At 6:30am on June 6, 1944, advance elements of the 29th Infantry Division landed on the western side of Omaha Beach under a tremendous hail of artillery, mortars and small arms fire. The initial waves of assault troops were cut down as they disembarked from their landing craft and survivors huddled behind what little shelter they could find on the beach.  

As more troops landed, GI’s under the direction of officers and non-coms or under their own initiative banded into small groups and assaulted the bluffs overlooking the beach. By 9:00am the 29th Division was moving inland, but not before taking an estimated 660 casualties including 367 men killed.


A military policeman from the US 29th Infantry Division rests near St. Lo

general charles gerhardt 29th division st. lo

Major General Charles Gerhardt.

As the 29th Division pushed inland from Omaha Beach, it encountered stiff German resistance in the tangle of the Norman Hedgerows. Fighting in terrain that favored  German defense combined with the inexperience of American soldiers and American leadership, the 29th Division’s advance towards the strategic town of St. Lo was costly and painfully slow. By mid-July, many of the 29th Division’s infantry units had suffered nearly a 100% turnover rate in men.

On July 18, after 44 days of constant fighting, the 29th Infantry Division entered St. Lo. To commemorate the event, every member of the Division who was present from June 6 to July 18, 1944 was given a special certificate signed by the 29th Division’s commanding officer, Major General Charles Gerhardt, to certify that they were with the division during the bitter fighting from D-Day to St. Lo.

d-day to st. lo certificate 29th infantry division

The certificate given to members of the 29th Infantry Division who were present from D-Day to the Liberation of St. Lo.

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