78th INFANTRY DIVISION - Lightning

Activated 15 Aug 1942  •  Entered Combat 13 Dec 1944 Ardennes  •  Days of Combat 125  •  Casualties 8,146

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Commanding General

Maj. Gen. Edwin P. Parker, Jr.   (Aug 42 - Nov 45) 

 

Campaigns

Rhineland (15 Sep 44 - 21 Mar 45)
Ardennes-Alsace (16 Dec 44 - 25 Jan 45)
Central Europe (22 Mar 45 - 11 May 45)

Campaign Route Map of the 78th INFANTRY DIVISION

This vintage map chart the journey of the 78th Infantry Division throughout Europe World War II. The map can be zoomed in and purchased at HistoryShots.com.

Division Chronicle

The 78th Infantry Division arrived in England, 26 October 1944, and received further training. It landed in France, 22 November, and moved to Tongres, Belgium, and to Rotgen, Germany, to prepare for combat. The 311th Infantry Regiment was attached to the 8th Division in the Hurtgen Forest, 10 December. The 309th and 310th Infantry Regiments relieved elements of the 1st Division in the line in the vicinity of Entenpfuhl, 1-12 December. On the 13th these regiments smashed into Simmerath, Witzerath, and Bickerath and were fighting for Kesternich when Von Rundstedt launched his counteroffensive in the Monschau area, 18 December. The 78th held the area it had taken from the Siegfried Line against the violent German attacks throughout the winter. The Division attacked, 30 January 1945, and took Kesternich, 2 February, the town of Schmidt on the 8th, and captured intact the vital Schwammanauel Dam the next day. In the advance, the Roer River was crossed, 28 February, and the Division joined the offensive of the First and Ninth Armies toward the Rhine. That river was crossed over the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, 8 March, by the 310th Regiment, the first troops to cross in the wake of the 9th Armored Division. That unit, attached to the 9th Armored and acting as a motorized unit had driven across Germany capturing Euskirchen, Rheinbach, and Bad Neuenahr. The 78th expanded the bridgehead, taking Honnef and cutting part of the superhighway, the Autobahn, 16 March. From 2 April to 8 May, the Division was active in the reduction of the Ruhr Pocket and at VE-day was stationed near Marburg.

Notes and sources:
Date Activated is the date the division was activated or inducted into federal service (national guard units).
Casualties are number of killed, wounded in action, captured, and missing.
The dates after the campaign name are the dates of the campaign not of the division.
The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States; , U.S. Government Printing Office. Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths in World War II, Final Report, 1 December 1941 - 31 December 1946. US Army Center of Military History at http://www.history.army.mil/ Various divisional histories