Original U.S. WWII Named Large 29th Infantry Division D-Day Omaha Beach Bronze Star Recipient Grouping With Official Documents and Letters - Louis C. Frasca
Original Items: One of a Kind Grouping. Now this is a fantastic and rather large grouping attributed to Louis C. Frasca (ASN: 33000120), who served as a Staff Sergeant with the Service Company, 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division from April 17, 1941 to August 9, 1945. We did a quick search on the American D-Day website for Frasca to see that he hit the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 and confirmed that he landed on Omaha Beach. The link can be found here: FRASCA LOUIS C at the American D-Day Org Website.
Louis C. Frasca was born on December 28, 1918 in Baltimore, Maryland. He enlisted in the US Army in Baltimore on April 17, 1941 and served honorably until August 9, 1945. During his time in the Army he served with the Service Company, 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division as a Mess Sergeant. He took part in the Normandy, Northern France and the Rhineland Campaigns, where it was during this time he received the Bronze Star for performing his duties in the face of the enemy and under enemy fire. He was discharged for “Convenience of the Government” upon demobilization on August 9, 1945.
This is one of the better documented groups we have received this past year, making research for Frasca a breeze! To make this grouping even better, there is also a photo album containing dozens of pictures of his time in service!
The Items In This Grouping:
- Bronze Star Medal Set Replacement With (4) Award Documents: The cased medal set is a non-engraved or numbered example. The award citations are the extract dated April 14, 1945, Official 29th Infantry Division Headquarters citation and another official 29th citation but one with the Blue and Gray SSI and bordered.
The Citation is as Follows:
“S SGT LOUIS C FRASCA, 33000120, 175th Inf, US Army, for meritorious service in military operations against the enemy in Western Europe. From 10 June 1944 to 24 March 1945, S Sgt Frasca, Mess Sergeant, excelled in the performance of duty and contributed materially to the fine record established by the organization of which he is a member. The high standards of courage, initiative and discipline required under combat conditions were met by S Sgt Frasca in a manner that reflects great credit upon himself and the Military Service. Entered Military Service from Maryland.”
The Other Items In This Grouping:
- Honorable Discharge / Enlisted Record and Report of Separation: This is a great synopsis of Frasca’s time in service and is still legible.
- Letter Mentioning German Insignia: This is a letter Frasca sent home to his family in which he enclosed a WWII German “Luftnachrichtengerat” Signals equipment personnel specialty patch. The patch itself is in unissued condition.
- Letter Mentioning Money, Ration Stamps and German Feldpost Stamp: This is another fantastic letter in which Frasca enclosed small items to send home.
- D-Day to St. Lo D-Day Certificate: This is a beautiful 29th Infantry D-Day Certificate. The cert reads as follows:
D-DAY TO ST. LO
29 LET’S GO
This Is To Certify That
S SGT LOUIS C FRASCA 33000120
WAS A MEMBER OF THE
29TH INFANTRY DIVISION
ON D-DAY, 6 JUNE 1944, AND SERVED
WITH IT CONTINUOUSLY UNTIL THE
CAPTURE OF ST. LO ON 18 JULY 1944
MAJOR GENERAL, U.S. ARMY
- War Department Identification Card: This ID booklet was issued when he was a Sergeant. The date is unfortunately unclear, but appears to be “SEPT 44”.
- x3 Shoulder Sleeve Insignia: All three appear to be uniform removed and are in great condition. The insignia, a blue and gray take on the yin-yang, has been around since World War I, when the division activated with troops from as far north as Maryland and down to South Carolina. The blue and gray are meant to symbolize the joining of formerly Union and Confederate states.
- x5 Christmas Cards / Notes: 3 of the cards are just note, but the other 2 are fantastic 29th Infantry Division cards with lovely artwork on the fronts.
- x3 Books: The books include “29 Let’s Go!” and is the story of the 29th in WWII, “ARMY Song Book" (stamped belonging to Frasca) and FM 21-100, BASIC FIELD MANUAL belonging to Pvt. Dominic T. Frasca (33549670) who we believe to be his older brother.
- x3 Religious Books: They include a pocket bible, Sunday Missal and Protestant New Testament bible.
