30th Infantry Division (United States)

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30th Infantry Division
30th Infantry Division SSI.svg
30th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1917–18, 1940–45, 1947–74
Country United States
Branch Army National Guard
Nickname "Old Hickory"
Engagements World War I
World War II
US infantry divisions (1939–present)
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29th Infantry Division 31st Infantry Division

The 30th Infantry Division was a unit of the Army National Guard in World War I and World War II. It was nicknamed the "Old Hickory" division, in honor of President Andrew Jackson. The Germans nicknamed this division "Roosevelt's SS.".[1] The 30th Infantry Division was regarded by SLA Marshall as the number one infantry division in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), involved in 282 days of intense combat over a period from June 1944 through April 1945.[2]

World War I[edit]

The division was originally activated as the 9th Division (drawing units from NC, SC, VA and TN) under a 1917 force plan, but changed designation after the outbreak of World War I.[3] It was formally activated under its new title in October 1917, as a National Guard Division from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Its organization included the 117th, 118th, 119th, 120th Infantry Regiments, the 113th, 114th, 115th Artillery Regiments, the 113th, 114th, 115th Machine Gun Battalions, and the 105th Engineer Regiment. The major operations it took part in were the Ypres-Lys, and the Somme offensive, in which it was one of the two US Army II Corps divisions (the other being the US 27th Division) to break the Hindenburg Line in the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. Its total casualties were 8,415. Its KIAs were 1,237, and WIAs 7,178.

  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. J. F. Morrison (28 August 1917), Brig. Gen. William S. Scott (19 September 1917), Maj. Gen. C. P. Townsley (14 October 1917), Brig. Gen. Samson L. Faison (1 December 1917), Maj. Gen. C. P. Townsley (6 December 1917), Brig. Gen. Samson L. Faison (17 December 1917), Brig. Gen. L. D. Tyson (22 December 1917), Brig. Gen. G. G. Gatley (28 December 1917), Brig. Gen. Samson L. Faison (1 January 1918), Brig. Gen. L. D. Tyson (30 March 1918), Brig. Gen. Samson L. Faison (7 April 1918), Maj. Gen. G. W. Read (3 May 1918), Brig. Gen. R. H. Noble (12 June 1918), Maj. Gen. G. W. Read (14 June 1918), Maj. Gen. Samson L. Faison (15 June 1918), Maj. Gen. Edward Mann Lewis (18 July 1918), Brig. Gen. Samson L. Faison (23 December 1918).

World War II[edit]

  • Activated: 16 September 1940

Assigned to Camp Atterbury, Indiana 10 November 1943 to 26 January 1944[4]

  • Overseas: 11 February 1944
  • Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
  • Days of combat: 282
  • Distinguished Unit Citations: 8
  • Awards: MH-6 ; DSC-50 ; DSM-1 ; SS-1,773 ; LM-12; DFC-3 ; SM-30 ; BSM-6,616 ; AM-154.
  • Foreign Awards: Belgian Fourragere-2[5] per Belgian decree #1393, dated 20 November 1945
  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. Henry D. Russell (16 September 1940 – April 1942), Maj. Gen. William H. Simpson (May–July 1942), Maj. Gen. Leland S. Hobbs (9 September 1942 – September 1945), Maj. Gen. Albert C. Smith (September 1945 to inactivation.)
  • Returned to U.S.: 19 August 1945
  • Inactivated: 25 November 1945.

Organization[edit]

Combat chronicle[edit]

The 30th Infantry Division arrived in England, 22 February 1944, and trained until June. It landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy, 11 June 1944, secured the Vire-et-Taute Canal, crossed the Vire River, 7 July, and, beginning on 25 July spearheaded the Saint-Lô break-through of Operation Cobra.

During Operation Cobra, on both 24 and 25 July, the 30th encountered a devastating friendly fire incident. As part of the effort to break out of the Normandy hedgerows, US Army Air Force bombers from England were sent to carpet bomb a one by three mile corridor of the German defenses opposite the American line. However, Air Force planners, in complete disregard or lack of understanding of their role in supporting the ground attack, loaded the heavy B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress bombers with 500 pound bombs, destroying roads and bridges and complicating movement through the corridor, instead of lighter 100 pound bombs intended as antipersonnel devices against German defenders. Air planners switched the approach of attack by 90 degrees without informing ground commanders, thus a landmark road to guide the bombers to the bombing zone was miscommunicated as the point to begin the bombing run. Start point confusion was further compounded by red smoke signals that suddenly blew in the wrong direction, and bombs began falling on the heads of the U.S. soldiers. There were over 100 friendly fire casualties over the two days, including Lt. Gen. Leslie McNair.

