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33rd Division - The Illinois Division

The 33rdDivision of the U.S. National Guard formed on July 18, 1917. The War Department reorganized the U.S. Army upon entering World War I, and redesignated the 12thNational Guard Division with this new name. The 33rdDivision consolidated on August 3, 1917 at Camp Logan, Texas for training. They took the nickname the “Illinois” Division to honor their roots.

Inspection of the 33rd Division by Maj. Gen. George Bell Jr., commander of the division.

On September 5, 1917 the “Illinois” Division, now assigned to the French XVII Corps, began to move to the Verdun-Fromeréville Sector. On September 14, 1917 the 33rd Division joined the U.S. III Corps and occupied the right of their line in anticipation of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

33rd Division training in advance of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, near Willeroncourt, France.

The division attacked on September 26, 1917 and advanced to the Meuse and Côte de l’Oie-Danneovoux. It captured Forges and the Bois de Forge. It remained in this critical position until October 7, 1917, when it transferred to the French XVII Corps. It joined their attack on October 8, 1917. Since they were now positioned on both sides of the Meuse River, the division crossed the river directly in view of the enemy, who fired at them from the heights as they progressed. The “boys from Illinois” reached their objective south of the Bois de Chaume and continued their advance.

The 33rd Division was relieved by the French 115th Colonial Infantry Division beginning 21 October.

Constituent Units of the 33rdDivision

65thInfantry Brigade

  • 129thInfantry Regiment
  • 130thInfantry Regiment
  • 123rdMachine Gun Battalion

66thInfantry Brigade

  • 131stInfantry Regiment
  • 132ndInfantry Regiment
  • 124thMachine Gun Battalion

58thField Artillery Brigade

  • 122ndField Artillery Regiment
  • 123rdField Artillery Regiment
  • 124thField Artillery Regiment
  • 108thTrench-Mortar Battery

Divisional Troops

  • 112ndMachine Gun Battalion
  • 108thEngineer Regiment
  • 108thField Signal Battalion
  • Headquarters Troops Trains
33rd Division Insignia stained glass in the memorial chapel at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.