Brookline War Memorial
Michael J. Mahoney

Sgt. Michael J. Mahoney
United States Army (1943-1944)

United States Army (1775-present)

Michael J. "Jimmy" Mahoney was born on January 30, 1926 to parents Michael and Margaret Mahoney of 1226 Oakridge Street. He had two sisters, Anna Marie and Eleanor. Michael attended Resurrection Elementary School, where he was Class President in 1934, and completed three years at South Hills High School, graduating early in January 1943. Following in the footsteps of his father, an Army veteran of World War I, at age seventeen Michael enlisted in the United States Army on February 13, 1943.

Michael J. Mahoney

After boot camp Private Mahoney was assigned as a replacement in the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division of the U.S. First Army. The 9th Division had already seen action in North Africa and was based in Tunisia awaiting the start of the Sicily Campaign. The 60th Regiment were nicknamed the "Go Devils."

        

THE BATTLE FOR SICILY

Private Mahoney and the 60th Regiment landed in Sicily near the town of Enna on July 24 to support the 1st Infantry Division during the battle for Troina, where the Germans had been putting up a stubborn resistance. The Regiment teamed up with the 4th Tabour of Guorns (knife-wielding irregular Moroccan troops) who had distinguished themselves fighting with the French Army in Tunisia.

Together they flanked Troina along a ridgeline to the North which forced German artillery north east of the city to withdraw, and thus leaving the Germans in Troina vulnerable. The Germans withdrew with the 9th Infantry Division in hot pursuit.

After the fall of Troina. the enemy began a phased withdrawal from Sicily. Village after village fell to the pursuing Allies, but not without difficulties. Impeding their progress were demolitions, mined roads, blown bridges, craters and the dreaded "Schu-Mines". These mines would send off a load of metal up to waste height and explode. Infantry men were frequently forced to leave the road to tread over volcanic rock.

Advancing through narrow streets    Advancing through rugged coastal terrain
Members of the 9th Division move through narrow streets and coastal hills during the advance.

During the pursuit along the coast, rear-guard troops put up stiff resistance in cities like Floresta and Basico before yielding to the might of the 60th Regiment. Another flanking attack near the town of Randazzo forced the Germans from a last key island stronghold.

That was the final Sicilian engagement for the regiment. A short period of rest, recreation and re-training followed. Then, in November 1943, Pvt. Mahoney and the "Go Devils" were back at sea, this time heading for England to begin more extensive training to prepare for the upcoming Invasion of Normandy. It was during this time that Michael Mahoney was promoted to Technical Corporal.

THE BATTLES FOR CHERBOURG

The 9th Division did not take part in the D-Day Invasion itself. The "Go Devils" of the 60th Regiment instead landed on Utah Beach on June 10 and assembled with the Division near Chef Du Pont along the Merderet River. Plans were for the 9th Division to take part in the battle to cross the Cotentin Peninsula and cut off the Germans in the Cherbourg area.

On June 13, Corporal Mahoney and the 60th Regiment crossed the Merderet and took up places on the front line previously occupied by the 90th Infantry Division. The following day, along with the 82nd Airborne on their left, they were committed in a westward advance towards the town of Ste. Colombe along the Douve River.

Map of battle for Ste. Columbe in Normandy
Map showing the 60th Regiment advance to Ste. Columbe on June 14-16, 1944

The initial objective of the 60th Regiment was Renouf. From there it was to advance northwest to the high ground west of Orglandes. After the advance started, the 60th Regiment men were immediately under rifle, mortar, and artillery fire and movement was slow. By mid-afternoon the two lead companies had pushed up the road to Renouf, and by dark the line had reached the Valognes–Pont L’Abbe highway.

Shortly before midnight on June 14, General Nelson Eddy, commander of the 9th Division, ordered the Go Devils to resume their attack at 0500 the next day and push on vigorously. Reports were that enemy reinforcements from the German 265th Division were moving up. This was confirmed when units of the 894th and 895th Regiments were identified by the neighboring 82nd Airborne.

THE THRUST TO THE DOUVE

The morning attack began, as scheduled, on June 15 and ran into the last determined resistance offered by the enemy east of the Douve River. Shortly after the attack started, sixteen tanks were reported moving south from Orglandes. Bazookas and 57mm Anti-Tank guns knocked out three Panzer III’s, forcing the rest to withdraw.

9th Division soldiers on the attack    9th Division soldiers on the attack
Soldiers of the 9th Division on the attack while crossing the Contentin Peninsula towards the Douve River.

