Operation Cobra

When I started the project, I had a slight knowledge of World War Two that I learned in High School or from my Dad.  The amount of what I thought I knew but had no idea is staggering!

Pfc R. G. Elmer As an example, I thought after the initial battle of Normandy (codenamed Overload) was complete, the Allies just marched through France.  But that was not the case.

In fact, by July the Allied Command wondered if they would even make it into Germany.  “As July 1944 entered its final week, Allied forces in Normandy faced, at least on the surface, a most discouraging situation.  In the east (of France) the British and Canadians were making little progress against fierce German resistance.  In the west, the Americans were bogged down in the Norman hedgerows.  By July 25th, the size of the Allied beachhead had not even come close to pre D-Day plans.”    (www.history.army.mil)

I have seen the hedgerows in Normandy.  The French use them as fences to keep their cattle in and mark land boundaries.  They are  different lengths and heights in every field.  And worse, you cannot distinguish them from the air.  The Allies had no idea of the hedgerow problems they would encounter.  Operation Cobra, Normandy Phase 2 was in jeopardy.  To make matters worse, it was some of the worst weather seen in France since the turn of the century.

Private First Class Richard Garrison Elmerwas inducted into the army in January of 1943.  His family had moved to Hooper after his high school graduation.  He was assigned to the 823rd Tank Destroyer BatBefore-the-Battle-of-Magdeb-1014-650-500-100talion and sent to England.   A few tanks were assigned to every infantry regiment to provide support.  The tanks, of course, were the German’s major target.

In one of the battles during Operation Cobra, Private First Class Elmer,  was reported as killed in action on  July 28, 1944.  Details are not available, but we know a total of three in the 823rd were injured that day.   Actually, Pfc Elmer was injured and evacuated.  He died of his wounds the next day, along with Pfc Miguel J. Martinez and Louis E. Yepez.

His parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Elmer  did not receive the news of his death until September.  Pfc Elmer was 22 and had eight siblings.  Of his seven brothers, there were three others serving in the war.  Private Harvey Elmer was with the army in New Britain; Pfc James Elmer was stationed in North Carolina and Pfc Austin Elmer was in the Aleutians.

Pfc Elmer is buried in the Aultorest Cemetery in Ogden.