Joe Little SQUIRREL

 

squirrel joe
ARMY SERIAL NUMBER18050283
AGE22 yo
DATE OF BIRTH1922
STATETulsa County OKLAHOMA
FAMILYParents: Isaac C. & Ela Charley SQUIRRELL
Siblings: Frank, Emmeleen Shell, Gladys M, Ruth S, Opal Louise, Opal, Joe Little & Lemuel C
RACE and CITIZENSHIPAmerican Indian
RANKSergeant
FONCTIONInfantry
JOB before ENLISTEMENT--OK
DATE of ENLISTEMENT27 february 1941 Oklahoma City OKLAHOMA
REGIMENT9th Infantry Regiment
DIVISION2nd Infantry Division
DATE OF DEATHAug. 28, 1944squirrel joe l grave
STATUSKIA
PLACE OF DEATHSector Brest FINISTERE
CEMETERYBRITTANY AMERICAN CEMETERY de St James

Map St James American Cemetery

GRAVE
PlotRowGrave
H814
DECORATION
Purple HeartPhoto FDLM
Good Conduct MedalGood Medal Conduite
European African Middle Eastern Campaing MedalEAMECampaign
American Campaign Medalamerican campaign medal
World War II Victory Medalvictory medal
Combat Infantryman Badgecombat infantryman badge

 

us army div 2 9ri 9 inf reg
 

squirrel joe l

Lemuel C. SQUIRREL

squirrel joe l tombe

squirrel joe soeur

Lemuel C. SQUIRREL, frère du Sgt Joe L. SQUIRREL avec sa soeur Ruth.


squirrel joe stele 1

Tribute stele to Joe and brothers of weapon


STORY

Battle for Brest

On August 19, the 2nd Division arrived at Landerneau. The next day, August 20, it rained badly and some troops (probably of the 9th Inf. Regt.) moved to new positions relieving the 8th Division in pillboxes near an airfield (probably the one between Gouesnou and Guipavas). It was still raining on August 21 and troops were again moved to new positions. The 2nd Infantry Division's 38th Regiment was together with some other units composed into a Task Force and had to attack from Landernau to Hill 154, a dominating feature on the approaches to Brest south of the Elorn River (they captured Hill 154 on August 23). The 9th and 23rd Infantry Regiments were still 2 miles from Brest. On August 23, troops were still holding their positions and went to the frontline, where they received pretty heavy German artillery and mortar fire. On August 24, the day before the big attack on Brest, the sun finally came out.

Battle for Brest August 25 - September 18, 1944

On August 25, in the US Third Army area, the VIII Corps launched a strong attack on Brest at 13.00 Hours, after a preparatory bombardment for an hour. There were three divisions attacking Brest. The 29th Division was to attack from the northwest, the 8th Division from the north and the 2nd Infantry Division from the northeast. The 23rd Infantry Regiment (2nd Inf. Div.) launched the attack from a sector leading from Guipavas to the southeast. The route of elements of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd infantry Regiment ran beside the Landerneau River and the closer they got to the city, the heavier the fighting became. The men were moving in a long column down a road that ran sideways below the crest of a hill where there were lots of trees and cover. The road ran down to the end of the hill, then angled off to the right with a ravine on the left-hand side. As the lead troops got to the ravine they started getting machine gun and 88 fire, which stopped them cold. By then, all three of the divisions were in contact with the forward edge of the German defense perimeter, which formed a rough semicircle four to six miles around the mouth of the Penfeld River. In that area were two defense belts. The outer line consisted of field fortifications developed in depth and reinforced with antitank obstacles, concrete works, and emplacements, most of which were built during the few previous months. The inner belt, about four miles wide but only 3.000 yards deep, strongly fortified throughout with field works and permanent-type defenses, had been built long before the Allied landings in Normandy for close-in protection of the naval base. Because of the shallowness of the defense area, the outer belt was the main battle ground on which the Germans had to fight the battle of Brest. Despite this heavy volume of preparatory fire, the well-coordinated ground attack of the three divisions made little progress. Attempting to soften the will to resist, RAF heavy bombers struck Brest around midnight of August 25, and on the following morning American and RAF heavy bombers blasted targets again.

