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4: July-September, 1943

<< 3: March 30-June, 1943 || 5: October-December, 1943 >>

July lst thru 4th - From Jul 1st to Jul 4th the bn remained in bivouac near Tunis enjoying poor food, heat, no entertainment, and being restricted to the Bn area - Virginia 8. Each morning was devoted to a 9 mile hike by companies and platoon training in the afternoon. The bn purchased

a barrel of wine for the troops; some Arabs came in the area to cut hair and sell wine. Church services were held on Sunday for Prot. & Cath. While here we were under control of the 168th Infantry.

July 5th.- Bn entrucked at 0800 and travelled approximately 4 & miles to the assembly area where we detrucked and waited about an hour, entrucked again and went to the debussing point, where we detrucked again and marched 1 & miles to the LCI's arriving there at 1130. The LCI's pulled away from the docks at 1430 to assemble with the convoy. Swimming by the troops was enjoyed from the sides of the LCI's.

July 6th - Convoy left harbor (Tunis) at 0230 travelled all day in general SE direction arriving near harbor of Souse, Tunisia at 2030. Convoy laid off coast of Souse overnight.

July 7th 8th & 9th - Arrived in harbor of Souse at 0700 hours. Laid in harbor all day. Troops swam most of the day. On the 8th, the troops unloaded at 0720 and left by foot on a 12 mile hike. The noon meal was had at a British camp. Returned to LCI's at 1530 hours. On the morning of the 9th at 0001 hours the convoy left Souse harbor for tactical landing on Sicily as we found out when the pamphlets were distributed. We travelled until 1400 hours to the assembly area off the Island of Malta; the trip was very rough, and many of the troops suffered seasickness. At 1700 hours the convoy left the assembly area for our objective.

July 10th - At H Hour much activity could be noticed on the beach at Gela, Sicily; flares, tracers, fires, etc. The bn landed on the designated beach (No. 67, red beach) at H plus 105 minutes. The bn landed successfully, marched to assembly area, and advanced to 1st objective - the arty control station, arriving there at approximately 0950 hours. The day was spent in position at this point until the Bn left the area at 1930 hours on foot to next objective - the high ground surrounding the airport. After marching about 8 miles the advance of the bn was halted by extremely heavy cross fire from positions to our front and flanks. The bn withdrew to positions near and around the road block about mile back from where we were attacked at 0230. After reorganizing, the bn went into positions on either side of the road.

July 11th - At 0600 hours the enemy opened up with extremely heavy automatic weapons and small arms fire on our companies occupying the high ground. Two tanks came thru the bn position at 0700, returned, and were followed by 11 at 0810. The companies were forced to withdraw, and at 0930 Col Corley gave the order for the bn to withdraw. Capt Hughes and several bn troops manned an enemy anti-tank gun knocking out two enemy tanks. Co "K" successfully held their position and forced the enemy to their front into the Ranger bn who took them prisoner. The morale of the bn withdrawal was good, new members caused some confusion

***** on in an otherwise orderly withdrawal. The bn, except for stragglers arrived in the 2nd Bn area to reassemble at 1100 hours. Arrangements were made for water, rations, and ammo for troops. Afternoon. spent in rest, assembly, and reorganization. At 1700 hours Bn S-6 and S-5 went to meeting at regt and came back with the order to advance about 1 & miles to position 26th reserve for attack this night. New CP established at 2300 hours.

July 12th - Bn S-2 & Cpl Hochstadt on recon at 0545. Report of white flag on objective at 0830 hours. Co comdrs meeting in CP at 0830. Bn moved out at 1015 and arrived at area held the previous day at 1100. Details were sent out to salvage any equipment left behind; get rations, ammo, etc. Capt Hughes left the bn for the hospital due to the ear injury received the 11th when firing the captured 47mm gun. Col Bowen visited the CP at 1630. Capt Morrissey left the bn for the hospital also. Lt. Billings went to Co "L" as CO; Lt Murphy came to Hq Co as CO; Capt, Crawford joined the Bn as S-3; The bn left area at 1730 marched to high ground near airport (3 & miles) arrived there and went into position at 2200 hours. (Defensive position) Intel. section sent out periodic motor patrols to contact the Ranger Bn.

