30th Infantry Division (United States)

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30th Infantry Division
30th Infantry Division SSI.svg
Shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1917–18
1940–45
1947–74
Country  United States
Branch  United States Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Nickname(s) "Old Hickory"
Engagements

World War I

World War II

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]

King George V and Major General Edward Mann Lewis inspecting troops of the 30th Infantry Division, 6 August 1918. Photograph possibly taken at Achicourt, France.

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 American entry into World War I in April 1917.[3] It was formally activated under its new title in October 1917, as an Army National Guard division from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The division's organization included the 117th, 118th, 119ths and 120th Infantry Regiments, the 113th, 114th, 115th Artillery Regiments, the 113th, 114th, 115th Machine Gun Battalions, and the 105th Engineer Regiment, along with other supporting units.

In May 1918 the division was sent to Europe and arrived in England, where it departed for the Western Front soon after. The division, along with the 27th Division, was assigned to the U.S. II Corps but did not serve with the main American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and was instead attached to the Second Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), trading their American equipment for British equipment.

The major operations the 30th Division took part in were the Ypres-Lys, and the Somme offensive, in which it was one of the two American divisions to break the Hindenburg Line in the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. The division had, in three months, from July until October 1918, sustained 1,237 officers and men killed in action (KIA), with a further 7,178 wounded in action (WIA) or missing in action (MIA).

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. George 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[1] per Belgian decree #1393, dated 20 November 1945
  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. Henry D. Russell (September 1940 – April 1942), Maj. Gen. William H. Simpson (May–July 1942), Maj. Gen. Leland S. Hobbs (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]

After training in the United States for just over two years, the 30th Infantry Division, under the command of Major General Leland Hobbs, arrived in England, 22 February 1944, and trained for the Allied invasion of Normandy until June.[5]

It landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy, on 11 June 1944, five days after the initial D-Day landings of 6 June 1944, secured the Vire-et-Taute Canal, crossed the Vire River on 7 July.[6] Beginning on 25 July, the 30th Division spearheaded the Saint-Lô break-through of Operation Cobra, which was intended to break out of the Normandy beachhead, thus ending the stalemate that had occurred.

During the battle of Mortain, Typhoons devastated German tank and mechanized columns attempting to reach the French coast, 7 August 1944.

During the operation, on both 24 and 25 July, the 30th Division encountered a devastating friendly fire incident. As part of the effort to break out of the Normandy hedgerows, US Army Air Force (USAAF) bombers from England were sent to carpet bomb a one-by-three mile corridor of the German defenses opposite the American line. However, USAAF 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 American soldiers. There were over 100 friendly fire casualties over the two days, including Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces.

The division relieved the veteran 1st Infantry Division near Mortain on 6 August. The German drive to Avranches began shortly after. The 30th Division clashed with the elite 1st SS Panzer Division, and fierce fighting in place with all available personnel broke out. The division 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 Division 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.

Men of the 117th Infantry Regiment, part of the 30th Infantry Division, move past a destroyed American M5 "Stuart" tank on their march to capture the town of St. Vith at the close of the Battle of the Bulge, January 1945.

After a rest period, the 30th Division 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's last attempt to win a decisive victory over the Western Allies. Again the division met the 1st SS Division, and again broke the spearhead of their assault. The 30th Division 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. The end of World War II in Europe came soon afterwards and, after a short occupation period, the 30th Division began its return to the United States, arriving on 19 August 1945. The surrender of Japan followed soon, which brought the war to an end.

Casualties[edit]

  • Total battle casualties: 18,446[7]
  • Killed in action: 3,003[7]
  • Wounded in action: 13,376[7]
  • Missing in action: 903[7]
  • Prisoner of war: 1,164[7]

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 Airborne Corps, and attached, with the First Army, to the British 21st Army Group
  • 18 January 1945: XVIII Airborne 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.[8] It included the 119th, 120th, and 121st Infantry Regiments.[9]

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 inactivated, 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).[10]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Fact Sheet - The 30th Infantry Division Veterans of WWII". 
  2. ^ Haas, Darrin. "Still Shocking". National Guard Magazine. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Chapter II: Genesis of Permanent Divisions". Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. 
  4. ^ "Home Page - Indiana Military Org". 
  5. ^ Featherston, Alwyn (1998). Battle for Mortain: the 30th Infantry Division Saves the Breakout August 7-12, 1944. Novato, CA: Presidio. p. 16. ISBN 0891416625. 
  6. ^ Featherston, Alwyn (1998). Battle for Mortain: the 30th Infantry Division Saves the Breakout August 7-12, 1944. Novato, CA: Presidio. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0891416625. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths (Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General, 1 June 1953)
  8. ^ Old Hickory Association, [1], accessed September 2009 Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Aumilier, United States Army Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry/Armor Battalions
  10. ^ McGrath, The Brigade, 240.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]