U.S. 2nd Infantry Division (2ID)
World War Two

(A tribute to our brave combat veterans)
by
Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

The division landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day + 1 (June 7, 1944) in Normandy, France. The 2ID was part of General Omar Bradley's First Army. Our brave men fought their way across Europe and were in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, when the war against Germany was over with on May 8, 1945.

A Brief History of "the Indianhead Division" During World War 2
(copied from the division's history)

WORLD WAR II (1941 – 1945) Battle Legacy:

  • October 1943, transferred from Fort Sam Houston to Ireland
  • 10 months training as part of Operation Overload, the Normandy invasion
  • June 7, 1944 (D Day +1) the division stormed Omaha Beach
  • After 39 day battle, Division liberated vital port city Brest on September 18, 1944
  • From positions around St. Vith, Belgium, sized Roer River Dam on December 11, 1944
  • Division held key roads leading to Liege and Antwerp during Battle of the Bulge
  • February 6, 1945 resumed offensive against fleeing Wehrmacht
  • Transferred from First Army to Patton’s Third Army
  • Last days of war spent moving across Czechoslovakia, halting at Pilsen
  • Met Soviet allies in Pilsen

    THE EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS:

    As part of the build up for operation Overload, the Normandy invasion, the 2d Infantry Division was transferred from fort Sam Houston to Ireland in October, 1943. There it spent ten months undergoing extensive training. On 7 June, 1944, D-Day + 1, the division stormed ashore at bloody Omaha Beach. While other units were stalled by the determined German resistance to the west, the Indianheads blasted through the hedgerows of Normandy. After fierce, 39-day battle, the 2d Division, fighting in the streets and alleyways, finally took their objective as the vital port city of Brest, which was liberated on 18 September, 1944. Once mop up operations were complete in the Normandy region, the division turned west and plunged headlong across France. From positions around St. Vith, Belgium, the Second was ordered, on 11 December, 1944, to attack and seize the Roer River dams. Having pierced the dreaded Siegfried Line, the division was advancing when Nazi Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt unleashed a powerful German offensive in the Ardennes. Throughout this Battle of the Bulge the 2d Infantry Division held fast, preventing the enemy from seizing key roads leading to the cities of Liege and Antwerp.

    Resuming the offensive on 6 February, 1945, the division joined the race to annihilate the fleeing Wehrmacht. Transferred from the First Army to Patton’s Third Army, the Indianheads spent their last days of the European War in a dash across Czechoslovakia, finally halting in the town of Pilsen. This city became a meeting point between invading armies from east and from west. It was in Pilsen that the soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division first met their Soviet allies who represented the forces of communism that they would face so often in the future, no longer as allies.

    Division Order of Battle in WW II:

    
    9th Infantry Regiment                           23rd Infantry Regiment 
    
    38th Infantry Regiment 
    
    Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 
    2nd Infantry Division Artillery
    
    12th Field Artillery Battalion (155 Mm)      15th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Mm) 
    
    37th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Mm)      38th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Mm) 
    2nd Engineer Combat Battalion                2nd Medical Battalion 
    
    Headquarters Special Troops,                 Headquarters Company,          
    2nd Infantry Division                        2nd Infantry Division                  
    
    702nd Ordnance Company                       2nd Quartermaster Company                    
    
    2nd Reconnaissance Troop                     2nd Signal Company                                
    
    2nd Military Police Platoon                  2nd Infantry Division Band
    
    Headquarters 2nd Infantry Division
    
    Units Attached Throughout Combat:
    
    612th Tank Destroyer Battalion               741st Tank Battalion
    462nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion      2nd Counterintelligence Corps Detachment
    Photo Interpretation Team No. 6              Order Of Battle Team No. 8
    Military Intelligence Interpreter Team 
    No. 415  
    
    Interrogation Prisoner of War Team No. 25
    Interrogation Prisoner of War Team No. 27   Interrogation Prisoner of War Team No. 28
    Detachment "I", 165th Signal Photo Company  Air Support Party, IX Tactical Air Command 
    

    The division participated in the Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and the Central Europe Campaigns of World War Two. The Division suffered 3,031 killed in action and 12,785 wounded in action during the war.

