244th Field Artillery Battalion

August 1944

August 1944 – Office of the Chief of Ordinance
          Terminal Ballistic Data – Volume I Bombing

1st August 1944 – Operation Cobra

The Breakout From The Normandy Beachhead

Tuesday – 1st August 1944 – Operation Cobra, Order Of Battle1
Tuesday – 1st August 19442

          At 1200 Hours on 1 August 1944 the Third U.S. Army under command of Lieutenant General G. S. Patton Jr., became operational under a veil of official secrecy, although the enemy had previously suggested the presence in France of this force.  In addition to the VIII Corps, commanded by Major General Troy H. Middleton, the Army took operational control of XII Corps, Commanded by Major General Gilbert R. Cook, the XV Corps by Major General Walton H. Walker, the latter three corps being located in the rear area.

     The Army’s mission was to drive south and southwest from locations generally in the vicinity of Avranches (T21) and to secure the Rennes (Y05) – – Forgeres (Y37) area, to turn west to capture the Brittany Peninsula and open the Brittany Ports, and to be prepared for further operations to the east.

     The Army Commander ordered the VIII Corps (the 8th and 79th Infantry Divisions and the 4th and 6th Armored Divisions) to continue its advance westward and seize Brest (V99) and Quiberon Bay (M99) area.  The XV Corps (the 83rd and 90th Infantry Division and the 5th Armored Division) was ordered to move south within its assigned zone, coordinating with the VII Corps (First U.S. Army) and the VIII corps.  The XX Corps (the 2nd French Armored Division, upon arrival) was ordered to be prepared to move south on order, initially to the vicinity of Fougeres (Y37).  The XII Corps (the 80th Infantry Division, upon arrival) was to continue to stage all Third U.S. Army troops arriving on the Continent and be prepared to move south on order.

          Caption reads – August 1944 Normandie France – Population Watching American’s Passing Through Towns

Tuesday – 1st August 19443

          Third U.S. Army became operational at 1200, 1st August 1944.  Annex 2 (Field Artillery), copy attached as Annex 10, to field Order number 1 established the initial organization of the artillery.

Tuesday – 1st August 19444
          Colonel Davis Papers

          So, we crossed the channel in LST’s and took over from the ranger battalion the Third Army prisoner of war enclosure.  We saw a lot of the shipping there and the barrage balloons and the antiaircraft.  It was close enough to D-Day, so that saw many of the results of that day — dead Germans and some Americans that still hadn’t been found and picked up.  We started to move and we moved into the beachhead up at St. Jores, a little deeper into Normandy.  Then, we were warned very much about picking up anything because it was basically full of mines and booby traps.

Tuesday – 1st August 19445

          Third U.S. Army became operational at 1200, 1st August 1944.  Annex 2 (Field Artillery), copy attached as Annex 10, to field Order number 1 established the initial organization of the artillery.

Tuesday – 1st August 19446

          The Unit departed St. Jacques, France, 1½ mi E at 1030.  Bivouacked St. Jores, France at 1200.  Unit engaged in operation of PWE #2, TUSA.  Weather:  Clear.  Moral:  Excellent.

Tuesday – 1st August 19447

      Our next move took us to St. Jores a little deeper in Normandy and on August 1st we assumed our duties of operating the Third U.S. Army Prisoner of War Enclosure No. 2 taking over from the 1st Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion.  The personal – problem of the day was “if I pick it up, will it blow me up” for the place was well mined and booby trapped.  The war was close enough so that American and German dead were still in the area.

Tuesday – 1st August 19448

          The first prisoner of war enclosure was opened 1st August in the vicinity of St. Jores (vT2785).  This enclosure was taken over from the 482nd Military Police Escort Guard Company, First U. S. Army and contained thirty-four prisoners of war.  The 244th Field Artillery Battalion opened this enclosure.

Tuesday – 1st August 19449

          St. Jore (France) first P.W. enclosure

Tuesday – 1st August 194410

        As Third U.S. Army drove west, south and east across France, Interrogation of Prisoners of War Teams helped obtain enemy information from some 48,000 prisoners at the five Prisoner of War Enclosures.
     German POW’s are motor transported from 244th PWE (Prisoner War Enclosure) and taken to Division POW Camp for processing, further interrogation and holding.

          No caption –  These are German PW’s believed to be arriving at a Corps holding area.  The long deep dark line running from left to right in front of the tucks are German PW’s.

Tuesday – 1st August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report11

          Battalion departed St. Jacques

Tuesday – 1st August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report12

          Battalion arrived St. Jores (took over PW cage)

Tuesday – 1st August 194413

             Successively, after a one-day indoctrination period at the St. Jores, France, Prisoner of War Enclosure, the Battalion established and operated Prisoner of War Enclosures for the Third U.S. Army at Avranches, Sens-de-Bretane, Mur-de-Bretagne, Courtalain, Nemoruse and Fresnes.
     Initially the Battalion collected prisoners of war directly from the division at regimental prisoner of war collecting points but later, in accordance with Third U.S. Army policy, established, manned an evacuate prisoners from corps’ prisoner of war enclosures.

Tuesday – 1st August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report14

                             St. Jores, France ¼ mi W
                    Davis                              39 123 574 
                              Dy to sk in 35th Evacuation
                              Hosp LD
          Departed St. Jacques, France
          1¼ mi E at 1030 Bivouacked
          Present sta 1200. Unit engaged
          in operation of Prisoner of
          War Enclosure Third US Army
                    Strength Officers: 6 FLD O & Capt.
                                            1 1st Lt. Pres
                                            1 1st Lt. Abst
                                            2 2nd Lt. Pres
                                            1 2nd Lt. Attached Fr Other Orgs
                                            1 WO Pres

Tuesday – 1st August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report15

                              St. Jacques ¼ mi E. France
          Departed St. Jacques, France
          1 ¼ mi E at 1100 bivouacked
          Present eta 1230.  Unit engaged
          in operation of Prisoner of War
          Enclosure Third US Army.

Tuesday – 1ST August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report16

                              St. Jores France ¼ Mi W
          Departed St. Jacques, France 1½ mi E
          at 1100 bivouacked at present sta
          1230. Unit engaged in operation of
          prisoner of war enclosure, Third US
          Army.]

Tuesday – 1st August 1944 Service Battery Morning Report17

                              St. Jores, France ¼ mi W
          Departed St. Jacques, France 1¼
          mi E at 1100 bivouacked at
          present Sta 1230. Unit engaged
          in operation of prisoner of war
          enclosure Third US Army
                    Strength Officers:  1 Fld O & Capt Pres                      
                                             1 1st Lt. Pres
                                             1 WO Pres

                    Strength EM:  29 Pres for Duty

August 194418

          Five Prisoner of War Cages were setup along the line of advance at:

LocationDatesNumber of Prisoners
ST. Jores (T-28)August 1 – 3Provisional
Avranches (T-21)August 3 – 85,000
Sens De Bretagne (Y-17)August 8 – 2023,000
BurlonAugust 16 – 266,000
Courtalaine (W-06)August 20 – 314,000
Nemours (X-27)August 26 – 3110,000
Total48,000

     Each cage was kept open when the Army moved forward.  The older cage was called the “Rear Cage” and the new on the “Forward Cage”.  This was necessitated because of the Army’s rapid advance.  With the exception of one officer and two enlisted men, all of the personnel of the four Interrogation of Prisoners of War Teams were employed at the cages.  During the month these teams received reinforcements of four officers and eight enlisted men.

     The Interrogation of Prisoners of War at these cages was handled in three distinct and consecutive phases:  (1) Screening of prisoners, (2) interrogation of prisoners and (3) dissemination of Intelligence.  The first two processes were guided and governed by the tactical situation as well as by the requests and suggestions of the Army G-2, which were embodied in the Essential Elements of Information brought to the case at regular intervals.

               1. Screening: This process took place at the cages and consisted of a quick and complete breakdown into ranks and units of the crowd of newly arrived prisoners.  Priority was given to representatives of units whose information would best fulfill the Essential Elements of Information.

               2. Interrogation:  this process took place in privacy and consisted of the detailed cross-examination of the selected prisoners along lines laid down by the tactical situation and the Essential Elements of Information.  Interrogators specialized in units and build up data to show strength, location and planned actions of particular enemy units.

               3. Dissemination:  interrogation results were compiled and published in report form as annexes to G-2 Periodic Reports.

Wednesday – 2nd August 194419

          A directive from the Twelfth U.S. Army Group set forth a mission for the Third U.S. Army to secure the line Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët (T40) – Fougères (Y37) – Rennes (Y05).  When this line was secured, forces were to be pushed vigorously into the Brittany Peninsula with the objective of seizing the Quiberon Bay (M99) area and clearing the enemy from the peninsula.

Wednesday – 2nd August 194420

        Enemy aircraft bombed the bridge at Avranches (T21) and the dam at Ducey (T30), but the bridge was quickly repaired and there was no damage to the dam.
     The XIX Tactical Air command afforded armored column cover for the assault spearheads, performed armed reconnaissance on the front and flank, and covered bridges in the Avranches (T21) corridor to prevent incursion by enemy aircraft.

