1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

D - Day June 6, 1944

 

The Cherbourg peninsula - red area indicates the beach landings.

 

Utah Beach - The Landing

At approximately 0745 (H plus 75 minutes) the 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry (initially attached to the 8th Infantry), touched down on Utah Beach and moved north along the coast to reduce beach strong points. The 3d Battalion of the 8th Infantry landed in the same waves and moved inland across Exit 2. Four battalions of infantry had thus landed by 0800. Two more came in at about 1000-the 1st Battalion, 22d Infantry, on the northern beach and the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry, on the southern. According to plan these two battalions were to march inland through Exit 4. Since the eastern end of this exit was still covered by enemy fire and the causeways to the south were already congested, some of the 22d Infantry's units were compelled to wade two miles through the inundations. Elements of the 12th Infantry, which landed shortly after noon, also waded through the flooded area. The water was generally only waist-deep, but the area was full of ditches and holes, and men frequently dropped into water over their heads. Since the 22d Infantry's objective lay to the northwest in the direction of St. Germain-de-Varreville, it had to cross the Exit 3 road and wade through the swamps. In doing so it found itself crossing rear elements of the 8th Infantry moving west on the road.

 

The other two regiments of the 4th Division did not reach their D-Day objectives. After wading through the inundated area, the 12th Infantry came up on the left of the 502d Parachute Infantry south of Beuzeville- au-Plain, and remained there for the night. The 1st and 2d Battalions, 22d Infantry, which also had to wade inland through the swamps and spend about seven hours in the marsh, reached dry land in the vicinity of St. Martin-de-Varreville and moved on to St. Germain-de-Varreville, where they bivouacked for the night. The 3d Battalion, 22d Infantry, as already noted, was assigned the task of reducing enemy beach strong points. The battalion moved north past les Dunes de Varreville and the Exit 4 road and reached the southern edge of Hamel de Cruttes by nightfall.

The Landing in Retrospect

The relative ease with which the assault on Utah Beach was accomplished was surprising even to the attackers, and gave the lie to the touted impregnability of the Atlantic Wall. The 4th Division's losses for D Day were astonishingly low. The 8th and 22d Infantry Regiments, which landed before noon, suffered a total of 118 casualties on D Day, 12 of them fatalities. The division as a whole suffered only 197 casualties during the day, and these included 60 men missing through the loss (at sea) of part of Battery B, 29th Field Artillery Battalion. Not less noteworthy than the small losses was the speed of the landings. With the exception of one field artillery battalion (the 20th) the entire 4th Division had landed in the first fifteen hours. In addition there came ashore one battalion of the 359th Infantry, the 65th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion, the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion (less two companies), the 70th and 746th Tank Battalions, components of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade which had begun organizing the beach for the build-up, seaborne elements of the airborne divisions, and many smaller units. A total of over 20,000 troops and 1,700 vehicles reached Utah Beach by the end of 6 June.

 

Utah Beach, June 6, 1944
This aerial view shows landing craft at the water's edge and soldiers of the 4th Division on the beach.

 

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The above is taken from:

UTAH BEACH TO CHERBOURG

by

Department of the Army Historical Division

Available online at

US Army Center of Military History

 


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