HISTORY OF THE 351ST INFANTRY REGIMENT FOR THE MONTH OF
2 February 1944
After having been alerted for overseas movement, the 88th division was given a high priority rating and work was begun to replace all unserviceable equipment. Training was intensified with all men engaging in another complete range season of record transitional and combat firing.
Progressive Squad problems which involved the independent movement of rifle squads through a course presenting many variegated situations was held at Camp Cibolo.
On October 25th, 1943, and advanced detail from the 88th Infantry Division departed for overseas. The representatives from the 351st Infantry on the detail were:
Lt. Col. James H. Drake, Regimental Executive Officer
Major Harold MacV Brown, Executive Officer, 2nd battalion
Captain Frank W. Carmen, Jr., Regimental S-1
Captain Trevor E. Williams, S-3 Representative
Captain Durant J. Hartness, Executive Officer, 1st Battalion
Captain John A. Mavrakos, Executive Officer, 3rd Battalion
Captain Glenn R. Bowles, S-4 representative
A detail of 23 enlisted men, selected for their ability to speak either French or Italian, accompany these officers.
The issuance of new clothing and Equipment continued and all men and organizations were fully equipped for combat duty.
October 30th, 1943. Final showdown inspections were held by all units of the first increment to determine serviceability of equipment and complete preparedness of overseas movement.
November 1st, 1943. The first increment of the 88th Infantry Division consisting of Service Company, Headquarters Company, Cannon Company, Anti-Tank Company, Medical Detachment and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 351st Infantry; the 913th Engineer Battalion; Company “A” and Company “C”, 313th Engineer Battalion; Company “C”, 313th Medical Battalion; 88th Division Reconnaissance Troop; and the 788th Ordinance Company, entrained and departed from Fort Sam Houston, Texas for a staging area. Colonel Arthur S. Champney, commanding officer, 351st Infantry, was designated as increment commander.
The increment, shipment number 8629-H, moved by rail and arrived at the staging area, Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, on November 4, 1943.
For the next eight days, a combined program of physical hardening and processing of personnel for overseas movement was carried on. No officers or men were permitted to leave the staging area. On November 9, 1943, the second increment joined the first increment at Camp Patrick Henry.
November 12, 1943. At 0630 hours, the units of the first increment in trained and moved from Camp Patrick Henry to Hampton Roads, Port of Embarkation. At 1335 hours, the Regimental Commander, the Regimental Staff, and the Troops of Headquarters Company, Service Company, Regimental Medical Detachment, Cannon Company and Company “H”, embarked on the U.S.S. Samuel Griffin, a Liberty Ship converted to accommodate both troops and cargo, commanded by Captain Oliver W. Homes. The other organizations of the first increment embarked on six other vessels of a similar type.
The U.S.S. Samuel Griffin, along with the other vessels of the convoy, departed from Hampton roads and move to a rendezvous point off Norfolk, Virginia. During the night, other vessels, including a navy escort, joined the convoy.
At 0100 hours on November 14, 1943, the convoy of 74 vessels began the voyage across the South Atlantic.
The 351st Infantry with attached units form the vanguard formed the overseas movement of the entire 88th Infantry Division. The 88th Division was honored by being the first of the newly activated “selectee” divisions to be sent into a theater of operations for combat duty. A period of only seventeen months had expired from the date of activation, July 15, 1942 until a date of embarkation for overseas movement, November 12, 1943.
The first Battalion as part of the second increment of the 88th Division, departed Fort Sam Houston on November 7, 1943 by rail and moved by rail arriving at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia on November 9, 1943. The second increment left the port of embarkation, November 23, 1943.
The Convoy of the first increment moved southward passing near the Bahamas and then directly east towards the Azores and Africa. With the exception of 6 days, the weather was moderate and the sea calm.
On board all ships, training and identification of aircraft in the insignia of rank in the Allied and enemy armies was conducted. Limited physical training was carried on in order to keep all men in condition for the strenuous work that lay ahead.
