This is the story of Donald H.Weisel buried on the American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France (just behind Omaha Beach, looking over the landing beaches).
This remarkable story was sent to me by Gregg Heilman. Donald was the uncle of Gregg.
Jaap Vermeer (my friend from the SGLO) made the connection between Gregg and Back to Normandy by sending the pictures of a Dutch group (reenactment) paying their respect to Donald and Gregg.
You can visit Donald's H. Weisel's grave at Plot J, Row 6, Grave 5, 14710 Colleville-sur-Mer, France. If you feel like it, please add your respect at the end of this article.
Cemetery from the air.
Sincerly yours, Fred Vogels
What happened that day, in the first hours of D-Day
There is more to read about the 16 Infantry Regiment (USA). Look on Back to Normandy to the records of the 16 Infantry Regiment (USA): Link
The story of Company G (company of Donald Weisel)
Twenty minutes after Company G and the rest of the first wave hit the beach, the 16th Regiment's Headquarter unit approached the sand. But in the chaos, the landingcraft had managed to stray of course, and when the boat's ramp dropped, it did so a couple hundred yards directly in front of a German machine gun.
The German machine gunner must have had his finger on the trigger because as soon as the men in the landingcraft were exposed it opened fire into their midst.
Thirty-five men were killed before they got out of the boat.
"We landed in the wrong place and were pinned down for an hour," says James Lipinski of Roanoke (regiment's historian). "They were killing us off like mad."
Among the early fatalities was Donald Weisel of Allentown. Machinegun fire practically ripped him in two. Lapinski says the slug wounds ran up Weisel's leg and across his chest. Lapinski says nothing could be done for Weisel but make him as comfotable as possible. He found the photograph Weisel carried of his wife Elisabeth and placed it in the young man's hand.
"He just sat there for a while, looking at the picture, until he died," says Li pinski
One of the brave actions of the 16th (Company K & L):
On 6 June 1944, around forty Wehrmacht soldiers were in this important strong point, the WN60. lt is the best-preserved strong point and one of the best viewing points of the whole of Omaha Beach. Two companies of the 16th Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division, which landed at 7am under the cover of the vertical cliff, attacked the WN60 at around 8am. They took advantage of a path which by-passed it on the west, and attacked from the rear.
The battle was short and bloody, with shooting, grenades and explosive charges flushing out the Germans who were hidden their bunkers and shelters. A 9am the last Germans surrendered. Thus, the first large strong point on Omaha Beach was captured with 31 German prisoners. This success allowed the opening of another exit road from the beach in the afternoon.