The story of the 442nd Combat Team : composed of 442nd Infantry Regiment, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 232nd Combat Engineer Company

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The story of the 442nd Combat Team : composed of 442nd Infantry Regiment, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 232nd Combat Engineer Company
United States. Army. Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
Place of Publication:
Oakland, Calif.
Company K Club
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
43 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
United States. Army. Regimental Combat Team, 442nd -- History. ( LCSH )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japanese Americans. ( LCSH )


General Note:
Reprint. Originally published: Information-Education Section, MTOUSA, 1945.

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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Copyright [name of copyright holder or Creator or Publisher as appropriate]. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
26686700 ( OCLC )

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Auraria Library
The Minoru Yasui Collection


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The Story of the 442NCOMBAT TEAM Composed of 442nd Infantry R egiment 522nd Field Artillery Battalion 232nd Combat E ngi neer Company ITALY FRANCE ITALY PUBLISHED BY INFORMATION-EDUCATION SECTION, MTOUSA REPRINTED BY COMPANY K CLUB, SAN FRANCISCO 1979 COMPILED BY MEMBERS OF THE 442nd COMBAT TEAM The material in this book has been by che Field Press Censor and may be mailed home


COLONEL CHARLES W. PENCE former Combat Team Commander COLONEL VIRGIL R. MILLER prnmt Comh"t Team Commander.


DEDICATION To the men and women of every race, color, and creed who have given their lives that the peoples of the earth might live, one with the other, in peace and freedom, this volume is dedicated. "Americanism is a matter of the mind and heart; Ameri canism is not and never was a matter of race and ancestry." Franklin D. Roosevelt


TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Activation and Training II. The rooth Infantry Battalion. Road to Rome. Ill. The 442d Combat Team Rome to the Arno "Airborne." IV. The Battle of Bruyeres. Lost Battalion." "The Champagne Campaign." v. Return to Italy. Massa to Genoa. End of the Wehrmacht. VI. The Forgotten Men.


THE JAPANESE-AMERICAN CREED I am proud that I am an American citizen of Japanese ancestry, for my very background makes me appreciate more fully the wonderful advantages of this nation. I believe in her institutions, ideals, and traditions ; I glory in her heritage ; I boast of her history; I trust in her future. She has granted me liberties and opportunities such as no individual enjoys in this world today. She has given me an education befitting kings. She has entrusted me with the responsibilities of the fran chise. She has permitted me to build a home, to earn a livelihood, to worship, think, speak, and act as I please-as a free man equal to every other man Although some individuals may discriminate against me, I shall never become bitter or lose faith, for I know that such persons are not representative of the majority of the Ameri can people. True, I shall do all in my power to discourage such practices, but I shall do it in the American way : aboveboard; in the open; through courts of law; by education ; by proving myself to be worthy of equal treatment and consideration I am firm in my belief that American sportsmanship and attitude of fair play will judge citizenship and patriotism on the basis of action and achievement, and not on the basis of physi cal characteristics. Because I believe in America, and I trust she believes in me, and because I have received innumerable benefits from her, I pledge myself to do honor to her at all times and in all places; to support her constitution; to obey her laws; to re spect her flag ; to defend her against all enemies, foreign or domestic; to actively assume my duties and obligations as a citizen, cheerfully and without any reservations whatsoever, in the hope that I may become a better American in a greater America. -1-


INTRODUCTION In these pages is the battle record of the rooth Infantry Battalion and the 442d Regimental Combat Team, units of the Army of the United States made up of Americans ofJapanese ancestry. This is the story of their part in the battle against the armies of the Third Reich, "destined to last a thousand years." Their missions led them from the beaches of Salerno all the long way up the boot of Italy, then to the deep, shell-scarred forests of the Vosges in Eastern France and to the treeless barren crags of the Alpes Maritimes of Southern France. Fi nally, they were called back to Italy to fire the opening gun in the last great push that saw the Allied armies pour through the valley of the Po in a flood that brought an empire crashing at their feet. Although it will not again be mentioned in this history, this is also the climax of the Nisei's battle against suspicion, intolerance, and a hatred that was conceived in some dark corner of the American mind and born in the flames that swept Pearl Harbor. Let it also be understood that this is not a statement of the contribution of America's Japanese-Americans to her war effort. Nisei have fought in every theatre of war, against the Axis enemy and against the Japanese. This volume proposes only to trace the course of two great infantry units, later to become one, together with their supporting artillery and engineers. Many stories circulated by overenthusiastic correspondents have given rise to a popular fiction that these were supermen. They were not. They could die and be wounded as easily as other men, and were. They had the same weaknesses and shortcomings that other soldiers were heir to. Above all, however, they had the fire, the cour age, and the will to press forward that make crack infantry of the line. They would, and often did, drive until they fell from wounds or exhaustion; they were never driven to a backward step in many months of battle against an enemy who counterattacked skillfully and often. More than one commander ac claimed them as the finest assault troops he had ever led. -2-


Section I ACTIVATION and TRAINING Hawaii had been the first territory of the United Stares to feel the violence of war when Pearl Harbor and a great part of the Pacific Fleer went up in flames. Therefore, it seems only fitting that the first Japanese-American unit was organized in Hawaii, made up of Hawaiian residents of Japanese extrac tion. The activation of the Hawaiian Provisional Battalion rook place 5 June 1942. Its soldiers came from the many units which had made up the Hawaiian National Guard. Lieutenant Colonel Farrant L. Turner, former executive officer of the 298th Infantry, rook command. The day that the official ac tivation took place, the battalion sailed from Honolulu Harbor. One week later the ship docked at San Francisco, and the same day, 12 June 1942, rhe unit was redesignated the roorh Infantry Battalion (Separate). The battalion took its basic training at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, moving to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, 7 January 1943 for advanced training and maneuvers. Here the unit first trained with the 8srh Division, whom they were to meet again under different circumstances in the Italian campaign Shortly thereafter, the War Department, continuing its policy of permitting the Japanese-Americans to bear arms in defense of their country, activated the 442d Regimental Combat Team on r February 1943. This unit was composed of the 442d Infantry Regiment; the 522d Field Artillery Battalion; and the 232d Combat Engineer Company Colonel Charles W Pence was the Combat Team commander. Consequently, when the rooth Battalion returned from maneuvers I 5 June, they found the 442d Combat Team with its complete complement of men and material, well into its training program. There was time to renew old friendships These were many, since most of the troops of the 442d at this time were volunteers from the Territory of Hawaii, although the cadre had come from Nisei then in the Seventh Service Command. Two months later, r I August 1943, the rooth Battalion ) -


left Camp Shelby, staged at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and departed via the New York Port of Embarkation. One bar calion was on the way The 442d Combat Team continued irs training until the end of 1943, when calls for replacements for rhe worh Bar calion began to come in The fighting at Cassino and Anzio had used up its available strength and more. Men and officers were shipped out, but training went on. From 27 January to 17 February 1944, the Combat Team participated in "D" Series Maneuvers with the 69th Division in the DeSoto National Forest, Mississippi The 522d Field Artillery Battalion, which had been on maneuvers in Louisiana, returned to the fold in time to catch the tag end of these problems. As a result of the excellent showing the unit made, alert orders were soon forth commg. Since there were not sufficient men left to fill three bat talions after the calls that had been made on the regiment for replacements, the 2d and 3d Battalions were brought to strength by further draining the 1st Battalion Finally, in a haze of waterproofing, crates, shipping lists, and inspections, the Combat Team, less one infantry battalion, left Camp Shelby 22-23 April I944 for the Camp Patrick Henry, Vir ginia, staging area. The few officers and men who were left in the I st Battalion furnished the cadre for the I 7 I st Infantry Battalion (Separate) which later trained most of the replacements for the Combat Team May Day, 1944, saw the men filing up the gangplanks at the Hampton Roads Port of Em barkation. On 28 May, the ships docked at Naples Harbor after a long, thoroughly uneventful voyage. -4-


