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Le 137e Régiment d' Infanterie US fait partie de la 35e Division d' Infanterie US, qui libère notre département en Août 1944
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15 AUGUST 1944
The 137th Infantry proceeded on its mission -- to capture the city of Orleans, 65 miles south of Paris on the north bank of the Loire River. Again organized as Task Force S under the command of Brigadier General Sebree, the regiment was operating with CCA of the 4th Armored Division as part of the XII Corps.
Little was known of German strength east of le Mans, and the regiment was to be responsible for its own protection at all points east of St. Calis. The I & R platoon preceded the convoy, which moved out shortly before noon.
The route to Orleans took the regiment to the town of Change, then northwest to Highway N 157. Traveling east on this main road to Orleans, the convoy proceeded cautiously, stopping at many points as the country ahead was screened for hostile resistance. Through Ardenay and Boulore there was no evidence of Germans remaining. However, farther east, near Buslouys and Preteval, the enemy had just left that morning, after blowing up ammunition and destroying supplies. Scattered Germans were rounded up, and 12 prisoners were taken at one point by the I & R Platoon. Also 12 unexploded flying bombs were located.
On the road from le Mans was much evidence of the losses of equipment suffered by the enemy, as burned and overturned German tanks, guns, trucks, trailers and various materiel were strewn along the countryside. In several places, complete enemy motor pools had been destroyed.
Proceeding eastward, the column passed through Binas, Ouzouer, and Charlsonville. At Charlsonville, cooperative French civilians directed our troops to a large German buried communications cable crossing under the city. A crew from the Regimental Communications Section destroyed the cable.
After encountering a heavy rainstorm, the regiment reached Coulmiers shortly after dark, and remained in that vicinity during the night.
During the night, great fires were observed to the northeast, where Allied airmen had been playing havoc among enemy installations and transportation, and as the Germans continued to destroy their own ammunition and supplies which could not be taken with them in their rapid withdrawal.
Casualties reported on August 14th and 15th were 6 wounded and 3 missing on the 14th, and 2 missing on the 15th.
16 AUGUST 1944
Patrols sent out during the night and early morning worked their way to within a few kilometers of the objective. The enemy continued to occupy Orleans, and were also in strength at Chateaudun, to the northwest.
In the morning the regiment began its move on Orleans, with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions advancing on the city from the north, and the 1st Battalion pushing south to the river, west of Orleans.
Some resistance was encountered in the woods between Coulmieres and Ormes, and the 3rd Battalion suffered 2 casualties at this point.
At Ormes a large German warehouse was taken, with a complete stock of new kitchen and dining room supplies and equipment, including high grade china and silverware, vast quantities of pots, pans, brushes and other utensils, brooms, and considerable heavy equipment such as electric meat slicers, mixers, etc. A large quantity of motor fuel was also taken at Ormes.
The 1st Battalion captured a large enemy machine shop, with airplane motors and other ordnance, in their sector.
Pushing into Orleans, the 2nd Battalion reached the railroad crossing on the Ormes highway at the outskirts of the city at 1300. Two hours later, the 3rd Battalion was in the northwest part of the city, and at 1645 the city hall was captured.
Despite machine gun fire and heavy artillery fire from German positions across the Loire River, and a constant sniper menace within the city, Orleans was captured with very few casualties in the regiment. Only 2 officers and 1 enlisted man were wounded. There were 42 enemy prisoners captured.
17 AUGUST 1944
During the night, occupation of the city was completed, and by morning all hostile resistance had withdrawn across the river. The Germans had left dynamite, bombs, and other explosives in the post office, telephone building and other locations, but their only successful work of demolition was in blowing up the bridge over which the city water main passed. Thus the city was without water for two days, until an auxiliary plant could be put into operation.
With headquarters set up in the former German headquarters in the heart of Orleans, Task Force S set about to care for a city of 73,000 with no water or electricity. The Regimental Civil Affairs Officer, who had moved into Orleans the previous day long before the city was captured, efficiently brought about the cooperation of city and military officials and French civilians to restore the city to normalcy.
The Free French forces organized themselves so rapidly in the city after the Germans had withdrawn, and were of great assistance.
Throughout the next few days there were enthusiastic rallies, parades and other demonstrations by the liberated French, as they crowded the streets, parks and squares. German collaborationists were sought out and roughly treated. Orleans women who had been too friendly with the Nazis were gathered up, their hair clipped short, and paraded through the streets.
Mined streets were encountered near the river, and the city received artillery fire most of the day. Casualties on the 17th were 17 wounded, 7 killed and 2 missing.
18 AUGUST 1944
The Germans continued to shell the city from their artillery positions across the Loire. Their fire was extremely accurate, with hits on the Task Force Headquarters, the Regimental motor park, and the kitchen train, since the occupation of the city. A church tower in St. Jean le Blanc was undoubtedly being used as an observation point, and a tank destroyer from the 654th Battalion removed the tower clearly with three shots.
There were 14 prisoners taken on the 17th, and 42 on the 18th. On the latter date, 4 men were killed and 25 wounded.
19 AUGUST 1944
Reports of large numbers of Germans marching from the south failed to materialize, and the 137th Infantry conducted only patrolling activities within the city, as it moved its headquarters to the outskirts. Only 1 man was wounded on the 19th and 2 men were reported missing. Nine prisoners were captured.