Wednesday – 2nd August 194421

                              No change.

Wednesday – 2nd August 194422
          Colonel Davis

          They were mostly German prisoners.  We learned, for instance, that the SS Troopers had always been tattooed right under their arms with their blood type.  It was a very small dot.  They were the only ones of the Germans who had that mark on them.  So, when we got prisoners into the prisoner of war enclosure, we always had a session to delouse them and get them showers under buckets of water, and we had them march through with their arms over their heads.  We would just note everybody who had a dot on there, and then we segregated them because they were the famous SS Troopers.

          Caption reads – August 1944 Normandie France – French People Looking Over American Equipment

Thursday – 3rd August 194423

           The prisoner of war enclosure in the vicinity of St. Jores (vT2785) was closed 1359 August 3, 6,352 prisoners of war having been evacuated through it.

Thursday – 3rd August 194424

          The Battalion departed St. Jores France.

Thursday – 3rd August 194425

          Arrived Avranches.

Thursday – 3rd August 194426

          Unit departed St. Jores, France at 1345.  Arrived PW #1, TUSA, at 2100 at Avranches.  Unit engaged in operation of PWE #3, TUSA.  Weather: Warm & Clear: Morale:  Excellent.

Thursday – 3rd August 194427

          Arrived Avranches (France) afternoon, attack, Flares Luftwaffe at night also

Thursday – 3rd August 194428

          On August 3rd we picked up the cages and moved through demolished Haye de Puits and established PWE #3, 2 1/2 miles north of Avranches.   We bivouacked on both sides of the main supply route of the Armor which was now on a new rampage. Here war came to the 244th.  Spearhead were funneling through this small “Avranches Gap” west to Brittany, east to Le Mans and south to Rennes.  The Battalion was in a real hot spot.  The main effort of the Germans was to cut this supply route through Avranches at the point where the Battalion was sitting.

          Captain reads – August 1944 – Normandy France – French People Cheering The American’s Passing Through

Thursday – 3rd August 194429
          Byron G. Rogers

          On August 3, 1944, we moved thru and demolished a town, and settled at Averanches.  It was here war really came to the 244th.  Night air raids were routine, as “Bed Check Charlie,” (the German Planes) kept us up at nights.  On August 7, 1944, we got a “stomach full” of the war.  The German planes were making a run on the 244th Battalion.  They came in droves, and one by one our guns ceased firing, as they had been hit.  For two ground shaking, stomach knotting hours, the raid continued.  Low flying planes bombed and strafed the battalion installations repeatedly as we dug deeper into the too shallow foxholes.  I was covered up with dirt and mud in my foxhole, and the guy next to me was killed.  When the bombing let up some, my best friend, Bill Morris, couldn’t find me and began searching.  He found me covered with mud and dirt in my foxhole.  He made sure I was OK, and continued shooting the Germans.  I was a little scared, but otherwise OK.  At this point we only had rifles, and limited artillery so we could not shoot down the German planes.  The artillery we had was German and Russian guns, (heavy artillery) taken from the dead soldiers, and POW’s we had captured. 

     The next morning, August 8, 1944, we rounded up 1500 POW’s, who had been turned loose to seek shelter from their own planes.  We counted 21 dead and 55 wounded POW’s.  Our battalion lost much equipment and some of our men during this raid.  We left that day, capturing towns and more prisoners, while bypassing Germans.  It was during this time that I noticed a German flag flying over what used to be a German Headquarters building.  I retrieved the flag, and when I got the chance, sent it home to my Mother.  I still have the flag today, with a bullet hole from when we captured the town.

          The German Battle Flag referred to above.  Note: The flag shown here is in new condition, but I took the photo with the sun shining through it making it look bleached in spots.

Thursday – 3rd August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report30

                              Avranches, France 6 mi N
                    Gunter, Aaron L.                   57 517 483     Sgt.
                              (atchd from 647th QM Troop Transport C.)
                              Dy to lost to Hosp LD
                    Harris, Joseph C.                  55 699 807     Pfc.
                              (atchd from 847th QM Troop Transport Co)
                              Dy to trfd to 35th Evacuation Hospital
          Departed St. Jores, France ¼ mi W at 1545
          Bivouacked at present Sta. Unit en-
          gaged in operation of Prisoner of War En-
          closure Third US Army
                    Strength Officers: 6 FLD O & Capt.
                                             1 1st Lt. Pres
                                             1 1st Lt. Abst
                                             2 2nd Lt. Pres
                                             1 2nd Lt. Attached Fr Other Orgs
                                             1 WO Pres
                    Strength EM: 94 EM Present For Duty
                                      27 Attached FM Other Orgn
                                     121 EM Total

Thursday – 3rd August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report31

                              Avranches, France 2 ½ mi N. vT251194
          Departed St. Jores, France ¼ mile W at
          1600 bivouacked present station 2130.
          Unit engaged in operation of Prisoner of
          War Enclosure Third US Army.

Thursday – 3rd August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report32

                              Avranches, France 6 mi N.
          Departed St. Jores, France ¼ mi W at 1600
          bivouacked at present sta 2130. Unit
          engaged in operation of prisoner of war
          enclosure Third US Army.

Thursday – 3rd August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report33

                              Avranches, France 6 mi. N.
                    Waldrop, Hoyt                      34 248 836      Pfc.                              Code T
                              Dy to lost to Hosp
          Departed St. Jores, France, ¼ mi. W at
          1700 bivouacked at present Station 2100
          Unit engaged in operation of Prisoner of
          War Enclosure Third US Army.
                    EM Present for duty 120; EM Absent 0
                    Officers: 4

Friday – 4th August 194434

           A prisoner of war enclosure was established at Marcey (vT2517) 4th August, 1½ miles northwest of Avranches (vT2817).

Friday – 4th August 194435

          Demontighy (Pfc. Joseph L. Demontighy), Dela Rossa (Pvt. Frank T. Dela Rosso) of A Battery hurt, Turner (S/Sgt. Louis Turner) and Jones (Pfc. John Jones) killed by Luftwaffe bomb

Friday – 4th August 194436

          No change

Friday – 4th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report37

                              Avranches, France 6 mi N
                    Derych, William J.                32 159 249     Tec. 4
                    Phillips, Oscar E.                 34 369 433     Tec. 4
                    Above two men dy to temporary dy Hq, TUSA

Friday – 4th August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report38

                              Avrancehs, France 6 mi. N.
                              No Change
                    EM Present for duty 120 EM Absent 0
                    Officers: 4

Saturday – 5th August 194439

          Nightly air raids were the routine and “Bed Check Charley” kept us up when we wanted to sleep.   At this point we discarded ties and took war seriously.

Saturday – 5th August 194440

          No change.

Saturday – 5th August 194441

          The 437th and 472nd Prisoner of War Escort Guard Companies reported to the enclosure at Marcey (vT2517) for duty per paragraph 2, TA Number 4, Headquarters, Twelfth U. S. Army Group, dated 3rd August.  One platoon from each of the 647th and 442nd Quartermaster Truck Companies was utilized for transporting prisoners from the Division Collecting points to the enclosures.

Saturday – 5th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report42

                              Avranches, France 6 mi N

                    Davis, Robert W.                   39 123 574    Pvt.
                              Sk in 35th Evacuation Hosp LD to trfd to
                              35th Evacuation hosp as of 3 Aug 44
                    Mayor, Adolph M.                  39 123 506    Tec. 4
                    Bubanks, Robert R.                34 248 903    Pfc.
                    Gaskin, John R., Jr.               34 420 558     Pfc.
                    Collinsworth, Charlse C.          35 612 967    Pvt.
                              Above four men dy to temporary dy VIII
                              Corps.
                                        M/R of 3 & 4 Aug 44 as shown EM strength
                                        atchd from other orgn as 27 present for dy’
                                        2 absent, 27 present for dy, 29 present and
                                        absent.
                                        M/R of 3 & 4 Aug 44 as reads “Station
                                        Avranches, France 5 mi N” change to read
                                       “Station Avranches, France 2½ mi N 251194

Saturday – 5th August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report43

                              Avranches, France 2 ½ mi N. vT251194
                                        M/R of 3-4 August 1944 as present Station
                                        Avranches, France 6 mi N changed to read
                                        Station Avranches, France 2 ½ mi N, 251194
                    Dela Rossa, Frank T.                         32 958 579      Pvt.                   Code M
                              Dy to lost to Hosp LD wounded in action.
                    Demontighy, Joseph L.                      31 446 211      Pvt.                    Code 9
                              Minor arm wound remained dy.
                         Strength: 122 EM, 4 Officers

Saturday – 5th August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report44

                              Avranches, France 2½ mi N, vT251194
                                        M/R of 3 – 4 August 1944 as reads “Station
                                        Avranches, France 6 mi N”. Changed to
                                        read “Station Avranches, France 2½ Mi N,
                                        251194”

Saturday – 5th August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report45

                              Avrancehs, France 2½ mi. N vT251194
                                       M/R of 3 – 4 August 1944 as reads “Station
                                        Avranches, France 6 mi. N” changed to
                                        Read “Station Avranches, France, 1½ mi. N
                                        251194”
                         EM Present for duty 122; EM Absent 0
                                               Officers: 4

Saturday – 5th August 1944 MD Detachment Morning Report46

                              Avranches, France 2½ mi N, vT251194
                                        M/R of 3 – 4 August 1944 as reads “Station
                                        Avranches, France 6 mi N changed to read
                                        “Station Avranches, France 2½ mi N. 251194

          German POW’s are provided water ration. 244th Cpl. supervises as a German POW pours the water.

