After Action Report for Baker Company, Second Platoon's Campaign.
29TH INFANTRY DIVISION
116TH REGIMENT, 1ST BN
T/5 Dashwood’s After Action Report: BP2’s deployment against the 2ndSS and Grenadier 559 Regiment in Vierville-sur-Mer, Dog Green Sector, Omaha Beach.
On the 15th of March 2015 Baker Company Second Platoon was deployed against elements of the 2ndSS and Grenadier 559 Regiment in the coastal town of Vierville-sur-Mer. Orders were to take the Crossroads at the centre of the town from Axis forces. The Axis was to defend the aforementioned from Allied assault.
Our forces deployed from the beach arrayed as follows:
- S2 set up in the west at the foot of the hill leading to the Crossroads
- S1 set up in the far east at the footpath leading up the hill
- S3 set up in the mid-east below the shell hole in the hill
- Armour set up between S1 & S3
Axis forces were to start from the Church and push into the town for an active defence.
Live was called and the three squads with armour support began to set off. S2, moving up the west towards Crossroads, came under immediate fire from well emplaced Axis forces in Silo and Slaughter buildings. S2 lost 3 soldiers in the attack on Crossroads; PFC Tyson, PFC Dubois and PFC Junnila. S2 was also able to inflict losses on Axis during this time. Numerous soldiers were wounded in the attack but Silo building eventually fell to S2. From here S2 set up a 360 defence of Silo and Slaughter.
During S2’s assault on the Crossroads, S1 was moving to secure the far east of the map; Big Blue 1&2, Robinson’s house, Barn and Light buildings. Contacts are spotted in Salmon building and in the ensuing fight S1 loses PFC Rodd but Is able to inflict at least one casualty in return. S1 continue clearing buildings to the west and manage to link up with S3.
S3 & S1 aided each other during S3’s push towards the centre of the battlefield. In S3’s push towards Titties, café, Truck and general store from Baby building they lost T/4 Ceglar, PFC Horvat and PFC Rodgers. During further fighting in the central street, S3 was able to deal further losses to Axis but also lost PFC Lunt in the ensuing firefight. Cpl. Sommer and PFC Morten fell taking Titties, Café, General store and Old buildings. From here PFC Runing took charge of the remnants of S3 and continued to support S1.
Armour support had managed to make it up the hill at Big Blue 1 where they proceeded to help S1&S3 clear out the buildings along the main street, upon S3’s destruction the tank supported S1 in clearing out Truck, Fancy, Book Store and Bungalow buildings, helping S1 link up with S3. From here there was a long stalemate which lasted several minutes. During the fight for Bungalow, 2Lt. Derbyshire, and the rest of S3 were killed.
During this time Axis had put most of their focus on Crossroads area ,where their tank had been attempting to overwhelm S2, and the cntre of the map where they succeeded in overwhelming S3 but were beat back by armour support and S1. From here Axis regrouped at the Mansion and prepared for a counterattack. At this time, SSgt. Kruithof had made the decision to move back towards Salmon building to guard the far eastern flank. After a long while he was soon taken out after halting an Axis flanking move.
The counterattack came when Axis infantry pushed across Mansion towards the Train station. Another force hit Bungalow as well. Axis armour encountered Allied armour who exchanged fire. The Allied tank was destroyed but the Axis tank was taken out by T/5 Friesenhan with support from T/5 Minor who was wounded in the fight. The assault on Bungalow was fierce with T/5 Kouters and his MG putting up fierce resistance along with remnants of S1, but they were soon overwhelmed by grenade fire. Cpl. Meyberg had fallen back to cottages to protect the eastern flank where he was able to take out one or two Axis. Cpl. Christiansen mamnged to ambush the Axis as they crossed by the Train station but he was soon killed. T/5 Friesenhan fell in the fight for bungalow leaving Cpl. Meyberg, Sgt. Van Middel and T/5 Minor.
Cpl. Meyberg effected a wide flank around Axis forces, killing an MG at the church, however, while trying to clear Bungalow he was killed. T/5 Minor and Sgt. Van Middel fiercely defended the Silo building of Crossroads until time was reached and the battle was finished.
After an incredible fight that lasted hours with no one side being able to win over the other, a draw was finally called with both sides having been utterly ruined in the fighting. Only a handful remained on either team.
2Lt. Derbyshire’s After Action Report: BP2’s deployment against the 2ndSS and Grenadier 559 Regiment in Englesqueville, Normandy.
At 2300hrs on the 7th June 1944, Second platoon lay on the border of Englesqueville readying themselves for an imminent assault on the village, In brief, First Squad and the tank were set up in the west and would hold the flank while second and third squads made an assault of the eastern segment of the town. The plan was set and we a waited the call from HQ to begin.
The assault began in a swift manner with the Sherman, crewed by T/5 Dashwood and PFC Santa, opening fire at the first crossroads building in an attempt to score some early hits to the enemy while also providing some distraction. In conjunction with this, the platoons second squad began their assault of the far eastern buildings of the village while supported by elements of third squad who had begun to suppress the enemy with heavy fire to keep them from being able to spot the oncoming attack.
As Second squad began to move up, our tank support called out that contacts had been sighted approaching through the field in front of them, however three of the attackers were dispatched immediately. The tank crews quick reactions took pressure off Squad one, however more contacts had been spotted approaching from the central fields to the east of the squads positions. Corporal Meybergs account of the actions is as follows:
" after they had moved out we found that we also had enemies on our eastern flank. Due to a quick reaction the tank, he also got the axis in the eastern field (B6). This is when PFC Kal, who was still watching is sector, reported a contact west of cramp building. With a clever bit of marksmanship he one-shotted the axis soldier. At this point PFC Kallai was forced to reposition and left his sector, but again PFC Kal had been aware of this and moved so he could cover both sectors. T/5 Kouters spotted another contact and dealt with the axis by a burst of this Browning Machine gun."
