Rangers DSC’s at Maisy

It is never mentioned in history books – but there were two Distinguished Service Cross’s awarded to men from the Rangers for the fighting at Maisy…
Rangers-DSC-Awards
(Sgt. A Co. 5th Btn.)  Sgt. Joseph W. Urish, Infantry of Pennsylvania. Sgt. Urish, while leading a patrol voluntarily on a signal given by the enemy moved into the battery alone to persuade them to surrender. After a quarter of a hour, the first of the enemy marched out to surrender. As they did the remainder of the patrol loaded their rifles and the enemy thinking they were to be shot in cold blood, scattered and returned to their post. Instead of attempting to escape and disregarding his own safety, Sgt. Urish continued to persuade them to surrender. One by one they laid down their arms, surrendered and marched out. A total of 167 prisoners were captured from a position that might have held out for days.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Sergeant Joseph W. Urish (ASN: 33575265), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy, in action against enemy forces on 10 (should read 9th) June 1944, in France. Just before his company was about to launch an attack on an enemy shore battery [Maisy Battery], Sergeant Urish, who was leading a patrol, voluntarily, on a signal being given by the enemy, moved into the battery alone to persuade them to surrender. After about a quarter of an hour the first of the enemy marched out to surrender. As they did the remainder of Sergeant Urish’s patrol loaded their rifles. The enemy, thinking they were to be shot in cold blood, scattered and returned to their post. Sergeant Urish faced by a now definitely hostile garrison, instead of attempting to escape in the confusion, remained in the battery completely disregarding his own safety in an attempt to further persuade the battery to surrender. Finally after much pleading and promising the enemy, one by one, laid down their arms, surrendered, and marched out. A total of one hundred sixty-seven prisoners were captured from a position that might have held out for days. Sergeant Urish’s intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 28 (June 20, 1944)
Action Date: 10-Jun-44
Service: Army
Rank: Sergeant
Dupe RANGERS BADGE
(5th Btn). HQ  Major Richard P. Sullivan, Infantry, from Massachsetts, was presented the award for extraordinary heroism in action from 6th June 1944 to 10th June 1944 near Vierville-sur-Mer and Isigny, France, when he personally directed a successful landing operation and led his men across the beach under heavy machine gun, artillery and rocket fire.
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The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major Richard P. Sullivan (ASN: 0-399856), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion, in action against enemy forces during the period 6 to 10 June 1944, in France. Completely disregarding his own safety, Major Sullivan personally directed a successful landing operation and lead his men across the beach covered with machine gun, artillery and rocket fire. After reorganizing his men he immediately resumed his duties as Battalion Executive Officer and was placed in command of two Ranger companies which fought their way inland against fierce opposition to join and relieve the Ranger detachment on *******. [ Pointe du Hoc ]  After laying communications through the enemy lines under cover of darkness, Major Sullivan directed the Rangers’ progress across country to ******* [ Grandcamp-les-Bains ] and *******. [  Maisy ] In cooperation with United States Infantry an attack was begun on the *******  [ Maisy ] battery. When certain elements were temporarily halted by artillery fire Major Sullivan, who had been wounded at *******, [ Maisy ] calmly and courageously rallied his officers and men, ordered a renewal of the attack, and instead of bypassing the resistance, advanced over heavily mined terrain to capture the ******* battery [ Maisy ] with a loss of only fifteen men. Eighty-six prisoners and several large caliber artillery pieces in concrete bunkers were taken. Attacks by Major Sullivan’s command contributed greatly to the success of the entire Corps operations. By his intrepid direction, heroic leadership and superior professional ability, Major Sullivan set an inspiring example to his command. His gallant leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 28 (June 20, 1944)
Action Date: June 6 – 10, 1944
Service: Army
Rank: Major
Company: Executive Officer
Battalion: 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion
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 Additionally… here are some excerpts from After Action Reports from units supporting the Rangers at Maisy. There are more of these to find – but for now….

743rd Tank Battalion. After Action Reports for each company. Taken from the S-3 Inteligence Journals HQ Section July 1944
A COMPANY
8th June 1944.
Moved toward west in assault on Pointe du Hoc at 0600. Were not fired on until in vicinity of Pointe du Hoc where mortar fire started dropping. Were in support of 3rd Battalion 116th in assault. Took objective at 1200. Lt. Ondre injured by mortar fire and evacuated. Moved on towards Maisy and because of mines on bridge reversed column and moved to Grandcamp les Bains (5593) moved to Maisy via Cricqueville en Bessin. Entered Maisy under mortar fire and machine gun fire, passed south out of Maisy on Isigny road. Enemy artillery and mortar fire was falling on the town and only one platoon was taken through. Two enemy pill boxes in strong point at 532915  [Maisy] were knocked out. Company returned to (562924) to bivouac. Were attached to 115th Infantry during this period. Strength 78 EM and 5 officers.

