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Hey Al K: You will be especially interested in this, as will be any member of my 540th Regiment!


History of the Eighth Naval Beach Battalion



The EIGHTH Beach Battalion was commissioned at ATB, Camp Bradford, Va., on 16th of October 1943. Lieut. Comdr. Stuyesant B. Wright, USNR, and Lieut. Robert W. Greenslade, USNR were designated Commanding Officer and Executive Officer respectively. On October 25th 1943 the unit departed ATB, Camp Bradford, Va., for ATB Fort Pierce, Fl. On 15th January 1944, the EIGHTH Beach Battalion was re-ordered to Camp Bradford, VA. While there, two platoons A-3 and C-7 were detached and ordered aboard APA's. On 10th March 1944, the Eighth Beach Battalion returned to ATB, Fort Pierce, Fl. While at Fort Pierce, two platoons were transferred from the NINTH Beach Battalion to the EIGHTH Beach Battalion which brought the unit back to allowed strength. On 3rd April 1944 the unit reported to ABPD, Camp Allen, Va.


The unit was ordered aboard the S.S. Robert H. Harrison on 21st April 1944 for foreign duty. The battalion arrived at Arzew, Algeria the evening of 10th of May 1944, the voyage being without incident, and all hands were disembarked by 2200, 10th May 1944. The EIGHTH Beach Battalion arrived in North Africa with 37 officers and 415 enlisted personnel.


Companies "B" and "C" were engaged in joint assault training operations with the 91st Division, and the 40th Combat Engineer Regiment, USA.


On June 2nd Comdr. John P. Graff, USN (Ret.) Assumed command of the Battalion relieving its former Commanding Officer, Lt. Comdr. Stuyesant B. Wright, D-v(s), USNR, who continued duty with the Battalion as its Executive Officer.


On Sunday, June 11th , the Battalion was alerted, and prepared to embark personnel and personal gear upon 24 hour notice. On June 15th the Battalion, with 354 men and 35 officers, embarked in the transports U.S.S. ELIZABETH C. STANTON, AP-70, U.S.S. LYON, AP-71 and U.S.S. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE, AP-69 at Oran. A rear echelon consisting of 3 officers and 58 men was left behind with Battalion supplies, gear and rolling stock to be embarked on a later date.


On June 19th, a skeleton company of Beach Battalion handled the embarkment of the 91st Division from three transports at Possioula Italy. On June 20th, the Battalion disembarked at Naples and bivouacked on the beach at AATB Salerno.


In early July the entire Beach Battalion except a small rear echelon, moved from AATB Salerno, Italy to the vicinity of Battpaglia and bivouacked with the 540th Combat Engineers Regiment, U.S. Army. Training in conjunction with the 540th Engineers was instituted and the Battalion participated in the battalion and regimental landing exercises with the 36th Division.


Towards the end of the month Lieut. R.W. Greenslade, D_V(S), USNR replaced Lt. Comdr. S.B. Wright D_V(S), USNR, as Executive Officer.


On July 22nd 1944 the EIGHTH Beach Battalion moved with the 540th Engineers to a new bivouac area North of Naples to Quaglian and continued routine training.


One Company of the 48th was attached to the 540th to bring the 540th up to three Companies. "C" Company of the EIGHTH Beach Battalion was assigned to the 48th .


During the early part of August, the Battalion with its combat equipment, was made ready for a combat operation, personnel and equipment were loaded according to the loading plan of the 540th Combat Engineers Regiment, U.S. Army, to which the Battalion was attached.


On August 7th and 8th the Beach Battalion took part in a training operation in which personnel were landed from seaward. Each unit of the Beach Battalion rehearsed its part with the battalion or company of the Engineer Regiment to which it was assigned.


The entire Beach Battalion, with the exception of a small rear echelon at Salerno, was embarked in APA's, LST's, LCI's, LCT's, and Liberty ships by August 10th, and sailed according to plan, with their various units, for the assault destination.


On August 15th , the Battalion took part in the Camel Area assault on the coast of Southern France. Units of the Battalion went ashore in the second assault wave at H plus 10 minutes (H hour 0800), and continued landing at H plus 65, H plus 100, and H plus 185, when the entire "A" Company was on the beach and performing its shore operation duties. This Company landed on "Green Beach" just West of Cape Dramont, and about three miles East of the town of St. Raphael. By the middle of the afternoon on D-day, the entire three companies of the Battalion had come ashore across "Green Beach". The beach was under small arms fire during the morning, and under enemy shell fire throughout the day, there was one air attack at dusk. No gunfire casualties were sustained by the EIGHTH Beach Battalion, but during the first three days of the operation, six enlisted personnel were wounded by enemy mines, and were evacuated to seaward. "Yellow Beach " at Rade d'Agay was opened on the evening of the 15th, and put into full operation on the 16th. When the town of St. Raphael and the beaches immediately to the westward of the town were cleared of the enemy, the mines and obstacles, "Red Beach One and Two" were opened. This was on "D" plus three and "D" plus four.