Second squad cleared the first obstacle, a bunker, successfully and moved into the first building in the east without any objection from the enemy and swiftly moved into the End building. Sergeant Van Middel stated:
"Once we reached End building, the enemy opened up on us, Cpl Christiansen got shot while trying to flank the enemy. T/5 Friesenhan covered the far southeast in case of a counterattack there.
Meanwhile PFC's Tyson, Dubois and Niblock cleared out End and stayed in a defensive position while Sgt. Van Middel and Pvt. Kesby cleared out the bunker and overwatched the turtle windows."
Thirds squad quickly followed suit and in the footsteps of second squad began to move up to support the assault in the east with the ultimate objective of acquiring the church. While moving up Thirds squad took blind machine gun fire from the enemy Marder tank which had stationed itself behind the village on the eastern flank. It was here that Squad three took its first casualties as a well-aimed enemy grenade that took down both T/4 Ceglar and PFC Running. Now aware of the enemy tank's location, Second Squads PFC Dubois now flew into action and successfully knocked out the enemy tank from the 'end' before it could deal any significant blows to our advances.
It became apparent that third squad was unable to cross the road to the southern buildings with the loss of PFC Rodgers and so after a quick thrust, third and second squads joined up in the east in the two northern buildings. Both squads came under sporadic fire from various enemy locations causing slight confusion, however the tank had now redeployed in the east and was shelling buildings and hedgerows alike resulting in several enemy losses, however a miss communication did lead to the loss of PFC Lunt to friendly HE fire.
Meanwhile a fire fight had ensued between the Allied held northern buildings and the enemy held southern buildings, both sides took casualties and our attack had momentarily floundered due to the constant barrage of enemy troops that had been in the area. Squad two's PFC Tyson, who had already gained two victories while securing the end building, now began to fight off the enemy counter attack with the support of his squad, however not without some losses of their own;
"Pvt. Kesby got killed while he was running to Turtle and PFC Niblock got shot in the head after looking out the windows facing Tank and Barrel buildings. PFC Tyson stopped a small counterattack and 'sniped' some enemy's south of the road, killing another 4 from the second floor while Dubois was guarding the stairs."
Squad three now also took positions in the End building a long with Squad two, losing only PFC Bagge to enemy fire. This left the squad heavily depleted, but they still delt the enemy a heavy blow, PFC Zenhenko killing 2 enemy soldiers, an Machine gunner and a Combat engineer who was armed with a Panzershreck, while PFC Morten took down a further contact in the 'tank' building. In the confusion of battle, PFC Golob had managed to cross the road further east and was now engaging the enemy from the rear;
"I lost touch with the main body when we encountered a tank. I drifted to the left, crossed the street and both hedgerows. I was constantly under rifle fire, so I leapfrogged toward the hedgerow in front of the town, where I heard k98 bolts on the opposite side. I tried to flank him and come behind him where I ran into their commanding officer and killed him. I immediately got wound from two grenades, tried another flanking movement even further left of the town, but was sniped and killed doing it.”
With the enemy still putting up a fierce defence and the loss of several numbers including SSgt. Evensen, I called for First squad to move up to our position and on arrival directed them to the Northern side of the road where we had so far been unable to penetrate in any number.
First squad, supported by the tank, began their assault on the northern buildings immediately. Corporal Meyberg stated:
"we got to the tank and it was pretty clear that 'Barrel',' Cot' and 'Tank' building should be cleared ASAP. PFC Kal wasted no time and immediately moved up with PFC Kallai. PFC Kal got one guy in the barrel building and the decision was made to go to cot and Tank right away to not give the enemy time to think.
unfortunately this could not prevent that PFC Kallai died in clearing tank. PFC Kal didn't doubt for a second and killed the guys who just killed PFC Kallai. Just after he cleared tank PFC Kal saw a guy moving out of turtle and reported this to the squad, T/5 Kouters reacted amazingly quick to this call out and killed the enemy soldier."
On clearing the Northern side of the road, troops from squad two moved up and cleared both the 'Church' and the'cow', T/5 Friesenhan now moved up and managed to flank the enemy from the South east where he singlehandedly took down two enemy troops, he then proceeded to the 'Cow Building' himself rejoining the rest of the platoon. Squads two and three were set up in defence positions, Squad two defending the Church and the U shaped Building while Squad three defended 'Tank'. The enemy was now low on numbers and in a strange turn of events a member of the axis force managed to get in behind our lines, and assaulted the 'Turtle' building which had become abandoned as we had moved up to take further buildings resulting in the loss of both Sergeant Van Middel and PFC Ljung. Fortunately PFC Kal reacted quickly calling out the contact who was quickly dispatched by accurate fire T/5 Kouters' machine gun.
Meanwhile First squad were set on a flanking mission to clear out the final objective, the crossroads building from which the enemy had assaulted us from in the early stages of our attack. With no further contact the Crossroads were cleared and a defence was set up, the remaining contacts were now few and far between resulting in a man hunt. Fire was taken from the Southern fields and so elements of squad one began to patrol the area with support from the tank, which lasted a significant amount of time. As the order was given to return to defensive positions whilst the tank scouted the north, the final enemy soldier presented himself at the door of the around the tank building where his fire resulting in the loss of PFC Kal. Now aware of the enemies location PFC Drummond closed in and ended the mission with a swift shot from his M1 Garand, eliminating the final axis soldier in the village of Englesquville.