There were dozens of allied divisions in the European Theater of Operations, but for nearly four months one of them—the 94th Infantry—fought a strange war on a 450-mile front all by itself.
When most of the Germans retreated back across France toward their own borders, after the breakthrough out of Nor-mandy, some of them sought refuge in the ports of the west coast of France. Those at Brest gave up after six weeks of siege, but those at St. Nazaire and Lorient remained a menace. The 94th got the job of keeping them bottled up.
For 111 days the division kept a watchful eye on the 60,000 Germans in the two ports, with frequent battles on the perime-ters of the enemy positions. Perhaps one of the oddest roles in the war was that played by the division’s cavalry reconnaissance troop, which secretly established itself on an Atlantic island between the two ports, to observe German sea traffic back and forth.
Rarely before had a division operated on so wide a front and with such thinly held lines. To reinforce its own ranks, the 94th trained and equipped 29 battalions of French troops, who later, with the 66th Division, took over many of the division’s responsibilities.
The 94th had headed for its “forgotten” war in Brittany right upon landing in Normandy on—coincidentally—D-plus-94, after a stormy crossing of the Channel during which some units were at sea as long as 30 days. For a while the men of the black and gray numerals thought they’d never get to see the main part of the war at all.
But they soon had those illusions shattered. The Doughboys of the Division—first of all American divisions to have its three principal units designated “Expert Infantry Regiments”— rushed northward from Brittany on New Year’s Day, 1945, to help fill the gaps on the Third Army front caused by the shifting of General Patton’s forces to help stem Rundstedt’s counter-offensive.
Then the 94th ran into the Siegfried Switch Line, a series of strong buffer defenses on the Moselle and east of the Saar River. For the next five weeks the Division fought there, first merely holding ground and then, as the German bulge was lopped off, attacking through the Switch Line with the 10th Armored Division. By erasing this line, the 94th cleared the Saar-Moselle triangle and paved the way for the capture of the key city of Trier.
Then the 94th drove forward and forced a bridgehead across the Saar, at times paddling furiously against a 7-mile-an-hour current which gave the German defenders additional time to hurl steel at the oncoming Doughs. By early in March the Division had consolidated its gains across the Saar and was ready to strike again.
On March 16 the 94th was given the job of spearheading the Third and Seventh Armies’ drive to the Rhine. Eight days later, the Division was at the river. It had taken the prize industrial city of Ludwigshafen, had fought for 195 consecutive days, and had captured more than 17,000 prisoners. The “forgotten” Division had made itself well remembered in a war it no longer had to worry about being left out of.
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
The 94th would arrive in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) on 11 August 1944 under the command of Major General Harry J. Malony. They would set foot on the European continent on 5 September, D-Day plus 91 (D+91) and in relief of the 6th Armored engaged the German garrisons located in the ports of Saint Nazaire and Lorient on the Brittany penninsula.
In January of 1945 the 94th moved east to relieve the 90th Division in the Saar-Moselle Triange. From an initial position opposite the Siegfried Switch Line they began offensive operations on the 14th of January and took the towns of Tettingen and Butzdorf followed by Nenning-Berg-Wies before being blocked at Orscholz. February would bring victories at Campholz Woods, Sinz and Munzingen Ridge. By the end of the month the division working with the 10th Armored Division had secured the area from Orscholz-Saarburg to the junction of the Saar and Moselle Rivers. By March the division crossed the Saar via a bridgehead at Serrig and established allied lines through Zerf, Lampaden, and Ollmuth and were moving toward the Rhine. They reached the Rhine on the 21st and began a battle for Ludwigshafen.
April had the 94th located on the west side of the Ruhr pocket and by the middle of the month were operating the local military government in Krefeld. They were located in Dusseldorf when the V-E Day arrived. The 94th Infantry Division had been activated on 15 September 1942 at Fort Custer near Kalamazoo, Michigan. The core composition of the Division was comprised of the 301st, 302nd and 376th Infantry Regiments. Major General Malony was their only commanding officer during their war time service stepping down following the German surrender. The division returned to the US in 1946.
Activated 15 September 1942
Arrived ETO 11 August 1944
Arrived Continent (D+91) 5 September 1944
Entered Combat - First Elements 10 September 1944
Entered Combat - Entire Division 17 September 1944
Days in Combat 183
301st Infantry Regiment
302d Infantry Regiment
376th Infantry Regiment
94th Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
319th Engineer Combat Battalion
94th Division Artillery
301st Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
356th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
919th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
390th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm Howitzer)