Headquarters for the Battalion was established at the small boat harbor of the Port of St. Raphael on "D" plus four. "Yellow Beach" and "Green Beach" were closed and the activities of the Beach Battalion were confined to the operation of " Red Beaches One and Two", and the Port of St. Raphael.


Two NCDU teams reported to the Commanding Officer, EIGHTH Beach Battalion, on D-day for temporary duty, and on D plus one, elements of the 1040th C.B.'s, twelve strings of pontoon causeways, reported for temporary duty. Also reporting for duty were Naval Intelligence Officers, a Bomb Disposal Officer, a Mine Disposal Officer and a French Liaison Officer. The NCDU team completed their work about "D" plus five, and were detached. On about "D" plus ten, the Bomb Disposal and Mine Disposal Officers, the French Liaison and the Naval Intelligence Officers, completed their temporary duty assignments and were detached. The 1040th C.B.'s set up pontoon causeways at "Red Beach One and Red Beach Two", where they were moored to piles and used as heavy-lift piers.


During the assault phase of the Camel operation, the companies of the EIGHTH Beach Battalion bivouacked with, and subsisted with, the battalions and companies of the 540th Engineers to which they were assigned. The entire Beach Battalion worked in harmony and close cooperation with the 540th Engineer Regiment, and supplies were expedited across the beaches during the assault and post-assault phases.


As a matter of note; with the exception of one infantry battalion that landed at Antheor, (Blue Beach), the entire 36th Division, with all of its personnel, vehicles, artillery, tanks and equipment, was put across "Green Beach", (230 yards wide), during "D"- day.


Some 7,000 prisoners of war were evacuated seaward during the first six days of the operation, and prisoners were being sent to seaward from "Green Beach" before noon of "D"-day. About 1,400 casualties, brought back from the lines, were treated, tagged and evacuated to seaward before the army hospital units were set up inland and took over the hospitalization of the wounded.



LST 282


The LST 282 was struck by an enemy glider bomb at about 2010 on August 15th about 400 yards offshore at "Green Beach". The ship burst into flames and drifted ashore about a quarter of a mile to the westward. Wounded survivors were cared for at the Beach Battalion First-aid Station. Some 40 personnel died when the LST blew up.


During the month of September, four enlisted men were transferred from the Beach Battalion, - two of these men were among those wounded during the assault on Southern France, and were sent from evacuation hospitals to the United States.


The EIGHTH Beach Battalion continued in its duties at the beach and Port of St. Rafael.


On September 10th , when the 450th Combat Engineer Regiment, U.S. Army, was ordered forward, the EIGHTH Beach Battalion completed its temporary duty with that organization and reported to CTF 87 for duty, and continued to maintain the beach operations at St. Raphael, cooperating with a newly

arrived Port Battalion of the Seventh Army.


When released from duty with the 540th Engineers, with whom the Beach Battalion had been messing, Field ranges and army field kitchen equipment was requisition, and the EIGHTH Beach Battalion became self-sustaining Navy unit ashore.


On September 10th, "B" Company of the EIGHTH Beach Battalion was sent to Marseille, France and reported to the U.S. Naval Liaison Officer for temporary duty. This company performed its regular Beach Battalion duties at Marseille and Port de Bouc, together with setting up the harbor communications organization at Marseille.


On September 24th, "C" Company with all of its equipment, embarked in LST 47 for transportation to AATB, Bizerte, where they arrived and camped on the base on September 29th .


The temporary duty of the 1040th C.B.'s who had been attached to the EIGHTH Beach Battalion was completed on September 24th.


"A" Company of the EIGHTH Beach Battalion continued to operate the St. Raphael beaches and port until all unloading operations were completed on September 26th.


In Bizerte, "C" Company went to work reconditioning rolling stock and battalion equipment.


In St. Raphael, "A" Company carried on routine camp duties, assembled and packed equipment preparatory to moving out.


During the month of October, six enlisted men were transferred from duty with the EIGHTH Beach Battalion, Two enlisted men, who had been wounded during the assault on Southern France, returned to the Battalion.


"A" Company of the EIGHTH Beach Battalion at St. Raphael, carried out limited training program, assembled and packed equipment preparatory to leaving the locality .


