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Neils Robert Anderson - WWII U.S. Army 9th Division 60th Infantry


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Neils Robert Anderson (1918-1944) WWII, World War II, WW2, U.S. Army, 9th Division, 60th Infantry Regiment, History, Genealogy, Utah,

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Neils Robert Anderson - WWII U.S. Army 9th Division 60th Infantry

  1. 1. Neils Robert Anderson WWII - U.S. Army 9th Division 60th Infantry Regiment Neils Robert Anderson (1918 – 1944) Born: 13 Dec 1918 Murray, Salt Lake, Utah Died: 17 Jul 1944 WWII, near St. Lo, France Burial: July 1944 American Cemetery Normandy, France Burial: July 1948 Murray City Cemetery, Murray, Utah Neils is the eighth and youngest child of Alfred John Anderson (1872 – 1948) & Anna Maria Erickson (1880 – 1947).
  2. 2. 1920-21 Neils with brothers Harry & Milton Neils with Brother-in-law Holger Jorgensen 1925
  3. 3. 1928 1933 With Dad & Brothers & Nephews 1933-34 Neils with brothers 1934 Neils with brother Harry and Nephews Jack & Brent Jorgensen
  4. 4. 1935 1937 High School Graduation Baptized: 28 May 1927 – Confirmed: 5 June 1927 Deacon: 28 December 1930 Priest: 26 April 1936 Graduated LDS Seminary 8 May 1936 Elder: 27 August 1939
  5. 5. 1938-41 Leisure Time 1938-41 1938-41 A young man with a girlfriend and a good job
  6. 6. Neils Robert Anderson Born: 13 December 1918 at Murray, Utah Died: 17 July 1944 – WWII near St. Lo, France Neils Robert Anderson was the eighth (8th ) and youngest child of Alfred John Anderson and Anna Erickson Anderson. 1937, at age 18, Neils graduated at Murray High School. Between 1937 (High School graduation) and 1941, Neils was a “typical” busy young man. He worked as a meat cutter at Safeway Grocery stores. Midyear 1941 Neils and his neighborhood friend, Mel Brown, were inducted into the US Army.
  7. 7. 1941 Neils with Mother & Father On leave during 1941 Neils R Anderson, "United States World War II Army Enlistment Name:Neils R Anderson Name (Original): ANDERSON NEILS R. Event Type: Military Service Event Date: 07 Jul 1941 Event Place: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States Race: White Citizenship Status: Citizen Birth Year: 1918 Birthplace: UTAH Education Level: 4 years of high school Marital Status: Single, without dependents Military Rank: Private Army Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men) Source Reference: Civil Life Serial Number: 39678309 Affiliate Publication Title:Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946 Affiliate ARC Identifier: 1263923 Box Film Number: 14607.31 Neils Robert Anderson Summary of Military Service
  8. 8. July 7, 1941 Inducted in the U.S. Army Infantry - Reported to Camp Wolters, near Mineral Springs, Texas For Basic Training October, 1941 Reported to Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville, North Carolina for Advanced Infantry Training ith the 9th Division / 60th Infantry Regiment / Company C December 7, 1941 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Jan-Aug 1942 Training at Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville, North Carolina Sept.- Oct 1942 9th Division moved to Ft Dix, Wrightstown, New Jersey, for overseas deployment. Only WWII invasion force launched directly from U.S.A.. November 8, 1942. 9th Division - Operation Torch, Invasion of North Africa 60th Infantry landed at Port Lyautey in French Morocco. February, 1943 9th Division leaves Spanish Morocco for Tunisia March 12, 1943 9th Division arrived near Bou Chebka, Tunisia March 17, 1943 60th Infantry detached to the 1st Armored Division the Battle of Maknassy. May 12, 1943 9th division capture Bizerte, Tunisia – Completing Tunisia campaign May 26, 1943 9th Division move to Magenta, Algeria July 9, 1943 Operation Husky, Invasion of Sicily July 15 & 31, 1943 The 9th Division /39th landed at Licata, Sicily 15 July & The 9th Dcivsion /47th & 60th landed at Palermo, Sicily 31 July November 8, 1943 9th Division leaves Sicily November 25, 1943 9th Division Arrived in England. Training for the Normandy Invasion. June 6, 1944 Invasion at Normandy, France June 10, 1944 9th Division landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France. June 17, 1944 9th Division capture Barneville sur Mer, France – Cutting Cotentin Peninsula June 26, 1944 Lead by the 9th Division, the port city of Cherbourg, France is captured. July 11, 1944 9th Division arrives near la Dezert, France NW of St. Lo, France July 17, 1944 Neils R. Anderson was killed in fighting west of St Lo, France. July 18-19, 1944 U.S. Troops enter St. Lo, France ==================================================================================== Some information wrongly assumed this was when and how Neils died. Included here for reference only. July 24-25, 1944 U.S. Aerial bombardment west of St. Lo precedes the Normandy “Breakout” Some bombs fall short resulting in 400-600 U.S. casualties, mainly 30th Division. The dead included General Bradley's friend and fellow West Pointer Lieutenant General Lesley McNair—the highest-ranking U.S. soldier to be killed in action in the European Theater of Operations.
  9. 9. Neils Robert Anderson - Military Service Camp Wolter, Texas, Basic Training BASIC TRAINING July 7, 1941 - Inducted into the Army Infantry. Reported to Camp Wolters, Texas for Basic Training and completed basic training during September 1941.
  10. 10. Neils and friend Mel Brown Neils Anderson, Mel Brown & Happy Birkland Mel Brown is a neighborhood friend. Graduation at Camp Wolters Neils & Mel joined the Army at the same time They were assigned different Divisions after Basic Training
  11. 11. Fort Bragg Neils & good friend Lark Allen. Both Utah Boys Happy Lark Neils They remained good friends during their time with Happy Birkland, Lark Allen & Neils Anderson 9th Division 60th Infantry Regiment All three killed during WWII
  12. 12. FORT BRAGG ADVANCED INFANTRY TRAINING October, 1941 - Reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Advanced Infantry Training with the 9th Division, 60th Infantry Regiment, Company C. 9th Infantry Division (1947 - 1957) Division Troops Division Trains Division Artillery HQ & HQ Company HQ Company & Band HQ & HQ Battery 9th Signal Battalion 9th Quartermaster Battalion 26th FA Battalion (105 mm) 15th Engineer Battalion 709th Ordnance Battalion 34th FA Battalion (105 mm) 61th Tank Battalion 9th Medical Battalion 60th FA Battalion (105 mm) 9th Reconnaissance Co. 9th Military Police Company 84th FA Battalion (155 mm) 39th Infantry Regiment 47th Infantry Regiment 60th Infantry Regiment HQ & HQ Company HQ & HQ Company HQ & HQ Company Heavy Mortar Company Heavy Mortar Company Heavy Mortar Company Service Company Service Company Service Company Tank Company Tank Company Tank Company 3 Infantry Battalions 3 Infantry Battalions 3 Infantry Battalions: Neils: 60th Company C December 7, 1941 - Japan attack Pearl Harbor. During the spring and summer, 1942, the 9th Division changed greatly. It learned a new type of warfare. Sending unit after unit aboard transports to stage amphibious attacks on Solomons Island, in the Chesapeake Bay. Soldiers raced up and down nets on mock landing-craft, across — and often into — MacFayden's Pond on footbridges, and slashed at one another with bayonets as they had been taught by Marine Col. A. J. Drexel Biddle. July 24, 1942 Brig. Gen. Manton S. Eddy became C.G. and on Aug. 9, 1942 he was promoted to Maj. Gen. He was to lead the 9th to Africa, Sicily, England and France.
