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30th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mech) Timeline

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Slipdigit, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    29 July 1944

    From the AAR:

    "The 117th Infantry began to advance and the 1st Platoon moved ahead of them to 487530. The 2nd Platoon had the same mission of holding road block in St Samson de Bon Fosse [sic]. The 3rd platoon was given the mission of maintaining contact with the 2nd Armored and 66th Infantry."

    Grid 487530 was about a mile south of St Romphaire, shown in the map from yesterday.

    The 30th ID was pushing South and bit to the east while the 2nd Armored Division (AD) was moving somewhat to the southwest. The 3rd Platoon appears to have had a broad line to cover to contact the 66th Armored Infantry Regiment (AIR). The distance between the divisional HQs was around 10 road miles.
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    30 July 1944

    From the AAR:

    "1st Platoon was relieved from mission and given new mission of sending contact parties to 116th Infantry [29th ID]. The 2nd Platoon was relieved from its road block mission and went into bivouac. The 3rd Platoon was given mission of maintain liaison with 116th Infantry."

    The 29th ID had relieved the 2nd ID on the left of the 30th ID and 2nd AD was in reserve, along with the 1st ID. The 30th ID was oriented almost north/south with the northern 2/3 of the line along the Vire River straddling Tessy-sur-Vire. To the left (north) of the 30th ID, the 35th ID held the line under V Corps. The 29th ID and 30th ID, with the 28th ID were XIX Corps. The 28th ID was in reserve. The main push of the US attack is oriented further west toward Avranches.

    I found Purple Hearts awarded to Corporal Dominic S. Vincenzo and T/5 Robert E. Gorman on this date. I do not think the date is accurate.
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    31 July, 1944

    From the AAR:

    "Platoons continued with same missions."
     
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    1 Aug 1944

    From the AAR:

    "3rd Platoon on mission of maintaining liaison with 116th Inf. 1st and 2nd Platoon attached to 117th Infantry but at present in bivouac at 493494."

    From the Journal

    The troop's Journal shows a large number of entries for this day. They were quite busy and moved around a great deal. 30 Recon was a good 5 miles south of St Lo, just north of Tessy-sur-Vire, oriented on a line north to south and facing eastward.. The Journal also mentions a company from the 1/116 flanking Moyon from the west. I mention this because Moyon was in the rear of the 30 Recon, on the seam between the 29th & 30th ID. Apparently it was still held by the Germans.
     
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    2 Aug 1944

    From the AAR:

    "Troop assembled and moved to TF 4947."

    I have not been able to determine was TF 4947 was and what its mission was.

    From the Unit Journal

    "0945 SITREP 87 No change except 1st Platoon at 493494 and 2nd Platoon at 494496."

    This was the only journal entry for the day and the troop was essentially in the same positions it occupied the day before.
     
  6. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    I suspect "TF 4947" is a four digit grid coordinate signifying the general area northeast of VT 490470.

    The section VT of the French Lambert Zone 1 roughly corresponds to the British GSGS section 6F. The "TF" prefix may have been a confused combining of the two systems.


    It may be worth remarking that both the Unit Journal and AAR are subject to errors. The Unit Journal is made in the rush of battle while the AAR is generated later when memory may not reconcile with the record. The error here may not be just a prefix to a grid coordinate but the recollection that they moved at all.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I did not put all of particulars from the journal. They got a alert to move, then a order to hold in place. I think the higher ups were trying to decide what to do?

    Thanks for the info on the task force designation.

    I have found that EchoDelta is not completely reliable. The coordinates for Sep2 near Tournai are coming back as being well inside the British zone. Fortunately I have 1942 maps and can get the correct lat and long for those days and places.
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    You could go on to say that every source (both official and unofficial) are subject to error and often in direct conflict with other sources. It seems that the higher you go up from company-battalion-regiment-division, the further from the truth you get. Most of this is just "the fog of war" but I'll point out one consistent error that is clearly a whitewash; all through the ETA American forces got hit by US and British fighter-bombers on a regular basis. You see this clearly in company and battalion level reports and anecdotes, but when you get any higher the planes are suddenly German.
     
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  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    3 Aug 1944,

    From the AAR;

    "1st and 2nd platoons given the mission of reconnoitering area south from 495475 and west of river Drome. Mission completed. No enemy observed but road between 534470 and 532430 was mined."

    The area they are referring to was 2-3 thousand yards west of Tessy-sur-Vire.
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    4 August 1944

    From the AAR:

    "Troop in bivouac at TF 4947."

    The only entry in the Journal was: "2200 - 19 - 8-04 - Messenger took SITREP 94 to Division."
     
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    5 Aug 1944

    From the AAR:

    "No change, troop still in bivouac."
     
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    6 Aug 1944

    From the AAR:

    "Troop is division convoy moved to 4911"

    From the Journal:

    "1100 - Troop moved from 493477 to 493147"
    "1930 - 2nd Platoon attached to 120th Inf."

    The 120th IR (less K Co.) was to proceed to Barenten, SE of Mortain. 2nd Platoon/30 Recon was to scout ahead.