July 13th - Bn alerted to move. Left defensive positions at 1200 hours on forced march of approximately 8 miles to new defensive position in 26 CT reserve; arrived at destination at 1730. After the bn assumed positions, the intel. sect. left on patrol with elements of the Cannon Co. They reached our next objective, captured 6 prisoners, and occupied the position all night.

July 14th - The Bn moved forward again at 0615 - forced march of 13 miles to city of Mazzarino where the bn established defensive positions. The bn CP was established on the outskirts of the city at 1330 hours. Patrols laid on as follows: Lt Allen & A & P plat. to bridge on Barrafranca road with engineers to lay mines in vicinity of bridge; Co "I" to send contact patrol to right to contact 2nd bn and Co "K" patrol to left to contact 1st bn. Our first experience with "Leaping Louie" at 1700 when two barrages were laid in our direction. The 33rd FA laid on many missions during the day at activity on the road and in the vicinity Barrafranca. Several prisoners were picked up during the day.

July 15th - Day spent in defensive positions. An OP was established by the Intel. Sect. Co "I" alerted to seize the high ground to our front, but after a meeting at Regt of the Bn Comdrs at 1930 hours, the whole bn was alerted to move on one half hours notice.

July 16th - The Bn moved out at 0150 hours forward - order of march: I K L M Hq. Arrived at line to take positions on right flank of White Bn at 0530 hours - marched approximately 6 miles. Immediately upon arrival at positions we received heavy automatic weapons and mortar fire. The CP was established in a wadi at 169598 at 0545 hours and immediately S-6 began calling for arty missions. Our tanks soon assumed positions to the right rear of the CP drawing extremely heavy arty fire. At 0915 14 tanks cut in front and to our right firing up the wadi at the CP which was ordered to move to the safety of the top of the hill by S-5. The enemy tanks were neutralized by our Arty and Tanks. M Co captured 15 prisoners who sought the safety of the M Co position. All day there was constant arty, mortar, and small arms fire. Co's I & L held their positions during the day in spite of other element of the 26th withdrawing. Our tanks moved into town of Barrafranca late in the afternoon. Co's L & M left bn area by truck at 2000 hours to assume positions around the town of Barrafranca. Co kitchens moved up with the first hot meal we had in Sicily. Lt Anderson of L Co was killed with other members of the Co. by a direct arty shell. Throughout the evening stragglers of the bn arrived in the area.

July 17th - At 0710 hours Co's I K & Hq moved for a new positions on line with Co's L & M. The situation however, the enemy having withdrawn further than expected, indicated that we move even further forward so the bn marched to within 2 & miles of Pietrapersia. Bn marched 8 miles from 0710 to 1430 hours.

July 18th - The day was spent in rest and cleaning up. Bn alerted to move at 0730 - alert called off at 1000 hours. Col Bowen visited the CP and stayed for the noon meal. Co Comdrs meeting in CP at 1400 hours. Mass held in area at 1600 hours.

July 19th - The bn left area by foot at 1045, marched 8 & 1/2 miles to entrucking point, entrucked and rode 2 & miles to assembly area; arriving there at 1535. The advance of the bn was held up by harassing arty fire believed to be from a stray tank; order of march L K I M Hq Co. Morale of troops - good.

July 20th - Left area at 0310 hours by truck arrived new area 0445 distance travelled approximately 20 miles. Hot breakfast served troops at 0830. Bn moved out again by motor at 1600 arrived Valepriola at 1730 hours - distance 14 & miles.

July 21st - Bn moved out at 2100 marched 10 miles and moved into support of 2nd Bn. Held up by small arms fire and fire from a 47mm howitzer. Reached objective at 0530 hours.