Dear Folks,

     Just 30 minutes to write you and Jane a letter – if I want it to go out today. I just finished
censoring the Battery mail and have all the impressions of one hundred brains. I wish I could cram it all onto this one page.

     All of us are in fine shape. We haven’t been getting a lot of sleep or any steaks, but we’re all as happy as the Army will let us be. I’ve been keeping my fox hole pretty warm – “Bed Check” Charlie came over again and gave the area a going over. I slept there most of it. Once I bounced like a rubber ball – but went to sleep right after it. All the men got quite a kick out of it – all of us were scared, but at least we can laugh about it. Our mail is way behind us. Haven’t had a letter since I was in England. Sure do miss it too. More this after.
                                           Love – your Son.

Sunday – 6th August 194447

          No change

Sunday – 6th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report48

                              Avrancnes France 1½ mi N vT251194
                                        One offier and 19 EM atchd from 442nd and
                                        443rd QM Transport Co for rat, qrs and adm
                                        (See atchd roster)

Monday – 7th August 194449

          Battalion bombed and strafed by enemy aircraft from about 2230 to 2400.  Two enlisted men killed in Battery “C”.  Three Injured.

Monday – 7th August 194450

          Air raid – got two men of “C” Battery and a lot of German PW’s.

Monday – 7th August 194451

          Strafed and bombed

Monday – 7th August 194452

          During the night the enclosure at Marcey (vT2517) near Avranches (vT2817), was subjected by the enemy to a combined bombing and strafing attack.  A perimeter guard was established as quickly as possible, and as a matter of safe-guarding prisoners of war from the devastating attack they were permitted to leave the enclosure and seep protection in the surrounding area.  Twenty-one prisoners of war were killed and eight-two wounded.  Two enlisted men of the 244th Field Artillery Battalion (operating personnel of the enclosure) were killed and several were wounded.

Monday – 7th August 194453

          We received our first taste of possible our “stomach full” of war.  The 2300 hour air raid started in the usual fashon but the throbbing engine noises were making a run – – not of the bridges – – not of the towns – – but of the 244th Field Artillerey Battalion.  Planes came over in droves and one by one the Ack Ack ceased fire.  For two dust filled ground shaking stomach knocking hours the raid continued.  Low flying planes bombed and strafed the Prisoner Enclosure and Battalion installation repeatedly as men dug deeper into shallow fox holes.  When the dust cleared the battalion rounded up 1500 prisoners who had been turned loos to seek shelter from their own plains.  Damage was survived and 21 dead and 65 wounded prisoners of war were counted.  Our Battalion lost much equipment and marked up our two “Killed in Action” entries.

Monday – 7th August 194454

          During the night of 7th August and early morning of the 8th August the Prisoner of War enclosure at Marcey (T21), three miles northwest of Avranches (T31), was subjected to enemy bombing and strafing attack.  Twenty-one German prisoners were killed and sixty-two wounded.  Two enlisted men of the 244th Field Artillery Battalion, operating personnel of the enclosure, were killed and several others were wounded.  A perimeter guard was established as quickly as possible and to safeguard the German prisoners from attack they were permitted to leave the enclosure and seek protection in the surrounding area.  This raid led to a policy of lighting prisoner of war enclosures in emergencies only.

Interview with Robert Bishop55

          And I think it was August the 2nd we moved into Avranches in Normandy, and this was on the main supply route to the coast, and it was a pretty busy outfit, a lot of activity, especially in the air.  And we continued transporting prisoners from the front, and our cage was much larger.  It held a 115 POW’s.  Bedcheck Charlie would come over and raise the devil with us at night time keeping us awake, and I do remember on August 7th Bedcheck Charlie didn’t show up at 10:00 but I think all his buddies did, and they started bombing straight in our area, and I jumped into a hole, landed on top of Lieutenant Anderton, our executive officer.  We hunkered down in that hole there as far as we could get, and wasn’t long after that that a German soldier jumped in on top — top of me, and I had my rifle barrel stuck right at him and he yelled “prisoner, prisoner,” and I thank God that I did not pull the trigger, and he was crying and shaking and he was visibly shook and he had a slight wound on his right knee.  It wasn’t too serious, and he spoke fairly good English, and we asked him how old he was, and he said I’m 17, and he kept saying, “Hitler no good; Hitler no good.”  And of course, I agreed with him, so did Lieutenant Anderson.  And what bothered us a lot, Lieutenant and myself, that our antiaircraft was very busy when they first come over.  They were throwing up a lot of stuff.  One by one they seemed to be silent, and I was kind of hoping it was because of the lack of ammo, but I’m afraid that was not the case.  And well, after about two hours of this, around midnight I think it was, the — a — everything let up.  The planes were still in the area and flying around but was fairly quiet on the ground, and Lieutenant Anderton left to check on the troops and see what damage there was, and like I said, there was still planes flying over — over in the area and I stayed with the POW until daylight.  Took him to a kitchen area or what was left of it, and we had some K-rations and sat there eating, and they — a guard detail came along and with some other prisoners and he picked up the one that was with me.  And then we found out that the German lifted off the bomb straight into their own POW cage, and when our commander saw what was happening, he ordered the gates open to at least give the prisoners some chance of survival, and we found out that there were 21 of them that had been killed and over 60 of them were injured, and an order came down for two men from each gun crew to report to the POW cage, and I guess this was to clean up the area so the prisoners could be put back in.  After my two men came back, he said don’t ever put me on a detail like that again.  He said it was horrible.  It showed on their faces, too, that it must have been kind of gruesome up there.  But I was still in the kitchen area and with some other troops there and they — lo and behold, oh, blood and guts himself, General Patton drove up in the jeep.  I think there were two men that were with him, two sergeants, and I think our officers must have had an inkling of his arrival because they were right there waiting for him and they went over and started talking with him, and I did hear him say, “from now on you’re going to dig your foxholes deep and narrow,” and he didn’t have to tell us.  We did.  And the amazing thing about this was all the prisoners that were in the cage were accounted for, either killed or wounded or returned.  Now that is something.  While we lost two men in our battalion and quite a bit of equipment.  And you know, after I got home from the war, I thought about this young German soldier quite a bit, and I wished I had gotten his name and address so I could contact him later.  But at that time, we weren’t thinking much about being pen pals.

Monday – 7th August 194456
          Colonel Davis Papers

          We then moved on and established prisoner of war enclosure Number Three, which was about two-and-a-half miles north of Avranches.  We were on both sides of the main route and the Armor, which was now on a rampage.

     Here, war came to the 244th.  The rules of Warfare called for lights to be put around fields where the prisoner enclosure was.  To do this, we had been furnished a number of cast iron tanks for holding water; I guess there must have been 100 of them.  They had water and carbide to form gas; when you lit the gas, if formed a light and these were placed around prisoner of war enclosure all around the perimeter.  As I said, there must have been 100 around the prisoner of war enclosure, which was about the size of a football field more or less.  A great number of these lights placed 40 or 50 yards apart all the way around.  We also had to use white sheet-like material to put down on the ground in large letters, “PWE,” so that airplanes coming over could see that it stood for prisoner of war enclosure and was, of  course, not to be attacked.  We did all of that at Avranches.

     Right below Aranches was a bridge – a marrow road and bridge there.  General Patton’s Third Army had already gotten one armored division across that bridge, fanning out toward the Brittany peninsula.  They were busily trying to get more armor across there as it came over across the channel.  The Germans were attempting to cut that bridge and knock it out, so that they would be able to stop General Patton from getting across the bridge in force and spreading out.  The Germans on the night of 6-7 August launched wheat was later known as the Mortain breakthrough.  They were trying in some force to break through and knock the bridge out so that they didn’t have armor coming across.  We were stationed very close to the bridge.  I guess it was about a quarter mile of less from the bridge, all lighted up like a Christmas tree at night.  My CP was an old bombed-out brick house; the whole top floor had been knocked out.  We had dug slit trenches around the outside of the perimeter of the PW unit.  We had 1,500 Germans in there.  I had finished Inspecting on the night of 6-7 August and gotten Into my sleeping bag in the CP there, about 11:30 at night.  I had just barely gotten down into the sleeping bag when right on the brick wall outside, machine gun bullets — 20mm bullets — hit.  It was the German air force attacking the prisoner of war enclosure.  So, I got up and went down to the prisoner of war enclosure and saw that the German prisoners were frantic.  The machine gun bullets, and the 20mm bullets, had struck the PW cage.

