On the morning of 6 June. 1944 the 16th Infantry Regiment, under the most adverse conditions, assaulted the coast of France near Colleville-sur-Mer against a long prepared, determined and powerfully emplaced enemy. While moving, inshore in assault craft, violent seas swamped the regiment’s supporting weapons and hurled men and boats into the intricate and almost impenetrable barriers of mine-capped underwater obstacles. From commanding and numerous reinforced concrete pill boxes, machine gun emplacements and sniper’s nests imbedded in Cliffside’s impregnable to the violent air and naval bombardments preceding the assault came a withering hail of artillery and small arms fire that struck down hundreds as they struggled through shoulder deep water towards the beach.
Within a few hours almost a third of the assault strength were casualties. Men dragged themselves shoreward leaderless and scattered by the loss of key personnel. Blocked from advancing by minefields, pinned down by annihilating fire, wave after wave piled up on a seven yard beachhead until thousands of men lay huddled on the fire swept shore.
In the face of an apparently hopeless situation, the 16th Infantry began its reorganization. Officers and men gathered the remnants of their units together, and slowly, with groups being cut down almost as soon as formed, began to develop from a confused, hurt mass into a cohesive, determined fighting force. Innumerable acts of gallantry were performed in the face of the superior enemy fire. Men lay in the flat, mine strewn meadows in plain view of the enemy and returned the direct ...fire of protected enemy artillery, and machine guns with rifle,and rocket launcher fire. Leaderless men attached themselves to the forming groups. A breach was blown, in the wire and the Regiment advanced. Human mine markers lay in the mine fields guiding the passage of the battling troops. With Grim determination, suffering terrible casualties, the Regiment forced its way forward in a frontal assault on five principal enemy strong Points. They engaged the enemy and, in a magnificent display of courage and will to win, destroyed them.
The beach opened by the 16th Infantry Regiment was the main personnel exit for the V corps for forty eight hours. Battered to a terrible degree the Regiment continued in its advance toward its initial objective. They drove back a fanatically resisting enemy and repulsed five separate counterattacks by numerically superior forces until the 1st Division and V Corps beachhead was secured.
With complete devotion to duty, and recognition of an obligation to Its tradition, the 16th Infantry Regiment added a glowing page to military annals. Individually and collectively the members of the 16th Infantry Regiment turned a threatened catastrophe into a glorious victory for the American Army.
Taken from a photo copy from my trip to the national Archives; S-3 files of the 16th Infantry in WW II.
I published this report online because the few people who have published it have only put the small section pertaining to E Company on D-Day. They are just one part of the story and much of what has been written in the beginning and after is incorrect. An example is that after the fact 55 years later, a soldier by the name of Harley Reynolds was given credit for being the first man through the wire on Easy Red Sector Blood and Sacrifice the History of the 16th Infantry Regiment by Lt. Col. Steven E Clay). Harley's book can be ordered here How I Survived 3 First Wave Invasions. This now leaves open what happened with my grandfather and his section and the mixed group that was with him.