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D-Day Documents

1st Division - 16th Regiment - 2nd Battalion - H Company - Account

Member of this organization loaded in their assault craft at approximately 0430 hours and started rendezvous movement until the entire group had gathered. The armada was complete and very satisfying. The sea was very rough and quite a few men were seasick, some of the craft turned over, but fortunately none from this company. The rocket lighters (LCT-R) and heavy ships were constantly bombarding the shore.

H Company was scheduled to hit the shore at easy Red beach at 0710 hours, but had to contact the Navy control boat and lost some time in doing that. After finding the exact direction from the control boat the company started towards shore at full throttle. The company reached shore at approximately 0727 hours. They were immediately hit by machine gun fire and heavy casualties ensued. They hit the beach too far left of where they were to land. The tanks were on the beach to the right of where they landed, but were not giving too much support. There were obstacles on the beach and around these were anti-personnel mines and Teller mines on top of them. The tide was rising at this time and many of the wounded, who probably could have been saved, were drowned. Quite a bit of equipment was lost. All off the radios were either lost or destroyed.

The situation on the beach was critical, and at times looked very black. One of the company’s machine guns set up on the left and started firing at the pillbox and open emplacements that were on the left flank. Enemy mortar fire was dropping on the beach, but the enemy either was scared or was hit because it wasn’t very effective and, after this time, ceased. There was machine gun fire coming from the extreme left. This sector was supposed to be taken up by the 3rd Battalion. Every time a move was made this gun would open up and kept the company pinned down. There also was a lot of mines going off. These evidently were timed. About three hours later a hole was blown in the barbed wire by a Bangalore torpedo and they then started moving down the beach, a distance about 200 yards; and started infiltrating through the gap. An enemy machine gun on the left kept up a continual fire which made progress very slow. There a lot of mines along the Company’s path, most of which were marked, and the engineers were trying to take them out. After getting off the beach, they climbed up a hill and crossed a minefield and then turned to the left and continued on until the hit a road and then turned right. The mortar platoon was set up in position near some ruined buildings and the company CP was set up near these positions. This position was approximately 600 yards from the beach and approximately 400 yards from the row of Colleville. The machine gun platoons were in direct support of the rifle Companies. The 2nd Platoon could not be contacted for a period of time and it was believed that they were captured, but later, contact was established with them.

The manner in which the battle was fought was out of the ordinary. The enemy seemed to be everywhere. Machine gun fire, artillery, and snipping were very heavy. The Mortars played a very important part in eliminating these machine gun nests and also snipers. At times the Company had machine gun to the left, front, and right, and it had begun to look like they would be backing into the sea; but sheer guts, excellent leadership dominated and they pulled through successfully. They remained in a defensive position during the rest of the night.

The total casualties numbered 26, eight of these were believed dead, but were carried as MIA. The rest were wounded, most of them seriously.