On December 2, 1943 the convoy sighted the first land since departure from Hampton roads, and at 0900 hours we passed through the straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean sea.
Throughout the voyage there had been much speculation as to the ultimate destination of the convoy. On December 4th, this question was answered and the convoy entered the harbor at Oran, Algeria, where it laid at anchor all night. The following day, December 5, 1943, the U.S.S. Samuel Griffin docked and the troops, after 22 days at sea, disembarked.
The troops were carried by trucks from the port of Oran to staging area #1, eighteen miles southeast of Oran. For the next 3 days the men were allowed to rest and a small percentage were given passes to visit Oran. Large details supervised the unloading TAT and cargo equipment from the ships in Oran.
December 6, 1943. Captain Frank W. Carmen, Regimental Adjutant since February 1943 was made Company Commander, Company G. 1st Lieutenant Robert Brown was made Regimental Adjutant.
On December 9, 1943, the first increment, less the 913th Field Artillery Battalion and the Anti Tank Company, 351st infantry, which landed at Casablanca, moved by rail and by motor convoy from staging area #1 to a new division bivouac area near the village of Magenta, Algeria.
The new bivouac area had been prepared by the advanced detail under the supervision of Lt. Col. James H. Drake and a well-planned camp with tents pitched awaited our arrival.
The village of Magenta is situated in a wide valley with mountains extending east and west on two sides. The population of the village is about 200 inhabitants mostly Arabs, with a few French.
Immediately behind the bivouac area were the perpendicular slopes of one of the rows of mountains. This was our training area, and the men of the regiment during the stay at Magenta made at least one trip up them each day.
The motor convoy reached magenta 0100 hours, December 9, 1943 and the Battalions, moving by rail in antiquated “40” and “8” cars, arrived at 1330 hours.
December 9, 1943. All men engaged in completing the construction of the camp by digging sumps and latrines.
December 11, 1943. Troops were permitted to go on pass today to the town of Clemson and Sidi Bel Abbes, headquarters of the French Foreign Legion. Twenty percent of the command were granted passes.
December 11, 1943. The second increment arrived at Casablanca and the 1st Battalion went to Camp Don B. Passage, French Morocco.
December 13, 1943. Snow fell this morning and the temperature dropped to 27 degrees. The training program was begun. General Sloan stated that physical hardening, mountain climbing, night work, patrolling and small unit problems up to and including the Battalion, would be our training objectives while at Magenta.
December 16, 1943. A group of officer and non-commissioned officers spent the day at the Bedeau Artillery Range training with the 913th Field Artillery Battalion in the forward observer method of adjustment of Artillery fire.
December 17, 1943. Major Sadler, Captain Mavrakos, Lt. Edmonson, Lt. Lamb, Lt. Sibley, Lt. Richard, Lt. Casper, Captain Williams, and Lt. Noon departed for mine school at St. Denis du Sig, Algeria.
December 22, 1943. The 1st Battalion arrived at Magenta with the Anti Tank Company thus completing the movement of the 351st Infantry.
December 24, 1943. Light training was carried on during the day. Christmas trees were placed in all company streets and Christmas Eve church services were held.
December 25, 1943. Christmas Day. A very different type of Christmas Day was had by the men of the Regiment. Although traditional turkey dinners were served in all messes and church services were held, the frivolity of previous Christmases was lacking and the men spent a quiet Christmas Day.
Colonel Champeny, in a Christmas message to the Regiment, praised the men for their hard work and fine progress, and wished all a Merry Christmas with the hope that next year they would be able to return to their homes, the proud members of a fighting Regiment and a victorious Army.
A group of combat observers were sent from the 88th Division to observe fighting on the Italian front. The following officers represented the 351st Infantry on this detail:
Lt Col, Raymond E. Kendall, C.O. 2nd Battalion
Major Edwin L. Shull, C.O. 1st Battalion
Maro 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
Captain William H. Klein, Jr., Regimental S-4
Captain Edward J. Church, C.O. Company H
1st Lt. Charles D. Edmondson, Regimental S-3 Representative
1st Lt. Grady R. Hamilton, C.O. Company M
Selected non-commissioned officers were sent with this observer group.
