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Fought 33 Days Without Relief in Normandy

   HEADQUARTERS 82nd Air­borne Division, Normandy (By Mail, to Journal-Herald) — Sol­diers of one parachute infantry regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, dropped over a wide area on D-Day and were unable to assem­ble as a tactical unit until the fourth day of the invasion.
The regiment, nevertheless, played a brilliant role in carry­ing out the mission of the airborne troops, which was to pre­vent the Germans from interfer­ing with the ground assault force until the beach landings had been accomplished. Pfc. Robert M. Phillips, of Waycross, Route 2, was a member of this division.
   To achieve this, the 82nd captured the town of Ste. Mere Eglise and fought for and held bridges over two rivers, the Merderet at La Fière and at Chef du Pont, and the Dove [sic] at Pont l’Abbe and at Beuzeville la Bastille.

A large pocket of Allied resistance within enemy lines was set up. During the campaign it stretched from Ste. Mere on the east to St. Sauveur le Vicomte on the west, and from Le Ham on the north almost to La Haye de Puits on the south.
This was accomplished in 33 days of action, without relief and without replacements. Every mission was accomplished. No ground gamed was ever relin­quished. For nearly 34 hours, or until noon of the day after D-Day, the paratroops were without contact with friendly forces. And though heavy casualties were sustained throughout the campaign, nothing stopped the troops for long.
The paratroopers of this regi­ment were dropped in several groups and at first these groups fell in with other units of the division rather than their own. It was not until four days af­ter D-Day that the regiment assembled as a tactical unit. Be­fore this, however, they had struck terrific blows.
With other units of the divi­sion they forced the enemy west of the Merderet River at the start. Another element joined in the heavy fighting at Chef du Pont, finally contacting an iso­lated battalion and establishing a bridgehead on the west bank of the Merderet opposite Chef tin Pont. Other elements went south to clear out Carquebut; crossed the river at La Fiere and assaulted Guetteville. The latter action was assisted by arranged by a naval liaison officer with the regiment.

Source: Waycross Journal Herald, Aug 2, 1944


Pfc. Robert M. Phillips

   After being pulled together as a unit the regiment jumped off for the attack at Beuzeville la Bastille. After crossing the Douve, it swept on through, the Cretteville-Baupte area. During this drive many enemy tanks, wore encountered and many were knocked out. Trucks moved the regiment to Pont L’Abbe for the general attack toward St. Sauveur. The regiment followed another of the division, driving the enemy west, north and south.

    Participating in the drive on Pretot, a squad encountered a Mark IV tank 600 yards north of the town and succeeded in knocking it out with a hand-thrown British grenade. The regiment took up .a defensive po­sition at Vindefontaine before joining in the drive toward La:Haye de Puits. Heavy fighting was experienced in the Bois: de Limers, and one element which eventually took “Hil 95” sustained heavy casualties.

   Colonel Roy E. Linquist [sic] of Pittsfield, Me., the Commanding officer, made a " lucky " guess which kept the enemy force on this hill from being greater than it was. He often directed the artillery fire, according to an ar­tillery officer, on the theory of catching the Germans doing what he would have done under similar circumstances. Accordingly he swept an orchard with fire. Lat­er a prisoner told that a German force preparing for an assault on "Hill 95" had been virtually wiped out by this hit. I The hard training, incomparable self-reliance and bravado of all of the men added another chapter to the history of the 82nd Division.

 a. Phillips was in Company I]
   b. WAYX is editorial shorthand for Waycross, Georgia


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