July 22nd - Bn moved out at 0200 reached first phase line at 0530; remained in support of 1st bn. Both 1st and 3rd bn's pinned down by exceptionally heavy arty fire. Bombed by our own planes. 33rd FA liaison radio knocked out by shrapnel. At 1800 hours a coordinated attack ordered. Arty, tanks, the 1st bn followed by 3rd bn. 1st Bn. withdrew under heavy arty fire - elements of the 1st (stragglers) reorganized under Col Corley who personally, as usual, led out our bn in the successful attack. By this successful attack, the town of Galimena was taken.

July 23rd - Bn in bivouac all day. Co Comdrs meeting in CP at 1400. Field train moved up to bn.

July 24th - Bn moved out at 1230 by motor, distance travelled 20 miles, arrived vicinity of Gagni 1430. Patrols sent out, couldn't contact enemy. Enemy blew up bridges and sharp curves on road. Col Corley awarded the DSC. 860 Goums attached to the 1st Div for patrols, reconnaissance, etc. Bn moved forward to positions near St Venera at 2130 - marched approximately 3 miles. (Assembly Area).

.July 25th - Bn left assembly area at 2015 marched 11 miles cross country arrived near St Venera at 0130. Moved to vicinity of CP at 0530 (near hill no. 962). Co "I" driven off 962 three times - hill retaken each time. Lt Thompson and platoon captured 11 prisoners.

July 26th - Bn in same area - fighting intense. Arty duels, MG's, small arms, mortars, & Leo the Lion or Leaping Louie.

July 27th - The battle ended at 0230 the enemy retreating in disorder; Div arty laid heavy fire on the retreating enemy. The combat strength of the bn for this operation was 26 off. and 458 EM. Casualties were exceptionally light considering the amount of firs. Sgt Smith Co K killed after heroic action.

July 28th - Day spent on hill no. 902 cleaning equipment, clothes, resting, etc. 41 EM and 1 Off replacements arrived at 1800 and assigned to companies. Mass was held at 1600. The CP was located in and the companies bivouacked around a medieval looking castle complete with courtyard, tower, etc. Bn Field train moved up from Gangi.

July 29th - Day spent in area - rest, cleaning up etc.

July 30th - Spent in rest, etc. Col Bowen visited the CP. A "Song Fest" held in the courtyard in the evening. Prot services in the morning. Lt Falconieri to Co I as CO; Lt Ford to Bn Staff as S-2; Lt Maddocks to Cannon Co.

July 31st - Bn S-3 and Intel Sect left to reconnoiter new area. Bn alerted to move out sometime in evening.

Aug 1st - Left area (St Venera) by truck at 0100 hours, travelled approximately 35 miles to a position east of Nicosia near Cerami; arrived approximately 0530 hours. Bn in bivouac all day.

Aug 2nd - One year ago we left the States! Bn S-6 to meeting at Regt. At 1400 Bn alerted to move in evening. Left area 2000 - 2200, entrucked and travelled approximately 4 & ; detrucked and marched approximately 4 miles to assembly area. Objective- ******

Aug 3rd - The bn met stiff resistance - both arty and infantry well dug in. The Bn CP was under heavy arty fire for one and one half hours. An enemy ammo dump was blown up by our arty fire directed by Col Corley.

Aug 4th - Bn in same position under heavy arty fire that seemed to be cross fire from tanks well hidden. Mail and rations in.

Aug 5th - Bn still in same position; enemy resistance still strong. Many casualties inflicted on the enemy by Co "M", 3rd FA and the Air Corps. CP again under arty fire for two hours - cross fire, no casualties.

Aug 6th - Bn moved out at 1100 hours marched cross country approximately 3 & miles arrived in new CP at 1330. Air Corps continually strafing and bombing enemy positions - tons of bombs are being dropped on enemy positions. Many enemy dead noticed along route of march -all German. The town of Troina was extensively mined and booby trapped (bouncing babies).