Section II T H E 1 0 0 TH I N FA N T R Y 8 A T T A L I 0 N ROAD TO ROME Fifteen months after the rooth Infantry Battalion had been activated, the men stepped down the gangplank on an alien shore. The port: Oran, North Africa. The date: 2 Sep tember 1943. One week later, on the 8th, the battalion was assigned to the already battle-tested 133d Infantry of the 34th Division, victors at Hill6o9 in Tunisia. The battalion cook the place of the 2d Battalion of the 133d, then acting as security guard for Allied Force Headquarters in Algiers. Then came the news the world had long been waiting for, the landings on the beaches of Paestum and Salerno on 9 Sep tember 1943. On the 22d, D plus 13, the 133d landed at Salerno beach and began the march inland. Immediately, the two extra rifle companies (E and F) which the woth had been authorized on activation were placed under Fifth Army con trol to guard airfields and supply dumps. The employment of these extra companies remained a recurrent problem all through the campaign until heavy losses absorbed and de activated them. After a few days awaiting orders in an assembly area, the 133d, with it the woth, took off 27 September in pursuit of the retreating enemy. Successively, the battalion occupied Montemarano and, after a short, sharp battle, the important road junction of Chiusano where they set up a road block. Meanwhile, the roth German Army had been slowly withdrawing to the high ground northwest of Benevento, key road and rail center on the Fifth Army's right flank. Quickly, the other two battalions of the regiment swept ahead and seized the approaches to Benevento, and the woth was ordered to move up and support the attack. Enroute, new orders shifted them to the left of the 3d Battalion which would assault the town while the woth swung through to take the heights to the northwest. After a spectacular twenty-mile forced march, both units secured their objectives. The only opposition came from harassing artillery as they slogged -5-


through a pouring rain that turned roads into ankle deep quag mires. Now the 45th Division rook up the pursuit, supported by the 133d, until 5 October, when the regiment went into Corps reserve near San Martino. Casualties had been com paratively light: three men killed, and two officers and 29 men wounded or injured. On the roth, the rooth, in division re serve, had moved up in preparation for the first Volturno River crossing. The initial smash was successful, however, and the division went across around midnight of the following day in the vicinity of Limatola, the rooth Battalion still in reserve. Mid-month found all units steadily moving forward, with the rooth in the vicinity of Bagnoli. In the meantime, the Red Bull Division was making plans for the second crossing of the Volrurno on r8 and 19 October. The 133d was ordered to occupy the central sector of the division layout, assaulting to secure a bridgehead astride the Dragoni-Alife road. The rooth would delay its crossing for a few hours to protect the rear of the regiment. The r st Battalion made its crossing under a smoke screen the afternoon of the r8th and the rooth, after cleaning up the remaining pockets on the south bank, crossed late the following night. They then moved up to the flats south of Alife, sending patrols out to contact the enemy, the 29th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, which was defending behind thick minefields and dug-in machine gun nests. The night of 20 October, the rooth moved out to seize the road junction r,ooo yards east of St. Angelo d'Alife. Be fore the battalion could get into the high ground it was caught in a murderous fire from the German defense perimeter, backed up by artillery and the multi-barrelled "screaming meemies," and casualties soared. The battalion hung on in the face of the concentrated fire while the r st Battalion swung around to the right flank in an attempt to envelop the resis tance. Failing this, the rooth was pulled back to an area that offered more protection, and remained there for two days while the regiment was reorganized under a new commander. The morning of the 22d, with the rooth and 3d Battalions in assault, the regiment renewed the drive on Alife. A and C Companies advanced slowly across the flats and by dark had driven half way to their objectives where they halted in the face of intense machine gun and sniper fire. Meanwhile, the -6-



Germans had brought up a company of tanks to bolster the sagging defenses. One of these was destroyed at 25-yard range by the battalion's tank buster, Private Masao Awakuni, bazooka man extraordinary. The remainder were driven off by artillery fire. Forty-eight hours after the jump off, A and C Companies had stormed and seized Alife, where they were relieved by E and F Companies, who were then ordered to push on and seize the heights west of Castello d'Alife By 0900 of the 25th, the woth had advanced to within a thou sand yards of the crest of "Castle Hill" and was ordered to dig in there while another battalion swung around on the enemy's left rear and drove them back. The action was successful, and the regiment consolidated, having driven the enemy out of another of his "strong delaying positions" that characterized his defensive tactics throughout the Italian campaign. This particular one cost the woth 2 I killed and 66 wounded. Four days later, 29 October, Lieutenant Colonel Farrant L. Turner, who had commanded the Iooth since the day it was activated, was relieved. Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) James L. Gillespie took over the battalion in time to prepare for the third and last crossing of the serpentine Volturno River. By I November, the I33d controlled the high ground near Giorlano which overlooked the Volrurno where the bat talion would have to make its crossing. The enemy, as always, held the high ground on the other side. At daylight of the Ist, the woth cleared what opposition remained as far as the river bank, losing 12 casualties to six strafing Messerschmitts in the process. This, of course, was in the days before the Luftwaffe started having troubles of its own. The next two days were spent in pre-assault planning. The night of the 3rd, the attack was mounted with the woth echeloned to the left rear of the division so that contact could be maintained with the 45th Division. Troop opposition was light, being confined to small arms fire, but the inevitable mines took a heavy toll as the battalion struggled through the dark. By 07 40 of the 4th, the IOoth was astride the railroad 2,ooo yards from the river and making good headway when the enemy defense began to harden, requiring stiff fighting to dig them out of the battalion sector. The morning of the sth, the 1st Battalion was cdunter attacked and driven off Hill 5 so. A coordinated attack was -8-


then planned with the I st Battalion retaking the hill it had lost while the woth stormed Hills 590 and 610 on the next ridge line to the northwest. The assault jumped off in daylight in the face of heavy enemyartillery fire and progressed rapidly, catching the Germans off guard Both objectives having been taken, the battalion rolled on ro rake Hill 6oo near Pozzilli in the face of determined enemy resistance. The enemy tried desperately to retake these heights with assaults from the front and flanks, bur was consistently driven back, partly through the efforts of Lieutenant Neill M Ray and Corporals Karsushi Tanouye and Bert K. Higashi of D Company's mortar platoon. These men remained at an observation post in advance of the line of platoons and directed mortar fire each time the enemy tried to form for a counterattack through the morning of the 6th, even though their position was made almost untenable by constant shelling. They remained at their posts until all.three were killed instantly by a direct hit. At the same rime, E and F Companies had been moved into line to close the gap between the 34th and the 45th Divisions on the left, thus cutting down the threat from the flank. Meanwhile, the 45th Division had broken through into Venafro and the enemy began another withdrawal, enabling the battalion to pull back for a short rest on the I I rh. Casual ties had been heavy: three officers killed and I 8 wounded; 7 5 men killed and 239 wounded; one man missing. These losses, together with the endless rain and fog and cold, combined to lower the of the men. Then, to cap the climax, the battalion was recommitted in the vicinity of Colli-Rocherri the day before Thanksgiving, relieving elements of the 504th Parachute Regiment. Immediately, the battalion was ordered to attack the hills to its front to secure a Line of Departure for the I 3 3d in a general assault which was to take place I December. The 34th had been ordered to attack down the ColiAtina road, which ran east and west, and seize the high, difficult terrain around Atino. Such a move would flank the Liri Valley and force the Germans to abandon their Cassino de fenses where the high command anticipated they would make their winter stand. Early, the morning of 29 November, the battalion jumped off against Hills 8oi, 905, and 920. Resistance was -9-