     Of course, they were up against the fence and couldn’t get out.  So, I had the prisoner of war Interrogators — I called them and they got into their jeeps with their bucket loudspeakers and told the prisoners over the loudspeaker system that we were going to open the cage doors and let them out, and to go into the woods surrounding the PWE, but not to go any further into the woods, because there were troops around the outside.  That was not true.  We had no troops around there, but we did open those doors of the cage, and about the time they started wot another wave of Messerschmidt’s came over.  I dived into a slit trench and was very happy to see a German dive right on top of me!  But, it was a very busy two hours.  My battalion had been bivouacked round on the other side of the road – but some distance from the PWE — and the Germans were dropping 100-pound and 500-pound bombs as well as firing these machine guns.  So, we lost several of our battalion vehicles, including a great, big maintenance truck of the battalion which was a sad lost.  Two of our men were killed there.  When this was over we called in the forward ambulances from the Third Army, and 21 of the Germans had been killed in the enclosure, and 67 of them wounded in various degrees.  We got then all off to the advanced medical facilities for Third

     Army and started to gather up and herd the Germans back into the enclosure.  When we tallied up the count, we accounted for all but 50 of the Germans.  Fifty of them we couldn’t get back.  They were probably SS troopers who wanted definitely to get away from being prisoners.

     The next morning about daylight, General Patton came up with his entourage — he had about 20 jeeps with the MP’s and his Ivory-handled pistols.  I had sent my executive down to Lucky Forward, which was the Third Army Prisoner of War Forward Command Post (CP), in the night, right after the attack.  I told them what had happened, so General Patton had come up to see the whole thing and talk to me about what had happened.  Then later, after the war, he wrote about the incident in his first book about the war.  It was called The War As I Knew It, by General Patton.  In talking with him, his son-in-law was a West Point classmate of mine and we talked about him quite a bit.  He was a prisoner of war; he had been captured down in North Africa at Kasserlne Pass and had been a prisoner of war.

Monday – 7th August 1944 HQ & Hq Battery Morning Report57

                              Avranhes, France 2½ mi N vT251194
                                        NO CHANGE

Monday – 7th August 1944 MD Detachment Morning Report58

                              Avrances, France 2½ mi N. vT251194

August 194459

          A captured German Colonial, Staff member of the Seventh German Army, made the statement under G-2 interrogation that the American breakthrough at Avranches (T-21) was looked upon by the Germany Staff as exceptionally daring.

     The disorganized withdrawal precipitated by the Avranche (T-21) breakthrough continued through August.  Except in a few local areas and around the important port cities of Brittany, the enemy never succeeded during the period in establishing a cohesive front line despite piecemeal commitment of many Infantry and Panzer Divisions, including two divisions from Italy.

Dear Family,

     Just finished a V-mail to Don and Uncle Art. I wrote to Don a week or so ago, but didn’t think it would hurt to try it again. As yet uncle Arts letter to Augusta hasn’t shown up – so you can see the mail is rally all tied up. I don’t know when we’ll hear from the US because we have moved twice and expect to do it again. When it does come I ought to have at least a dozen. I’m sitting in the command car under an apple tree – it is real cool and comfortable. The only thing wrong is that I sprained my right ankle again. This time it went up like a balloon. It’s tough on the walking, but it’s just my luck.

     Took a little trip the other night – six trucks my ¼ ton and I spent 12 hours going just seventy miles. Got to stop!

     Well – back again – 3 hours later. Had to make another trip out into the country. To get back to the last paragraph – we cruised around the dark countryside, looking for something (I can’t tell you what). It was spooky – going thru freshly bombed towns which were deserted, never quit knowing what to expect. All of a sudden we crept around a curve bordered with hedgerows and skylined was a German “Tiger” tank looking right at us!! Sgt. Reeves snapped up his carbine & jacked one in the chamber – I did the same Outlaw – the driver, just hung on false alarm – it was all burned out – had been hit with some A.T. gun. We journeyed further down the road – saw some more tanks – turned around and came back – the rest we looked over at 0630. All this happened in a town behind our lines – but the trick is no one know where the front actually was – the whole picture was changing too fast for anyone to follow. In spite of what I’ve written I’m taking real good care of myself and my men. We are cautious as you can understand. Each day we learn more and more. Capt. Torres & Jr. both had a real time – it’s too complicated a story to tell you. Some other time maybe. I haven’t had a bath for a few days so I guess I’ll knock off for today.
My regards to one and all –
                                            You’re loving
                                                     Son.
If my letters frighten you or cause you to worry – I won’t give you any of the dope – I thought you might like to know what I’m doing to earn my money. Speaking of money – expect $165.00 gov’t check plus about $80.00 or $90.00 by cable – I have some money but I don’t need a darn thing besides there isn’t anything to buy. T

Tuesday – 8th August 194461

          Unit departed Avranches 1000.  Arrived present station (Mur-de-Bretagne) 1430.  Unit engages in operation of PWE#4, TUSA.  Weather:  Clear:  Morale:  Excellent.

Tuesday – 8th August 194462

          Prisoner of War Enclosure Number 1, Avranches (T2817), was closed on 8th August, 3,157 prisoners of war have been handled during the period 4 to 7 August inclusive.

Tuesday – 8th August 194463

          The next morning, we executed the military maneuver known as “Lets get the Hell out of here” and moved to Sens de Bretagne.  On this day, the 8th of August, the Battalion, without exception, dug fox holes – deep and narrow.

Tuesday – 8th August 194464

          Early morning the Battalion departed Avranches France.

Tuesday – 8th August 194465

          Battalion arrived Sens-de-Bretagne France.  PWE #2

Tuesday – 8th August 194466

          Left Avranches (France), arrived Sens-de-Bretagne (France)

Tuesday – 8th August 194467

          Prisoner of War enclosure Number 2, at Sens-de-Bretagne (vY1377) was opened on 8 August.

Tuesday – 8th August 194468

          Our convoys produced Wrong Way Corrigan who captured town, by-passed Germans and on occasion made tracks for the Calvary in the attempt to gather prisoners from the fluid front of the Third Army.  Baker battery was detached to handle the Brittany prisoner of war camp during the battle of Brest while the rest of the Battalion moved east about one hundred miles to Courtalain.  this was the first of a series of long jumps behind Patten’s racing Army.

Tuesday 8th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report69

                              Sens de Bretegna, 2.7 mi W vY069775 France
          Departed Avranches France 2½ mi N
          251194 at 1000. Bivouacked present
          Station 1400. Distance marched 35 mi.
          Unit engaged in operation of Prisoner
          of War Enclosure Third U.S. Army

Tuesday – 8th August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report70

                              Sens de Bretegna, France. 2.7 mi W vY074795
          Departed Avranches, France 2 ½ mi N 251194
          at 1130 bivouacked at present sta 1600.
          Distance marched 35 mi. Unit engaged in
          operation of Prisoners of War Enclosure
          Third US Army.

Tuesday – 8th August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report71

                              Sens de Bretegne, France, 2.7 mi W vY078783
          Departed Avranches, France 2¼ mi N 251194
          At 1100 bivouacked at present sta 1500.
          Distance marched 35 mi. Unit engaged in
          operation of prisoners of war enclosure,
          Third US Army.

Tuesday – 8th August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report72

                              Sens de Bretagna, France 2.7 mi. W. vY073778
                    Turner, Louis                                 34 249 341     S/Sgt.                   Code M
                    Jones, John F.                                33 361 928     Pfc.
                              Dy to Killed in Action
                    Hurley, John G.                               20 140 018     Sgt.                     Code 9
                              Dy to Hosp LD LIA
          Departed Avranches, France 2½ mi. N
          251194 at 1100 bivouacked at present Sta
          1430. Distance marched 35 mi. Unit
          engaged in operation of Prisoner of War
          Enclosure third US Army.
                         EM Present for duty 119; EM Absent 1
                                               Officers: 4

Tuesday – 8th August 1944 Service Battery Morning Report73

                              Sens de Bretegna, 2.7 mi W vY074782 France
          Departed Avranches, France 2¼ mi N
          251194 at 1130 bivouacked at present
          Sta 1500. Distance marched 35 mi.
          Unit engated in operation of Prisoner
          of War Enclosure Third U.S. Army.

Tuesday – 8th August 1944 MD Detachment Morning Report74

                              Sens de Bretegna, France 2.7 mi W vY076778
          Departed Avranches, France, 2½ mi N.,
          251194 at 1100 bivouacked present sta
          1450. Distance marched 35 mi. Unit
          Engaged in operation of Prisoner of
          War Enclosure Third US Army.

