65th Infantry Division (United States)

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65th Infantry Division
65th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active16 August 1943–31 August 1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army
EngagementsWorld War II

The 65th Infantry Division—nicknamed the "Battle-Axe Division"—was an infantry division of the United States Army that served in World War II. Its shoulder patch is a white halberd on a blue shield.

The entire length of Pennsylvania Route 65 is named the 65th Infantry Division Memorial Highway in its honor.

The United States Military Academy's home basketball arena at West Point is named Christl Arena in honor of 1LT Edward C. Christl, who served with the division during World War II and was killed in action in Austria on May 4, 1945.[1]

World War II[edit]

  • Activated: 16 August 1943 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi
  • Overseas: 10 January 1945.
  • Campaigns: Rhineland, Central Europe.
  • Days of combat: 55.
  • Awards:
    • Medal of Honor - 1 Private First Class (Frederick C. Murphy), Medical Detachment, 259th Infantry, Siegfried Line at Saarlautern, Germany, 18 March 1945.
    • Distinguished Service Cross - 6
    • Distinguished Service Medal - 1
    • Silver Star Medal - 77
    • Legion of Merit - 14
    • Soldier's Medal - 4
    • Bronze Star Medal - 686
    • Air Medal - 19
  • Commanders: Major General Stanley Eric Reinhart (August 1943 – 1 August 1945) and Brig. Gen. John E. Copeland (1 August 1945 to disbandment).
  • Disbanded: 31 August 1945 in Germany.

Combat chronicle[edit]

The 65th Infantry Division landed at Le Havre, France, 21 January 1945, and proceeded to Camp Lucky Strike, where training continued until 1 March, when the division moved forward to relieve the 26th Infantry Division. First elements entered the line, 5 March 1945, and the division as a whole took over aggressive defense of the sector along the Saar, from Orscholz to Wadgassen, on 8 March 1945. On 17 March, the division attacked across the Saar, crossing the river at Dillingen and captured Saarlautern, 19 March, as Siegfried Line defenses cracked. Capturing Neunkirchen, 21 March 1945, the division raced to the Rhine, crossed the river at Oppenheim, 30 March, and ran into heavy German resistance and counterattacks. Langensalza fell on 5 April, Struth on the 7th, and Neumarkt on the 22nd.

Continuing its advance against crumbling German opposition, the division crossed the Danube 4 miles below Regensburg, 26 April, took the city, 27 April, seized Passau, cross the Inn River, 4 May, and occupied Linz, Austria, on the 5th. Germans surrendered en masse. On 9 May, as hostilities officially ended in Europe, the troops of the 65th made contact with the Russians at Erlauf.[2]

Order of Battle[edit]

  • Headquarters, 65th Infantry Division
  • 259th Infantry Regiment
  • 260th Infantry Regiment
  • 261st Infantry Regiment
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 65th Infantry Division Artillery
    • 720th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm)
    • 867th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
    • 868th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
    • 869th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
  • 265th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 365th Medical Battalion
  • 65th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
  • Headquarters, Special Troops, 65th Infantry Division
    • Headquarters Company, 65th Infantry Division
    • 765th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
    • 65th Quartermaster Company
    • 565th Signal Company
    • Military Police Platoon
    • Band
  • 65th Counterintelligence Corps Detachment

Attached Units[edit]

  • 707th Tank Battalion (attached 6 Apr 45 only)
  • 748th Tank Battalion (attached 7 Apr 45-past 9 May 45)
  • 749th Tank Battalion (attached 29 Mar 45-6 Apr 45)
  • 691st Tank Destroyer Battalion (attached 4 Mar 45-6 Apr 45)
  • 808th Tank Destroyer Battalion (attached 5 Apr 45-past 9 May 45)
  • 546th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion (attached 4 Mar 45-past 9 May 45)

Source: Order of Battle: U.S. Army World War II by Shelby Stanton.


  • Total battle casualties: 1,230[3]
  • Killed in action: 233[3]
  • Wounded in action: 927[3]
  • Missing in action: 3[3]
  • Prisoner of war: 67[3]

Assignments in ETO[edit]


  1. ^ Noles, Jim (2018). Undefeated: From Basketball to Battle -- West Point's Perfect 1944 Season. Philadelphia: Casemate Publishers.
  2. ^ The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States. Combat chronicle: 65th Infantry Division Archived 23 July 2004 at the Wayback Machine. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1950.
  3. ^ a b c d e Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths, Final Report (Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1 June 1953)

External links[edit]