Cross of Lorraine
76 years ago today, while the Navy was fighting off the last major sortie of the Japanese fleet in the Philipines, the ground war in Europe was slogging away.
Battered but happy Soldiers of the 79th “Cross of Lorraine” Infantry Division, enjoying some Luckies on their way to a rest camp after being relieved from combat near Laneuveville, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France.
Ordered into active military service 15 June 1942 at Camp Pickett, Virginia, Maj. Gen. Ira T. Wyche (USMA 1907) in command, the 79th landed at on Utah Beach on Normandy on D+6 and spent the next 248 days in combat through Northern France with the Third Army then the Ardennes and into Central Europe with the Seventh Army, including several spates of brutal house-to-house fighting.
The 79th suffered 15,203 battle casualties as well as 8,582 non-battle casualties, 166.5% of their TOE strength, ending the war at Recklinghausen, Westphalia.
What are “non-battle” casualties? In the 79th story, it is a significant amount. Was this common?
Accidents, suicides, homicides, etc. Very common for deployed units, even today, sadly.