This division was officially established on 18 November 1917 in France under the command of Major General Omar Bundy It was established of new units trained at Pine Camp, NY, and of units that had already been in France and whose military history originated in the war for independence. For example, the 9th infantry regiment was established in 1798, it took part in clashes with the British, the war with Mexico in 1847; it took part in about 400 battles and skirmishes mostly against Indian tribes in the area of the U.S. border with Mexico from 1855 to 1892. It took part in the Civil War, as well as the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Philippines in 1899 and the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China from 1900 to 1901 .
Likewise, the 23rd Infantry Regiment was one of the "old" units. It was established on the 26th June 1812 and it underwent a series of battles of the Civil War, for example at Gettysburg, and later it fought in the Indian wars, including the area around the Little Big Horn. The participation in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine campaign followed next.
2nd Engineer Battalion’s history dates back to 1861 and it has took part in most of the then clashes in the American history already mentioned above.
During the World War I, 2nd Infantry Division was one of the first American units that took part in the battles in France. After the World War I, the 2nd ID was in service for a short time as an occupation unit on the Rhine and it returned, in August 1919, to the United States as the garrison of Fort Sam Houston and Camp Travis where it remained for 23 years.
In September 1940, the division was made complete by adding some units, which had been deployed elsewhere during peace service, and it simulated military operations in Louisiana and Texas and familiarized with new weapons and the methods of modern warfare. In November 1942, the division was moved to Camp Mc Coy, Wisconsin, where it underwent a four-month training course in winter conditions and it tested winter equipment, including skis and snowshoes. The training culminated with winter maneuvers in Michigan in late February. Over the summer, the division conducted training at Camp Mc Coy and, at the end of September, it was ordered to move to Camp Shanks, New York, from where it sailed in a large convoy on 7 October and arrived in Belfast, Ireland, on 17 October 1943. From there it was moved by train to County Armagh and County Down in Northern Ireland. Here again, the division conducted training, including combat as well as driver training, engineer training, supply and everything that was to be expected in anticipated deployment in the planned invasion to France. In mid April 1944, the division was moved to Tenby in Northern Wales. Final preparations were made here before the invasion, especially sealing of all the vehicles and equipment against water.
2. The ID was included in the V Corps of Major General Leonard T. Gerow and should follow the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions in the second wave in the Omaha sector. Yet a part of engineers from the 2nd Engineer Battalion and some infantrymen from the 2nd Infantry Division with special training were in the first assault wave on the Omaha along with the 1st and 29th divisions. The division itself landed the next day – 7 June 1944 also on the Omaha.
Immediately on 9 June 1944, the division took part, in conjunction with the 1st ID, in the battle for the city of Trevieres and it was the beginning of the battle campaign of the 2nd ID in Europe. Due to the extensive combat operations there is not enough space to describe all the details, so the outline of the division’s operations is more or less encapsulated.
|Trevieres – offensive||07. 06. – 10. 06. 1944|
|Cerisy – offensive||11. 06. – 19. 06. 1944|
|Obrana St. Germain d´Elle, St. Georges d´Elle, Le Parc||20. 06. – 10. 07. 1944|
|Kota 192 – offensive||11. 07. – 12. 07. 1944|
|Vire – offensive||26. 07. – 07. 08. 1944|
|Tinchebray – offensive||08. 08. – 16. 08. 1944|
|Daoulas Peninsula – offensive||21. 08. – 30. 08. 1944|
|Brest – offensive||21. 08. – 18. 09. 1944|
|Schnee Eifel defence||04. 09. – 12. 12. 1944|
|Wehlerscheid – offensive||13. 12. – 16. 12. 1944|
|Rockerath, Krinkelt, Wirtzfeld defence||17. 12. – 19. 12. 1944|
|Elsenborn Ridge defence (ridge)||20. 12. 1944 - 29. 01. 1945|
|Wehlerscheid – Harperscheid – offensive||30. 01. – 05. 02. 1945|
|Harperscheid, Dreiborn defence||06. 02. – 28. 02. 1945|
|Gemund – offensive||01. 03. – 05. 03. 1945|
|Overcoming the Rhine||06. 03. – 12. 03. 1945|
|Defending the Rhine bridgehead||13. 03. – 20. 03. 1945|
|Around Remagen – offensive||21. 03. – 27. 03. 1945|
|Ruhr||28. 03. – 31. 03. 1945|
|From Ruhr to Leipzig||01. 04. – 12. 04. 1945|
|Battle for Leipzig||13. 04. – 18. 04. 1945|
|Mulda river defence||19. 04. – 30. 04. 1945|
After the conquest of Leipzig, the division moved, in the first days of May 1945, on a long route along the Czechoslovak border in rain and snow over Bayreuth to the section between the 97th and 90th Infantry Division on the Czechoslovak border. On 4 May, it accepted the surrender of the German 11th Panzer Division, which was withdrawing from the vicinity of Nýrsko to the west.
