Prologue to Combat

The Third Battalion of the 310th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry Division was activated on the 15 August 1942 and began its training at Camp, Butner, N. C. This training consisted of general Infantry subjects such as tactics, weapons firing, infiltration, village fighting, bayonet training, hand to hand combat, and, lest we forget, long tiresome hikes. On the 15 November 1943 the Third Battalion moved to the Carolina Maneuver Area in South Carolina. After two weeks 'of rugged maneuvering the battalion returned on the 7 December 1943 to Camp Butner. At this time equipment was checked and new equipment issued in preparation for the Tennessee Maneuvers. While the battalion was preparing for the coming maneuvers, a POR shipment altered the course of events in the 78th Division. Men were picked from the different companies and placed on the overseas replacement shipment list. On the 2 January 1944 these men departed for Fort Meade, Maryland and from this camp were shipped to combat theaters in various parts of the world. On 20 January 1944 the battalion moved, to the Tennessee Maneuver Area where they maneuvered against the 17th Airborne Division and the 106th Infantry Division. After six weeks of thorough training, with little rest the battalion returned to Camp Pickett, Virginia where the majority of the time was spent qualifying the men for overseas shipment. Another group of men was sent overseas 23 April 1944. The remainder of original men left in the battalion were the non-commissioned officers and a few of the officers. New replacements came to the organization and were trained by the remaining cadre. On 5 October 1944 the battalion moved to Camp Kilmer N. J., the Port of Embarkation for the 78th Division. After eight days in Camp Kilmer they departed for England, 13 October 1944, on the General George S Squire, an American troop ship, sailed to Plymouth, England and landed after nine days at sea. Boarding a troop train at Plymouth, 26 October 1944 they journeyed to Bournemouth, England, where they did last minute training before crossing the English Channel. Three weeks later the battalion, embarked for France. After landing at Le Havre they were convoyed to Yvetot, France, 21 November 1944. The battalion was issued new equipment and essentials necessary for successful combat. Upon arrival in Tongres, Belgium, 7 December 1944, the battalion began a review of training with emphasis placed on the importance of each individual doing his job correctly. Here the men witnessed their first V-2 buzz-bomb. Many of these were seen frequently flying overhead and at this time the men realized that it would not be very long before they would be seeing combat. Finally, the battalion was making its last move before its initial attack. They left Tongres, Belgium, 11 December 1944 and moved to the vicinity of Lammersdorf, Germany. Artillery fire was heard here for the 'first time as it was being delivered on the enemy they were prepared to fight. On the night of 10 December 1944 a group of officers and men assembled from the various companies and were oriented as to the situation confronting them. The morning of 11 December 1944 the advance party moved to the front lines and prepared positions for the remainder of the battalion. On the morning of 13 December 1944 the Third Battalion proceeded to the front where they relieved the 102 Cavalry by making their first attack of the war on the town of Rollesbroich, Germany.