Phil and 80th Division with Third Army (Patton) in France:
From several hints in earlier letters of Dad's, it appears that his brother Phil was in
the 318th Infantry Regiment of the 80th Division, which was part of Patton's third army
during his invasion of France. As for specifics during the time period of these letters,
we have the following notes from Wikipedia:
On 5 August 1944, the 80th landed at Utah Beach. The division was destined
to become the "work horse" of General Patton's Third Army and to play a key role in the
breakthrough at Avranches. The Division then attacked Argentan, taking it,
20 August, and creating the Falaise Pocket. After mopping up in the area, the
80th took part in the Third Army dash across France, cutting through Saint-Mihiel,
Châlons, and Commercy in pursuit of the retreating Germans until stopped by the lack of
gasoline and other supplies at the river Seille.
From 25 September to 7 November, the division maintained an aggressive defense of
positions west of the Seille, and prepared for the Third Army sweep into the
industrially vital Saar Basin. The attack jumped off on 8 November, the 80th
advancing through Delme Ridge, Faulquemont, and St. Avold to within 5 miles (8.0 km)
of Saarbrücken, when it was relieved by the 6th Armored Division, 7 December 1944.
- Jim Jr.
Looking beyond the end of October, Wikipedia fills in with details of a very busy winter campaign:
Battle of the Bulge
After 10 days rest, the division returned to combat, moving southeast to take part in an
attack on the Siegfried Line at Zweibrücken when the Germans launched their winter offensive in the Ardennes.
The 80th was moved northward to Luxembourg and was hurled against the German salient, fighting at
Luxembourg and Bastogne. By Christmas Day, men of the 80th were side by side with the tanks of the
4th Armored Division, battering forward through murderous opposition to help the 101st Airborne Division,
besieged in Bastogne. Over frozen, snow-covered terrain, the attack gained nine bitter miles despite
constant machine gun and mortar fire. The next day, the gap between the rescuers and the besieged was
narrowed to 4000 yards. On 28 December, the 80th broke through, bringing relief to the 101st before
driving the enemy across the Sure to Dahl and Goesdorf, 7 January 1945, and across the Clerf and Wiltz
Rivers by 23 January. On 7 February 1945, the division stormed across the Our and Sauer Rivers at
Wallendorf (Eifel), broke through the Siegfried Line, pursued the fleeing enemy to Kaiserslautern,
20 March, and crossed the Rhine, 2728 March, near Mainz.
Pursuit continued in April, the division defeating the German defenders at Kassel,
driving rapidly to Erfurt on the 12th, and Weimar, Jena, and Gera on the 14th. Relieved, 21 April,
it moved to Nürnberg for occupation duty and on 28 April, to Regensburg, then to the
Enns River, battling to the very end. It has been alleged that the last shot fired on the western
front was in Czechoslovakia by the 80th, the last of General Patton's divisions still in action.
General Patton issued his cease-fire order at 0800 on 8 May 1945. By V-E day, the 80th Division
had amassed 289 days of combat and had captured more than 200,000 enemy soldiers.
Phil's Bronze Star Citation:
Headquarters 80th Infantry Division, 3 May 1945
Philip J Misitano, T Sgt, Inf, Army of the United States. For heroic achievement in Germany on 16 March 1945,
in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States. During an assault on Weiskirchen,
Germany, on 16 March 1945, the heavy weapons platoon in which T Sgt Misitano served as a platoon sergeant, was
ambushed by forty enemy soldiers who had been by-passed in the swift advance. After taking cover to fight the foe,
T Sgt Misitano observed a wounded comrade lying in an exposed position. Despite the danger from the intense fire
directed at him, he and two other soldiers ran to the injured man and carried him over seventy five yards of open
terrain to safety and medical aid. T Sgt Misitano's courage, initiative, and sincere devotion to duty are in keeping
with the highest traditions of the armed forces of the United States. Entered military service from Pennsylvania.
S. P. Walker
Chief of Staff
J. W. Trone
Lt. Colonel, AGD