On August 26, the VIII Corps continued to make slow progress toward Brest against firm opposition. This day's attack displayed the kind of combat that was to predominate during the siege of Brest. Because ammunition stocks were low, the artillery reduced its activity to direct support missions. As the Americans came to a full realization of the strength of the German opposition, and as the pattern of the German defense system emerged, commanders on all echelons saw the necessity of changing their own tactics. The units turned to more detailed study of their tactical problems with the purpose of reaching intermediate objectives. The nature of the battle changed from a simultaneous grand effort to a large-scale nibbling. The divisions began to probe to locate and systematically destroy pillboxes, emplacements, fortifications, and weapons, moving ahead where weak spots were found, overwhelming pillboxes with flame throwers and demolitions after patient maneuver and fire. Small sneak attacks, the repulse of surprise counterattacks, mine field clearance, and the use of smoke characterized the slow squeeze of American pressure. Fog, rain, and wind squalls during the remainder of August restricted air support, while continued shortages of ammunition curtailed the artillery.

On August 27, in the US Third Army area, the VIII Corps completed the encirclement of Brest. The next day, August 28, the VIII Corps continued to batter Brest. On August 29-30, in the 2nd Division sector, the troops were in the midst of dogged fighting to reduce strong positions. On August 31, 1944, the VIII Corps temporarily suspended its operations against Brest and regrouped.

On September 1, 1944, the VIII Corps continued preparations for its renewing all-out assault on Brest when ammunition was more plentiful. Aircraft, warships, and artillery pounded Ile de Cézembre, off St. Malo, in preparation for an amphibious assault by an 83rd Division force. On this day, the expected completion date of the siege, as ammunition prospects seemed momentarily improved and with the US divisions in the main German defenses, General Middleton again ordered a coordinated attack after a strike by medium bombers and a 45-minute preparation by the division artillery pieces and nine corps artillery battalions. Although the VIII Corps Artillery fired 750 missions, including 136 counterbattery, in 24 hours, and although single pieces, batteries, and sometimes battalions kept known German gun positions under continuous fire, the only apparent result of the attack was a gain of several hundred yards by the 8th Division. Even this small gain was almost immediately lost to a co

On September 2, VIII Corps continued to batter the outer defenses of Brest. The first real break occurred when the 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Division captured Hill 105 southwest of Guipavas. Hill 105, dominating the eastern approach to Brest, was taken in a sneak maneuver under cover of early morning fog and supported by strong artillery and mortar fire. As the Germans fell back from Hill 105 several hundred yards in the center of the Corps zone, the 8th Division advanced and took another of the fortified hills (Hill 80) in the outer defense ring. The 29th Division fought to capture Hill 103 and elements of the 83rd Division invaded Ile de Cézembre, which surrendered.

For five more days (September 3-7) the divisions continued their individual efforts. While medium and heavy bombers attacked Brest every day save one, local ground attacks inched the front toward the port. When troops of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division were getting closer to the city wall they had been stopped at a broad ravine that they couldn't cross because of the pillboxes on the other side. They attacked them several times, but hadn't made any headway. Their Battalion Supply Officer, probably Major Bill Hinsch, had gotten them some bangalore torpedoes to help breach a bunch of barbed wire the Germans had strung out in front of their positions. Bangalore torpedoes were long pieces of pipe filled with explosives that you stuck together and push out in front of you. On September 5, the US Ninth Army became operational, taking command of the troops and zone of the VIII Corps, Third Army, on the Brittany Peninsula. By the end of the first week in September, the grip around the Brest garrison had tightened. The 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Division was within reach of Hill 92 (the second hill dominating the northeastern approaches). By then the besieged area was so small that heavy bombers could no longer attack without endangering the American ground troops.

