70th Infantry Division (United States)

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70th Infantry Division
70th Infantry Division patch.svg
70th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1943–45
Country  United States
Branch  United States Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Nickname(s) Trailblazers (special designation)[1]
Engagements

World War II

Commanders
Notable
commanders
John E. Dahlquist, Allison J. Barnett, Thomas W. Herren, Stanley W. Connelly
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia 70 Inf Div DUI.png

The 70th Infantry Division ("Trailblazers"[1]) was a unit of the United States Army in World War II, spearheading the Seventh United States Army's drive into Germany, south of Saarbrücken.

Activated at Camp Adair, Oregon, in 1943, the 70th Division served throughout World War II in the European Theater of Operations, but was deactivated in October 1945, following its return to the United States. The division was reactivated as a combat unit in 1952, and in May 1959 reorganized as the 70th Division (Training) in Detroit, Michigan then moved to Fraser, Michigan.

In 1979 the command was redesignated as the 70th Regiment (Infantry One Station Unit Training), 70th Division (Training). The command was formally inactivated in Michigan on Nov. 15, 1996 and the 124th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) adopted the division title and history the next day. In 2000 the 70th Regional Support Command became the 70th Regional Readiness Command and began developing a history and relationship with the 70th ID soldiers and association.

The name "Trailblazers" originated from the pioneers moving west into Oregon and "blazing" trails through the thick evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest. The 70th Infantry Division adopted the "Trailblazer" title when they were activated in 1943. They became known as the Trailblazer Division.

World War II[edit]

  • Activated: 15 June 1943.
  • Overseas: Task Force Herren-December 1944; Support Troops-8 January 1945.
  • Campaigns: Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, Central Europe.
  • Days of combat: 86.
  • Distinguished Unit Citations: 1.
  • Awards: DSC-12; SS-228 (4 clusters); LM-7; SM-16; BS-430 (14 clusters); Military Cross (UK)-1; AM-20; Meritorious Unit Citation-3.
  • Commanders: Major General John E. Dahlquist (June 1943 – July 1944), Major General. Allison J. Barnett (July 1944 – July 1945), Brigadier General Thomas W. Herren (July 1945 – October 1945).
  • Returned to U.S.: 10 October 1945.
  • Inactivated: 11 October 1945.

Combat chronicle[edit]

Memorial for fallen soldiers of the 70th at Spicheren Heights, near Stiring-Wendel

The three infantry regiments of the 70th Infantry Division, the 274th, 275th and 276th, landed at Marseille, France, 10–15 December 1944, and were formed into Task Force Herren under command of deputy division commander, Thomas W. Herren, before the arrival of the remainder of the division on 18 January 1945. Task Force Herren took over defensive positions along the west bank of the Rhine, 28 December 1944, in the vicinity of Bischwiller, south of Haguenau Forest. Elements took part in the fight to stop the German Operation Nordwind, and struck at the enemy at Phillipsbourg and at Wingen between Bitche and Hagenau. In mid-January 1945, the task force moved to an area directly south of Saarbrücken, where it carried out reconnaissance and combat patrols, and improved its defensive positions. Upon the arrival of the remainder of the division, Task Force Herren was dissolved.

The division continued patrolling and combat raids as it made preparations for an offensive drive in mid-February. On 17 February 1945, the division attacked just below the Saar River. The 70th drove onto high ground overlooking Saarbrücken, smashed into Forbach, took Stiring-Wendel, and continued across the Saar to take Saarbrücken, 20 March 1945. Pushing through Siegfried Line defenses along the north bank of the Saar, the division took Völklingen and other Saarland cities and towns. On March 31 it was reassigned to the Third Army. In April it took part in the reduction of the Saar Basin, and after VE-day was engaged in occupational duties, with command posts at Otterberg, Bad Kreuznach, Frankfurt, and Oranienstein in Germany.

Casualties[edit]

  • Total battle casualties: 3,919[2]
  • Killed in action: 755[2]
  • Wounded in action: 2,713[2]
  • Missing in action: 54[2]
  • Prisoner of war: 397[2]

Assignments in ETO[edit]

M24, donated by veterans of the 70th, facing ruins of fortifications at Spicheren Heights
  • 20 December 1944: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.
  • 28 December 1944: VI Corps.
  • 3 February 1945: XV Corps.
  • 25 February 1945: XXI Corps.
  • 22 March 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.
  • 31 March 1945: 12th Army Group.
  • 8 April 1945: Third Army, 12th Army Group.

General[edit]

  • Nickname: Trailblazers.
  • Shoulder patch: Red, in shape of axe-blade with white axe-head superimposed on red background; below the axe, in white is a replica of Oregon's Mount Hood, beside which is a green fir tree. The green fir tree symbolizes the 91st Infantry Division from which officers and NCOs of the 70th were drawn prior to its activation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  2. ^ 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]