arriving in the early evening. North of the village, astride the FAUVILLE-STE MERE EGLISE road, was an enemy strongpoint. The 3rd Battalion bivouacked for the night, astride the road, between this strongpoint and LES FORGES. The 2nd Battalion spent the night astride the road south of LES FORGES toward CARENTAN, protecting the south flank of the 4th Infantry Division. The tanks were placed in position to add depth to the defense of the infantry.
Thus, on D-day, the 70th Tank Battalion reinforced the 8th Infantry as it touched its D-day objectives. Neither the other regiments of the 4th Division nor the airborne divisions accomplished their D-day missions on schedule.
The American forces determined that the strongpoints at TURQUEVILLE and north of LES FORGES, together with one at ECOQUENEAUVILLE, were parts of an enemy pocket organized along the ridge from TURQUEVILLE to FAUVILLE. This pocket cut the FORGES-STE. MERE EGLISE highway and prevented a solid link between the 8th Infantry as LES FORGES and the 82nd Airborne Division at STE. MERE EGLISE. The next chapter will describe an action which tried unsuccessfully to penetrate to STE. MERE EGLISE late that evening.
D Company, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Gordon R. Brodie, had come ashore late in the day and, being attached to the 101st Airborne Division, proceeded to a bivouac area southwest of STE. MARIE DU MONT. It saw no action on D-day.
Six trucks, three of ammunition and three of fuel, cane ashore on this day under Captain John M. Bushey to resupply the companies. Late in the day an equal number came in to join them. These last trucks came in under Lieutenant Bauer, the Battalion Transportation Platoon Leader. The Battalion Executive and S-3 came ashore with the second group of trucks in the same LCT. This group, with those elements of the command post which had landed, spent the night in the assembly area southwest of LA HOUSSAYE.
During June 1945, in ROTHENBURG, GERMANY, General Blakely of the 4th Infantry Division, presented the Distinguished Unit Citation to the 70th Tank Battalion for its action on D-day.
During this action the tank battalion casualties were:
KIA 3 EM
MIA 1 O, 16 EM
SWA 1 O, (Commander, C Company)
LWA 2 O, 5 EM
Total 4 O, 24 EM
Materiel losses were:
At sea: 9 Medium Tanks (5--A Company; 4--C Company)
On land: 7 Medium Tanks (3--A Company; 2--B Company; 2--C Company.)
Total 16 Medium Tanks.
The 70th Tank Battalion had demonstrated that the early landing of tanks will greatly assist infantry in reducing beach
defenses and in gaining a foothold on a hostile shores. The value of the DD tank in assault landings, when properly launched in water that is not too rough, was proven.
D Plus One
Action to reduce the enemy pockets and consolidate contact between units consumed all of the day 7 June. Early in the morning the S-2 and the Maintenance Officer of the battalion landed on the beach with a maintenance vehicle and joined the Command Pest group near LA HOUSSAYE. The lettered companies reinforced infantry units as follows: A Company--1st Battalion, 4th Infantry; C Company, now commanded by 1st Lieutenant McKay, and B Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur S. Teague; and D Company, under 1st Lieutenant Gordon R. Brodie--101st Airborne Division.
The A Company--1st Battalion team attacked first, late in the morning to capture the TURQUEVILLE strongpoint on the east end of the pocket which was preventing contact with the airborne division in STE. MERE EGLISE. As the attack progressed, enemy fire diminished until, just as the final assault began, the enemy garrison surrendered. Later it was discovered that the enemy unit was Georgian and that an American who was their prisoner (Sergeant Svonchek, 82nd Airborne)) had been able to speak Russian, and that he had, in conjunction with the effect of the attack, persuaded them to surrender. In clearing the town, 174 prisoners were collected. When that was completed the tank-infantry team
swung north astride a secondary road. They advanced against little resistance to the road from STE. MERE EGLISE to BEUZEVILLE AU PLAIN. There they turned west toward STE. MERE EGLISE. About 1100 yards from the village, they again turned north. (Map 3b)
The second group to attack was the team of B and C Campanies with the 2nd Battalion. They drove north from LES FORGES on ECOQUENEAUVILLE, a strongpoint of the south side of the enemy pocket, at the same time as the 3rd Battalion, without tanks, made a parallel attack astride the FAUVILLE-STE. MERE EGLISE road. As these forces attacking north reached a creek bed in front of the enemy lines, they received heavy machine gun and artillery fire from the ridge inside the enemy defensive pocket. The 3rd Battalion, without tank reinforcement, was stopped, despite one of the most severe fights of the first few days. The Tank-infantry team reduced the resistance on their front and took their objective. Their action outflanked the enemy confronting the 3rd Battalion, which then advanced abreast while ECOQUENEAUVILLE was being mopped up. Both forces then drove on toward STE. MERE EGLISE.
