134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
134th Is 3rd's Best Regiment
Gen. Patton's Opinion of Nebraska's 134th Seconded by Capt. Cecil Foster
The 134th Infantry Regiment, with which so many Richardson county boys fought through Normandy and across France into Germany is the best or one of the best in the entire 3rd Army.
The hard-driving General George Patton, Jr., himself, said so on a visit to the regiment during the fighting around Nancy according to Capt. Cecil Foster, who left here with Co. B, 134th Infantry, when the outfit was incorporated into the U.S. Army in 1941.
The general's opinion of the regiment, which was made up almost entirely of Nebraska men at the start, is seconded by Capt. Foster.
"I don't say it from sentiment, either," Capt. Foster explained. "I know from experience in fighting alongside other outfits."
The 134th, as is well known, made the important breakthrough at St. Lo which broke the German ring around the Normandy beachhead. A and B companies (the latter from Falls City) spearheaded the breakthrough which won high ground at St. Lo last July and it was there in the tough hedgerow country that the Richardson county boys suffered their heavy casualties. In the fighting in and around St. Lo it was estimated that the Falls City company suffered 40 or more casualties.
The Nebraska National Guard regiment (134) spearheaded most of the 3rd army's attacks clear across France and into Germany, Capt. Foster explained.
At St. Lo, the Richardson county men were cut down mainly by shell fragments from murderous German mortar fire, according the Capt. Foster, who estimated that 85% of the casualties were from shrapnel wounds.
The Falls City officer explained that in the hedgerow country around St. Lo, the mortar fire was particularly deadly because the Germans had the territory thoroughly mapped. Knowing the distances all through the country, the enemy mortar men could drop shells on any given spot at will, Capt. Foster said.
What the war in Europe cost the 134th Infantry is indicated by the fact that in Capt. Foster's cannon company - Co. E of the 134th - suffered 967 casualties up to early in March. The company strength was approximately 180 men and that means that the personnel of the company was replaced at least five times because of casualties.
Capt. Foster, himself, who won a battlefield promotion to second lieutenant and then went on up to become a company commander, was wounded twice. The last time was in Germany when enemy fire held up a column of tanks and infantry on a road. He was standing beside a lead tank when a shell burst under the front end, scattering shell fragments which caught him in both legs.
When the National Guard company (Co. B) left Falls City in January 1941, it included 91 men, all of them from Richardson county and nearby areas of Brown county. Approximately 30 of the first volunteer inductees from Richardson county were sent to B Company. Transfers had reduced the number to about an estimated 70 Richardson county boys when the unit arrived in France and virtually every home boy in the outfit was a casualty at some time or another. Some were wounded and returned to their old outfit as high as four times, Capt. Foster said. But at the end of the war, there was a bare handful of Richardson countyans left in the company - and virtually all of them now will get out under the point system if they wish to leave the army. A number of boys already have returned home, discharged.
For those not familiar with the Co. B men, their divisional insignia, worn on the shoulder, is a round field of blue with a thin white cross inside.
Falls Cityan, Sgt. Cecil Foster, Is Promoted to Second Lieutenant
Cecil D. Foster of Falls City, recently received a promotion in the field in France from staff sergeant to second lieutenant, according to a dispatch by Lawrence Youngman, World-Herald correspondent.
Lt. Foster's promotion was made in the midst of battle while American mortar and heavy artillery fire was so heavy that it was difficult for men standing nearby to hear what was being said during the promotion ceremonies.
The Falls City man was one of three Nebraskans to be promoted at that time. The advance in rank was awarded for leadership and devotion to duty.
Lt. Foster left here with Company B, Falls City National Guard unit, early in 1941.
His wife, the former Blondena Bruhn, and their three children are residing here at 17th and Morton street. Lt. Foster is a son of Mr. And Mrs. Herbert R. Foster of this vicinity, who have two other sons in the service.
Sgt. Lionel Foster is now in France and Sgt. Lyle Foster, who is recovering in a hospital in England from wounds received in action on July 17. All three of the Foster boys left with Company B.
Cecil D. Foster Is Raised to Captaincy
Cecil D. Foster, Falls City, has been promoted to captain - his third battlefield promotion, it was learned here today.
He is now in command of a front line rifle company, presumably still with the 134th Infantry which originally was the Nebraska National Guard regiment. Captain Foster left here with the Falls City Guard company.
Capt. Foster was commissioned a second lieutenant on the battlefield in October of 1944. In January, he was promoted to first lieutenant and early in February was made a captain.
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