          Caption reads – Avranches

Dear Family,

     Hope you haven’t been worried while you haven’t heard from me. It’s just that we’ve been on the go so darn much. Reeves, Outlaw and I just got back from XXXXX where we had a detail. The Battalion got XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX while we were gone. It was our “Baptism of Fire”. Galway lost a couple of trucks, Wink had worse luck, I talked to him last night and he was low in spirit. Baker has been lucky. We are now digging our fox holes about 10ft. deep. Was in a little French town that had never had an American soldier in it – they treated us like heroes. The car was covered with flowers, we had some cider, later on helped a rather wealthy man open his first bottle of 1929 champagne since 1940. They are all so kind to us – and really very happy to see us in their part of France. I hope you are all well – I know I’m getting a lot thinner!! My love to one and all Yours
                                                           Tom.

          L to R. Unknown, CWO Joseph G. Hamilton, S/Sgt. Norman J. Reeves, Capt. John W. Coyne, Jr., Tec. 5 Leo H. Sevigny, Capt. Richard E. Galway, WOJG Harry J. Greer,

Wednesday – 9th August 194475

     No change.

Wednesday – 9th August 194476

     The 2nd Platoon of the 443rd Prisoner of War Processing Company reported for duty at Prisoner of War Enclosure Number No. 2 at Sens-de-Bretagne (vY1377) on 9th August.

Wednesday – 9th August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report77

                              Sens-de-Bretagne, France 2.7 mi W vY073778
                    Burley, John G. (Hosp)                       20 140 018     Sgt.                    Code T
                              Sk Hosp LD to lost to Hosp
                              EM Present for duty 119; EM Absent 0
                              Officers: 4

Thursday – 10th August 194478

      No change

Thursday – 10th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report79

                              Sens de Bretegna, 2.7 mi W vY069775 France
                    Murphy, Edmund C.                                   0 278 607     Capt.      Code 9
                              Reld from assignment as S-3 2162-6 and asgd
                              to S-2 9301-5 as of 6 Aug 44
                    Humphrey, Robert G.                                 0 254 639     Capt.
                              Reld from assignment as Asst S-3 2162-5 &
                              Asgd to S-3 2162-6 as of 6 Agu 44
                    Coyne, John W., jr.                                   0 369 215     Capt.
                              Reld from assignment as S-2 9301-5 and asgd
                              To Ass’t S-3 2162-5 as of 6 Aug 44
                    Shiffler, Bernard E.                                  33 503 514     Pfc.        Code A-FA
                              Asgd and jd from Hq. 3rd U. S. Army
                    Cohen, George                                        12 150 141     Pvt         Code A-FA
                              Asgd and jd from Hq, 3rd U. S. Army
                         Strength Officers:
                                                     6 FLD O & Capt.
                                                  1 1st Lt. Pres
                                                  1 1st Lt. Abst
                                                 2 2nd Lt. Pres
                                                 1 2nd Lt. Abst
                                                 2 2nd Lt. Attached Fr Other Orgs
                                                 1 WO Pres
                         Strength EM:
                                                89 EM Present For Duty
                                                  7 EM Abst
                                                46 Attached FM Other Orgn
                                               135 EM Total

Friday – 11th August 194480

     No change.

Friday – 11th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report82

                              Sens de Bretegna, 2.7 mi W vY069775 France
                    Hardman, William T.                      34 339 540     Tec. 4                   Code 1-8
                              Reduced to gr of Pvt.
                    Arnette, Leslie T.                          34 248 877     Tec. 4                   Code 1-N
                              Aptd Tec 4
                    Tyler, Curtis E.                             38 325 938      Pvt.                     Code 1-0
                              Aptd Tec 5
                         Strength Officers:
                                                   6 FLD O & Capt.
                                                   1 1st Lt. Pres
                                                   1 1st Lt. Abst
                                                   2 2nd Lt. Pres
                                                   1 2nd Lt. Abst
                                                   2 2nd Lt. Attached Fr Other Orgs
                                                  1 WO Pres
                         Strength EM:
                                                89 EM Present For Duty
                                                  7 EM Abst
                                                46 Attached FM Other Org
                                              142 EM Total

Saturday – 12th August 194483

                               No Chage

          Lt. Marriott’s “Carte Michelin Les Grandes Routes” Road Map Showing Roads Traveled By The 244th In Its Efforts To Pick Up And Transport German PW”s, First To Sens-de-Bretagne France, Then To Mûr-de-Bretagne France, As The U.S. Army Advances West Through Brittany Toward Brest

Interview with Robert Bishop85

          Well, during the Battle of Brest, the B Battery was detached to move to a little town called Mur-de-Bretagne near the coast, and this was also on the main supply line, and this area was much quieter than the one we had just left, and the Captain said, well, we’re going to be here for — and to take a break, but we couldn’t understand why we should have a break.  We didn’t have half as much combat time as a lot of the other outfits.  And it wasn’t long, you know, some of the young children from the town came down into our area for GI goodies, and we happily obliged them, and we gave them some concentrated chocolate bars and gum and Sergeant — Mess Sergeant Williams — he was a swell guy.  He had sliced up extra bread for these children and just loaded it with marmalade, and boy, that was a great treat for them.  It wasn’t long that we had eight or ten visitors at least at noontime and at night.  One evening just before dark our Captain told us to take cover around a huge field that had been not too far from where we were and said to be on the lookout for German paratroops, and during the nighttime, we did hear a lot of planes come over, and it was a really moonlit night, so almost like daytime, and but thank God, no paratroops.  And so the next day we left, returned back to the — our outfit, and we found out later that the German paratroops did make a drop on this field and raised havoc in the town and along the supply route.  We often wondered about the little children and their families, too, if they had survived.  

Saturday – 12th August 194486
          Colonel Davis Paper

          We moved on, following the Third Army armored divisions and it was quite frantic.  There weren’t any real front lines in that dash of General Patton’s through there at that time.  We had many strange experiences.  The armored divisions, when they were crashing through, never sent prisoners toward the rear with guards.  They just told them to stick their hands up, get on the roads, and come back.  So, we came up, and I had 75 two-and-a-half ton trucks spread out to pick up prisoners.  We put, I think, approximately 75 German prisoners in one two-and-a-half ten trucks – – they could hardly breathe – – to bring them back to the enclosures.  We were often out by ourselves end we were on the fringe of the Third Army many times.

Saturday – 12th August 194487

         The Army Commander ordered the VIII Corps (8th and 83rd Infantry Division, 6th Armored Division, and supporting troops) to continue the mission of clearing the Brittany Peninsula, including the relief of the 5th Infantry Division at Angers (087).  He ordered the XII Corps (4th Armored Division, 35th Infantry Division, and supporting troops) into action for the first time.  It was to concentrate southeast of Le Mans (V46), prepared to operate north, northeast or east, and to protect the south flank of the Army.

Saturday – 12th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report88

                              Sens de Bretagna, France 2.7 mi W vY069775
                    Whetro, Harley C.                            16 150 581     Pfc.                   Code 1-8
                              Reduced to gr of Pvt.
                    Shiffler, Bernard E.                          33 503 514     Pfc.                   Code J
                              Remark in M/R of 10 Aug 44 as reads “Asgd
                              and jd from Hq, 3rd U.S. Army is deleted
                    Cohen, George                                 12 150 141     Pvt.
                              Remark in M/R of 10 Aug 44 as reads “Asgd
                              and jd from Hq, 3rd U.S. Army is deleted
                         Strength Officers:
                                                      6 FLD O & Capt.
                                                      1 1st Lt. Pres
                                                      1 1st Lt. Abst
                                                      2 2nd Lt. Pres
                                                      1 2nd Lt. Abst
                                                      2 2nd Lt. Attached Fr Other Orgs
                                                      1 WO Pres
                         Strength EM:
                                               87 EM Present For Duty
                                                 7 EM Abst
                                                46 Attached FM Other Orgn
                                              140 EM Total

Saturday – 12th August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report89

                              Sens de Bretegna, France, 2.7 mi W vY074795
                    Leonard, John J.                             33 501 242     Sgt.                      Code T
                              Dy to lost to Hosp LD

Dear Folks,

     Boy – this week sure did whiz bye. I don’t know where the time goes, but it sure moves fast. I’m sitting in my foxhole – (a real good one too) with the evening sun shining down on me. I got in from a trip about an hour ago – I’m a Liaison Officer with one of the Inf. Division and it paid its just dividends today. It seems the
                                 – “Redacted” –
else of news so guess I’ll close for now. Hope you are all well and drop me a line or two. Mail isn’t coming thru right now but guess it will.
                             Love your Son Tom

Sunday – 13th August 194490

          The XII Corps (4th Armored Division and 35th Infantry Division) was ordered to advance east on Orleans (F62) and protect the south flank of the Army within the corps zone. This was the XII Corps’ first operational mission.

     The XX Corps (5th Infantry Division, 80th Infantry Division, and 7th Armored Division) was to advance on Chartres (R30).  The 80th Infantry Division, less detachments, was to move to an assembly area in the vicinity of Evron (Y96) – Montsurs (Y89) and await orders.

