Following My Father's Footsteps In A 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Martyn Goddard

On 21 June, we closed into the division rear echelon area near Cartigny, about four miles from Isigny, France. We set up our tent and dug slit trenches big enough to bury a horse. Our stay here was long and happy. Some of my outstanding impressions: Steady and constant rain -- 10 and 1 and K rations -- first helmet baths -- plenty of movies- - Cpl. Harvey discovering Calvados - the terrific artillery barrage on 25 July - 3000 heavy and medium bombers going over our heads -- the hair-raising stories of hardship and danger that got back to us after the crossing of the Vire Canal -- our first casualties -- nightly visits by "bed check Charlie" and the curtain of ack-ack our boys threw at him -- our first taste of French champagne -- and more stories of what a hell it was up on the front lines. On 30 July the rear echelon left the vicinity of Cartigny and Isigny and moved approximately eighteen miles to Saint-Lo, France.

Saint-Lo was the site of a crucial offensive against Germany's Panzer Divisions, which had assembled near the town in a seemingly impenetrable line. The 30th Division was instrumental in what became known as the "Saint-Lo Breakthrough" in late July. We find a pretty, hilly town, but most of the buildings are clearly of postwar construction. A gentleman in the square near the cathedral points out a mortar shell still lodged in the side of the church, which lost one of its steeples.

On 14 August, the afternoon before Dinah Shore made a personal appearance there, we moved from Saint-Lo to the vicinity of Le Celland, France. Our trip to this location was notable for the abundance of destroyed tanks, homes, livestock, vehicles, and the general destruction of the countryside.

(Top: The Saint-Lo Memorial. Right: A mortar shell embedded in the Saint-Lo cathedral wall)

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