5th Infantry Division (United States)
|5th Infantry Division|
5th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
|Branch||United States Army|
|Nickname(s)||"Red Diamond", "Red Devils"|
|Bernard W. Rogers|
The 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized)—nicknamed the "Red Diamond", the "Red Devils", or "die Roten Teufel"—was an infantry division of the United States Army that served in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War, and with NATO and the U.S. Army III Corps. It was disbanded and deactivated on 24 November 1992.
World War I
The 5th Division was activated on 11 December 1917 at Camp Logan, near Houston, Texas. The entire division had arrived in France by 1 May 1918 and components of the units were deployed into the front line.
Units associated with the division included:
- 9th Infantry Brigade
- 10th Infantry Brigade
- 5th Field Artillery Brigade
- Division Troops
- 13th Machine Gun Battalion
- 7th Engineer Regiment
- 9th Field Signal Battalion
- Headquarters Troop
- 5th Train Headquarters and Military Police
- 5th Ammunition Train
- 5th Supply Train
- 7th Engineer Train
- 5th Sanitary Train (Ambulance Companies and Field Hospitals 17, 25, 29, 30)
The 5th Division trained with French Army units from 1 to 14 June 1917. The first soldiers of the unit to be killed in action died on 14 June of that year. On 12 September, the unit was part of a major attack that reduced the salient at St. Mihiel. The division served in the Army of Occupation, being based in Belgium and Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg until it departed Europe. The division returned to the United States through the New York Port of Embarkation at Hoboken, New Jersey on 21 July 1919 and was stationed at Camp Gordon, Georgia until October 1920. After that date, it was stationed at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. On 4 October 1921 the 5th Division was inactivated except for the 10th Infantry Brigade and its supporting elements.
World War II
The 5th Division was provisionally activated August 1936 at Fort Knox, Kentucky for the Second Army's Maneuvers using the 10th Infantry brigade and the West Virginia Army National Guard's 201st Infantry Regiment. On 16 October 1939 the 5th Division was reactivated as part of United States mobilization in response to the outbreak of European war in September 1939, being formed at Fort McClellan, Alabama under the command of Brigadier General Campbell Hodges. Under the new "triangular" organization, units assigned included:
- Division Headquarters
- 5th Division Artillery
- 7th Combat Engineer Battalion
- 5th Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
- 5th Medical Battalion
- Special Troops
- 705th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
- 5th Quartermaster Company
- 5th Signal Company
- Military Police Platoon
The following spring, in 1940, the division was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, and then temporarily to Louisiana for training exercises, before being transferred to Fort Benjamin Harrison at the end of May 1940. That December the division relocated to Fort Custer, Michigan, from where it participated in the Tennessee maneuvers. The formation went next to Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas, in August 1941 for staging into both the Arkansas and Louisiana maneuvers before returning to Fort Custer that October. The division was stationed at Fort Custer when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war during December 1941. As the winter passed the division was brought up to strength and fully equipped for forward deployment into a war zone. During April 1942, the 5th Division received its overseas orders and departed the New York Port of Embarkation at the end of the month for Iceland. The division debarked in Iceland in May 1942, where it replaced the British garrison on this island outpost along the Atlantic convoy routes, and a year later was reorganized and re-designated as the 5th Infantry Division on 24 May 1943.
Now commanded by Major General Stafford L. Irwin the 5th Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach, 9 July 1944 and four days later took up defensive positions in the vicinity of Caumont. Launching a successful attack at Vidouville 26 July, the division drove on southeast of Saint-Lô, attacked and captured Angers, 9–10 August, captured Chartres, (assisted by the 7th Armored Division), 18 August, pushed to Fontainebleau, crossed the Seine at Montereau, 24 August, crossed the Marne and seized Reims, 30 August, and positions east of Verdun. The division then prepared for the assault on Metz, 7 September. In mid-September a bridgehead was secured across the Moselle, south of Metz, at Dornot and Arnaville after two attempts. The first attempt at Dornot by the 11th Regiment failed. German-held Fort Driant played a role in repulsing this crossing. A second crossing by the 10th Regiment at Arnaville was successful. The division continued operations against Metz, 16 September to 16 October 1944, withdrew, then returned to the assault on 9 November. Metz finally fell 22 November. The division crossed the German border, 4 December, captured Lauterbach (a suburb of Völklingen) on the 5th, and elements reached the west bank of the Saar River, 6 December, before the division moved to assembly areas.
On 16 December the Germans launched their winter offensive, and on the 18th the 5th ID was thrown in against the southern flank of the Bulge, helping to reduce it by the end of January 1945. In February and March, the division drove across and northeast of the Sauer, where it smashed through the Siegfried Line.
Across the Rhine
The 5th ID crossed the Rhine River on the night of 22 March 1945. After capturing some 19,000 German soldiers, the division continued to Frankfurt-am-Main, clearing and policing the town and its environs, 27–29 March. In April the division, under Major General Albert E. Brown took part in clearing the Ruhr Pocket and then drove across the Czechoslovak border, 1 May, reaching Volary and Vimperk as the war in Europe ended. The division spent 270 days in combat and sustained 2,083 soldiers killed, 9,278 wounded, 1,073 missing, with 101 soldiers captured.