319th Medical Battalion
794th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
94th Quartermaster Company
94th Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
11 Aug 44 Maj. Gen. Harry J. Malony
11 Aug 44 Brig. Gen. Henry B. Cheadle
11 Aug 44 Brig. Gen. Louis Fortier
11 Aug 44 Col. Earl C. Bergquist
11 Aug 44 Lt. Col. William H. Patterson, Jr.
11 Aug 44 Lt. Col. Robert L. Love
27 Jan 45 Maj. Carl H. Schofield (Acting)
8 Apr 45 Lt. Col. Robert L. Love
11 Aug 44 Lt. Col. Rollin B. Durbin
11 Aug 44 Lt. Col. John D. F. Phillips
26 Aug 44 Maj. William K. St. Claire
30 Oct 44 Capt. Harry Green
17 Dec 44 Maj. William K. St. Claire
1 Jan 45 Lt. Col. William K. St. Claire
11 Aug 44 Lt. Col. Harold MacDonald
11 Aug 44 Col. Roy N. Hagerty
11 Aug 44 Col. Earle A. Johnson
11 Aug 44 Col. Harold H. McClune
22 Feb 45 Lt. Col. Raynor E. Anderson
14 Apr 45 Lt. Col. John W. Gaddis
473d AAA AW Bn (SP) 17 Sep 44-27 Nov 44
465th AAA AW Bn (SP) 7 Jan 45-12 Jun 45
Co A, 748th Tk Bn 16 Jan 45-25 Jan 45
CC A (8th Armd Div) 19 Jan 45-28 Jan 45
Cos C & D, 748th Tk Bn 25 Jan 45-29 Jan 45
Co B, 748th Tk Bn 29 Jan 45-21 Feb 45
778th Tk Bn (- Co C) 16 Feb 45-19 Mar 45
778th Tk Bn (- Co C) 23 Mar 45-24 Mar 45
CC A (12th Armd Div) 23 Mar 45-24 Mar 45
Co F (Composite), 86th Cav Rcn Sq (6th Armd Div) 17 Sep 44-15 Oct 44
15th Cav Gp 22 Sep 44-4 Jan 45
15th Cav Rcn Sq 22 Sep 44-4 Jan 45
101st Cav Gp 4 Dec 44-4 Jan 45
101st Cav Rcn Sq 4 Dec 44-4 Jan 45
116th Cav Rcn Sq 4 Dec 44-4 Jan 45
3d Cav Gp 7 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
43d Cav Rcn Sq 7 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
3d Cav Gp 27 Feb 45-9 Mar 45
Co C, 81st Cml Mort Bn 7 Jan 45-3 Mar 45
Co B, 81st Cml Mort Bn 7 Jan 45-24 Mar 45
162d Cml Co (SG) 21 Jan 45-30 Jan 45
81st Cml Co (SG) 22 Feb 45-9 Mar 45
1258th Engr C Bn 24 Feb 45-27 Feb 45
199th FA Bn (4.5" Gun) 22 Sep 44-4 Jan 45
688th FA Bn (105 How) 23 Sep 44-4 Jan 45
256th FA Bn (8" Gun) 23 Sep 44-7 Oct 44
12th FA Obsn Bn 23 Sep 44-12 Oct 44
201st FA Bn (105 How) 7 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
241st FA Bn (105 How) (atch 3d Cav Gp) 5 Mar 45-9 Mar 45
250th FA Gp 18 Apr 45-25 Apr 45
535th FA Bn (8" How) 18 Apr 45-25 Apr 45
747th FA Bn (8" How) 18 Apr 45-25 Apr 45
940th FA Bn (155 How) 18 Apr 45-25 Apr 45
Co B, 607th TD Bn (T) 7 Jan 45-21 Jan 45
774th TD Bn (T) 7 Jan 45-still atchd 9 May 45
Co A, 607th TD Bn (T) 21 Jan 45-23 Jan 45
704th TD Bn (SP) 23 Jan 45-4 Mar 45
691st TD Bn (T) 4 Mar 45
Co A, 818th TD Bn (SP) 4 Mar 45-9 Mar 45
There are 13 soldiers of the 94th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.
|Sergeant Walter E. Ascey 301st Infantry Regiment 01/16/1945|
|Private First Class Millard W. Dale 302nd Infantry Regiment 03/06/1945|
|Private First Class Joseph R. Hill 301st Infantry Regiment 04/07/1945|
|Private First Class Curtis E. Holbrook 301st Infantry Regiment 01/20/1945|
|Private Edward Ikebe 376th Infantry Regiment 02/11/1946|
|Private First Class Clinton A. Isbell 301st Infantry Regiment 04/07/1945|
|Sergeant Alfred M. King 376th Infantry Regiment 01/19/1945|
|Private First Class Donald Meyer 301st Infantry Regiment 02/24/1946|
|Sergeant Randall A. Pilger 302nd Infantry Regiment 02/05/1945|
|Corporal Ralph F. Smith 301st Infantry Regiment 04/07/1945|
|Private First Class Donald J. Templeton 301st Infantry Regiment 04/07/1945|
|Private Robert B. Tinsley 376th Infantry Regiment 02/25/1945|
|Private First Class Al J. Zelnis 376th Infantry Regiment 02/10/1945|
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