The 6th Division (Red Star) was activated first on November 1917 with the following Order of Battle : 11th Infantry Brigade (51-IR, 52-IR and 17th Machine Gun Battalion), 12th Infantry Brigade (53-IR, 54-IR and 18th Machine Gun Battalion), 16th Machine-Gun Battalion (Divisional Troops) and the 3rd Field Artillery Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Battalion and the 78th Field Artillery Battalion. The division went overseas in June 1918, and 43 days of combat resulted in 38 KIA and 348 WIA casualties. The 6th Division saw combat in the Géradmer sector, Vosges, France, September 3 – October 18 1918, and during the Meuse-Argonne offensive November 1 – November 11 1918. Separately the 11-FAB became engaged earlier in the Meuse-Argonne offensive and fought from October 19 to the Armistice. The division returned to US in June 1919 and was deactivated on September 30 1921 at Camp Grant, Illinois.
The 6th Division was re-activated on October 10 1939 at Fort Lewis, Washington, as the 6th Division, and moved to Fort Jackson, South Carolina on November 9 1939. It was then relocated to Fort Benning, Georgia, on April 12 1940 until it moved to Alexandria in Louisiana on May 8 1940. A little later, on June 1, the 6th Division was relocated to Fort Snelling, Minnesota and, on July 17, sent to Lincoln Minnesota before it returned to Fort Snelling on August 19. The Red Star Division participated in the Arkansas Maneuvers (August 1941) and the Louisiana Maneuvers (September 1941).
On October 10 1941, the division moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where it was re-designated 6th Motorized Division on April 9 1942 and moved again for the I Corps Tennessee Maneuvers on September 11 1942. Sent back to Fort Leonard Wood on November 10 1942 the division moved to Camp Young California on November 29 1942 where it participated in the Desert Training Center #1 IV Armored Corps Maneuvers until February 22 1943. On March 28 1943, the division arrived at Camp San Luis Obispo, California, where it was finally re-designated 6th Infantry Division on March 21 1943. The 6-ID departed the San Francisco POE on July 21 1943 and arrived in Hawaii on July 29 1943. The 6-ID left Hawaii on Jan 26 1944 and arrived in the Milne Bay New Guinea on Jan 31 1944.
Killed in Action : 410
Wounded in Action : 1957
Died of Wounds : 104
Brig Gen Clement Augustus Trott – Oct 8 1939
Brig Gen Frederick E. Uhl – Oct 21 1940
Maj Gen Clarence S. Ridley – Dec 7 1941
Brig Gen Gustav H Franke – Dec 23 1941
Maj Gen Clarence S Ridley – Dec 27 1941
Brig Gen Julius Ochs Adler – Jun 1 1942
Maj Gen Clarence S Ridley – Jun 2 1942
Brig Gen Julius Ochs Adler – Sep 7 1942
Maj Gen Durward S. Wilson – Sep 25 1942
Maj Gen Franklin C. Sibert – Nov 8 1942
Brig Gen Charles E Hurdis – Aug 24 1944
Maj Gen Edwin Davies Patrick – Sep 7 1944
Brig Gen Charles E. Hurdis – Mar 14 1945
Maj Gen Charles E Hurdis (promotion) – May 1 1945
Ordre of Battle 1944-1945
Hq & Hq Company 6th Infantry Division
1st Infantry Regiment
20th Infantry Regiment
63rd Infantry Regiment
6th Reconnaissance Troop (Mecz)
6th Engineer Combat Battalion
6th Medical Battalion
Hqs & Hqs Battery
1st Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM How)
51st Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM How)
53rd Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM How)
80th Field Artillery Battalion (155-MM How)
Military Police Platoon
6th Signal Company
6th Quartermaster Company
706th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
Second Army – Dec 7 1941
XI Corps – 23 Jun 1942
Desert Training Center Nov 29 1942
II Armored Corps – Mar 21 1943
Hawaiian Department – Jul 29 1943
USAFICPA (Central Pacific Areas) – Aug 14 1943
Sixth Army – Jan 31 1944
I Corps – Feb 25 1944
Sixth Army May 26 1944
Eighth Army – Oct 12 1944
I Corps – Nov 20 1944
Sixth Army – Feb 14 1945
XI Corps – Mar 15 1945
I Corps – Jun 11 1945
Eighth Army – Jul 1 1945
Alamo Force – Jan 31 1944 / Sep 24 1944
I Corps – Feb 14 1945 / Feb 17 1945
XIV Corps – Feb 17 1945 / Mar 15 1945
XIV Corps – Jul 1 1945 – Aug 15 1945
6th Infantry Division Combat Narrative
The 6th Infantry Division arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea, on January 31 1944. June 5, initial elements arrived at Toem in the Hollandia – Aitape area, followed by the 20-IR on June 11 and the 63-IR with rest of division on June 14. On June 20, the 20-IR began its attack toward the Lone Tree Hill from the Tirfoam River, but was slowed by heavy fire from a defile between it and Mount Saksin and was unable to gain the crest until January 22, after which it was subjected to fierce Japanese counterattacks.
