134th Infantry Regiment Crest

134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

35th Infantry Division emblem

Report of Action Against the Enemy

320th Infantry Regiment

August 1 to August 31, 1944

 

DECLASSIFIED

Authority 735017

By IM NARA, Date 4/1/06

HEADQUARTERS 320TH INFANTRY

APO 35 U S ARMY

4 Sept 1944

SUBJECT: Action Against Enemy, Report After.

TO : The Adjutant General, Washington, D. C. (Thru Channels)

 

1. Following report covers the period 1 August 1944 to 31 August 1944 inclusive.

 

Movement Orders—On 1 August 1944 the regiment was engaged in fighting the enemy in the vicinity of Guilberville and was advancing to the south by successive bounds to objectives designated by division orders. The Vire River was crossed by the 3d Bn on 2 August and the other two Bns crossed during the night of 2 and 3 August and captured and secured Hill 203 to the south of the river. The regiment continued the attack the following day. The attacks to the south continued until 5th August, on which date the regiment occupied positions in the vicinity of Le Neufbourg. At that time the regiment was squeezed out by the division on the right attacking across the front and making contact with the unit to the left. On 6 August the regiment in assembly area received orders to move from its location in vicinity of La Queriere to assembly area vicinity of St. Brice, by motor. On 7 August the regiment while in assembly, received orders to be on 30 minute alert and was placed in division reserve, while other two regiments of the division were attacking east toward Mortain to secure the Mortain Road. On 9 August the regiment received an order from division to attack on the left within the division zone along the main road from St. Hilaire to Mortain. The regiment moved to positions for attack by motor and by marching. The enemy was contacted and engaged to the west of Mortain by the leading units of the regiment on the afternoon of 9 August. The attack to the east went on against fierce enemy resistance until 11 August, on which date the regiment was directed to turn north and seize the heights east of and including the enemy occupied portions of St. Mortain, in which area a battalion of the 120th Infantry had been surrounded by enemy for 5 days, all attempts at relief by their own troops having been repulsed. Attack was initiated at 1500 by 1st Bn with one battalion of tanks and by strenuous action throughout the night the 1st and 2d Bns secured their objective, relieved the surrounded battalion and liberated St. Mortain on 12 August. Orders for relief reached the regiment about 2000 on that date and by 0600 13 August the regiment had been relieved and moved to assembly area a short distance southwest of Mortain. At 1800 on 13 August, the regiment received orders for movement by motor. Unit crossed IP at Milly at 2006 and proceeded to assembly area south of Le Mans. On 15 August at 2030 orders received directed the regiment to proceed to Chateaudun and secure all approaches to the city. Leading elements crossed IP at 2130 which was a short distance south of Le Mans and made a tactical motor march to vicinity of Chateaudun, which was reached by leading elements about 0845 on 16 August. 2d Bn contacted and engaged the enemy at Chateaudun during the daylight hours of 16 August, 1st Bn was committed on its left. Occupation of the city was completed about 0800 17 August. The regiment moved into defensive positions north and east of the city on 17 and 18 August and continued to occupy positions on 19 August. On 20 August at 2215, orders were issued for a tactical movement to the high ground east of Pithiviers. At 0600 21 August, leading elements crossed IP vicinity of Chateaudun and made a tactical motor movement to high ground east of Pithiviers. On August 21 the regiment occupied the town of Pithiviers and the high ground in the vicinity, without opposition. At 0100 22 August orders were issued for tactical movement from vicinity of Pithiviers to high ground west of Montargis. Leading elements crossed IP at 0700 and made a tactical march to high ground west of Montargis which leading elements reached at 1329. Reconnaissance preceded movement and reached objective at 1022. On 22 and 23 August, unit occupied northern half of Montargis and position to northeast after fighting through light opposition offered by enemy in canal and river system west of the town. On 24 August unit moved at 0700 by foot to vicinity of Courtenay, conducting mopping up operations while enroute. Regiment remained in assembly and defensive positions vicinity of Courtenay through 26 August. At 1201, 27 August, leading elements of 1st Bn as part of Task Force Sebree crossed the IP in Courtenay and made a motor movement to Troyes. 1st Bn reached destination at 2025; remainder of regiment remained in present positions. At 2055 28 August, the remainder of CT 320 moved by motor from road junction east of Courtenay to Troyes, closed in assembly area vicinity of Troyes at 0200 29 August. Began movement to defensive positions surrounding city at 1000. At 0200 30 August, issuance of orders completed for movement by foot to secure positions along main highway of line Bar-Sur-Seine to Vendeuvre-Sur-Barse. Units attacked at 0800 and all units had reached objective by 1700. At 1445 31 August, CO received and issued orders for movement from that position to vicinity Brienne le Chateau of the 1st and 2nd Bns, 3rd Bn to continue to hold the line Bar-Sur Seine to Venndeuvre-Sur-Barse. At 1945 leading elements of 3d Bn by motor movement crossed IP at Thiefrain and all elements of the CT 320 had closed into assembly area vicinity Brienne le Chateau, at 2315.

