Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Friday, June 06, 2008

20080606 D-Day, Carroll County, and the famed 29th Division

D-Day, Carroll County, and the famed 29th Division

(c) By Kevin Dayhoff

29th Div shoulder patch: Nicknamed "Blue and Gray,” the division's motto is "29, Let's Go!" The shoulder patch is a half-blue, half-gray Chinese taijitu; this patch was approved December 14, 1917 and was designed by Maj. James A. Ulio.

Writer’s note: Excerpts of this column appeared in my column in The Sunday Carroll Eagle on June 1st, 2008

Today is the anniversary of “D-Day.” It was at 6:30 in the morning on June 6, 1944 that Allied forces began the campaign to retake Europe from Nazi Germany.

The D-Day campaign began with what historians consider to be one of the largest single-day military operations in history. Over 130,000 troops landed on five beaches along 50 miles of Normandy coast between the Cotentin Peninsula and the Orne River with the support of approximately 196,000 Allied navy personnel.

The amphibious landings portion of D-Day was given the codename “Operation Overlord.” It was divided into five operational zones which were identified by the codenames Gold, Juno, Omaha, Sword, and Utah.

American troops landed on the two western beaches, Utah and Omaha. British and Canadians landed at Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches.

Many Carroll countians fought with the 29th Division, who along with V Corps and the 1st Infantry Division made up the total of 34,250 troops, 3,300 vehicles, who landed at “Omaha Beach.” They were backed-up with naval support provided by two battleships, three cruisers, 12 destroyers and 105 other ships.

The Omaha operation was subdivided into ten sectors, which were named, from west to east: Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, Easy Green, Easy Red, Fox Green, and Fox Red.

The 29th Division’s responsibilities were the Able, Baker, Charlie, and Dog Green sectors the western half of the five-mile long beach on the northern coast of France, which stretched from Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to Vierville-sur-Mer.

According to numerous historical accounts, assessments of the defenses located in the Omaha field of operation were incorrect and for a number of reasons, nothing went as planned at the Omaha beach landing and the results were disastrous.

One account of the events indicate that Company A of the 116th Regimental Combat Team comprised of approximately 240 soldiers had 50 percent casualties within 15 minutes of landing at Dog Green and were almost hopelessly pinned down at the water’s edge.

Several hours later the assessment of the operation was so dire that the First Army commander, Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley actually considered withdrawing the soldiers off the beachhead.

Valor and heroic action on the part of the Carroll countians who fought that day prevailed. The beach that stretched before them was at the most, 200 yards wide but was mined, and fenced with multiple lines of barbed wire, among many other deadly obstacles.

At the other end were steep banks from anywhere from 100 to 170 foot tall, upon which the German defenders manned machine gun nests which dominated the beachhead with interlocking fields of fire.

The 29th Division went on to see 242 days of combat as they progressed from Normandy, crossed the Elle River, engaged in combat from hedgerow to hedgerow to overtake St. Lo, fought across the Rhineland and into Central Europe.

As a result, two soldiers in the 29th Division were awarded the Medal of Honor, 44 were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, one Distinguished Service Medal, 854 Silver Stars, 17 Legion of Merit, 24 Soldier’s Medal and 6,308 Bronze Stars.

After the war, the 29th Division finally returned home on January 4, 1946.

One column certainly does not do justice to the storied history of the 29th Division. More of the origins and history of the 29th Division can be addressed in later columns. Meanwhile, we’d like to hear from veterans who served in the 29th Division. If you or someone you know served; please be in touch so that we may include your stories in later columns…

Carroll County can be proud of our native sons who were among the 29th Division -and all the men and women who served our country during World War II, in the face of horrendous circumstances. They served so that we could remain free and enjoy our quality of life. We owe them a debt we can never repay.


20080606 D-Day, Carroll County, and the famed 29th Division

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