By 0900 the 60th Regiment had advanced approximately 500 yards beyond the Orglandes–Bonneville road when it was met by a determined German counterattack with four tanks and an estimated battalion of infantry. The 60th was thrown back 500 yards to the road. The Go Devils struck back and regained half the lost ground.

The German units then began a fighting withdrawal aimed at establishing an east-west defensive line across the peninsula. The enemy began delaying the westward advancing units with small groups and taking advantage of good defensive ground. To keep the enemy from reinforcing and organizing a better coordinated defense, it became essential to push to the Douve River line quickly. The regimental objective changed from Orglandes to Ste. Columbe.

Early on the 16th the regiment resumed its advance and by late-morning had captured the town of Reigneville. The Germans were now beating a hasty retreat to new positions west of the Douve River and General Eddy ordered the regiment to push hard for Ste. Columbe. By the end of the day, the town had been captured along with intact bridges and a bridgehead established on the western side.

SEALING OFF THE PENINSULA

The Regiment was now tasked with taking the vital high ground to the east of St. Pierre d'Artheglise. Hill 145 and Hill 133 were the last natural strongholds on which the Germans could make a stand west of the Douve in their attempt to keep the peninsula from being completely cut off. Taking these hills would come at a stiff price for the Americans.

Map of battle to cut off the Cotentin Peninsula
Map showing the 60th Regiment advance to cut off the Cotentin Peninsula on July 17-18, 1944.

On June 17 the 60th Regiment moved out from its bridgehead at Ste. Colombe. The enemy had evacuated Nehou and the columns moved down the Nehou–Barneville highway without encountering any resistance except from small straggler units. The regiment managed to capture an entire enemy field artillery battalion along the way.

The Regiment continued to make quick progress towards its objective, taking the towns of Blandamour, St. Jacque de Nehou and Le Voldacie, in the process cutting off vital north-south roads. By mid-afternoon, General Eddy issued orders to go all out to reach the coast at Barneville-sur-mer and Carteret.

GERMAN RESISTANCE CRUMBLES

St Pierre d'Artheglise, along with hills 145 and 133 were secured and the rush towards the coast began. This final thrust was not without a few determined counterattacks by the Germans. One large column of enemy vehicles trying to break through the regimental line towards the hills was stopped in its tracks by accurate artillery fire.

American howitzers destroyed thirty-five German vehicles (including trucks, half-tracks, cars, and a tank), ten guns, and numerous machine guns and mortars, as well as wagons, trailers, motorcycles, caissons, bicycles, and horses. Other enemy columns were stopped and destroyed at road blocks north of Le Voldacie.

9th Division soldiers in Normandy    9th Division soldiers in Normandy
Soldiers of the U.S. 9th Division moved quickly to seal off the Cotentin Peninsula and isolate the city of Cherbourg.

The most serious threat occured north of St. Jacques-de-Nehou. The Germans crossed the Seye River in strength and a breakthrough appeared imminent. Here, the enemy managed to get within machine pistol range and there was close-quarter fighting. Some units were forced to withdraw. However, by the morning of June 18 the situation was restored and the Germans driven back across the Seye. The enemy suffered a total of 310 casualties, including 250 dead and sixty wounded.

Other small enemy counterattacks were repulsed along the coastal road at Barneville-sur-mer. By the evening of June 18, the 9th Division had succeeded in sealing off the Contentin Peninsula. For Brookline's Corporal Michael Mahoney and the 60th Infantry Regiment, the final battle for the northern coastal port of Cherbourg was about to begin.

The "Go Devils" wasted no time in shifting their effort to the north. Within 24 hours the whole US VII Corps was moving towards Cherbourg. While the other regiments of the 9th Division moved towards the city, the 60th Regiment traveled northwest to clear the area around Cape La Hague. Most German troops had fallen back into the defensive position around the city, so the regiment moved quickly against only token resistance.

9th Division advancing towards Cherbourg    9th Division soldiers with captured German Flag
The 60th Regiment moved quickly to secure the northwest corner of the Cotentin Peninsula in late-June.

Inside the Cherbourg defensive perimeter, German Lt. General Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben had 21,000 tired and disorganized defenders from various units. The enemy resisted Allied assaults and bombardments until June 29, when von Schlieben officially surrendered the harbor fortifications and arsenal. By July 1, all enemy resistance was ended, but not before the harbor was thoroughly destroyed by the Germans.

On June 28, after hearing about pending court martial proceedings resulting from the imminent harbor surrender, General Friedrich Dollmann, commander the German Seventh Army, died from a heart attack. Rumors were that it was a suicide by poisoning.

