103rd Infantry Division – Order of Battle – 1944-1945

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Following the publication of the 1920 National Defense Act, the US Army was established into three components. First, the professional soldiers became members of the Regular Army. Second, was the establishment of the Militia Bureau which later became the Army National Guard. Third, one part of the Army structure was the Organized Reserve Officer and Enlisted Reserve Corps, which later became the US Army Reserve. Those supporting the Act held that a peacetime force of Regulars was too small to meet the needs of wartime, thus creating a strong dependence on this new Army of citizen soldiers that could be mobilized during wartime. Since the Regular Army was not at war, the primary mission they had was to train the civilian components of the Militia and Organized Reserve. The Act stipulated a structure of two National Guard and three Reserve Corps armies. One of the Reserve Corps Divisions was the 103rd Rocky Mountain Division. On August 6 1921, the War Department authorized the formation of the 103rd Division, widely known from its formation as the ‘Cactus Division’. In mid of 1921, the Division was allocated across three states; New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. On September 8 1921, the 103rd Division Headquarters as established in Denver, where Maj James A. McGrath assumed command the following day. Lt Col Homer Washburn was the first Reserve officer assigned to the Division and he became the first commander of the 411th Regiment.


103rd Division (Rocky Mountain Division) structure, by state :
Colorado

Hqs, 103d Infantry Division, Denver
Special Division Troops, Denver
Hqs, 328th Medical Regiment, Denver
206th Infantry Brigade, Denver
411th Infantry Regiment, Denver
412th Infantry Regiment, Denver
178th Field Artillery Brigade, Denver
383d Field Artillery, Denver
328th Engineer Regiment, Golden
103d Division Air Service, Colorado Springs

Arizona

205th Infantry Brigade, Warren
409th Infantry Regiment, Tucson
382d Field Artillery (Regiment), Prescott
Sanitation Battalion, 328th Medical Regiment, Phoenix

New Mexico

410th Infantry Regiment, Roswell
Ambulance Battalion, 328th Medical Regiment, Las Vegas

By the end of 1922, the 103rd Division had a strength of 829 Reserve officers and 50 Reserve enlisted personnel. The Rocky Mountain Division adopted the green Saguara Cactus, growing in blue earth, with a yellow sky background. This was the same shoulder insignia the Division took into battle during World War II. The following year, the Division name was changed to the Cactus Division, which has remained unchanged since that time. During the early years, the Army had a square division structure, which meant there were four infantry regiments, two brigades, three field artillery regiments, an engineer regiment, Air Service, and the special troops. When the Army adopted the triangular division structure, there are only three infantry regiments and the Division adopted the triangular division structure it carried through World War II. For 21 years, the 103rd Division remained an Organized Reserve division.

After Pearl Harbor it was evident to the nation’s leaders that the Army had to rely on the Organized Reserve and National Guard, which when the National Guard began mobilization in 1940 the size of the regular Army was nearly doubled.
On November 15 1942, the 103rd Infantry Division was activated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. A month before the formal activation key staff began assembling at Camp Claiborne to begin the arduous task of organizing the unit for the job that lay ahead. Commanding was Brig Gen Charles C. Hoffner.

Hoffner came to the 103-ID from the 33-ID where he had served as the Division Artillery Commander. Brig Gen John T. Pierce was named ADC (Assistant Division Commander). His previous assignment was commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. Brig Gen Roger M. Wicks was assigned as the Division Artillery Commander coming off his previous assignment as Commander of the 78th Field Artillery Regiment. The division began then to receive filler personnel on December 4 1942 when officers and enlisted men were shipped from the 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Service Command instruction centers. A total of 14654 personnel joined from these Commands.

Initial Basic Training for most was conducted at Camp Claiborne which culminated in the Louisiana Maneuvers (August 8 1943 – November 14 1943). On November 15, the division withdrew from tactical operations and began preparations to complete its permanent change of station from Camp Claiborne to Camp Howze, Texas. It was reported by many who participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers that Gen George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, pretty well nailed it when he said, a soldiers life could be uncomfortable. The men of the Cactus Division, however, were pretty well convinced that Gen Marshall was way off on the level of discomfort, doubting seriously that the good general had ever marched 30 miles under a hot summer sun in Louisiana and still be able to fight. The men of the Cactus did it and were prepared. The summer of 1943 was one of the hottest on record in that part of Louisiana.

