88th Infantry Division (United States)


88th Infantry Division (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 88th Infantry Division


caption=88th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
dates= 1917-1919 1942-1947
country= United States of America
allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Army
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nickname="Fighting Blue Devils" "Clover Leaf Division"
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battles= World War II
anniversaries=
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identification_symbol_label=Distinctive Unit Insignia
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US Infantry
previous=87th Infantry Division
next=89th Infantry Division
The 88th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War I and World War II. It was unique in that it was the first Army of the United States division to be created "from scratch" after the implementation of the draft in 1940. Previous divisions were regular army, reserve or National Guard. Much of the experience in creating it was used in the subsequent expansion of the Army of the United States.

World War I

*Activated: 5 August 1917, Camp Dodge, Iowa
*Overseas: 7 September 1918
*Major Operations: Did not participate as a division
*Casualties: Total-78 (KIA-12; WIA-66)
*Commanders:
** Maj. Gen. Edward H. Plummer (25 August 1917)
** Brig. Gen. Robert N. Getty (27 November 1917)
** Maj. Gen. Edward H. Plummer (19 February 1918)
** Brig. Gen. Robert N. Getty (15 March 1918)
** Brig. Gen. William D. Beach (24 May 1918)
** Maj. Gen. William Weigel (10 September 1918)
*Inactivated: 10 June 1919, Camp Dodge, Iowa

World War II

*Activated: 15 July 1942, Camp Gruber, Oklahoma
*Overseas: 6 December 1943
*Distinguished Unit Citations: 3
*Campaigns: Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley
*Days of combat: 307
*Awards: Medal of Honor-2 ; Distinguished Service Cross (United States)-12 ; Distinguished Service Medal (United States)-2 ; Silver Star-522; LM-32; SM-19 ; BSM-3,784.
*Commanders:
** Maj. Gen. John E. Sloan (July 1942-September 1944)
** Maj. Gen. Paul W. Kendall (September 1944-July 1945)
** Brig. Gen. James C. Fry (July-November 1945)
** Maj. Gen. B. E. Moore (November 1945 to inactivation)
*Inactivated: 24 October 1947 in Italy

Combat chronicle

The 88th Infantry Division was one of the first all draftee divisions to enter the war. Formed at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, the division arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco, 15 December 1943, and moved to Magenta, Algeria, on the 28th for intensive training. It arrived at Naples, Italy, 6 February 1944, and concentrated around Piedimonte d'Alife for combat training. An advance element went into the line before Cassino, 27 February, and the entire unit relieved British elements along the Garigliano River in the Minturno area, 5 March. A period of defensive patrols and training followed.

On 11 May, the 88th drove north to take Spigno, Mount Civita, Itri, Fondi, and Roccagorga, reached Anzio, 29 May, and pursued the enemy into Rome, being the first American unit into the city on 4 June, after a stiff engagement on the outskirts of the city. An element of the 88th is credited with being first to enter the Eternal City. After continuing across the Tiber to Bassanelio the 88th retired for rest and training, 11 June. The Division went into defensive positions near Pomerance, 5 July, and launched an attack toward Volterra on the 8th, taking the town the next day. Laiatico fell on the 11th, Villamagna on the 13th, and the Arno River was crossed on the 20th although the enemy resisted bitterly.

After a period of rest and training, the Division opened its assault on the Gothic Line, 21 September 1944, and advanced rapidly along the Firenzuola-Imola road, taking [http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Battaglia | Mount Battaglia] (Casola Valsenio, RA) on the 28th. The enemy counterattacked savagely and heavy fighting continued on the line toward the Po Valley. The strategic positions of Mount Grande and Farnetto were taken, 20 and 22 October. From 26 October 1944 to 12 January 1945, the 88th entered a period of defensive patrolling in the Mount Grande-Mount Cerrere sector and the Mount Fano area. From 24 January to 2 March 1945, the Division defended the Loiano-Livergnano area and after a brief rest returned to the front. The drive to the Po Valley began on 15 April. Monterumici fell on the 17th after an intense barrage and the Po River was crossed, 24 April, as the 88th pursued the enemy toward the Alps. The cities of Verona and Vicenza were captured on the 25th and 28th and the Brenta River was crossed, 30 April. The 88th was driving through the Dolomite Alps toward Innsbruck, Austria where it linked up with the 103rd Infantry Division, when the hostilities ended on 2 May 1945.

The unit was in combat for 344 days and sustained 15,173 casualties (killed, wounded or missing).

Units

Units associated, assigned or attached to the division during World War II included:
*349th Infantry Regiment
*350th Infantry Regiment
*351st Infantry Regiment
*337th Field Artillery Battalion
*338th Field Artillery Battalion
*339th Field Artillery Battalion
*913rd Field Artillery Battalion
*313rd Combat Engineer Battalion
*313rd Medical Battalion

General

*Shoulder patch: A blue (for Infantry) quatrefoil, formed by two Arabic numeral "8s". A rocker above it with the nickname "Blue Devils" was often worn.
*During the Second World War, the Germans thought the 88th was an elite stormtrooper Division. This was most likely due to parallels between the "Blue Devil" nickname and patch rocker and the German SS's use of the Totenkopf death's head insignia.

Post War

After the war, the 88th Infantry Division on occupation duty in Italy guarded the Morgan Line from positions in Italy and Trieste until 15 September 1947. It was then withdrawn to Livorno and inactivated. The 351st Infantry was relieved from assignment to the division on 1 May 1947 and served as the main component of a garrison command in the Free Territory of Trieste, securing the disputed border between Italy and Yugoslavia. Designated TRUST (Trieste United States Troops), the command served as the front line in the Cold War from 1947 to 1954, including confrontations with Yugoslavian forces. In October 1954 the territory was ceded to Italy and administration turned over to the Italian Army. TRUST units, which included a number of 88th divisional support units, all bore a unit patch which was the coat of arms of the Free Territory of Trieste superimposed over the divisional quatrefoil, over which was a blue scroll containing the designation "TRUST" in white.

The division shoulder patch is worn by the United States Army Reserve 88th Regional Readiness Command; however, the division lineage is not perpetuated by the 88th RRC.

References

*"The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States" U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950 reproduced at [http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/cc/cc.htm http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/cc/cc.htm] . (public domain, work of U.S. government)
*"About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior", by David Hackworth: pp 35, 308.

External links

* [http://www.lonesentry.com/unithistory/88thinfantry/index.html We Were There: From Gruber to the Brenner Pass]


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