Action Against Enemy, Reports After/After Action Report – July 1944



8 August 1944

SUBJECT: Action Against Enemy, Reports After/After Action Report.

TO: The Adjutant General, Washington, D. C.

THRU: Channels.

During the period 1 July 44 to 6 July 44, the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, was located in an assembly area near Amfreville, Normandy, France. The time was used to train, to clean equipment, and to prepare for future operations on 6 July 1944.

The Regiment moved to a forward assembly area west of Carentan in preparation for an attack south along the Carentan-Periers road. Immediately upon arrival in the new area, the 1st Battalion went on a one hour alert status ready to support the 12th Infantry if the need arose.

Throughout 7 July, the Regiment was on a two hour alert status but was not called upon for movement. During the day Company “C”, 801st TD Battalion, Company “D”, 87th Chemical Battalion, and the 70th Tank Battalion less one  company, were attached to the Regiment.

On the morning of 8 July, the 22nd Infantry with its attachments passed through elements of the 83rd Division and attacked to the southwest in the order; 2nd Battalion, 1st Battalion, with the 3rd Battalion in reserve in the vicinity of La Varimesnil. The 2nd Battalion had as its mission, the breaching of the enemy line southwest of Culot and continuation of the attack to seize La Maugerie. The 1st Battalion had as its mission the capture of high ground in the vicinity of Neuville. Late in the afternoon the 1st Battalion moved through the breach in the enemy lines effected by the 2nd Battalion and at approximately 2030 was reported as being on its objective. At about 2130 the 2nd Battalion received a counterattack to its front and right flank by German infantry and tanks and by 2300 the situation was under control.

The attack was resumed on 9 July with two Battalions abreast,  1st Battalion on the right to seize objectives in the vicinity of La Maugerie. Colonel C.T. Lanham assumed command of the Regiment and Lt. col. John F. Ruggles was sent to assume command of the 2nd Battalion in order that the attack might be pushed. The 2nd Battalion seized Sainteny and at dark the Regiment halted for the night along the line Les Forges-Sainteny.

The Regiment continued the attack on 10 July with the 1st and 2nd Battalions in the assault. The 3rd Battalion was committed on the left (east) of the 2nd Battalion with orders to seize that portion of the Regimental objective east of La Maugerie. At approximately 1800, the 3rd Battalion movement masked the fires of the 2nd Battalion and the 2nd Battalion reverted to Regimental Reserve. The 1st Battalion advanced to the outskirts of La Maugerie and that position was held for the night with the 3rd Battalion on their left.

On 11 July the attack was resumed. The 3rd Battalion was directed to seize the high ground in the vicinity of Raids by envelopment from the east. This Battalion struck a strong defensive position almost immediately and was held up. The 2nd Battalion was employed on its left. During the day Company “C” mopped up La Maugerie. The end of the days operations found all three Battalions on  line extending from La Maugerie to the southeast.

The 2nd and 3rd Battalions continued the attack on 12 July to seize the objectives in the vicinity of Raids. The 1st Battalion reverted to Regimental reserve and moved from La Maugerie to an assembly area in the left rear of the 2nd Battalion. The advance progressed slowly and the Regimental Commander employed the 1st Battalion in an enveloping action on the east. The 1st Battalion advanced to a position southeast of La Roserie. By 0300, 13 July the 22nd Infantry less the 3rd Battalion was relieved by elements of the 12th Infantry and moved to  Division reserve in the vicinity of Les Forges.

The 3rd Battalion was attached in place to the 12th Infantry and remained in its position until late on the afternoon of the 14th when it was relieved by  the 3rd Battalion of the 8th Infantry.

On the 15th July the Regiment was alerted for movement to a new assembly area in the vicinity of Montmartin-En-Grainges. This movement was accomplished on the 16 July by motor and without mishap.

From the 17th July to 18 July the Regiment remained in the assembly area carrying out a training schedule, resting, and taking advantage of Quartermaster showers and Special Service facilities.

