Army Quartermaster Museum -
Fort Lee, Virginia
Quartermasters on D-Day
"No one seems ever to think a soldier in QM ever gets to smell any gunpowder, dig any foxholes, get into any fighting, go without food, mail and the like. Our QM outfit hit the beach on D-day right when the heat was on, and more outfits are hitting the beaches every day--to unload and load rations, ammunition, and all other equipment and supplies. Opening and running dumps under combat conditions is a tough job. We sleep in foxholes, wash and shave in helmets, dig slit trenches, eat in the open as do other Army outfits. We also have bazooka men, machine-gun men and operate twenty-four hours a day--about fifty percent of that time in the rain and mud."
Private First Class, James P. Hatchell,
Quartermaster units and personnel were in the English Channel and on the beaches, Omaha and Utah, when the Allies landed on June 6. QM railhead, service, and truck companies saw continuous operation in the assault at Normandy, in the breakout at St. Lo, and the rapid pursuit across France in the summer of '44. They had some unforgettable experiences.
The 407th Airborne QM Company, for instance, went into Normandy on D-Day in two echelons, the first in gliders and the rest by ship. The glider-borne contingent landed at 2115 hours on June 6th and set up a temporary bivouac on the outskirts of Blosville, a short distance from Ste. Mere Eglise.
Tech 4 Fred Gilbert's unit, the 3891st QM Truck Company, landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and immediately began hauling rations, ammo, and Infantrymen. "In other words," he wrote, they considered themselves "a part of the mobile infantry."
Colonel (later Lieutenant General) Andrew T. McNamara, Chief Quartermaster for the First Army, told a similar account of the 476th QM Group. Its four truck companies arrived on Utah Beach "when confusion still dominated the battle area, and front lines, as such, were non-existent."
Private John G. Bianchi of the 97th Quartermaster Railhead Company, another service unit that came in on D-Day, wrote that he "used to wonder laying back there in a foxhole what they meant about rear-echelon Quartermaster boys. There were times when I would have given anything to be an Infantryman, back with the reserves, safe from fire."
Extracted from "Fighting QMs", Quartermaster Professional Bulletin, Autumn/Winter 1994
Note: This list is based upon War Department & Department of the Army General Orders that awarded assault landing credit for the Normandy invasion.
TIGERThe E-Boat Attack
Graves Registration NCO rides a glider into Normandy with the 82nd Airborne Division
Fueling Up for D-Day
gasoline supply in England in support of the invasion of France Mettle without Medals
The 4009th QM Truck Company lands at D+5
National D-Day Memorial
National World War II Museum
Thursday, 5 June 2012