fierce, and the enemy threw artillery, mortar, and nebelwerfer in an effort to stall the attack. The riflemen of A, B and C Companies who had moved up the reverse slopes of all three mountains hung on grimly, and on the 30th, with the troops moving behind heavy artillery concentrations, the high ground was taken. There the battalion stayed for nine days while the other battalions of the regiment tried to push through on the right and break the stalemate, but to no avail. Finally, 9 December, the rooth came down from the hills and counted its losses: two officers and 43 men killed; five officers and I 3 5 men wounded or in jured; six men died of wounds; two men were missing. E and F Companies had both been disbanded to fill the ranks, but fighting strength remained low. Lieutenant Colonel Gillespie, the commanding officer, had been lost through illness, and was replaced temporarily by Major Alex E. McKenzie, then by Major William H. Blytt of the I33d. On the roth, the Iooth went back to Alife, where they rested and trained until the 30th. In that area, Major Caspar Clough, Jr., formerly with the ISt Division, took over the battalion New Year's Eve of I944 saw the rooth close into the Presenzano area under control of the veteran II Corps The next few days were spend in reconnaissance to the front and flanks, preparatory to joining the 1st Special Service Force near the Radicosa Hills on the 6th. The night of 7 January, the battalion engaged in an attack on Hill 1109, one of a series of mountains overlooking Cassino. The objective was taken against light resistance and held until the 1 rth when the rooth jumped off against the last barrier, meeting heavy fire from artillery and mortars as well as from carefully laid out defen sive positions Finally, the Special Service Force executed a coordinated attack, sending its 1st Battalion down the ridge while the I ooth attacked to the front behind a thunderous demonstration of fire power. On the 13th, Hill I270 fell. Two days later, led by Lieutenant Harry I. Schoenberg s A Com pany, the battalion struck out for San Michele, situated on the bluffs below Hill 1270 and looking the valley at Cas sino. The town fell by 1930 hours and for the next six days ; after going back to control of the 13 3d, the battalion waited for the assault on Cassino, and patrolled to the front and -10-


flanks. At 2330 hours of the 24th, the 133d initiated the first attack against Cassino by way of the Rapido River. After an hour and twenty minutes' barrage, the rooth jumped off with Companies A and C leading, along with elements of the Ammunition and Pioneer platoon. By the following morning, the two companies had gained the river wall, and held there to establish a Line of Departure for an attack across the river. The morning of the 25th, B Company, which had secured the original Line of Departure, was moved up to force the river line but the enemy was not to be fooled twice. The company was caught in a terrific artillery concentration, and only fourteen men reached the river. The remainder were killed, wounded, driven back, or forced to find shelter where they could. Still, the order was to attack. The commanding officer, Major Clough, was wounded the same day and Major Dewey of the 133dtook command. On the 25th, when Major Dewey went on a reconnaissance with the executive officer, Major Johnson, and Captain Mitzuho Fukuda, commanding officer of A Company, the party was caught by machine gun fire. Major Dewey and Major Johnson were hit and in trying to disperse, one of the party tripped a mine which killed Major Johnson. Irs leaders lost, the woth was pulled back to San Michele. Providentially, Major James W. Lovell, the battalion's original executive officer, returned from the hospital and took command on 29 January, readying the unit for an attack on the castle northeast of Cassino, halfway up the mountain to the famous monastery. The 135th and r68th were to attack the monastery and the remaining two battalions of the I 3 3d were to rake Cassino itself from the rear. At o645, 8 February, the battalion moved out and advanced rapidly, despite heavy shelling, until ordered to hold on Hill 165 and protect the right of the regiment. All other units had been stopped by fierce resistance Both flanks of the battalion were now ex posed, and a change in the wind pulled away its smoke screen, exposing it to direct observation and murderous fire. Grimly, the woth held for four days and then withdrew on order, sending B Company into that part of Cassino that had been tak e n, and withdrawing the rest of the battalion to regimental reserve Major Lovell had again been wounded seriously on the first day of the attack, and Major Clough returned to -12-


command. The division launched another abortive attack on I8 February sending the woth to storm the same objective. Four days later, the battalion pulled back to Alife for rest and reorganization. For the woth Battalion and for the 34th Division, this was the end of the forty-day struggle against impossible odds, plus the cream of the German Army Rest meant relief from the cold, bitter weather that left men chilled to the bone and swelled their feet to the point where it was torture to take a step. The ranks were thin, so thin that when the medics carried a man out now, there was no one to take his place, only a gap in the line and an empty foxhole where he had been. This was the end of the fighting in Cassino itself, fighting that was never measured in yards or miles. It was measured in stead, in houses taken, in rooms of houses, and in cells of the jail wrested from the German paratroopers one by one. These men had seen all that there was to see, endured all that there was to endure. They had seen Cassino and the ancient Abbey crumble under the weight of thousands of tons of bombs and shells. They had attacked, only to find the German infantry risen from the rubble and the ashes to drive them back They had learned that air power was not enough. The attack on Cassino had failed, that much was clear. But history will record that when the line was finally broken and the enemy reeled back, five fresh divisions took on the job that one division so gallantly attempted and so nearly completed. History will also record that among the foremost in the ranks of that division were the men of the woth Infantry Battalion. Among their ranks were fewer and fewer of the men who had started overseas with the battalion, because casualties had again been heavy : four officers and 38 men killed; I 5 officers and I 30 men wounded or in jured; six men died of wounds; two men missing; and one officer and one man, pnsoners. In the meantime, all was not too well at Anzio. The battle had been long and decimating; reinforcements were badly needed. So, on 26 March, the 34th Division landed at Anzio Harbor, with it the woth. On 30 March, the 2d Battalion of the I33d returned, replacing the woth. Fifth Army, however, left the battalion with the 34th Division. During this time, -13-


replacements from the 442d Combat Team (the Combat Team was in Camp Shelby and preparing to come overseas) had come in, bringing the battalion nearly up to strength. Through April and on into May, the opposing forces fenced and sparred, sending out patrols and raiding parties for prisoners and information The German "Anzio Express" and smaller guns constantly kept the beachhead under fire, causing casual ties and keeping nerves stretched taut. Finally, on 24 May, 1944, the Anzio beachhead which had smoldered so long, burst into flame and exploded in the faces of the Germans. Behind tremendous air and artillery preparations, the. race for the Eternal City was on. The woth Battalion was initially given the mission of protecting the VI Corps' right flank along the Mussolini Canal, with a frontage that eventually reached 14,ooo yards. The great drive rolled on until the 2d of June, when the enemy put up a last ditch defense around Lanuvia and La Torretto, creating a bulge in the 34th Division's line which had to be reduced, and the battalion was ordered to take on the job. After an intense 36-hour battle in which the 10oth suffered 15 killed, 63 wounded, and one missing, the line was cracked and the Road to Rome was open. For this single action, six members of the battalion were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and one, the Silver Star. About noon of 3 June, Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Singles, who had assumed command of the battalion at the beachhead, was put in command of a task force This force crushed the last German resistance in the sector. The next day the task force began to roll. They swept through Arricia and Albano, marching, riding when they could on what they could, until they were ordered to stop eleven kilometers from Rome while armor took up the chase. At 2200 hours, 5 June 1944, the woth Battalion boarded trucks and rolled through Rome, along with the rest of the Red Bull Division until .that outfit was finally relieved after the capture of the old port of Civitavecchia, many miles from the Eternal City. It was there that the 442d Combat Team caught up with the woth in the middle of June, having come from l':laples through Anzio and Rome. There also the woth became the First Battalion of the 442d Combat Team, which was only -14-


fitting, since the original 1st Battalion of the 442d had been bled dry to furnish replacements for the woth during the long winter campaign. This was the beginning of an association that was to become famous through two armies : The 442d Infantry Regiment, the 522d Field Artillery Battalion, and the 232d Combat Engineer Company. Men o/the IOOTH INFANTRY BATTALION mox ing up to the/ronlin the Ve/fetri area. -16-


