Document Source: After Action Report of the 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division during the month of July 1944 in Normandy France
In 1941, the 26th Infantry Regiment stood with its sister regiments and prepared for war in Europe. The regiment was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division for the duration of World War II. In World War II, the 26-IR led America’s first-ever amphibious assault in North Africa, fought at the Kasserine Pass, assaulted Sicily at the Amphibious Battle of Gela, invaded Normandy, conquered the first German city of the war at Aachen, vaulted the Rhine River and attacked all the way to Czechoslovakia by war’s end. The regiment, commanded by Col John F. R. Seitz, conducted three amphibious assaults and earned seven battle streamers, a Presidential Unit Citation, and five foreign awards.
July 1, 1944, Our position is still defensive. Artillery fire falls intermittently, however, not as heavy as several days ago. At 0045, Item and King Companies completed their exchange of positions. At 0310, Lt Willis, 33-FAB, reported through the 6th British Queens Regiment from Le Mesnil. He says the enemy in force has strong entrenchments, personnel, and track vehicles. At 0715, Item Co dawn patrol reported minefields at  and wire at . At 1000, Blue 6 ordered two recon patrols to work south on the trail from King Co to Le Mesnil. One patrol to work each side of the trail 100 yards wide. At 1405, the patrol returned and reported receiving AT gunfire at . Received small arms fire from east. The patrol requested artillery fire on the area.
At 1300, Mike Co, 41-AIR visited S-6, reports Charlie Co of his unit now on our left and discussing better tying in of flanks. In 1420, Col Leonard was attached to the Battalion. Col Seitz gave orders for mortar fire to be increased to one unit of fire per day. Twenty-four-hour harassing fire to be coordinated with artillery through Lt Willis. At 1500, patrol laid on consisting of one Squad from King Co plus BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) team (2 men), 2 intelligence men, 2 AP demolition men, and Lt Sampson. Sound power phones and reel of wire to be taken. From 2235 to 2238, mortars were to be fired and coordinated with artillery through Lt Willis. At 2251, the first report from patrol. One man was wounded by an AP mine and one was hit by small arms fire. At 2300, Col Seitz visited the battalion and gave orders for the artillery and the mortar fires to be placed on known targets once at 0400, once at 0440, and the last at 0500, to counteract possible enemy counterattack.
Weather: Light showers. Casualties: 1 Malaria, 1 Ab Sick. Visitors to Battalion: Col Moore, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, at 0645. Lt Nichols and Capt Washburn, 745th Tank Battalion, 1040-1115. Capt Anderson, Medic 1st Engineer Combat Battalion at 1640.
July 2, 1944, Our situation continues as before. At 0257, Lt Sampson’s patrol returned. Reported running into minefields (AT & AP) and receiving machine-gun fire from . Also receiving machine-gun fire, believed to be American light, from . At 0940, S-6 called for detail of 1 Sgt and 2 EM equipped with sniper rifles to cover the enemy minefield and deny anyone from laying mines. Detail to leave at 1100. At 1000, S-6 ordered half squad out to observe artillery fire. At 1230, Recon Group follows sniper detail, consisting of 1 Sgt and 3 EM. Patrol went to  Movement was heard at approximately . Artillery fire is proving very effective. In 1515, King Co reports the first artillery fire on the mined area. In 2035, S-6 orders two patrols to leave King Co at 0500, and 4 men with automatic rifles will cover the squad going to . Artillery reports good results from 6 tanks at  being used as artillery. Enemy observed leaving burning houses.
Weather: Clear (morning) but became cloudy and rainy in the afternoon. Casualties: 3 Malaria, 1 WIA. Visitors: Lt Col Bryde, 33rd Field Artillery Battalion, 1500-1525. Lt Col Southerland, Regiment S-5 1500-1525. Capt Barnett, 5th Field Artillery Battalion, 1520-1525. Capt Carney at 1830.
July 3, 1944, There is no change in our position, and artillery exchange continues. At 0300, two patrols from How Co left. S/Sgt Solarski with 8 men and Pfc Merritt with 3 men (BAR team) proceeded across the road, with the mission of drawing fire. Two groups deployed on the west side of the trail running south to Le Mesnil. They located an enemy machine gun at  and one at . They heard the noise of stakes being pounded in at  to . At 0430, Patrols returned. Blue 6 instructed King 5 to lay on Recon at 0945 in readiness for a patrol to capture prisoners. At 1830, the Patrol ordered to leave and get mines. Patrol to return at 0230.
Weather: Generally cloudy with light showers most of the day. Casualties: 3 Abs Sick. Visitors: Col Seitz, Col Bryde, 33rd Field Artillery Battalion, 1945-2005.
