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Up Alexander (2) Alexander (3) Alexander (4) Alexander (5) Alexander (6) Alexander (7) POWs In Holzheim Darrell Apple R.E. Archambault David Axelrod


I had located one of our 57mm antitank guns abandoned in a defilade position about 75 yards above the bridge and on the left side of the road. There were two holes through the shield apparently from an earlier duel with the Renault tanks, and there was no gun sight. There were six rounds of armor-piercing ammunition. I put Elmo Bell and two other men on the gun. I told them that if there was another tank attack, to bore sight the gun and when they were out of ammunition, to abandon it. I headed back to the railroad junction with the dirt road just as General Gavin came in from Chef du Pont. Seeing that we were doing OK at La Fiere, he instructed me to take command of the position. I asked him if he wanted me on this side of the river, both sides, or the other side. Be instructed me to stay where we were on the east or near side, and to hold fast not allowing passage to the Germans. At that time he was more concerned about the situation at Chef du Pont.

While discussing the situation with General Gavin, Lieutenant Colonel Maloney with about 75 men from the 507th came in from the direction of Chef du Pont. General Gavin attached them to me and I instructed them to take up a position on the left side of the road facing the bridge above the manor. General Gavin, and Colonel Lindquist with about 50 or 60 men who had been held in reserve back from the road by General Gavin, headed for Chef du Pont. Later in the afternoon, General Gavin came back and took Lieutenant Colonel Maloney and most of his men on the double to strengthen the weak position being held at the Merderet crossing near Chef du Pont.

We organized the defensive position of miscellaneous men on the left side of the road-- some Company C men forward in the manor, and about 40 men from the 507th under Captain Rae on the high ground above the manor. About that time I and another soldier dug two 507th men out of a hedgerow where they had been hit and half buried by a 88mm round from the other side of the river. The men were still alive. I had previously agreed with Captain Dolan that he was right to move his men back where they were not under direct observation from Couquigon on the far side of the river. The mortar fire was bad all over our position with sporadic machine gun fire as well.

We were heavily shelled with mortar, machine gun fire, and an occasional 88mm for the rest of the day. At one time in checking out our position and looking for wounded along the river bank with medic Kelly Byers, we were caught in an exposed position, and we had to lay in a foxhole previously dug in the shale by a company man for about 25 minutes while the Germans saturated the area with mortar fire. We had located a Company A man with a dollar-size chunk of his skull blown off by a piece of shrapnel and still alive. We gave him a shot of morphine but judged it would be better to come back for him after dark with a stretcher. That medic, Kelly, was a real good man. On June 7th we were constantly under fire. I could occasionally see German infantry moving about in the village of Cauquigny, but they made only a couple of half-hearted attempts to reach the bridge. We had no long-range firepower other than a few rounds of mortar, which had to be held in reserve for any serious effort the Germans might make to cross the bridge. Later in the day (D+1), the 2nd Battalion of the 325th, which had landed by glider that day, moved into a reserve position to our rear. They were later attached to the 505th. June 8 (D+2), we, the 1st Battalion, initially remained in position and were, later in the afternoon, relieved by elements of the 507th. Later that day we were moved to take the position of the 3rd Battalion, 505th at Granville, the 3rd Battalion being put in reserve.

Incidentally, to indicate what the 1st Battalion had been confronted with at La Fiere and the river crossing, General Ridgeway wrote to me in May 1972 and said that the taking of Cauquigny by the 325th on June 9, 1944 was, and I quote, “the hottest single incident I experienced in all my combat service both in Europe and later in Korea.” On the 8th of June, I had remained in command of the 1st Battalion. We were given orders to attack to the north-northwest on line with the 8th Regiment on our right and the 325th Glider Regiment on our left. The 325th was soon left behind, The 2nd Battalion trailing the 1st Battalion of the 505th. We progressed with little resistance to beyond Granville on June 8. On the 9th of June we took Monteberg Station. The 8th Regiment on our right was slow and about one-fourth mile behind. The 1st Battalion was wide open on our left and right flanks with the 2nd Battalion following in column.

In the attack on the 9th to take Monteberg Station, the Regimental Commander, LTC Bill Ekman, had requested that I give the attack order. My order was for the 1st Battalion to lead, followed closely by the 2nd Battalion. After the 1st Battalion had taken Monteberg Station, the 2nd Battalion was to take the lead by turning to the left by 45 degrees and take La Ham. The first part of the attack worked fine and the 1st Battalion with a beautiful smoke screen got into and cleared Monteberg Station with minimum losses. The 2nd Battalion was one-half hour late in following, giving the Germans time to get set on the other side of the village and they stopped the
2nd Battalion cold just beyond the village.


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