    The 30th Recon were last involved to the NW of this map. The bivouac location, 493147, that is mentioned in the Journal is about 5 miles WNW of Mortain.
    Mortain is at the bottom right with Barenton in the corner at the bottom right.
    The map is too small, but Mortain has a red underline and Barenton is denoted by a red star.

    View attachment 21156
     

    Attached Files:

  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Eagerly anticipating the next few days entries...
     
  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The next month or so was bad for the troop.

    They made it into Belgium in September down by over 30 soldiers.
     
  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    [SIZE=10pt]7 Aug 1944[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]From the AAR:[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]“2nd Platoon attached to 120th Infantry. Contact was made with the enemy with platoon inflicting unestimated [sic] casualties and damage to the enemy. During this activity the platoon had 1 enlisted man killed, 3 enlisted men captured, and 3 enlisted men wounded. 1 M-8 vehicle and one ¼ ton was lost. 1st and 3rd platoons given mission to establish roadblock and prepare to fight delaying action at 568090. Contacted enemy at 515060, composed of 6 Mark-4 tanks supported by infantry with machine guns. Tank attack was beaten off with our losses at 4 enlisted men killed, 1 officer killed, and 4 enlisted men wounded. 1 M-8 was destroyed by enemy tanks. Patrols were sent into enemy territory at 568088 and observed enemy withdrawing to the south.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]Journal:[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]“1630 – Troop received orders to establish road block and prepare to fight delaying action at 568090. Contacted enemy at 515067. Moved to 548083. Lost M-8 and withdrew to 533076. 2nd Platoon lost M-8 and ¼ Ton at 558056.[/SIZE]

    View attachment 21162

    I am not certain of the location where the 2 Platoon engaged the infantry and tanks, but I think it was on the road to Barenton. Keith, if you can provide any further information, I would appreciate it.

    Casualties (all 2 Platoon 30CRT)
    [SIZE=medium]Killed in action:[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]PVt Alec Blackwood buried in Pine Hill Cemtery, Alamance Co. NC[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]T4 Edward Dombkowski buried in Brittany American Cemetery[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]T4 John J. Kull buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]T5 Charles Obenour buried in Union Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Carnegie, PA[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]Pvt. Harland Smith buried in Riverview Memorial Gardens, Fayetteville, TN[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]2nd Lt Miles Walker buried in Riverside Cemetery, Hopkinsville, KY[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]This was the most 30 CRT men killed in one day's action.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]POWs[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]PFC Herbert Stark (Stalag IV-B - Died 1984, New Hampshire)[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]PFC Orval Wilson (Stalag Vii - B Died 1978, San Diego, California)[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=medium]I do not know who the third man captured was.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]I [/SIZE][SIZE=medium]have not determined who was wounded.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]I have been in contact with the families of PFC Stark and Wilson. Both men survived their captivity.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]Here is a period map showing the general situation at 1200 7 Aug 1944. [/SIZE]

    View attachment 21163

    [SIZE=medium]The original map is much larger[/SIZE] than what is shown. Not visible off the south edge of this map are two more US divisions. The US 2nd Armored had been in reserve to the NW of Mortain, but had been moved during the night to the right flank of the 30th ID. On Hill 314, 1/120 (+K/3/120) were fighting for their lives. An excellent account of the siege on Hill 314 is Fire Mission, by Robert Weiss.

    [SIZE=medium]Marion Sanford was a witness when Lt Miles received his orders join the 120 IR and proceed to Barenton. Mr. Sanford remembers him saying, "I'm going but I'm not coming back." Prophetic. If you read the book, this was also where Mr. Sanford started to look inside the knocked out M-8 armored car, but was prevented by his first sergeant. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=medium]Mr. Sanford described their roadblock as consisting of several large-diameter telephone poles about two feet high buried upright across the road. There were woods on either side of the road and they were deployed in an all around defense, but expecting action from the east and southeast. They could hear sounds of warfare to the east and northeast, which apparently the 120IR and other units fighting in Mortain and around Hill 314. They never saw any enemy.[/SIZE]

    Here are some personal accounts I found one the IndianaMilitary.com site:

    [SIZE=10pt]Martin Smith (James I. Mitchell, Jr.)*[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]- Discussed Battle of Mortain details: He said that 30 CRT probed the enemy along with some Free French forces. He remembers an instance where he was sent up to a farm house to ask a local farmer when he last saw the Germany infantry units. The man at the house turned around and pointed out to the orchard in his back yard and said "right over there, and there was an entire German infantry company sitting in the orchard behind the house."[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]Joseph Paradis[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]- Paradis was able to add some information on the Battle of Mortain and 30 CRT: He said that the "2PL [of 30 CRT] was cut off" and that 30 CRT’s involvement was "short and intense." He remembers that the 1PL was on the right flank with [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]the 35th SS Panzer Division, and that the SS tanks tried to break through with their [/SIZE][SIZE=10pt]Tiger tanks and 88 millimeter tanks guns and artillery pieces.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]*He changed his name after the war to honor his stepfather.[/SIZE]
     

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  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The 120th Regimental history only speaks of the fight on the north and south edges of Barenton as they took the town on the morning of 7 August. Elements were sent to the north and south road entrances to Barenton and attacked from there. If I had to guess (and it's only a guess) I would think that the south roadblock would be the more likely scene of such an action, with some panzers and infantry trying to relieve the German troops in Barenton.

