035 63rd Infantry Division

Nickname: Blood and Fire Division (from statement in Casablanca conference that the enemy would “bleed and burn”). . Shoulder Patch: An upright sword of gold with a spot of blood on its tip set against a background of flame, all on a field of olive drab. The patch is pear-shaped. . Training: Activated: June, 1943, Camp Blanding, Florida, assigned to VII Corps. Later it was transferred to Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi, where it first came under the IX Corps, Third Army. Later it became part of the XXI Corps. Overseas: Dec., 1944 (ETO). . Commanding General: Maj. Gen. Louis E. Hibbs, June, 1943 to present. . Component Units: (As of Dec., 1944) 253d, 254th and 255th Infantry Regiments; 718th (M), 861st, 862d and 863d (L) FA Battalions. Higher Command: Seventh Army. . Awards: Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded the 254th Infantry Regiment for action from Jan. 22 to Feb. 6, 1945, near Colmar bridgehead in Alsace. At that time the regiment was attached to the 3d Infantry Division. . Combat Highlights: Some of the units of the 63d Division had had their initial baptism of blood and fire Dec. 22, 1944. But the Division was not committed as a unit until Feb. 8. 1945. At this time the 63d was announced as a division under the Seventh Army in Alsace. The Division crossed the Saar north of Saarguemines and led the Seventh Army back on German soil One of the first major prizes Blood and Fire men gained was the fortress town of Ommersheim. A few weeks later the 63d led the Seventh Army into the lower Siegfried Line on a two-mile from just south of Sauerbrucken. From Mar. 15th to the 21st, the 63d troops fought hard and valiantly. Two belts of the Siegfried Line were cracked open by the Division, the first break in that tough line on the Seventh Army front. The artillery of the 63d during Mar. 24th to 27th supported the crossing of the Rhine River. On Mar. 30 the Division attacked south through Heidelberg and Mannheim, an action which expanded the Rhine bridgehead. Now combat-toughened, the Division troops (early in April) mauled and destroyed the Nazi 17th SS Division, fought through Hardthauser Woods and crossed the Neckar and Kocher Rivers, helping the 10th Armored Division over. The “rat race” to the Danube river followed, Apr. 23-25, the 253d and 254th Infantry Regiments crossing the river on the 25th. The Wertech and Lech were crossed on the 30th and the capture of Landsberg effected. In May, the 63d teamed with the 100th to gain steadily on the Seventh Army’s right flank.