Re: US Troops Still In England Awaiting Embarkment To France

Discussion in 'US Units' started by Lainie53, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Lainie53

    Lainie53 Member

    Were the troops still in England that hadn't been sent to the beaches of France yet told about how fierce the fighting had been, and the amount of casualties for the US forces on the beaches? I would think that would have been horrible to hear for the morale of the men that hadn't gotten there yet.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Why do you specify US troops re the amount of casualties - the BrItish - Canadians - Polish had just as many….and NO HQ staff was stupid enough to tell waiting troops that the casualty rate was 99.9%

    you just got on with it - and the casualties…ANY battle has casualties...

  3. Lainie53

    Lainie53 Member

    Gee...what a kind reply. No joke? There were others in the great world war???? I asked because my beloved Dad was in WW2....and he was part of the US troops!!!!!! Hope I haven't ruined your day buddy.
    Slipdigit likes this.
  4. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Since joining this forum I've realised that the attitudes of some/most women and younger people towards the horrors of WW2 are more emotional than those who were actually there, especially, or some/ most other men.
    They have to be. If they'd been as sensitive as me they wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes.
  5. Lainie53

    Lainie53 Member right you are.
  6. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Casualties on D-Day, even on OMAHA beach, were actually less than the predicted worse case, but still successful, landing. However I suspect nothing was said either way about high or low casualties for the operation -- just that the landing was successful.

    While the army tried to prepare men for the horrors of combat no bit of training could match the reality. Entering any sort of combat was stressful and how any individual reacts to stress varies. Some were somewhat excited to be a part of the long expected invasion of western Europe while others dwelt on the fact that this was a "do or die" battle for the Germans with nothing held back.

    There many accounts by veterans of what it was like or what they recall. They vary in quality but all provide insight. The best are generally in books but there are a few online.

    This veteran arrived in Normandy as a replacement just before the breakout.

    While filling out is diary immediately after the war, another veteran wrote:
    dbf and Heimbrent like this.
  7. Lainie53

    Lainie53 Member

    Earthican.....I very much appreciate your info. I'm inquisitive because my Dad was Army, but he wasn't combat. He was a master mechanic with the 875th Heavy Automotive Maintenance Ordnance Unit. He repaired the deuce and 1/2 trucks and tanks. It was a very small unit apparently, and being that he wasn't infantry or a paratrooper, I find almost nil on units like his. His records were supposedly destroyed in the big fire but I have received a copy of his discharge papers, so that's pretty much all I have to go on. I'd really like to know just how many days into the invasion he crossed the channel, but I doubt I'll ever find it out. I was once told by a researcher that his ship that took him to Europe was the Acquatania, but yet I've found no date for that ship sailing on the date of embarkment on his DC I'm not even sure the tiny bit of info I've been given is accurate. Gets very frustrating to say the least.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Lainie53

    I would suggest that whatever you have on your father, you post on this thread. There are other US members on the site and also members who specialise in the D Day landings, almost down to every gallon of fuel landed.
    So if you can post his name, unit number, anything you have it will help other members try and fill in the blanks for you.

  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    It isn't an un-reasonable question, but it does raise some questions about how much people 70 years later aware aware of the casualties suffered on the Normandy Beaches and inland as opposed to a diet of History channel documentaries about Bloody Omaha. ;)

    .The troops that landed on D Day were the leading troops of the advance guard of a vast army of millions which deployed to France during the second half ot 1944. The Allied armies did their best to inform the troops going into battle about the type of fighting they could expect and the lessons learned. They needed to set expectations but not terrify the troops.

    Troops in the immediate follow up formations will have been isolated in transit camps and can only have heard what was broadcast on the radio. Those scheduled to land in July or later would have seen the newsreel footage of the landings. In 1916 the troops taking part in the later battles of the Somme were shown the film "The Battle of the Somme" before their attack.

    The follow on forces would not be assaulting the beaches, but joining the fighting inland. The casualties from Omaha Beach would be irrelevant to the men of , say, the 79th or 90th US infantry divisions. As has been pointed out V Corps casualties from the first two days fighting at Omhan Beach were in the order of 2.,300 - from a Corps strength of C 60,000 of which 34,000 landed on Omaha beach on D Day. Even if all 2,300 casualties were suffered on D Day itself, that would be a 7% casualty rate, not dissimilar to a daylight bomning raid over Germany by the 8th AF. . By comparison, at Serre in France on the 1st July 1916 7,500 attacking infantry from the 341st Infantry Division suffered 4000 casualties. That is a military disaster. Omaha beach was the beach on which the allies suffered the heaviest casualkties, but it was a success , and was achieved at an acceptable cost.

    The nastier reality for the troops landing after D day was that C.80% of the casualties would be suffered by the relatively small number of men in the rifle companies of the infantry battalions. There was no "tour of duty" after which troops would rotate our of theatre. D Day was just the start. and the 2,300 casualties were part fo the 40,000+ taken by the 1st and 29th Divisions during the campaign in NW Europe
  10. Lainie53

    Lainie53 Member

    Tricky Dicky.....thank you so much....I'll get the info from his DC paper posted by the end of the day. Bless you and I'll keep my fingers crossed.
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon


    I am close friends with a man who served with the US 30th ID and he landed across Omaha on the 10th of June. I wrote a book about him n 2012.