On September 8, in the US Ninth Army area, the VIII Corps began an all-out assault on Brest at 10.00 Hours after a preparatory bombardment, employing the 2nd, 8th, and 29th Divisions. One day before (September 7), General Middleton judged that he had enough ammunition on hand (and the assurance of more to come) to sustain another effort on the whole front. General Middleton secured six planes per division for constant air alert. The weight of all three divisions carried a number of positions that previously had been denied. The 23rd Infantry Regiment (2nd Div.) captured the strongly fortified Hill 92. As the 2nd Infantry Division progressed toward Brest, they captured suburbs as they went. Prisoners totaled close to 1.000 men; American casualties numbered 250. With the achievement of September 8th and the arrival of eight LST's and two trainloads of ammunition that night, the corps commander was optimistic for the first time since the beginning of the operation.

On September 9, the 2nd Division reached the streets of Brest. The battle for Brest entered its final but most painful stage. The 2nd and 8th Divisions became involved in heavy street fighting against troops who seemed to contest every street, every building, every square. Fire from machine guns, antitank guns, German snipers and fire from towed 88s all from well-concealed positions made advances along the thoroughfares suicidal. The attackers had to move from house to house by blasting holes in the building walls, clearing the adjacent houses, and repeating the process to the end of the street. It worked pretty well for the men and they managed to occupy several city blocks this way without the Germans knowing how far the Americans had advanced. However, it was slow going. Squads, and in some instances platoons, fought little battles characterized by General Robertson, the 2nd Division commander, as "a corporal's war". It was also very difficult trying to use artillery in the city. The guns had to be elevated at such an angle that you couldn't control their impact area, so the troops mostly used mortars. There really were some good observation posts for them up in the tall buildings. Prisoners that day totaled more than 2.500. As the numbers of prisoners rose, hopes of victory quickened.

On September 10, in the US Ninth Army area, the VIII Corps closed up to Brest proper and finished clearing Le Conquet Peninsula. Because the 2nd Infantry Division had a larger section of the city to reduce before reaching the old wall, the 8th Division completed its street fighting and arrived at the fortified city wall first, at Fort Bougen. Since the converging movement on the city compressed the division fronts and deprived the divisions of sufficient maneuver room, General Middleton decided to withdraw the 8th Infantry Division.

In the night of September 11, the 2nd Division relieved the 8th Division east of the Penfeld River. On September 12, while the 2nd Infantry Division was still involved in vicious street fighting, the 29th Division faced the necessity of reducing several forts. The next day, on the morning of September 13, hoping that the Germans would surrender, General Middleton sent a proposal to Ramcke while guns remained silent. When Ramcke declined, although the garrison was being steadily compressed on all sides, Middleton published the letters of parley for distribution to his troops, "Take the Germans apart" he told his men. West of Recouvrance, Fort Keranroux fell to the 175th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division. The 8th Division had been pinched out, and the 29th and 2nd Divisions held an area around Brest. On September 14-15, the 2nd and 29th Infantry Divisions continued to make slow progress at Brest. The 8th Division launched an attack to clear the Crozon Peninsula (September 15).

On September 16, Fort Montbarey fell to the 29th Division, opening the way to Brest proper from the west, while the 116th Infantry Regiment advanced toward Recouvrance, the 175th Infantry Regiment drove into Brest via a tunnel beneath the stone wall, and the 115th Regiment advanced toward the submarine pens. Meanwhile, the 2nd Division continued to press in from the north and fought its way through the streets of Brest to reach the city wall. On September 17, the battle for Brest continued, with the 29th Division clearing eastward to the Penfeld River while the 2nd Infantry Division, to the right, got elements across the old city wall. After a strongpoint near the railroad station was eliminated, and after a patrol exploited an unguarded railroad tunnel through the wall into the inner city, troops of the 2nd Division climbed the wall and swept the remaining half mile to the water's edge. The 8th Division, clearing the Crozon Peninsula, reached the town of Crozon

On September 18, in the VIII Corps area, organized resistance in Brest came to an end. As the battle for Brest had been fought in two sectors separated by the Penfeld River, so the German capitulation occurred in two parts, both on 18 September. Von der Mosel surrendered all the troops in Recouvrance to the 29th Division; Colonel Erich Pietzonka of the German 7th Parachute Regiment surrendered the eastern portion of the city to the 2nd Division, appropriately enough in President Wilson Square. Nearly 10.000 prisoners, who had prepared for capitulation by shaving, washing, donning clean uniforms, and packing suitcases, presented a strange contrast to the dirty, tired, unkempt, but victorious American troops. Ramcke, however, escaped across the harbor to the Crozon peninsula. The 2nd Infantry Division had advanced approximately eight miles at a cost of 2.314 casualties. It had expended more than 1.750.000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 218.000 rounds of heavy caliber, had requested 97 air missions fulfilled by 705 fighter-bombers, which dropped 360 tons of bombs.