- Dog Tags on Chain: The tags read as belonging to Frasca and are in very salty condition, encrusted with what appears to be mud and salt. Attached to the tags are a St. Christopher medallion and St. Therese medallion.
- Rosary Beads: The Rosary is complete, undamaged and unmarked.
- 1/20-10K Gold Plated ID Bracelet: The bracelet is complete and undamaged, reads as LOUIS C. FRASCA / 33000120.
- x6 Uniform Items: The items include an Army Expert Infantry Badge, EAME ribbon with (3) Stars, 3 Collar Discs and an Army Good Conduct Medal (unmarked).
- “Autographed” Baseball: The signatures are very faint, but this appears to be a Baseball with the names of the soldiers in Frasca’s unit written on it.
- x2 Overseas Caps: The dark wool cap is stamped with L.C. FRASCA 33000120 while the other is unmarked.
- Marked Canvas Spats: The matching spats / gaiters are stamped with L.C. FRASCA 33000120. You rarely encounter named spats!
- Letters and Newspapers: This is an extremely large amount of letters and correspondence for Frasca and his family. There are dozens, possibly hundreds of letters in this grouping, perfect for research!
- Marked Seabag: The seabag is simply marked with “FRASCA” in bubble type lettering. The seabag appears to be undamaged but does have the expected staining present.
- Photo Album: The album contains 90 photos and postcards from Frasca’s initial training. The pages are marked with locations, timeframes and who is in the photos. The images are of military training operations in Fort Meade, Maneuvers at A.P. Hill and in North Carolina.
- 16” x 14” Unit Photo: This is a wonderful image which is a compilation of portraits of all members of the Service company, 175th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland in 1942. The image itself is in really good condition with the expected age toning, fading and wear. Frasca is to the right of the “1942”.
This is a fantastic grouping, attributed to a member of the 29th Infantry Division. Groupings to this caliber are becoming extremely difficult to come across, making this a wonderful opportunity and offering to add to your collections! Comes more than ready for further research and display.
175th Infantry Regiment
In 1939 the Fifth Regiment, in anticipation of its induction into the active Army, began to prepare, using its annual training to prepare for combat. On 31 December 1940, the Army re-designated the Fifth Regiment as the 175th Infantry Regiment to avoid confusion with the Regular Army's 5th Infantry Regiment and designated as one of three infantry regiments of the 29th Infantry Division. In January 1941, the regiment was federalized. The 175th moved to Ft. Meade, Maryland, where it was reinforced by an influx of draftees in April and participated in 29th Division maneuvers in North Carolina that fall. The regiment trained in the United States until 5 October 1942 when it sailed to England on the ocean liner RMS Queen Elizabeth.
The 175th was quartered at the Tidworth Barracks where it underwent intense training until its move to Cornwall. The regiment trained on the cold moors during the late summer of 1943 and then transitioned to invasion training. It performed amphibious assault training at Slapton Sands. It was then moved to the invasion assembly area in Devon. On 4 June 1944, the regiment boarded the LSTs which would carry them to the beaches of Normandy. Following a 24-hour delay, the 115th and 116th Infantry assaulted the beaches on 6 June. The 175th, the 29th Division's reserve, landed on the still unsecured Omaha Beach on the morning of 7 June, and proceeded to its objective to seize the village of Isigny. It pushed through Isigny and crossed the Vire River and on to St Lo. The 175th fought stiff German resistance hedge row by hedge row. The 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry pushed the American lines to within three miles of St Lo, creating a salient into the German lines. The unit defended the high ground, known as Hill 108 but nicknamed "Purple Heart Hill" as they were surrounded on three sides.
The regiment was rotated into the division reserve for the final thrust into St Lo. The 175th fought in Normandy until the end of August when the division was moved to Brittany to participate in the capture of Brest and the German submarine pens located there. Following the Battle of Brest, the division was moved to the Netherlands to participate in the 9th Army's drive to the Rhine River. The regiment played a significant role in capturing Jülich followed by the occupation of the industrial center of Mönchengladbach. The regiment was moved to occupy the lines along the Elbe River near Felberg. On 2 May 1945, a patrol from 3-175 Infantry made contact with elements of the 28th Company, 6th Guards Cavalry of the Russian army. Following the surrender of the German army, the regiment remained in Europe until 1 January 1946.