THE 4 4 2ND ROME TO THE Section Ill COMBAT TEAM ARNO-"AIRBORNE" Several days after the woth Battalion had been attached to the 442d Combat Team, the two merged in a bivouac area a few miles from the port of Civitavecchia. The Red Bull Divi sion had been pulled up short for a rest in this area while the 36th Division took up the chase of the retreating enemy. Here the troops trained until 2 r June, when they entrucked and moved to another bivouac area southwest of Grosetto. From here, reconnaissance was instituted and final prepara tions were made to take the unit into combat Five days later, on the 26th, the regiment was committed to action in the vicinity of Suvereto. the 2d Battalion passed through the 142d Infantry The 3d Battalion passed through the 5 17th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The woth Battalion was being held in reserve. The regimental objective was a key road junction beyond the town of Sassetta. On the left, the 3d Battalion advanced slowly, against stiff small arms resistance, although artillery fire was light. On the right, the 2d Battalion s advance slowed and stopped in the face of murderous artillery fire. At this point, around 1200 hours, the woth was committed, driv ing through a gap between the two assault battalions to seize the high ground around Belvedere, and cut the SuveretoSassetta road. Immediately, A and B companies swung northeast to seize a hill which the Germans had neglected to cover and which overlooked Belvedere. From here they observed the enemy's defensive positions, and several artillery pieces which had been shelling the 2d Battalion. Company A now launched an attack on Belvedere and Company B swung back to cut the road south of the town. This assault on their flanks and rear completely demoral ized the enemy, and the defenders were quickly chopped up in small groups and annihilated or captured with all their arms and equipment. The bag for the day was one SS battalion completely destroyed. The 3d Battalion, continuing the frontal attack, had -17-


cleared Suvereto at I soo hours, and the regiment pushed out along the Suvereto-Sassetta road in a column of battalionsIooth, 3d, and 2d. For the Belvedere action, the woth Bat talion was later awarded a Presidential Citation. The following day, the woth stormed into Sassetta, while the 3d Battalion executed a flanking movement and seized the high ground overlooking the town from the north. The 522d Field Artillery Battalion, Cannon Company, and the massed mortars and machine guns of the woth and 3d Battalions supported the attack, picking off enemy stragglers and nipping one counterattack in the bud. Following this breakthrough, the Combat Team, less the 3d Battalion, went into division reserve near Bibbona to rest for a day or two and meditate on some of the lessons the new men had learned in their first few days of battle; lessons that proved valuable in some of the bitter days that came later. Probably the most important thing the young regiment dis covered, much to everyone's surprise, was the fact that advice, even from battle-wise veterans, was well-meaning but practi cally useless. A well-trained soldier acquires his final polish in battle, and in no other way. The experience had proved fatal to some, but to most of the men it had been the best teacher of all. Meanwhile, the 3d Battalion had been swung far to the right of the division sector to block against a possible counter attack from the northeast, where the I st Armored Division had opened a gap between the two divisions. When this threat failed to materialize, the 3d Battalion rejoined the Combat Team. All three battalions crossed the Cecina River on I July with the 2d and woth in assault, and drove north to cut off an important road junction five miles northeast of Cecina. The objective was secured after the 522d Field Artillery and the regimental Cannon Company poured a paralyzing concentra tion of fire on the German troops defending there. The following day, the regiment pushed on to cut the east-west road from Castellina to the sea. Here, however, the enemy elected to put up his most determined stand since his defenses before Rome, and the attackers ran into a storm of fire of all types. Our troops were limited to small gains for the :____ 18-




next two days, though they kept up a steady pressure against the enemy. On 4July, the 3d Battalion moved in to relieve the woth; the 2d and 3d Battalions went on to giind out a costly yard by yard advance against Hill 140 and the ridge line running west from it to the coastal plain. By the afternoon of the 5th, the 3d Battalion had overrun strong enemy defenses dug into the caves, and the 2d Battalion, after two days of butting into the enemy's interlocking fires on a hillside that contained little cover and no concealment, stormed and seized their part of Hill 140 in a vicious night attack before dawn of 6 July Enemy casualties on the positions overrun by the regiment approximated 2so. Here the woth Battalion swung around the right flank of the 2d, and driving abreast of the 3d, cut the Castellina road and cleared Castellina by the evening of the 7th. Still the enemy gave ground grudgingly, and it became evident that here in these hills and not in the port itself would the battle of Leghorn be fought. Accordingly, the regiment settled down to its task and battled the enemy where he chose to stand, seeking to destroy his defenses The 2d Battalion relieved the 3d on the 10th of July, and the woth and 2d again jumped off abreast w i th the mission of clearing the hilltop town of Pieve di San Luce. They had ad vanced only a short distance when they were stopped decisively by heavy fire from their objective and from Pas tina, which lay in the hills to the right front of the woth. Immediately the woth took to the high ground to clear Pastina, while the 2d Battalion dug in in the valley below and hung on against all the artillery the enemy could muster. After a two-day battle, Pastina fell at 2300 hours 12 July to the combined efforts of the woth and deadly spot shooting by the 522d Field Artillery Battalion. Here the 3d Battalion took over again from the woth and drove north, abreast of the 2d Battalion, as far as Lorenzano, where the advance spluttered and ground to a halt against one of the enemy's inevitable hill positions. On 14 July the 168th Infantry relieved the 3d Battalion in front of Lorenzano, leav ing that battalion free to swing back to the left of the sector and replace the 2d Battalion on the night of the 15th. In the meantime, the IOoth Battalion had passed to con trol and was driving northwest on the OrcianoLeghorn road, -20-


establishing a series of roadblocks to protect the left flank of the regiment and at the same time to threaten the city of Leghorn itself. The 3d Battalion, 442d, having relieved the 2d Battalion, drove north for the little hilltop town of Luciano, which controlled the roadnet around Leghorn. At Luciano, the enemy had chosen to make his stand. All through the r6th and nth, the battle for the town raged. The 522d and other elements of division artillery poured thousands of rounds into the defenders' positions. The 232d Engineer Company, with assistance from the division engineers, worked under small arms fire co clear mines so that the ammunition and supplies could come up. The 2d Battalion had moved up the ridge to the left and rear of Luciano, clearing enemy positions there, and covering that flank. Luciano fell the night of the 17th, and the following day, the 3d Battalion swept on, liberated Colle Salvetti, and occupied the last high ground south of the Arno River. Ob servation Posts could see the famed Leaning Tower of Pisa in the distance. The same day, Leghorn was entered with little opposition by elements of the 91st Division, followed by the woth Battalion, 442d. Both the 2d and 3d Battalions now pushed cautiously out, finally setting up an Outpost Line of Resistance along Highway 67 on the 2oth of]uly, while the woth occupied and policed Leghorn. One patrol from the 3d Battalion penetrated the southern outskirts of Pisa the night of the 2oth and returned 36 hours later with a great deal of valuable information on defenses in the city. On the 22d, the regiment, less the woth, was relieved and closed into an assembly area near Colle Salvetti; from there, it moved to a division rest area around Vada on the 24th, being joined by the woth the next day. In this area the rooth Battalion (Separate) was redesignated as the woth Bat talion, 442d Infantry Regiment, effective 10 August 1944, and was reorganized as such. After a long, pleasant rest. together with some training around Vada, the Combat Team was detached from the 34th Division and assigned to IV Corps. The woth Battalion was sent to take up a line along the Arno River four kilometers east of Pisa, while the remainder of the 442d Combat Team -21-


