Brignola, Leo S. Jr

Leo S. Brignola Jr. was born in 1915 to Leo and Hannah Brignola of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He had six brothers and sisters. His father, who emigrated from Italy in 1907, worked for Phoenixville Iron and Steel Company. 

Leo married Dorothy Marie Edinger on March 9, 1940. He was employed at a hosiery mill in Spring City. 

Leo entered service in the Army and was assigned to the 318th Infantry Regiment, 80th  “Blue Ridge” Infantry Division, also known as “Patton’s Troubleshooters”. This was the same regiment in which Hero Robert Miller served. Leo was then sent to England, sailing July 4, 1944 aboard the luxury liner converted to a troopship – the SS Queen Mary.
Army Logo Shadow
Leo’s division was ferried to France on LSTs (Landing Ship Tanks) and liberty ships, landing at Omaha Beachhead in Normandy on August 2. On August 8, his division went into battle over the LeMans bridgehead in the XX Corps area. They were hastily ordered into battle to stop the German counterattack at Avranches. Leo was wounded in action, but recovered and return to duty.

The 80th Division maneuvered to close a loop around the Germans, called the Falaise Pocket, and then mopped up the area capturing thousands.

In November, Leo’s division maintained a defense west of Seil, preparing for the Third Army’s sweep into the vital industrial Saar Basin. This sweep began on November 8th with the 80th division advancing across the basin with heavy casualties.

In December, they rushed north into Luxemburg to help stop the surprise German offensive in the Ardennes, known as the Battle of the Bulge. This was General Patton’s famed drive to relieve the troops. He turned three divisions 90 degrees to drive through one of the worst European winters in 20 years, traveling over 100 miles in three days. Elements of the Third Army, spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division, moved further and faster, engaging more enemy divisions than any other in the history of the United States. After the enemy was finally defeated at the “Bulge” Leo’s division continued their attacks through Luxemburg on the Siegfried Line.

Private Leo S. Brignola Jr. was Killed In Action on March 21, 1945 in Germany. Leo is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold (Mosselle), France.

Credits


Research by Don Wambold, WCMSC