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

Company F landed on Beach vicinity of Colleville sur Mer at 0640 hours. Smoke laid down by the Navy and Artillery had already lifted, which therefore enabled the enemy to observe of the Company. Enemy machine guns, rifles and mortars were fired at the assault teams as they ran out of the LCVPs. The water was about 4-1/2 feet deep. The assault teams had to wade across 30 yards of water under fire and cross the beach of approximately 150 yards under the same fire. The cost in casualties was 6 officers and about 50% of the company.
The second, 4th and 5th Sections landed approximately 400 yards too far over to the left. These three sections played a major part in silencing beach defences in the third battalion. Staff Sergeant Strojny aided in the success of 3rd battalion by picking up a rocket launcher of a wounded soldier and firing it unassisted at the pillboxes and open emplacements. A direct hit into the embrasure of one pillbox hindering the advance caused the pillbox to go up in flames. Staff Sergeant Piyo, mortar squad leader, 4th Section, knocked out several emplacements and after all his ammunition had been expended, with a few other NCOs, led the men in an assault on enemy positions. Approximately 15 prisoners were captured and turned over to the 3rd Battalion. These men stayed with the 3rd Battalion until they were able to rejoin the Company the following day.
The 2nd section landed at their proper place on the beach. This section also displayed courage and initiative. When the section leader was fatally wounded, the assistant section leader took over. He ordered the wireman to blow the barbed wire, which he did after crawling 30 yards exposed to small arms and mortar fire. Shortly after the section Sergeant was wounded and the next senior NCO assumed command and led the section to commanding ground overlooking the beach. This section attached itself to Company G, moved inland, and helped in des trying enemy snipers and isolated machine gun nests between the beach and Colleville sur Mer.
Company Headquarters and the 3rd section landed directly in front of strongpoint assigned to Company F. 3rd section lost all its special equipment, due mostly to casualties inflicted by the enemy. Therefore, only small arms fire was used against enemy emplacements with little effect. No support was received from the tanks as none landed at this particular sector of the beach. However, three tanks did come over from the left flank at 1000 hours and fired at open enemy emplacements and pillboxes. Also a destroyer came fairly close to shore and fired at the same strongpoint. Company Headquarters and the 3rd section were pinned at the high water line, which offered some cover until approximately 1200 hours. At 0945 hours the Company Commander sent a runner along the beach to the right to contact battalion and give them the sun. The runner returned about 1130 hours with orders fro captain Finke to move all 2nd Battalion men to the right, where a breakthrough had been made about 500 yards down the beach. When the Company finally assembled at battalion, only the Company CO, 1st Sergeant, and 10 Privates were presents. These Privates were used as local security for the Battalion CP. The 1st Sergeant by placing three men to the left flank of the CP was fired upon and pinned down temporarily by an enemy machine gun. One of the men managed to return to the CP immediately after he was fired upon and informed the Company CO that he believed the 1st Sergeant to be hit by the machine gun fire. Upon receiving this information, captain Finke, with one Private tried to capture or kill the enemy machine gunner by working his way around the flank. He succeeded in getting to within 75 yards of the gun but both he and the Private were wounded by mortar fire and were evacuated to the aid station. This left the Company on the night of D-Day with no officers, a 1st Sergeant, and about 10 Privates. Eight more EM joined the Company before midnight.
The men separated from the Company rejoined it in Colleville sur Mer during the afternoon of D+1. The overflow consisting of two Officers and 31 EMs, also arrived a roll call was held. The Company reorganized and was once more able to function and operate tactically.