On September 19, the VIII Corps successfully concluded the Brittany campaign as the 8th Division finished clearing the Crozon Peninsula and captured Ramcke, the German fortress commander of Brest. The men of the 2nd Infantry Division finally had a chance to relax for a while. Troops also received close order drill and training. It was felt strange by some of the men now walking the streets of Brest without hearing the sound of gunfire. Since the Breton ports, on which the Allies had counted so heavily, were not put to use later on, the immediate result of the battle for Brest was the elimination of a strong German garrison of aggressive, first-rate soldiers.


The Second Division in Image


2nd Division Infantry stele

After training in Northern Ireland and Wales from October 1943 to June 1944, the 2nd Infantry Division crossed the channel to land on Omaha Beach on D plus 1 (7 June 1944) near St. Laurent-sur-Mer.

Attacking across the Aure River on 10 June, the division liberated Trévières and proceeded to assault and secure Hill 192, a key enemy strong point on the road to Saint-Lô. After three weeks of fortifying the position and by order of Commanding General Walter M. Robertson the order was given to take Hill 192.

On 11 July under the command of Col.Ralph Wise Zwicker the 38th Infantry Regiment and with the 9th and the 23rd by his side the battle began at 5:45am. Using an artillery concept from World War I (rolling barrage) and with the support of 25,000 rounds of HE/WP that were fired by 8 artillery battalions, the hill was taken. Except for three days during the Battle of the Bulge, this was the heaviest expenditure of ammunition by the 38th Field Artillery Battalion; And was the only time during the 11 months of combat that 2nd Division Artillery used a rolling barrage.

The division went on the defensive until 26 July. After exploiting the Saint-Lo breakout, the 2nd Division then advanced across the (Vire) to take (Tinhebray) on 15 August 1944. The division then raced toward (Brest/France), the heavily defended port fortress which happened to be a major port for German U-Boats.

After 39 days of fighting the Battle for Brest was won, and was the first place the Army Air Forces used bunker busting bombs.

2nd Division Infantry map2nd Division Infantry dessin
2nd Division Infantry debarquement2nd Division Infantry debarquement1

 

Battle for Brest

Battle brest Battle brest1
Battle brest4Battle brest5Battle brest6
Battle brest7Battle brest8Battle brest3


Soldat Amérindien au Cimetière Américain de St James

Private BURNAM Russell M(32547114) - 30 ans - - KIA - Tombe : O 6-7
Private CANDELARIO Crisoforo(38352693) - - KIA - Tombe : E 13-12
Private CORBINE Charles B(16071620) - 34 ans - - KIA - Tombe : O 1-26
S/Sgt LOWERY Fred H(18163220) - 20 ans - Séminole - - KIA - Tombe : B 14-7
Private NORTE Merced C(39277904) - 20 ans - Mission - - KIA - Tombe : N 7-8
Sergent SQUIRREL Joe L(18050283) - 22 ans - Cherokee - - KIA - Tombe : H 18-14
Private STEVENS Paul K(18003136) - 27 ans - Kickapoo - - KIA - Tombe : L16-14
Private TEBA Sammy B(38351223) - 23 ans - Navajo - - KIA - Tombe : L 2-19
Private TREVINO Ben Jr(38022505) - Comanche - - KIA - Tombe : I 12-13

SOURCE INFORMATION & PHOTOAad.archives.gov - Findagrave.com - ABMC - JF PELLOUAIS - Yann CASTELNOT - Frédéric LAVERNHE
PROGRAMMERFrédéric & Renaud