  13. 13. NORTH AFRICA – PORT LYAUTEY World War II: Operation Torch 1942 Then it came. In early September, 1942 the 39th Inf. Regt. was alerted. The 39th Combat Team moved out on Sept. 17, 1942 to a POE (Port Of Embarkation). Later the 47th and 60th Combat Teams exchanged barracks for tents on Chicken Road, Ft. Bragg's Reservation. On Oct. 14, 1942 the 60th Combat Team shipped to a POE following Oct. 17 when the 47th Combat Team departed New York Harbor. The 9th Infantry Division was among the first U.S. combat units to engage in offensive ground operations during World War II. Only WWII invasion force launched directly from U.S.A. Most expected the 9th Division to deploy to England, following the path of other divisions deployed earlier that year. To their surprise, they were instead sent to North Africa (Operation Torch) to help throw the Germans and Italians off the continent. Equally surprising, their opponents on the beaches of Algeria and Morocco were neither German nor Italian, but French. The Western Task Force (aimed at Casablanca) comprised American units, with Major General George S. Patton in command The 9th Infantry Division saw its first WWII combat in Operation Torch the North African invasion on 8 November 1942. The 39th landed with Eastern Task Force at Algiers. The 47th landed with the Western Task Force at Safi, Morroco. The 60th landed with the Western Task force at Port Lyautey, French Morroco.
  14. 14. The beachhead most vigorously contested of all the Western Task Force landings were those in the Mehdia-Port-Lyautey area. Taking Port–Lyautey - 8–10 November 1942 - Chapter VIII An excellent report of this action
  15. 15. ATTACK ON MEHDIA AND PORT LYAUTEY – NOVEMBER 8-10, 1942 After hitting the beach, the 60th Combat Team had three objectives: 1- Secure Mehedia Beach 2- Attach and Secure the Casbah (or Kasbah) Fortress. 3- Secure the Airfield and town of Port Lyautey Operation Torch: Sub-Task Force Goalpost Capture Port Lyautey First Fire of Operation Torch - November '96 World War II Feature The primary mission was to seize an airfield where P-40's, brought on the carrier USS Chenango, could be based to aid in the assault on Casablanca some 75 miles to the southwest. The landing force consisted of the 60th RCT of the 9th Division (Neils Unit) and a light tank battalion of the 66th Armored Regiment, 2d Armored Division, with supporting units that included nearly 2,000 ground troops of the XII Air Support Command. Friend, Happy Birkland, died during this invasion Hap & Neils
  16. 16. The airfield was taken early on 10 November when the destroyer USS Dallas rammed the boom across the Sebou River and carried a raiding party up the river to take the defenders of the field from the unprotected flank. About 1030, planes from the USS Chenango began landing at the field. There was little fighting the rest of that day, and French resistance was formally ended at 0400 on D plus 3, Nov 11, 1942. The 39th Combat Team remained in Algiers. The 60th Combat Team was located at Mamora Cork Forest, guarding the Spanish Morocco border. The 60th C.T. was soon to be joined by the 47th Combat Team, after they foot marched 238 miles from Safi, stopping on the way to participate in a French-American parade in Casablanca on 13 December 1942. World War II in Pictures- Under the watchful eyes of U.S. troops bearing bayonets, members of the Italo-German armistice commission in Morocco are rounded up to be taken to Fedala, north of Casablanca, on November 18, 1942.
  17. 17. Neils letter of Nov 30, 1942 “Yesterday, we went in town and helped put on a big parade for the people here. The French soldiers also paraded. They went first with their band and soldiers and mules. Then we came with our outfit and tanks and planes diving overhead. It was really some show. Boy, the French people sure did plenty cheering and stuff when we passed by. So I guess were really in with some friendly people.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Letter from Neils - Jan 30, 1943 We’ve really had some important people from the States over here seeing us. One being the President of the good old U.S. who we paraded for just outside our Camp and the other being Martha Ray who just finished putting on a show right in our camp and it was really a “Whoo” A couple other “Stars” that were with her got sick and had to go back to the States. We were really surprised to see the President. They told us some big shots were coming, but our General didn’t even know that it was to be the President. They really kept it under cover. General Henri Giraud, President Franklin D Roosevelt, General Charles de Gaulle and Prime Minister Winston Churchill sit together during the Casablanca ... 24th January 1943 World War II North Africa Not about the 9th Division but a good overview of Tunisia
  18. 18. TUNISIA, NORTH AFRICA While the 9th Division was in Morocco and Algeria, U.S. & British forces in Tunisia were engaging German forces lead by the famous Erwin Rommel Afrika Korps. A series of battles fought around Kasserine Pass, Tunisia during February 1943 proved disastrous for U.S. troops. February, 1943 The 9th Division began leaving Spanish Morocco for Tunisia. The 39th joined the 47th & 60th in route to Tunisia. BATTLE OF EL GUETTAR AND MAKNASSY PASS – MARCH 16-25, 1943 March 12, 1943 the 9th Division arrived near Bou Chebka, Tunisia. The division immediately went into position and began patrolling around Sbeitla and Kasserine. In March, the 60th Combat Team was detached to the 1st Armored Division to fight the battle of Maknassy. On St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th , 1943) The Twenty Days of Maknassy, a battle of infantry and armor was underway. In the cold and rain, day and night, the 9th Division 60th Infantry was engaged with exchange of artillery mortars, machine guns and small arms fire. Gafsa, Maknassy, and El Guettar The 1st Infantry Division (including 60th ) was to make the attack on Gafsa, with the 1st Armored Division initially protecting the northeastern flank of the advance, while troops of the French Southeast Algerian Command were to operate on the other flank south of the line Metlaouïñ Djebel Berda (926). 1st Armored Division, with Combat Team 60 attached, had the initial mission of providing protection against Axis attacks from the directions of Sidi Bou Zid or Maknassy If II Corps should continue toward Maknassy, an advance contemplated as the second phase of the attack, its elements would be on both sides of the mountain ridge extending between Gafsa and Mezzouna. At its western end the bare and rugged slopes of Djebel Orbata rose abruptly to a crest of about 3,500 feet. The contours of this somewhat twisting ridge softened, and the crests were lower, along its eastern half. Trails through its deeply eroded gulches and defiles were narrow and few. Contact between the two forces on either side would be restricted to the barest minimum from Gafsa to Sened village, that is, about halfway to Maknassy, and from that point to the tip of Djebel Bou Douaou, five miles east of Maknassy, would be severely limited. Simultaneous attacks along both sides of the ridge would have to be relatively independent of each other.
