The Germans did a lot of talking about being the “Master Race.” They invented a long list of inferior peoples, conspicuous among whom were Negroes. But that was before the Nazis ran into the 92nd Division. The Buffalo outfit had a few theories of its own, too, including the motto “Deeds Not Words.” That turned out to be pretty effective counter-propaganda against the Germans—especially the hundreds of them who were captured by the colored soldiers of the 92nd during its nearly nine months of action on the Italian front.
The 92nd, many of whose officers and all of whose enlisted personnel are Negroes, was activated on October 15, 1942, and among the camps at which it trained was Fort Huachuca, Arizona. There, many years ago, when the American Army was chiefly concerned with Indians, a detachment of colored soldiers was assigned. To keep warm during the cold winter on the prairies, the soldiers killed buffalos and clothed themselves with the hides. The startled Indians began to call them “Black Buffalos,” and the 92nd’s shoulder patch and nickname carry on the tradition of those early American fighters.
This war’s Buffalos embarked for North Africa in June 1944, and soon thereafter were assigned to the Fifth Army front in the Italian Apennines. In September elements of the Division crossed the Arno River and took the city of Lucca. Then the 92nd began to live the usual routine of foot soldiers in that theater—long waits, slow gains, constant patrols, and endless suffering in the cold, bleak hills of central Italy.
The 92nd’s first large-scale attack as a division occurred in February 1945, when the Buffalos were given the mission of seizing Monte Cassala, a peak dominating the western coast ports vital to Allied operations. Striking out from along the line of the Fiume-La Force, some three miles south of the stronghold of Massa, the Buffalos stormed the mountain and took it, to the considerable dismay and embarrassment of its Aryan defenders.
During the winter months, the 92nd kept two German divisions tied down in its sector and worked up the Ligurian coast. Not only did it capture the ports of La Spezia and Genoa, but it accomplished the feats so swiftly that the Germans were unable to put into effect plans they had made to render the ports useless when the Allies finally got into them.
From then on, the Division rolled northward, taking Alessandria and Turin on its way. When the war in Italy ended, its accomplishments were summed up by General Mark Clark, commander of the 15th Army Group and better qualified than most otfier people to appraise the work of the 92nd. In a letter to Major General Edward M. Almond, leader of the Buffalos, General Clark said, “To the 92nd Division went an important assignment in the offensive which ended in unconditional surrender of German forces in Italy. Please convey to your officers and men for me the fact that I value most highly the manner in which that assignment was carried out. We relied upon you to gain ports along the Ligurian coast and you carried out the attack in a most aggressive and successful way. You took La Spezia and then swept on to Genoa, not only taking that great port, but preserving it from terrible bombardment by heavy German guns. With the ports in hand, elements under your command swept into the cities of Alessandria and Turin. These actions played an important part in the victory achieved by the 15th Army Group.”
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
There are 50 soldiers of the 92nd Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.
|Staff Sergeant Joseph Barksdale 366th Infantry Regiment 01/01/1946|
|Private Albert Brown 371st Infantry Regiment 02/06/1946|
|Private First Class George H. Brown 366th Infantry Regiment 12/30/1945|
|Private First Class James H. Brown 371st Infantry Regiment 11/18/1944|
|Private Lloyd L. Brown 370th Infantry Regiment 10/14/1945|
|Private First Class William A. Cornwell 370th Infantry Regiment 10/10/1944|
|Private Benjamin Davis 366th Infantry Regiment 02/09/1945|
|Private First Class Henry D. Davis 370th Infantry Regiment 04/07/1946|
|Private First Class Lemuel Dent 366th Infantry Regiment 02/08/1945|
|Private First Class Limus Duhart 370th Infantry Regiment 10/29/1945|
|Private First Class Lonnie Eichelberger 371st Infantry Regiment 02/10/1945|
|Private Penn Franks 371st Infantry Regiment 02/10/1945|
|Private Melton Futch 366th Infantry Regiment 12/31/1944|
|Private First Class St. Clair M. Gibson 371st Infantry Regiment 11/18/1944|
|Private First Class Henry Gorham 370th Infantry Regiment 04/07/1945|
|Private Richard Graham 365th Infantry Regiment 02/08/1945|
|Private First Class Joe Green 365th Infantry Regiment|
|Private First Class James R. Heigh 371st Infantry Regiment 11/06/1945|
|Private Nathaniel Johnson 370th Infantry Regiment 10/11/1945|
|Private Rudolph Johnson 365th Infantry Regiment 02/06/1945|
|Sergeant Roger Jones 370th Infantry Regiment 10/22/1944|
|Second Lieutenant William P. Jordan 366th Infantry Regiment 01/01/1946|
|Private William B. Lambert 366th Infantry Regiment 02/09/1945|
|Private Jose A. Lopez 366th Infantry Regiment 02/08/1945|
|Private First Class A D. Luckett 370th Infantry Regiment 10/11/1944|
|First Lieutenant John M. Madison 370th Infantry Regiment 04/05/1945|
|Private First Class James T. Mathis 366th Infantry Regiment 12/27/1945|
|Private William T. McFadden 371st Infantry Regiment 02/10/1945|
|Private Wesley Melton 371st Infantry Regiment 02/10/1945|
|Private First Class John Moore 366th Infantry Regiment 03/08/1946|
|Private Evans Owens 366th Infantry Regiment 02/10/1946|
|Private Cleo Penny 366th Infantry Regiment 02/11/1946|
|Sergeant Ruffus B. Pitts 366th Infantry Regiment 12/30/1945|
|Private First Class Paul W. Pompey 370th Infantry Regiment 09/14/1945|
|Private First Class William T. Saunders 366th Infantry Regiment 02/11/1946|
|Private Montroit Scott 371st Infantry Regiment 02/15/1945|
|Private First Class William C. Scott 366th Infantry Regiment 12/30/1945|
|Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Seymour 370th Infantry Regiment 11/16/1944|
|Private Anderson J. Slaughter 366th Infantry Regiment 02/11/1946|
|Private James L. Strong 371st Infantry Regiment 11/10/1945|
|Private Ira Stubblefield 366th Infantry Regiment 12/30/1945|
|Private First Class Alfred L. Sutton 366th Infantry Regiment 12/30/1945|
|Private Herbert Taylor 371st Infantry Regiment 02/12/1946|
|Private First Class Ira L. Thompson 365th Infantry Regiment 02/09/1945|
|Private First Class Ernest L. Vesley 366th Infantry Regiment 02/09/1945|
|Technician Fourth Grade Edison H. Walters 366th Infantry Regiment 02/08/1945|
|Private James E. Warren 365th Infantry Regiment 02/06/1945|
|Private First Class Robert Williams 366th Infantry Regiment 02/08/1945|
|Staff Sergeant Henry W. Wilson 371st Infantry Regiment 11/18/1944|
|Private Carl Wimes 366th Infantry Regiment 12/30/1945|
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