With TURQUEVILLE, ECOQUENEAUVILLE, and FAUVIL taken enemy resistance was broken. When the environs of these towns were cleared of Germans the dangerous pocket was eradicated.
As the forces south of STE. MERE EGLISE advanced to within one thousand yards of that town, enemy interdiction of the road with artillery and antitank fire forced the infantry battalions
to move east away from the road into an area about twelve hundred yards southeast of the town. The tanks sought cover near the road. A few of C Company infiltrated by fast individual dashes up the road to the town. The first tank carried two officers of the 505th Parachute Battalion who had came out to meet them. The second tank was hit in the track and did not make the town. The third tank, Second Lieutenant Thomas J. Tighe's, got into the town but continued north out of it and was hit. The driver was killed and the tank rolled over killing Lieutenant Tighe. The fourth and fifth tanks gained the town safely. The latter was Lieutenant McKay's tank .
These tanks established contact with the 505th Parachute Infantry within the village. Enemy in position north of the village engaged them in action immediately, This enemy force had seven tank destroyers whose guns covered the road south ef STE. MERE EGLISE During this action, B Company, 70th Tank Battalion, entered the village from the east. These combined forces determined that the main German position was west of the highway. Two infantry-tank toms composed of C Company reinforceing the 2nd Battalion, 505th and B Company reinforcing the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, arranged a coordinated attack.
The first team attacked north astride the road; the 2nd team crossed the road to the west behind then and attacked north on the left. The speed of the attack was so great that some enemy troops were literally run down and run over by the tanks.
By the end of the day this attack had cleared the enemy from his positions west of the highway and had killed or captured three hundred. Thus it, with an earlier attack from the east by the 746th Tank Battalion (see Chapter IV) removed the enemy threat to STE. MERE EGLISE. This allowed the 82nd Airborne units thorn to turn more attention to operations along the MERDERET.
Late in the day C Company reverted to reserve and joined the battalion command echelon in the LES FORGES area.
D Company reinforced the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 506th Parachute Infantry, in their attacks southwest of VIERVILLE. Occasional temporary reinforcement by medium tank platoons of the 746th Tank Battalion also assisted these parachute battalion as they attacked to the vicinity of ST. COME DU MONT. To keep abreast of adjacent units they withdrew eighteen hundred yards to the vicinity of BEAUMONT.
The action during this day cleared the pockets of enemy from among units of the 4th Infantry Division. The southern front, where D Company operated, still was not consolidated.
During the day the battalion casualties were:
KIA 1 O, 7 EM
MIA 3 EM
SWA 2 EM
LWA 2 EM
Total 1 O, 14 EM
Material losses were two light tanks from D Company.
D Plus Two
On D plus two, 8 June, the battalion, less D Company and elements not yet in FRANCE, spent the day in refitting, maintenance,
and rest in the vicinity of STE. MERE EGLISE. B and C Companies were astride the road north of the town where they had been at the end of action on 7 June. A Company had replaced C as reserve. They, with Battalion Headquarters elements, were in an orchard about five hundred yards northeast of town.
About 1700 hours the battalion, less D Company, was assigned the mission of attacking enemy infantry positions in the area north and northeast of AZEVILLE. Companies A and B attacked within their zone of action across the front of the 22nd Infantry, and Company C was placed in reserve. The path of the attack was a swoop through sparsely wooded terrain, through AZEVILLE, and on to the northeast to describe a loop and go back past AZEVILLE to the starting point. There was no intent to take and hold any ground, but rather to disrupt, destroy, and harass the enemy in that area to the maximum. The attack was executed in late evening to gain surprise and security for the tanks. On the way to the attack position they encountered scattered artillery fire. About 1900 an artillery round seriously wounded the Company Commander, Lieutenant McKay. Captain Albert M. Krekler assumed command of the company. TThe attack was supported by artillery fire on enemy strongpoints to the front and flank. The attack started at 1930 hours and was successfully completed at 2230 hours.
After this attack the battalion returned to the area they had occupied during the day.
D Company performed some reconnaissance for the 101st Airborne Division about one mile north of ST. COME DU MONT. 1st Lieutenant Walter D. Anderson, a platoon leader of D Company, was killed when an enemy mortar shell landed directly in his tank turret.
The action of the three medium tank companies on this day did not gain and hold any ground, but undoubtedly demoralized the enemy throughout the area they traversed. In the light of the action in this same area during the next three days, it seems possible that a coordinated attack with infantry at the same time might have eliminated much slow costly fighting.
Casualties for the day were:
KIA 1 Officer
SWA 1 Officer
Total 2 Officers
Materiel losses were one light tank from D Company.
