D+ 1-3: Days 2-4

The subsequent days after the initial invasion brought in a number of new units to reinforce the soldiers who had arrived earlier. The only Norwich alumnus to arrive on June 7th was Jerome Eastman, NU ’32, of the 747th Tank Battalion. He arrived in France through Omaha beach and was attached to the 175th Infantry of the 29th Division.[1] They landed at 1230, later than expected, and seem to be the first real reinforcements that the forces at Omaha received.[2] The 175th went into action near the town of Gruchy, and it is assumed that the 747th was with them there as well.[3] During the invasion, Eastman was wounded and awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Normandy.[4] It is assumed that he was pulled from the front line, and would return later.

Other units were also in action on the 7th of June. Private Austin with the 501st may have been located with the rest of his unit near Douve, where they were running short of ammunition, although they were able to hold off a battalion of German paratroopers from advancing on St. Marie-du-mont.[5] Lieutenant Eugenio Bonafin (‘43) with the 87th Chemical Mortars was still linked with the 8th Infantry for one more day, before being reassigned to the 12th Infantry on the 8th of June. They advanced on Ste. Mere Eglise on the 7th, and moved towards Montebourg on the 8th.[6] McNamara and Raymond with the 1st Division would have spend much of the 7th fighting around Colleville[7], with the assumption that they were able to find their unit, as it appears that they had been in a different area the day before. In the day after D-Day, the units would have been working more closely together, as they would have had the time and space to regroup.

Major Jim Ballard, NU ’39, and Lieutenant George Briggs, NU ‘32, with the 116th Infantry Regiment, were sent to Pointe Du Hoe, where the US Army Rangers had landed the day before. They made quick progress out to them, and were able to free the Rangers, who had been under heavy fire throughout the night.[8]

On June 8th, the 357th Infantry Regiment, landed at Utah Beach. It is possible that Private Henry Ball, NU ’36, landed with them on this day. The regiment arrived on short around noon, and by the next day, went into action, helping to expand the beachfront. [9]

No Norwich alumni seem to have landed in Normandy on the 9th of June, but on the 10th, Major Henry Osthues, NU ’40, of the 413th AAA Gun Battalion arrived as part of the 9th Infantry Division through Utah Beach. They seem to have had a couple of days to organize, and by the 14th of June, the 9th Division was placed in charge of the attack on Cherbourg.[10] The exact nature of Major Osthues’s role in the battle is not known.

[1] Ibid, 352

[2] Ibid, 337

[3] Ibid, 345

[4] 1947 War Whoop (Need Page)

[5] Harrison, 347

[6] Elliot, 17

[7] Ambrose, Stephen, Citizen Soldiers, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 38

[8] Harrison, 341

[9] Roeder, George Von, Regimental History of the 357th Regiment. http://www.90thdivisionassoc.org/90thDivisionFolders/357thbook/357thhistory.htm

[10] Harrison, 403