90th Division

Utah Beach - Plessis Lastelle - Montre Castre - St Jores - Perriers       Pont L'Abbe

The 90th Division entered W.W.II combat in Normandy on D-day and fought across Europe continuously until V-E Day. They were known as the "Tough Ombres" or sometimes the "Texas Own" although many of the men came from Oklahoma. During these eleven months, it served under six different division commanders; the first two swiftly proved themselves inept and were deservedly relieved; The next two were great combat leaders who were rapidly promoted to higher ranks as corps commanders; the last two were able, competent leaders who did well by the division. In this process, the 90th achieved an impressive metamorphosis from a hesitant, casualty prone, ineffective outfit, denigrated by Gen. Bradley as a "problem division," to a battle-proven, proud division designated personally by Generals Patton and Eisenhower as among the very best. The 90th was a standard triangular infantry division. Each of its three regiments was made up of three battalions, and each battalion had three rifle companies and one heavy weapons company. Each rifle company had three rifle platoons and one weapons platoon, and each rifle platoon was composed of three squads. A heavy weapons company fired 88 mm mortars and water-cooled, .30 calibre machine guns. A rifle company’s weapons platoon fired 60 mm mortars and air-cooled machine guns. A rifle squad had approximately 12 men: a squad leader (buck sergeant), an assistant squad leader (corporal), a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) team of two men, and eight riflemen. This infantry provided the basic combat strength of the Division, but each regiment was directly supported by an artillery battalion (105mm howitzers); another battalion of 155mm guns provided heavier reinforcing fire. In addition to these essential infantry/artillery units, the Division included sufficient support units to fight sustained battle alone. Support units included engineer, medical, signal, ordnance, and quartermaster battalions. Aside from this basic divisional organisation, other combat units were often attached - tanks, antiaircraft, tank destroyers, and additional artillery battalions as combat situations required. The Division had been well trained, by the standards of its day. It was activated on March 25, 1942, at Camp Barkeley, Texas a few miles south of Abilene. During the summer and winter of 1942, it underwent extensive basic training, its men learning close-order drill, extended order drill, hasty field fortifications, field sanitation, military courtesy, map reading, potato peeling and dishwashing. The 90th Division have possibly more monuments in Normandy dedicated to the memory of their fallen comrades than any other group that served here during the liberation. The main monument on Utah beach has a strange history. At the end of the war whilst the Division was still in Germany, a collection was take up by some officers with the intention of creating and installing a monument to their comrades in Normandy. The stone was ordered and carved, it was important to the men of the 90th that the stone be German and that it should be carved by a German. The remaining soldiers left in Germany were not sure what to do with the stone when they left Weiden, but somehow the stone made its way to Normandy and to Carentan. It was finally erected in the American Cemetery at St Laurent but in a corner and not easily found by visitors who even knew of its existence. It was finally decided to erect it at Utah, not far from where it stands today. Over the years other memorials to the 90th have been erected in Le Manche, along the route taken by the Division. They are at Colomby, Nehou, Orglandes, Lithaire, Le Plessis Lastelle, Saint German sur Sevres, and the most recent at Periers. There are of course other monuments in Alsace Lorraine and in the USA.

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