D Plus Three
On 9 June, General Barton made plans to bypass the remaining forts between the 22nd Infantry and the QUINEVILLE ridge. (Map 3c) This village was the eastern anchor for the German defenses. Task Force "A" was formed for this mission, under the command of Brigadier General Henry A. Barber. It consisted of the 70th Tank Battalion, less A, B, and D Companies, one platoon from D Company 746th Tank Battalion, the 22nd Infantry, the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion less two companies and one or more companies of the 4th Engineer Combat Battalion.
This team adopted a formation with the tanks leading and the infantry in column of battalions in the order 3rd, 2nd and 1st. The task force was to drive to its first objective at OZEVILLE. It had priority of fires of all 4th Division artillery. In this attack, the first really troublesome hedgerows were encountered. Tank dozers were distributed among all tank companies and led in nearly all future advances. Also, dozers were often used in attempt to dig up enemy communication cables laid between strongpoints. The formidable strongpoint at CRISBECQ which had thwarted all efforts of the 22nd Infantry toward its capture during the preceding two days, was to be contained by the C Companies of the Infantry, Engineers and Tank Destroyers. At the tine of the attack, this strongpoint was to be further neutralized by all available artillery fire.
At 0630 B Company had received orders to reinforce an attack on AZEVILLE by the 22nd Infantry, but their orders were cancelled and they returned to the battalion when General Barton. planned task force "A". This, and the platoon of light tanks from the 746th, brought the tank strength of the task force up to two medium companies and one light platoon. The 3rd Battalion reduced the strongpoint just east of AZEVILLE by early afternoon. Some tanks had started out with them but all except one were stopped by a minefield, and the fire of that one was ineffective on the concrete structures.
At 1630 the task force attacked north from the vicinity of AZEVILLE toward OZEVILLE about 4700 yards away, with tanks of B Company leading. The following infantry was stopped at the Cross roads just east of CHATEAU DE FONTENAY, after an advance of about 2200 yards, by fire from strong enemy positions in the vicinity of the Chateau. The 2nd Battalion came up on the right of the 3rd and went into position facing these strongpoints. B Company continued the attack and by midnight had advanced about three thousand yards. It was about one half mile in front of the infantry, who had been forced to dig in for the night where they had been stopped. B Company was recalled. It went to the battalion assembly area southwest of AZEVILLE.
The events of this day showed that the task force had insufficient strength, even with air support, to protect both of its flanks from the forts on the right, which it was attempting to bypass, and the positions en the left, in the gap between itself and the 12th Infantry, and still be able to push forward. The weather was very dry and tanks drew fire whenever they moved because of the dust they raised. Artillery fire followed them all the way back to the assembly area at night.
Meanwhile A Company, reinforcing the 8th Infantry, had been held in reserve while the 1st Battalion of that regiment failed, with high losses, to gain toward the regimental objective. That objective was the road and the high ground between MONTEBOURG and MONTEBOURG STATION. The 3rd Battalion had somewhat better
success. It had taken the HANGAR area but had been stopped between there and LA LANDE by fire from the latter. This battalion had also taken heavy losses all day.
At 1900 the 1st Battalion resumed the attack preceded by two platoons of A Company's tanks. The tanks moved up the read which runs north from MAGNEVILLE. As they crossed the creeks, they machine-gunned the houses on the right, swung into the fields north of ECAUSSEVILLE and fired into the village for ten or fifteen minutes. Fire returned by 88-mm guns from the village, caused them to turn back to rejoin the infantry. The infantry had not followed to attack the houses machine-gunned on the way up, so the tanks found them still occupied by enemy on their return. They attacked these houses from the rear, broke the enemy's resistance and A Company, 1st Battalion, moved in to mop up. They took about one hundred prisoners. At 2100 the infantry dug in for the night.
ECAUSSEVILLE, the strongest point on the enemy's first thoroughly prepared line, had held out all day; even against a separate attack by the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry reserve, during the day. Outflanked by the 3rd Battalion's valiant attack to the HANGAR area and the 1st Battalion's gain to the northwest, the town was abandoned by the enemy during the night.
D Company was not used by the 101st Airborne Division, to which it was still attached.
During the day battalion casualties were:
MIA 2 O, 5 EM
SWA 4 EM
LWA 2 EM
Total 2 O, 12 EM
Materiel losses were two medium tanks from B Company.
D Plus Four
On 10 June task force A continued the attack to reach OZEVILLE. C Company reinforced the 3rd Battalion in two frontal attacks which carried the tanks up the rising ground to within three hundred yards of the main enemy positions. The infantry was so decimated that it lacked the strength to take the objectives. K Company was still on the beach; L Company had lost about 160 men since D-day. When the second of these attacks was stopped., the 1st Battalion came up on the right and went into position to contain FONTENAY SUR MER for the night in extension of the line, about 400 yards from the outskirts of OZEVILLE. When the infantry lines were organised for the night, the tanks returned to the battalion assembly area south of JOGANVILLE at 2215.