     In the VIII Corps zone the 83rd Infantry Division continued its attack on the Citadel in St. Malo (S71).  The advance on Dinard (S71) progressed to within two miles of the city.  Task Force “A” continued to protect the beaches, northeast of Morlaix (R4l.) and lines of communication in Brittany.  Elements of the 6th Armored Division continued to contain Brest (V99) while other elements relieved the remainder of the 4th Armored Division at Lorient (G72)

Sunday -13th August 194491

                               No change

Sunday – 13th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report92

                              Sens de Bretegna, France 2.7 mi W vY069775
                    Garland, Max L. 01 165 292    1st Lt.
                    Hightower, William W.                        01 179 097     2nd Lt.
                    Lockridge, Gordon W.                         29 433 802     Tec. 3
                    Eubands, Robert H.                            34 248 903     Pfc.
                    Gaskin, John R., Jr.                            34 420 558     Pfc.
                    Collinsworth, Charles C.                      38 812 257     Pvt.
                              Above 2 O’s and 4 EM temporary dy VIII
                              Corps to dy, as of 12 Aug 44
                         Strength Officers:
                                                      6 FLD O & Capt.
                                                      1 1st Lt. Pres
                                                      1 1st Lt. Abst
                                                      2 2nd Lt. Pres
                                                      1 2nd Lt. Abst
                                                      2 2nd Lt. Attached Fr Other Orgs
                                                      1 WO Pres
                         Strength EM:
                                               91 EM Present For Duty
                                                 3 EM Abst
                                               46 Attached FM Other Orgn
                                             140 EM Total

Monday – 14th August 194494

          Battery “B” departed Sens-de-Bretagne at 1200 an arrived Mûr-de-Bretagne 1700.  Battery engaged in operation of PWE TUSA.  Distance marched 75 miles.  Weather:  Warm & Clear:  Morale:  Excellent

Monday – 14th August 194495

          Prisoner of War Enclosure Number 4 was established at Brûlon (vK0936) on 14th August.

Monday – 14th August 194496

          Moved to Mur de Bretagne (France), length of stay one month

Monday – 14th August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report97

                              Mur de Bretagne, France ½ mi E vX056695
          Departed Sens de Bretegns, France 2.7 mi
          W 078783 at 1200 bivouacked at present
          sta 1700. Distance marched 75 mi. Unit
          engaged in operation of prisoner of war
          enclosures Third US Army

Dear Family,

     I had just finished my letter of the 12th when my first mail came in. I got two letters from you – July 28 – August 1st. I’ve just starting to write to Jane when a call came in. Reeves, Autlaw and I took off and just got back. Nothing unusual happened but we’re sure we’ve had a glass of very fine wine made in France. Red wine, white wine, Triple Sec, Cognac, Champagne, all pre-war. Slept in a real live bed – night before last – god – what a treat! A real hot shower also made us feel great. The war news sure looks good. We all are going great guns. Know you all are in the best of health. Am waiting for your pictures – I know they’re on the way. Just got two letters again. You & Peg #21. Sorry about Jack.
                                    Much love to all
                                              Tom.

Tuesday – 15th August 194498

          On this day Supreme Headquarters officially announce for worldwide dissemination the fact that the Third U.S. Army was operational on the Continent, under command of Lieutenant General G. S. Patton Jr.

Tuesday – 15th August 194499

                              No change

Dear Family,

     Capt. Coyne is a father again – another girl – it was long overdue so you can see he was quite elated. He got a bottle of Bordeaux wine and we all had a drink to the new member. Later on he and I went over to a lake for a bath – it was quite wonderful. I changed all my cloths and now am searching for a laundry. Got a letter from you and Peg – also later on one from Aunt Ruth. I’ll try to get a note off to her in a few days. At least I got a letter from Jane – dated the 20th of July. I was so happy to hear from her. Reading her letters are just like talking to her. Its real cool here – simply perfect weather. The war news this morning really gave us a thrill. More later on. My love to all
                                                   Tom.

Wednesday – 16th August 1944100

      No change.

Wednesday – 16th August 1944101

          By 16 August the necessity for a new prisoner of war enclosure east of the Brulon (vZ0833) site was indicated.  The site was selected in the vicinity of Courtalain (vW0964) approximately one mile north of the town.  Reconnaissance was made on 17 August.  The site was located on a stream in a large pasture.  It was rectangular in shape and was approximately 750,000 square feet in size.

Wednesday – 16th August 1944[note]Third U.S. Army After Action Report, Volume II, Part 19 – Provost Marshal, Page 5[/note]

          Prisoner of War Enclosure Number 5 was established at Mûr De Bretagne (vX0569) on 16th August.

Wednesday – 16th August 1944102

          Plane liaison was established between this section and Prisoner of War Enclosure Number 2 at Sens-de-Bretagne (vY1377).

Dear Folks,

     On the road again – I’m beginning to get saddle-sore from riding in that darn jeep. Have been away from the Battalion & Battery for four days. We “scrounge” our meal whenever we can. We buy eggs and bread and hope to have bacon in a day or so. Just finished dinner – cooked it our self. Boiled potatoes, peas, pork & gravy (I swiped it for the LST) and an egg. Hot bad eh? Someday it’s good – others awful. I’m losing pounds each day. Hope to get a load of mail from the Battery when I go back. We may make it tomorrow – it all depends on what turns up and how important it is. Did a little shopping today – will pass it on when I have time – it isn’t much, but after all – there isn’t much here – to buy. Bye for now much love to one and all.
                                                      Your
                                                           Tom.

          Caption reads – “Falaise Gap near Le Mans France.”
       Panzer identification from front to back:  Self Propelled Antitank Gun, Panzer Jäg. IV für 7.5 cm Pak 39 (L/48) (Panzerjägerkanone 39); Half Track Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251); Self Propelled Antitank Gun, Panzer Jäg. IV für 7.5 cm Pak 39 (L/48) (Panzerjägerkanone 39).  Panzer identification courtesy of Favrice Avoie

          Caption reads – “Falaise Gap near Le Mans France.”
     Panzer identification from front to back:  Marder III Tank Destroyers; Self Propelled Antitank Gun, Panzer Jäg. IV für 7.5 cm Pak 39 (L/48) (Panzerjägerkanone 39); Panzer IV, Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV).  Panzer identification courtesy of Favrice Avoie

          Caption reads – “Falaise Gap near Le Mans France.”
     Panzer identification from front to back:  Hummel Sd.Kfz 165 self-propelled gun (artillery, 155 mm); Half Track Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251); Self Propelled Antitank Gun, Panzer Jäg. IV für 7.5 cm Pak 39 (L/48) (Panzerjägerkanone 39).  Panzer identification courtesy of Favrice Avoie

Thursday – 17th August 1944103

     No change.

Thursday – 17th August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report104

                              Sens de Bretegna, France 2.7 mi W vY074795
                    Leonard, John J.                             33 501 242     Sgt.
                              Remark in M/R 12 Aug 44 as reads “Dy to
                              Hosp LD”. Remark in M/R 17 Aug 44 as
                              reads “No Change” Corrected to read
                              “Hosp to lost to Hosp LD”

Friday – 18th August 1944105

     No change.

Friday – 18th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report106

                              Sens de Bretegna, France 2.7 mi W vY069775
                    Eubanks, Robert E.                           34 248 903     Pfc.                Code 1-8
                              Reduced to gr of Private
                    Boyland, Edward T.                           32 874 703     Pvt.                Code 1-7
                              Aptd Private First Class
                         Strength Officers:
                                                       6 FLD O & Capt.
                                                      2 1st Lt. Pres
                                                      1 1st Lt. Abst
                                                      2 2nd Lt. Pres
                                                      2 2nd Lt. Attached Fr Other Orgs
                              Strength EM:
                                                    91 EM Present For Duty
                                                      5 EM Abst
                                                     46 Attached FM Other Orgn
                                                   140 EM Total

Friday – 18th August 1944 MD Detachment Morning Report107

                              Sens de Bretegna, France 2.7 mi W. vY076778
                    Reed                                         34 249 106     Tec. 4                   Code 1-8
                              Rd to gr of Pvt.
                    Bardoli                                      39 039 252      Pfc.                      Code 1-0
                              Aptd Tec. 5

Saturday – 19th August 1944109

                              No change

Saturday – 19th August 1944110

          Prisoner of War Enclosure Number No.2 at Sens-de-Bretagne (vY1377) was closed on 19th August, 17,407 prisoners of war being handled by this Enclosure during the period 8th August to 19th August.

19th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report111

                              Sens de Bretagne, France 2.7 mi W vY069775
                                        One officer and 1 EM reld from atchd from
                                        442nd and 443rd QM Transport Co for rat, qrs
                                        and adm as of 18 Aug 44. (See attached
                                        roster)

19th August 1944 “MD” Detachment Morning Report112

                              Sens de Bretagne, France 2.7 mi W. vY0786778
                                        No Change

Sunday – 20th August 1944113

          This was the first of a series of ling jumps behind Patton’s racing Army.  The cage was no sooner opened on the 20th than it was outdistanced.

Sunday – 20th August 1944114

          The 741st Field Artillery Battalion reported to Brûlon Enclosure (vZ0936) on 20th August and began orientation preparatory to assuming duties at the Enclosure.