Camp Howze was a lot better than central Louisiana, at least from a weather perspective. Training intensity, though, did not diminish as the men of the Cactus Division prepared for the rigors of war in Europe. Field problems in exotic places, such as Lake Murray, Decatur, Honey Grove, or near the Texas Oklahoma border were only followed by more field problems. Then to break the monotony, there was spit and shine and parades. All of this led to the Cactus men becoming a well trained team of fighting men and the time neared for their commitment to battle. On September 15 1944 the Division held a final pass in review on the Camp Howze parade grounds. Folks from Gainesville came out to the Camp in a show of support and admiration as they watched the division demonstrate its marching prowess. It is immediately apparent that these men were well trained and ready. Next stop for the 103-ID was Camp Shanks where the men of the Cactus Division would process for deployment to the European Theater of Operations. Little did they know they were headed for Marseilles, France, where they would ultimately face a determined enemy in some fierce battles that marked the last days of the war in Europe.

The 103-ID arrived in Marseilles on October 20 1944. On November 1, the division left Marseilles, moving north by rail and truck along the Rhone River, up to Dijon, where they would join elements of Lt Gen Alexander Patch’s Seventh Army. The 103rd Infantry Division arrived in the ETO on October 20 1944 (D+66). The division entered combat on November 9 1944 (1st Element) and on November 11 1944 (Entire Division).

103rd Infantry Division Casualties

Killed in Action : 582
Wounded in Action : 3276
Missing in Action : 662
Captured : 23
Battle Casualties 4543
Non-Battle Casualties 4826
Total Casualties 9369

103rd Infantry Division Campaigns

Rhineland
Central Europe

103rd Infantry Division Award

Distinguished Service Cross : 6
Legion of Mérite : 7
Silver Star : 291
Bronze Star : 2087
Soldier Medal : 12
Air Medal : 92
Prisoners Taken : 57517

Commanding General
Oct 20 1944 – Maj Gen Charles C. Hoffner – January 11 1945
January 11 45 – Maj Gen Anthony C. McAuliffe – VE Day 1945

Assistant Division Commander
October 20 1944 – Brig Gen John T. Pierce – VE Day

Artillery Commander
October 20 1944 – Brig Gen Roger M. Wicks – VE Day

Chief of Staff
October 20 1944 – Col Guy S. Meloy Jr – VE Day

Assistant Chief of Staff G-1
October 20 1944 – Maj Walter E. Winter – November 20 1944
November 20 1944 – Lt Col Charles A. Robinson – VE Day

Assistant Chief of Staff G-2
October 20 1944 – Maj Bland West – VE Day

Assistant Chief of Staff G-3
October 20 1944 – Lt Col Russel R. Lord – December 13 1944
December 13 1944 – Maj Richard C. Thomas – February 16 1945
February 16 1945 – Lt Col Richard C. Thomas – VE Day

Assistant Chief of Staff G-4
October 20 1944 – Maj Robert E. Myers – December 16 1944
December 16 1944 – Lt Col Robert E. Myers – VE Day

Assistant Chief of Staff G-5
November 10 1944 – Maj Shelden D. Elliott – VE Day

Adjutant General
October 20 1944 – Lt Col Alfred W. Croll – VE Day

409th Infantry Regiment
October 20 1944 – Col Claudius L. Lloyd – April 19 1945
April 19 1945 – Lt Co Hubert E. Strange – VE Day

410th Infantry Regiment
October 20 1944 – Col Henry J. P. Harding – VE Day

411th Infantry Regiment
October 20 1944 – Col Donovan P. Yeuell – VE Day

103rd Infantry Division Composition
409th Infantry Regiment
410th Infantry Regiment
411th Infantry Regiment
103d Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
328th Engineer Combat Battalion
328th Medical Battalion
103d Division Artillery
382d Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM Howitzer)
383d Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM Howitzer)
928th Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM Howitzer)
384th Field Artillery Battalion (155-MM Howitzer)
Special Troops
803d Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
103d Quartermaster Company
103d Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
Headquarters Company
Band

