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Honoring Service: Veteran Samuel P. Gagliardo, World War II

Our reporting on local veterans is a collaboration with RyeVets.org to highlight those from Rye who have served our country across times of war and peace. There are over 2,100 veterans from the City of Rye. Learn more about how you can help research and write biographies of those that have served.

Honoring Service: Samuel P. Gagliardo

Samuel P. Gagliardo was born in 1915 to Frank and Grace Gagliardo, who migrated to the US from Italy looking for a better life. Samuel had 10 brothers and sisters and his family resided at 107 Maple Avenue and were members of the Church of the Resurrection. Samuel attended Rye High School in the early 1930s. By the time the war came Sam was on his own and married. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Date of Birth: 1915
Died On: 17 Nov 1944
Street Address: Central Avenue
Branch of Service: U.S. Army – 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division

A true patriot, Samuel left his home and his wife to enlist in the army to defend his country on January 21, 1944. He was a Sergeant in the 115th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division. Samuel was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, Company L, from replacement depot to duty on September 1, 1944.

Operation Queen was the Allied plan to advance to the Rohr River through the Hurtgen Forest . On D-Day November 16th, the 29th Division would start the advance and the 115th regiment attempted to seize a coal mine north of the German town of Setterich. The purpose of the mission was to try and control the surrounding area of the town instead of attacking it head on. In previous engagements U.S. troops would directly attack towns and force German troops to attack them from its outskirts, inflicting on them numerous casualties. Unfortunately, on November 16 – 17, 1944 this alternative new strategy of surrounding a town did not work, and the results were catastrophic. The 115th came under withering fire from German machine guns, artillery and mortar from the garrison of Setterich.

Honoring Service: Samuel P. GagliardoA battalion each of the 115th and 175th Infantry Regiments attacked due east against Setterich but gained no more than a few hundred yards. Small arms fire from deep zigzag trenches pinned the men to the flat, exposed ground, whereupon German mortars and artillery worked them over. It was a lamentable repetition of what had happened on D Day to the 115th Infantry’s Company C, when they were annihilated on Omaha Beach.

The advance was halted and the 115th waited until the following day, November 17 before resuming at 12:30 pm its movement. Unfortunately, the results were the same: many casualties caused by overwhelming firepower.

In the future this alternative to direct attacks on German towns was abandoned. However, Samuel did not live to see it, he was killed in action on 11/17/1944 during the second advance and was one of 33,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded in the infamous Battle of the Hurtgen Forest. The entire plan of Operation Queen was abandoned less than a month later as the Germans mounted their own attack which would be forever known as The Battle of The Bulge.


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