|The assignment of the 121st Engineer batallion|
|"They had the mission of assisting the assault infantry through minefields and obstacles on their route of advance, and of opening the beach exits for passage of vehicles by H+3 hours They would then move inland with the 116th RCT, one of
their first tasks being to open the transit vehicle areas."
The 121st Engineer Battalion was attached to the 115th and 116th Infantry Regimental Combat Team. The 116th landed in the 1st wave and received heavy losses. (The opening scene of the famous movie Saving Private Ryan plays on the part of Omaha Beach where the 116th RCT lands together with elements op the 5th Ranger Battalion. The 115th landed some time later on top of another Regiment and landed in chaos. It took them several hours to get of the Beach.
Richard Neff tells to a correspondent of the Buffalo Evening News what he went thru on D-day:
"An Army General Hospital England, July 10. A burst of shrapnel separated Buffalo Twins on D-day for the first time in their Army careers. One of the brothers, Pvt. Richard S Neff of 113 Baxter St., is in this hospital with a wounded left hand and is convinced his twin Pvt. Robert is "all right because he knows how to take care of himself".
"We went in on the invasion at H-hour from an LST, and I guess the Germans threw everything at us but the kitchen sink. Snipers and machine gunners were firing from the top of the cliff."
I got this (he held up his left hand from which part of the middle finger is missing) when shrapnel from an 88 hit it. Frank knew I was alright so he kept going. It is the first time we haven't been together. (Buffalo Evening News)
Richard had been wounded on D-day. His family is notified of the injury of their son in a telegram on June 15. They receive notice that he has been wounded on June 7th but to a reporter of the Buffalo Evening News Richard says he is wounded during the invasion. Richard is evacuated towards the beach and from there he goes to one of the hospital ships that wait for the wounded just outside the Normandy coast. The hospital ship takes him back to England where he recovers from his injuries.
The tragedy for the family Neff get much worse when their son Robert is killed a day later. This may very well have happened when a German counter attack at 0530 forced Co B of the 121st Engineer BN out of the Chateay de Vaumicel and back into the village Vierville. The family receives a telegram of his death on the 17h of July.
The battalion stays in combat throughout the Normandy campaign and it will not be until 22 December of that year that Lt. Colonel Robert R. Ploger finds the time to write to the family Neff to offer them his condolences in name of the Battalion and to tell them that Robert was an excellent soldier, who served his country well.