 

2. Mission: The mission in the first operation, 1 to 5 August, was to push the enemy to the south by a succession of advances. The mission in the 2d operation at Mortain was to block and stop the German offensive toward Avranches, which would have split the Allied forces and would have interfered with the whole Allied plans of operations. The unit was then given a further mission of capturing from the enemy the town of Mortain and the high ground to the east, which afforded excellent observation. The mission at Le Mans was to defend the area from enemy attack from the south. The mission at Chateaudun was to capture the town and secure it. The mission at each successive objective during the remainder of the month was to mop up enemy resistance and secure each objective against enemy attack.

 

3. Information of Enemy: In the operations 1 to 5 August the unit faced enemy forces composed principally of para-troops. The morale of the troops was good and they fought excellent delaying actions from well selected positions. They were well supported by artillery. In the action at Mortain the regiment was faced with Panzer units, and SS Troop among which was the Das Reich Division. These troops were well supported by artillery, mortars, including the multiple rocket guns Nebelwerfer and armor and in addition had some air support at night. They were well supplied and well equipped; their morale was high and they fought fiercely in every engagement. They had ample reserves to replace local losses. In the operations at Chateaudun, the enemy forces were composed principally of security troops, AA units and administrative personnel supported by M6 tanks. Their morale was not as high. They had no artillery support except flack guns. They had ample supplies of food and other equipment. The forces faced during the balance of operations were remainders of units hastily organized into defensive positions and their morale was not good, but they had ample supplies of food and small arms and ammunition.

 

4. Decision of Tactical Maneuvers: Tactical decisions were made in accordance with the situation existing at the moment, which was very fluid throughout all operations during the month.

 

5. Units Used: 1st Bn commanded by Major Waring to August 3d, commanded by Major Momm to August 7th, commanded by Major Gillis August 7th to 31st. 2nd Bn commanded by Lt. Col. Keator August 1st to August 28th, Lt. Col. Hannum August 28th to 31st. 3d Bn commanded by Lt. Col. Docka August 1st to August 11th, commanded by Lt. Col. Northam August 11th to 13th, commanded by Lt. Col. Greer August 14th to August 31st. Headquarters Company commanded by Captain Forsyth August 1st to August 11th, commanded by Captain Casey August 12th to August 31st. S-1, Captain Davis August 1st to August 11th, Lt. Ginsburg August 12th to August 31st. S-2, Major Jamieson throughout. S-3, Major McElroy throughout. S-4, Major Hughes throughout.

 

6. Weapons used: Small arms, mortars, artillery and chemical mortars.

 

7. Artillery, Tank and Air Support: Artillery support throughout the operation was excellent. Tank support was available throughout all operations. Air support, air cover throughout the entire operations and air strike on positions to east of Mortain aided in that operation.

 

8. Effects of Weather: Weather for offensive operations was fair to excellent throughout the period.

 

9. Supply: During the period, supply was normal and presented no unusual problem. All items of equipment were effectively supplied. The troops had, by previous experience, learned and appreciated the need of care for equipment and weapons.

 

10. Communications: Communications by wire were used during most of the operations. Radio control was very effective during the many movements.

 

11. Honest Appraisal of Troop Morale and Troop Efficiency: Good to excellent throughout the operations.

 

12. Casualties:

Officers

Enlisted Men

Total

Killed in Action

4

33

37

Wounded in Action

15

379

394

Missing in Action

1

34

35

 

13. Decorations: Six persons have been recommended for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross. Twenty-five others have been recommended for the Silver Star and fifty-nine others for the Bronze Star.

 

14. Prisoners Taken: 456 prisoners were taken during the period of operation.

 

15. Complete Summary of Accomplishments, Remarks Concerning Mistakes, Incidents: During operation at Mortain the regiment was faced with one of the most efficient, well equipped and well supplied forces remaining in the German Army. In one phase of the operation infantry troops rode tanks into prepared German positions with a daring which can be described only as magnificent. The operation of the 1st and 3rd Battalions under the commands of Major Gillis and Lt. Col. Northam in taking the high ground east of Mortain during the night of August 11th and 12th, was a most daring and difficult accomplishment. In the taking of the hill position the two units reached and relieved a battalion of the 120th Infantry, which had been isolated and surrounded on the northeast slopes for five and one-half days. Lt. Kurtz and Sgt Porta were the first to reach the besieged unit. Possible mistakes during the operations were the failure to keep close contact with the enemy and to exploit immediately any relaxation of his resistance. These possible mistakes have been given close attention and are being corrected.

 

B. A. BYRNE

Colonel, 320th Infantry

Commanding

Incls: Journal and Supporting

Papers August 1944

 

319.1 1st Ind RGC/mla

(4 Sep 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

Incls

n/c

 

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