A Special Tribute to Glennon Joseph Vogt


1915 - 1943
He Answered

His Country's Call

and

Gave His Life

in Defense of Freedom

US Army - World War II
Sgt., 7th Infantry, 3rd Division
July, 1940 - October 13, 1943
K.I.A. - Volturno River north of Naples

(No information is available to me at the time of this writing that tells me the exact date Glen was deployed to the European Theatre. My mother, her brother, and her sister remember that Glen was involved in the North Africa Campaign, the Invasions of Sicily and Italy at Salerno, and the Crossing of the Volturno River to capture Cossino. October 13, 1943 was the day the drive across the river began. After some intense research, the following is what I believe to be the route Glen's unit followed after landing in North Africa and ending on October 13, 1943.)

Glen was born August 22, 1915, to Gene and Ella Vogt and grew up in Monett, Barry County, MO. He left home at the age of 17 to travel, working various jobs during his travels. One job took him to California. While there, he answered his country's call.

Glen enlisted in the US Army at Los Angeles, CA in July of 1940. After basic training at Fort MacArthur, Long Beach, CA, he was transferred to Fort Ord, CA, for about 9 months. In the spring of 1941, he was sent to serve with the 7th Infantry, Company D, Fort Lewis, Washington.

Excerpt from Glen's letter to his sister Mary on Oct. 21, 1941.

North Africa Campaign


Going home just wasn't in the cards for Glen. The 3rd Infantry Division under the command of Major General Ernest Harmon mobilized when President Roosevelt declared a state of emergency in early 1941. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and our efforts in Europe had been stepped up. In July 1942, his Company was deployed to fight with the 7th Infantry, 3rd Division in the European Theatre.


Operation Torch was launched to secure French North Africa so the Allies could conduct operations in Europe. On November 8, 1942, supported by 400 ships and 1000 aircraft, the 3rd Infantry Division landed at Casablanca in Morocco. Completely surprised by the Allies, the French forces put up a fierce three-day battle before surrendering and joining the Allied Forces. Casablanca had been taken and the Straights of Gibraltar secured.

The Allies moved men and equipment into the Mediterranean Sea. The 3rd Division advanced east to provide support to the British forces attacking Tunisia. Realizing they lacked enough personnel to take the German and French positions along the Mareth line, the Allies established positions in the Tunisian Mountains and awaited reinforcements to renew the attacks.

In February 1943, the Germans defeated an American armored unit at Kasserine Pass and broke through the Allied lines. The German drive quickly stalled when their reinforcements could not be brought forward. They were pounded with artillery from the Americans after encountering a British block. The Germans withdrew. On March 17, 1943, the 3rd Division launched an attack to the rear of the Mareth line to divert attention from the British 8th Army attacking the line in force. By the end of April, the American and British troops had linked and Bizerte and Tunis had been taken. The German and French forces surrendered on May 10, 1943. The Allied Forces now controlled all of North Africa and the 3rd Division prepared for an amphibious assault on Sicily.

Invasion of Sicily

The 3rd Infantry Division was on the left flank of the Allies, and in the evening of July 9, 1943, Operation Husky began. After enduring terrible sea conditions the night before due to 45 mph gale force winds which were nicknamed "Mussolini Wind", in the early morning hours of July 10, 1943, they hit the beaches of Licata.

The landing was difficult due to soft and shifting sand. Many of the landing craft were stranded and the soldiers found it necessary to wade ashore. Quickly defeating the light resistance met, by July 15, 1943, the 3rd Division had captured Agriento and under the command of General George S. Patton, advanced to Palermo, Sicily. Patton organized a provisional corps, which consisted of the 3rd Infantry Division, the 2nd Armored Division, and the 82nd Airborne.  After a one hundred-mile drive and three days of house-to-house fighting, the Americans captured Palermo and about 53,000 Italian soldiers. The Allies now controlled half of Sicily.

The 7th Army advanced on Messina from the west along the north of Sicily while the British, approaching from the south, attacked north along the east coast. There were four major arteries to Messina and the 7th Army was assigned to the two northern roads. The first was Route 120 through Sicily from Nicosia, to Tronia, and through Randazzo. The second was Highway 113 on the northern shoreline all the way to Messina.

With the 1st Infantry and 45th Infantry Divisions leading, the 7th Army advanced through rugged terrain, the Caronie Mountains, and Mount Etna along Highway 113 with the 45th Infantry Division capturing "Bloody Ridge" outside Santo Stafano. The Americans continued to advance, fighting a fierce battle to capture each objective. The Germans 29th Panzer Grenadier Division controlled the Etna Line at San Fratello and could not be driven out.

After a series of unsuccessful attacks launched beginning August 3, 1943, in order to flank the Germans, Patton ordered an amphibious landing. Taking the Germans by surprise, the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry, along with one platoon of tanks and two artillery batteries, landed at Saint Agata three miles behind San Fratello. The Germans were cut off. Unfortunately, the night before, the major part of the German armies had withdrawn but the 3rd Division captured 1000+ POWs.

We still needed to take out the Panzer Division. General Patton then launched a successful second amphibious landing using the 30th Infantry. The 29th Panzer Division was completely surrounded. Before the 3rd Division could move up and provide necessary support to the 30th Infantry, the Panzer Division had escaped leaving death and destruction in its path. Two hours after the last German transports had left, the 7th Infantry, 3rd Division entered Messina. They had secured Sicily.

Invasion of Italy

After a short rest and supply replenishment, the 3rd Division was ordered to capture Naples. On September 9, 1943, the Allies launched the invasion of Italy by securing the initial beachheads at Salerno. The 3rd Infantry Division along with the 82nd Airborne and the British 7th Armored Divisions began their advance. By October 1, 1943 Naples had fallen to the Allies. Upon entering the city, they witnessed the total destruction of the city, in part due to their own artillery fire, but greatly heightened by the Germans sinking ships in the harbor and destroying nearly every building before retreating. By October 6, 1943, the Allied Forces advanced and had a hold on the southern banks of the Volturno River, 20 miles north. Naples was secured.

Accomplishing an amazing feat, the Allied Engineers had the port re-opened within two weeks and replenishment supplies were brought in. The Allies began the advance to their next objective, Cossino.

On October 13, 1943, the day the drive across the Volturno River to Cossino began, Glen, a machine gunner, was killed in action. He was hit by mortar fire and died within minutes of the injury. Buried originally in Salerno, about one year after his death, his body was returned to his family in Monett.


As a child, Glen told his mother
on several different occasions,
"Mom, there'll be another world war and I'll die in it. I have to die in the open."

 
 

While overseas, he once wrote home
and told his mother...
"If ever there was a hell on earth,
this is it."


Excerpt from an article in the Springfield News-Leader on June 7, 1987. Glen's last name is misspelled.


Glennon Joseph Vogt
was posthumously awarded
The Purple Heart.



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