156th Infantry Regiment

156th Infantry Regiment - US Army

At 2245 hours 8 March 1945, the Staff Duty Officer, this headquarters, received a report from HECP Radar Station “Cosmo” of two unidentified targets at 277 as - 31,000 yards. A second report at 2300 hours, indicated two targets at 264 27,500 yards range. A third report at 2323 hours, stated that targets were reduced to one which was at 253 at 29,00 yards. Two reports at 2346, indicated two targets at 289 18,500 yards range merging to one target at 289 at 18,000. Upon receipt of this information the Regimental Commander called the liaison officer JOC, Headquarters, and received confirmation of reports. Commanding Officer 3rd Battalion (Bn), At Coutainville, was contacted and stated that he had received similar reports from HECP Radar Station “Catbird”.

The Regimental Commander then directed the 3rd Bn, to “Stand To”, pending further information and reports that Hq’s 3rd Bn, was receiving direct from HECP Radar Station “Cat Bird”.

Plotting of Radar reports at Regimental Headquarters, indicated that two targets were due west of Coutainville and considerably to north of first reported targets. The plot of information at hand indicated potential threats in both Coutainville and Granville areas.

The Regimental Commander called the 3rd Bn, at approximately 0005 hours, and ordered the entire 3rd Bn Altered, an increase of patrolling on beach areas between OP’s and alerting of remaining available personnel of Company “M”, at Mont-Martin, and company “K”, at Coutances, for possible employment at either Coutainville or to the south. 3rd Bn CO, was also instructed to alert the Anti-Tank Platoon, of the Anti-Tank Company. Commanding Officer, 1st Bn at Carteret, was informed of the situation and placed on alert status. Commanding Offices, of Regimental Special Units, particularly Cannon company, Anti-tank Company, were alerted and prepared for any movement which might be ordered.

Radar report No 6, received at 0023 hours, indicated two targets at 213 A 18,00 yards. Report No 7 at 0054 indicated same two targets at 197 at 28,500 yards. Report No 8 and last report received at 0055 hours reported one target at 293 as 15,500 yards range.

Regimental Liaison Officer at JOC Hq’s, reported at 0120 hours, that an active fire fight between Naval craft was in progress. Upon receipt of this information, the Regimental Commander directed Anti-Tank Co, one platoon of Cannon Co, and all available reserves personnel of Company “C”, 1st Bn to move to Coutances, and await further orders. The Regimental Commander instructed Liaison Officer at JOC to request the movement of two PC boats from Cap de la Hague, south to the area off Carteret Port.

At approximately 0135 hours, The Regimental Commander with the S-3 departed for 3rd Bn, sector, to establish temporary CP at Coutances, and to take personal command of the operation. Major Levy remains at Regimental Headquarters, Barneville, in command with instructions to move company “C” to Coutances, for further action.

The Regimental Commander with the S-3. arrived at Coutances, at 0240 hours, where he learned from CP 3rd Bn, that now platoon of Co “K” had moved to Granville, and Anti-Tank Platoon of Anti Tank Co, Attached to 3rd Bn had been moved from Coutances to Danville. Action was reported at Granville. The Motor Platoon of Co “M” had been moved from Annville to Granville, at approximately 0115 hours, It was learned that an enemy landing had been made in the port of Granville, and that Company “I” reported firing on and receiving fire from Naval vessel south of Jullouville. The Regimental Commander directed the Regimental S-3 to remain at Coutances and establish a forward regimental CP. He further instructed the S-3 to have the Anti-Tank co, Cannon Co, and Company “C” to move on Granville, without delay, where Regimental Commander would issue further orders. Information was received from Regimental Headquarters at Barneville, that ten scout cars from 0-620 Combat Vehicle Park, Near Cherbourg, had been made available for regimental use. The regimental commander directed that the scout cars be moved direct to Granville and report to him thereat.

The Regimental Commander moved to Granville, arriving there at approximately 0355 hours, at the assembly point of Co’s “K” & “M”. He was informed upon his arrival that the Anti-Tank Platoon of the Anti-Tank Co, which had moved from Coutances to Danville, had fired on a boat target some distance off the beach at Donville, at approximately 0200 hours, and had received heavy fire in return, which was reported by observers to be 105mm caliber. He was further updated that Co 3rd Bn, S-3 3rd Bn and a patrol had moved into the city. The Regimental Commander formed an additional patrol of five men and moved promptly into the town where he met the CO 3rd Bn, returning with a German Krieg-Marine Prisoner. Co 3rd Bn stated that this patrol had entered the city with the support commander thirty minuets earlier and had gone into the port just after the enemy had left the area. The prisoner was captured on the quai after being left behind. All remaining troops were ordered to move into town and 3rd Bn surgeon was instructed to search for and aid casualties. The Regimental Commander proceeded to the Hotel Les Bains, arriving there at 0400 hours. The elements which had been moved from Barnville, arrived on the outskirts of the city and was instructed to detract ad be held in readiness for possible action. They were further instructed to be prepared at daybreak to patrol the entire city searching for Enemy stragglers or any wounded, and establish a cordon around the port to prevent movement of unauthorised personnel in the area.

The Regimental Commander made a reconnaissance of the streets and port area between 0415 and 0500 hours, and discovered mines and booby traps had been left by the enemy raiding party. It was directed that sentinels be posted at such hazards as a safety precaution.During this period the 3rd Bn surgeon checked the hotels, Normandy and Les Bains, evacuating two additional wounded located in the buildings and then reported to the dispensary, where his services were not required. Battalion Surgeon then departed to Cancale to assist in caring for Naval casualties at that point which had resulted from another phase of this operation.

At 0630 Company “C” move into the city and organise patrols which covered the city proper to search for mines and booby traps, casualties not previously discovered and to apprehend any enemy personnel left behind.

“C” Company found and requested the bomb disposal squad to act on:

Bains Hotel
1 x S-mine
2 x Antipersonnel Mines

1 x Teller mine
2 x concussion grenades, German, on the rail track.

Plagoucit Street
4 x German Hand Grenades

Activities were concluded at 0830 hours 9th of March with the situation being under control.