HOLDING THE LINE

With the Cotentin Peninsula now in Allied hands, the 9th Division had accomplished its objective and was entitled to some rest. During the first week in July, Corporal Mahoney and the 60th Regiment camped at Les Pieux, where they received hot food and showers. The men had time to write letters home as well as reflect on what they had experienced. During this brief rest period, Cpl. Michael Mahoney was promoted to Technical Sergeant (T4C).

In Normandy, the Germans had not yet given up on hopes of driving the Allies back. On July 8, Lt. General Fritz Bayerlein, commander of elite Panzer Lehr Division, received marching orders from Field Marshall Erwin Rommell and moved forward at once towards the front.

Though poor roads and incessant strafing by Allied planes hampered their advance, on the night of July 10 the division was in position to attack. General Bayerlein planned to attack along with two additional regimental combat teams, the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" and the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division "Gotz von Berlichingen."

Panzer Lehr    Panzer Lehr
Grenadiers of the elite German Panzer Lehr Division

At the same time, on July 9, the 60th Regiment moved out from near the village of Carentan. The following few days were spent advancing south through Normandy, directly into the path of the oncoming German attack. According to veterans of the regiment, this began one of the strangest periods the men had experienced to date.

From this point on, the enemy troops they faced were composed of SS and fanatical elements of Panzer Lehr and the 3rd Parachute Division. The fighting became very intense and few Germans would submit to capture. As a consequence practically no prisoners were taken.

The morning of July 18 had elements of the 60th Infantry Regiment's "Go Devils" dug in on the high ground overlooking the St. Lo-Perriers road. Orders from headquarters were to advance no further beyond this point and allow for other American units to make consolidated attack on the strategic town of St. Lo.

The 9th Division was now a veteran unit, but it was not a division full of veterans. Casualties changed its makeup every day, and to date the Division had lost 2,359 men since landing in France. Replacements came in large numbers as the wounded left. So far the division had received over 2,000 new members, the equivalent of swapping out an infantry regiment.

...

BREAKOUT FROM NORMANDY

The 9th Division was in place and, with a rebuilt strength of manpower, ready to begin Operation Cobra, an all-out attack combining infantry and armor to push the Germans out of Normandy. The operation was set to begin on July 25, after a massive bombardment by U.S. B-17s. At the designated time 3,000 Allied planes bombed enemy positions in front of the Allied lines and beyond. Smoke and dust drifted back over the lines. Later planes accidentally bombed some friendly troops. The 47th Regiment got hit hard as did the 30th Division.

Despite these setbacks, the Americans moved foward once the bombing ceased and initially found no opposition at all. The defenders were either dead or in no condition to resist. The 60th Regiment moved down off of the hill overlooking the St. Lo-Periers road. They quickly cleared the high ground west of the road and the town of Marigny.

Resistance soon stiffened as the Germans committed their reserves in an effort to stop the Allied push. However, by noon on July 27, the Seventh Army front had completely collapsed and the breakout commenced. Sgt. Mahoney and the "Go Devils" quickly moved towards their next objective, Coutances, free from any organized resistance.

9th Division soldiers eating.    9th Division soldiers advance through Avranches
Soldiers of the 9th Division getting a moment to eat (left) and advancing through the city of Avranches.

GERMAN COUNTERATTACK

While units of the VII Corps, including the 9th Division, cleared the towns south of St. Lo against sporadic German resistance, General Patton's Third Army passed through Avranches and fanned out in all directions. Meanwhile, the Germans massed several divisions, including the 2nd Panzer, 2nd SS Panzer, 116h Panzer, 17th SS Panzergrenadier, part of the 1st SS Panzer, and several other units for a major counterattack through Mortain towards the coast. Had Operation Luttich succeeded, it would have cut off the entire Third Army.

Shortly after midnight on August 7, the Germans attacked. They ran straight into the 30th Infantry Division at Mortain, who heroically held out against overwhelming odds. While the beleagured and vastly outnumbered 30th Division resisted the onslaught, Allied air power rained death and destruction down upon the massed German units.

While the defiant Germans continued to press their assault, Sgt. Michael Mahoney and the 9th Division's "Go Devils" were one of several independant units sent south to Mortain to aid in the relief of the trapped division. By August 13 the German offensive had failed and a general withdrawal ensued.

This German retreat quickly turned into a flight for their lives as the Allied pincers closed in upon the battered divisions of the Seventh Army, turning the tables and instead trapping them inside the Falaise Pocket. The 60th Infantry Regiment quickly turned eastward to aid in the closure and clearing of the pocket.