During the day the 2nd Battalion of the task force infantry had attempted to reduce the strongpoints at CHATEAU DE FONTENAY but had been repulsed. When ordered to withdraw to clear for an air attack, which never came, they became very disorganised, sustaining heavy losses. Some men became lost and were captured.
Meanwhile A Company continued to reinforce the 8th Infantry in its attack on the MONTEBOURG-LE ELM highway. This
time all three battalions were committed at the start. A Company reinforced the 1st Battalion on the right. After artillery preparation they jumped off at 0730 with some of the infantry riding the tanks which were leading again. They advanced north toward ECAUSSEVILLE, passed it to the east and continued to within 500 yards of EROUDEVILLE before enemy fire forced the infantry off the tank decks. The tanks continued up the trail several hundred yards. There they destroyed three antitank guns. This time the infantry did not make the mistake of staying behind. They followed closely and engaged, alongside the tanks, in a sharp fight which drove the enemy back toward the highway. As the combined force cane within three hundred yards of the highway, enemy fired on than from EROUDEVILLE, stopped them, counter attacked at 1500, and forced them back several hundred yards. The tanks made five thrusts into EROUDEVILLE without infantry. Finally an attack by C Company, 1st Battalion, which had been pulled in from the right flank, completed the breaking of the enemy effort to the point where the 2nd Battalion, in the center, could move in and take the town. The 1st Battalion dug in for the night facing the highway about 500 yards east of it, astride the ECAUSSEVILLE-EROUDEVILLE road, with C Company again protecting the right flank of the regiment.
The 2nd and 3rd Battalions had been echeloned to the left rear of the 1st most of the day. However, in the evening the 2nd continued the attack across the highway and half way
to the railroad before being stopped by enemy dug in behind the railroad embankment. As darkness approached they withdrew east of the highway and dug in on line with the 1st Battalion. The 3rd did approximately the same thing in their zone; they attacked in the evening, passed aver the road in front of the railroad, met heavy fire, and finding themselves out front alone, withdrew and dug in on line with the rest of the regiment.
Thus the 8th Infantry reinforced by A Company, 70th Tank Battalion, reached their objective. They were on the high ground, facing the enemy across the MONTEBOURG-LE HAM highway. The tanks returned to the battalion area late in the afternoon. The battalion less A and D Companies, had fought, as part of task force A, to within three hundred yards of OZEVILLE, the task force objective. D Company, still attached to the 101st Airborne, saw no action this day.
Battalion casualties for the day:
KIA 3 EM
SWA 1 O, 2 EM
Total 1 O, 5 EM
Materiel losses were four medium tanks of A Company.
D Plus Five
On 11 June the task force again made a futile effort to gain OZEVILLE. All combat elements of the tank battalion except D Company were a part of that force. B Company was the lead tank unit. Although this company succeeded in reaching the high ground north of OZEVILLE, no real gain was made and held by any part of
the task force. Later in the day the 70th, less D Company, was designated as reserve far the 4th Division. It moved to an area four hundred yards southeast of JOGANVILLE. B Company joined them, after the day's fruitless effort, at 2100. D Company, still attached to the 101st Airborne, again saw no action.
The only casualty was one officer, B Company Commander lightly wounded. There were no materiel losses.
The 70th Tank Battalion had landed on UTAH BEACH in the first and succeeding waves on D-day. The 4th Infantry Division, to which they were attached, was the assault division for VII Corps. Those facts and the preceding account of the action of the battalion and its elements, clearly illustrate the valor and efficiency with which combat operations were carried out. In some cases as little as one company, reinforcing a battalion of infantry, was the decisive element in the success of as much as a regiment and a big factor for the division. An example of this was the 8th Infantry drive through ECOUSSEVILLE to EROUDEVILLE. Frequently the tanks were not committed as early as would seem to have been prudent. The operations were not planned to allow tanks and infantry to arrive on the objective at the same tine in most cases. In the case just cited the tank-infantry coordination and cooperation were commensurate with present doctrine but most other operations lacked timing and teamwork. These shortcomings were corrected later, but experience cost much to both arms.
Total casualties in the battalion during this period were:
KIA 2 Officers, 14 EM
MIA 3 Officers, 24 EM
SWA 3 Officers, 8 EM
LWA 3 Officers, 9 EM
Total 11 Officers, 55 EM
Materiel losses were:
Medium tanks 18
Light tanks 3
Total tanks 21