Sunday – 20th August 1944115

          Unit departed Sens-de-Bretagne 0800.  Arrived Courtalain 1700.  Unit engaged in operation of PWE #5, TUSA.

Sunday – 20th August 1944116

          The Battalion departed Sens-de-Bretagne, France.

Sunday – 20th August 1944117

          The Battalion arrived Courtalain France. PWE #5

Sunday – 20th August 1944118
          Byron G. Rogers

          We traveled 100 miles to Courtalain.  This would be the first series of “Long Jumps” behind General Patton’s racing Army.

Sunday – 20th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report119

                              Courtalain, France ¼ mi W vW084635
                                        One officer and 27 EM reld from atchd from
                                        647th QM Troop Transport Co for rat, qrs
                                        And adm. (See attached roster)
          Departed Sens de Bretegna, France 2.7 mi
          W  vY069775, 0800 via motor convoy. Biv-
          ouacked present Station 1700. Distance
          marched approximately 170 miles.

Sunday – 20th August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report120

                              Arrou, France 1 mi N.E. vW094660
          Departed Sens de Bretegna, France, 2.7 mi
          W vY074795, 0800 via motor convoy. Bivouacked
          present Station 1530. Distance marched
          approximately 170 miles

Sunday – 20th August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report121

                              Courtalain, France 1¾ mi. SE vW118630
          Departed Sen de Bretegna, France, 2.7 mi W.
          vY073778, 0800 via motor convoy. Bivouacked
          present Station 1800. Distance marched
          approximately 170 miles.

Sunday – 20th August 1944 Service Battery Morning Report122

                              Arrou, France 1 ½ mi N.E.
          Departed Sens de Bratagna, France
          2.7 mi W vY074782, 0800 via Motor
          Convoy. Bivouacked present Station 1600.
          Distance marched approximate-mi 170 miles.

Sunday – 20 August 1944 MD Detachment Morning Report123

                              Courtalain, France 1 ¼ mi W. vW084638
          Departed Sens de Bretagne, France
          2.7 mi W. vY074795 at 0800 via
          Motor Convoy. Bivouacked present Sta 1700. Distance marched approximately 170 miles.

Dear Folks,

     Just a short note to let you know all’s well. Just finished breakfast a little while ago – bacon, eggs, jam, bread, coffee. Not so bad eh? We have to go shopping for more eggs and bread today. Saw Torres yesterday – first time in a week. Haven’t seen any of the other officers since last Sunday. The three of us are going to move again in an hour or so. Saw some American Nurses yesterday – gosh – but did they ever look good. Almost stopped in order to have one of them just say hi! What a place for a plumber to make a million dollars!! There isn’t a toilet – (flush) in the whole of France. Also – my observations are complete – the gals here set right on the leather “like” seats while the English gals sit on their skirts. Not bad eh! More later
                                                      Love, Tom.

          No caption – 

Monday – 21st August 1944124

          Seventeen artillery liaison aircraft arrived from the United Kingdom, the first such replacements to be received.

Monday – 21st August 1944125

          Prisoner of War Enclosure Number No. 5 was established at Courtalain (vW0964) on 21 August.

Monday – 21st August 1944126

                    No Change

Monday – 21st August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report127

                              Mur de Bretagne, France ½ mi E vX056695
                    Holmes                                       34 339 637     Pvt.
                              Dy to sk in 53rd Evac. Hosp LD

Monday – 21st August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report128

                              Arrou, France, vW089659
                              Location of Bivouac area moved from
                              Courtalain, France 1 ¾ mi S.E.
                              vW118630 to present Sta. Distance 2 mi.

Dear Family,

     Just a very short note. I’m well but real cold at the time. It feels like winter today. I got a letter from Peg written at Waterworld, Michigan. You all have been simply swell about writing. Keep it up cause it makes me very happy. I must close – the contact car is leaving in a very short time.
                                        Love to one

Tuesday – 22nd August 1944129

          The 738th field Artillery Battalion was relieved from duty at the Brûlon Prisoner of War enclosure (vK0934) on 22 August and assigned to its primary mission.

Tuesday – 22nd August 1944130

          The 734th Field Artillery Battalion reported to Courtalain (vW0964)  Enclosure on 22 August for prisoner of war escort duty.

Tuesday – 22nd August 1944131

          On 22 August the necessity for a new prisoner of war enclosure was indicated in the vicinity of Nemours (vX2676).  Work was started on 24th August and completed on 26 August.  Because of a lack of concertina wire, the 130st Engineer General Service Regiment was given the task of dismantling and returning to the depot all wire consigned in the Brulon (vZ0833) site.

Tuesday – 22nd August 1944132

          No change.

Wednesday – 23rd August 1944133

          On 23rd August 1944 the III Corps departed from Presidio of Monterey, California, for Camp Myles Standish, embarking on 5th September at Boston for overseas duty.  (Advance party sailed on 11th August from Fort Hamilton, and debarked at Utah Beach, Normandy, on 28th August after spending five days in the United Kingdom.)  Upon arrival at Cherbourg on 15th September 1944, the Corps was assigned to the Ninth U. S. Army.  Headquarters was established in the town of Carteret, Normandy, and for six weeks the Corps acted as representative of the Ninth Army on the Cotentin Peninsula, assisting in the reception and processing of all troops of the Twelfth Army Group as they arrived on the Normandy beaches.

Wednesday – 23rd August 1944134

                    No change

Thursday – 24th August 1944135

          2nd Platoon, 441st prisoner of War Processing Company, reported for duty at Courtalain (vW0964)

Thursday – 24th August 1944136

          No change.

Thursday – 24th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report137

                              Courtalain, France ½ mi W vW084635
                    Murphy, Edmund C.                           0 278 607     Capt.
                              Dy to Sk in 39th Evacuation Hosp LD
                   Sikes, Thomas R., Jr.                        34 359 743     Tec. 5              Code A-FA
                              Hosp to dy reassigned and rejoined.

Friday – 25th August 1944139

          Prisoner of War Enclosure Number 4, located vicinity of Brûlon (vZ0936), two miles south of Joué-en-Charnie, Sarthe, France (K0936), was closed on 25th August, 8,771 prisoners of war being handled from 14th to 25th August.

Friday – 25th August 1944140

          Departed Courtalain, France at 1130 via motor convoy.  Arrived Nemours, France at 1800.  Distance marched 100 miles.  Weather:  Fair:  Morale:  Excellent.

Friday – 25th August 1944141

          The Battalion departed Courtalain France.

Friday – 25th August 1944142

          The Battalion arrived Nemours France.

Friday – 25th August 1944143

          On the 25th we moved one hundred miles to Nemours.  Here we rested and enjoyed the french hospitality for the first time.

Friday – 25th August 1944144
          Byron G. Rogers

          On August 25, 1944, we moved another 100 miles to Nemours, where we finally received some much need rest, and enjoyed the French hospitality for the first time.  We drove through Paris, France and I drove my 2-1/2 ton truck under the Eiffel Tower.  We had not received our tractors or guns at this time.
     While moving through the French countryside, we would go into heavily bombed and destroyed towns.  We would find old barns and houses to sleep in so that we could get out of the cold weather, and snow.  Then we would leave for another “long jump”.

Friday – 25th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report145

                              Nemours, France, 3 mi SE vX313738
                    Murphy, Edmund C. (Hosp)                             0 278 607 
                              Sk in 38th Evacuation Hosp to lost to
                              Evacuation Hosp
                    Harvey, Robert K. (Hosp) 33 301 272 
                              Hosp to dy, atchd unasgd
          Departed Courtalain, France ½ mi W vW084635
          1130 via Motor Convoy. Bivouacked
          Present Sta 1800. Distance marched 110
                         Strength Officers:  5 FLD O & Capt.
                                                   2 1st Lt.
                                                   3 2nd Lt.
                                                   1 WO.
                         Strength EM: 91 EM Present For Duty
                                             1 Attached Unassigned
                                             3  Absent
                                            89 EM Total

Friday – 25th August 1944, Battery “A” Morning Report146

                              Nemours, France 3 mi S.E. vX313738
          Departed Arrou, France 1 mi NE W vW094660
          via motor convoy 1200. Bivouacked present
          sta 1800. Distance marched approximately 100 mi.

Friday – 25th August 1944 Battery “C” Morning Report147

          Departed Arrou, France. vW089659, via
          motor convoy 1030. Bivouac present Sta
          1600. Distance marched 100 mi.

Friday – 25th August 1944 Service Battery Morning Report148

                              Nemours, France 3 mi SE, vX315756
          Departed Arrou, France 1½ mi N.E.
          vW100659 via Motor convoy 1200.
          Bivouacked present Sta 1800. Distance
          marched approximately 100 mi.

Friday – 25th August 1944 MD Detachment Morning Report149

                              Nemours, France 3 mi SE, vX315738
          Departed Courtalain, France ¼ mi W.
          vW084635 1150 via motor convoy. Biv-
          ouacked present station 1800. Distance
          marched approximately 100 miles.