July 4, 1944, The fireworks here consisted of artillery bursts however we are sending Jerry considerably more than we are receiving. Activity is confined to patrols. At 0105, King 6 reports friendly artillery falling at , Delta, Premium, and Princess Red were all checked but the source was still undiscovered. At 0230, Lt Vadaszy in charge of King Co patrol to  reports reaching a point at  where he located mines. Mortar Barrage failed to neutralize the enemy. He returned to the communication line. The patrol was sent back by King 6, reached point at , and received small arms fire. At 0310, the patrol returned without reaching or accomplishing their mission. Lt Kuhin, Charlie Co 745-TB visited CP and says his platoon will work with our battalion when the regiment assigns tanks to us. At 1150, Dextrous 6 called for 15 rounds per tube on selected targets at 1200. At 1900, patrol #1 ordered from King Co will consist of 6 BAR men, 6 riflemen, and 2 NCOs. They will leave at 2340 for a point at , to fire on the enemy at  for 10 minutes. Artillery will be belayed on target from 2340 to 2354. Patrol is to return at 0030. Patrol #2 was ordered to leave King Co at 0245 to go to . Patrol includes 1 squad from How Co, 1 BAR team with 2 Tommy guns (Thompson M-1). Lt Allen with 4 AP men, and 1 intelligence man. The mission is to get prisoners. One BAR team to cover squad from  patrol to return at 0515. In 2030, Col Southerland says the limit on mortar ammunition is lifted, but 1/3 unit per day remains on all other ammunition. At 2400, a Report from patrol #1, King Co says, the patrol received fire from at least 5 machine guns and some mortar fire. The company’s position received mortar and artillery fire. They had no casualties. We were notified today that our Battalion is to trade positions 1st battalion tomorrow.
Weather: Raining in the morning, clearing about noontime. Casualties: 3 Malaria, and 3 Abs Sick. Visitors: Co Seitz, Maj Rippert, Capt Kelly all of Regiment.
July 5, 1944, The battalion is preparing to move to 1st Battalion positions tonight. At 0200, artillery fire was tripled to help King Co patrol however the patrol under Lt Vadaszy failed. At 0312, King 6 reports enemy patrol moving toward their left flank. In 1900, Battalion began moving. At 2255, HQ Co and Mike Co are in position. At 2400, the Patrol of King Co returned with the report of knocking our one machine gun. Four men were sent out to investigate.
Weather: Clear. Casualties: 1 Wounded, 1 Abs Sck. Visitors: Maj Hafermaltz, Col Gara, Col Seitz.
July 6, 1944, We spent the day getting settled in our new location. The men are digging in and renovating shallow trenches used by the 1st Battalion. At 0150, the AT platoon completed the move. At 0226, Love Co completed the move. At 0630, we heard Jerry fire 12 rounds from Nebelwerfer. At 0655, 3 more Nebelwerfer from our right flank. At 0755, Maj Rippert called and said dismounted men will be attached to our Battalion. They will make 2 daylight and 2-night patrols with us. The heavy traffic report on the main road from Jurques at 746249 was registered in on by the 155-MM gun battery. Dextrous 3 reports camouflage of the area in good shape. Our area was checked from above by Piper Cubs. He also notified us that Cubs would be over the area during the night endeavoring to locate the enemy artillery.
Weather: clear, sunny, and warm. Casualties: 2 Malaria, 2 WIA. Visitors: Col Seitz at the new CP.
July 7, 1944, Men continue to improve positions. King Co is now in its new location. At 0130, Enemy planes bombed the town of Caumont-l’Eventé this morning leaving the fire burning in the ruined houses of a large part of the town. At 1000, enemy artillery knocked out our radio jeep, killed one man, and wounded three others, one of the wounded was a man attached from 33-FAB.
Weather: clear, warm, and sunny. Casualties: none. Visitors: Gen Wyman, Col Seitz.
July 8, 1944, There is little activity other than the exchange of artillery fire. The men are digging, and the transportation we have with us helps them make general improvements in the area. At 0330, Col Pace of the artillery called information gathered from PW, Prisoner states his Battalion was located 300 yards east of La Lande-sur-Drôme preparing for a small daylight attack. Nothing developed in this report yet. At 2345, an enemy troop convoy coming into Briquessard was shelled by our artillery.
Weather: cloudy, several showers. Casualties: 3 Abs Sick. Visitors: none.
July 9, 1944, At 0045, it is still quiet except for the exchange of artillery and a bit of sniper fire heard. Love Co runners reported their outpost pinned down by machine gun fire and tanks were heard to Love Co front. At 0150, the outpost returned but they were sent back and instructed to knock out enemy machine guns if necessary. At 1145, Col Seitz arrived in the Battalion area. At 1330, Col Seitz presented Purple Hearts to ten EM of the Battalion who were recently wounded in action.
Weather: overcast with light showers. Casualties: 3 Abs Sick and 1 WIA. Visitors: none.
July 10, 1944, Our activity is still limited to patrols and exchange of artillery. Patrol left Item Co consisting of Sgt Turtura, Pfc Pisnok, and Pfc Norman all of Item Co. Also, Pfc Newman and Pvt Foski of 2nd Recon went to a point at . Heard voices at . They then went to , where they heard voices and vehicle motors in the orchard at . At  patrol discovered wire in the road and minefield they also heard the click of a machine gun bolt and voices in the corner of the field. To the southeast, they were able to see a blue light burning in a house and heard vehicles in an orchard at . A 77-MM fired from  to the northeast. Patrol returned. At 1615, a Recon patrol was laid on to leave Item Co under Lt Matthews at 1700. Mission: to get a prisoner and obtain identification of the unit to our front.
Weather: rainy and cloudy all day. Casualties: 1 WIA. (071044) Visitors: Maj Rainey our former Battalion Surgeon, Col Seitz.