Posted on October 21st, 2016 by:

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War Department Discloses Role of Two Regiments Which Stormed Beach

Stars and Stripes U.S. Bureau


WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 1944 —The War Department today described the bloody D-Day battle in which two U.S. infantry regiments defied withering enemy fire and at heavy cost drove through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall to establish the beachhead which for two days remained the Allies’ principal gateway to Normandy.

operation neptune 16th infantry, 116th infantry omaha beach

Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division head towards Omaha Beach

The two spearheading regiments were Virginia’s 116th Infantry from the 29th Division and New York’s 16th Infantry from the First Division. The landing cost the 116th more than 800 casualties, while the 16th lost at least one-third of its assault strength. The First and 29th Divisions were assigned to storm the beach just east of Carentan which bristled with concrete pillboxes, machine-guns and sniper nests. Moreover, an entire German division was in the same area on a maneuver.

Swamped by Sea

The 16th was heading for shore near Colleville-sur-Mer when it was swamped by violent seas and hurled from assault boats into mined waters. Struggling toward shore, the entire regiment became a target for point-blank fire from the enemy cliff positions. Slowly the regiment regrouped. They answered German artillery and machine-guns with rifles and rifle-propelled rockets.

A breach was blown in the barbed wire and the 16th poured through—but at terrible cost. Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley said “individually and collectively, members of the 16th Regiment turned threatened catastrophe into a glorious victory for the American Army.”

Infantrymen of the 116th went ashore near Ville-sur-Mer at a beach heavily fortified with barbed wire, concrete walls and land mines. The 116th neutralized cliff positions, forged through mines and routed the enemy.

d-day 16th and 116th infantry omaha beach

Soldiers take cover on Omaha Beach on D-Day

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