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7-8 June 44 - Grandcamp-Isigny
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29TH DIVISION - WWII BATTLES
7-8 June 1944 - Grandcamp - Isigny

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South of Vierville the 115th Regiment [29th Division] was able to make only slow progress toward Longueville. Communications worked badly, and the battalions were out of contact with each other most of the day. The 2nd Battalion moved cross-country on a broad front, hoping that this would prove an effective way of brushing off light opposition. At Vacqueville a small enemy force used the stone farm buildings as strong points and held up the battalion with small-arms fire until late afternoon. One battery (C) of the 110th Field Artillery Battalion [29th Division]  was available for support; firing two unobserved missions from positions near St-Laurent, it aided the 2d Battalion to clear the hamlet. At 1930 the battalion resumed its advance, which was continued through the night to reach Montigny at 0300. This had been a strongly prepared defensive area, including wired-in trench systems, but the enemy had withdrawn. The 1st and 3rd Battalions had been stopped east of Louvierés by small-scale enemy opposition and were out of contact with the 2d Battalion until the morning of 8 June. Still without transport, and hand-carrying ammunition and heavy weapons, the 115th had been chiefly handicapped by difficulties of communication and control.

The force which started west on the Grandcamp road to relieve Pointe du Hoe was stopped just short of its goal on 7 June…
The 175th Regiment [29th Division] landed east of D-3 between 1230 and 1630, losing several craft to mines and encountering occasional machine-gun fire at the beach and on the march inland through Vierville to Gruchy, which was reached at 2000. Elements of the 224th and 227th Field Artillery Battalions [29th Division] also landed during the afternoon, giving the 29th Division a total of 29 howitzers from 5 battalions ashore and ready for fire.

Anticipating these reinforcements, V Corps issued Field Order No. 1, at 2100, 7 June, covering the next phase of operations for the 29th Division. The division's chief objective was Isigny, an important road center for enemy communications and the key to eventual junction with VII Corps. Released from corps reserve to the 29th Division, the 175th Regiment, with two companies of the 747th Tank Battalion attached, was ordered to move via Englesqueville-la Cambe and capture the town. The 115th Regiment [29th Division] had the mission of protecting the flank of this advance by seizing the high ground north of the Aure from Longueville to Normanville. The 116th and Rangers were ordered to continue westward on the axis of the coastal highway clearing out enemy resistance from Grandcamp to Isigny. The 9th Infantry of the 2d Division, just starting to land, was given the mission of further mopping-up in the Vierville-St-Laurent area.

General Gerhardt, assuming command of the 29th Division at 1700, implemented the corps order with 29th Division Field Order No. 3, issued at 2330. In this, the 115th Regiment was directed to move one battalion north of Formigny for protection of the division flank near the boundary with the 1st Division. Enemy forces in the 29th Division one were estimated as including elements of the 914th, 916th, and 726th Infantry. An important aspect of the next day's operation was the prospect of clearing out enemy artillery positions in the Grandcamp Maisy area, for despite all efforts of naval fire, enemy batteries in this area were still active on 7 June.
The 175th Regiment and the attached tanks started their march from Gruchy at 2130 and reached their objective within 36 hours, an advance of some 12 miles. Turning of the coastal highway beyond Gruchy, the regiment reached Englesqueville at 0200 on 8 June, brushing aside light resistance. Staying on the roads, with tanks leading the column of battalions, the force pushed south to hit the Isigny-Bayeux highway west of Longueville. The advance echelon of tanks reached la Cambe at 0300, but an attempt to enter the village at 0530 was held up by antitank guns. The 747th Tank Battalion knocked out five of these for the loss of one tank, and during the morning the infantry-tank team succeeded in capturing la Cambe….

…The 3rd Battalion of the 175th [Regiment, 29th Division] drove the enemy from St-Germain across the Aure by 1600. Aided by naval fire from the British cruiser Glasgow, the 2nd Battalion captured Cardonville late in the evening. Resuming its advance after nightfall and encountering only weak enemy parties, at 0200 the 3d Battalion was within half a mile of Isigny, and leading tanks entered the town during the next hour. As a result of heavy naval bombardment, Isigny was in flames. The bridge over the Aure was intact, and no organized resistance was met in the town. By 0500, infantry and tanks were cleaning the houses of snipers; a weak enemy counter-attack about 0800 was stopped by rifle fire. Some 200 prisoners taken in the town included naval, marine, and air force personnel. While the tanks started south toward Lison, Company K of the 175th pushed on a mile to the Vire River crossing and found that the bridge had been burned.

To strengthen the drive of the 116th Regiment [29th Division] along the coastal highway, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, the remainder of the 5th Rangers, and two companies of the 743d Tank Battalion moved up from Vierville early in the morning of 8 June. At about 1000 a coordinated attack was started toward Point du Hoe; the 5th Rangers and the 1st Battalion, 116th Regiment, struck across country from St-Pierre-du-Mont; the 3rd Battalion and five tanks attacked from south and southwest of the Point; and the destroyer Ellyson put 140 rounds on the German cliff positions. The right wing of the maneuver reached the Point without opposition; unfortunately, the tanks and the 3rd Battalion in their outflanking approach became confused as to the location of friendly positions and started firing on the Point as well as on the enemy emplacements just west of it. The fact that the 2d Rangers were firing captured German machine guns at the enemy west of the Point may have contributed to the mix-up. Communications failed to function well, and some casualties were suffered before the situation was cleared up. Three tanks were disabled by mines in the effort to reach the Point. Enemy resistance had faded quickly and Pointe du Hoe was cleared by noon.

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