{ -r. ..;ill' -""l-:-'------=c..--_ ____


moved into the 85th Division sector near Castelnuovo, nth August, only to be detached the following day and sent to the veteran II Corps' 88th Division. On the 2oth, the 2d and 3d Battalions moved into line along the Arno near Scandicci, im mediately west of Florence. Now began a period of intensive patrolling and much activity. Reconnaissance patrols probed the enemy's positions day and night, while night raiding parties forded the Arno River to take prisoners and gain information on the enemy' s dispositions. The purpose of all this activity was to give the Germans an impression of great strength and to screen major troops movements elsewhere on the Army front. This fencing and probing continued until I September, when the entire Fifth Army front exploded into action. The drive for the Gothic Line had begun. The 2d and 3d Battalions forced a crossing of the Arno in this sector, pushing north astride Highway 66. Many miles to the west, the woth Bat talion also forced a crossing in the Pisa sector. All elements were relieved shortly thereafter, and subsequently assembled at Rosignano Later the regiment less its vehicles embarked at Piombino for Naples to begin the first leg of the journey to France. On the 26th of September, the men of the Combat Team boarded Coast Guard troop transports in the Bay of Naples and turned their faces toward the French shores and the Seventh Army. The AntiTank Company was detached from the Combat Team 15 July 1944 and ordered to join the 1st Airborne Pro visional Division (later the 1st Airborne Task Force) south of Rome. This was effected and the company was reorganized for glider operations. Training began 28 July and lasted until 14 August, D-1, for the strike at Southern France. Fifteen Aug ust, the gliders carrying Anti-Tank Company, newly equipped with jeeps and British six-pounders, took off. Landing was effected on the French coast around Le Muy, and the troops took up blocking positions to protect the paratroops who had landed ahead of them. Here they remained until the nth when troops of the 45th and 36th Division broke through from the beach to relieve them. -22-


Still supporting the 5I7th Parachute Infantry, the com pany then took part in the drive toward the Franco-Italian border, jumping off from Le Muy, I8 August. The drive continued against scattered enemy resistance until the force ran into strong defensive positions around Col du Braus, overlooking the border town of Sospel. This was reduct:d by early September. On I I October, Anti-Tank Company was de tached from the 517th, given a rest, and sent back to rejoin the Combat Team. The company returned to regimental con trol 26 October I944, in time to assist in the battle to relieve the "lost battalion. R ifle Squad of the 2ND BATTALION present arms in honor of their fallen comra deJ in the Cecina area 2 4 -


S e ction IV THE BATTLE OF BRUYERES II LOST BATTALION II II THE CHAMPAGNE CAMPAIGN II Following the trip across from Naples, and a losing battle with wind, rain, and an alien sort of mud that seemed to be largely glue at the staging area near Marseille, the 442d Combat Team moved toward the Seventh Army front not far from Epinal. All elements except the 3d Battalion made the trip by motor. The 3d rattled up the Rhone Valley in a weird assortment of "40 and 8 boxcars, some with and some without roofs to keep out the constant drizzle. After a three-day breathing spell during which the Combat Team was attached to the 36th Division and commanders reconnoitered the sector, the woth and 2d Battalions began the attack on the key road and rail center of Bruyeres The 3d then closed in in reserve behind the rooth. The 522d Field Artillery Battalion was in direct support, and the 232d Combat Engineer Company played its usual role, lifting mines and reducing blocks so supplies could move. The attack launched on the 15th progressed slowly all that day and the next, consisting of a yard by yard advance in the face of a determined enemy. Heavy mortar and artillery shells burst in the trees overhead, raining steel on the dough boys below who could find few ways to protect themselves from the vicious tree bursts Illustrative of the caliber of resis tance is the following On the morning of the r6th, the woth Battalion, attacking on the left, had presumably cleared a roadblock. After the battalion had passed on, a few enemy diehards cut loose a blast of small arms fire on the engineer party that came forward to remove it causing five casualties. The engineers withdrew to cover, reorganized, and promptly launched an attack on the defenders, driving them out. They then proceeded with the day's work of blasting out the tangle of logs, wire, and mines that made the road impassable. This was indeed a new and more devastating war than any our troops had previously experienced. -25-


By noon of the nth, the woth Battalion had advanced as far as the first of four conical hills that towered over Bruyeres. The 2d Battalion on the right kept pace, driving back two determined counterattacks and launching an attack on Hill "B," second of the four hills. Meanwhile, the 3d Battalion swung quietly into position on the right of the 2d Battalion on the night of the nth. The following morning, all three bat talions mounted a battering-ram attack behind a screen of fire from the 522d and other elements of division artillery. Hill "A" fell to the woth at 1400 hours that day, yielding more than 30 prisoners, and by the end of the day, Hill "B" had fallen to the combined efforts of the 2d and 3d Battalions. L Company of the 3d Battalion had also pushed into the north end of Bruyeres and was proceeding to a linkup with the 143d Infantry, which had attacked the town from the south. Hill "D" fell to the 3d on the 19th, and Hill "C," now somewhat in rear of the advancing troops, fell to the Iooth on the 2oth. The rear areas of both the 2d and 3d Battalions had now developed into a bedlam, with large pockets of enemy troops (left on Hill "D" and by-passed in the attack) opening fire on the reserve companies and command posts. Consequently, when the leading elements were held along the railroad line two kilometers east ofBruyeres, the reserve companies slowly reduced the resistance in the rear. Resistance along the railroad embankment had developed somewhat slowly, but when the battalions were in complete contact with the enemy position, the battle mounted in fury. The Germans, aided by extensive minefields sown in the wooded ground before the embankment, thrust back every attempt of the assaulting troops to drive them out. It now became evident that, having lost Bru}leres, the enemy was 1 determined to hold this last high ground before the valley I running south from St. Die. After repeated failures on the part of our troops to secure a foothold across the embank-ment, it was decided that a direct frontal assault would be too costly. In line with this decision, the regimental commander formed a task force comprised of Companies F and L, companies of the leading battalions. He then placed Major Emmet L. O'Connor, 3d Battalion executive officer, in com--26-


mand, and formed the staff and command group from personnel of regimental and 3d Battalion headquarters This task force moved without detection during the night of 20 October to a position in the enemy's left rear. At dawn of the 2 I st, the commander launched his attack after a preparation of prearranged fires controlled by a forward observer with the task force. Three hours after this surprise assault, the 2d and 3d Battalions attacked the enemy's main line of resistance Caught in this deadly pincers, those enemy troops not killed by small arms or caught in the devastating artillery fire, fled. The task force sustained only two casualties, so great was the surprise they enjoyed. For this action, Companies F and L, with the task force command group, were awarded a Presidential Citation by the War Department. As the attack continued in force, the 2d and 3d Battalions advanced and cleared the hill mass southeast of Belmont. The Iooth crossed the ridge preparatory to launching an attack on Biffontaine on the other side. Meanwhile, an armored task force had occupied Belmont. Resistance continued heavy on the 22d, even though the enemy was slowly forced to with draw. By-passed groups of enemy made supply difficult; in the case of the woth, it was almost impossible It was only through a determined effort by a carrying party, protected by a platoon oflight tanks, that this battalion was supplied at all. The following day, the IOoth launched an attack on Biffontaine, while the other two battalions continued to mop up the recently reduced hill mass. Biffontaine fell late on the 23rd. Twenty-four Octo ber, all elements of the Combat Team were relieved by other units of the Texas Division, and withdrawn to the vicinity of Belmont for a rest. Though the area was still under shell fire from the enemy's heavy guns, some relaxation was achieved On the 26th of October, Colonel Pence was directed to relieve the 3d Battalion, I4I st Infantry, with one battalion, 442d Infantry, and elected to send the 2d into the line The relief was effected at 0300 hours on 26 October on the extreme left of the division sector. The following day, however, the entire Combat Team was ordered into the line in an effort to relieve pressure on the 1st Battalion, I 4 I st Infantry. In a push down the long heavily-wooded ridge that extended sout:heast and dominated the valley from Biffontaine to La Houssiere, the -n-


