WWII Journals of Walton Van Arsdale 79th Division, 311th Field Artillery
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79th Division
Cross of Lorraine
ensignia of the 79th


about...
The 79th Division and the 311th Field Artillery Battalion
in World War II
At left: Helmet with 79th Div. insignia, Easter card with 79th imagery sent from Col. Van Arsdale to his family in March 1945, shoulder patch of insignia, Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal

Excerpt from "79th Infantry Division in WWII ":

After arriving in England, the division crossed the English Channel and landed across Utah Beach, France. On 14 Jun 44, the division attacked toward Cherbourg with the 313th and 315th Infantry on 19 Jun 44, and reached the outer fortifications of the fortress-city the following day. The division began its main assault 22 Jun 44 as the 313th Infantry drove against the strongpoint at La Mare á Canards. The 314th Infantry captured Fort du Roule on 26 Jun 44.

The division left Cherbourg and moved south to hold defensive lines along the Ollonde River until 2 Jul 44. The division then pushed down the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula in driving rain and took La Haye-du-Puits after repelling German counterattacks on 8 Jul 44. It crossed the Ay River behind the 8th Infantry Division on 26 Jul 44 and took Lassey the next day, capturing Laval on 6 Aug 44. It sped past Le Mans on 8 Aug 44 and established a bridgehead near Mantes-Gassicourt over the Seine River 20 Aug 44, which it held against German counterattacks 22-27 Aug 44. It moved forward with the 2nd Armored Division and crossed the Therain River at the end of the month.

The division then concentrated in the Joinville area on 10 Sep 44, and the 314th Infantry battled through Charmes 12 Sep 44 and forded the Moselle as the 313th Infantry captured Poussay and the 315th Infantry seized Neufchâteau 13 Sep 44. After heavy combat as the division cleared its sector, the offensive resumed on 18 Sep 44. On 20 Sep 44 the 314th Infantry encountered German fire as it reached the Meurthe River near Lunéville attempting to turn the German flank. A battalion crossed the river near St. Clement the next day but had to be withdrawn. The division moved forward despite intense attacks from the Forêt de Parroy, the 315th Infantry losing and then recovering part of Lunéville 22 Sep 44 as the 314th Infantry faced counterattacks at Moncel. The 314th Infantry frontally assaulted Forêt de Monden the following day in heavy combat and the division entered the Forêt de Parroy. The 315th Infantry was temporarily isolated in fighting at the main road junction there on 5 Oct 44. An all-out divisional assault forced a German withdrawal from the forest with the final capture of the main road junction 9 Oct 44.
The division next took Emberménil 3 Oct 44 and battled for the high ground east of the town 15-22 Oct 44. It was relieved in this area 24 Oct 44.

It rested at Lunéville and returned to the attack 13 Nov 44 with the 314th and 315th Infantry out of the Montigny area which carried it across the Vezouse with the capture of Fremonville 19 Nov 44. The division consolidated north of Strasbourg 25 Nov 44 and fought the Battle of Hagenau 9-11 Dec 44.

The division reached the Lauter River at Schiebenhardt on 15 Dec 44, to have an important role in successfully defending against the last major German offensive, launched in the Ardennes and known as Operation Nordwind. The division held defensive lines at Wissembourg until 2 Jan 45. It then moved to the southern portion of the Rhine River held by Task Force Linden (42d Infantry Division). The Germans established a bridgehead at Gambsheim and by 6 Jan 45 the division had battled through Stattmatten to relieve encircled elements of the task force. The division remained on the defensive along the Moder River until 6 Feb 45.
The division went into reserve and detached the 314th Infantry to forward positions overlooking the Roer as a diversion for Operation GRENADE 23 Feb 45. The division crossed the Rhine on 24 Mar 45. It reached the Rhine-Herne Canal against strong opposition 29 Mar 45. The following day the 314th Infantry concluded the drive to Emser Canal and the division established defensive positions there until 6 Apr 45.

The division then relieved the 35th Infantry Division west of Gelsenkirchen and attacked across the Emser and Rhine-Herne Canals on 7 April 45. It reached the Ruhr on 9 Apr 45 and moved against resistance east along the Ruhr, establishing a bridgehead at Kettwig 11 Apr 45. It was relieved the following day and reverted to security duty in the Dortmund area where it was posted when hostilities were declared ended on 7 May 45.

 

 

 

   
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