HISTORY OF THE 351ST INFANTRY REGIMENT FOR THE MONTH OF

February 1944

Submitted: 

2 March 1944

Attachments: 

          After the intensive Training Period at Magenta, Algeria, the 351st Infantry moved into Staging Area #2, near Oran, Algeria on February 1, 1944, and began preparations for embarkation and shipment to Italy. Throughout the day, all troops remained in the Staging Area while an advance detachment of Colonel Champeny, Regimental Commander, Captain Brown, S-1, and 75 men embarked aboard the MV Llangibby Castle, a British Merchant Vessel converted to carry troops. Colonel Champeny made the acquaintance of Ship's Master, Captain M. H. Williams, Chief Officer J. Alpin, of Troops, Wing Commander Sheppardson and Adjutant, Flight Lieutenant Newman. Throughout the day, TAT equipment was loaded aboard ship.

         

          Beginning at 0900 hours, February 2, 1944, the troops of 2nd Battalion began embarkation aboard the MV Llangibby Castle, followed by Service Company, Medical Detachment, Headquarters Company and the 1st Battalion, less Company D.

         

          The 3rd Battalion with Company D attached, commanded by Lt. Col. Drake, began embarkation aboard the French Vessel, SS Champolian.

         

          On February 3, 1944, at 0300 hours, the convoy of eight vessels embarked from Mers El Kabir, Oran, moving east along the coast of North Africa. The natives stood on shore and bid us a fond far well in their native chant, -"Hit the road, you bums!"

         

          February 4, 1944. The convoy passed Algiers at 0630 hours continued movement eastward along the North African Coast. A training program consisting of physical training, rules of Land Warfare and Intelligence training was begun aboard ship.

         

          February 5, 1944. At 0930 hours, the convoy passed Cape and Bizerte, at which time the course was changed to northwest moving toward Italy.

         

          February 6, 1944. At 0930 hours, the convoy passed between Isle of Capri and the Italian mainland and entered the Harbor of Naples, docking at 1100 hours. The Llangibby Castle was met by Lt. Col. Raymond E. Kendall, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion, Major David H. Sadler, S-2 and Major William H. Klein, Jr., s-4, and debarkation was begun at 1230 hours. The troops were marched from the Port, through Naples to the Piazza-Garibaldi Station, one and a half miles away, where they entrained moving to Staging Area #1, Peninsular Base Section. The Staging Area billeted all troops in buildings that were previously known as the College of Castanzo Ciano.

         

          The college was actually a high school for poor, crippled children. It was built as a gift to the City of Naples by the Bank of Naples on the 500th Anniversary of the City. The college was taken over by the German Army in 1940 and used as a training center. On the withdrawal of German Troops, the buildings were destroyed but repaired by the American Troops upon occupation.

         

          Advance Detachment sent to Italy as observers, rejoined the regiment. The following named officers represented the 351st this detail:

         

          Lt Col Raymond E. Kendall, C.O. 2nd Battalion

          Major Edwin L. Shull, C.O. 1st Battalion

          Major Charles P. Furr, C.O. 3rd Battalion

          Major David H. Sadler, Regimental S-2

          Captain Clarence R. Meeks, C.O. Anti-Tank Company

          Captain Emory A. Kemper, C.O. Cannon Company

          Captain Edwin L. Marks, Jr., C.O. Company K

          Captain Harold B. Ayres, C.O. Company L

          Captain Carl W. Nelson, C.O. Company F

          Captain Herbert D. Shoemaker, C.O. Company D

          Captain John F. Lanzendorfer, C.O. Service Company

          Captain David R. Jones C.O., Company B

          Major William H. Klein, Jr., Regimental S-4

          Captain Edward J. Church, C.O. Company H

          1st Lt Charles D. Edmonson, Regimental S-3 Representative

          1st Lt Grady R. Hamilton, C.O. Company M

         

          The selected non-commissioned officers who were sent with this observer group also rejoined the Regiment. Staff Sergeant George L. Carmona, 16012362, Company H, 351st Infantry, was reported as missing in action as of 21 January 1944 while observing with the 133rd Infantry, 34th Division, near Cassino, thus becoming the first casualty of this Regiment in this campaign.

         

          February 7, 1944. TAT equipment was moved from the Port of to the Staging Area. An advance Detail commanded by Lt Col Drake and consisting of Companies B, F, L, Anti-Tank and the Wire Section of Headquarters Company, moved to a bivouac area at Piedmonte d'Alife to prepare the bivouac.

         

          February 8, 1944. CT 3 moved by Highway 87, approximately 68 miles to temporary bivouac at Faicchio, near Piedmonte d'Alife, Italy, departing at 0900 hours, closing at 2200 hours.