  19. 19. March, the 18th Infantry had reached the eastern edge of Gafsa The situation at Gafsa justified General Patton on 18 March in concluding that the second phase of the II Corps' attack could be undertaken next day. .. While the 1st Infantry Division organized Gafsa strongly for defense, the 1st Armored Division (reinforced) could be committed to the seizure of Station de Sened. … with the 60th Combat Team (de Rohan) were southeast of Djebel Souinia… But if the military situation near Gafsa permitted an immediate start of the second undertaking, the weather made postponement unavoidable. Much against his wishes, General Patton was forced to accept the fact that the mud had made an armored attack on 19 March out of the question. RAIN RAIN Streams were full to overflowing. The earth was soggy and in many places there were extensive shallow pools. Bivouac areas were flooded. The soft roads were quickly cut into deep ruts by heavy trucks or churned into a viscous blanket by tank tracks. Travel cross-country became impossible for wheeled vehicles. Indeed, to assist them in reaching the roads from their parks required extraordinary effort and much extra time. The weather's one compensation was the fact that it restrained enemy air activity While most of the 1st Armored Division remained immobilized on 19 March, Patton drove through the downpour to review the situation … He was enthusiastic and confident, concerned only that the enemy should not be given opportunity for a spoiling attack while the Americans waited for conditions to be wholly satisfactory… While the 1st Infantry Division organized Gafsa strongly for defense, the 1st Armored Division (reinforced with 60th ) could be committed to the seizure of Station de Senad The capture of Gafsa and Station de Sened left only a demonstration to be made toward Maknassy, twenty miles farther east … On 19 March, Patton returned to his headquarters in Fériana after his rain- drenched visit to the headquarters … The Corps was now to seize the high ground east of Maknassy and to send a light armored raiding party to the Mezzouna airfields to destroy enemy installations there… On 21 March General Patton drove to … command post in order to hurry Combat Command A to a hill mass five miles northeast of Station de Sened which appeared to the corps commander a possible place of advantage which must be denied to Maknassy's defenders. At the same time, Combat Command C moved northeastward, along a camel trail, and then swung south to reach the main route from Station de Sened to Maknassy at a point about halfway between the two places. For a stretch, Combat Command B followed, but instead of turning south, continued eastward in the valley to an area from which to guard the northern flank of the attack on Maknassy, and assist in preparatory artillery fire on the village. The exhausted troops of the 60th Combat Team, meanwhile, assembled just north of Sened station. Advance elements of Combat Command C, 1st Armored Division, approached Maknassy before midnight and subjected the place to an interdictory shelling, hoping to discourage the enemy from laying mines and booby traps before withdrawing. Next morning reconnaissance discover that Maknassy was free of the enemy, whom some of the inhabitants declared to have withdrawn onto the hills near the road to Mezzouna, east of the village. Neils letter from ENGLAND One Year Later: “So I think we will celebrate. In fact I know we will being to-day is the 17th . It really calls for something for a few of us lads remembering back to last year on this day. Did it rain and were we out in it. We always think of this date when it really rains. But to-day we have plenty sunshine and the day is just opposite from then. But the memory lingers.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  20. 20. March 24 1943
  21. 21. What the folks at home were reading. Most, if not all, would not be aware the 9th Division and particularly Neils was part of the above described action.
  22. 22. Meanwhile the remainder of the 9th Division (39th & 47th Infantry) moved to El Guettar. Here with the 1st Inf. Div. on the left and the 9th Inf. Div. on the right, as parts of Gen. Patton's II Corps, were to attack on the Gafsa-Gabes axis to relieve the pressure on Gen. Montgomery's British force to the south. The attack was launched on the morning of March 28, and for the next 11 days a bitter battle was waged. By April 7 the enemy had pulled back and the 9th, after occupying forward positions, made immediate plans to begin the long, secret trek to northern Tunisia. After Maknassy the 60th Combat Team rejoined the 9th Division at Bou Chebka and the 9th Division begun to move northward to the extreme northern flank bordering the Mediterranean (toward Bizert, Tunisia) The Attack Begins Chapter 32-35 The 9th Infantry Division was to drive against the hills, north of Garaet Ichkeul and eventually to overcome the fortified positions which the enemy had occupied in anticipation of attack on Bizerte Attached to the 9th Division during the next operation were four Tabours of Goums: grim-visaged, swarthy, turbanned, "bathrobe-wearing," silent Berber tribesmen who, as part of the Corps Franc d'Afrique (CFA), fought and died for seven months beside their Americans.
  23. 23. In the campaign which followed, the soldiers of the 9th Division proved that they could take advantage of the lessons they had learned the hard way. The first proof was a brilliant envelopment of the Green-Bald Hill positions which the British had assaulted unsuccessfully for months. At Djebel Dardys and Djebel Mrata the 60th Inf. massacred a German counter-attacking force. Djebel Cheniti was a brilliant demonstration of infantry "leaning up against" artillery preparation. In 1943 furious fighting during the battle of Sedjenane Valley along the Tunisia-Algeria border, it was during the fanatical drive by the 60th Regiment that a captured German Generals' diary was to give the regiment its nickname. In a German Generals' account of American actions against the Germans, he wrote "Look at those devils go", and thus the 60th Infantry Regiment became the "GO DEVILS The 9th continued to drive steadily toward Bizerte, one of the principal Allied objectives. Finally at 1515 hours May 7, 1943 the following conversation took place: 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion CO, 894th TD Bn.: "Have covered the entire valley of the Oued Garba. No sign of enemy in the valley. Believe way to Bizerte wide open. Request permission to proceed into Bizerte and occupy city." G-3, 9th Div.: "CG instructs you proceed Bizerte and occupy it. Report your position every half hour." CO, 894th TD Bn.: "Will comply with pleasure." And then, as Maj. Dean T. Vanderhoef, Ass't. G-2, played the "William Tell Overture" on his ocarina over the radio telephone, troops rolled into Bizerte. The ocarina is an ancient flute-like wind instrument. While several variations exist, an ocarina is typified by an oval-shaped enclosed space with four to twelve finger holes and a mouth tube projecting out from the body. It is often ceramic, but many other materials, such as plastic, wood, glass, and metal, may also be used William Tell Overture on ocarina May 12, 1943 Capture Bizerte, Tunisia – Completing Tunisia Campaign
  24. 24. An aerial view of Bizerte, taken on May 10, 1943. After seven months of bombing, not a single building was habitable. Ernie Pyle reported “Bizerte was the most completely wrecked place I had ever seen”. American troops along the Bizerte corniche shortly after the port fell. The town had been without running water for three months; typhus was present and cholra threatened. “cornice”: a winding road cut into the side of a steep hill or along the face of a coastal cliff.
  25. 25. Surrender of all German and Italian forces in Tunisia (130,000 German and 120,000 Italian prisoners). General von Arnim and 25 other axis generals are claimed captured, so ending the life of the once mighty 'Afrika Korps' and marking the end of the three-year North African campaign. By the Stars and Stripes, a publication Hitler's Nemesis: The 9th Infantry Division “Days of combat in North Africa were over. Tunisia had been a disillusioning land, devoid of cinematic glamor; a land of overloaded burros and few houses for shelter. The battle had featured over- extended fronts and equally extended lines of supply. Communications were across a country once described by a doughboy as "miles and miles of miles and miles" — a country strewn with French, German, and American mines whose exact location no one knew. These had been the days when cold- numbed fingers were sliced on C ration cans, when air superiority didn't always seem a certainty, when Yank and The Stars and Stripes were things that didn't arrive, when the only news came by way of BBC (and nobody had a radio), when the theory became a fact that "Africa is a very cold continent where the sun is hot." May 26, 1943 - Move to Magenta, Algeria - AFTER the inevitable policing-up around Bizerte the 9th Division hit the road west, over the same route traversed three months before. Magenta, Algeria, where the division was assembled by late afternoon May 26, developed into an elaborate bivouac as days slipped into weeks. May 26 through June 27, 1943 - 9th Division participated in a program of training and rest.