    Other casualties were sustained on the road to Barenton the night before (6 August) by an attack of "FW 190's" armed with rockets. These were most likely American or British fighter-bombers since there was a pattern of this all through this fight in and around Mortain. German and American forces were mixed together in pockets all the way from Barenton to north of Saint Barthelemy.
    A task force like this one, moving beyond the known lines, would be in a shoot-on-sight area for the allied Jabo's, and in a no-shoot area for German Jabo's. The air attack happened after 2200 on 6 August so in low light it's easy enough for either the flyers or the ground troops to mistake identity.

    One anecdote above speaks of the 35th SS division and Tiger tanks. There were no Tigers that I'm aware of, but MK IV's and V's all became Tigers to infantry troops. And the 35th SS hadn't even been formed yet. The 35th Wehrmacht Division was on the eastern front. I think his memory was playing tricks there. The 35th US infantry division was tied in on the flank, and the German forces contained 1st and 2nd Waffen SS, and the 17th Waffen SS along with several Wehrmacht divisions.
     
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  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    8 Aug 1944

    AAR:

    "Roadblock being maintained by 1st and 3rd Platoons at 548082. 2nd Platoon joined troop at that location at 1230. 4-man patrol sent to reconnoiter enemy line and reported only small number of enemy in vicinity.

    The Journal said the same thing as the AAR, using different phrases.

    Mr. Sanford recalls receiving radio messages advising them that they were surrounded, although he now has doubt as they never saw a German soldier at the roadblock. He also recalls seeing the C-47s as they attempted to drop supplies to the troops on Hill 314. They continued to hear artillery to the east, no doubt some of it was missions being directed by Robert Weiss.
     
  18. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It was about this time (8 August) with Old Hickory holding the bulk of German armor in France by the throat and 3rd Army closing in on LeMans, that General Bradley said "This is an opportunity that comes to a commander not more than once in a century. We're about to destroy an entire hostile army and go all the way from here to the German border." He ordered Patton to pivot towards Falaise and close the bag behind the German 7th Army. Montgomery approved the request and began his own operations to break out of Caen.

    Field Marshall Gunther von Kluge had been in command of all forces in Western Europe. On August 17th as the Falaise Pocket battle raged on, it became apparent that the great gamble at Mortain had turned the German position in France into a debacle. Field Marshall von Kluge was abruptly replaced by Model and recalled to Berlin. Shocked, Kluge pointed to a map and told his staff; "Here at Avranches all my reputation went. It's all up with me."

    Kluge packed up his staff car and began the long drive back to Germany. He stopped for a light lunch under a shade tree in northern France and then cracked a cyanide capsule in his teeth and was dead in sixty seconds.
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    9 August 1944

    AAR:

    "Troop received orders to mop up small enemy position and snipers in vicinity of 546115. Area check, no enemy found."

    Journal:

    "1330 - Troop received orders for mop-up operation."
    "1600 - Troop Hq. moved to 545114. Platoons went out to clear out snipers from vicinity 560124."

    These location are all west and WNW of Mortain. Previously the troop was WSW of Mortain at and around the two roadblocks. I have concerns that the entry is not fully correct. Mr. Sanford stated that he remained at the roadblock for several day, so I am left to wonder if all the "platoons" (plural) actually drove to the location of the snipers, or if only or two did so. By now the 35th ID was firmly securing the 30th ID's previously open right flank, with the 2nd Armored moving to the SE.

    The map below shows the situation at 1200 9 Aug 1944 with the unit symbols approximately where the unit HQ was located. There are at least five or six divisions off of the southern edge of the map.

    View attachment 21176
     

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  20. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    10 Aug 1944

    AAR:

    "Troop given mission to maintain contact between A Co 120th Inf and 1st Bn 12th Infantry."

    Journal:

    "Troop moved up with ACO [sic] 120th Inf to maintain contact between A Co and 1st Bn 12th Inf.

    The 12th Infantry Regiment was part of the 4th Infantry Division. By now, the 30th ID was engaging the 1st & 2nd SS Panzer Divisions and 2nd Panzer Division north and east of Mortain, The 30's 2/120 was still surrounded on Hill 314. The 4th ID had been inserted into the line north of the 30th ID, with the 9th ID north of the 4th. The 35th ID was still to the South.

    Recon was manning a section of the line between 1Bn/120IR and 12IR/4ID and maintained contact between these two units. 1/120 was holding a small point of the line NW of Mortain and the 2SSP had pushed almost to the location the 30 Recon had moved to on 9 Aug 1944 (See map above). Mr. Sanford states that his maintenance section remained holding the roadblock south of Mortain that they had occupied on 7 Aug. Although not recorded as such and given the location of the 30th ID HQ, I get the feeling that the Maintenance Section/30 Recon was being used at this point to defend/guard the divisional HQ.
     

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