The 1-IR landed via sea just west of the hill to outflank the Japanese and forced a small beachhead which it was initially unable to expand. By January 27 the 63-IR was able to mop up the Japanese forces in the Lone Tree Hill vicinity, and the division secured the Maffin Bay area on July 12.
After a brief rest the 1-IR assaulted Sansapor on July 30 and in the Vogelkop Peninsula against no resistance, the preparatory bombardment being omitted to attain surprise. The 63-IR landed on undefended Middleburg and Amsterdam Islands. A battalion of the 1-IR took the undefended plantation village at Cape Sansapor on July 31. The division secured the coast from Cape Waimak to the Mega River and garrisoned it until December 1944.
On January 9 1945 the division landed at Lingayen Gulf onto Luzon in the Philippines and pursued the Japanese into the Cabaruan Hills and began holding actions on the Malisqui-Catablan-Torres line. Attacking in the 43-ID sector, the 63-IR gained Hill 363 on January 14. The division attacked January 17 as the 20-IR pushed on the Cabaruan Hills and the 1-IR drove toward Urdaneta. The 63-ID took Blue Ridge near Amlang after heavy fighting on January 21.
The 1-IR, assisted by air support, seized San Jose on February 4 which was the Highway 5 gate to the Cagayan Valley. The 20-IR took Munoz after a battle lasting several days, wiping out escaping Japanese columns there on February 7. The division then occupied positions along Luzon’s eastern coast, bisecting Japanese forces on the island, and drove to Dinglan and Baler Bays to isolate Japanese on southern Luzon by February 13. The 1-IR operated on Bataan February 14 to February 21 and cut the peninsula from Abucay to Bagac. The division shifted to confront the Shimbu Line northeast of Manila on February 24. On that day the 63-IR seized Montalban and the 20-IR reached the heights near Mataba. As Japanese resistance increased the 1-IR was committed in the center toward Wawa Dam.
After reaching the crest of Mount Pacawagan on February 26, the 63-IR was thrown off by the Japanese. Efforts by the 1-IR to take Mount Mataba were defeated and it withdrew on February 27 as the 63-IR held the slope of Mount Pacawagan against assault.
The division regrouped and renewed attacks by the 1-IR on March 8 met unexpectedly light resistance. The 63-IR continued to hold its precarious positions in the Mount Pacawagan – Mataba sector. After hard fighting the 1-IR seized Benchmark Hill on March 11 and the 20-IR was committed into the Shimbu Line assault. It shifted toward Mount Baytangan and reinforced by the 1-IR, shifted its attack onto Mount Mataba under intense fire on March 28.
The entire division regrouped and renewed the offensive on April 2. The 20-IR and the 63-IR switched sectors and the latter began the attack on Mount Mataba behind artillery fire on April 6. This attack was suspended until XI Corps artillery could saturate the Japanese positions, and then the 63-IR forced its way to the summit on April 10, but the hill was not cleared until April 17.
On April 16 the 1-IR initiated its attack up Woodpecker Ridge near the junction of the Bosoboso and Mariquina Rivers. On April 19 the division switched sectors with the 38th Infantry Division and on April 25 the 152-IR relieved the 1-IR at the ridge.
By April 27 the attached 145-IR finally gained the crest of Mount Pacawagen. The division then moved to the Kembu sector on May 3 and took responsibility for Highway 5 south of Bayombong from the 37th Infantry Division on June 12 1945.
On June 21, the 63-IR pushed to Kiangan and the 20-IR took Bolog on the 29. Though the Luzon campaign was officially declared over on June 30 1945, the division conducted mopping up operations in the Cagayan Valley and Cordilleras Mountains until the end of the war.
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Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
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(NB : Published for Good – October 2019)