LIBERATING BELGIUM

Once the German Army in France had been defeated the race to the east was on. The 9th Division crossed the Marne River on August 28 and continued pushing on. Next came crossings of the Aisne, and the Seine Rivers in a matter of a couple days. Soon the 60th Regiment entered Belgium and crossed the Meuse River.

60th Regiment soldiers after liberating Awan–Aywaille    60th Regiment soldiers after liberating Awan–Aywaille
Happy residents with soldiers of the 60th Regiment after the liberation of the town of Awan–Aywaille, Belgium.

It was during this rush to the east that Sgt. Michael Mahoney received his first Purple Heart. His wounding was listed in the Pittsburgh Press on September 5, 1944. It was not serious, and after a short convalescence, he was back with his unit pushing through Belgium towards the German border.

The "Go Devils" continued through Belgium, liberating one town after another while the Germans continued their retreat into Germany. The closer the Division came to the German Fatherland, however, the more determined the resistance they encountered. On September 10, the 60th Regiment began an attack across the Our River. Once across, they occupied the town of Eupen near the German border.

Booby Traps    Advancing in Belgium
German booby traps and snipers were deadly obstacles as troops moved through Belgium

THE HUERTGEN FOREST

Two days later, the 9th Division crossed the border into Germany at Roetgen. Their mission was to penetrate the Siegfried Line and seize road junctions in the area between Monschau to the south and Duren to the north. Three days after the attack started, men of the 60th Regiment pushed through the line near Hofen. The first part of the attack was successful.

However, well organized German resistance halted the advance of the 9th Division men at these positions, and the rapid advance that started in Normandy almost two months earlier, abruptly ended there. Hard and brutal fighting for small objectives was about to start. The Battle of the Hurtgen Forest had begun.

9th Division soldiers enter the Huertgen Forest    9th Division soldiers enter the Huertgen Forest
Soldiers of the 9th Division enter the Huertgen Forest in September 1944.

By September 17th, the Hofen position of the Siegfried Line was being patrolled by the 60th Regiment. After the Siegfried Line was breached the Allied drive continued toward the Roer River. The 60th Regiment was tasked to capture the high ground to the southeast, including the towns of Hofen and Alzen.

It was before the towns of Hofen and Alzen in Germany that Sgt. Mahoney was seriously wounded. He was evacuated to the rear and sent to an emergency medical unit for treatment. On September 23, 1944, Brookline's Michael J. "Jimmy" Mahoney, a seasoned combat veteran but still only eighteen years of age, succumbed to his wounds.

"GO DEVILS" FIGHT ON

After Sgt. Mahoney's death, the 9th Division continued the bitter and bloody struggle struggle in the Huertegen Forest. After that battle, the 60th Regiment fell back to the Monschau area where its efforts helped repulse the last major German offensive in the snow and bitter cold of the Battle of the Bulge.

During the ensuing Allied advance into Germany, the "Go Devils" captured the Schwammanuel Dam on the Roer River. Continuing south, the regiment was one of the first to cross the Rhine River at Remagen. After expanding that bridgehead, the regiment raced northeast, where they helped seal and destroy the Ruhr Pocket.

Continuing northeast, the 60th Regiment advanced toward the Harz Mountains. After relieving the 3rd Armored Division, the regiment held that line until VE day and met up with Russian soldiers soon after. The 60th Infantry was inactivated in November 1946 while on occupation duty in Germany.

FINAL RESTING PLACE

Michael J. Mahoney

As for Brookline's Technical Sergeant Michael J. "Jimmy" Mahoney of 1226 Oakridge Street, a Bronze Star recipient and holder of two Purple Hearts, his parents were notified of his death in early-November, 1944. Another young man from the neighborhood had made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and liberty, and another Gold Star appeared in the window of a Brookline home.

After the war, Gerald's body was permanently interred in Plot B, Row 11, Grave 10 Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Hombourg, Belgium. He shares the same burial location as another fallen Brookline soldier, Lt. Gerald. B. Fagan, who as civilians lived only a block or so away from each other.

Gerald B. Fagan

On January 17, 1947, Michael J. Mahoney's parents, Michael and Margaret, received the following letter from the Office of the Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army, signed by Brigadier General G.A. Horkan of the Quartermaster Corps along with a photo showing the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery:

Enclosed herewith is a picture of the United States Military Cemetery Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, in which your son, the late Technical Sergeant Michael J. Mahoney, is buried.

It is my sincere hope that you mey gain some solace from this view of the surroundings in which your loved one rests. As you can see, this is a place of simple dignity, neat and well cared for. Here, assured of continuous care, now rest the remains of a few of those heroic dead who fell together in the service of our country.

