The invasion of Normandy had the members of the 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division, fighting their way from Utah Beach, through Cherbourg, into La-Haye-du-Puits, across France, through the Forêt de Parroy, into Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and finally conducting operations as part of the Army of Occupation in Czechoslovakia. The 314th was the first U.S. Army unit to cross the Seine River and the first into Belgium.
France - Czechoslovakia
Battles in France included the Utah Beach area, the assault on and capture of Fort du Roule on 25 June 1944, the capture of Cherbourg on 26 June 1944, the battle against units of the Waffen SS for and capture on 7 July 1944 of La Haye du Puits, the battle on 9 July 1944 for Hill 84, the Normandy Breakthrough, and the Mayenne River Bridgehead at Change established on 6 August 1944. In August and September, the regiment's combat activities included Falaise Gap, Mantes-Gassicourt, Charmes, and the Meurthe River.
October and November 1944 saw the regiment fighting in Moncel, frontally assaulting Forêt de Monden, attacking and participating in the capture of the Forêt de Parroy and its main road junction on 5 Oct 44 and the taking of Lunéville. In November 1994, fighting continued in Lunéville and moved onward to the Vosges Mountains and Saverne Gap. On 11 December 1944, the regiment captured Hagenau. In December, the regiment invaded Germany and fighting continued in Germany and France, including the capture of Ruhrweiller-Drusenheim on 6 January 1945. In one of the war's many unfortunate moments, on 19 January 1945, the Germans captured the regiment's second battalion.
314th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Btn captures Rohrwiller and Drusenheim, France. 6 Jan 1945.
In February 1945, the regiment accomplished a rapid redeployment into Belgium and into the Netherlands and in March the regiment entered Germany. Combat in 1945 included Bais d'Ohlangen-Schweighausen, the Battle of the Autobahn, the capture of Steele on 9 April 1945, and the occupation of Dortmund. The 314th captured twelve thousand prisoners and suffered over five thousand wartime casualties.
Wartime assignments placed the regiment under the First, Third, Seventh and Ninth Armies. On 2 June 1945, the regiment arrived in Czechoslovakia as part of the Army of Occupation. The regiment began movement back to the US on 15 November 1945 and was deactivated on 11 December 1945.
This historical outline is compiled from research material provided by personal accounts, unit diaries, online sources, "The Complete History of World War Two" edited by Francis T. Miller (1948) and the 314th Infantry Association's "Through Combat." A special thanks to J.W. Campbell and Dwight Pruitt. 17 September 2003. Lori Cutshall.
After training in the United Kingdom from 17 April 1944, the 79th Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, 12-14 June and entered combat 19 June 1944, with an attack on the high ground west and northwest of Valognes and high ground south of Cherbourg.
The Division took Fort du Roule after a heavy engagement and entered Cherbourg, 25 June. It held a defensive line at the Ollonde River until 2 July 1944 and then returned to the offensive, taking La Haye du Puits in house-to-house fighting, 8 July.
On 26 July, the 79th attacked across the Ay River, took Lessay, crossed the Sarthe River and entered Le Mans, 8 August, meeting only light resistance. The advance continued across the Seine, 19 August. Heavy German counterattacks were repulsed, 22-27 August, and the Division reached the Therain River, 31 August.
Moving swiftly to the Franco-Belgian frontier near St. Amand, the Division encountered heavy resistance in taking Charmes in street fighting, 12 September. The 79th cut across the Moselle and Meurthe Rivers, 13-23 September, cleared the Foret de Parroy in a severe engagement, 28 September-9 October, and attacked to gain high ground east of Embermenil, 14-23 October, when it was relieved, 24 October.
After rest and training at Luneville, the Division returned to combat with an attack from the Mignevine/Montiguy area, 13 November 1944, which carried it across the Vezouse and Moder Rivers, 18 November-10 December through Haguenau in spite of determined enemy resistance, and into the Siegfried Line, 17-20 December.
