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44th Infantry Division

Before Pearl Harbor, the shoulder patch of the 44th Division was a familiar sight around New York. When it went into training in September 1940, the 44th was composed of National Guard units from New York and New Jersey. The blue-and-orange colors of its patch are those of the Netherlands House of Nassau, which controlled the original settlers of the Division’s home areas. After Pearl Harbor, however, the 44th left the East for extensive combat training, and remained on duty at various camps in the United States for four years until September 1944, when it embarked for the European Theater of Operations shortly after the Allied invasion of southern France.

The 44th soon became a part of the Seventh Army, which had conducted those landing operations and was pushing northward for a junction with the forces that had driven into Europe from Normandy. In October, just east of Lunéville, France, the Division went into action and took part in the Seventh Army’s drive to secure several passes in the Vosges Mountains. It hadn’t been committed to battle long before it learned a severe lesson in what war can be like at its worst.

Six days after its first taste of blood, the 44th was hit by a heavy German counterattack, and its front lines were pierced. The Division rallied and nullified this blow, and then, working with the French 2nd Armored Division, it started a slow, steady advance through Alsace-Lorraine, taking Leintrey, Avricourt, and Sarrebourg. One battalion, accompanying the French, reached the Rhine at Strasbourg. On November 25, while the two Allied divisions crept forward over snow-covered ground every inch of which was savagely defended, one battalion of the 44th won itself a citation for especially distinguished action and; in doing so, saved the whole Division and neighboring forces from rough treatment and possible annihilation.

The 2nd Battalion of the 114th Infantry Regiment, defending a 4,000-yard sector north of Schalbeck, France, that day, was suddenly struck by a picked panzer division, which had the mission of grinding through the 44th, retaking Sarrebourg, and cutting off all the Allies east of the Vosges. Although the Germans had more men and more fire power, the battalion grimly held its positions, fighting against German 88s from shallow foxholes, and prevented the enemy from breaking through. General Patch later credited the battalion with saving the whole Seventh Army.

By December the Division, thoroughly conditioned to combat, had reached the Maginot Line and had taken the massive concrete and steel blockhouses at Fort Simserhof. On New Year’s Eve another panzer division hit the 44th near the Saar River, and the 44th inflicted 6,000 casualties on it while turning back 20 vicious enemy attacks. One of the casualties was the first SS Division commander to be captured on the Western Front.

From then on the 44th had comparatively clear sailing. Under the command of Major General William F. Dean, it consolidated its positions below the Saar during January until it was relieved in March after 144 days of combat. In the succeeding months of operations, it rolled deep into Europe as German resistance began to crumble on the southern front, crossing the Rhine, capturing Mannheim, and slashing into the Austrian Tyrol. V-E Day found it firmly established at Imst, Austria, and on that day the 44th made contact with the Fifth Army coming up from Italy.

From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.

The division insignia consists of two blue figure 4's back to back on a golden orange circular background within a blue border. The colors are those of the House of Nassau, whose Dutch settlers inhabited what is now New York and New Jersey, and are used because the division was organized from National Guard units of this region.

COMMAND AND STAFF

Commanding General

15 September 1944 Maj. Gen. Robert L. Spragins
29 December 1944 Brig. Gen. William F. Dean
19 March 1945 Maj. Gen. William F. Dean

Assistant Division Commander

15 September 1944 Brig. Gen. William F. Dean
5 January 1945 Col. Robert L. Dulaney
31 March 1945 Brig. Gen. Robert L. Dulaney

Artillery Commander

15 September 1944 Brig. Gen. W. Beiderlinden

Chief of Staff

15 September 1944 Col. Marlin C. Martin
10 December 1944 Col. George E. Martin

Assistant Chief of Staff G-1

15 September 1944 Lt. Col. Gordon S. Lee

Assistant Chief of Staff G-2

15 September 1944 Lt. Col. Herbert Snyder
25 April 1945 Maj. Thomas C. Sheehan, Jr. (Acting)

Assistant Chief of Staff G-3

15 September 1944 Lt. Col. Leon L. Hagen

Assistant Chief of Staff G-4

15 September 1944 Lt. Col. Russell C. Harpole

Adjutant General

15 September 1944 Lt. Col. Edward Doherty

Commanding Officer, 71st Infantry

15 September 1944 Col. Ercil D. Porter

Commanding Officer, 114th Infantry

15 September 1944 Col. Robert R. Martin

Commanding Officer, 324th Infantry

15 September 1944 Col. Thacher Nelson
25 October 1944 Col. Kenneth S. Anderson

 

STATISTICS

Chronology

Inducted 15 September 1940
Arrived ETO 15 September 1944
Arrived Continent (D+101) 15 September 1944
Entered Combat: First Elements 17 October 1944
Entered Combat: Entire Division 24 October 1944
Days in Combat 190

Casualties (Tentative)

Killed 1,008
Wounded 4,650
Missing 434
Captured 19
Battle Casualties 6,111
Non-Battle Casualties 7,637
Total Casualties 13,748
Percent of T/O Strength 97.6