Post-World War II
Following World War II, the 5th Infantry Division was inactivated on 20 September 1946. However, the division was reactivated on 15 July 1947 under Brigadier General John H. Church. The 1950s saw the division in West Germany as part of the US contribution to NATO though the division later returned to the United States.
When the 1st Infantry Division deployed to Vietnam in 1965, additional maneuver battalions were required; thus two infantry battalions from the 2nd Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, were relieved and assigned to "The Big Red One." In September 1965, the 2nd Brigade, 5th Infantry Division was moved, minus personnel, to Fort Carson, Colorado, and refilled there. The remaining personnel at Fort Devens formed the basis of the 196th Infantry Brigade.
By 1968 the division was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, as a mechanized formation. 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division was dispatched to Vietnam after the Tet Offensive to replace a U.S. Marine Corps unit. The brigade, consisting of one battalion each of infantry, mechanized infantry, and armor, served there from July 1968 until 1971. Combat units included 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry; 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry (Mechanized); 1st Battalion, 77th Armor; A Troop, 4th Squadron, 12th Cavalry; and 5th Battalion, 4th Artillery.(Society of the Fifth Division) On 22 August 1971, the colors of 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division were cased and the brigade was inactivated at Fort Carson. Its final assignment was to III Corps, with the mission of reinforcing Europe if a general war was to break out there. In September 1969 the 4th Brigade, 5th Infantry Division was activated at Fort Carson, although, on the later return of 4th Infantry Division home from Vietnam in December 1970, the 4th Division replaced the 5th Division at Fort Carson, whereupon the 5th Division was inactivated.
On 21 October 1974 the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division was reactivated at Fort Polk, LA., as part of the Army's new 24-division force. Due to lack of sufficient housing, the brigade initially only had two maneuver battalions. (Maneuver and Firepower, Chap XIII) The division base and a second brigade was organized in 1975-77, and the Louisiana Army National Guard's 256th Infantry Brigade was assigned as the 'round-out' third brigade of the division.
In 1989, units of the 5th Division, based at Fort Polk, Louisiana, deployed in support of Operation Nimrod Dancer to protect American interests in Panama. First Battalion, 61st Infantry (Mechanized), "Roadrunners" (1st Brigade, 5th ID) was one of the first reinforcing units and remained there until September when there was a hand over to 4th Battalion, Sixth Infantry(Mechanized), "Regulars" (2nd Brigade, 5th ID). 4–6 Infantry was in country and assisted during Operation Just Cause helping to overthrow Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, and also assisted in an emergency extraction of Delta Force operators engaged in Operation Acid Gambit when their helicopter went down.
Upon notification of deployment to Germany to defeat a Warsaw Pact attack, the 256th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Louisiana Army National Guard would deploy as the division's third maneuver brigade.
Division Headquarters and Headquarters Company
- 1st Brigade
- 2nd Brigade
- 4th Brigade (Aviation)
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company
- 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, (40x M3 Bradley, 10x M113, 4x M106, 4x M577, 8x AH-1F, 12x OH-58C, 1x UH-1H)
- 1st Battalion, 5th Aviation Regiment, (21x AH-1F, 13x OH-58C, 3x UH-1H)
- 2nd Battalion, 5th Aviation Regiment, (21x UH-1H, 6x OH-58A, 6x OH-58D, 3x EH-60)
- 5th Infantry Division Artillery (DIVARTY)
- Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
- 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, (24x M109A3)
- 5th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, (24x M109A3)
- 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, (24x M109A3) (LA ARNG)
- C Battery, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, (9x M270 MLRS)
- H Battery, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, (Target Acquisition)
- 5th Infantry Division Support Command (DISCOM)
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company (also Division Materiel Management Center)
- 75th Forward Support Battalion
- 105th Forward Support Battalion
- 705th Main Support Battalion
- 7th Combat Engineer Battalion, (8x M60 AVLB, 8x M728, 4x M88, 12x MAB bridge modules)
- 3rd Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, (12x MIM-72 Chaparral, 27x M163 VADS Vulcan, 60x FIM-92 Stinger)
- 105th Signal Battalion
- 105th Military Intelligence Battalion, (Combat Electronic Warfare & Intelligence)
- 5th Military Police Company
- 45th Chemical Company
The division was deactivated for the final time on 24 November 1992, and reflagged as the U.S. 2nd Armored Division as part of the post-Cold War drawdown of US forces. The 2nd Armored Division moved from Fort Polk to Fort Hood, Texas in 1993, with the majority of the 5th Division's equipment.
Though it was inactivated, the division was identified as the fourth highest priority inactive division in the United States Army Center of Military History's lineage scheme due to its numerous accolades and long history. All of the division's flags and heraldic items were moved to the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia following its inactivation. Should the U.S. Army decide to activate more divisions in the future, the center will most likely suggest the first new division be the 7th Infantry Division, the second be the 9th Infantry Division, the third be the 24th Infantry Division, the fourth be the 5th Infantry Division, and the fifth be the 2d Armored Division.
In popular culture
In the Twilight: 2000 role-playing game, players start out as members of the 5th ID in July 2000, after the division is overrun by Soviet and Polish units near Kalisz, Poland during a hypothetical World War III .
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- The short film Big Picture: Recall is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Organization of the 5th Mechanized Infantry Division At Fort Polk, LA
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