The 1st Division in America’s wars
World War One
The 1st Division, United States Army, was organized for service on 24 May 1917. It sailed on 14 June 1917 as The 1st Expeditionary Division and arrived in St. Nazaire, France on 21 June 1917.
First to embark, it was the last division to return home, and paraded in New York City on 10 September 1919.
|1st Infantry Brigade||2nd Infantry Brigade||1st Field Artillery Brigade|
|16th Infantry||26th Infantry||5th Field Artillery (155’s)|
|18th Infantry||28th Infantry||6th Field Artillery (75’s)|
|2nd Machine Gun Battalion||3rd Machine Gun Battalion||7th Field Artillery (75’s)|
|1st Trench Mortar Battery|
|1st Machine Gun Battalion||1st Engineers||2nd Field Signal Battalion|
|1st Train HQ and M.P.||1st Ammunition Train||1st Supply Train|
|1st Engineer Train||
1st Sanitary Train (Ambulance Companies and Field Hospitals Nos. 2, 3, 12, and 13)
DIVISION STRENGTH (Table of Organization 3 May 1917): 25,871
|WORLD WAR ONE CASUALTIES|
|BATTLE DEATHS AND DIED OF WOUNDS||4,998|
|PERCENTAGE OF AUTHORIZED STRENGTH||
Non-battle casualties, which must have been substantial, were not listed in this source.
WORLD WAR I MAJOR OPERATIONS
Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, Montdidier-Noyone
NOTE:The 5th Field Artillery Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division traces its history to 1 March 1776 when Capt. Alexander Hamilton formed what is now Battery D, 5th Field Artillery Battalion. Then known as “The Provincial Company of the Artillery of the Colony of New York,” the Alexander Hamilton Battery fired the first round in defense of the United States on 12 July 1776 at Fort George (The Battery), N. Y. Shortly after the Revolution, this battery was stationed at West Point, its complement of 40 men then comprising the bulk of the United States Army. From The Army Almanac, 1950.
World War Two
On 1 July 1942, the first troops of the 1st Division sailed from Brooklyn, New York for England. The first unit to embark was the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment.
Preparatory to action in World War II, the United States War Department streamlined infantry divisions. The brigade hierarchy was eliminated. Instead, each United States infantry divisions had a “triangular” arrangement of three regiments (each regiment had three battalions; each battalion had three companies; and each company had three platoons).
As in World War I, the 1st Division was the last division to return home, serving after the war in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation.
U.S. 1ST DIVISION WWII COMPOSITION
|16th Infantry Regiment||18th Infantry Regiment||26th Infantry Regiment|
1st Division Artillery
|5th Field Artillery Battalion||7th Field Artillery Battalion||32th Field Artillery Battalion|
|33rd Field Artillery Battalion|
|1st Engineer Combat Bn.||1st Medical Bn.||1st Reconnaissance Troop|
|1st Quartermaster Co.||1st Ordnance (LM) Co.||1st Signal Company|
|Military Police Platoon||Headquarters Company|
DIVISION STRENGTH (8 November 1942): 14,851
REPLACEMENTS (to 8 May 1945): 28,892
|WORLD WAR TWO CASUALTIES|
|TOTAL BATTLE CASUALTIES||20,659|
|TOTAL BATTLE CASUALTIES AS A PERCENTAGE OF AUTHORIZED STRENGTH||139%|
|TOTAL DEATHS AMONG BATTLE CASUALTIES||4,365|
|KILLED IN ACTION||3,616|
|TOTAL WOUNDED AND INJURED IN ACTION||15,208|
|DIED OF WOUNDS AND INJURIES||664|
|EVACUATED TO U.S.||4,899|
|RETURNED TO DUTY||9,645|
|TOTAL CAPTURED AND INTERNED||1,336|
|DIED WHILE CAPTURED: KILLED IN ACTION||8|
|DIED WHILE CAPTURED: WOUNDS AND INJURIES||5|
|DIED WHILE CAPTURED: OTHER CAUSES (NON-BATTLE)||6|
|CAPTURED AND RETURNED TO MILITARY CONTROL||1,317|
|MISSING IN ACTION TOTAL||499|
|MISSING IN ACTION: DECLARED DEAD||66|
|MISSING IN ACTION: RETURNED TO DUTY||433|
|Additionally, non-battle casualties (not included above) are listed in an online resource of the Center of Military History as 14,002 (see bottom of page). If this number is accurate, the percentage of men who became casualties would be 234%.|
WORLD WAR II CAMPAIGNS
Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
Combat Chronicle: World War II
The 1st Infantry Division saw its first combat in World War II in North Africa, landing at Oran and taking part in the initial fighting, 8-10 November 1942. Elements then took part in seesaw combat at Maktar, Medjez el Bab, Kasserine Pass, Gafsa, El Guettar, Beja, and Mateur, 21 January-9 May 1943, helping secure Tunisia.