This cemetery will be maintained as a temporary resting place until, in accordance with the wishes of the next of kin, all remains are either placed in permanent American cemeteries overseas or returned to the homeland for final burial.

NOTE: The cemetery at Henri-Chappelle in Belgium is now a permanent American cemetery.

Michael Mahoney - 1918
Jimmy Mahoney's father Michael, U.S. Army, 1918.

* Thanks Margie Cronin for the picture of Uncle Jimmy and notes on his early life. *

* Written by Clint Burton: April 9, 2018 *




The Brookline War Memorial

The Brookline Veteran's Memorial.

Listed below are many of the sons of Brookline who gave their
lives to preserve freedom and contain aggression during
World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”
General George S. Patton
 

United States Army (1775-present)  United States Army Air Services (1917-1947)  United States Navy (1775-present)  United States Marine Corps (1775-present)
United States Coast Guards (1790-present)  United States Air Force (1947-present)  United States Merchant Marine (1775-present)

World War I (1917-1919)

Percy Digby

Digby, David P.
Mayville Avenue
Army

Details

Raymond P. Cronin

Cronin, Raymond P.
Berkshire Avenue
USMC

Details

Charles Luppe

Luppe, Charles
Ferncliffe Avenue
Army

Details

WW1 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War I Memorial - Washington D.C.

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World War II (1941-1945)


Alm William H.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details


Arensberg, Roy T.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details


Brickley, Edward G.
Woodward Avenue
Army

Details


Bruni, Lawrence A.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Capogreca, James J.
Merrick Avenue
Navy

Details


Copeland, Clarence R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Cullison, Thomas J.
Birtley Avenue
Army

Details


Dempsey, Howard F.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Dempsey, Walter F.
Milan Avenue
Navy

Details


Diegelman, Edward R. Jr
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Dornetto, Frank P.
Jacob Street
Navy

Details


Fagan, Gerald B.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Falk, Harold E.
Pioneer Avenue
Army

Details


Fehring, Robert M.
Fernhill Avenue
Army

Details


Hynes, Richard E.
Waddington Avenue
Army

Details


Jackson, Robert E.
Brookline
Army

 


Kestler, Paul C.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Ketters, Robert C.
Berkshire Avenue
Army

Details


Mahoney, Michael J.
Oakridge Street
Army

Details


Majestic, Arthur B.
Starkamp Avenue
Army

Details


Mayberry, Alexander G.
Breining Street
Army

Details


Mazza, John
Alwyn Street
Army

Details


McCann, Robert F.
Edgebrook Avenue
Navy

Details


McFarland, Hugh R.
McNeilly Road
Army

Details


Miller, William J.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Napier, Edward J.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details


Nicholson, John D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


O'Day, John R.
Creedmoor Avenue
Navy

Details


Orient, Andrew D.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details


Pisiecki, Raymond A.
Wolford Avenue
Army

Details


Reeves, Alfred M.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details


Reitmeyer, John P.
Bellaire Avenue
Navy

Details


Rhing, Vern M.
Norwich Avenue
Army

Details


Shannon, Harry C.
Midland Street
Army

Details


Shannon, Jack E.
Midland Street
USMC

Details


Simpson, James D.
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Spack, Harry
Linial Avenue
Army

Details


Vierling, Howard F.
Fordham Avenue
Army

Details


Wagner, Ralph G.
Shawhan Avenue
Army

Details


Wentz, Walter L. Jr
Woodbourne Avenue
Army

Details


Zeiler, Harold V.
West Liberty Avenue
Army

Details

WW2 Memorial - Washington D.C.
The World War II Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Korean War (1950-1953)

Patrick Gallagher

Gallagher, Patrick J.
Bodkin Street
Army

Details

James Gormley

Gormley, James W.
Brookline Boulevard
Army

Details

Gerald Hilliard

Hilliard, Gerald G.
Edgebrook Avenue
Army

Details

James McKenna

McKenna, James E.
Bellaire Place
Army

Details

Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Korean War Memorial - Washington D.C.

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Vietnam War (1965-1973)

James Robert Bodish

Bodish, James R.
Plainview Avenue
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Gilbert Collins

Collins, James G.
Dunster Street
Army

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

James Charles Wonn

Wonn, James C.
Mayville Avenue
Navy

Virtual Wall
Additional Details

Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.
Vietnam War Memorial - Washington D.C.




The Brookline Monument - The Cannon

Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

<Brookline War Memorial> <> <Brookline History>