Item:
ON4308

Original U.S. WWII D-Day Omaha Beach Silver Star Recipient Named Grouping

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Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Lieutenant Colonel William C. Mahoney was wounded on D-Day June 6, 1944 on Omaha Beach. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal for valor in combat. He retired from the Army as a colonel in 1961. He was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam and received numerous medal including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, French Croix de Guerre with palm, Belgium Croix de Guerre with palm, Order of Leopold with rosette, Berlin Air Lift Device, and was wounded a the assault on Omaha Beach.


SILVER STAR
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The president of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel William C. Mahoney (ASN: 0-23486), United States Army, for gallantry in action against the enemy while serving with the 49th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade, on 6 June 1944, in France. Lieutenant Colonel Mahoney landed on D-Day and crossed the beach with complete disregard for his personal safety to supervise the disposition of the units of the Brigade in their secondary role. He directed fire on ground installations in support of assault infantry of the 16th and 18th Combat Teams of the 1st Division which culminated in the successful clearance of the heights commanding the beach. Observing that six half tracks had been abandoned on an LST and were under heavy enemy fire, Lieutenant Colonel Mahoney recruited six men to clear the half tracks from the LST. In the process, Lieutenant Colonel Mahoney was seriously wounded, but exemplifying coolness and aggressiveness, continued to fulfill his mission until evacuated to the United Kingdom later in the day.

General Orders: Headquarters, 1st Army, General Orders No. 45 (august 9, 1944)
Action Date: 6-Jun-44
Service: Army
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

This incredible grouping named to Lieutenant Colonel William C. Mahoney includes the following items:

• Original Class A Uniform Jacket named on an interior label to W. C. MAHONEY JR. LT. COL. 0-23486. Medals ribbons include: Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Medal for Humane Action, American Defense Service Medal, American Camping Medal, European-African Mid East Campaign, World War II Victory Medal, WWII Occupant Medal, among others. The jacket also has his Combat Infantry Badge and a United States Army Europe Flaming Sword patch on left shoulder. The epaulets have embroidered Colonels eagles.
• 12 medals including: Silverstar, Bronze Star, 2 x Purple Hearts, Legion of Merit, Army Commendation Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Camping Medal, European-African Mid East Campaign, World War II Victory Medal, WWII Occupant Medal.
• Copy of Silver Star Medal certificate.

A truly amazing collection from a hero of Omaha Beach.

Omaha, commonly known as Omaha Beach, was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II. 'Omaha' refers to a section of the coast of Normandy, France, facing the English Channel 8 kilometers (5 mi) long, from east of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to west of Vierville-sur-Mer on the right bank of the Douve River estuary. Landings here were necessary to link the British landings to the east at Gold with the American landing to the west at Utah, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was to be the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided predominantly by the United States Navy and Coast Guard, with contributions from the British, Canadian, and Free French navies.

On D-Day, the untested 29th Infantry Division, along with nine companies of U.S. Army Rangers redirected from Pointe du Hoc, were to assault the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st Infantry Division was given the eastern half. The initial assault waves, consisting of tanks, infantry, and combat engineer forces, were carefully planned to reduce the coastal defenses and allow the larger ships of the follow-up waves to land.

The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead of eight kilometres (5 miles) depth, between Port-en-Bessin and the Vire River, linking with the British landings at Gold to the east, and reaching the area of Isigny to the west to link up with VII Corps landing at Utah. Opposing the landings was the German 352nd Infantry Division. Of the 12,020 men of the division, 6,800 were experienced combat troops, detailed to defend a 53-kilometer (33 mi) front. The Germans were largely deployed in strongpoints along the coast—the German strategy was based on defeating any seaborne assault at the water line.

Very little went as planned during the landing at Omaha. Difficulties in navigation caused the majority of landing craft to miss their targets throughout the day. The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties on landing U.S. troops. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles; later landings bunched up around the few channels that were cleared. Weakened by the casualties taken just in landing, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach. This caused further problems and consequent delays for later landings. Small penetrations were eventually achieved by groups of survivors making improvised assaults, scaling the bluffs between the most heavily defended points. By the end of the day, two small isolated footholds had been won, which were subsequently exploited against weaker defenses further inland, thus achieving the original D-Day objectives over the following days.
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