On the 19th July RCT 22 moved to the Vicinity of La Kine where it was attached to the 2nd Armored Division as a part of Combat command “A”, commanded by Brig. Gen. Maurice Rose. The Combat Team consisted of the 22nd Infantry, 44th Field Artillery, Company “C”, 4th Medical Battalion, one platoon from Company “C” 4th Engineer Battalion, and the 427th and 428th Quartermaster Truck Companies. The mission assigned the combat command was to break through the hostile position on the front St. Gillis-Marigny and to seize, occupy, and defend the dominating terrain in the vicinity of Le Mesnil Herman. Bad weather delayed the planned saturation bombardment until the 26th. This period was used to train Infantry-Tank teams, to instill the offensive spirit and to perfect plans.

On the 26th of July, Combat Command “A” began its breakthrough operation in  the direction of St. Gillis and Canisy. Originally the Combat Command was to attack in two columns with the 1st Battalion in the left column and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions in the right or north column. The 3rd Battalion was the reserve Battalion and rode in two and one-half ton trucks in rear of the Infantry-Armored assault elements. This plan was revised the night of 25 July by the VII Corps. This plan directed the attack from a single column with all elements on the north route. Considerable difficulty was experienced in changing the plan of attack at this late hour but by daylight of 26 July, Combat Command “A” had moved assembly areas north of the breakthrough area and the attack ready to roll. Infantry-Tank teams worked together perfectly. The device for breaching hedgerows was of great assistance. Cross country with infantry riding tanks proceeded at about a mile an hour. Hedgerows plus craters from the air saturation the  previous day precluded faster progress.

Late in the afternoon Combat Command “A” was directed to revert to the two column plan and to continue its advance on roads in order to accelerate the advance. Owning to the great length of the column, the disposition then in effect, and the badly cratered roads, this split was not completed until St. Gillis was secured.

By daylight 27 July the objective was taken. The 22nd Infantry was digging in for all round defense and coordinating its fires all in accordance with detailed defense plans previously prepared. Reconnaissance teams were pushed to the south. Infantry patrols combed the area gathering up prisoners caught in the onrush. The colored truck drivers of the 427th and 428th Quartermaster Truck Companies participated in the roundup of prisoners. By noon the position was secure and the area thoroughly cleaned up.

Late in the afternoon two task forces, each consisting of a company of tanks and a company of infantry were dispatched to make a reconnaissance in force to the south. Company “K” in the western force drove as far south as Villebaudon where it was picked up the next day by the remainder of the 3rd Battalion attacking  south to Percy.

On the afternoon of 28 July, Combat Command “A” issued orders for a three column attack. The 3rd Battalion was attached to the 3rd Battalion of the 66th Armored Regiment and attacked south along the Le Mesnil Herman-Percy road. The 1st Battalion was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Armored Regiment and attacked south in the direction of Moyon but ran into a strong position south of that town and were unable to advance. The 2nd Battalion was attached to the 1st Armored Battalion and attacked south on the eastern route toward Tessy sur Vire. It encountered an RCT of the 30th Division held up by a well dug in and determined enemy. An effort to break the position was thwarted by a stream and the task force dug in and held several kilometers south of Le Mesnil Herman. At the end of the day’s operation, Combat Command “A” was halted with the 3rd Battalion near Percy, the 2nd Battalion approximately one and one-half miles south of Les Mesnil Herman, and the 1st Battalion occupying Moyon.

On 29 July the 1st and 2nd Battalions resumed their attacks, but were unable to dislodge the Germans from their positions along the stream south of Moyon. The 3rd Battalion attacked and seized the high ground northeast of Percy.

On the night of 29-30 July the 1st and 2nd Battalions and their armored teammates disengaged and moved west to the Les Mesnil Herman-Percy axis and attacked south toward Villebaudon starting about 1100 on the 30th July. Near Villebaudon  Command Combat “A” encountered enemy columns attacking from three directions and a violent battle ensued. By nightfall the enemy had been defeated and the situation was stabilized. During the 29th and part of the 30th July the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, and the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored, were cut off from the remainder of Combat Command “A”.

On 31 July the 3rd Battalion remained near Percy holding the high ground to the northeast; the 1st Battalion was disposed around Villebaudon; and the 2nd Battalion attacked west from Villebaudon to reduce enemy pockets of resistance. During the night 31 July-1 August Combat Command “A” was attached to the 29th Division and orders were received that all elements of the 29th Division would attack and seize Tessy sur Vire the following morning.

Colonel, 22nd Infantry,