    The Second Infantry Division arrived back home at Ft. Swift, Texas on July 22, 1945.

    Note: my father, Staff Sergeant Hanford Maurice Rice, was in Charlie Company (First Battalion) of the U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment (9IR) during World War Two. He wrote a diary of his experiences that I share online as well as some divisional and regimental history that I have copied from the official histories:

  • Click here if you want to read his war diary

    The U.S. 2nd Division had 2 booklets printed during World War 2
    D+1 to D+105
    D+106 to VE Day
    Note: I quote this division history D+1 to D+105 in the above mentioned diary of Sergeant Rice. I quote it in blue print. Just click on the photo of the cover to go there.

       *   

    There were 3 infantry regiments assigned to the 2ID during World War 2:
    The U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment (9IR)
    The U.S. 23rd Infantry Regiment (23IR)
    The U.S. 38th Infantry Regiment (38IR)

    If you desire to purchase any cloth patches of the U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment you can contact the 9th Infantry (Manchu) Regiment Association. They also have belt buckles and decals and other cool stuff for sale. You can find them at:
    http://www.manchu.org/regiment/association.htm

    2ID WW2 books for you to purchase from independent sources:

    The Combat History of the Second Infantry Division In World War II
    Reprinted by the Battery Press, Nashville, Tenn., 1979 (No copyright)

    Keep Up the Fire- The Ninth Infantry Regiment in WWII
    Written by Al Castillo

    War by Floyd Kornegay

    My Generation by Fred Howland

    How A Ninety-Day Wonder Survived the War by Charlie Curly

    741st Tank Battalion by Al Heintzleman

    Battleground by John Toland (printed in 1959)

    Company Commander by Charles B. MacDonald
    Shipped to Europe as a replacement, he took command of Company I, 23rd Infantry in early September of 1944. He was in command of Company I in an action during the Battle of the Bulge in which the 3rd Battalion received the Presidential Unit Citation.

    The Battle of the Bulge: The Losheim Gap Doorway to the Meuse by Hans J. Wijers
    U.S. Troops Block Northern German Advances December 1944 (Paperback - 2001)

    The Battle of the Bulge: Seize the Bridges by Hans J. Wijers and Elmer S. McKay
    Comments: An exceptional self-published history of the American actions blocking the German army's northward advance in the Battle of the Bulge;
    interesting interviews on the Malmedy Massacre (Paperback - 2005)

    In Death's Dark Shadow - A Soldier's Story by Cleve Barkley
    (2nd Battalion of the 38th Infantry Regiment)

    Note: there was a black and white movie produced in 1950 titled Breakthrough that highlighted the U.S. infantryman's fight through the Normany hedgerows shortly after D-Day. It stared the U.S. first infantry division- that division was on the left flank of our second division at that time in Normandy. I mention this so you can have an opportunity to see what hedgerow fighting was like in Normandy at that time. It stars David Brian, John Agar, and Frank Lovejoy. I know my father hated fighting in those hedgerows and talked about them much of the time after the war. I have this movie on dvd and I recommend that you purchase it from someone who has it for sale. It is a part of the Warner Brothers archive collection.

    Do You Want to Join a 2ID World War 2 Discussion Group about the U.S. Second Infantry Division in World War Two?

    If so, here is how to join up:
    Just go to the site at
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Friends_of_US_2nd_Infantry_Division_WWII
    and click on "join this group"
    Then you can send emails to the group or go to the site in person and post a query or message there for all to read and respond to. While there you might want to view some photos or read some messages there pertaining to the 2ID during WW2. The messages contain info about people, places, and things. And about how things were during those days. Queries about any vet who fought in the 2ID (during WW2 only) are welcome there, as well.

    Also at this site is posted the history of the 2ID, more war stories, and more info. It is a great place for members to communicate with one another.
    Note: Yahoo and yahoogroups require you to become a member at yahoo.com before you can view their sites. Membership is free.

    This Yahoo site has a lot of members who have knowledge about the 2nd Infantry Division during World War 2. It's a message board kind of site where you can ask questions and submit queries. Many members there have written books that might be helpful to you and they can advise you as to the titles, price, and availability.


    Links


    Sgt. Rice, war diary





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