           No caption –

26th August to 11th September – Pursuit To The German Border150
Saturday – 26th August 1944151

          Prisoner of War Enclosure Number 6 was established three miles east of Nemours (vX313738) on D225 on 26th August.

Saturday – 26th August 1944152

                             No change

Sunday – 27th August 1944153

          In the VIII Corps Zone the attack on Brest (V99) continued against stubborn resistance.  The 2nd, 8th, and 29th Infantry Divisions had surrounded city on three sides while Tank Force “B” attacked the Daoulas Peninsula (W19) and Crozon Peninsula (V98) south of the city.

     In the XX Corps zone the 5th Infantry Division advanced to the northeast toward Reims (T37) along the Nogent-sur-Seine (X89) – Épernay (T25) road, leading elements reaching the vicinity of Barbonne (T01) five miles south of Sézanne (T02).

     In the XII Corps zone the 4th Armored Division advanced toward Châlons-sur-Marne (T54) with Combat Command “A” reaching vicinity of Mesnil (Y39) fifteen miles northwest of Troyes (Y27).

Sunday – 27th August 1944154

          The 2nd Platoon, 441st prisoner of War Processing Company was relived from duty at Prisoner of War Enclosure Number 5, Courtalain (vW0964) by Advance Section, communication Zone,

Sunday – 27th August 1944155

          No change

Sunday – 27th August 1944 “HQ & Hq” Battery Morning Report156

                              Nemours, France 3 mi SE vX313738
                    Harvey, Robert K.                            33 301 272     Cpl.                     Code J
                              (atchd unasgd)
                              Reld from atchd unasgd and asgd to Btry “B”
                              this Bn
                    Garland, Max L.                               01 165 292     1st Lt.
                    Lockridge, Gordon W.                       20 433 602     Tec. 3
                    Eubanks, Robert B.                           34 248 903     Pvt.
                              Above O and Two EM dy to Temporary dy
                              647th FA Bn
                         Strength Officers:
                                                      5 FLD O & Capt.
                                                      1 1st Lt. Pres
                                                      1 1st Lt. Abst
                                                      3 2nd Lt. Pres
                                                      1 WO
                         Strength EM:
                                                89 EM Present For Duty
                                                  5 EM Abst

Sunday – 27th August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report157

                              Mur de Bretegne, France ½ mi E vX056695
                    Harvey, Robert K.                            33 301 272     Cpl.                 Code A-FA
                              Reasgd & jd from atchd unasgd Hq Btry
                              this Bn.

          1st. Sgt. Ray Cormier postcard home

1st Sgt Raymond Cormier (20 140 083)
Btry. A 244th F.A. Bn.
APO 403 c/o Postmaster
New York N.Y.

Dear Rachel
       This gives you an idea on the postal Cards that they have here.  Everything is ok here.  Hope you are the same.
          Love
               Ray

Dear Folks,

    Sunday again. I’m at an Evacuation Hospital just for a visit – the Red Cross has a service set up here – so the music, papers and writing facilities are of great joy to me. The pictures came last night!! Boy it is just swell. Thanks loads. It is very cleverly done – how did you ever remember to include the house. Now I can picture how home really is. Sorry to learn the heat is so bad – it’s cold here – a jacket is always within reach. The gang over here sure are pounding it to the Boshe – aren’t they? Sure miss all of you, your letters are simply the end of a perfect day for me. It takes’em 10 days.

                                                    Love to all
                                                            Tom

Dear Family,

     It’s been a long time since I’ve written a letter hasn’t it? Lots of V-Mail but no air mail. I can’t remember if I’ve given you a picture of this country. I’ve done an awful lot of driving around in the month I’ve been here – seen a whole lot but I’m afraid I don’t remember too much. Sitting here in the car – it’s hard to remember what I was doing last week that might interest you.

     The country is a mass of winding 3rd grade roads bounded by thorny hedgerows – the houses around the road – practically making an obstacle. The farms are pretty, but peculiar. They are large stone houses with slate roofs – one gathers that the owner must be well off, but it turns out that the house contains two or three families, a lot of cows & houses and a hay loft. The children are plentiful, showing there are no pubs or movies in which to idle away the idle hours. The beds are a scream – they are huge box like jobs – with the entrance on one side – it’s a hole about 3’ x 3’ with a curtain – the whole thing is cleverly done – once inside you are really in for the duration – these airtight deals would never do near Boston. The people get along well though! They cook on a hearth burning fagots (twigs, etc-) this wood burning develops the wrists and one knee cause you have to break the stuff up. Their food is very simple. The women really work – a man marries here for the strength and endurance – not for looks – as a blind man can easily see. She works in the field, cares for the cows & chickens, cooks and washes cloths – cloths – wash – nuts – they just beat the dirt out – with clubs. Their Electrolux is an open pool (water never changed) a large, flat rock like surface and a paddle – a good pair of knees and strong arms & back (no brains) also helps. First – dunk the clothes – soap sparingly and beat the hell out of the soggy mess. Buttons go first – then the seams. Hope it isn’t a long war – we’ll all be nude (can’t spell “naked”) now the city folks are different – they use more soap only. Their houses overhang the street – and a rain coat or umbrella is the solution while driving between a row of houses. As I told you – sometime ago – they have no organized plumbing – the open windows – – – ! the only real good thing here is their wine – and you all know it’s history. I haven’t tasted any for a couple of weeks. Guess I’d better get on the ball.

     The weather here is just fine – so far. It’s really been very cool every day. Warm clothes are always needed. Three covers at night are not always enough. As yet I’ve only felt bad two days – it was very rainy and I ached all over. Couldn’t take a deep breath – found a Doc and had him listen to the lungs – all OK – so of course he gave me a hand full of Aspirin and sent me packing. I feel good as gold again.

     Had a real treat for supper. Fried chicken w/pot & gravy, beans and cake – tea candy. Not bad for the E.T.O.

      The Capt. moved the Battery this aft. don’t know where yet – as my messenger hasn’t come in yet. Cpl. Tredrick my old driver is with me again – he’s a much better driver that Autlaw his big trouble is that he never remembers where he has been – so we get lost (darn these modern inventions) well – it’s vital we remembers cause once in a while people are libel to take a shot at you. I’ve really never been on a safer job in my life. It’s just like being home. I‘m not saying this to ease your mind – I mean it. More later on
                                                                               Much love to all
I’m going to a movie in 10 min. “Cover Girl”                     Your
                                                                                              Son.

Monday – 28th August 1944158

          No change.

Monday – 28th August 1944 Battery “B” Morning Report159

                              Mur de Bretagne, France ½ mi E vX056695
                    Gable, A.                                    34 580 597     Pvt.
                             Dy to conf Bn Stockade awaiting tria
                             violation of AW 61, 96.

Tuesday – 29th August 1944160

          No change.

Wednesday – 30th August 1944161

                   As the enemy withdrew closer to his own border reports indicated that he would make a determined stand once repaired fortifications were reached.  The following forts in the Maginot Line – Metz (U85) vicinity were reported reequipped by the Germans and prepared for attack from the west:  Fort De Mousson at Pont-A-Mousson (73); St. Blais between Corny (U74) and Jouy Aux Arches (U75); Fort De Foire in the vicinity of Nancy (U81); Plapperville, two kilometers from Metz (U85); Fort Jeanne D’Arc on an elevation just north west of Rozérieulles (U86); Ancy Sur Moselle, in the face of the Fort at St. Blaise (U75); Fort De St Julien Les Metz (U85); on the elevation at Saulny, between Metz (U90) and Briey (U84); and at Queuliu, suburb of Metz (U85).  The enemy was also reported to be moving troops of all types from the west and south toward the east with screening forces along the Loire River in the Angers (087) – Orleans (F62) area.  Poitiers (U47) and Tours (P76) were reported to be focal points of enemy movement from south and west toward the east.

Wednesday – 30th August 1944162

          No change

Dear Family,

     Am having “Bunshy” the Red Cross gal at the hospital, wrap up a pair of shoes – if you paint’em, plant some small flowers in them and presto – something for the porch. Your house being French the shoes the same – perhaps they will go together. I ‘may get some  other stuff in a few days – it depends on whether or not my dough lasts. Things that cost a hell of a lot at home here are dirt cheap. Perfume – for instance – Coty, Scarpperali (?) Caron – ect – my – what a Christmas, I have the cutest thing for Jane. A hat – very small (for the back of her head) all embroidered with sequins, gold thread, a little lace – the velvet is deep blue – wait till you see it. Love to all
                                                            Tom.

Thursday – 31st August 1944163

          No change.

Thursday – 31st August 1944164

          So far we have lost Rankin (Tec/4 Link C. Rankin), Corrigan (Pvt. Corrigan), Cimbulich (Pvt. Cimbulich), Cpl. Rosen, Holmes (Pvt. William Holmes) and only Harvey (Cpl. Robert K. Harvey) has returned

Thursday – 31st August 1944 Service Battery Morning Report165

                              Nemours, France 3 mi SE, vX313738
                    Humphries                                    34 358 747     Cpl.
                              Dy to sk in 104th Evac Hosp LD