The First was the first ashore in the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943 ; it fought a series of short, fierce battles on the island’s tortuous terrain. When that campaign was over, the Division returned to England to prepare for the Normandy invasion.
The First Division assaulted Omaha Beach on D-day, 6 June 1944, some units suffering 30 percent casualties in the first hour, and secured Formigny and Caumont in the beachhead. The Division followed up the St. Lo break-through with an attack on Marigny, 27 July 1944, and then drove across France in a continuous offensive, reaching the German border at Aachen in September.
The Division laid siege to Aachen, taking the city after a direct assault, 21 October 1944. The First then attacked east of Aachen through Hurtgen Forest, driving to the Roer, and moved to a rest area 7 December for its first real rest in 6 months’ combat, when the von Rundstedt offensive suddenly broke loose, 16 December.
The Division raced to the Ardennes, and fighting continuously from 17 December 1944 to 28 January 1945, helped blunt and turn back the German offensive. Thereupon, the Division attacked and again breached the Siegfried Line, fought across the Roer, 23 February 1945, and drove on to the Rhine, crossing at the Remagen bridgehead, 15-16 March 1945.
The Division broke out of the bridgehead, took part in the encirclement of the Ruhr Pocket, captured Paderborn, pushed through the Harz Mountains, and was in Czechoslovakia, at Kinsperk, Sangerberg, and Mnichov, when the war in Europe ended.
Assignments in the ETO
1 November 1943:First Army.
6 November 1943: VII Corps.
2 February 1944: V Corps.
14 July 1944: First Army.
15 July 1944: VII Corps.
1 August 1944: VII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
16 December 1944: V Corps.
20 December 1944: Attached, with the entire First Army, to the British 21st Army Group.
26 January 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
12 February 1945: III Corps.
8 March 1945: VII Corps.
27 April 1945: VIII Corps.
30 April 1945: V Corps.
6 May 1945: Third Army, 12th Army Group.
WWII UNIT Publications
First by the Division TI&E Officer. Frankfurt am Main, Germany; F. Guhl & Co., 1945.
First, The Story of the 1st Infantry Division by unit members TI&E, ETOUSA. Distributor, Society of the First Division, 1945.
History of the 1st Infantry Division (“Danger Forward”) by unit historian. Atlanta, Albert Love Enterprises, 1948.
In the mid-60’s, divisions were organized differently than they had been in World War II and Korea. Each division had three brigades which were “task organized”. The concept was utmost flexibility. A brigade, depending on the operation, could have anywhere from two to five battalions along with organic and attached supporting units.
U.S. 1st Division
1st Brigade, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Brigade
1st Battalion, 63rd Armor
1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry; 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry
1st Battalion, 16th Infantry; 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry
1st Battalion, 18th Infantry; 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry
1st Battalion, 26th Infantry
1st Battalion, 28th Infantry; 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry
1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry
1st Infantry Division Artillery
1st Battalion, 5th Artillery, 1st Battalion, 7th Artillery, 2nd Battalion, 33rd Artillery, 8th Battalion, 6th Artillery
1st Military Police Company, 121st Signal Battalion, 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Support Command, 1st Administration Company, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Supply and Transport Battalion, 701st Maintenance Battalion
Also, a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. Roger Anderson recalls how the unit was attached, detached, and renamed: “When the division arrived in 1965, the LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) detachment was assigned to D-troop 1/4 Calvary. In September 1967 it was moved to Lai Khe and put under the control of the Division Commander, and redesignated HQ LRRP, There were no supply channels and everything was borrowed, stolen, traded or all of the above. Then in Dec 1967 it was again changed this time to F Company 52 Inf LRP (Long Range Patrol) The army, in their wisdom, realized we did more than reconnaissance and dropped an R, I think the provisional thing was there to show it was temporary, and supply channels were established. Finally, in February 1969, it was changed to I Company 75th Inf Ranger. when all was said and done it was nothing more then a series of address changes.”
Southwest Asia: DESERT SHIELD / STORM
On 24 February 1991, the 1st Division was the spearhead in an operation that breached the Iraqi lines.