Campaigns

  • Northern France
  • Rhineland
  • Central Europe

Individual Awards

Distinguished Service Cross 15
Legion of Merit 2
Silver Star 260
Soldiers Medal 4
Bronze Star 1,515
Air Medal 98

Prisoners of War Taken 41,747

COMPOSITION

  • 71st Infantry
  • 114th Infantry
  • 324th Infantry
  • 44th Reconnaissance Combat Battalion [i.e., Troop (Mechanized)]
  • 63d Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 119th Medical Battalion
  • 44th Division Artillery
  • 156th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
  • 217th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
  • 220th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
  • 157th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm Howitzer)
  • Special Troops
  • 744th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
  • 44th Quartermaster Company
  • 44th Signal Company
  • Military Police Platoon
  • Headquarters Company
  • Band

 

ATTACHMENTS

Antiaircraft Artillery

398th AAA AW Bn (SP) 22 Oct 44-24 Nov 44
895th AAA AW Bn (Mbl) 25 Nov 44-18 Apr 45

Armored

749th Tk Bn 23 Oct 44-15 Feb 45
772d Tk Bn 26 Mar 45-9 May 45

Cavalry

45th Rcn Tr (45th Div) 20 Nov 44-22 Nov 44
117th Cav Rcn Sq 26 Apr 45-9 May 45

Chemical

83d Cml Mort Bn 1 Nov 44-15 Nov 44
2d Cml Mort Bn -25 Dec 44
Co B, 96th Cml Mort Bn 2 Dec 44-
96th Cml Mort Bn 18 Apr 45-9 May 45

Field Artillery

242d FA Bn (105mm How) 21 Oct 44-28 Dec 44
45th Div Arty 21 Oct 44-21 Jan 45
79th Div Arty 23 Oct 44-25 Oct 44
59th Armd FA Bn 7 Nov 44
45th Div Arty 9 Nov 44-17 Nov 44
242d FA Bn (105mm How) 5 Dec 44-7 Dec 44
494th Armd FA Bn (12th Armd Div) 5 Dec 44-7 Dec 44
493d Armd FA Bn (12th Armd Div) 19 Dec 44-14 mar 45
494th Armd FA Bn (12th Armd Div) 26 Dec 44-6 Jan 45
493d Armd FA Bn (12th Armd Div) 2 Jan 45-6 Jan 45
423d Armd FA Bn (10th Armd Div) 21 Jan 45-10 Feb 45
63d Div Arty 3 Feb 45-6 Feb 45
493d Armd FA Bn (12th Armd Div) 11 Feb 45-16 Feb 45
693d FA Bn (105mm How) 12 Feb 45-14 Mar 45
494th Armd FA Bn (12th Armd Div) 14 Feb 45-16 Feb 45
495th Armd FA Bn (12th Armd Div) 14 Feb 45-16 Feb 45
64th Regiment d'artillerie Coloniale (Fr 2d Armd Div) 20 Feb 45-26 Feb 45
283d FA Bn (105mm How) 11 Mar 45-13 Mar 45
522d FA Bn (105mm How) 26 Mar 45-30 Mar 45
933d FA Bn (155mm How) 27 Mar 45-29 Mar 45
937th FA Bn (155mm How) 27 Mar 45-29 Mar 45
686th FA Bn (155mm How) 27 Mar 45-30 Mar 45
17th FA Bn (155mm How) 3 May 45-8 May 45
93d Armd FA Bn 8 May 45

Infantry

157th Inf (45th Div) 25 Nov 44-27 Nov 44
253d Inf (63d Div) 31 Dec 44-6 Feb 45
255th Inf (63d Div) 19 Jan 45-6 Feb 45

Tank Destroyer

813th TD Bn (SP) 23 Oct 44-31 Oct 44
776th TD Bn (SP) 31 Oct 44-21 Nov 44
776th TD Bn (SP) 25 Nov 44-9 May 45

 

44th Infantry Division World War II Missing in Action

There are 11 soldiers of the 44th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.

Private First Class Dominic P. Collino 71st Infantry Regiment 01/03/1946
Private Victor Fatty 71st Infantry Regiment 03/29/1945
Private First Class Cornelius Gallagher 71st Infantry Regiment 11/15/1944
Private Joseph L. Grossman 324th Infantry Regiment 10/29/1945
Staff Sergeant Ray P. Hatalla 324th Infantry Regiment 10/29/1945
Private First Class Jack Nastasi 324th Infantry Regiment 10/29/1945
Private First Class Lawrence L. Ordway 324th Infantry Regiment 05/11/1945
Private Edgar E. Price 324th Infantry Regiment 12/23/1945
Private First Class Lawrence W.W. Rich 71st Infantry Regiment 11/15/1944
Private Herbert R. Richter 71st Infantry Regiment 12/13/1944
Corporal John C. Santos 71st Infantry Regiment 12/21/1944

44th ID insignia patch 44th Infantry Division

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