  26. 26. SICILY SICILY June 29 and 30, 1943 - But movement was in the air again. On June 29 and 30, the 39th Combat Team (with attachments) and the 9th Div. Arty. moved out for Bizerte, via Orleansville, L'Arba, Setif and Souk-Ahras. The 39th was then attached to 1st Infantry Division for the initial landing in Sicily (Operation Husky). 60th & 47th , the remainder of the division, stayed at Magenta pursuing its training program July 8, 1943 orders were issued directing the remaining units to Ain el Turck. The infantry regiments, with attachments, were to march. Orders were issued directing the remaining units, 60th & 47th Combat Team, to Ain el Turck The new area was near Bou Sfer, (which is near Oran, Algeria) with all units within walking distance of the beach. In this "staging area" preparations were immediately begun to move to Sicily. For two weeks training was conducted in the morning but each afternoon units were formed and moved to the beach at a walk-and-run, where the remainder of the afternoon was spent July 9, 1943 - Operation Husky, Invasion of Sicily
  27. 27. July 29, 1943 – The 60th & 47th - On the morning of July 29, 1943 five passenger ships (the Borinquin, Evangeline, Orizaba, Mexica, and Shawnee) with escort, moved out of Mers el Kebir (near Oran, Algeria), preceded by freighters. The trip was uneventful and the convoy arrived off PALERMO, Sicily harbor in the early evening of July 31. But it was impossible to unload and the ships remained anchored during the night. At approximately 0415 on Sunday Aug. 1, 1943 — the 3rd anniversary of the 9th Division — the celebration began. Enemy planes raided the harbor for an hour and 45 minutes. During the raid the 9th lost neither personnel nor equipment, but an undetermined number of enemy planes were shot down. That morning unloading of ships began and division units went into bivouac east of Palermo. During the next few days concentration of the division east of Nicosia was completed. The 1st Infantry Division (including 39th ) pushed its way eastward against stiffening German opposition, capturing Nicosia on the 28th of July before moving on to Troina. The mountain village would prove to be the unit's toughest battle, as well as one of the most difficult fights of the entire Sicily Campaign. TROINA constituted one of the main anchors of the Etna Line and was defended by the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division and elements of the Italian Aosta Division. The Axis forces were deeply entrenched in hills that both dominated the approaches to the town and were difficult to outflank. The barren landscape, almost devoid of cover, made advancing American soldiers easy targets for Axis gunners. The battle for TROINA began on 31 July 1943, when the Germans repulsed an advance by the 39th Infantry Regiment, a 9th Infantry Division outfit temporarily attached to the 1st Division. The setback forced Bradley and Allen to orchestrate a massive assault. Over the next six days the men of the 1st Infantry Division, together with elements of the 9th Division, a French Moroccan infantry battalion, 165 artillery pieces (divided among 9 battalions of 105-mm. howitzers, 6 battalions of 155-mm. howitzers, and 1 battalion of 155-mm. "Long Tom" guns), and numerous Allied aircraft, were locked in combat with Troina's tenacious defenders. Control of key hilltop positions see-sawed back and forth in vicious combat, with the Germans launching no fewer than two dozen counterattacks during the week-long battle. Aug. 5, 1943 - The 39th rejoined the 9th Division (47th & 60th ) west of TROINA. By Aug. 5 all units were in a position for the attack that was launched on the morning of Aug. 6. The 60th lnf. was sent on a wide flanking movement north through almost impassable terrain. Their mission was similar to what they had accomplished (Ghost March) so brilliantly in the Bizerte campaign. Again there were major problems of supply and evacuations were solved by the supply services, medics, and engineers. While the 60th Inf. went north through CAPIZZI and then east, the 47th and 39th advanced east from TROINA. The enemy once again was maneuvered out of one position after another. By Aug. 12 the 60th Inf. reached FLORESTA, and the 39th occupied, keypoint of the enemy's last line of defense before Messina. Here the 9th Div. was "pinched out" by the 3rd Div. on the north and the British on the south. The 9th Div. remained in position until Aug. 20, when it was officially announced that the island of Sicily was free of enemy. On Aug. 23, movement began toward CEFALU on the Tyrrhenian Sea, half way between PALERMO & FLORESTA
  28. 28. Here, for the first time the 9th Division received some of the credit it had so richly earned the hard way. Because of confused censorship regulations, the 9th had been neglected in press releases concerning the North African and Sicilian campaigns. Recognition came in early Oct. 1943 in The Stars and Stripes, which stated: “The 9th has the kind of leadership and spirit that make a fighting outfit. The men showed it at RANDAZZO, the southern hinge of the last German defense line in Sicily. They showed it by their brilliant envelopment of Green and Bald Hills in the Sedjenane Valley campaign which led to the fall of Bizerte. They showed it in one of the bitterest battles of North Africa — the fight at El Guettar; and again when they force-marched some 900 miles to help stem the Rommel thrust at Kasserine Pass. And they showed it when their three combat teams landed at Safi, at Port Lyautey, and at Algiers last Nov. 8.” Here also the 9th Division had a chance to see entertainers like Jack Benny, Al Jolson, and Adolphe Menjou. Here the Donut Girls appeared, and from Sept. 5 through Oct. 30 served more than 170,000 freshly-baked doughnuts to the 9th Div. Here on Oct. 25, 1943, 34 newly naturalized members of the division formally became citizens of the country for which they'd been fighting for months. These were the days of vino, marsala, and vermouth; of grapes and melons and almonds; of gaily-painted donkey carts and swims in the blue Tyrrhenian Sea; of visits to Palermo and Monreale and the dark catacombs; of the frequent times when the soldiers found out that the guidebooks don't tell the whole story. Then came Halloween and an order for the 9th to move to Mondello, near Palermo, "the muddiest patch of ground in the world." And on the night of Monday, Nov. 8, 1943, the 9th Division was boat-and-train bound for England and arrived in England November 25, 1943 ENGLAND Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire, England. AT Winchester, England the 9th Division scattered through the neighborhood of Bushfield, Barton Stacey, Alresford and Basingstoke. An information course was instituted to teach basic good manners to a batch of GI Tarzans who'd been in the woods too long. The 9th was very fortunate in its jumping-off place, for Winchester was Old England through and through. Even the most casual and literal-minded visitor scarcely could help feeling the weight of centuries borne by Winchester Castle, Cathedral and College. Winchester, England
  29. 29. While in England Neils and some buddies were interview by news reporters and articles prepared and sent to hometown newspapers. But for all its quiet, ancient beauty, Winchester was nothing more than a springboard from which the 9th Division could leap into the final European phases of the world conflict. As the mild English winter melted into spring, the luxury of passes, furloughs and week-ends wore away to reveal more and more clearly the grim, steel framework of ominous military preparation. By April 2, with all leaves and furloughs cleared up, the training pace was accelerated by a field problem on Easter Sunday. On May 27 at 0630 the division was put on a six-hour alert status. The men knew the time was at hand. There had been GI movies, USO shows, PX supplies, the Red Cross tea wagon, signs in English, mild-and-bitter, pubs and dances, and the not-so surprising rediscovery that the guidebooks don't tell the whole story.