The 175th demobilized between 11 and 17 January 1946, this time keeping the federal numerical designation. It reorganized as an infantry regiment and regained federal recognition on 12 November 1946.
29th Infantry Division
At the outbreak of World War II, the U.S. Army began buildup and reorganization of its fighting forces. The division was called into active service on 3 February 1941. Elements of the division were then sent to Fort Meade, Maryland for training. The 57th and 58th Infantry Brigades were inactivated as part of an army-wide removal of brigades from divisions. Instead, the core units of the division were its three infantry regiments, along with supporting units. On 12 March 1942, over three months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent American entrance into World War II, with this reorganization complete the division was redesignated as the 29th Infantry Division and began preparing for overseas deployment to Europe.
The 29th Infantry Division, under the command of Major General Leonard Gerow, was sent to England on 5 October 1942 on RMS Queen Mary. It was based throughout England and Scotland, where it immediately began training for an invasion of northern Europe across the English Channel. In May 1943 the division moved to the Devon–Cornwall peninsula and started conducting simulated attacks against fortified positions. At this time the division was assigned to V Corps of the U.S. First Army. In July the divisional commander, Major General Gerow, was promoted to command V Corps and Major General Charles Hunter Gerhardt assumed command of the division, remaining in this post for the rest of the war.
D-Day of Operation Neptune, the cross-channel invasion of Normandy, finally came on 6 June 1944. Neptune was the assault phase of the larger Operation Overlord, codename for the Allied campaign to liberate France from the Germans. The 29th Infantry Division sent the 116th Infantry to support the western flank of the veteran 1st Infantry Division's 16th Infantry at Omaha Beach. Omaha was known to be the most difficult of the five landing beaches, due to its rough terrain and bluffs overlooking the beach, which had been well fortified by its German defenders of the 352nd Infantry Division. The 116th Infantry was assigned four sectors of the beach; Easy Green, Dog Red, Dog White, and Dog Green. Soldiers of the 29th Infantry Division boarded a large number of attack transports for the D-Day invasion, among them landing craft, landing ship, tank, and landing ship, infantry ships and other vessels such as the SS Empire Javelin, USS Charles Carroll, and USS Buncombe County.
As the ships were traveling to the beach, the heavy seas, combined with the chaos of the fighting caused most of the landing force to be thrown off-course and most of the 116th Infantry missed its landing spots. Most of the regiment's tank support, launched from too far off-shore, foundered and sank in the channel. The soldiers of the 116th Infantry were the first to hit the beach at 0630, coming under heavy fire from German fortifications. Company A, from the Virginia National Guard in Bedford was annihilated by overwhelming fire as it landed on the 116th's westernmost section of the beach, along with half of Company A, B, and C of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the 5th Rangers Battalion which was landing to the west of the 116th. The catastrophic losses suffered by this small Virginia community led to it being selected for the site of the National D-Day Memorial.
The 1st Infantry Division's forces ran into similar fortifications on the eastern half of the beach, suffering massive casualties coming ashore. By 0830, the landings were called off for lack of space on the beach, as the Americans on Omaha Beach were unable to overcome German fortifications guarding the beach exits. Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, commanding the American First Army, considered evacuating the survivors and landing the rest of the divisions elsewhere.
However, by noon, elements of the American forces had been able to organize and advance off the beach, and the landings resumed. By nightfall, the division headquarters landed on the beach with about 60 percent of the division's total strength, and began organizing the push inland. On 7 June, a second wave of 20,000 reinforcements from both the 1st and 29th Divisions was sent ashore. By the end of D-Day, 2,400 men from the two divisions had become casualties on Omaha Beach. Added to casualties at other beaches and air-drops made the total casualties for the Normandy landings 6,500 Americans and 3,000 British and Canadians, lighter numbers than expected.
The entire division had landed in Normandy by 7 June. By 9 June, Omaha Beach was secure and the division occupied Isigny. On 14 July, the division was reassigned to XIX Corps, part of the First Army, itself part of the 12th Army Group.
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