051 85th Infantry Division

Nickname: Custer Division. ……. Shoulder Patch; A circular patch containing the initials “C” and “D” in red on a khaki background. Initials are for Custer Division. ……. History: Activated: August 25, 1917, Camp Custer, Michigan. Overseas: July-August, 1918. Became a depot division. Training Reactivated: May 15, 1942, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, IV Corps and later XV Corps. Other stations: Camp Young, California, and Ft. Dix (XIII Corps). Maneuvers: Louisiana and Desert Training Center. Overseas: December, 1943 (ETO). ……. Commanding Generals: Maj. Gen. Wade H. Haislip, May, 1942, to February, 1943; Maj. Gen. John B, Coulter, February, 1943, to 27 August, 1945, date of demobilization. ……. Component Units: (As of December, 1943) 337th, 338th and 339th Infantry Regiments: 328th, 329th, 910th (L) and 403d (M) FA Battalions. Higher Command: Fifth Army. ……. Awards: Distinguished Unit Citation to Co. C, 337th Infantry, action near Tremensuoli, Italy, May 12-16, 1944. DUC to Co. F, 337th, action near Roco, Sept. 23-29, 1944; DUC to Co. B, 338th, action on Mt. Altuzzo, Sept. 23-24, 1944; DUC to Co. G, 339th, action near Tremensuoli, May 11-14, 1944. ……. Combat Highlights: Cracking of the Gustav line, liberation of Rome, breaching of the vaunted Gothic line and the final drive which broke the back of Nazi resistance in Italy are highlights of the combat action in which the 85th participated. The Division took over the sector near Minturno in March, and on May 11 joined the assault on the Gustav line. Breaking through, the 85th drove North and by the end of May opened the road to Anzio. The breakthrough was costly. Objectives included Hills 66 and 69, Solacciano ridge, Castellonorato, Terracina and Sonnino. Early in June, the 85th jumped off from near Lariano toward Rome, routing the famed Herman Goering Panzer Grenadier division, entering Rome June 4. After a rest on the Arno River, the 85th began the assault on the Gothic line September 13 by hammering the towering mountains, Altuzzo, Verucca, Pratone. In four days the Gothic line was breached, the 85th entering the Santerno Valley of the Po River. In early 1945. the 85th held the Monte Mezzano sector facing the best of the Nazi divisions, the First Parachute Division. For the final drive, the 85th began action April 18, 1945, from west of the Reno River, north of Vergato, swept through Gesso, Tignano, Casalecchio and into the Plain of the Po. Using rafts, DUKWs and anything that would float, the 85th crossed the Po and, gathering impetus, thrust north through Verona into the Alps, breaching the Adige line. The 85th swung east sealing off the Italo-Austrian border, trapping the German Tenth.