On 5 May 1945, in group with the V Corps of General Huebner, it started to advance into Bohemia in two streams that divided into three streams from Draženov (see the map); the Division entered Pilsen on 7 May 1945. The day before, on 6 May, it had to release the 16th Armored Division, which was the first to liberate Pilsen, through its positions. Simultaneously with the advance of the 2nd ID the division headquarters moved as well; it was located in Klenčí pod Čechovem on 5 May, in Horšovský Týn on 6 May and in Pilsen on 7 May.
The other major cities in the liberation of which the 2nd ID participated include Domažlice, Klatovy, Kdyně, Holýšov and many smaller towns. After the war, the division remained in Pilsen and its vicinity till 8 June 1945.
For example, the headquarters of 23 IR, 38 IR, 12 FAB, 38 FAB, 2th EngiB, 2 MED B, the headquarters of the division artillery, 2nd RCT, 2nd Sig. Co., 2nd QMC and 702 Ord. Co. remained in Pilsen and the HQ of 38 IR even in the brewery.
The headquarters of the 9th IR was in Rokycany, the 15th and 37 FAB were in Ejpovice, Křimice and Příchovice.
During the first week of June 1945, the division’s personnel were leaving Pilsen and the units began to concentrate in the area of Domažlice and Kdyně, where the headquarters of the division was on 8 June. From 18 June, the division began to move by train and vehicles to the concentration area near Rheims in northern France, where it arrived after 4 long days. It travelled more than 500 miles and was housed in Camp Norfolk. On 5 July, it was transported by train from there do Camp Old Gold near Yrefot, where it was preparing for boarding.
From 12 to 13 July 1945, the troops of 2nd ID started to move on boats SS Ponticello, General Richardson and SS Marine Panter to ports in the U.S., where they arrived about 20 July. In August 1945, gathering at Camp Shift in Texas began and training for possible deployment in the Pacific region was conducted for a short time, but the surrender of Japan ended it all.
It also ended the history of the campaign of the 2nd ID in the World War II, in which this division had spent 337 days in combat, including 320 days in contact with the enemy. It was one of the most frequently deployed divisions and its losses as well as medals reflect this deployment.
Well-known and popular head of a Red Indian in a white star on a black shield
The origin of the emblem originated in the World War I when it began to be used as a distinguishing marking on the wagons divisional supply trains; it was from April 1918 on the basis of a competition for a suitable emblem organized by the commanding officer of the supply trains. When the division commander, General Omar Bundy, saw one vehicle he found that this emblem is clearly visible in the dark, so he decided that the emblem would be used on the other vehicles. It was also decided, by an order of 14 November 1918, that this emblem would be used as a shoulder badge as a standard division emblem.
It was then modified a little bit and its size was refined. For example, some division units had different shapes and colours of the background below the star, the black shield was reserved for the divisional headquarters only, but in 1933 Major General Preston Brown cancelled all the differences and the black shield below the star became the official emblem for all the units of the division.
|Major-General W. M. Robertson||6. 6. 44 – 2. 6. 45|
|Brigadier General William K. Harrison||3. 6. 45 – Sept 45|
|9th infantry regiment||12th artillery battalion (155 mm)||2nd engineer battalion|
|23rd infantry regiment||15th artillery battalion (105 mm)||2nd medical battalion|
|38th infantry regiment||37th artillery battalion (105 mm)||2nd locker patch company|
|2nd explorer section||38th artillery battalion (105 mm)||702nd workshop Company|
|2nd signal company||Company HQ||MP squad|
|Fallen in battle||3 488 soldiers|
|Injured in battle||12 758 soldiers|
|Medal of Honor||6|
|Legion of Merit||20|