Aug 7th - CP moved up along road at 0600 hours - distance 2 & miles. 47th Inf moved past us at 0230 hours. Enemy shelled road ahead of us with large mortars. These guns were later fired upon by our arty. Hot chow served bn.

Aug 8th - Field train moved up to bivouac 1 & miles N.E. of Troina. Bn bivouac. Church Services, rest.

Aug 9th - Bivouac area, rest care and cleaning of equipment. Bn entertained by the 26th band in evening.

Aug 10th - Bn began a regular training schedule, line Cos. & heavy weapons - all crew served weapons. Platoon training - close order Drill (Battle Drill) and Etc. Hq Co. stress communications equipment repair instructions and etc.

Aug 11th - Usual camp duties. 26th Band in Bn area in evening.

Aug 12th - Gen Huebner presented members of Bn with awards at 1300 hours. Arms fired rifle range in morning.

Aug 13th - Bn addressed by Col Corley at 1000, demonstration by Bn Intel Section.

Aug 14th to 16th - Usual camp duties.

Aug 17th - Day spent in preparation for move. Packing trucks, equipment, etc. Detail- Bn S-6, Bn S-2 and Intel Section left for new area at 0900.

Aug 18th - Bn arose at 0400 - breakfast at 0415-entrucked at 0530- Bn moved up to IP (Troina) 0700 hours. Bn Crossed IP at 0800 - order of convoy Hq Co, "K", "I", "L", "M". Travelled 130 miles to new bivouac area 9 miles N.W. of Licata. Arrived at 1745, Convoy was observed by plane by Gen Huebner - supposed to been a model troop movement by truck.

Aug 19th to Aug 22nd - Usual camp duties.

Aug 23rd - Training schedule published for extensive weapons training. Various weapons school started, organized athletics in afternoon, classes all morning, movies in evening.

Aug 24th - Bn inspection by Gen Huebner & Col Wyman & Col Bowen.

Aug 25th to 26th - Usual camp duties.

Aug 27th - Bn practice parade. Regtl parade ground 0900. Bn to divisional assembly area 1015 to hear address by Gen Patton. Returned to bivouac area at 1300, Bn parade at 1645 retreat 1715.

Aug 28th to Sep 1 - Usual camp duties.

Sep 2nd - Drill-parade at 1615. S-3 operation Sgt on recon. all day for defensive positions.

Sep 3rd - Drill-Div inspector inspecting kitchens, supply rooms, orderly room records.

Sep 4th to 5th - Drill schedule. Sight seeing tour to Agrigento.

Sep 6th - Night problem by companies. Col Corley to hospital, Capt Hughes assumed command of Bn.

Sep 7th - Usual camp duties.

Sep 8th - Bn in preparation for Parade. Alerted to move out. Loaded within an hour. Bn left bivouac 1745, marched by foot approx. 2 & miles to entrucking point. Entrucked at 1850, hear news about Italy surrendering. Motor convoy left entrucking point 1855 traveled approx. 38 miles to Ponte Olivio airport. Arrived at 1935. Bn went into defensive positions, out posted airport, sent out continuous motor patrols. Maj Rainey left the Bn.

Sep 9th - Bn still in defensive position at Ponte Olivio airport. Intel Section manning an outpost on Mt Castellano. Asst Div comdr inspected Bn defensive position. (1445).

Sep 10th - S-5, S-3, S-1, on inspection of positions at Ponte Olivio airport. Col Corley returned from hospital. One man from each rifle co. attending bayonet school.

Sep 11th - Bn still in defensive position. Bn alerted to move back to old bivouac area. Bn left Ponte Olivio airport at 2030 by foot and marched approx. mile to entrucking point. Motor convoy left entrucking point at 2050 - traveled approx. 38 miles to old bivouac 9

miles N.W. of Licata. Arrived at 2400. Co "L" on D.S. at Agrigento airport. Guarding the Airport.

Sep 12th - Usual camp duties.

Sep 13th - Usual camp duties. Bn parade. Gen Huebner viewed the parade and made good comments of the fine parade.

