I entered the US Army in April 1944 at the age of 18, had basic infantry training at Camp Roberts, California, was then assigned to the ASTP unit at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and in February 1944 joined Company C of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th "Yankee" Infantry Division. Following additional training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the Division left for overseas and landed in France in early September 1944.
My Regiment first went into combat in early October 944 in an area of Lorraine about 15 miles east of Nancy. We discovered that our main opponents at that time were the 11th Panzer Division and the 361st and 559th Volksgrenadier Divisions. Fighting was bitter and intense and made more difficult by the cold, rain and mud. The German forces contested every meter of ground. Our casualties mounted and in one period between November 8 and 11, 1944, my Regiment suffered nearly 500 losses in killed, wounded, and missing.
I was wounded twice in this first period of combat as we fought our way through Dieuze, Saare-Union, and Sarrguemines to the German border. What was then to have been a time of rest and refitting at Metz was interrupted by the Battle of the Bulge. However, I missed most of that since I did not return to my Company from the hospitall in the UK until late January 1945 in Wiltz, Luxembourg, just in time for the battle at Saarlautern.
My Regiment participated in the clearing of the Saar Basin, crossed the Rhine, and then raced on through Germany to northern Austria and Czechoslovakia. And then the war was over. I went through the rather carefree days opf occupation in Czechoslovakia and later Enns, Austria. We left Austria in late 1945 to return to the US from Marseilles. My ship, the SS CHAPEL HILL VICTORY, arrived at Newport News, Virginia, and I was sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for discharge which occurred on January 10, 1946.
I can say that of my decorations, I am most proud of the Combat Infantry Badge. This story is dedicated to all those battered infantrymen of all divisions without whom the war could not have been won.
James' Book, The Command is forward!
James published a 436-page book which is the unofficial motto of my Regiment. It contains in part the complete War Diary of the 101st Infantry Regiment from August 1944 to May 1945 which has never been published up to now.
The so-called lull in October 1944 in Lorraine was anything but that. It was Hell for the infantrymen of the 101st Regiment, and we did not know that Hell could be so cold. We lived like animals in our holes in the ground in the mud, cold, wet, and rain under artillery barrages and sniper fire. Men were killed every day. Then came the Third Army offensive of November 8. It was Hell all over again, but there was no lull. We were still covered with mud and we were wet, cold, hungry, and miserable. After attacking one day, we had to get out of our holes and do it all over again the next morning against an enemy that contested every few yards of ground. And we did this for the nexr five weeks in the same conditions in the fortifications of the Maginot Line until the brief respite in Metz. The story of the 101st Infantry Regiment in Lorraine is told through first person narrative accounts of bloody and violent combat engagements.These are blended with the war diary of the 101st Infantry from August 1944 to May 9, 1945, and the first person campaign reports of the commanding generals of the two main German divisions against which the 101st fought up to mid-November, the 11th Panzer Division and the 361st Volks Grenadier Division. Photographs and maps portray some of these actions. You can buy (Amazon) the book in the colom to your right (white button).