Click for very large version


  1. That’s awesome. I’m a little weak on deciphering some of that stuff though. Is the number to the right of the box the unit number?

    My great Uncle was a member of the 84th Chemical Battalion (I think that was their official name). Basically, they were the mortar men who blasted and burned pill boxes with WP. I know he was involved in D-Day in some way. But unfortunately, he died a few years ago, and I never got the entire story from him.

    So I’m wondering if that group sweeping down from the North East, with the question mark, might actually have been his unit.

  2. A little off the subject


    It looks like General McCrystal pulled a General McArthur and the Obama simitar is about to claim another victim…..

    Stay tuned!

  3. Wow, VII Corps headquarters is like 12km from the bad guys.

    243, 709 and 319 infantry are close enough to smell General Collins’ coffee brewing.

  4. Bayeaux is a lovely town right in the middle of all that. It is a nice bicycle ride to the beach. Has a war museum. And some sort of famous Tapestry.

  5. OK, this inspired me to buy Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day book My uncle is credited for some interviews there. I’m sure I’ll learn something.

    Off on vacation next week, so that should be some good beach reading!

  6. Also forgot to mention I found one of his post cards home from training at Camp Rucker, to my great grandparents, September 1943.

    Turns out, he was in the 87th Chemical Battalion, not the 84th.

    I’ve got some research to do….

  7. 24 June, D+18:

    “There has never been any rest for the 4.2″ chemical mortar company for, when the infantry to which it is attached gains its objective, the heavy mortar company is transferred to another unit which jumps several hours later. The wear and tear on our men and material is terrific. However, at the present time, the men are standing up better than the material and equipment.”

    1. jaymaster,

      In my Army era (1989-1996) there was still a 4.2 mortar fielded.

      Everyone knew them as the “four-deuce”. They hauled them in converted M113s.

      1. I guess they’re a unique tool, with some value even today.

        I never realized that the mortar battalions would attach and detach with infantry units so often. From the action report, it sounds like they advanced constantly for 3 weeks before they got to take a breather. My uncle talked about going a month without a bath, and I guess that was true.

        1. They thought so much of the 4.2 in. mortar that they increased the number per division. During WWII, there would be battalion assigned to the division. During Korea, based on the experience in WWII, they increased to a 12 tube company per regiment (from 24 to 36).

  8. I also need to apologize for hogging up the comments on this. I just got so excited!

    I’ve been looking for information like this for years, and that map jogged my memory of the post card. I found it in my grandmother’s belongings when she died a few years ago. I noticed then that it had his battalion number on it, but I never pursued it any further until last night.

    It turns out his only son ended up being a typical anti-war, baby boomer hippy, and he refused to talk about the war with his father. I talked to him a couple months back, and he is now regretting that. A major part of the family history slipped away when his father died about 10 years ago. I’m trying to put the puzzle back together.

    1. Do not apologize. First, it’s exactly what the comments area is for. Second, I’m very interested in whatever you turn up and I’m sure others are, too.

    2. jaymaster

      Well I would never speak for Murdoc, but I don’t think he minds comments. And I can’t think of many places safer for such a discussion.

      Closest thing to a troll here is someone who says something like, “Sure 7.62 is great but happens when the zombies come and there isn’t any more?” or “Iowa-class battleships won’t reach their full potential until they can operate in orbit or transform into giant robots”.

  9. That link to the action report for the battalion is some good reading. I got side tracked, but now I’m back on it.

    After they landed on Utah beach, they were attached to various units who’s goal was to capture Cherbourg and the peninsula north of it. They accomplished this on July 1, after 25 straight days of combat.

    Then they took a 2 day break and had their first shower and shave since they got on the boat in England on June 2. I remember my Uncle talking about that.

    On July 3, they turned around and started to move inland, with the first assault on the German lines happening on the 4th of July.

    Only 308 more days to go….

Comments are closed