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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.
Returned to U.S.: 10 March 1946.
Inactivated: 12 March 1946.
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
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.
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