History Lesson / November

HISTORY LESSON

The 29th Division was reactivated on 3 February 1941 and departed for the United Kingdom on 5 October 1942 where it continued training in Scotland and England from October of 1942 up to June 1944 in preparation for the invasion of France.

Teamed with the U.S. 1st Infantry Division, the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division was in the first assault wave to hit the beaches at Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The division itself landed on Omaha Beach on the same day in the face of intense enemy fire but soon secured the bluff tops and went on to occupy Isigny on 9 June. The division cut across the Elle River and advanced slowly toward St. Lo, fighting bitterly in the Normandy bocage (hedge rows).

After taking St. Lo on 18 July, the division joined in the battle for Vire, capturing that strongly held city on 7 August. Turning west, the 29th took part in the assault on Brest from 25 August to 18 September.

After a short rest, the division moved to defensive positions along the Teveren- Geilenkirchen line in Germany and maintained those positions through October. (In mid-October the 116th Infantry took part in the fighting at the Aachen Gap.) On 16 November the division began its drive to the Rur, blasting its way through Siersdorf, Setterich, Duerboslar, and Bettendorf, reaching the Rur by the end of the month.

On 8 December, heavy fighting reduced Julich Sportplatz and the Hasenfeld Gut. From 8 December 1944 to 23 February 1945, the division held defensive positions along the Rur and prepared for the offensive. The attack jumped off across the Rur on 23 February and carried the division through Julich, Broich, Immerath, and Titz to Mönchengladbach on 1 March. The division was out of combat in March, however in early April the 116th Infantry helped mop up in the Ruhr area and on 19 April the division pushed to the Elbe River and held defensive positions until 4 May. Meanwhile, the 175th Infantry Regiment cleared the Kloetze Forest. After VE Day, the division was on military government duty in the Bremen enclave.

The 29th Infantry Division had spent 242 days in combat during campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe, earning four Distinguished Unit Citations in the process. Two soldiers of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor. Also awarded were 44 DSCs, one DSM, 854 Silver Stars, 17 Legion of Merit, 24 Soldier’s Medal and 6,308 Bronze Stars.

The 29th Division returned to the United States on January 4, 1946 and was demobilized two weeks later.

29th patch

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