Attachments
Antiaircraft Artillery
353 AAA Bn (ST) – 25 Jan 45 – 5 Feb 45
354 AAAAW Bn (Mbl) – 29 Mar 45 – 5 May 45
354 AAAAW Bn (Mbl) – 6 May 45 – 9 May 45

Armored
Baker 756-TB – 15 Nov 44 – 3 Feb 45
1 Tank Co, CCA/14-AD – 2 Dec 44 – 3 Dec 44
Able 43-TB (12-AD) – 5 Dec 44 – 7 Jan 45
Able & Charlie, 47-TB (14-AD) – 14 Dec 44 – 19 Dec 44
781-TB (less Able and 2nd Plat Dog) – 17 Jan 45 – 5 Feb 45
Able 191-TB – 25 Jan 45 – 5 Feb 45
Charlie 781-TB – 7 Feb 45 – 22 Feb 45
Assault Gun Plat, HQs Co, 781-TB – 17 Feb 45 – 22 Feb 45
756-TB – 22 Feb 45 – 31 Mar 45
Able & Charlie, 48-TB (14-AD) – 4 Mar 45 – 10 Mar 45
761-TB – 10 Mar 45 – 28 Mar 45
781-TB – 23 Apr 45 – 5 May 45

Cavalry
115-CG (Group) – 24 Apr 45 – 3 May 45
117-CRS (Squadron) – 24 Apr 45 – 5 May 45

Chemical
Baker 3rd Cml Mort Bn – 14 Nov 44 – 2 Dec 44
Baker 3rd Cml Mort Bn – 5 Dec 44 – 21 Dec 44
Baker & Charlie, 81st Cml Mort Bn – 15 Mar 45 – 5 May 45
83rd Cml Mort Bn – 21 Apr 45 – 5 May 45
83rd Cml Mort Bn – 6 May 45 – 9 May 45

Field Artillery
495-AFAB (12-AD) – 26 Dec 44 – 2 Jan 45
69-AFAB – 19 Feb 45 – xxx
242-FAB (105-MM How) – 2 Mar 45 – 25 Mar 45
C Btry 991-FAB (155-MM Gun) – 20 Mar 45 – 24 Mar 45
242-FAB (105-MM How) – 28 Mar 45 – 29 Mar 45
242-FAB (105-MM How) – 26 Apr 45 – 5 May 45
69-AFAB – 3 May 45 – 9 May 45

Infantry
274-IR (70-ID) – 17 Jan 45 – 22 Jan 45

Tank Destroyer
Charlie 601-TDB (SP) – 15 Nov 44 – 5 Feb 45
Charlie 614-TDB (T) – 7 Feb 45 – 31 Mar 45
Able 614-TDB (T) – 21 Feb 45 – 31 Mar 45
824-TDB – 24 Apr 45 – 5 May 45
614-TDB (T) – 30 Apr 45 – 5 May 45

Detachments
Field Artillery
103-ID Arty to VI Corps – 25 Mar 45 – 26 Mar 45

Infantry
409-IR to 45-ID – 15 Jan 45 – 17 Jan 45
2/411-IR to 45-ID – 18 Jan 45 – 21 Jan 45
1/410-IR to 79-ID – 18 Jan 45 – 21 Jan 45
411-IR (less 2nd Bn) to 79-ID – 19 Jan 45 – 21 Jan 45

Attachments

534-AAAAW Bn : 29 Mar 45 – 9 May 45
614-TDB : 10 Dec 44 – 24 Dec 44
614-TDB : 10 Mar 45 – 5 May 45
756-TB : 22 Feb 45 – 31 Mar 45
761-TB : 10 Mar 45 – 28 Mar 45
781-TB : 17 Jan 45 – 5 Feb 45
824-TDB : 4 Apr 45 – 5 May 45
991-FAB : ?