 

9th June 1944.
Stayed in bivouac area all day for maintenance. Captured 40 prisoners that evening near strong point Maisy (532915).

 

 

B COMPANY
7th June 1944 -  “B” Company.
Moved out at 0530 in support of 116th Infantry towards Maisy. Machine gun and sniper fire was very heavy. At 0900 encountered heavy artillery fire (155mm probable). Two tanks hit but no injuries sustained. One 57mm AT gun destroyed, 4 prisoners taken, several MG nests destroyed. Withdrew due to added enemy heavy fire, returned to bivouac Vierville sur Mer for fuel and ammunition. Returned to bivouac with 116th Inf. 21/2 miles west of Vierville sur Mer. Strength.  86 EM and 1 officer.

 

8th June 1944
Bivouaced in vicinity of Vierville sur Mer (645912) for maintenance and repair. Relieved from assignment with 116th Inf. and assigned to 115th Inf. to give support. Strength. 86 EM and 1 officer.

 

9th June 1944.
Moved to Maisy (537923) where received orders to move South of Maisy. Encountered several pill boxes south of Maisy which were destroyed.  5th Rangers asked for support on these pill boxes, 125 prisoners taken. No casualties sustained by our unit. Ordered back to Maisy to bivouac at 1800.

 

 

C COMPANY
7th June 1944  -  “C” Company.
Moved out with 166th Inf. towards Formigny (647866). Knocked out MG nest. Advanced guard knocked out Mark IV and crew. Were met and fired on by friendly troops (113th Inf) who failed to recognise DD’s as Shermans. Biviouaced near 607903. Sent out tanks by sections and platoons to support 115th Inf. against MG and sniper fire. Artillery fire thought to be friendly falling all around us. Moved (on orders) at 2400 to previous nights bivouac area in preparation for advance on Pointe du Hoe with 116th Inf. Strength: 86 EM, 5 Officers.

 

8th June 1944.
Moved out 0600 hrs. Co. “A” in lead. Attacked towards Pointe du Hoc (586937) at 1015 hrs. Five tanks dropped out here. 5 tanks hit mines and developed engine trouble. Four tanks were repairable. Advanced on Grandcamp les Bains (545931) at 1230 hrs. One more tank disabled due to mines. Position was taken at 1800 hrs and 116th Inf. made crossing. Company was unable to continue on account of mines. Bivouaced at (567931) until 1130 following day, reorganised. Knocked out pill box near road. Strength 86 ME and 4 officers.

 

9th June 1944
Moved out 1130 hrs for new bivouac area near Maisy. (502918). Stayed in bivouac to complete maintenance. Strength 86 EM and 5 officers.

 

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Also involved in the 5th and 2nd Ranger action at Maisy were the 58th Field Artillery

 

58th AFA.   “Received from HQS XIX Corps “Higher Headquarters demands that you submit factual date for unit citation, for orders received and action taken thereof on Ju e 6th 1944. Submit to this Hqs by 0800 in order to reach Ranger Hqs by 1000.”
Following report submitted:  “June 6, 1944, 58th (A) FA Bn was ordered to land on Omaha Beach in direct support of the 116th Combat Team. With Recon and Observation parties with 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions.”
AMMUNITION EXPENDITURE FOR JUNE 1944.
June 6     4 missions   TOTAL ROUNDS EXPENDED 774
June 7     8 missions   TOTAL ROUNDS EXPENDED 117
June 8     4 missions   TOTAL ROUNDS EXPENDED 123
June 9     2 missions    TOTAL ROUNDS EXPENDED 224
“Enemy forces, consisting of remnants of the 726th Infantry Regiment and 914th, 915th and 916th Infantry Regiments of the 352nd Infantry Division, were encountered during this period. The artillery personnel of the 716th Infantry Division were fighting as infantry.”
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The prisoner numbers are interesting.    As well as the number shown as captured by the 743rd Tank Battalion. The two Distinguished Service Cross awards and accompanying prisoner details add to these figures.  There were also the Germans killed during the battery bombardment for three days – and additionally, those from the German 1st Flak Battalion which was losing men at a rate of “50 men per hour” on the 6th of June. This figure was provided in Major Kistowski’s D-day Day After Action Report.
But most remarkably… you will not find any of the above information from these units or the awards in any books on D-day…thus far.  Which is a little curious.

Maisy Battery. D-day 1944, Omaha Beach – Pointe du Hoc