1st had overextended itself and had been cut off by strong enemy forces. Moving quickly, the 3d and IOoth Battalions pushed off from Belmont in pitch darkness at 270400 October. By woo hours they had passed through the remainder of the I4ISt, which had been trying to break through to its besieged troops. The 442d launched its attack, battalions abreast, with the woth on the right. Progress was slow on the 27th. The terrain was next to impossible, heavily forested and carpeted with a dense growth of underbrush. Fighting went back to the days of America's Indian wars; every tree and every bush were carefully investigated before the troops passed on. Then, abruptly, the enemy drove the friendly troops off the high ground to the left flank of the 3d Battalion, opening that battalion to two major counter105 mm HOU'itzer of the REGIMENTAL CANNON COMPANY firing a mission in support of attack to reliet1e the "LOST BATTALION. -28-


attacks, supported by a Mark IV tank and an armored car. Only after three hours of violent action were the troops able to beat off the threat and disable the tank. The following day, both battalions continued the drive forward in the teeth of stubborn resistance and heavy artillery and mortar fire. Casualties went up and up, caused largely by tree bursts, from which there was no escape. Our own artillery was active, and the Cannon Company and 4.2 mortars performed yeoman service, but the Germans were below ground, while our troops were up and moving forward At the end of the day, the regiment was 1, 500 yards nearer to the "lost battalion," but only at terrible cost in men and materiel. During the night, biting cold and rain kept the men from resting. On the 29th, the regiment jumped off again, cleared one knoll, and ran into the enemy's main defensive position thrown astride the ridge where it was so narrow that maneuver was impossible. Any attack was hopelessly canalized into a direct frontal assault. In the meantime, word had come to the bat talion command posts that the situation of the "lost battalion" was becoming desperate. Relief must be effected immediately. Consequently, a position that would normally have taken two days to reduce had to be reduced at once. At the time of the attack, the 3d Battalion was directly under the enemy posi tions. The woth had dropped back to the right rear of the 3d and was not in a position to attack, due to the narrow conformation of the ridge. The commanding officer of the 3d Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred A. Pursall, therefore, elected first to turn the enemy's right flank, but the bluff there was so steep tht the men could not maneuver or move quickly. The enemy easily turned back the thrust. While the men regrouped, a platoon of tanks came up; supported by direct fire from the 75s, the troops were able to advance some distance in an attempt at infiltration before they were pinned down by the enemy's relentless small arms and mortar fire. There they remained, unable to advance, unable to turn back; they could look for no other support than that which they already had. Here was a situation in which battle craft and the weight of supporting fires were worse than useless All the weapons of modern warfare were available but could not be effectively employed. There was one chance left. The battalion took it. As -29-


the word to fix bayonets came down the line, I and K Com panies moved forward in the assault, firing from the hip. Men fell; others took their places. The dead lay where they had fallen, inches from enemy holes, over enemy gun barrels, inside enemy dugouts. The remnants of the enemy force that had so confidently held the positions a short 30 minutes before threw down its arms and fled. For once, there was no counter attack, only the interminable artillery. In a surprise move three thousand yards to the left rear, the 2d Battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel] ames M. Hanley, had taken an important hill which the enemy had neglected to secure in sufficient strength. The 2d reached the top of the hill and stormed down on the unwary Germans. The hill fell and the battalion left a hundred enemy dead behind them, taking 55 prisoners. This was a fitting climax to a struggle equally as long and hard as that which had occupied the other two battalions. On the 30th, although the back of the German resistance had been broken and infantry action was sporadic, the artillery kept pouring in. Finally, at I 500 hours that day, with the 3d and rooth Battalions moving as much abreast as possible, a patrol from I Company, led by Technical Sergeant Takeo Senzaki, made contact with the "Lost Battalion." Shortly thereafter, the main bodies linked up. The impossible had been accomplished. The next day the IOoth.deployed south to protect the right flank and regimental supply route. This move enabled the 3d Battalion to advance to the division objective, the end of the long ridge, poking like a giant finger into enemy territory. On 1 November, the 3d consolidated its gains and dug in against artillery fire which came in day and night, at times adding up to hundreds of rounds pouring in from the front and both flanks in a single barrage. On the 3d and 4th, the 2d Battalion returned to control of the regiment and took up positions to the left rear of the 3d, protecting this flank. The regiment now assumed the shape of an arrow, still pointing at the enemy's heart. Mean while, the 522d zeroed in protective fires, and the 232d Engineers labored day and night to keep the one supply route open, working under fire to lay logs and planks for. miles through the sea of mud that had once been a trail. The 3d Battalion tried until the 8th to clear the hill to the -30-


18 I I I 1!-o ...


valley below, finally succeeded in clearing part of it with the aid of the 2d Battalion's G and E Companies, but the effort was too great. Average company strength in the regiment was 3 5 men. Company I had a total of five riflemen, plus a few men from the weapons platoon. Company K was commanded by S/Sgt. Tsutomu Yoshida, a squad leader (later'lieutenant). The regiment was relieved on the 8th and moved to the Lepanges area, out of artillery range, on the 8th and 9th. Here the men washed, drew new clothes and gradually assumed the semblance of human beings again. On the 10th, the woth wa.S detached, sent to another rest area, and subsequently ordered south to the Maritime Alps sector under Seventh Army con trol. The morning of the 13th, the regiment took over holding positions on the division left flank, with the 2d Battalion on line and the 3d Battalion in reserve. There they remained until the 17th. For these few days, weather was the worst enemy. Then the Combat Team pulled back to Docelles, leaving there the following day for Nice. They carried with them a commenda-. cion from the Commanding General, 36th Division, and more important to the men, the respect and admiration of the division s doughboys .. The month the Combat Team spent with the 36th Division had been a month of great heroism and great tragedy. At the time they went into the lines, these had been the only fresh troops the Seventh Army possessed. They were committed agail).st an enemy whose orders were to hold to the last man. In destroying this enemy, the Combat Team was so badly battered that it was impossible to go on without reinforcements, and these were not forthcoming. Perhaps if it had not been for the urgency of the mission to reach the "lost battalion" casualties would have been lower, but even this is doubtful. Suffice it to say that the 442d Combat Team contributed mightily to the drive of the Seventh Army when its contribution was needed most. That, after all, is the highest accolade of any regiment of infantry. After a three-day run down the flooded Rhone Valley by truck, the Combat Team closed into an assembly area near Nice the night of 2 r November, expecting several days rest before being committed to action. Instead, it was found that the 'woth was already holding a sector high in the mountains to the north -32-


