I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The 71st Infantry Division of World War II

World War II

Activated: 15 July 1943.
Overseas: 26 January 1945.
Campaigns: Rhineland, Central-Europe
Days of combat: 62.
Awards: DSC-1 ; DSM-1 ; SS-180; LM-1 ; SM-8 ; BSM-695 ; AM-10.
Commanders: Brig.Gen. Robert L. Spragins (July 1943-October 1944), Maj. Gen. Eugene M. Landrum (October-November 1944), Maj. Gen. Willard G. Wyman (November 1944-16 August 1945), Brig. Gen. Onslow S. Rolfe (17 August 1945-10 October 1945), Maj. Gen. Arthur A. White (October 1945-February 1946). While his time served is not noted here, William Westmoreland is named in other Army records as having been divisional Chief of Staff and then Commanding General in 1946.[1]
Returned to U.S.: 10 March 1946.
Inactivated: 12 March 1946.
Subordinate Units:
5th Infantry Regiment
14th Infantry Regiment
66th Infantry Regiment
564th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm Howitzer)
607th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
608th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
609th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
571st Signal Company
771st Ordnance Company
251st Quartermaster Company
71st Reconnaissance Troop
271st Engineer Battalion
371st Medical Battalion
71st Counter Intelligence Detachment
[edit]Combat chronicle
The 71st Infantry Division arrived at Le Havre, France, 6 February 1945, and trained at Camp Old Gold with headquarters at Limesy. The division moved east, relieved the 100th Division at Ratswiller and saw its first action on 11 March 1945. Their ouster of the Germans from France began 15 March. The division moved through outer belts of the Siegfried Line, captured Pirmasens, 21 March, and crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim, 30 March. The 71st continued the advance, taking Coburg without resistance, cutting the Munich-Berlin autobahn, 13 April, and capturing Bayreuth after fierce opposition on the 16th. Moving south, the Division destroyed Schonfeld, 18 April, took Rosenberg, crossed the Naab River at Kallmünz on the 24th and crossed the Danube on the 26th. Regensburg fell on the next day and Straubing on the 28th. As resistance crumbled, the division crossed the Isar on the 29th and entered Austria, 2 May.
Participated in the liberation of concentration camps including one in Austria called Gunskirchen Lager on May 4. A pamphlet was produced by the US Army after they liberated the camp, called "The Seventy-First came to Gunskirchen Lager". The book recounts in detail, and with very graphic photos, the tragedy they found in the camp. The complete booklet is available for free on-line.
The 71st organized and occupied defensive positions along the Enns River and contacted Russian forces east of Linz, 8 May, the day before hostilities ceased. The division was assigned occupational duties until it left for home and inactivation 1 March, 1946.
[edit]Assignments in the ETO
21 January 1945: Fifteenth Army, 12th Army Group.
2 March 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.
9 March 1945: XV Corps.
22 March 1945: XXI Corps.
25 March 1945: VI Corps.
29 March 1945: 12th Army Group,
8 April 1945: Third Army, 12th Army Group.
11 April 1945: XII Corps.
20 April 1945: XX Corps

Nickname: The Red Circle.
Shoulder patch: A red circle with a white center bearing the Arabic numerals "71" in blue and placed diagonally.

^ http://www.history.army.mil/books/cg&csa/Westmoreland-WC.htm and David Halberstam, 'The Best and the Brightest,' Ballantine Books, New York, 1992/3, p.556
The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950.
The Seventy-First came to Gunskirchen Lagerproduced by the 71st Infantry of the US Army in May, 1945.
Categories: Infantry divisions of the United States Army | World War II divisions of the United States | Military units and formations established in 1943 | Military units and formations disestablished in 1


  1. Good Day my dad, Frank D. O'Connell from Bangor Maine was in the 71st Division Company F, 66th Infantry US Army, as a marksman/rifle and battles in Rhineland/central Europe. HE also talked about the concentration camps he came upon as well. Also going into Bavaria and King Ludwigs Castle. He had two brothers, James and Daniel overseas at the same time. Infact his brother James 'borrowed' a jeep to vist my dad who was staying that time in hotel with sheets and toilets.


