103rd Infantry Division

Nickname: Cactus Division. . Shoulder Patch: A circular patch on which is superimposed a giant cactus, in green, against a yellow background and a blue base. The cactus denotes the division was to draw personnel from New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. History The division was organized “on paper,” November, 1921, as a reserve unit. . Training: The 103d division was activated November 15, 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, under IV, XV and III Corps, Third Army. Between September 20 and November 15, 1943, it took part in the Third Army maneuvers held in Louisiana, then moved to Camp Howze, Texas, under X Corps, Third Army. Overseas: September, 1944 (ETO). . Commanding Generals: Maj. Gen. Charles G. Haffner, November, 1942, to January, 1945; Maj. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, January, 1945, to July, 1945. During the Battle for Bastogne, in December, 1944, while serving as acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division, General McAuliffe won renown by rejecting a German surrender ultimatum with the word “Nuts!” Present commander is Brig. Gen. John N. Robinson. . Component Units: (As of Sept., 1944): 409th, 410th and 411th Infantry Regiments; 382d, 383d, 384th (M) and 928th (L) FA Battalions. Higher Command: (Combat) Seventh Army. . Combat Highlights: The 103rd went into combat on November 16, 1944, as one of the 7th Army divisions assigned the task of driving through the Vosges Mts. It tackled the job with zeal and within 11 days had battled through the Saverne Gap, fought across the Vosges Mts. and into Alsace Plain. Early in December, 1944, the 411th Infantry Regiment of the division claimed to be the first unit of the Seventh to cross into Germany, the entry being made at Wissenborough. The enemy had plenty of strength left, however. When von Rundstedt opened his winter offensive, the 103rd was one of the divisions which helped the Seventh Army carry out the job of covering two fronts, its own and that of the Third Army, which had turned to thrust at the German flank. The enemy struck the weakened positions and soon thrust the 103rd back to the Maginot Line, then back to the Moder river. By mid-January the German offensive had spent itself, Out it took the 103rd and the Seventh Army, fully a month to recover. In March, 1945, the division was on the move again and quickly occupied Rothbach and crossed the Moder river. On March 23 it captured Fresbach. In Apr. the division rolled ahead, deep into southern Germany, capturing Mittenwald. On May 4, the division entered Innsbruck and soon captured Brenner. At war’s end the Job of guarding the Brenner Pass went to the Cactus Division.

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