Sep 14th - Bn range firing. Co "K" left for Agrigento Airport by truck for defensive positions. Rest of Bn alerted to move by morning. Five men awarded Silver Stars at first Bn parade. Replacements leaving for 3rd Div, totaling 95 enlisted men.

Sep 15th - Companies left for Agrigento Airport by truck at 0805 hours. ("I" & "M") Bn relieved 40th Combat Engr Regtl affected 1300 hours. guarding installations in vicinity of Nicola & Agrigento Airport. Co "L" guarding Agrigento Airport. Two platoons from Co "K" and two platoons from Co "M" with 5th FA guarding QM dumps class II, IV, V, in vicinity of Sciacoa and Agrigento. Co "I" plus 1 plat. recon. group doing patrols on roads N. & NE. of Agrigento to Vala Seta. One plat. of Co "M" and two plats from Co. "K" doing patrols on road from Agrigento to Conicatti. Nine Italian planes flew into Agrigento Airport. Bn Hq Co left from old bivouac at 1325 and arrived at Agrigento Airport at 1417. Distance traveled 13 miles.

Sep 16th - One plat 175th Engrs Regt ****ding class I, IV dumps in our area. Co "K" has taken over Porto Empedale. Co "L" guarding Agrigento airport. Co "M" patrolling roads from Porto Empedale to Palma Di Montichiaro. Hq Co 3rd Bn patrols beaches south of Agrigento. 3rd Plat of 1st Recon patrols from Naro to Conicatti. Italian planes flew into Agrigento Airport and makes the total of 12 torpedo planes, 2 transports and 17 fighter planes.

Sep 17th - Schedule is the same as Thursday Sep 16th. Co "M" moves to new bivouac area. Left old bivouac area by truck at 1300 hours to 1 mile south of Agrigento. Moved into barracks.

Sep 18th - Schedule same as Sept 17 - Patrols and etc.

Sep 19th - Usual schedule - Mass services at 1900 in M co. area. Col Bowen visited Bn and inspected Companies positions. Three more Italian fighters flew into Agrigento Airport. Maj Garvey asgnd to Bn as S-3, Capt Hughes asgnd as Bn S-3 and Capt Crawford trfd to Co "A" 1st Bn.

Sep 20th - Usual schedule- patrolling and guarding airports and dumps.

Sep 21st - Morning - preparing to move back to old bivouac area. Bn Hq Co left Agrigento Airport at 1700 by truck and arrived at Licata at 1800. Bivouac is 9 miles NEW of Licata. 33rd FA relieved the Bn of its patrolling and guarding. Two Platoons Of Co "K" still attached to 5th FA. Bn alerted to move - equipment crated etc. Later the alert was called off indefinitely.

Sep 22nd - Usual camp duties. Bn parade called off due to Regt meeting. All officers and NCO's went to regt for a talk and demonstration on manual of arms. Capt Wherle gave the lecture.

Sep 23rd - Usual camp duties. Bn had a full field inspection of equipment for movement.

Sep 24th - Afternoon schedule called off due to Bn parade. Entertainment in the 18th Inf area. Jack Benny show. Jack Benny wasn't able to appear due to illness.

Sep 25th - Usual camp duties called off due to Regt. parade. One off. could go on a sight seeing trip to Palermo. Red Cross gave lemonade and doughnuts to the enlisted man at theater area.

Sep 26th - Church Services. Usual camp duties.

Sep 27th - Bn on rifle range. all M-1 & 1903 firing.

Sep 28th - Bn finished firing on range. Officers & 1st Sgts had blood smears for malaria.

Sep 29th - Usual camp duties. Two platoons of Co "K" returned from Agrigento to bivouac.

Sep 30th - Usual camp duties - Bn Parade. Pay day for enlisted men. NCO Club was formed and opened. Only first three grades allowed to belong to the club. Gen Huebner visited the area and questioned men about BAR rifle.

<< 3: March 30-June, 1943 || 5: October-December, 1943 >>