    His division was delayed crossing the channel by the ferocity of the fighting back of that beach. They were not told any specifics prior to nor during the crossing but they had figured out that things did not go exactly as intended, as the 30th ID did not go into action as planned. They were to take Carentan, but instead were sent inland, my friend believes, because of the high casualties the 116th/29th had endured.

    If you have additional questions and don't need the editorializing, consider posting your query at the sister-site to this forum, This forum is more British and Commonwealth forces oriented, whereas ww2f has a larger US focus. You will see some of the same names at both.
    Lainie53 likes this.
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Are there any war diaries (or whatever they called in US Army) in the US National Archives for his unit ?
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Always nice to see how the generations interact with veterans. ;)
    Gee buddy, bet you haven't ruined his day, just confused him by posting about US forces on a mainly commonwealth forum.
    Not a problem in itself, just a little bit of head scratching as to why you'd be asking so specific a question about US casualties with no background to give us a clue.
    4jonboy likes this.
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Righto I've edited the thread title to include ''US'' at the a the start.
    Let's leave the bickering & answer the question.
    I've also moved thread to the US Units section of forum.
  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Lainie was on ww2f about this topic back in 2012.
  16. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    You might find that a bigger man than you appear to be able to upset my day - and none of them are from your end of the world

    dbf likes this.
  17. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day lainie53,m, troops and others,still in England awaiting embarkment to france.I was not in the landing.but waiting to go into action can be stressfull.whatever army you are in.but I don't think the authorities would broadcast losses by the hour.,if at all.the news always had to sound good.after all we will win the war,i was with us navy in the pacific.there attitude was up and at them( the japs that was)so relax I am sure your dad did a great job.have a great day regards bernard85
    4jonboy likes this.
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code


    I had a look at the other thread about your relative .

    The 875th was a mobile military repair garage with a specialization in wheeled vehicles - trucks. It carried out the same function in France as in the UK. It fixed trucks. It wasn't part of a Division it was one of the large logistic tail of the army and would have reported to some ordnance battalion or other in some non divisional ordnance chain of command. . It is far easier tot race the stories of units affiliated to a specific division because these became the focus of written history. Over half the units in the US army were not permanently assigned to a specific division. It is harder to find information on these, as the history of the truck repair units was not the main focus of attention.

    In general terms the US Army land forces were deployed into the UK from 1942 on the West and South West of England. (Ap[art from the air forces deployed to fly against Germany) This made logistic sense as the port of entry Liverpool was on the West side of the Country and . the British Army had a responsibility to defend against whatever residual threat there might be of a German invasion or raid, most likely onto SE England. This also meant that the cross channel invasion would take place with the US would deploy on the Western side of the beachhead and the British on the East. to minimize the need for trucks , trains or ships to cross each other's path ,

    The Deployment in Halsted Essex is interesting. as it is one the "wrong side" for the US build up. . Maybe this was because as a truck repair company it could be used to support the operations of the 8th AF. or as part of the deception plan called Operation Fortitude. This was a deliberate deployment of some actual US troops and lots of decoys in the SE of England to pretend that the US Army in the UK was much bigger than it was and that the Normandy invasion was just a feint. Gillingham in Dorset ;looks like one of the assembly areas for the cross channel operation.

    My guess he was told very little about the progress of fighting in |Normandy. As a Master Sgt Master mechanic in a.Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company (Auto) his focus would have been on making sure the mechanics under his command repaired trucks..This was a key task for the highly mechanised US Army, whose trucks were every bit as important as tanks. He was one of the men in the rear with the gear. The war would have to be going very badly wrong for them to be anywhere near the front line. However, when deployed to Normandy he would have faced the risks of enemy bombing and of un cleared mines. The Luftwaffe was active at night. However, it should be noted that the UK was the target of bombing raids throughout the war and V1 cruise missiles were landing on London from 14th June 1944 onwards. The journey the 875th might have taken from Halsted to Gillingham Dorset would probably have taken them through heavily bombed parts of London.

    If you have ever been to England? Both Halsted and Gillingham are nice country towns and have active local history societies

    Halsted in Essex
    Gillingham in Dorset has a museum as well .

    Either place might be very interested in making contact with the descendant of a US Serviceman who served there in the war. Lots of US servicemen made friends with local people and someone might even remember him. You never know you might find a relative there......

    (Sledrake doing his bit for Visit England)
    CL1, 4jonboy and Owen like this.
  19. Lainie53

    Lainie53 Member

    Sheldrake....Thank you for your above post. It has provided some insight for me and I very much appreciate that. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to visit your fine homeland. I'm really not one of those people that get a kick out of traveling....I enjoy being a home body....but I have made a promise to myself that if I ever won the lottery, I'd go see England and do the Normandy tour. Thanks again for your time and kindness.
  20. Lainie53

    Lainie53 Member

    Tom Canning.....You may very well be a big man....but your a very far cry from being a nice man. Enjoy your day and you can bet your life that I'll be doing the same over here in the BEST end of the world.

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