  30. 30. The division began moving to marshalling areas (Bournemouth) on Saturday afternoon, June 3. Men found sleep difficult the night of June 5, under the ceaseless drone of unseen planes. By two-thirty, when the first units were alerted, everybody knew... D-DAY D-DAY NORMANDY, FRANCE June 6, 1944 - Invasion at Normandy, France June 10, 1944 - 9th Division landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France. The 9th Division Is Committed When General Bradley on 9 June,1944 established the high priority for the seizure of Carentan and the firm junction of the V and VII Corps beachheads, he also directed that the 4th and 90th Divisions were to maintain pressure in the direction of Cherbourg, and that the 9th Division and the 82d Airborne Division were to complete the blocking of the peninsula. On 12 June, therefore, General Collins decided to commit the 82d Airborne Division and the 9th Division in the westward attack. The 90th and 9th Infantry Divisions joined the battle. (June 10, 1944) The enemy had retired west of the Merderet River, but not without making our gains as costly as possible. He persistently launched small counterattacks late every evening in a series of attempts to regain ground lost during the day, but every one was decisively beaten off. He still held Carentan, reventing the juncture of VII Corps with V Corps. His defense in the fixed fortifications along the coast was tenacious, and our advance was slow. Interrogation of prisoners revealed that troops arriving to reinforce the three enemy divisions initially contacted by units of the VII Corps had had great difficulty in transit. Attacks of U.S. Ninth Air Force fighter-bombers had decimated whole units moving by rail or motor, and heavy and medium bombers had heavily and repeatedly bombed key railroad yards and road centers. French patriots added to the confusion behind the German lines by sabotaging communications and transportation, cutting telephone lines, blowing up bridges on roads and railways, ambushing convoys, and destroying precious fuel. Chapter 6 to 10 & Appendix A Sealing Off the Peninsula Look at Chapters 7 to 10 & Appendix A (Use “Find” 9th , 60th , 47th & 39th )
  31. 31. BARNEVILLE, FRANCE To prevent the arrival of additional reinforcements for the Cherbourg defenders and to forestall any orderly withdrawal of troops for the Cherbourg area, the VII Corps, attacked west across the base of the peninsula. The 90th Infantry Division met stubborn resistance as it led off this attack, but the drive gained momentum with the commitment of the 82d Airborne and 9th Infantry Divisions. On the evening of June 17th, the troops of Major General Manton S. Eddy's 9th Division, after hard fighting across the peninsula, reached the west coast near Barneville sur Mer, isolating the enemy forces on the Cotentin Penninsula. June 17, 1944 9th Division Capture Barneville sur Mer, France – Cutting Cotentin Peninsula
  32. 32. Monument for the 9th Division at Barneville sur Mer, France UTAH BEACH TO CHERBOURG,+Fr ance&source=bl&ots=K8BCdYWdxs&sig=eyAGXRqJRRSsHzvRKFE- BnmqqQE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Ax2KVeTuLYq8ggSKt51o&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=9th%20Division%20at%2 0Barneville%20sur%20Mer%2C%20France&f=false
  33. 33. After fighting its way to Berneville, France, the 9th was directed to move North “along the coast” toward Cherbourg CHERBOURG, FRANCE On 18 June. It was decided that the drive on Cherbourg would be made by three divisions abreast--the 4th Division on the right, the 79th Division in the center, and the 9th Division on the left. For the next eight days the effort of the entire VII Corps was to be directed toward the capture of Cherbourg and was, in fact, the focus of attention of the whole First Army, since future operations were greatly dependent on the seizure of this port. The drive was expected to yield a considerable prize in prisoners, though the exact number of enemy forces in the peninsula was not known. Estimates varied between 2,000 and 40,000 troops, including not only the enemy units already encountered but also the Cherbourg garrison, Luftwaffe, antiaircraft, rocket, and naval personnel, and Todt Organization workers. When an ultimatum calling for the surrender of the German forces defending Cherbourg was ignored, the assault on the fortifications was renewed with attacks by hundreds of medium and fighter-bombers and the methodical reduction of the defenses by the ground troops. Naval gunfire joined field artillery fires and air attacks in supporting the advance into the city itself, and on June 27th 1943 the last resistance was eliminated. Then turning its attention to the northwest, the 9th Division / 60th Infantry pushed the only remaining enemy forces into the Cap de la Hague area, the Northwesternmost tip of the Cotentin Peninsula is called Cap de La Hague, where long range enemy guns were still firing. Resistance was stubborn, but it was a hopeless battle for the isolated enemy, and on July 1st the campaign ended with their surrender.
  34. 34. THE STARS AND STRIPES While other forces occupied Cherbourg, the 9th Div/ (60th Infantry) cleaned up the Cap de la Hague by July 1. The 9th had accomplished the opening chapter of the invasion drama. This had been Africa with hedgerows, calvados, snipers, totally destroyed villages, an occasional pretty girl, and the familiar realization that the guidebooks don't tell the whole story. The story of how completely the 9th had done its job is told best by some of the war correspondents who reported the facts to the world: WILLIAM H. STONEMAN: The hedgerow-to-hedgerow fighting of the 9th Div. across the Cherbourg peninsula from sea to sea must rate as one of the most brilliant successes of United States military history. For four days I accompanied these veterans who not only had turned the tide in Tunisia with the capture of Bizerte, but also helped wind up the Sicilian campaign with the seizure of Randazzo. They were brought to France to chop off the tip of the strategic peninsula and isolate the Germans in Cherbourg... The renowned heroes of Port Lyautey and Bizerte pushed along the flank to Barneville, encountered severe resistance at the little town of St. Jacques de Nehou. TIME: Omar Bradley has done it again. Slipping stronger units past the lines of their tiring comrades, he once more smashed unexpectedly through the Germans to cut off Cherbourg, just as be broke through to doom Bizerte a little over a year ago. And he used the same outfit — the battle-tested 9th Div. — to strike the decisive blow... The blow that broke the Nazi's back below Cherbourg was a clever one and aroused real enthusiasm here (Washington, D.C.) Brig. Gen. Horace S. Sewell of the British branded "the 9th American Division's exploit" as "a magnificent achievement." Soon Cherbourg was in submission and the 9th Division, 60th Infantry and 47th turned its attention to the northwest pushing the only remaining enemy forces into the Cap de la Hague area, where long range enemy guns were still firing. Resistance was stubborn, but it was a hopeless battle for the isolated enemy, and on July 1st the campaign ended with their surrender. Snap Shots of 9th Division
  35. 35. 9th Division on parade – Cherbourg, France 1944
  36. 36. Neils last letter dated July 8, 1944 Near Cherbourg, France Saturday July 8, 1944 France Dear Folks Yesterday I Celebrated my third year under Uncle Sam. I don’t know weather it was a Celebration or not but it sure has been that long according to my figures and etc. So as of yesterday I get in the big money with a five percent raise a hash mark on the sleeve and just 27 yrs. to retirement. By the way I increased my allotment a couple months ago I guess you noticed ? I received a letter from Ruth yesterday telling me you never re- ceived the flowers Mom. The reason I asked about them was because three of us sent them the same time and the others received theirs. We sent them through the Red Cross so I don’t know where they sent them or how All we done was give them the address. We sent them about five or six weeks before Mothers Day Yesterday I received about a half a days reading matter from McCleary and his wife all in one letter. Boy they told me everything we ever done all their doing now and all they expect us to do later. I heard the other day that Mel Brown is around here somewhere. So more than likely I’ll run into him one of these first days, I hope. Reference to his brothers & sisters Well, everything is going O.K. by me so how about Harry & Denny Erv. the wife & chickens “ahem” The Jorg’s. “South State” with the barbers The Som’s, The Gabbots. “I know” The Southern Ute I write to usually. So for now take good care Mom Dad Love Andy
  37. 37. 9th Division heads south to St Lo, France THE STARS AND STRIPES (Oct. 9, '44) THERE came then the briefest of rest periods (July 2 to 8); Moving south on July 9 found the 9th Division back in action again. It was the St. Lo-Perriers offensive this time. All three regiments (60th ,47th , 39th ) were in the line, repeating again the story of hedgerow hell, slow advances from one field to the next, murderous casualties. Although this continued throughout the month, several days before the July 25 breakthrough the 9th cut the St. Lo-Perriers road. On July 25 the 9th Division was one of the spearhead divisions in the offensive, and by the end of the day the division was credited with the furthest advance of any of the divisions in the "push." US Army soldiers and jeeps on their way to the front lines, Saint-Lô, France, Jul 1944 9th div west of St Lo along St-Lô-Périers highway – West of 30th Div The Battle Of Saint Lo 30th Division east of 9th Div Before & After St Lo (German version) (German version) World War II Breakout from Normandy
  38. 38. The maps above are included for geographical reference. The 9th Division moves from Cherbourge (starting around July 6-7, 1944) to a position near le Dezert (which is NNW of St Lo). They arrived near le Dezert 9 July 1944
  39. 39. The immediate area of St-Lô had limited tactical importance; that city, with a peacetime population of about 11,000 stands on low ground near a loop of the Vire River, ringed by hills. Its military significance derived from being a hub of main arteries that lead in every direction. The ground west of St-Lô could be used for jump-off on attack into country where tanks could operate and tactical maneuver would be favored. The importance of the St-Lô area to the Germans is shown by the desperate defense they offered in June and were to repeat in July. The 9th arrived in the Taute sector, south of Caretan, on 9 July 1944. On 11 July the German Panzer Lehr Division, in the Le Desert sector hit the 9th. Advancing slowly against determined resistance, the 9th Division reached the Periers-St Lo road on 18 July, after sustaining very high casualties. GERMANS VIEW The 11th of July was a hard day for German Seventh Army on its whole front, and its War Diary could get little comfort from the reports of Panzer Lehr's attack, on which so much hope had been placed. The complete failure of the attack must have been a bitter pill. Panzer Lehr had been severely mauled by the combined onslaughts of the U. S. 9th Division and 30th Divisions, and was now crippled to an extent that removed the possibility of further large-scale counterattack west of the Vire.
