78th Infantry Division

Nickname: Lightning Division. .. Shoulder Patch: Khaki-bordered, red semicircle with white bolt of lightning. In World War I, the French, likened the action of the 78th to a bolt of lightning which left the field red with blood. . Motto: “Audaciter (boldness).” . Song: “Men of the 78th.” (Available in SIS files.) .. History: Activated: 27 August, 1917, Camp Dix, New Jersey. Overseas: May, 1918. Actions: (reserve in) St. Mihiel Drive; Meuse-Argonne; final drive which cracked German resistance. . Training: Reactivated: 15 August, 1942, Camp Butner, North Carolina Maneuvers: Tennessee, April, 1944, Second Army. Other station: Camp Pickett, Virginia. Overseas: October, 1944 (ETO). . Commanding General: Maj. Gen. Edwin P. Parker, Jr., August, 1942, to present. . Component Units: (As of October, 1944): 309th, 310th and 311th Infantry Regiments; 307th, 308th, 309th (M) and 903rd (L) FA Battalions. Higher Commands: First, Ninth and Seventh Armies. . Awards: Distinguished Unit Citation to 2nd Battalion, 311th Infantry Regiment for action at Kesternich 30 Jan. to 7 Feb., 1945; to 3rd Battalion, 310th Infantry Regiment for action in Germany, 1-15 March, 1945. . Combat Highlights: The impressive combat history of the 78th includes cracking of the Siegfried line, capture of Schwam-menauel Dam, crossing of the Rhine and reduction of the Ruhr Pocket. The 78th aimed at the Schwam-menauel Dam, in its first action near Roetgen, 13 Dec., 1944, but required a month to reach it. During that month the 78th took Rolles-broich, Simmerath, Bickerath and Witzerath, cut through bitter Nazi opposition at Kesternich and Schmidt. Capture of the dam freed the Allied arms from threat of a 22-billion-gallon deluge which might have been loosed to bar their way. By Feb. 28, the Lightnings were crossing the Roer to take part in the Rhine offensive. A 1500-ton ammunition dump was captured by the division near Flammersheim, the 78th going on to take five bridges intact on the Ahr river. This exploit paved the way for juncture with the Third Army forces which were wheeling up north of the Moselle. Open-top trucks were used to motorize the 310th Infantry Regiment, which teamed up with the 9th Armored Division for the race to the Rhine. The 310th, in a hurry to reach the Rhine, captured many German towns without bothering to dismount. Euskirchen, Rheinbach and Bad Neuenahr were scooped in. The 78th’s 310th Regiment crossed Remagen bridge and the rest of the division was quick to exploit this famed windfall following on the heels of the 310th to widen a bridgehead and then storming north into Honnef. The bridgehead was quickly (by March 17) blown up to 100 square miles. In the Ruhr pocket, April 6-11, the 78th took 47,581 Nazi prisoners. At war’s end, the division was near Marburg, Germany.

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