"B" Company continued its temporary duty at Marseille, France.


"C" Company continued its work of overhauling its rolling stock and company gear at AATB, Bezerte, Tunisa.


On October 8th, "A" Company, with all remaining EIGHTH Beach Battalion equipment, embarked in LST 47 and sailed for Bizerte, arriving there October 10th . Officers and men were quartered on the base, the Company went to work overhauling its rolling stock, company gear and equipment.


"B" Company completed its temporary duty with NavDet, Marseille, on October 12th , and embarked in LST 491 with its company gear on October 13th, and arrived at Bizerte on October 17th. The Officers and men were quartered on the Base, and for the first time since July 4th , the EIGHTH Beach Battalion was assembled in one place.


Personnel and living quarters of the Battalion were inspected on October 19th by Rear Admiral Frank Lowery, USN, (ComPhib8thFlt).


On October 19th , the officers and crew of the EIGHTH Beach Battalion were drawn up at parade while Vice Admiral H. K. Hewitt, USN, (Com8thFlt), decorated the following officers and men with awards :


Silver Star Medal


HODGE, Cecil (n), S1c, USNR>


Bronze Star Medal


Comdr. JOHN P. GRAFF, USN (Ret.)



Lt. (Jg) H.H. TAYLOR, C_V(S), USNR

ADAMS, Robert H., SM2c, V6, USNR

ESTES, John C., SF2c, (T), V6, USNR

LAMBERT, Robert L., S1c, V6, USNR

TIBBETS, Austin B., Jr., PhM1c, USN


Purple Heart Medal


CRIMI, Frank (n), F1c (MoMM), V6, USNR

EARWAKER, William R., MoMM3c, V6, USNR


During the month of November, three enlisted men were transferred from duty with the EIGHTH Beach Battalion, all three having been sent to U.S. Naval Hospital, Oran. One enlisted man reported for duty, he having been a former member of the Battalion who was transferred in June to Basic Training Camp, Palermo, Sicily.


On November 6th, the Battalion was alerted, wound up its training program at AATB Bizerte, assembled and packed battalion gear and equipment, and made ready to embark in assigned LST's. On November 10th, at a Battalion Parade,

the EIGHTH Beach Battalion was presented with a "Battle Efficiency Plaque" by Rear Admiral Frank J. Lowery, USN. The award was made by ComPhib8thFlt (Rear Admiral Lowery). That same day the entire Battalion embarked in four LST;s (285, 49, 491 and 501). Rolling stock, battalion gear and equipment was stowed in the LST's 285 and 49.


The convoy sailed for Oran on November 13th and arrived November 17th .


On November 24th the EIGHTH Beach Battalion ( 36 officers and 404 enlisted personnel ) sailed in LST's 285, 49, 491 and 501 in a landing craft convoy, bound for the United States, the ultimate destination of the Beach Battalion being Lido Beach, Long Island, N.Y.


Duks, medical stores and equipment were turned in to North African Bases prior to sailing. Radio equipment on loan from RMO, Oran, and one radio jeep on loan from the Army, were turned in to RNO. Oran prior to sailing.


On November 7th , Lieut. Alexander J. Bankhead, MC, USN and Lt.(jg) Jesse H. Swick, MC, USNR were awarded letters of commendation by Com8thFlt for meritorious service during the amphibious assault on Southern France, August 15th - August 25th.


The EIGHTH Beach Battalion with its equipment was on board LST's 285, 49, 501, and 491, en route from Oran to the United States. The Battalion disembarked at New York, On December 17th , and in accordance with orders from CNO, reported to the Commanding Officer, ABATU, Lido Beach, N.Y. The Battalion gear and equipment was turned in to NSD, Bayonne, and the EIGHTH Beach Battalion was decommissioned on December 21th, in accordance with CNO Dispatch 192057, 20th December, 1944, to Commanding Officer, ABATU, Lido



This ends the "WAR DIARY" of the EIGHTH Beach Battalion.


June 2019 - Damn, looks like another site has bit the dust. Man, I hate when this happens. All that info gone forever. I wish this was not so. Sorry about that folks.

Yes, that was Co. B 48th that is mentioned. WE trained with them in Italy, as a matter of fact a detachment of them was attached to my company. WE left the beach the day after the invasion. On leaving my mess Sgt. stole 1 ton of american flour from the QM Depot. WE had hot bread for several weeks. aL



I commanded Company B 48th engineers that was attached to The 8th on 15 August 1944. A platoon sized unit lived & trained with us for several weeks prior to the invasion. Alfred L. Kincer L/Col CE Retired