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June 44 - 116th Reg., E Co.
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116th Reg., 2nd Bn., E Co. - Group Critique Notes - June 1944

Page 1

While this fire on the machine guns was going on G Company of the 16th Infantry came along. They had a group of 50 to 55 men and two Pole prisoners who were leading them thru the mine fields. This contingent from E company of the 116th joined the group from the 16th and remained with them for the next three days.

The 3rd section was badly scattered by the time they reached the high water point. The fire on the beach was so intense that no attempt was made by the men to close together. As other units came to the beach the casualties began to mount. It was felt that the first wave had an easier time of it than the succeeding waves. Part of the 16th Infantry landed at this point. The section made no real attempt to get off the beach until 1100 hours. A few men went to the right to contact any other section which they might find. They met no one so returned and went slightly to the left. Here they met a small group of the 16th Infantry, probably E or F company, and went toward the hill. They encountered wire en mines but fortunately no casualties occurred. Some sniper fire came from the right. The men from the 16th took the initiative and the men of the 116th were glad to follow soldiers who had combat experience and who "who seemed know what they were doing." The top of the hill was reached about 1200 hours. Some casualties occurred at the crest of the hill as one man carelessly handled a hand grenade. Here the section reorganized with a few strays which they found. There were three officers present from the company, Lieutenants Ferguson, James Corry, and Evermonte Huffman. The group then started to advance inland in single file, about twenty yards between men. Soon they received mortar fire from their right front. When stopped all men fell flat, remaining about thirty minutes to allow a naval fire party to bring fire on the mortars. After the naval fire the mortars were not heard from. About 1300 the column moved on a right oblique for about 150 yards to the top of small rise. Here they received artillery fire which the men believe was from an 88. They ducked a ditch and remained for two hours. Friendly tank were heard on their right flank and as they later advanced about four tanks were seen. The men continued to try to find their company. About 2000 hours a group of the company composed of the 4th, 5th, and 6th sections was met. At this time they were still no over 2500 yards from the beach, but as to the exact or approximate location, none of the men know.

Immediately after the 6th section reached the high water line they tried to get forward to the hill. Sgt. Marcus Little put five bangalore torpedos into a double apron wire entanglement and blew a hole about six feet wide thru it. Just as the gap was opened, a round of mortar shell fell in the center of the gap. Although no one was injured, there was a good deal hesitation to move forward. Sgt. James Herndon went first and the others followed. The wire was near the foot of the hill but on the right of the section was a pill box. Two rounds were fired at this by the bazooka but missed. An artillery shell landed in the group of men at this time and one man was wounded. The men then decided to move in behind the emplacement to a higher level of the hill. When behind the position it was found to be much more extensive than previously imaged. There were several machine guns, and anti-tank gun, and a mortar position. The mortar position was the nearest so Sgt. Amos Buchanan killed one man with an M1 shot, the other man was killed with a hand grenade. Other groups were by this time working on the position from below. Together it was soon finished off.

The 6th section tried to advance further up the hill but six men were killed by sniper and machine gun fire. Later a naval fire control party ordered the group to get off the hill as a naval bombardment was going to take place. The men returned to the beach and here met the 4th and 5th sections. They learned that the 4th and 5th sections of the 116th plus men from the 16th had been the ones who fired on the enemy emplacement from the bottom.

On the beach the men of the 116th particularly noticed and efficient little hospital which the 16th Infantry medics had set up. It was carrying for all of the wounded which were on the beach.

The beach was congested with the men. Naval, engineering, and armored were taking cover. The three sections joined a group behind E, 16th Infantry and continued to the top of the hill. The men were emphatic that they followed the leadership of the 16th, who took the initiative. These three sections remained with the 16th for the remainder of the day, and about dark were joined by the 3rd section. At this time they had between fifty and sixty men.

This story ties in with that given by F Company, 16th Infantry. The enemy strong point was the same as mentioned in the account of the 5th section of F, 16th. The men of the 5th section 116th were those which operated with the 5th of the 16th. Neither group knew the exact identify of the other, but the stories of the two, plus descriptions of each other is identical.

Statement of the Detachment of H Company 116th Infantry which was to support E, 116th.

This detachment came in to the beach at H+30 but failed to find the unit it was to support. The detachment consisted of 38 men in two boats with one machine gun section and one squad of mortars. The men reached the high water line alright but here the machine gun sergeant was killed and the detachments officer, Lieutenant Sarasin was wounded. The detachment remained on the beach for three or four hours. One gun opened fire on an open emplacement on the hill but the results are unknow. Later this group moved down the beach to the left, past the hospital set up by the 16th Infantry. They climbed the hill thru and exit opened by the 16th. They joined in firing on an enemy machine gun and mortar position. As C, 16th went by toward St. Laurent sur Mer the detachment joined them but returned to 2nd battalion, 116th Infantry that evening about 1600-1700.