During the period from December 20, 1943 to January 27, 1944, a rigorous training program was carried out. Both General Sloan and Colonel Chapmeny emphasized physical hardening and the ability to work at night as the two principal objectives of this program. The nearby mountains offered an excellent training area for conditioning the men for mountain warfare and for familiarizing all officers and men with the tactical and technical requirements of mountainous terrain.
A minimum of three nights a week, night was turned into day and Battalion problems were conducted at night and the men permitted to sleep by day. Many 24 hour problems were held. All units improved their proficiency at different types of maneuvers, the attack, defense, relief, night patrolling and night compass marching.
On January 1, 1944, under the provisions of Special Order #1, Headquarters 88th Infantry Division, the Regiment received an increment of Officers and men from the 1st Replacement Training Center at Canastel to bring the Regiment to ten percent overstrength.
The following named officers were assigned for duty with this Regiment:
2nd Lt Don A. Anderson 2nd Lt Oliver D. Jones
2nd Lt Norman W. Laughlin 2nd Lt Clifford D. Shelin
2nd Lt Robert E. Darling 2nd Lt Henry L. Kil
2nd Lt John J. O’Brien 2nd Lt Frank J. Kowalewski
2nd Lt Leon J. Kalkut 2nd Lt Reese V. Aston
2nd Lt Theodore C. Maszczynski 2nd Lt Joseph X. McCusker
2nd Lt George G. Osborn 2nd Lt Andrew F. Diaz
2nd Lt John Klushank 2nd Lt Irving P. Macauley
2nd Lt Paul V. Culbertson 2nd Lt Joseph C. Fresia, Jr.
2nd Lt Frederic Elwert 2nd Lt Hugh A. Donnelly
2nd Lt William J. Peiters 2nd Lt Jack W. Brown
2nd Lt Robert P. Ellis 2nd Lt Fred S. Farrell
2nd Lt Charles R. Schuesselin 2nd Lt Richard Grousset
2nd Lt William S. Thompson 2nd Lt Harold C. Ehlke
2nd Lt Arthur F.S. Steele 2nd Lt Anthony P. Krumpach
2nd Lt William T. Patterson 2nd Lt Stephen W. Price
2nd Lt Arthur Wallace 2nd Lt George W. Gesso
2nd Lt Andy F. Henry 2nd Lt Carl H. Dorschel
2nd Lt John W. Watkins 2nd Lt Edward Levalley
A range season was immediately initiated in accordance with the high standards of marksmanship proficiency on all weapons required by the Regimental Commander.
All new replacements were given a refresher course in basic training in order to bring them up to the disciplinary and training standards of the 88th Division. Rifle marksmanship was emphasized and a full qualification course was fired by all men of the Bedeau Range.
The 105mm Howitzers and the 57mm Anti Tank Guns fire3d on the Artillery Range throughout this period. Rocket Launchers and Anti Tank Rifle Grenades were fired.
The officers sent to Mine School returned to the Regiment and course in Mine Warfare and Booby Traps were given to all men.
Officers were sent to the Intelligence School at Algiers and to the Camouflage School at Oran and this training was imparted to the men of the Regiment.
January 24, 1944. Information was received of the imminent departure of this Regiment from Magenta. The movement of all organizational equipment to Oran was begun. On January 25th, Lt. Armon M. France, 0-1305231, transferred to 46th General Hospital.
January 26, 1944. Preparation for movement were continued. All pyramidal tents were struck and turned in to the Division Quartermaster.
Captain Durant J. Hartness, O-435363, S-3, 1st Battalion, was injured at 2130 hours while observing training of platoons of 1st Battalion moving through a minefield and was removed to the 64th Station Hospital.
ARTHUR S. CHAMPNEY
Colonel, 351st Infantry