The 808th tank destroyers landed on Utah Beach on September 19, 1944 after crossing the English Channel on the USS LST 503 (at least some of the men were on this particular vehicle a full battalion would likely have taken more than one vehicle.) D-Day was past and America was deeply involved in the war in Europe. You can read about the USS LST 503 here.
This is a contemporary picture of Utah Beach with a 60 year old
amphibious vehicle still sitting on Utah Beach.
There were 2 LVTs sitting on Utah Beach until 2004. Now there is only one.It is being restored (2007) due to heavy rust. There is a plaque nearby which describes this LVT as a test vehicle.
LVTs were first designed by Donald Roebling for rescue work in Florida after a series of hurricanes in the 1920s and 1930s. The military became interested in 1938 but funds were not available at that time. Roebling used his own money to further development and the military finally became interested in 1940 as war seemed to be imminent. When the military did become involved the material for building the LVT changed to steel. The Ford Motor Company also became involved at this time to increase production.
The tracks on the LVT had spoon like scoops that allowed the vehicle to be self propelled in water as will as give it grip on the soft surfaces found on beaches. The scoops did not make the LVT viable for hard surfaces of dirt or pavement.
A picture of Utah Beach after D-Day, 1944.
The remains of a German bunker
Bomb craters on Utah Beach
The next pages will recount some of the fighting the 808 saw in the European theater. There are holes in the dates which I can not account for because some after action reports remain classified or lost.
For 5 days the 808th TD marched through war torn France and joined the 80th infantry at Dieulouard on September 25. They officially engaged the war effort in battle. The 808 did not see another day without battle until VE Day. It is unclear if the 808th met resistance on their way to Dieulouard, the after action reports are unclear in that respect.
When the 808th tank destroyers arrived in Dieulouard, France they met up with and attached to the 80th Infantry who had already secured Dieulouard and taken many German prisoners.