of Nice, near St. Marrin Vesubie. Two days later, on the 23d, the remainder of the Combat Team was sent into line, occupy ing a line between the coast resort of Menton and the little town ofPiera Cava, ski mecca 20 miles to the north. The rooth held the coastal area, having been relieved in the north; the 3d held the center sector around the Franco-Italian border town of Sospel, and the 2d Battalion held the Piera Cava region. Although battalions rotated, the regiment held the same sector throughout the winter on the Riviera. Although this was in many ways a forgotten front, it was vitally important. A determined German push here could conceivably have carried down the coast, disrupting Allied installations as far west as Marseille. The Combat Team, attached for operations to the 44th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade, was assigned the mission of defending the area against such an eventuality, and of patrolling aggressively to keep the German 34th Division, posted across the border in Italy, worried and off balance. This was accomplished by the use of frequent patrols and raiding parties, as well as occasional "shoots" by the 522d Field Artillery, the regimental Cannon Company and supporting 75's and medium artillery. Here the regiment stayed for four months. There was little action, but men were killed and wounded. The medics still performed their heroic service, and the supply reams, operating with borrowed pack mules, kept the food and equipment going up to the men on their lonely mountain outposts. Still, there was time for play. Rest centers opened in Nice and Cannes, and, while the weather and quantities of mines were not conducive to lolling on the beach, there were girls and dancing, lights and music, and a chance to forger the war for a few days in hotels once inhabited by the world s idle rich. As all good things must, this also came to an end. In March, word got around that the outfit was moving out. Rumors flew, for the destination was a closely kept secret. CBI? Italy? The States? After much speculation, a French division rook over the Combat Team's sector, relief being completed r6 March I 94 5. The 5 22d Field Artillery Battalion was separated from the Combat Team and sent north to help support the Seventh Army's jump across the Rhine. The men regretted the loss as they had learned to respect the shooting abilities of their mares -33-


and the ability and gallantry of the forward observer parties. Shortly before the relief was effected, Colonel Charles W. Pence, still suffering from an injury received in the fighting in the Vosges, had also been ordered to other duties, to be replaced by his executive, Colonel Virgil R. Miller. Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Singles, commanding the rooth Battalion, was also transferred to a new command. Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) Jack E. Conley took command of the battalion. Lieutenant Colonel James M. Hanley was named regimental executive officer, and Major Robert A. Gopel took command of the 2d Battalion So, under new management, the unit moved to an assembly area at Antibes, left there March nth, r 8th, and r 9th, arriving in Marseille staging area the same days. Finally, on March 2oth, 2 rst, and 22d, the outfit boarded LST's. Destination: Italy! Preparin x mule train for the trail to s uppl y outpost on the Maritime Alps -_1.:1-


Section V RETURN TO ITALY-MASSA TO GENOA END OF THE WEHRMACHT Debarking at Leghorn, which it had fought for many months before, the Combat Team moved to a Peninsular Base Section staging area near Pisa, and drew entirely new equipment. It then moved, under control of IV Corps, to an assembly area at San Martino, near Lucca. Finally, on 3 April, the Combat Team was detached from ''corps, assigned direct to the Fifth Army, and attached to the 92d Division for opera tions. General Almond assigned the Combat Team the sector from Highway One east to include the Folgorito ridge line, a 3,ooo-foot hill mass which rose abruptly from the coastal plain, dominating Massa, Carrarra, and the great naval base of La Spezia. The mission of the 92d Division with the 442d and 4 7 3d Infantry Regiments attached was to launch an offensive some time before the main weight of the Fifth Army was hurled at Bologna. It was believed that such a move would lead the enemy to divert some of his central reserve, then massed in the Po behind Bologna, to meet this threat to his flank. Under cover of darkness 3 April, the rooth Battalion moved into a forward assembly area in the vicinity of Vallec chia. The 3d Battalion detrucked at Pietrasanta, and marched eight miles over mountain trails to Azzano, a mountain village which was under full enemy observation during daylight. There the unit remained hidden until the next night, when it moved our, led by a Partisan guide, and gained the ridge line between Mount Folgorito and Mount Carchio. This move had been a long gamble on the parr of Colonel Miller, the regimental commander. It was necessary that the troops achieve this ridge line without detection since it was a Herculean task in itself merely to scale the sheer mountain walls. It would have been an impossibility to take the position by storm. Success meant that a position which had resisted the 92d Division for six months would probably fall in two days -35-


Failure meant that the regiment would be forced to make a costly frontal attack on these same positions. Our troops did not fail. Gaining the ridge line, the 3d Battalion jumped off at 050500 April, enveloping the enemy from the rear. At the same time, the Iooth Battalion attacked the enemy positions on the ridge line which ran southwest from Mount Folgorito to the coastal plain. The attacking battalions, having moved toward each other for 24 hours, made contact on Mount Cerretta late the following day. They had been supported by three battalions of artillery plus a very effective air strike, and enemy casualties were extremely heavy. Exploiting the initial advantage, the 2d Battalion had followed the route of 3d during the night of 5 April, and at o610oo swung north from Mount Folgorito to seize Mount Belvedere. This was a long mountain top, having a knoll at each corner and forming a rough rectangle. Resis tance was heavy and the mountain was not occupied by night fall. On the 7th, the IOoth consolidated its gains, while the 3d made an attack on the Colle Piano spur, and the 2d resumed its attack on Mount Belvedere. Elements of the 3d Battalion missed direction and ended up attacking the town of Strinato, but in doing so, captured four heavy enemy mortars, so the time was well lost. These operations continued through the following day, with the 3d Battalion finally clearing Colle Piano and moving down to occupy the valley community of Montignoso. The 2d Battalion launched an early morning attack, cleared Belvedere, and moved on to take Altagnana. In attempting to take Pariana, on the same slope and to the west of Altagnana, F Co. was met by violent resistance and was forced to withdraw until the following morning. Supported by mortar fire, the company then made a coordinated assault, took the town and wiped out the remainder of the crack Kesselring Machine Gun Battalion, which had already been badly mauled. Meanwhile the remainder of the 2d Battalion advanced to the Frigido River line on the 9th. The 3d Battalion advancing abreast and on the left of the 2d, reached a point two miles from the river after reducing an enemy position on Colle .'16-


Tecchione. The worh remained to garrison the Mount Folgotito-Mount Belvedere ridge against enemy positions known to be to the east, or regimental right rear. The advance continued for the next two days with light opposition, the I oath coming from reserve on the I ah to rake over the 3d's place in the line. The 3d Battalion then swumg to the west and entered Carrara, which had already been partly secured by Partisans. The Anti-Tank Company established blocks on main roads to the east. The engineers, trying desperately to keep supply routes open to the advancing troops, lost four bull dozers, all being blown up by deeply buried demolition charges. After consolidating irs positions and allowing a little rime for supplies to catch up, the regiment continued the attack on the 13th. Elements of the I oath Battalion swung toward the coastal sector to make contact with the 4 7 3rd Infantry, bur ran into strong enemy pockets that had been by-passed and a stiff fire fight developed. Meanwhile, the remainder of the battalion assembled in Gragnana, from where B Company was sent to The COMBAT ENGINEERS worked long and hard to keep the supply net open -37 -