Colonel Sears, Regimental Commander, was decorated on the 19th by the Commanding General, XII Corps, receiving the Silver Star for his outstanding performance in the capture of Orleans.
20 AUGUST 1944
The regiment moved to the vicinity of Artenay and prepared to move east upon order. The 3rd Battalion was left in Orleans.
On this day General Baade presented the Bronze Star to 6 members of the 137th Infantry at a ceremony at the regimental command post at Assas. Those honored were Lieutenant Colonels Albert M. Butler, George T. O’Connell, and John H. Stowers, Major Alfred K. Clark, Captain Jack L. Smith and 2nd Lieutenant Anders N. Kullander. All awards were for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding service in the campaign south of St. Lo from 31 July to August 4.
No casualties of any kind were reported on the 20th and 13 Germans were taken prisoner.
In making its thrust of nearly 200 miles to capture Orleans, the 137th Infantry lost a total of 11 killed, 52 wounded, and 9 missing in action.
During the week of 14th to 20th of August 110 prisoners were taken by the 137th Infantry.
Private Dagenhart, a bazooka man of Company B, became the first man in the battle for France to be twice decorated in the 137th Infantry Regiment when he received the Silver Star and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star.
In addition to the other awards given out previously in the regiment, the following awards were announced for this regiment during the period 14th to 20th August:
On the 15th: Silver Star Posthumous awards to -- S/Sgt Julian and Pfc Trepanier of Co B, and T/Sgt Parks of Co. G. Silver Stars were awarded to Pfc Nichols of Co. A, T/Sgt Schultz, Co. C, T/5 Hild, Med Det., Pfc Rullo, Med Det., Pfc Sumner and Pfc Berry of Co. E., Lt. Giacobello, Co. F., and Pfc Zalnerovich of Co. H. Bronze Stars were awarded to T/Sgt Pucket, Cpl Mahurin, and S/Sgt Lighter all of Co. D., Lt. Schock and S/Sgt Frost of Co. E., Sgt Rosencutter of Co. F, Pfc Coker, Pfc Cooter of Company G.
On the 19th: Silver Stars to: Pfc Lamberth and S/Sgt Jack Frost of Company B., and Pfc Swenson of Company E. Bronze Stars were given to: Sgt Auman and S/Sgt Hill of Company E, and to Sgt English of Company A.
On the 20th: Silver Stars to: Pfc Crabtree and Sgt Ulmer of Co. M., and Pfc Hall of Company I. Bronze Stars to: Sgt Weddle, Co. C., Pfc Sawyer and T/5 Strope of the Medical Detachment., T/Sgt Griffith of Co. A, Pfc Keller, Pfc Gambill, and S/Sgt Shawgo all of Company I.
In just more than one month’s time of combat service the 137th Infantry had a total of 55 men who had been decorated for heroic action and gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States.
Task Force S was dissolved at the close of the Orleans operation, and all elements again reverted to their original status.
21 AUGUST 1944
The 137th Infantry left the 35th Division for its next operation, and became attached to the 4th Armored Division. With elements of the 4th, the regiment was divided into three parts. The 1st Battalion combined with one battalion of the Armored Division to form CCA. The 2nd Battalion with another armored battalion formed CCB. One battery of the 448th Antiaircraft Battalion was attached for the operation. The 3rd Battalion was attached to CCR.
The plan for the coming operation called for a daring and spectacular move. Sixty miles southeast of Paris was the city of Sens. Located on the navigable Yonne River just below the junction with the Seine, this rail and highway center was reported to be a central supply point of the Germans for their strong points to the northwest as far as Paris, and southwest to Montargis. The mission of CCA and CCB was to capture Sens and cut this supply route. CCR was to remain in Orleans.
Moving in a column of tanks, tank destroyers, self-propelled artillery and trucks, the forces would travel approximately ninety miles, with no flank protection, a large part of the way.
It was believed that the Germans were in considerable strength on the Loing River at Montargis, and further north at Fontainebleau. It was decided to move between these reported strong points and cross the Loing River at Souppes, then push east into Sens.
The success of such an operation would depend largely on the surprise element, the enemy being unaware of the proximity of the American forces due to his own shattered transportation and communication lines.
At 0900, CCA left Artenay, followed by CCB at 1300. Swinging back through Patay and Ormes to Orleans, the column then turned northeast. Main highways were avoided as much as possible as far as Nibelle. The force moved through Boigny, Trainou, Sully la Chapelle and Ingrannes, then east through the Chene Pointu Forest to Nibelle.
Taking to the main highways, the column moved into Boiscommun, east to St. Loup les Vignes, then to Juranville and Corbeilles. This was the first sight of Allied troops in these towns, and in most of them the Germans had left the day previously.
From Corbeilles, CCA proceeded northeast toward Sens, through Chateau Landon and Souppe, then east through Egreville, Jouy, Montacher, St. Valerien, and Villeroy.
Moving into Sens, our forces caught the Germans in complete surprise. Not a single casualty was suffered by the 137th Infantry, and almost the entire German garrison was taken prisoner. Many German officers were captured in dress uniform, and they admitted they had not realized the Americans were within miles of the city.
By 2200 Sens was completely liberated and in the hands of the Allied forces. In occupying the city, the 137th Infantry had now advanced farther east into France than any other Allied troops yet reported.
In the meantime, CCB had reached Corbeilles at 2030, and remained east of that town for the night.
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