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Brightwood Boys, The History of the Men from the North End of
Springfield, Massachusetts, During World War II
by Christopher P. Montagna



On September 15, 1944, Nino Montagna landed on the island of Peleliu under heavy mortar fire in the initial assault phase against Japanese forces.  For the next two months he participated in offensive and defensive operations with the First Marine Division (Reinf) against the Japanese at Peleliu Island.


Off the coast of Peleliu, the USS Denver was providing naval firepower in support of the landing operations.  Seaman First Class Earl Diamond was serving as a “striker” for a gun crew of the USS Denver.  Repaired and overhauled at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, the Denver returned to combat in June 1944.  Prior to the assault on Peleliu, the Denver provided screening for aircraft carriers during their strikes in the Marianas and Bonins area and using her guns to bombard Iwo Jima.


On October 4, 1944 William “Billy” Wright and members of the 7th Marines made an attack in the southern end of Peleliu Island.  The Marine's push led to an unexpectedly rapid advance, which it pressed to get up hill 120.  It was hoped that this would provide a good jump-off for the next day's operation against the next ridge to the west.  However Hill 120 was then under enemy crossfire, which made the goal to capture Hill 120 untenable. The attacking company was withdrawn with heavy casualties.  One of the wounded included Billy Wright, who was shot in the left arm and left thigh.  He was evacuated from Peleliu on October 20, 1944.

Half way across the world, Sylvio Beauregard, the son of Charles and Amanda Beauregard, was fighting in the European Theater of Operations.  Sylvio was serving as an infantryman with Company C, 104th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division (Yankee Division).  Sylvio arrived in the ETO on September 7, 1944 landing at Utah Beach with the men of the 26th Division.  They would begin active combat service in October as the 26th Division made its way across France.

On October 22, 1944, the 104th Infantry Regiment faced enemy positions in the Moncourt Woods, a hill to the northwest and the town of Bezange la Petite.  Opposing the 26th Infantry Division were troops tough enough to give any "green" division an acid test - the 11th Panzer Division. Although this Division had been hammered all the way across France and now numbered 4,000 men, it still fought with spirit. In a short space of time it was rejuvenated by some twelve thousand reserve troops and thirty big guns and tanks.

In preparation for the drive through Moncourt and Bezange, men of the 104th were given an opportunity to observe air support in action. On October 21st, American planes flew over German positions to the attack, bombing and strafing enemy positions. On October 22, the men of the 104th attacked the objective that had been occupied by the Germans long enough for it be strongly fortified, and stiff opposition was encountered from fourteen pillboxes hidden in the woods, and along the edge of the town. Mines and booby traps had been placed profusely. The Germans had dug in shelters, some of which were twelve feet deep.  During the battle Sylvio Beauregard was killed in action by a gunshot wound to the chest.