  40. 40. Troop placement JULY 8-10 WHEN THE 9TH Division arrived
  41. 41. July 9 - SAMPLE OF COMBAT DIARIES (abbreviated) Le Dezeret 9 July 1944 The 30th Div 120th Infantry was ordered to attack in a zone west of the highway and flanked by the Terrette River; and nose of higher ground near le Desert, and protect that flank until the arrival of the 9th Division late in the day. Enemy resistance, stiffened by considerable artillery fire, slowed the approached this high ground. At 1300 when 30th Div received a delegation of distinguished visitors including Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., General Eddy (9th Division), and General Watson (3d Armored). Enemy artillery began to register in the vicinity soon after their arrival. At 1425 the 120th received word to the effect that 50 enemy tanks were coming up the highway from the south. At 1500 30th Division heard that German tanks were pressing and followed by enemy infantry Soon, an estimated four German battalions were shelling the 120th's sector, and service company trains were experiencing great difficulty in reaching the forward elements. American artillery was called on for strong support and gave it. By 1830, the dangerous area west of the highway was under control, with indications of enemy withdrawal. Germans, unable to exploit the breakthrough, and beginning to be hard hit by the fires of artillery, infantry, and armor, the Germans pulled out after losing five tanks By nightfall the situation west of the highway was under control. The 120th had recovered the ground lost, and was pushing past it. The 120th Div, under enemy pressure all morning near le Desert, was relieved at 1600 by elements of the 9th Division ( 39th Infantry). By evening the 9th Division was coming into its new zone, north of the highway to le Desert, and this promised improvement on 120th right flank. The 9th Division had reached its battle positions by night of 9 July and was ready next morning to launch an attack toward the west and southwest. Though the 9th was under VII Corps, its operations were in the same tactical zone as the 30th's, and the two divisions were to be closely associated in their work during the next ten days.
  42. 42. The Counterattack of Panzer Lehr (11 July) Pg 37-42 The Counterattack of Panzer Lehr (11 July)
  43. 43. A PAIR OF PANTHER TANKS of Panzer Lehr Division, knocked out by 9th Division defense and left on the road near le Désert. First Army Progress, 11-14 July In the VII Corps zone, the 4th and 83d Divisions continued to shoulder along the Carentan-Périers highway, more and more aided by the pressure exerted from the east by the 9th Division. On 13 July, that unit drove nearly to the important crossroads at les Champs-de-Losque. By 15 July, as a result of the hardest kind of fighting, the 4th and 83d were on a line just north of Raids and held the Sainteny hills which had been their main obstacle. But ahead of them the enemy still held strong defensive positions, and had shown no signs of making a voluntary withdrawal. The cost to VII Corps of getting some six square miles of ground along its peninsula had been high. From 9 to 16 July, the Corps lost 4,800 men; First Army now called a halt to the offensive west of the Taute, holding VIII and VII Corps (except for the 9th Division) at the positions reached on 14-15 July. Definite plans for a major breakthrough operation (COBRA) were being made, the outline plan reaching First Army on 13 July. The offensive now under way was to continue, but would aim at more modest objectives which would give suitable jump-off positions for COBRA. The primary goal became the ground along the St-Lô-Périers highway in front of the 9th and 30th Divisions. At the end of 15 July, the 30th Division was to come under VII Corps in order to coordinate the continuing offensive toward this area. During the 12 days from 4 to 15 July, ammunition expenditure was greater than at any other period during the first two months of First Army's campaign. This occurred during a period when control was being exercised and unrestricted firing was not permitted, when units were limited to one unit of fire for attack, one-half unit for each subsequent day of attack, and one-third for a "normal" day. But deeper and wider concentrations of fire than was ordinary had to be employed in hedgerow country to compensate for lack of observation. Stocks became low in certain types, particularly 105-mm howitzer, and strict rationing was established to restore the stocks for the coming operations. Fortunately, the port of Cherbourg, although thoroughly mined and demolished by the Germans, had been rapidly cleared for use. The first supplies from it began to trickle south on 15 July. Cherbourg was to prove an essential aid, in the next weeks, to the supply problem. But the main ports of entry were still the open beaches, Omaha and Utah, where the 1st, 5th, and 6th Engineer Special Brigades were performing miracles in getting tonnage ashore under all conditions of weather. A daily average of 12,000 to 14,000 tons was being maintained.
  44. 44. GERMANS VIEW German Seventh Army's anxiety over its new problems east of the Vire have been noted already. In spite of the losses around St-Lô, both in ground and personnel, Seventh Army was still mainly concerned over the situation on the right wing of LXXXIV Corps, where it believed the American forces were making their chief effort toward the Périers-St-Lô highway. But with Panzer Lehr's failure to restore the situation by counterattack, the German command now had no other recourse than a grim and dogged defense. In the area covering Périers (U. S. VII Corps/ 9th division zone), LXXXIV Corps' best units were fighting hard to hold off a breakthrough, and were steadily losing ground. This sector was Seventh Army's chief worry, even after the battle spread east of the Vire. The battered 17th SS Panzer Grenadier and the larger part of 2d SS Panzer and Panzer Lehr were now involved here in defensive struggles. By 12 July the German salient along the lower Taute had been wiped out, and the pressure from le Dézert (Arrivial of U.S. 9th Division) was threatening to reach the flank of units holding the Seves-Taute corridor. Further loss of ground was acknowledged in the next two days. With regard to reserves the situation was as strained as ever. Two more regiments (13th and 14th) of the 5th Parachute Division arrived in the battle zone during this period, and Seventh army had to resist calls from both LXXXIV and II Parachute Corps for their immediate use. Seventh Army decided to put them west of the Vire, in position to reinforce the Périers sector. As soon as possible, the 5th Parachute Division was to replace Panzer Lehr; Seventh Army, now as before, was striving to build up a striking force of armored reserve. But within a day, one or two battalions of the 5th Parachute Division had already been committed to help the sorely pressed 2d SS Panzer.
  45. 45.