         

          February 9, 1944. Schools in mountain climbing, pack animals, and pack boards began at 0800 hours. At 1630 hours, orders were received from Commanding General, 88th Infantry Division, to prepare CT 3 for movement to Staging Area #2, Bagnoli, Italy, for embarkation and shipment to the Anzio beachhead. All schools were cancelled.

         

          February 10, 1944. CT 3 moved from bivouac at Faicchio, Italy by Route 87 to the Staging Area at Bagnoli, Italy. Departure: 0430 hours. Closed: 2400 hours.

         

          February 11, 1944. The removal of organizational equipment from ships continued. Cold weather equipment was drawn and issued along with ammunition and rations for five days. Loading plans for troops and vehicles on LSTs and LCIs were made.

         

          February 12, 1944. The supplying of the Regiment for action continued. All vehicles were loaded with combat loads.

         

          February 13, 1944. At 1300 hours, message from Headquarters Fifth Army ordered 351st RCT from Bagnoli Staging Area to Division, Area at Piedmonte d'Alife, Italy. All previous plans were cancelled and an advance party from CT 3 departed from the Staging Area for the Division Bivouac Area at 1430 hours. Order of march: Company: C, 313th Engineers, 913th Field Artillery, Anti-Tank and Cannon Companies.

         

          February 14, 1944. CT 3 closed in bivouac at 0430 hours at Faicchio, Italy. The day was spent preparing the Area.

         

          February 15, 1944. Routine training in mountain climbing, etc., was carried on by all organizations.

         

          February 16, 1944. Colonel Arthur S. Champeny, Major Victor Hobson, Jr., S-3, and Lt Col Raymond E. Kendall, Major Charles P. Furr, and Major Edwin L. Shull, Battalion Commanders, departed from Faicchio, Italy to move to the C.P., 36th Infantry Division and then to make a reconnaissance of the 142nd Infantry Sector in order to plan a proposed attack on Mount Cairo. Afterwards, these officers reported at the forward C.P. of Fifth Army, for a conference.

         

          February 17, 1944. Schools in Mountain Climbing, Mountain Bivouacing and Animal Pack Train Transportation began at Piedmont. The observers returned from the front having completed their reconnaissance in the 36th Division Sector.

         

          February 18, 1944. Tactical exercises for all organizations in extremely mountainous country were carried on and training in the use of German weapons was conducted.

         

          February 19, 1944. Battalion Commanders with their Staffs a selected Company Commanders again visited the 36th Division Sector of the Fifth Army Front.

         

          Excess equipment was stored in Faicchio, Italy. The Combat Team remained on a Fifth Army Alert status for possible employment in the Anzio beachhead sector. Tentative plans were made for the movement of one Infantry Battalion into the line as a replacement for a Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division.

         

          Lt Col Drake, Major Sadler and Lt Crawford while observing from a forward Battalion O.P. in the 36th Division on Mount Caste were subjected to a mortar barrage. Lt Col Drake received very slight wounds in the back, thus becoming the first member of the Regiment to be wounded in action.

         

          On February 20, 1944, rigorous training in Mountain Climbing and Mountain Tactics continued.

         

          On February 21, 1944, at 0745 hours, Colonel Arthur S. Champeny, Major Victor A. Hobson, Jr. and Major David H. Sadler, departed from Faicchio, Italy for a battlefront reconnaissance. while observing action in the forward areas of the 36th Infantry Division, this group of officers underwent heavy enemy artillery shelling.

         

          On February 22, 1944, all Battalions engaged in problems involving the Infantry Battalion in the attack in mountainous terrain.

         

          On February 23, 1944, at a meeting with the AC of S, G-3, Major Hobson was informed that the 88th Infantry Division had been assigned to the II Corps commanded by Major General Keyes. Training objectives for the training period at Faicchio, Italy were out- by Major General Sloan.

         

          February 25, 1944. At 1730 hours, Colonel Champeny and Major Hobson received verbal orders from the AC of S, G-3 to attend a conference with the Division Commander at 1900 hours tonight. All night problems were ordered to be cancelled and the Regiment was alerted for Battle Practice. Verbal orders were issued by the Division Commander at this conference for the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 351st Infantry with Company C, 313th Medical Battalion and one platoon of Company C, 313th Engineer Battalion attached, to relieve 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division from front line positions Maiola, Italy. The Regimental Commander and Staff with Battalion Commanders and Special Company Commanders were ordered to move by infiltration beginning at 0500 hours, February 26, 1944, to the vicinity of the 141st Infantry C.P. to await orders for a reconnaissance of the 141st Infantry Sector.

         

          Orders were issued by the Regimental Commander in compliance with these instructions at a meeting of all subordinate commanders involved at 2030 hours.