The division secured the cease fire on 1 March 1991.
|1st Brigade||2nd Brigade|
|1st Battalion, 34th Armor||3rd Battalion, 37th Armor|
|2nd Battalion, 34th Armor||4th Battalion, 37th Armor|
|5th Battalion, 16th Infantry||2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry|
|1st Division Artillery|
|1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery||4th Battalion, 5th Field Artillery|
3rd Brigade, 2nd Armored Division
|2nd Battalion, 66th Armor||3rd Battalion, 66th Armor|
|1st Battalion, 41st Infantry||4th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery|
|Battery C, 26th Field Artillery||498th Support Battalion (Forward)|
|Company D, 17th Engineer Battalion|
|Aviation Brigade, 1st Division|
|1st Battalion, 1st Aviation||4th Battalion (Provisional), 1st Aviation|
|1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry|
1st Division Support Command
|101st Support Battalion (Forward)||201st Support Battalion (Forward)|
|701st Support Battalion (Main)||Company F, 1st Aviation (Aviation Intermediate Maintenance)|
|1st Infantry Division Band||1st Personnel Service Co. (Detached)|
|2nd Battalion (-), 3rd Air Defense Artillery||12th Chemical Company (-)|
|1st Engineer Battalion||84th Engineer Detachment (Terrain)|
|h548th Engineer Detachment (Terrain)||101st Military Intelligence Bn. (CEWI)|
|1st Military Police Company||121st Signal Battalion (-)|
Attached and OPCON Units
|181st Chemical Company (Decon)
[2nd Chemical Battalion]
|323rd Chemical Company (Decon) (USAR, SD) [2nd Chemical Battalion]|
|418th Civil Affairs Company (USAR, MO)||9th Engineer Battalion [7th Engineer Brigade]|
The First in 2002
Today the Division is headquartered at Leighton Barracks, Wuerzburg, Germany. The Big Red One consists of more than 14,000 soldiers who primarily serve in the Division’s brigades or one of its four separate battalions.
The 1st Brigade is located at Fort Riley and its maneuver units consist of 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry; 1st Bn., 34th Armor; 2nd Bn, 34th Armor; and 1st Bn, 5th Field Artillery. The 101st Forward Support Bn and 331st Signal Company are also located at Fort Riley.
The 2nd Brigade is in Schweinfurt, Germany. Its maneuver units are 1st Bn., 18th Inf.; 1st Bn., 26th Inf.; and 1st Bn., 77th Armor.
The 3rd Brigade is headquartered at Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany. Its maneuver units are 2nd Bn., 2nd Inf.; 1st Bn., 63rd Armor; and 2nd Bn., 63rd Armor.
The 4th (or Aviation) Brigade is headquartered in Katterbach, Germany, and consists of 1st and 2nd Battalions, 1st Aviation, which supplies the Division’s air assets.
Division Artillery (DIVARTY) is headquartered in Bamberg, Germany, and consists of 1st Bn., 33rd Field Artillery; 1st Bn., 6th FA headquartered in Bamberg; and 1st Bn., 7th FA, headquartered in Schweinfurt; 1st Bn., and 5th FA headquartered at Fort Riley, Kan.. DIVARTY soldiers provide target acquisition skills and multiple-launch rocket capabilities.
Division Support Command (DISCOM) is headquartered in Kitzingen, Germany, and is made up of 201st and 299th FSBs; 601st Aviation Support Bn., and 701st Main Support Bn.
The 4th Bn., 3rd Air Defense Artillery is headquartered at Larson Barracks, Kitzingen, and is a separate battalion providing air defense capabilities.
The 121st Signal Bn. is also headquartered at Larson Barracks and provides communication support throughout the Division.
The 101st Military Intelligence Bn. is headquartered at Wuerzburg’s Leighton Barracks and provides the Division with special information through secure channels.
The 1st Military Police Company is also headquartered at Leighton Barracks in Wuerzburg and performs law enforcement and security duties throughout the Division.
Major weapons systems for the Division include Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Apache Attack Helicopters, 155 mm Howitzers, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and M109A6 Paladin.
Sources: American Armies and Battlefields in Europe Originally published: Washington D.C.: U.S. Govt. Print., 1938. Reprinted by the Center of Military History, 1992. Now available on CD-Rom as part of the UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR I set. This source contains World War I casualties, replacements, and other information by AEF divisions, page 516-517.
H.R. Knickerbocker, et. al., Danger Forward: The Story of the 1st Division in World War II (Society of the First Division, Washington, D.C., 1947). This is not a particularly recommended source, but it does include some useful information on the division in World War II.
Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths in World War II: Final Report: 7 December 1941 – 31 December 1946. Statistical and Accounting Branch, Office of the Adjutant General under Direction of Program Review and Analysis Division, Office of the Comptroller of the Army, O.C.S., 1953. This source has been used for the World War II casualty figures.
The Center of Military History online (at www. army.mil) has a very valuable resource entitled, “Army Division Matrix”. It provides Order of Battle and Compositional information for active divisional unit. I relied upon this source for non-battle casualties, WWII, and for post-WWII composition.