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Sheet 17

Record of 508th Participation In Normandy Operations (page 7 of 12)


Company A was sent to reinforce the Company C roadblock. Throughout the period 17-19 June the two battalions carried out vigorous and aggressive patrol action within the regimental area and along the banks of the DOUVE. On 18 June the 3rd Battalion, in Division reserve astride the highway to VALOGNES northeast of ST SAUVEUR, moved to an area west of ETIENVILLE, under Division control, shortly after midnight on 19 June. The 1st and 2nd Battalions established an outpost line along the RIVER DEUVE [sic], per Division order, to insure against any enemy crossing of the DOUVE from the south. All outposts were established and contact made between 1st and 2nd Battalion outposts by 0300. At 0800 the regiment received Instructions that combat patrolling would cease as of 0830, but the regiment was to keep the entire area along the PRAIRIE and PRAIRIES-DOUVE junction under constant surveillance by the use of numerous OP's. OP's were established by 1130. At 1440 the regiment was relieved of the sector by the 357th Infantry. Battalions assembled in the battalion areas and awaited a movement order.

The 3rd Battalion, under Division control, crossed the DOUVE from a location west of ETIENVILLE in assault boats commencing at 0500. The battalion established a bridgehead on the south bank of the DOUVE and quickly organized a defensive position. At this time the battalion was attached to the 325th Infantry and given the mission of seizing and holding PRETOT. The Battalion moved In a column of companies, passing through VINDE FONTAINE, met an enemy strongpoint 900 yards south of VINDEFONTAINE and bypassed it to the east. The Battalion then moved into an attack assembly area 600 yards north of PRETOT, under persistent sniper and machine gun fire. During the evening a Mark IV tank was knocked out by a soldier from Company I with a hand thrown rifle grenade.

20 June 1944

At 0430 the 3rd Battalion moved to its line of departure astride the stream following from the northeast into PRETOT, and launched an attack from the northeast into PRETOT at 0600. After a fifteen minute preparation by artillery the battalion attacked fast under cover of heavy and accurate supporting fire. The remnants of the Germans defending the town fled south in disorder, and the battalion established a defensive position at PRETOT. The enemy had observation from high ground south and east of PRETOT, and subjected the battalion to heavy artillery and mortar shelling. At 1600 the battalion was ordered by division to move from the town of PRETOT to a position, on high ground just west of the town. The Battalion was relieved by the 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry at 2330.

By the morning of 20 June the 90th Division had passed through the position held by the regiment, less 3rd Battalion, west of ST SAUVEUR, and the regiment less 3rd Battalion was ordered to move by truck from position at ST SAUVEUR to ETIENVILLE and thence across the causeway south of ETIENVILLE by foot to an assembly area at LA QUENAUDER1E, two and one-half kilometers southwest of ETIENVILLE and south of the PRAIRIES MARACAGEUSES. The Regimental CP opened at 1230, two and one-half kilometers southwest of ETIENVILLE. By 1330 the regiment, less 3rd Battalion, had closed in the new area. At 1700 a tentative plan was issued for an attack to seize Hill 131.

21 June

Upon being relieved by the 507th Parachute Infantry, the 3rd

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