From D-Day to V-E Day, clerks in the 29th Infantry Division war room kept careful stenographic notes of all radio and telephone conversations between combat leaders in the field and the commanding general (or his staff) in the war room tent. When time permitted, those notes were typed with notations specifying the speakers and the date and time those conversations took place. Each night, before clerks entered the pages into the official war room journal, General Gerhardt would proofread the pages, often commenting on the conversations with notations in pencil in the margins. If he approved of the transcript, he invariably penciled his initials, "CHG", at the bottom of the page. If he disapproved, the unfortunate clerks would have to retype multiple pages of text. The complete collection of the 29th Divisionís war room journal is preserved today by the Maryland Military Historical Society in the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore, Maryland. Key portions of that journal are displayed in this part of our website.
Field manuals dictated that names of personnel and designations of units were not to be mentioned in conversations by telephone, and particularly by radio, in case the enemy was listening in. Positions within a given unit were to be specified by the numbers 1 to 6, with 6 as the commander, 5 as the executive, and 1 to 4 (at battalion, regiment, or division level) as staff officers in S-1 (Personnel), S-2 (Intelligence), S-3 (Operations), or S-4 (Logistics) roles. (At division level, those staff officers used the letter "G" rather than "S".) At company level, the numbers 1 to 4 referred to the leaders of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and weapons platoons.
In infantry regiments, the colors "red", "white", and "blue" referred to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions.
Every stand-alone unit within the 29th Division had a codename beginning with the letter "L": Division headquarters was "Latitude"; the 115th Infantry, "Lagoon"; the 116th Infantry, "Lemon"; the 175th Infantry, "Limestone"; the 110th Field Artillery, "Larkspur"; etc.
Key abbreviations: W/R-War Room; Tp-Telephone; CG-Commanding General.
Note: Six-digit numbers are map coordinates, pinpointing locations on US Army maps.
|The Liberation of St. Lo|
Displayed here is a complete transcript of conversations at 29th Division headquarters on July 18, 1944, the day the division liberated St. Lo. For this dayís decisive moment, see Message 180 on Page 24 from Gerhardt to Special Service at 1830 hours: "I have the honor to announce to the corps commander that Task Force C of the 29th Infantry Division has secured the city of St. Lo after 42 days of continuous combat from Omaha Beach to St. Lo."