332nd Infantry Regiment (United States)

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332nd Infantry Regiment
Active 1917–1919
Country United States United States of America
Type Infantry
Role Light Infantry
Engagements

World War I

Commanders
Notable
commanders
William G. Everson
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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329th Infantry Regiment 355th Infantry Regiment

The 332nd Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment of the United States Army, active during World War I. It was part of the 83rd Infantry Division and served on the Italian front during the war, taking part in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. It was disbanded in May 1919.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The 332nd Infantry Regiment was formed on August 30, 1917 at Camp Sherman in Ohio as part of the 83rd Division. Following a number of months of training in the United States, the regiment, under the command of Colonel William Wallace, embarked upon the troopship RMS Aquitania at New York and departed for Europe on June 8, 1918.[1] They arrived in Liverpool, England on June 15 and entrained for Southampton from where they embarked again for the trip across the English Channel to France.[1]

Service in Italy[edit]

Shortly after the regiment's arrival in France, they were informed that they would be sent to serve in Italy instead.[1] They arrived there in July 1918 in response from an urgent request from the Italian Government. In addition to the American infantry force, 30 American ambulance sections, a base hospital and 54 airplane pilots also served with the Italian Army. The American pilots, as members of the Italian bombardment squadrons, engaged in bombing raids behind Austrian lines, being especially active during the progress of the Vittorio-Veneto offensive.[2]

Its principal missions were to build up Italian morale and to depress that of the enemy by creating the impression that a large force of Americans had reached the front and was preparing to enter that battle line and take an active part in the fighting. The regiment was first stationed near Lake Garda, where it trained in methods of warfare suitable for the difficult mountain terrain which comprised the greater part of the Italian Theater of Operations. Early in October it moved to Treviso, behind the Piave River Front, where it was assigned to the Italian 31st Division. From there, for the purposes of deceiving the enemy, it staged a series of marches in which each battalion, with different articles of uniform and equipment, left the city by different road, circulated during daylight hours in exposed positions for both the Italians and Austrians to see, and returned after nightfall to its station at Treviso in as inconspicuous a manner as possible.

On October 24, the opening day of the Vittorio-Veneto offensive, the Italian 31st Division with the 332nd Infantry attached, was in reserve. It joined the pursuit of the fleeing Austrians on October 29 as part of the British XIV Corps of the Italian Tenth Army, the American regiment forming the advance guard of the corps. On November 3, after several hard marches, the 332nd Infantry established contact with an enemy rear-guard battalion which was defending the crossings of the Tagliamento River near the village of Ponte-della-Delizia. Early on November 4, the 2nd Battalion crossed the river on a narrow foot bridge and after a brief fight captured the Austrian position on the far side. Continuing to move forward along the Treviso-Udine railroad, the 2nd battalion occupied the town of Codroipo where it took possession of large stores of munitions and supplies. At 3:00 p.m., November 4, when the armistice between Italy and Austria–Hungary became effective, the leading American elements were at Villaorba.

After the Armistice the American troops formed part of the Allied forces stationed in Austria and along the Dalmatian coast. The 1st and 3rd Battalions were at Cormons near Gorizia, Austria. Later in November the 1st Battalion was ordered to go to Treviso and the 3rd Battalion to Fiume, Austria. The 2nd Battalion was stationed at Cattaro, Dalmatia, and a detachment from it was sent to Cetinje, Montenegro. During this time the regiment undertook peacekeeping duties.[3]

Shoulder sleeve insignia[edit]

The 332nd Infantry Regiment insignia was perhaps the most envied in the entire American Expeditionary Force. The insignia was selected to reflect their unique service in Italy. It consisted of a beautifully bullion embroidered winged Lion of St. Mark with one paw resting on an open bible with the numbers "332" inscribed.[4]

Disbandment[edit]

In February 1919 the 332nd Infantry Regiment received orders to return to the United States. As the regiment's three battalions had been spread out around the theatre it was not until March 29, 1919 that the regiment embarked upon the SS Duca d'Aosta. They arrived at New York on April 14 and the following week paraded through the city. Shortly afterwards the regiment was moved back to Camp Sherman, Ohio, where on April 26 the regiment marched through Cleveland.[1]

The process of demobilization began after this and over the course of a couple of weeks its various sub units were disbanded as personnel were discharged. On May 5, 1919, the regiment itself was finally disbanded.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Seelinger, Matthew. ""Viva 'l America!": The 332nd Inf. on the Italian Front". Army History Center. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  2. ^ American Armies and Battlefields in Europe, Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History, 1992., pp. 430–431.
  3. ^ http://www.sonomacountyfreepress.com/archives/hassna/bosnia.html, accessed December 2009
  4. ^ Dalessandro, Robert J. & Knapp, Michael G. Organization and Insignia of the American Expeditionary Force, 1917–1923, Atglen, PA: Shiffer Publishing, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • American Armies and Battlefields in Europe, Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History, 1992.
  • Dalessandro, Robert J. & Dalessandro, Rebecca, S., American Lions, The 332nd Infantry Regiment in Italy in World War One, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2010.
  • Lattau, Joseph L., In Italy with the 332nd Infantry, Youngstown: Evangelical Press, Publisher, 1921.
  • Littlefield, C. O., History of Company E, 332nd Infantry from Departure Overseas to Return and Discharge. n.p., n.d.
  • Speakman, Harold, From a Soldiers Heart, Cincinnati: The Abingdon Press, 1919.
  • United States Army in the World War 1917–1919, 17 Volumes. Washington, D.C: Center of Military History, 1988.