Hello again, Susan !!!
As promised, I submit the following as related to your uncle, Donald Grant Perkins, who died in France, August 3, 1944.
DGP was a member of the 120th. Infantry Regiment, 30th. Infantry Division. He would have been a replacement in the 120th., having joined the unit after the July 12, 1944 date on the letter to his mother. He would have been from a pool of personnel based at a Replacement Depot in England at the moment.
The 30th. ID shipped out from Boston P/E 11 Feb 44, and arrived in England 23 Feb 44, and landed in France 10 Jun 44 where it engaged the Germans for the first time.
From 18 Feb 44 to 14 Jul 44 it was assigned to the XIX Corps;
from 15 Jul to 27 Jul 44 it was assigned to the VII Corps;
from 28 Jul 44 to 3 Aug 44 it was assigned to XIX Corps (second tour);
on 4 Aug 44 it was assigned to V Corps;
from 5 Aug 44 to 13 Aug 44 it was assigned to XIX Corps (third tour).
Since your information confirms his death 3 Aug 44, he would have been serving, probably as a rifleman, in the XIX Corps.
Commanders of 30th. ID were:
Mjr. Gen. Henry D. Russell Sep 40
MG Wm. H. Simpson May 42
MG Leland S. Hobbs Sep 42
MG Albert c. Cowper Sep 45
Thus, his CO would have been MG Hobbs at the time of his death.
Casualties to the 30th. ID:
Killed in Action 3,003
Wounded in Action 10,376
Died of Wounds 513.
PLEASE NOTE: A division would typically number 10-12,000 personnel, which means that this division experienced well over 100% casualties in its relatively brief history
overseas in combat which extended from the landing in France 10 Jun 44 until the war ended 7 May 45.
Historians attribute this to the fact that during the last stages of the war, relatively untrained personnel were routed overseas as replacements to the line. Many of those men had never even been on a rifle firing line back in the states, never threw a grenade in training, never fired a mortor...nothing that would have possably prolonged their lives under combat conditions.
What follows is a brief description of what befell the 30th. ID, which included three Infantry Regiments (117th, 119th, 120th), among other elements:
The division landed across Omaha Beach, France on 10 Jun 44. The 120th.IR captured Montmartin-en-Graignes the following day, and then defended the Vire-Taute Canal line.
The 117th. IR attacked across the Vire and the 120th. IR assaulted the Vire-Tautye Canal on 7 Jul 44, establishing a bridgehead at St. Jean-de-Day, which the 3rd. Armoured Division exploited.
As the division advanced on St. Lo it checked a German counterattack along the main Hauts-
Vents Highway 11 Jul 44, and Pont Hebert fell to the 30th. ID after protracted fighting
14 Jul 44.
Patrols reached the Periers-St. Lo road
18 Jul 44, and the division attacked aross it 25 Jul 44 to drive beyond St. Lo during Operation COBRA.
The division took well defended Troisgots
31 Jul 44, amd relieved the 1st. Inf. Div. near Mortain 6 Aug 44.It was subjected to a strong German counterattack which ruptured its lines in the area on the following day during the battle of Avranches.(NOTE: This gibes with my note below covering that battle).
The division went over to the offensive again 11 Aug 44, and forced German gains back to Mortain.
I'll end the narrative at this point, knowing that DGP died 3 Aug 44.
From the last paragraph, we must conclude that he died somewhere between Troisgots, France and Mortain, France.
"WORLD WAR II ORDER of BATTLE"
Stanley L. Shelby, auther
Galahad Books, NYNY, publisher.
Another excellent reference:
Stephen E. Ambrose, author,
Simon & Schuster, NYNY, publisher.
A third excellent reference:
"2194 Days of WORLD WAR II,
AnIllustrated Chronology of the Second World War",
Compiled by Salmaggi and Pallavisini,
Barnes & Noble, NYNY, publisher.
All of these are in print and available.
Let me give you a little insight as to what took place 7 Aug 44, which was very near the time he died, and I think about where he did.
This is taken from the Ambrose reference.
"Aug 7... at the same moment, the German attack raced around and through Mortain. It had begun before dawn, tanks rolling forward through the night without the warning of an artillery preparation. It achieved tactical
surprise and by noon was in Mortain.
But the Germans could not dislodge the 700 men of the 2nd. Battalion, 120th. Infantry Regiment, 30th.Infantry Division, from an isolated rocky bluff, Hill 317, just east of the town.
The GIs on the hill had a perfect view of the surrounding countryside, and forward observers with a radio communications system
that allowed them to call in artillery and Jambos (bombers). The Germans had to take the hill before driving on to the coast.
NOTE: five days later,,,all but out of ammo, NO RATIONS left...but the 120th.IR held out
and the Germans backed off.
Dr. Ambrose notes that of the 700 men of the 120th. originally involved, 300 were dead or wounded, and that a total of 193 fire missions had been called down against the Germans.
Sorry that I can't pin downany direct information on DGP, but he may have been on Hill 317, or certainly near it.
This is about all I will be able to gather
for you. let me know if it helps.
With best regards,
Louie Franklin Turner