         

          February 26, 1944. All previous plans for the proposed relief the 141st Infantry by two Battalions of this Regiment, were cancelled by a telephone order from the Assistant AC of S, G-3 at 1150 hours. Orders were issued that the 2nd Battalion, 351st Infantry only would move at 1430 hours to effect a relief of the 141st Infantry Regiment. Attached to the 2nd Battalion for this mission were the 1st Platoon Company C, 313th Engineer Battalion Company C, 313th Medical Battalion with one platoon of Company D, 313th Medical Battalion.

         

          The first March Unit of the 2nd Battalion crossed the I.P. at 1430 hours. At 2030 hours the first vehicle of the 2nd Battalion convoy reached the detrucking point, about 1/2 mile from San Michele and the last vehicle closed at 2400 hours. The troops marched by foot from the detrucking point, across a valley to the foot of hill 706. While crossing the valley, certain elements underwent heavy artillery shelling.

         

          Company Commanders and Platoon Leaders, after completing their daylight reconnaissance of hill 706 on the 26th of February, returned to the detrucking point and lead the troops into position.

         

          The relief was begun at 0300 hours on February 27, 1944. One of each of the rifle companies of the 2nd Battalion relieved one of each of the Battalions of the 141st Infantry. Company F was the first company to move into position relieving the 2nd Battalion 141st Infantry, Company C next relieving the 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry and Company E the last relieving the 1st Battalion, 141s Infantry. One of the heavy Machine Gun Platoons was placed on line with Company F, while the other Machine Gun Platoon was held in reserve in a draw near the Battalion Command Post. Al .50 Caliber Machine guns were placed in action on the line manned by the Battalion Anti Tank Platoon. The relief was completed at 0830 hours on February 27, 1944.

         

          The 2nd Battalion of the 351st Infantry became the first organization of the 88th Infantry Division to be committed for front line combat duty in World War II. The 2nd Battalion was attached to the 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Algerian Division, French Expeditionary Corps. Colonel Molle was the Regimental Commander of this Regiment.

         

          The 2nd Battalion, 351st Infantry was flanked on the right by the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Algerian Division and on the left by the 7th British Brigade. The troops of the 2nd Battalion, throughout the day of February 27th, rested and improved their positions on hill 706. New O.P.'s and weapons emplacements were prepared. Periodic shelling of the ridge and draws by enemy mortar occurred accompanied by intermittent artillery fire.

         

          February 28, 1944. A reconnaissance patrol from Company E, led by 2nd Lt Herbert Wadopian, was sent out to reconnoiter the ridge and valley to the front of hill 706, in order to locate enemy positions. The patrol departed at 0300 hours and returned 0230. No enemy was contacted.

         

          Another patrol from Company F, led by 2nd Lt Byron Groesbeck with a mission of contacting the French Battalion to the right and returning, departed at 0030 hours and returned at 0300. The command post of the French Battalion was contacted and no enemy was encountered.

         

          During the day, improvements of positions were continued and all weapons of the Battalion were cleaned. Periodic artillery shelling and mortar fire was received from the enemy.

         

          At 2030 hours, an enemy patrol penetrated the Company E Area and was driven out by rifle fire.

         

          February 29, 1944. A reconnaissance patrol, led by 1st Lt Foster C. Burch, was sent out from Company G to reconnoiter the terrain to the front in an effort to locate enemy emplacements. No enemy was seen. During the night, rations and ammunition were transported up to positions by the Battalion Mule Train under the control of the Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon.

         

          There was no enemy action during the day, with the exception of occasional barrages of enemy artillery and mortar fire which continued throughout the night. Enemy patrols endeavored to penetrate the Battalion's position in several places during the night but were driven off.

          

          After 0100 hours, enemy artillery shelling was greatly intensified. All wire communications were blown out and the Battalion wire section worked under fire continuously in order to maintain telephonic communication. Numerous casualties occurred and the Battalion litter teams evacuated casualties under fire from the front line positions down the steep slopes of hill 706.

         

          The Battalion's 81mm mortars fired throughout the night on enemy positions.

         

          Because of the heavy enemy artillery firing, both ammunition and rations were carried on to position after daylight. Throughout the day, enemy artillery activity was slight and no other form of enemy action occurred.

         

          At 2135 hours, the Battalion Commander of the 1st Battalion, 4th Tunisian Regiment, 3rd Algerian Division, with his Company Commanders, arrived at the Command Post of the 2nd Battalion, 351st Infantry in order to reconnoiter the positions and plan to relieve the 2nd Battalion. These Officers were oriented by the Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Raymond E. Kendall and then spent the night at the Battalion Command Post.

         

         

          ARTHUR S. CHAMPENY

          Colonel, 351st Infantry

          Commanding.

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