[Webmaster Note: The following division information is reproduced
from the public domain publication, The Army Almanac: A Book of
Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office,
1950. Portions of the information may be out of date. Only minor formatting changes and
typographical corrections have been made.]
World War I
Activated: August 1917.
Overseas: July 1918.
Major Operations: Meuse-Argonne.
Casualties: Total - 6,874 (KIA - 1,151; WIA - 5,723).
Commanders: Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn (25 August 1917),
Brig. Gen. W. J. Nicholson (26 November 1917),
Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn (17 February 1918),
Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn (16 April 1918),
Brig. Gen. W. J. Nicholson (22 May 1918),
Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn (8 June 1918),
Brig. Gen. W. J. Nicholson (28 June 1918),
Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn (31 December 1918).
Returned to U.S.: May 1919.
Inactivated: June 1919.
World War II
Activated: 15 June 1942.
Overseas: 7 April 1944.
Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe.
Days of combat: 248.
Distinguished Unit Citations: 8.
Awards: MH-3; DSC-13; DSM-1; SS-962; LM-11; SM-27; BSM-4,916; AM-78.
Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ira T. Wyche (June 1942-May 1945),
Brig. Gen. Leroy H. Watson (May-July 1945),
Maj. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe (July-August 1945),
Brig. Gen. LeRoy H. Watson (August 1945 to inactivation).
Returned to U.S.: 10 December 1945.
Inactivated: 20 December 1945.
Reactivated: (Org. Res. Div. 29 November 1946).
After training in the United Kingdom from 17 April 1944, the 79th Infantry Division
landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, 12-14 June and entered combat 19 June 1944, with an
attack on the high ground west and northwest of Valognes and high ground south of
Cherbourg. The Division took Fort du Roule after a heavy engagement and entered
Cherbourg, 25 June. It held a defensive line at the Ollonde River until 2 July 1944 and
then returned to the offensive, taking La Haye du Puits in house-to-house
fighting, 8 July. On 26 July, the 79th attacked across the Ay River, took
Lessay, crossed the Sarthe River and entered Le Mans, 8 August, meeting
only light resistance. The advance continued across the Seine, 19 August. Heavy
German counterattacks were repulsed, 22-27 August, and the Division reached the
Therain River, 31 August. Moving swiftly to the Franco-Belgian frontier near
St. Amand, the Division encountered heavy resistance in taking Charmes in
street fighting, 12 September. The 79th cut across the Moselle and Meurthe
Rivers, 13-23 September, cleared the Foret de Parroy in a severe
engagement, 28 September-9 October, and attacked to gain high ground
east of Embermenil, 14-23 October, when it was relieved, 24 October. After
rest and training at Luneville, the Division returned to combat with an attack
from the Mignevine-Montiguy area, 13 November 1944, which carried it across the
Vezouse and Moder Rivers, 18 November-10 December, through Haguenau in
spite of determined enemy resistance, and into the Siegfried
Line, 17-20 December. The Division held a defensive line along the Lauter
River, at Wissembourg from 20 December 1944 until 2 January 1945, when it
withdrew to Maginot Line defenses. The German attempt to establish a
bridgehead west of the Rhine at Gambsheim resulted in furious fighting. The
79th beat off German attacks at Hatten and Rittershoffen in an 11-day battle
before withdrawing to new defensive positions south of Haguenau on the Moder
River, 19 January 1945. The Division remained on the defensive along the
Moder until 6 February 1945. After resting in February and March 1945, the
Division returned to combat, 24 March 1945, crossed the Rhine, drove across
the Rhine-Herne Canal, 7 April, secured the north bank of the Ruhr and took
part in clearing the Ruhr Pocket until 13 April. The Division then went on
occupation duty, in the Dortmund, Sudetenland, and Bavarian areas
successively, until its return to the United States and inactivation.
Assignments in the ETO
18 April 1944: VIII Corps, Third Army. // 29 May 1944: Third Army but attached to
VII Corps, First Army. // 30 June 1944: Third Army, but attached to First
Army. // 1 July 1944: VIII Corps. // 1 August 1944: VIII Corps, Third Army, 12th
Army Group. // 8 August 1944: XV Corps. // 24 August 1944: XV Corps, Third
Army, 12th Army Group, but attached to First Army. // 26 August 1944: XV Corps,
First Army, 12th Army Group, // 29 August 1944: XII Corps. // 7 September 1944: XV
Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group. // 29 September 1944: Third Army, 12th Army
Group, but attached to the XV Corps, Seventh Army, 6th Army
Group. // 25 November 1944: XV Corps, Seventh Army, 6th Army
Group. // 5 December 1945: VI Corps. // 6 February 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army
Group. // 17 February 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group, but attached to the
XVI Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group. // 1 March 1945: XIII
Corps. // 7 March 1945: XVI Corps. // 7 April 1945: XVI Corps, Ninth Army, 12th
Nickname: Cross of Lorraine Division.
Shoulder patch: White bordered blue shield on which is superimposed a cross of Lorraine.
Publication: 79th Division; by unit members; Army & Navy Publishing Co., Baton
Rouge, La.; 1946.
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