|| Milton L. Staley .
L Co. - 359th Infantry Regiment - 90th
I will start with our arrival
from the Northern part of England to Southern England which was
in early May. We went by train to Plymouth, which was our first
sight of a bombed City. After departing the train we were trucked
to our new home,which was a tent City. This was our marshalling
area. Passes were very few but i received a pass to Plymouth with
a couple buddies and we got a big kick out of riding in the double
decker busses. We had left our cooks at the last camp we were in,
and it was the last I ever saw them. At our new camp, a outfit of
GI's from a American armored outfit did our camp work for us. such
as KP and so on. We didn't do much now, but take short hikes, a
few exercises and eat and sleep and wait. We ate in a large tent
and one day or so later we were told we could not leave the area
and in the Mess hall guards were stationed, we began to wonder what
the heck was going on.
On the morning of June 2nd, I
am not positive about the day, we were to assemble near the big
tent, which we did and General Omar Bradley spoke to us and told
us the news that we were going to be in the invasion of Normandy
and how proud we should be that we would be involved in making History.
It really stunned most of the guys as we never thought that we would
be going to Normandy on the first day. Security then really tightend
up, Guards were everywhere!
The first and third battalions
of the 90th were assigned to the 4th Inf.Div. as support for the
D-DAY invasion. I was in the the third battalion. We were supposed
to land at H PLUS 6 hrs, which meant six hrs after the invasion
began. When we were told the news that we were going a lot of the
guys laughed to think that a small outfit like ours would be in
on such important news. I found out about it weeks later as i did
not hear anyone say it near me.
We went by truck to the harbor
at Torquay on June the 2nd which was a Friday, I think, and were
put on board a LCI craft (Landing craft Inf.). Each Company had
it's own boat and the only other ones on board was a small navy
crew to sail it. Each boat as I remember it had a large barrage
balloon on it, I suppose to keep from running into each other at
night. We sailed from the harbor at Torquay the next day and after
finding our place in the convoy. Then we anchored with hundreds
or thousands of other boats of all types. We read, ate and looked
out over the water at the huge amount of ships etc. of all sizes.
On Sunday a Chaplain came out to our boat and held services, which
was a quiet moment, sobering moment, for us. The next day we were
told that D-DAY was postponed a day. As I remembered it we played
cards and had small talk etc. to pass the time and take our minds
off our mission ahead.
Later that night we set sail
across the channel, when we woke up the next morning, if we did
go to sleep, we were anchored at sea and we heard the bombing, and
incoming shells were all around us. With daylight as I looked around
all I could see was ships every where, it was the most awesome sight
that I would ever see! One that to this day I will never forget!
The planes pulling gliders and planes straffing the landing area,
smoke all over the beach, and the thought going thru my mind that
we would be going there.
I don't think I was scared too much then as we all wanted to get
off the damn boat before it was blown up!
Later we moved in closer to shore
to land our guys, we were not in far enough as the tide was coming
in and as we got off some of the guys were in water up to there
necks almost which was quite a job as we were loaded down with our
heavy Equipment such as machine guns and mortors plus ammo, our
field packs etc.
The beach was secured by the
troops ahead of us so we laid down on the sandy beach to rest, and
that didn't last long as snipers shot at us and artillery started
to come in.
We moved off the beach and regrouped
sorta when two tanks showed up and we were told that about three
hundred Germans were in a bunch of trees and we were told to go
get them (I don't know how they knew how many were there?). As many
of us that could for room, got on the tanks, after going less than
a block the first tank hit a mine and the guys went flying off and
the tank ended up in a ditch on its side. The other tank backed
up and the word came to a abort the mission. The beginning of many
screw-up’s for us. We ended up in a grove of trees and spent
the night there, we were soaking wet and tired and after digging
our foxholes we spent a quiet night, I think, as there was still
a lot of activity going on around us.
Then began our journey across Europe, the hedgerows and the Seves
area where we lost so many men, and all the other places we were.
That is my story of how the 90th
div. was on the beach on D-DAY.
Looking at the morning reports
that Norm Richards sent me we landed in the vicinity of la Dunes,Varreville
Landed on Utah Beach June the
6th under enemy artillery fire.
Vicinity of Reurville, France
moved from vicinity of La Dunnes,Varrville
under enemy mortor and artillery fire
vicinity of Bandienville, France
moved from Ruerville
no contact with the enemy
Milton "Milt" Staley (04