Ingoff Farm bloody battle: 101 Airborne Division enterprising Garanton

Lieutenant John Larish of Company I just leaned on a tree and became the target of a German sniper. A bullet shot into his eyes. Lieutenant Larish was slowly like a potato filled with sacks. Fall down. Near him, dead soldiers covered the entire causeway, and many soldiers were shot in the forehead or between their eyes. First-class soldier Theodore Koszowski was also hit by an enemy sniper, but he was very lucky-the bullet killed one of his eyes but did not kill him.

This one-way shooting continued for several hours. When his battalion was torn, Colonel Cole took a spot on the embankment later in the position, waving a pistol to ensure that his soldiers would not run backwards. At 16:00, he handed over this supervision to Deputy Battalion Major Major John Stopka, and then went to the front line.

After the sky was getting dark, the Germans couldn’t see their targets, so they relaxed their firepower. At this time, the 3rd Battalion of the 502th Regiment was almost in a state of complete chaos. The innumerable dead were lying on the causeway, and many wounded could not be evacuated.

At midnight, these paratroopers experienced what was rarely encountered by American soldiers in Normandy: a German dive bomber and another enemy aircraft came to strike the causeway. Two enemy planes flew along the height of the treetops, dropping bombs and firing on helpless soldiers. This brief air strike caused more than 30 casualties.

According to statistics, the first company in the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd Battalion suffered the most loss on this day, with 85 people in operation and 62 casualties. The survivors of Lianli now refer to the causeway leading to the Ingoff Farm as the “Purple Heart Trail”, meaning that the causeway is full of dead and wounded people who are eligible for the Purple Heart Medal.

Bayonet charge
Colonel Cole took advantage of the cover of the night to adjust his subordinates. The H Company of 84 soldiers replaced the I Company to the top. The 60 Company of G Company then echoed, and then the Battalion Company and other units.

At 4 a.m. on June 11, Operation 3 resumed. In the dark, the American successfully crossed the end of the causeway, and the leading reconnaissance team ran across a flat field towards the stone farmhouse guarded by a row of hedges, where the attack target of the 3rd Battalion: Canada Ingoff farm on the outskirts of Langtang.

Scout Albert Dieter took the lead and walked towards the farmhouse in the faint morning light. Behind him, a platoon of Company H was about 200 meters away from him, ready to enter the battle at any time. When the German’s machine gun, rifle and mortar suddenly sounded, breaking the pre-dawn silence, Dieter was only 5 meters away from the building closest to him, and there was a shrapnel in his left arm. The whole cut off, and two others behind him were immediately killed. A team of company H tried to come forward to rescue, and was also quickly overpowered by the enemy’s fire.

Cole was connected with H. He was suppressed by enemy fire into the ditch beside the causeway, and he crawled to find his artillery liaison, Captain Julian Rosemond. Rosemond was also in the trench, and Cole growled at him: “Shoot some cannonballs at the farmhouse and hedge!”

Rosemond contacted the rear artillery by radio and then reported to Cole that the artillery claimed that they could only fire with the consent of an artillery officer present. Cole was very angry to see his men struggling for survival, he shouted: “Damn! We need artillery, we can’t wait to let them fire right away!”

Cole got what he wanted. The American artillery, which had established a position in Saint-Kemédumont, smashed shells into hedges and buildings on the Ingoff farm for nearly half an hour. Cole’s shelling excited Cole, but when he heard the enemy’s firepower showed no signs of diminishing, he felt frustrated again.

Eisenhower cheers up paratroopers on the eve of landing in Normandy

In fact, the German fire was more fierce than before. Cole withdrew back to the ditch and saw Lieutenant Commander Major Stopka lying on the other side of the causeway. He shouted to the deputy battalion commander: “We need smoke bombs, and then let everyone charge with bayonets!” However, Stopka did not understand the command of the battalion commander, he just let a few soldiers around him follow him.

A few minutes later, smoke bombs began to explode in front of the farmhouse. At 6:15, the smoke bombs stopped, and the US artillery fired several high-explosive shells at the German position on the farm. After the bombardment stopped, Cole blew his whistle, raised his pistol, and rushed out of the trench, but only about 20 people closest to him followed.