  2. Thanks for your blog. I would be interested in more stories about the 71st. My father, Sydney Rubin, served with the 71st in the ETO.

  3. i am doing a short war story interview for my uncle who was in the 71st Infantry 607st Field Artillery Battalion... Would be happy to post the interview when I am done.... If anyone has pictures of the 71st in action (fighting, concentration camp liberation, etc., I would like to use them... ) please contact me at bsmorris@hotmail.com

  4. My father, Michael Rybak, was in the 71st Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, Intelligence and Reconnaissance. He spoke of the liberation of camps, but I am not sure of if it was Gunskirchen Lager. My Dad passed away 5 years ago this month, and it is only this year that I have been able to find more information on the internet about his service. If anyone has additional information, please contact me at carolrybak@gmail.com. Thank you.

  5. My father, Joseph H. Wilkinson, was in the 71st,66th Reg., 2nd Battalion, HQ Co. Judging from a scrapbook he compiled, he went in as a replacement around March 1945 and served as a member of the Security Detachment in Germany. When the 71st was deactivated, he was transferred to the 9th Division, 60th Regiment. Looks like he stayed in Germany until August '46. He passed away in '68. I found the scrapbook a couple of years ago while visiting my mother. After reading 'The Victors' by Stephen Ambrose, the scrapbook became even more intriguing. If anyone can recall my father, or is interested in the scrapbook's contents, I would love to hear from them.

  6. My name is Mason but known as Mickey Dorsey. I was Sgt. Car commander of the M-8 armored M-8 which I named "The Four Rebels.We were Division Recon . First Liberators of Gunskirchen . Went further East ( during Combat) than all other allied units .
    I have donated over 1,000 71st combat photos and 150 letters I wrote to my parents to the Holocaust section of the Charleston , SC College Library .
    You may see some of the photos and my letters on my Faceblook Page : Mickey Dorsey

  7. I'm posting on behalf of my father-in-law, George Adzick from Minnesota. He was with the 71st Infantry and participated in liberating the prisoners at Kunskirchen Lager. He is particularly interested in finding more information about the U.S. Army football team he played with after the war. Can anyone suggest where to look please? You may also contact me directly via email: missy.adzick@gmail.com.

    Thank you,

    Missy Adzick

  8. My father was company clerk of A Company 5th Infantry Regiment during the war. I remember seeing the Gunskirchen Lager booklet as a child along with the historical booklet given out to members of the 71st Infantry Division. My father passed away in September 1991, but I know that those two booklets are still in the family. My dad did not talk much about the war and as a veteran of some recent conflicts I understand why. Glen Lawrence

  9. Hi--my dad was in the 571st signal corps and was one of the writers of the booklet about the freeing of Gunskirchenlager. I have a question: I have a cartoon figure drawn using my father as the "model"--a sad-sack kind of guy carrying a mop and pail. I am trying to track down who drew it and where it might have appeared. If anyone has any ideas, please contact me (wienax@gmail.com) Thanks.

  10. Hi--my dad was in the 571st signal corps and was one of the writers of the booklet about the freeing of Gunskirchenlager. I have a question: I have a cartoon figure drawn using my father as the "model"--a sad-sack kind of guy carrying a mop and pail. I am trying to track down who drew it and where it might have appeared. If anyone has any ideas, please contact me (wienax@gmail.com) Thanks.

  11. My Dad, Robert F. Beaver. He was a member of the 5th infantry. He was at Gunskirchen Lager. Also was at Dachau. He told me many stories, and how ruff it was in the Ardens, and the battle of the Bulge. He ended up at Styre Austria.
    Email: atvrider639@gmail.com

  12. Hello...My father was in Hotel Company (i believe) 5th Infantry, 71st Division. His name was Charles Fusco from New York. I believe he was a Tech Sergeant or Corporal. He also sang in the 5th Infantry Chorus. I do not know if you have any information regarding him.