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Retracing the Path of My Uncles 2

Discussion in 'Philosophical Musings' started by cincibuck, May 15, 2017.

  1. cincibuck

    cincibuck You kids stay off my lawn!

    At 0630 hours on 6 June 1944 the men of the 16 Infantry Regiment, First ID, reached Omaha beach. Photographer Robert Capa was with them and it is from his grainy film and stills that much of the D - Day story is told. Omaha was divided into two sections; the northern section was for the 1st a division that had already made landings in Morocco and Italy, the southern for the 29th division - a national guard unit that had not yet been in combat.

    A sandstone monument has been placed on the boundary line between the Area of Operations (AO) of the two divisions. The units arrived shortly after low tide, when most of the obstacles were exposed, but leaving an enormous open beach to cross. The Germans were in well concealed positions that had not been knocked out by air and sea bombardment.

    Both the 16th and the 116th were pinned down by rifle, machine gun and mortar fire. The tide was beginning to rise behind them. The floating tanks that were supposed to be on the beach had floundered in the water. Two things then changed the situation: Two navy destroyers came in close enough to concentrate 5 inch gun fire on the pill boxes and the CO of the 16th, Colonel George Taylor, reorganized the remnants of his unit and rallied them, saying "There are two kinds of men on this beach, the dead and those who about to die, now let's get the hell out of here!" They managed to punch a hole in the German line, roll up both flanks, and as more men from both divisions came ashore they managed a complete breech in the defenses. The beach was not secured until 20:00 hours, 14 hours of sustained close quarters combat.

    Now then, if this is about my uncles, why am I bringing up Omaha? While the battle for Omaha beach went on, Patton was used as a decoy. Parts of his Third Army were detailed to create a First US Army Command near Dover and opposite Calais where most German generals believed the allies would try and land. With Omaha secured, the Third Army was now unleashed and Uncle Bobby and the rest of the 59th AA Bn. came ashore on D + 19 and sent to the St Lo area to be part of Operation Cobra, the breakout from the coast.

    Side note: A company, 116th Infantry, 29th ID, was from Bedford, Virginia. By the end of D-Day 32 men of the company were dead. You can find out more by googling Bedford Boys.

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    Last edited: May 17, 2017

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