A salute to some of the lesser known U.S. Army Divisions of World War II

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by 17thfabn, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. A Salute to the lesser known U.S. Army Divisions

    Certain U.S. Divisions get most of the attention in the popular World War II press:

    The 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One! Fought in North Africa and Sicily. Landed on D-Day, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge all the way to Czechoslovakia. Probably the best known U.S. standard infantry division of the war.

    101st Airborne, the Screaming Eagle patch, one of the most recognized divisional patches and “Nuts” to the German surrender demand at Bastogne. And then there was the Band of Brothers book//miniseries. (A fantastic book and the best World War II movie ever made by the way!)

    Americal, cool name, and the only U.S. division in World War II with out a numerical designator.

    1st Cavalry Division. Another cool patch. Most famous to many for the Cavalry unit they were not. But they did some 1st class toe to toe fighting with the Japanese in the Admiralty Islands and Philippine Islands campaigns.

    3rd Armored Division, the 1st Army’s Spearhead division.

    The six U.S. Marine divisions of World War II don’t seem to have the same strong individual identity that the U.S. Army divisions had. I know that the 1st Marine Division was the first into Guadalcanal, reinforced latter by Army divisions and the 2nd Marine Division. But I am hard pressed to name which Marine divisions fought at Iwo Jima, or Okinawa and the rest of the great campaigns of the Marine in the Pacific.

    A look at some of the lesser known U.S. Army Divisions:

    The three U.S. Army Divisions with the highest number of casualties:
    3rd Infantry Division just shy of 26,000 casualties
    9th Infantry Division over 23,000 casualties
    4th Infantry Division over 22,000 casualties

    The 3rd Infantry fought in North Africa, Sicily on into Italy. They were pulled out of Italy landed in Southern France and battled on into Germany. They had a little enlisted man who would be given a battle field promotion. After the war this little soldier would make it big in Hollywood, his name Audie Murphy.

    The 9th Infantry Division also started its combat career in North Africa. It also went onto fight in Sicily. It landed in Normandy a few days after D-Day and fought across France into Germany.

    The 4th Division landed on D Day at Normandy France. It went through France into Germany. On D Day the Division was landed at the wrong location. But fortunately the area was lightly defended. So as Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. the Asst Division Commander we’ll start the war from here.

    The ten (10) U.S. Divisions with the highest number of casualties were all standard Infantry divisions, and all fought in Europe. Five (5) of these also fought in the Mediterranean campaign prior to their participation in the European campaign.

    The three divisions with the most days in combat all fought in the Pacific theater:
    The 32nd (654 days) Americal (600 days) and 37th (592 days) Infantry Divisions. Interestingly, none of these three divisions in spite of their long combat records were in the top ten highest casualty list.

    The 76th Infantry Division is one I have a connection with. My mother’s brother served with them in the 304th Infantry Regiment. He was killed in action late in the war fighting in Germany.

    The 76th got into the war fairly late, January 1945. In a little over 100 days in combat this division suffered almost 2,400 casualties, with 670 of them KIA.

    Perhaps the 76th Infantry Division’s greatest contribution was the men it trained who were sent on to other divisions. The 76th didn’t fight in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, or Normandy, but men it trained did.

    I’ve looked at unofficial history book of the division dozens of times. But this is the first time I’ve noticed on the cover page a machine gunner with a M1919A6 (not the standard M1919 A4). http://76thdivision.com/WRF/w-r-f_001start.html

    The 100th Infantry Division has a very useful website. http://www.100thww2.org/100org/100org.html
    Under it you can go and look at the structure of a standard Infantry Division.
    This website from the 100th Infantry Division shows the structure of some of the separate battalions which supported them.
    The 100th got into combat in November 1944 in France. They suffered over 5,000 casualties.

    Let’s talk about some of the less famous divisions, and keep their memories alive. Pass on the stories from your dad, uncle or grandfather.

  2. Here's another book, you only have read to page 3 in the prologue,

    and you'll recognize my name...:eek:


  3. red14

    red14 Well-Known Member

    Aug 17, 2009
    N FLA
    Al, tell us about Joe Hooper, in your words.
  4. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Some pictures I took mid-March, testing a repaired camera.

    Attached Files:

  5. He was a fine hard fighting & hard drinking Paratrooper.

    A soldiers soldier, Eastwood has portrayed many parts that would fit Joe to a "T".

    The book is reallly and anti-war POS, but the author interviewed a lot of us

    and tells our quotes fairly accurately, I guarntee you it will overcome insomnia.

    Joe died in 71 of a brain annurism in a motel near the Kentucky Derby.

    He had gone there to see the races.

    He was married to a Hollywood movie star for a while.

    Joe needed a war to be in, when there was no war, he battled the bottle.

    I met his last wife Faye and daughter Joey an one of our reunions, super people.

    The day he got the CMH, Feb. 21, 1968,
    we had just crossed a creek and had moved up the bank to the tree line.

    Little did we know at that moment,
    but we had stumbeled upon NVA/VC Regimental HQ. bunker complex.

    They were building up for the soon to be launched "Tet Offensive of 68".

    (This is all in the book)

    I was ahead of Joe, he was our squad leader, as I looked over my right shoulder,
    he silently motioned me fo move forward.

    Taking a step out in the open, I was immediatly shot in my left leg and knocked down.
    The book says he drug me back to cover, but that's not true.
    I crawled back under my own power. But that's meaningless now.

    Sorry to steal the thread
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  6. red14

    red14 Well-Known Member

    Aug 17, 2009
    N FLA
    I am sorry for my earlier ignorance. I have read a little about Mr Hooper, since then.

    He was a hero of the first order. I will not explore his honor here, others whould take the time to read about him, and his brethren. Thank you Al, for bringing him to my attention. He does stand shoulder to shoulder with My Murphy and Mr York! I am also humbled to know you Al, who I hold in high esteem.
  7. wpage

    wpage Active Member

    Aug 25, 2009
    God Bless them all for thier service...
  8. jondar

    jondar New Member

    Mar 2, 2009
    The 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th Army Divisions fought a nightmare battle at Okinawa, landing April 1, 1945. The 1st Marine and (I believe) the 6th Marine Divisions fought there also, with the (again I believe) 2nd Marine Division as reserve at Guam.
  9. wpage

    wpage Active Member

    Aug 25, 2009
    Here is a link about some brave US Army volunteers, men who scaled Mt McKinley in 1944.
    A rescue mission to a Army Air Corp C47 that crashed a top Denali in WWII...

    My Dad, rest his soul was awarded a Bronze Star for his role in this mission.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  10. jondar

    jondar New Member

    Mar 2, 2009
    Sad story. At the range where I used to shoot, the owner's wife was from Anchorage and she told me about a Cessna which crashed in an unknown location. She was about 16 years old at the time and her father was on a list of volunteers who would go up as spotters and look for the downed planes. There were three men with her father as spotters. They never came back and were never heard from again. She said that was not an uncommon thing in Alaska.
  11. wpage

    wpage Active Member

    Aug 25, 2009
    Forgotten and unknown Soldiers from wars lost in all the Hitler documentaries which take away from the true heroes. Many of the lesser known US Army Divisions had no film crews or even photographers to capture images of actions contributing in major ways to winning the war...
    Today as many of these unsung heroes go on to thier rewards. Many of thier wonderous stories are lost. Very ordinary people from very small towns did extremely important things.
    Most returned home and thought nothing of it. Other than doing thier duty to God and Country. It is a shame that more is not know of these lesser Soldiers to add to lessons learned of war. Some of these salutes to Soldiers might help us to learn to avoid war.