Casrelpoggio to reinforce the 2d Battalion, which had launched an arrack on Mount Pizzacuro. On I4 April, the resistance in the roorh sector had been cleared only after a full scale arrack by C Company. Early that morning the enemy launched a strong attack on Casrelpoggio, thinking that only the 2d Battalion command group was in the town. On being greeted by a hail of fire from B Company men stationed in strategic buildings, the enemy withdrew in rout after a fierce fire-fight. An entire enemy battalion was badly mauled in this abortive attempt to cur off the 2d Battalion. Assault companies of the 2d then rook Mount Pizzacuro at oc:)oo hours. Our troops were now committed over so wide an area that it was necessary to call on the 232d Engineers to lay aside their bulldozers and occupy La Bandira ridge which domi nated the supply route through Casrelpoggio The engineers relieved I Company in position and held the ridge, successfully driving off one counterattack the attack continued, Mount Grugola being taken by the 2d Battalion while the 'roorh assisted the 4 7 3d in clearing the town of Ortonovo. The 3d Battalion then relieved the 2d and pushed on to Mount Tomaggiora and Pulica, where the advance was stopped. The enemy held this line desperately until the 2oth, having heavily organized this last high ground before Aulla, viral communication center, through which ran all roads from La Spezia to the Po Valley On the 2oth, the 2d and rooth Battalions swung to the right of the 3d Battalion to cut Highway 63 and turned west to rake Aulla and envelope the resistance holding up the division advance. Both battalions ground our a slow costly advance until 23 April, when elements of the 2d Battalion executed a brilliant flanking movement and seized the town of San Terenzo This move resulted in the capture of I I 5 enemy and the rout of a greater number. Many of these prisoners were Italian. It therefore became evident that the Germans were pulling our, leaving their former ally to hold the sack. This was cbnfirmed when the 3d Battalion took the strong point at Mount Nebbione the same day and found only a holding detachment left there. A task force, composed of Companies Band F, was then .18-


formed to exploit the apparent breakthrough. This force then drove down to seize the high ground south of Aulla, which fell on the 25th with comparatively little resistance as the task force and 2d Battalion linked up. For the next two days as much of the regiment as trucks could be found for followed the advance of the 473d, which had exploited the breakthrough and was now driving on Genoa. Finally, on the 27th, the regiment was ordered to flank Genoa from the north, seize Busalla, and block the pass at Isola del Cantone to the north, so as to cut off the enemy' s escape route to Turin. The rooth immediately moved out on this mission, occupying Busalla at rooo hours of the 28th after an all night foot march, inasmuch as it was impossible to repair bridges in time to get trucks across. Late the same afternoon, the 3d entered Genoa, riding commandeered street cars. Elements of the 3d had also accepted the surrender of a thousand enemy in the hills directly to the southeast even as Genoa was being entered. \ E N D o/THE WEHRMACHT 40-


The battalion then set up defensive positions to the north and west of the city, where it remained in occupation until the cessation of hostilities. On the 29th, the woth moved into regimental reserve at Bolzaneto, while the 2d passed through its positions and occupied Alessandria, where it accepted the surrender of over r,ooo enemy from nearby towns The following day, the regimental Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon, with a section of H Company's machine guns attached, raced north and entered Turin, which was held but not entirely subdued by the Partisans. While this had been going on, by-passed pockets of enemy had outdone each other in the race to surrender to the Americans. At long last, on 2 May, the end came to the Wehrmacht in Italy. To the once great army that had fought so bitterly from Salerno to the Po, that had used every strategem in the book to delay the inevitable, there were no tricks left; only the bitter taste of final defeat. For the men of the Fifth, among them the 442d, the long hard years were over; with victory came the hope that now, if they were lucky, they might live out their lives in peace, peace that so many had suffered and died for. -/jJ-


Section VI THE FORGOTTEN MEN In any summary of this type it is impossible to cover adequately the contributions that individuals and supporting units make to the victories of an entire combat team. To the infantryman, the combat aid men have been the unsung heroes of this war. There have been no other troops in the combat team who have suffered more casualties or earned greater respect than the "medics." These troops were unfailing in their treatment of the wounded. Unarmed, they exposed themselves to fire times without number, moving through barrages that pinned the infantry to the ground. Where the wounded were, no matter how far in front, there were the aid men and litter bearers. Nor were these activities limited to the medical detachment. When casualties were heavy and there were no roads, litter bearers came from Anti-Tank Company, Service Company, Regimental Headquarters Company, the 2o6th AGF Band, and from the battalion headquarters com panies. These men laid down their arms and went forward to aid in the evacuation of the wounded. There was always danger. There was always the back-breaking labor of carrying a wounded man over hundreds of yards of broken ground. Still the litter teams went out and always the wounded came back. No single group of men deserves more recognition or greater praise. Wire crews also worked night and day to keep communi cations operating. Theirs was a vital function, for without this lifeline, the regiment was lost Under fire, they spliced wires, laid new lines, repaired equipment, worked 24 hours a day for days on end. To these men and to the radio crews only one tribute need be paid: communications worked when they were needed. One of the great combinations that have been brought to perfection in this war is the infantry-artillery team. Between them, the 522d Field Artillery Battalion and the Regimental Cannon Company fired over 2oo,ooo rounds of in support of the infantry. Time and again the forward observers blasted a path for the doughboys through enemy positions --12-


Not infrequently, they were able to drive the enemy back or break up counterattacks by sheer weight of metal alone. Credit also goes to the 232d Combat Engineers, who, more than any others, kept the supply routes open. They neutralized mines, repaired roads and bridges At times they were called on to build roads where none existed before When the situation demanded it, they laid aside their tools, took up their rifles, and coolly went into the lines as infantry And there were others: the Supply Sections of the various battalions, and Service Company, leading jeeps or mules with equal facility and carrying rations on their backs when grave emergencies arose. The men who kept the jeeps and trucks on the road deserve recognition here as do the cooks and supply sergeants The clerks, though they did not fight, saw that the records of the fighting men were in order. This, then, is what we mean by a combat team. Every man on that team is vital and necessary to it, from the regimental commander to the last Kitchen Police. If each man does his job, you have a team that will not be beaten Such was the 442d Combat Team. DECORATIONS The following decorations have been presented to Japanese-American troops for action in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations, as of 7 Aug I 94 5 : Distinguished Unit Citation .) Distinguished Service Cross 42 Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit I ) Silver Star 249 Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star 5 Soldiers Medal I I Bronze Star 579 Oak Leaf Cluster to Bronze Star 24 Army Commendation I 3 Division Commendation 62 Total 1002 -U-


0 ..... (') ..,., 0 3 "' n1l 1t c:l."' ::s ... '< :::!'. \Q "" 2" r::r .g s c :s !:> I WIA KIA DOW MIA WIA CASUALTY TABLE Not Hospitali zed 0 EM 0 EM 0 EM 0 EM 0 EM NAPLESFOGGIA ( lOOTH BN, only) Sep43-21Jan44 ..... 7 111 21 3 20 390 ROME-ARNO ( lOOTH BN & 442d CT) 25 Jan-8 Sept 44 . 16 192 31 2 15 64 771 18 119 SOUTHERN FRANCE (AT Co, 442 CT, only) 2 RHINELANDVOSGES (442d CT) 10 Oct 20 Nov 44 . 7 1 3 5 1 1 7 4 38 47 824 22 299 RHINELAND-MARITIME ALPS (442d CT) 21 Nov 44-17 Mar 45 1 7 3 1 1 4 49 4 39 POVAill:Y (442 d CT, less 522d FA) 5 Apr-8 May 4 5 . 4 89 8 3 20 442 I 10 392 TOTAL 35 534 1 80 7 60 155 2478 54 849 KEY : KIA Killed in action MIA Missing in action IIA-In j ured in action. DOW-Died of WIA-Wo unded in action. IIA 0 EM l i I I I 5 27 6 38 1 1 2 2 26 2 4 58 1 4 163