  46. 46. Infantry moving during Operation Cobra
  47. 47. First Army Front Movement from 8 to 15 July 1944 VIII Corps on the left, VII Corps in the middle, XIX Corps on the right 39th with/attached to 30th Div By 15 June, the 9th Division had come up in hard fighting. Along a broad front the 9th Division had cleaned out the German strongpoint’s east of the Taute and gained the crossroads at les Champs-de- Losque. But just south of that village, the 9th Division struck the enemy's new MLR (Major Line of Resistance), defending the higher ground rising toward the Périers-St-Lô highway. For the next two days of very severe effort, net gains were negligible. 16 July1944, the 9th Division had advanced as far as Esglandes, (about 10 miles north of Périers-St-Lô highway) but there was a job of cleaning out along the Terrette to be done by the 9th Division.
  48. 48. GI's fighting amongst the hedgerows Hedgerow fighting, July, 1944
  49. 49. Finally, on 17-18 July, the 9th Division broke through; during these two days the 9th Division pushed to within a few hundred yards of the St-Lô highway, and crossed it with patrols. The above map illustrates position of the 9th Division between 15 July and 20 July 1944. During this time the 9th Division was engaged in fierce fighting with the German Panzer Lear Division and possibly some of the 5th Parachute Division (west of the 60th ). Disposition of 9th Division 60th , 47th & 39th Infantry Regiments is not shown on the official map and was inserted for reference. Securing the Périers to St Lo road (shown in front of 9th Div 20 July line) was the primary object of the 9th Div. & the whole U.S. command for the kickoff of the “Breakout” called Operation COBRA. In moving eight miles from the Vire et Taute Canal to the Périers-St. Lô highway the 9th Division between 10 and 20 July sustained about 2,500 casualties.
  50. 50. Chapter 5 Last Phase of the Battle (15-20 July) Fighting from hedge to hedge, the Americans had advanced 500 yards on the left and 300 yards on the right by early afternoon. Supporting American armor had knocked out three of the enemy's dug-in tanks, while bazooka fire knocked out two more. Division Artillery support was especially …, the shells "coming in just over their heads, and taking them from one hedgerow to another." Late in the day, (July 15) the Germans made vigorous efforts to counter the … drive. At 1600 and again at 2000, the enemy launched counterattacks to the northeast along the ridge highway, in strength of an infantry battalion and a platoon of tanks, supported by the heaviest artillery fire the enemy had delivered all day. With … Artillery firing at the enemy thrusts, the assault battalions … were knocked out; with the enemy armor destroyed. In spite of stubborn enemy resistance … Infantry was still making good headway. July 16 On the right flank (west side) the 9th Division had advanced as far as Esglandes, but there was a job of cleaning out along the Terrette to be done by both the 9th and 30th Divisions in order to safeguard that flank, particularly at two small bridges near la Huberderie. As the Terrette River was not any serious barrier to enemy movement or maneuver. During its fighting in the sector west of the Vire the combat command had received 131 casualties and lost 24 tanks to enemy fire, mainly by bazookas. 16 July 1944 Neils friend, Lark Allen was wounded and evacuated to England. He returned to the 9th Division Sept. and was killed in Germany 9 Oct 1944 in Hurtgen Forest. From 17 to 19 July, the 9th Division had come up abreast in hard fighting along a broad front. By 15 June, the 9th Division had cleaned out the German strong points east of the Taute and gained the crossroads at les Champs-de-Losque. But just south of that village, the 9th Division struck the enemy's new MLR (Major Line of Resistance), defending the higher ground rising toward the Périers-St-Lô highway. For the next two days of very severe effort, net gains were negligible. Finally, on 17-18 July, the 9th Division broke through; during these two days the 9th Division pushed to within a few hundred yards of the St-Lô highway, and crossed it with patrols. The 9th Division and the 30th together had gained the ground which First Army proposed to use for its jump-off in the breakthrough operation, COBRA. 17 July 1944 Neils R. Anderson was killed during this action. 18 July 1944 Mel Brown was wounded and evacuated to England (this occurred elsewhere in France). Neils & Mel are neighborhood friends who joined the Army at the same time. Neils & Lark Allen Neils & Mel Brown
  51. 51. GERMANS VIEW The German Seventh Army found it necessary on 15 July to commit a battalion of the recently arrived 14th Parachute Regiment (5th Parachute Division) to help Panzer Lehr check the American advance crest of Pont-Hébert. Panzer Lehr reported its resources were not able to "stem the enemy onslaught," and still another battalion of the 5th Parachute Division had to be committed. Seventh Army registered its disappointment over the necessity of throwing in new units, immediately on their arrival, thus using up reinforcements planned for building reserves. Army also complained of its losses in materiel, caused by American air and artillery action. "The battle of supply, unprecedented in severity, had to be waged without noticeable support from our own air force." On 16 July, the American advance south to le Mesnil-Durand caused fresh alarm, and was attributed to the poor performance of newly committed units of the 14th Parachute Regiment. Their failure "confirms our experience that newly committed troops which have not yet developed teamwork and are thrown into heavy battle without having been broken in, suffer disproportionately heavy losses." The Pont-Hébert bridge position was finally given up as lost, and Seventh Army notified Army Group that, as a result of American progress west of the Vire (9th Div. area of operation), the flank of the 352d (east of the river) was in danger, and that the MLR of the 352d might have to be pulled back close to St-Lô. The 275th Infantry Division, erroneously reported to have arrived already in the battle zone, was now delayed in arrival until 18 July, too late to help. A counterattack ordered for 17 July, by Panzer Lehr, had been viewed by Army as its last hope for restoring the situation along the Vire. This attack failed completely, and the day saw further advance of the Americans on the ridge west of the Vire. Seventh Army regarded this set-back as decisive for the problem of whether or not to withdraw 11 Parachute Corps' left wing units.23 A further blow overtook Panzer Lehr when its left flank (west side) was deeply penetrated (INSERT: by U. S. 9th Division 60th & 47th ) and American spearheads reportedly reached the Périers-St-Lô highway. Personnel of headquarters staffs were employed in an effort to mend this break in time, and allow cut off troops to get back. The general situation was so grave that Army Group now decided to detach another armored division from the British front to reinforce Seventh Army. To judge by the tone of the War Diary, this was [German] Seventh Army's blackest day in the battle that had started two weeks earlier. Neils R. Anderson was killed (17 July 1944). July 18-19, 1944 U.S. Troops enter St. Lo, France ==================================================================================== Some information wrongly assumed this was when and how Neils died. Included here for reference only. July 24-25, 1944 U.S. Aerial bombardment west of St. Lo precedes the Normandy “Breakout” Some bombs fall short resulting in 400-600 U.S. casualties, mainly 30th Division. The dead included General Bradley's friend and fellow West Pointer Lieutenant General Lesley McNair—the highest- ranking U.S. soldier to be killed in action in the European Theater of Operations
  52. 52. 9th Division St Lo, France July 24-25, 1944 & Breakout THE STARS AND STRIPES (Oct. 9, '44) THERE came then the briefest of rest periods (July 2 to 8); Moving south on July 9 found the 9th Division back in action again. It was the St. Lo-Perriers offensive this time. All three regiments (60th ,47th , 39th ) were in the line, repeating again the story of hedgerow hell, slow advances from one field to the next, murderous casualties. Although this continued throughout the month, several days before the July 25 breakthrough the 9th cut the St. Lo-Perriers road. On July 25 the 9th Division was one of the spearhead divisions in the offensive, and by the end of the day the division was credited with the furthest advance of any of the divisions in the "push." Operation Cobra Since D Day this is what U.S. planners were anxious to achieve. Getting beyond the Bobcage areas of France into the more maneuverable area where tanks and heavy equipment could more efficiently operate.