The Division held a defensive line along the Lauter River, at Wissembourg from 20 December 1944 until 2 January 1945, when it withdrew to Maginot Line defenses. The German attempt to establish a bridgehead west of the Rhine at Gambsheim resulted in furious fighting. The 79th beat off German attacks at Hatten and Rittershoffen in an 11-day battle before withdrawing to new defensive positions south of Haguenau on the Moder River, 19 January 1945.
The Division remained on the defensive along the Moder until 6 February 1945. After resting in February and March 1945, the Division returned to combat, 24 March 1945, crossed the Rhine, drove across the Rhine-Herne Canal, 7 April, secured the north bank of the Ruhr and took part in clearing the Ruhr Pocket until 13 April. The Division then went on occupation duty, in the Dortmund, Sudetenland, and Bavarian areas successively, until its return to the United States and inactivation.
Assignments in the ETO
18 April 1944: VIII Corps, Third Army.
29 May 1944: Third Army but attached to VII Corps, First Army.
30 June 1944: Third Army, but attached to First Army.
1 July 1944: VIII Corps.
1 August 1944: VIII Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group.
8 August 1944: XV Corps.
24 August 1944: XV Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group, but attached to First Army.
26 August 1944: XV Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
29 August 1944: XII Corps.
7 September 1944: XV Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group.
29 September 1944: Third Army, 12th Army Group, but attached to the XV Corps, Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.
25 November 1944: XV Corps, Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.
5 December 1945: VI Corps.
6 February 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.
17 February 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group, but attached to the XVI Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.
1 March 1945: XIII Corps.
7 March 1945: XVI Corps.
7 April 1945: XVI Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.
History by Month
|15 Jun 1942||314th Infantry activated at Camp Picket, VA|
|7 Apr 1944||Sailed from Boston for England|
|14 Jun 1944||Utah Beach - D-Day plus 8|
|20 Jun 1944||Croix Jacobs (1st Objective: 0415)|
|25 Jun 1944||Fort Du Roule captured|
|26 Jun 1944||Cherbourg captured|
|7 Jul 1944||La Haye du Puits captured|
|9 Jul 1944||Battle for Hill 84 (Point 56)|
|26 Jul 1944||Normandy breakthrough|
|6 Aug 1944||Mayenne River bridgehead at Change|
|20 Aug 1944||Seine River bridgehead at Mantes-Gassicourt|
|30 Aug 1944||Seine bridgehead breakthrough|
|2 Sep 1944||Belgium frontier reached|
|12 Sep 1944||Charmes captured|
|13 Sep 1944||Moselle River bridgehead|
|19 Sep 1944||Mortagne River bridgehead|
|23 Sep 1944||Meurthe River bridgehead|
|9 Oct 1944||Foret de Parroy captured|
|23 Oct 1944||Withdrawn from combat after 127 days. Rest & train in Luneville area, 24 October - 9 November 1944.|
|11 Nov 1944||Start of Vosges Mountain drive|
|19 Nov 1944||Fremonville captured - Vezouse River crossed|
|22 Nov 1944||Saverne Gap|
|11 Dec 1944||Haguenau captured|
|17 Dec 1944||Germany invaded|
|2 Jan 1945||Maginot Line withdrawal|
|6 Jan 1945||Rohrwiller - Drusenheim captured|
|19 Jan 1945||2nd Batallion captured|
|20 Jan 1945||Moder River defense line established|
|25 Jan 1945||Bois d'Ohlungen and Schweighausen fight|
|7 Feb 1945||Withdrawn from combat after 87 days|
|8-16 Feb 1945||Pont-a-Mousson|
|17 Feb 1945||Tongres, Belgium|
|24 Feb 1945||Roer River reached|
|5-18 Mar 1945||Holland training|
|24 Mar 1945||Rhine River crossing|
|28 Mar 1945||Battle of the Autobahn|
|1 Apr 1945||Ruhr pocket created|