103rd Infantry Division CPs

20 Oct 44 – Marseilles – France
30 Oct 44 – Docelles – France
9 Nov 44 – Les Rouges Eaux – France
17 Nov 44 – L’Haute Jacques – France
19 Nov 44 – Les Rouges Eaux – France
21 Nov 44 – Nompatelize – France
22 Nov 44 – La Pecherie – France
24 Nov 44 – Provencheres – France
26 Nov 44 – Lubine – France
27 Nov 44 – Fouchy – France
28 Nov 44 – St-Martin – France
2 Dec 44 – Dambach-la-Ville – France
4 Dec 44 – Gugenheim – France
8 Dec 44 – La Walck – France
11 Dec 44 – Gundershoffen – France
12 Dec 44 – Woerth – France
13 Dec 44 – Gunstett – France
14 Dec 44 – Merkwiller – France
15 Dec 44 – Drachenbronn – France
19 Dec 44 – Rott – France
22 Dec 44 – Francaltroff – France
24 Dec 44 – St-Jean Rohrbach – France
15 Jan 45 – Reichshoffen – France
20 Jan 45 – Imbsheim – France
15 Mar 45 – Ober Modern – France
17 Mar 45 – Gumbrechtshoffen – France
18 Mar 45 – Woerth – France
18 Mar 45 – Lembach – France
19 Mar 45 – Bobenthal – Germany
23 Mar 45 – Birkenhordt – Germany
24 Mar 45 – Klingenmunster – Germany
29 Mar 45 – Schifferstadt – Germany
2 Apr 45 – Neustadt – Germany
7 Apr 45 – Bensheim – Germany
20 Apr 45 – Murrharat – Germany
20 Apr 45 – Pfedelbach – Germany
21 Apr 45 – Ober Urbach – Germany
22 Apr 45 – Kircheim – Germany
25 Apr 45 – Lonsee – Germany
25 Apr 45 – Horvelsingen – Germany
25 Apr 45 – Geislingen – Germany
27 Apr 45 – Krumbach – Germany
27 Apr 45 – Ketterschwang – Germany
28 Apr 45 – Pfaffenhoffen – Germany
28 Apr 45 – Bidingen – Germany
30 Apr 45 – Partenkirchen – Germany
2 May 45 – Mittenwald – Germany
2 May 45 – Seefeld – Austria
4 May 45 – Innsbruck – Austria

103rd Infantry Division

The division arrived at Marseilles, France, on October 20 1944. It relieved the 3rd Infantry Division at Chevry on November 8, arrived at Docelles (Vosges) on November 9, and attacked west of Saint-Dié on November 16, in its drive through the Vosges. Meeting heavy resistance all the way, it crossed the Meurthe River, took Saint-Dié on November 23, Diefenbach on November 29 and Selestat on December 4. The 103-ID crossed the Zintzel River at Griesbach on December 10. Pushing through Climbach, the unit crossed the Lauter River into Germany on December 15, and assaulted the outer defenses of the Siegfried Line. On December 22, the division moved west to the Sarreguemines area where an active defense was maintained. The enemy offensive did not develop in its sector and the 103-ID moved to Reichshofen on January 14 1945, to take up positions along the Sauer River. One day later, Gen Anthony McAuliffe (ADC 101-A/B) was redeployed from the Battle of the Bulge and given command of the 103rd Infantry Division, which he retained until July 1945. Defensive patrols were active and a limited attack on Soufflenheim on January 19 was repulsed by the enemy. On January, 20 the division withdrew to the Moder River and repulsed the German advances near Muehlhausen, from January 23 to January 25. The 103’s offensive began on March 15. Crossing the Moder and Zintzel rivers and taking Muehlhausen against sharp opposition, the division moved over the Lauter River and penetrated the defenses of the Siegfried Line.

As the German resistance disintegrated, the 103 reached the Upper Rhine Valley on March 23, and engaged in mopping up operations in the plain west of the Rhine River. The 103 received then occupational duties until April 20 when it resumed the offensive, pursuing a fleeing enemy through Stuttgart and taking Münsingen on April 24. On the 27, elements of the division entered Landsberg, where the Kaufering Concentration Camp, a sub-camp of Dachau, was liberated. The men of the division crossed the Danube River near Ulm on April 26. On May 3, members of the 409-IR captured Innsbruck, Austria with little to no fighting. The 411-IR continued on to take the Brenner Pass and earn the honor of linking up with the 88th Infantry Division of the Fifth Army which had been fighting its way north up the Italian Peninsula. Troops met at Vipiteno, Italy, near the Austrian border on May 4, joining the Italian and Western European fronts. After the Victory in Europe Day the division received occupational duties until it left for home and inactivation. It returned to the continental US on September 10 1945, and was inactivated on September 22 1945.





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