Omaha Beach - Pfc, Hq Co, 1st Bn, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd
We boarded a Danish ship
in Swansea Wales on the 5 June Sailed around the tip of England
and up the English Channel on the 6 June 1944. Arriving at Omaha
Beach at about Noon on the 6 June. Stayed aboard ship the night
of 6 June and was both strafed and bombed while aboard this ship.
I came ashore on 7 June 1944
of the three Regiments of the Second Infantry division; the 9th
and the 38th were the first to come ashore. At the time we came
ashore everything that would float was floating in the surf. Gas
mask, back packs, life preservers, dead bodies, body parts, spare
tires and a multitude of other things. We were catching a lot of
artillery fire from shore batteries that had not yet been knocked
The surf was rough and the
landing craft was pitching wildly in the surf and making it hard
for the coxwain to get the craft ashore in the appointed place.
Our landing craft hit a sandbar some 50 yards out and thinking we
were at the beach they lowered the ramp and I was intending to be
the first one off, because it was rumoured aboard ship that the
German gunners would zero in on a landing craft, and as soon as
the ramp came down they would try to put a round in the landing
craft and we were told on one occasion they succeeded killing all
except one of the 100 men aboard that craft. I had positioned myself
in the front of the craft and when the ramp went down I went off
to the side going in over my head holding my rifle and ammo high.
Finally straightening up I could hold my head back and wade ashore.
For the first 2 Hours it
was utter chaos and confusion. Finally reaching our assembly point
on 7 June we relieved units of the 1st Division North of Trevières.
Our first baptism of fire
came on 9 June when we were ordered to attack south at High Noon.
We encountered stiff resistance around Trevières. We were
attacking without our heavy weapons, as they were to come ashore
yet. We crossed the L'Aure River. After house-to-house battling
in Trevières we then move to take Cerisy. Then we captured
a road junction near Haute Littee cutting the Saint Lô Bayeux
highway, then one our companies took the village of Vaucrevon. On
our first 2 days in combat we advanced a total of 17 Kilometers.
Not bad for a first time in combat Infantry Regiment without its
Heavy weapons. Our aim was Saint Lô via hill 192, which is
another story in itself.
We were greatly harassed by German
sniper fire all the way. That gets us off the beach.
James Branch (May 16, 2002)