  53. 53. Casualty Summary – 30th Division July 24-25, 1944 Significant Dates in the 30th's History July 24, 1944 Bombed by the 8th Airforce, in error, killing 25 men and wounding 131 men. Delayed jump-off for one day. July 25, 1944 Bombed again, in error, by 8th Airforce, killing 111 men, including Lt. Gen. Leslie Mc Nair, and wounding 490 men. Operation Cobra took off despite these two tragic errors and losses. July 25-29, 1944
  54. 54. "Breakout". Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - August 1-13, 1944 Operation Cobra 25-30 Jul By July, it was apparent that despite a generally successful campaign in Normandy thus far, Allied progress had been excruciatingly slow. By mid-Jul the front lines were what the Allied high command planned to be five days after a successful landing. The first attempt at a breakout, Operation Goodwood, was a failure; the predominantly British attempt utilized a large armor formation to, unsuccessfully, create a gap. On 25 Jul Omar Bradley launched Operation Cobra, using VII Corps' infantry divisions to create and hold a gap in the German lines while sending three divisions of men through the gap, bring the war beyond the hedgerow country that had frustrated the Allied troops so much. Preceding this massive breakout operation was an even larger air bombardment. American artillery officer Donald Bennett recalled the morning of 25 Jul when the bombing by 1,500 aircraft started: Across three hours nearly every combat-capable plane in western Europe came in, starting with medium B-25s and B-26s, followed by the lumbering B-17s and B-24s, while a thousand or more fighters circled around the edge of the action, pouncing on any target of opportunity. The ground rolled from the concussion, smacking through the soles of our feet, pillars of smoke and dirt rising thousands of feet into the air. A total of 600 tons of bombs was released. The earlier waves of bombs were dropped on top of Germans as planned, but as the smoke and fire blurred boundaries, bombardiers of the final few waves had a tough time figuring out where the Germans were. As a result, some of the bombs landed on top of American units. US Army Lieutenant Charles Scheffel and his unit was among those bracketed by friendly fire. (Company C, 39th Infantry Reg., 9th Div and adjacent to 30th Div) Though they had front row seats, most of the 9th Division was west of the area where friendly fire bombs landed. On my left, a crashing boom slammed me against the side of my foxhole and bounced me off the quaking ground. Pain knifed into my ears and squeezed air out of my lungs. I sucked in dirt and choked trying to breathe. Spitting, I opened my mouth against the deafening roar. Mother of God, they were going to kill us all.... I prayed somebody somewhere was on the horn telling these guys what they were doing to us down here.
  55. 55. 150 Americans were killed by accident by these bombs. The highest ranking fatality of this massive friendly fire incident was a three-star general of the US Army, "blown out of his slit trench some two miles behind where I had been hole up", recalled Scheffel. Immediately after the bombings, the American 4th, 9th, and 30th Infantry Divisions charged into German lines even as smaller bombers and fighters continued to attack German positions further beyond the line. "[T]he few Germans who were encountered were out of their heads with shock", recalled Bennett as his M-7 artillery pieces went in. Indeed, the elite Panzer Lehr Division lost much effectiveness with some of their tanks overturned and two thirds of personnel becoming casualties of the bombing. The advancing infantry divisions gained 12,000 yards on 25 and 26 Jul, supplying the mobile breakthrough to occur on 27 Jul. The American 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Armored Divisions, supported by the 1st Infantry Division, charged through the gap created. The German forces, already ill-equipped due to the Allied air superiority and now struck in daze by the bombardment, fell back 12 miles by the end of 28 Jul. The German troops were now on a general retreat in attempt to regroup. The defeat of the German forces during Operation Cobra cost Germany over 400,000 men and 1,500 tanks and self-propelled guns, while key positions such as Avranches and openings to Brittany were now in Allied hands. BACK TO Neils Robert Anderson
  56. 56. From correspondence during 2013 – After this report was first issued. My name is Neal Haberman and my dad, Harry Haberman, served alongside Neils in the 60th Regiment of the 9th Division in No. Africa, Sicily and France. My dad and "Andy" were good buddies, both sergeants. My dad took Andy's death in Normandy very hard. I was born in December 1951 and was named in honor of Neils. My dad's full name is Harry Haberman. He was born in NYC in November of 1917, the youngest of 5 sons. He enlisted in the army in January of 1941 so he was somewhat seasoned by the time the US entered the war. He was stationed in Fort Bragg where he first met Andy. He was wounded 3 times during the war. The first time he was wounded he was shot in his side when he and others were ordered to pick up rifles and other arms from a battlefield in Morocco. As the arms were being stored in some sort of building, another soldier dropped one of the weapons which then discharged when it hit the ground. The bullet entered my dad's lower torso and exited his back without hitting any organs. Very lucky. I'm not sure about the second wound he sustained, but I know the last wound came during fighting in the Huertgen Forest. The Germans would intentionally fire into trees in the forest where the Americans were and the resulting "tree bursts" sent splintered pieces of wood everywhere. After being wounded he was removed to England to recuperate but wound up being shipped back to the states by New Year's Eve of 1945. My dad told me that Andy was one of a group from his outfit sent out on a patrol mission. From everything I've read about St. Lo and the 9th Division's role in the battle I believe the American and German lines were not far apart. Andy was shot and killed while on this patrol. Lastly, it is the tradition among Eastern European Jews to name their children after deceased relatives. The fact that I was not named after a deceased relative and was in fact named after a non-Jew speaks volumes about the impact Andy (Neils) had upon my dad and the high regard he held your uncle in.
  57. 57. Nov. 22, 1944 – From Headquarters Sixtieth Infantry A.P.O #9 U.S. ARMY “Neils was laid to rest in an American Cemetery in Normandy, France”
  58. 58. The Normandy American Cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer, France,, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 and the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. Not sure this is actually the cemetery in which Neils was buried. On June 8, 1944, the U.S. First Army established the temporary cemetery, the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. After the war, the present-day cemetery was established a short distance to the east of this original site. Normandy American Cemetery sits on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel at Colleville-sur-Mer, France Grave markers Normandy American Cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer, France, above photo. Temporary graves were marked with a simple wooden cross with an identification plate attached to the center. This photo was taken behind Omaha Beach in 1951 by Life Magazine, 6 years after World War Two at what is now known as the Normandy American Cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Permanent stone markers were added several years later.
  59. 59. During July 1948 Neils Robert Anderson was returned from Normandy, France to his home and buried at Murray City Cemetery, Murray, Utah.
  60. 60. 1948
  61. 61. Your tombstone stands neglected and alone. The name and date are chiseled out on polished, marbled stone. It reaches out to all who care. It is too late to mourn. You did not know that I exist. You died and I was born. Yet each of us are cells of you in flesh, in blood, in bone. Our heart contracts and beats a pulse entirely not our own. Dear Ancestor, the place you filled so many years ago. Spreads out among the ones you left who would have loved you so. I wonder as you lived and loved, I wonder if you knew That someday I would find this spot and come to visit you. Author Unknown
  62. 62. Find A Grave Sgt Neils Robert Anderson Birth: Dec. 13, 1918, Murray, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA Death: Jul. 17, 1944, France Burial: Murray City Cemetery , Murray, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA Plot: 08 094 3 Source- The Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday Morning, August 13, 1944 Murray Rites Today, Honor Soldier Hero MURRAY — Memorial services for S/Sgt. Neils R. Anderson, infantryman killed July 17, 1944 in France, will be conducted Sunday at 6:30 p. m. in Murray Second L D S ward chapel, with Webb Snarr, bishop, officiating. The Murray American Legion post will conduct military rites. Raymond Rasmussen and Samuel Bringhurst will be speakers. Sgt. Anderson was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Anderson, 4612 2nd West, Murray. 3Fold
  63. 63. 1948 Neils was returned from France 1948 and buried at Murray City Cemetery, Murray, Utah