|7 Apr 1945||Rhine-Herne Canal crossed|
|9 Apr 1945||Steele captured|
|13 Apr 1945||Dortmund occupied|
|16 Apr 1945||Contact with the enemy lost|
|8 May 1945||VE Day|
|2 Jun 1945||Arrive in Czechoslovakia|
|7 Aug 1945||Arrive in Dalherda|
|29 Aug 1945||Munnerstadt, Bavaria|
|15 Nov 1945||Start for USA|
|11 Dec 1945||Deactivation|
Source: Department of the Army Pamphlet 672-1, July 1961
Honors & Decorations
|Congressional Medal of Honor||2|
|Distinguished Service Cross||3|
|Legion of Honor in Grade of Chevalier (French)||1|
|Croix de Guerre with Palm (French)||4|
|Croix de Guerre with Silver Gilt Star (French)||4|
|Croix de Guerre with Silver Star (French)||1|
|Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star (French)||4|
|British Military Medal (Great Britain)||1|
Source: Through Combat - 314th Infantry Regiment
|Presidential Unit Citations||Location|
|1st Battalion||La Haye du Puits|
|2nd Battalion||Fort du Roule|
|3rd Battalion||Meurthe River|
|Meritorious Unit Commendation||Date(s)|
|Service Company||1 Jul 44 - 31 Dec 44|
|Normandy||6 Jun 44 - 24 Jul 44|
|Northern France||25 Jul 44 - 14 Sep 44|
|Rhineland||15 Sep 44 - 21 Mar 45|
|Ardennes-Alsace||16 Dec 44 - 25 Jan 45|
|Central Europe||22 Mar 45 - 11 May 45|
|Germany||20 May - 31 Oct 45|
Source: Department of the Army Pamphlet 672-1, July 1961
Foreign Unit Awards
French Croix De Guerre with Palm, awarded under Decision No. 3864, 28 April 1947, by the President of the Provisional Governement of the French Republic, with the following citation:
A remarkable unit which displayed splendid endurance and exceptional fighting zeal. It distinguished itself brilliantly from 21 to 24 November 1944 in hard combat. It mopped up in the forest of Parroy and materially aided the 2d Armored French Division to break through to the Col de Saverne. In spite of heavy losses, it fought stubbornly against a dashing and fanatical enemy, preventing it from reappearing in the Vosges. It thus contributed greatly to the liberation of Baccaret, Phalsbourg, and Saverne.
French Croix De Guerre with Palm, awarded under Decision No. 5, 14 January 1949, by the Minister of National Defense, with the following citation:
Splendid unit that incited by savage vigor, landed in Normandy in June 1944. Covered itself with glory in the battles of Saint-Lo and at Haye-du-Puits. Participated in the capture of Fougeres, Laval, and Le Mans, then crossing the Seine at Maintes-Gassicourt, on 19 August 1944, inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy before marching triumphantly into Paris on 27 August 1944. By its bold action, contributed largely to the success of the Allied armies and the liberation of Paris.
French Fourragere in the colors of the Croix de Guerre (1939-1945), awarded under Decision No. 48, 16 August 1949, by the Minister of National Defense.
Note: Wearing of French and Belgian Fourrageres - Normally, two citations are required before a unit becomes eligible for the award of the Fourragere. The award of the Fourragere is not automatic, but must be specifically authorized by decree of the respective foreign government. A citation in orders or award of the Croix de Guerre to a unit does not authorize the wearing of the decoration by an individual. Likewise, no award of the Croix de Guerre to an individual will serve to constitute eligibility to wear the Fourragere. The Fourragere may be worn permanently by individuals who participated with the unit in both actions for which the unit was cited. The French Fourragere may be worn temporarily by individuals assigned to the unit subsequent to the time the award was made, but only so long as they remain with such unit.
Source: Department of the Army General Order 43 1950.