1st Division - 26th Regiment - 3rd Battalion - Journal

June 1 - All Battalion transportation and equipment not being carried by personnel (excepting kitchen trucks and personnel which are scheduled to come ashore at "D" plus 8) is today completely loaded aboard LST #494, U.S. Navy. The ship is anchored in Plymouth Bay, England. Seems rather symbolic, for the Mayflower was anchored in this same bay before the Pilgrim Fathers made their historic voyage to New England. Military Personnel aboard this boat are under the control of Major James B. Carvey, 3rd Battalion Executive Officer, and includes Capt. Hughes, Bn S-3, Captain Ford, Bn S-1, Lieutenant Brown, Communication Officer, Lieutenant Huff, assistant S-4, Lieutenant Fountain and a detachment from Company "M" Lieutenant McKrell, Transportation Officer (who is TQM) Lieutenant Nechey, Anti-tank Officer, Lieutenant Sellick, Assistant Anti-tank Officer, Captain Sperling and Captain Songer with the Battalion medical section, Naval Foc party under direction of Ensign Van Camp and 1st Lieutenant Holloway and, Captain Pelletier in command of all personnel and equipment of Battery "C" 33rd Field Artillery Battalion and liaison group from 33rd also aboard. Today all NCO's received their briefing from 0930 to 1030 hours in the Officers Ward Room. Were brought up to date on Enemy installations and dispositions, our plans and tactics to be used and routes to be taken after we hit the beach. Army rations are being taken aboard. Navy menu to be abandoned tomorrow. White bread is being served at all meals. Quite a treat after months of the British Victory loaf. Personnel of the four line companies have not boarded ship as yet. They are still ashore at H.M.S. Raleigh.
June 2 - We are still anchored put in the bay but the convoy is forming slowly but surely. Even in this one small port the forces, and the equipment, the ships and the personnel are tremendous and preparations such as we see here, are occurring all over the United Kingdom. It forebodes evil for the Jerries whenever "D" day occurs. Boat assignments have been made in case of abandon ship. General Quarters drill has been observed and worked out quite well. Personnel reacted quickly according to instructions and generally were well behaved during the drill. All units aboard holding briefing conferences again. All personnel gradually becoming acquainted with the situation and the plans. Nothing unusual happened today. Day filled with unit organization. Motors were warmed up and tested for one hour from 1500 to 1600 hrs. this afternoon. Weather is clear and sunny. Lieutenant Volk and Lieutenant Allen plus six men as an advance detail boarded the DOROTHEA DIX, U.S. Navy, today.
June 3 - Convoy is still forming and growing. Aboard this ship the day being devoted again to briefing and general organization. Motors again started and warmed up between 1500 and 1600 hours. Everyone anxious to get going and get the job started. The balance of the Battalion is loading aboard LCI's today, the companies being disposed as follows: "I" Co. under command of Captain Semanchyk on LCI 539 (USS), "K" Co. under Captain Moultrap aboard LCI 556 (USS), "L" Company under Captain Billings aboard LCI 416 (USS), "M" Company under Captain Uffner plus Col. Corley, Battalion Commander (C.O. of troops) and following personnel composing the command group: Lieutenant Reynolds Bn S-2, Lieutenant Bicker, Bn S-4, Radio Section less 2 men, wire section less 2 men, message center less 2 men, all aboard LCI 415.
June 5 - Moved out of Plymouth Bay at 0230 Hours. Sailed along south with France our destination. In particular, the coast of Normandy at a point between St. Laurent Sur Mer and Colleville Sur Mer. Men getting all packed and ready to go. Morale is good and spirit excellent. Again, nothing to do but "sweat it out". At darkness can still sight the coast of England. No unusual occurrences.
June 6 - At daylight no land can be observed. 0720 hours was to be "H" hour for the invasion of Europa Festung (The Fortress of Europe). We are to land on Omaha Fox Green beach. The 16th Infantry is the assault force coupled with the 116 Infantry of the 29th Division. The 18th Infantry follows the 16th Infantry and the 26th Inf. is scheduled to land, as reserve, at "H" plus 12 or approximately 1930 hrs. At 1000 hrs. we first observed land on our right flank (starboard bow). We were first able to discern the beach at 1500 hrs. It seems to be littered with equipment. Enemy fire falling length and breadth of the whole beach. It must be really tough ashore. Colonel Corley and the Bn. hit Omaha Easy Red Beach between 1800 and 1900 hrs. after vainly trying to get in on Fox Green. "I","K", and "M" Companies landed during this period and moved inland under control of Colonel Corley. "L" Co. moved in on Fox Green as intended under Captain Billings control. They joined with the 16th Inf. in the vicinity of Colleville Sur Mer and went into action. Col. Corley's command reports the beach an utter shambles. Equipment scattered everywhere. Beach under observed artillery fire. Derelict sea-craft hung up on the beach--a few on fire. The colonel led the Battalion through the one gap they were able to traverse. Moved toward assembly area and ran into the Regimental CP in an over-ran gun emplacement. Received orders to hold the Battalion in place for a possible change of orders. Order came and Bn. moved to draw north of St. Laurent Sur Mer. Captain Moultrap injured. Lieutenant Cornwell placed in command of "K" Co. Major Carvey with second command group left LST 494 at 2145 hrs. and landed on Omaha Easy Red Beach. Major Carvey, Captain Ford, Lieutenants, Willis, Huff, Egge and 31 EM were in one LCVP that struck a mine and sank. Captain Hughes took charge and let the group to a point some 1700 yards off the beach where he contacted the rest of the Bn. At this point Hq. Co., I, K, & M Co's. formed the complete Battalion. At 2300 hrs. German Dive Bombers bombed the beach area. At 2300 hrs the Bn. moved out in column of files because of mine fields. Held up almost at once while Colonel Corley reports to regiment again. During this time check on Hq. Co. finds only 27 men present. Lieutenant Brown placed in temporary charge of the company. Colonel Corley received orders that 116th and 115th are attacking St. Laurent Sur Mer and that 3rd Bn. is to by-pass the town and seize the high ground on the south of town. Battalion moved out at 1230 hrs. with "K" Co. leading.
June 7 - Bn. moved out at 0030 hrs. Beautifully clear night. At 0200 hrs. ran into enemy resistance composed of small arms fire mainly. At 0330 hrs, Bn. just short of objective, heavily engaged, begins to dig in. "M" Co, in general support. At 0830 hrs. receive orders to advance on Formigny - Hill 57. Colonel Corley and Captain Crawford to go to 1st Bn., 18th Inf. CP to coordinate the effort. They will move out on our left. They have a few tanks. We will probably not have physical contact with 1st Bn. of 18th. Captain Billings of "L" Co. reports in at 1040 hrs. We have no medics excepting Co. aid men. "K" Co. jumps off at 1115 followed by "L" Co. Balance of day spent in trying to develop more than two platoons. We run into snipers and its just like hunting quail. They are up in trees with camouflaged uniforms. All areas have to be checked for hidden Heinies. We find we are attached to 1st. Bn., 18th Inf. Lieutenant Selleck sent out to check with regiment at 2300 hrs. for more definite orders. Casualties for the day: Lieutenant Emerson & 1 EM KIA, Lieutenant Wanderstolp and 10 EM - WIA. Enemy morale - excellent; our troops - excellent. Was a clear sunny day. Medics joined us at 1600 hrs.