The 30th relieved the 1st Infantry Division near Mortain on 6 August. The German drive to Avranches began shortly after. The 30th clashed with the elite 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, and fierce fighting in place with all available personnel broke out. The 30th frustrated enemy plans and broke the spearhead of the enemy assault in a violent struggle from 7–12 August. After the liberation of Paris, the division drove east through Belgium, crossing the Meuse River at Visé and Liège on 10 September. Elements of the division entered the Netherlands on 12 September, and Maastricht fell the next day. Moving into Germany and taking up positions along the Wurm River, the 30th launched its attack on the heavily defended city of Aachen on 2 October 1944, and succeeded in contacting the 1st Division on 16 October, resulting in the encirclement and takeover of Aachen.

After a rest period, the 30th eliminated an enemy salient northeast of Aachen on 16 November, pushed through Alsdorf to the Inde River on 28 November, and then moved to rest areas. On 17 December the division rushed south to the Malmedy-Stavelot area to help block the powerful enemy drive in the Battle of the Bulge—the Germans' last attempt to win a decisive victory over the Western Allies. Again the 30th met the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, and again broke the spearhead of their assault. The 30th Infantry launched a counterattack on 13 January 1945 and reached a point 2 miles south of St. Vith, Belgium on 26 January, before leaving the battle and moving to an assembly area near Lierneux on 27 January, and to another near Aachen to prepare for attack deeper into the western edge of Germany at the Roer River. The Roer was crossed on 23 February 1945, near Jülich.

The 30th moved back for training and rehabilitation on 3 March, and on 24 March made its assault crossing of the Rhine. It pursued the enemy across Germany, mopping up enemy pockets of resistance, took Hamelin on 7 April, Braunschweig on 12 April, and helped to reduce Magdeburg on 17 April. The Russians were contacted at Grunewald on the Elbe River. After a short occupation period, the 30th began its return to the U.S. mainland, arriving on 19 August 1945. In 282 days of combat the division suffered 3,003 KIA, 13,376 WIA and 506 died of wounds.

Assignments in ETO[edit]

  • 18 February 1944: XIX Corps, First Army.
  • 15 July 1944: VII Corps
  • 28 July 1944: XIX Corps
  • 1 August 1944: XIX Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
  • 4 August 1944: V Corps
  • 5 August 1944: VII Corps
  • 13 August 1944: XIX Corps
  • 26 August 1944: XV Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group, but attached to First Army
  • 29 August 1944: XIX Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
  • 22 October 1944: Ninth Army, 12th Army Group
  • 17 December 1944: Ninth Army, 12th Army Group, but attached to V Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
  • 21 December 1944: XVIII (Abn) Corps, and attached, with the First Army, to the British 21st Army Group
  • 18 January 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group
  • 3 February 1945: XIX Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group
  • 6 March 1945: XVI Corps
  • 30 March 1945: XIX Corps
  • 8 May 1945: XIII Corps

Postwar[edit]

Following the war, the 30th Division was once again reactivated as a National Guard formation in 1947, split between three states.[6] It included the 119th, 120th, and 121st Infantry Regiments.[7]

In 1954, the division became an entirely North Carolina Army National Guard manned formation, as Tennessee's portion became the 30th Armored Division, which was maintained with the Alabama Army National Guard. In 1968 the division was designated as the 30th Infantry Division (Mechanized). On 4 January 1974 the division was again deactivated, and the brigade in North Carolina become the 30th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate). The 2nd Brigade, 30th Infantry Division, became the 218th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate).[8]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.30thinfantry.org/fact_sheet.shtml
  2. ^ Haas, Darrin. "Still Shocking". National Guard Magazine. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Chapter II: Genesis of Permanent Divisions
  4. ^ Indian Military.org
  5. ^ 30th Infantry Division Facts
  6. ^ Old Hickory Association, [1][dead link], accessed September 2009
  7. ^ Aumilier, United States Army Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry/Armor Battalions
  8. ^ McGrath, The Brigade, 240.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]