Stopka realized that he didn’t fully convey the command of the battalion commander. He started running around, trying to find as many people as possible, and then about 40 people joined the charge.

Cole kept rushing forward, and the air around him was full of bullets and shrapnel, screaming beside Cole. When he came into the wilderness near the farm, he turned his head and found that almost no one followed. He was half-knelt, trying to stare in the direction of the ditch through the morning mist, and then he saw several subordinates coming across the field.

Many soldiers in the 3rd Battalion had no idea what was going on. Either they can’t hear the new order or they get confused instructions. When they saw what was happening in front of them, they realized that they should rush to the German position with their chief, so they started running forward in twos and threes, facing the enemy’s fire storm.

Cole ran, struck wildly with a pistol, and urged the soldiers to continue: “Damn it,” he shouted, “I don’t know what we are fighting, but we must continue! These Germans are full of thinking that only They know how to fight, let’s teach them a lesson! “Despite the grim surroundings, some people beside him laughed when they heard the words.

Under the rain, the paratroopers were knocked to the ground like a bowling ball, but the survivors moved on. Deputy Commander Stopka also rushed forward, screaming constantly in his mouth: “Come on! Come on!”

Warriors of company H
As time passed, the morning mist was dissipating, just ahead, and the paratroopers could already see the farm buildings. Cole waited for Stopka’s people to come forward, and then resumed his advance. He jumped down a low road ditch, and was wet by the standing water there. Contrary to the famous infantry slogan “Follow me”, Cole shouted to the people behind him: “Don’t follow me!”

At this time, in the trench at the end of the causeway, Captain G Company Simmons died in a distress. A shell fell a few meters away from him and almost killed him. Simmons fainted under the impact, and then he felt someone shaking him violently, and he was awake, seeing Sergeant John White making himself rise. Simmons struggled to climb the causeway and rushed to the field with White. He went straight to a German and shot him down. His subconscious move made Simmons content.

101 Airborne Division soldiers studying the map with French resistance

By then, Cole and other front-runners had passed through the open space in the front of the farm (about the length of two football fields), and they began a close-range battle with the Germans on the Ingoff farm. Cole later recalled: “My people howled like demons during the charge, either killing the Germans or driving them away. This was a really creepy scene, but it was one of the most basic characteristics of the war. ”

The 3rd Battalion became more and more brave, and more and more Germans were knocked down. German soldiers were dead beside the embankment, outside the farmhouse and behind the hedges, and some of them were stabbed to death by bayonet. Shot from close range by a rifle or killed by a grenade explosion.

A group of the remaining Germans retreated westward in the direction of the Cherbourg-Paris Railway. Sergeant Kenneth Sprecher and second-ranker George Roach followed in this direction and rushed into the area of ​​the farm. In the largest stone house, they found the battlefield command abandoned by the Germans. Cole then arrived, immediately using the building as his command post.

In the bayonet charge, Lieutenant Edward Provost of Company H stood out. Because of his short stature, he was once dubbed by Cole as a “useless dwarf”, but he became one of the bravest men this morning. Provost had a hard time restraining his hyperactivity. Everyone said, “When they pierce them with bayonet, they will scream!” Bernard Sternau, a second-class soldier who followed Provost, looked at this. The ensign said, “This man is a bit bloodthirsty.”

After separating from Provost, Sterno was shot in the right arm and quickly bandaged by a medical staff. He moved to a row of hedges near the apple orchard, where he joined the same team of orchards The Germans are at war. The recoil of the continuous firing of the rifle burst the bandage, which caused Sternor’s blood to bleed, and he had to retreat a little further to re-bandage the bandage.

As he did so, 88 mm artillery shells struck and Sternau witnessed the scene of at least three comrades being blown up. After the shelling had passed, Sterno stood up and saw a bullet in the eye socket of a nearby paratrooper. There was already a hole in the flesh. The poor man asked, “Are my eyes gone?” Sterno replied, “Yes, but you should be glad that you still have an eye.”

