Invasion Casualties Mount ...

Brothers Tell Of Cherbourg Battle

Fulcolis Write of Montgomery
And Meeting German In Hedgerow

THE NUTLEY SUN (July 28, 1944)  -- Two brothers, Private David Fulcoli of the Fourth Infantry Division and 1st Petty Officer Alfonse Fulcoli, who had not seen each other in two years met for a few hours in England on May 27.

A little more than a week later on D-Day they left for their respective duties in the invasion of France.

They are the sons of Mrs. Ermina Fulcoli of Vreeland Avenue, and the late Pellegrino Fulcoli, and brothers of the Misses Marie and Clorinda of the same address, and Mrs. Michael Costello of the Enclosure. A brother, Rev. Joseph Fulcoli, is pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Union City.

The family has recently heard from both young men who have told of their experiences.

Petty Officer Alfonse, who is attached to an LST – Landing Ship Tank, built to carry troops and supplies – and has been ferrying troops across the Channel, wrote:

“Today, General Montgomery predicted that the war would be over by Christmas. If anyone else had said this I probably wouldn’t believe it, but he’s aces with me and all of us and I guess he knows what he is talking about. What’s more he’s a fighting general and not an arm chair one and we fighting men have confidence in each other.”

Pvt. Dave, whose unit has been engaged in the fighting around Cherbourg, wrote July 14 that he was well and busy.

He said: “I found a hat which had belonged to some mademoiselle and attached it to my helmet as a camouflage, but when I look in the mirror it scares me.”

Stories that he has read in The Sun about Nutley boys serving in Italy and in the Pacific inspired Pvt. Fulcoli, whose unit has received a Presidential Citation for its part in the battle for Cherbourg, to write giving a vivid description of the fighting he went through in France.

“We landed in England in the early days of 1944,” the letter began, “in one of the most protected convoys ever to leave the United States. Shortly afterward we were reviewed by General Eisenhower and after that by General Montgomery. The invasion hour was drawing near and little did we know the part we were to play.

“We of the U.S. Fourth Infantry Division hit the beach on D-Day under a hail of fire from German 88s which were really pouring it in. Some of the other units which landed with us began digging in when our general who had landed with the assault troops, cried out ‘Come on men, we are the Fourth Division, let’s show them.

“The second day we began to take prisoners and the Germans who resisted are no longer about today.

“It was the third day that I made my first kill, a sniper who had been up a tree over our heads all night and caused us plenty of scares when he opened up on us with an automatic.

“The next day my platoon, led by Lt. Emery of Iowa, was sent to a forward post because we expected a tank attack by the Germans.

“We had hardly set up our positions when a shell fell only a few feet from us. Soon afterward we heard voices and we realized we were face to face with the enemy. They were coming up the road to meet us!

“I was on the left flank lying in a hedgerow, when a whole company of Germans started coming around the bend. We were told to hold our fire so as not to give away our positions. Evidently the enemy decided that was a good place for them to set up their positions, and as their officer started to give them their orders, a German machine gunner set his gun up in the same hedgerow as mine and there we were face to face.

“When my sergeant, who was behind an automatic rifle, gave the signal ‘Let ‘em have it!’ I killed the machine gunner and the boys opened up with all they had. We killed 30 Germans, took 37 prisoners, including one Nazi officer.

“The first ten days were tough ones as the Nazis were leaving snipers behind. They even stooped so low as to use women as snipers. At night we would dig two-man foxholes and one man was always awake. We dared not smoke for fear a sniper would get a bead on us. They used 22-caliber long-range rifles which were almost noiseless at short range and sometimes they used wooden bullets.

“When dawn came we pushed on and around the 12th day the Germans began to retreat so fast we couldn’t catch up with them. Finally we reached the outskirts of Cherbourg where they decided to put up another fight... On June 27 we marched into Cherbourg where we took many prisoners, cognac, wine and real German beer all at the expense of Herr Hitler. He is the only one who had a headache, and what a headache!

“After a short rest we left Cherbourg and we are now heading toward Paris. My unit has received a Presidential Citation for its work in taking the Cherbourg peninsula.

“The first boy to lose his life in my company was from Nutley. Let us remember that Nutley men are giving their lives in this war so why not back them up to the limit. I know Nutley is doing a fine job. Keep it up, we are proud of you.”

The brothers are both graduates of Nutley High School.

Alfonse has been in the service two years and four months and saw action at Bizerte.

From there, he went to Sicily, Salerno, and on to Naples. He then returned to this country on a special mission of a month after which he went to Halifax and then to England, arriving there some time in April.

Adapted from 

NUTLEY SONS HONOR ROLL Remembering the Men Who Paid for Our Freedom


From The Nutley Sun, July 28, 1944

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