Stirno bent down and applied the hemostatic powder to the soldier’s terrible wound on his face. At that time, the German artillery bombarded again, and the shrapnel struck Stirno. It felt like ” He was kicked in the spine by a mule. ” A fragment of a cannonball struck his back, then straight into the groin, and even then, Strnor remained awake.

The heavily wounded paratrooper looked around, and those of his friends in company H fell nearby, and he saw one of them with a bold beard. Sternow immediately recalled June 5 before Normandy’s landing. On that day, Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower visited the soldiers of Company H before the paratroopers boarded. At that time, the general asked the bearded paratrooper about his pre-war life. The latter said, “I’m a waiter in a restaurant in Philadelphia, sir.” So the general joked, “Your beard, let I thought you were a pirate. ”

Streno now stared at the “pirate”. The beard was still intact, but the man’s head disappeared from above his nose. Next to Strnor, the soldier who lost an eye was hit again: this time his arm was hit. He cried and kept saying, “My arm, oh, my arm, my arm.” Sterno lay on the ground for a while, then stood up with all his strength, and walked to the nearby rescue station.

Bloody victory
The battle around Ingoff’s farm continued for the rest of the day. Some soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the 502th Regiment, led by Lt. Col. Patrick Cassidy, arrived, which strengthened Cole’s strength. The new soldiers gathered in a place called “cabbage field” near the road and set off from there to wage a fierce battle with the Germans.

Lieutenant Delma Idol of Battalion A, 1st Battalion, described: “It’s like hunting rabbits, but it’s hard to hit them.” During the battle, the comrade beside him was shot in the helmet, that person Was scared but not injured. Idol looked at the helmet and found that there were bullet holes on each side of the helmet. The ensign later said: “That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Bullets penetrated both sides of the helmet, but they didn’t hit. His head! ”

With the support of the 1st Battalion, Cole’s 3rd Battalion eliminated the Germans on the farm and firmly repelled the German counterattack. The German paratroopers also fought fiercely, and these defenders of Garanton knew that once Americans had established a foothold on the Ingoff farm, Garanton would have difficulty keeping it.

Major Heidet, the head of the 6th Paratrooper Regiment of the German Army, launched the fiercest counter-attack before the evening. Now, relying on stone buildings and apple trees, they fired at the enemies that rushed up. Cole commanded by a window of the farmhouse and was proud of his courage, but also knew that the 3rd Battalion might not last long.

101st Airborne Division enters the city in Garantang

At the critical moment, the cannon changed everything. Captain Rosemond, the artillery liaison, contacted the artillery company of Saint-Kemédumont, but the artillery initially stated that they had insufficient ammunition. “So, for God’s sake, get some!” Rosemond pleaded. “Find some! Be sure to find some! We must get gunfire support!”

Like a scene from a Hollywood movie, a truck loaded with ammunition arrived at the gun position in time, and Cole’s people received the coveted fire support. The shells exploded less than 100 meters away from the farm. The fire support was so close that everyone on the battlefield could see the shells flying around the roof of the farm.

Such a bomber inevitably hurt the US military by mistake. “We lost some people, but we are still happy with the shelling,” a paratrooper from the 3rd Battalion later said. Five minutes after the shelling began, the Germans began to retreat, and Cole was ecstatic at the command post listening to the sound of the cannon: “Listen! Listen!”

For Cole and his 3rd Battalion, this was the end of a long and bloody battle. The orchards, vegetable plots, and causeways around Ingoff’s farm are full of dead or injured soldiers. The ditch was soaked with American blood. Of the 700 young people who fought under the command of Cole, only 132 remained .

The price was too high, but the exhausted 3rd Battalion of the 502th Regiment won the Ingoff Farm, which opened the route to Garanton, paving the way for General Taylor to surround and seize Garanton. . Because the losses in the battle at the Ingoff farm were equally great, the 6th Paratrooper Regiment of Heidet was unable to defend Garantang, and the Americans took control of this vital small town by June 12.

Colonel Cole was highly acclaimed for this battle, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor and approved in mid-June, but he failed to live until the day he received it. Before the Medal of Honor was awarded in September 1944, a German sniper killed Cole on the Dutch battlefield.