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42nd Division - The Rainbow Division

Named the “Rainbow” division for its diversity, the 42nd Division was the first composite National Guard Division. The 42ndincorporated troops from numerous states, including: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. They embarked for Europe from October 18 to November 3, 1917.

The 42nd Division occupied  positions in the Espérance and Souain Sectors in Champagne starting July 5, 1918. When the Allies’ Champagne-Marne Defensive began on July 15, 1918 the “Rainbow” Division occupied an intermediate position with the French XXI Corps, and successfully defended it against the enemy. The division withdrew on July 18, 1918 and moved to Chateau-Thierry to participate in the Aisne-Marne Offensive.

After successfully attacking in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, the 42ndDivision prepared for the St. Mihiel Offensive.

42nd Division troops during the St. Mihiel Offensive, c. 1918.

On the night of September 10, 1918 they relieved the 89thDivision located between Flirey and Seicheprey and became part of the U.S. IV Army Corps. They attacked on September 12, 1918 and soon reached their objective south of the Bois de Thiacourt.

The 42nd Rainbow Division passes through Essey during the St. Mihiel Offensive, supported by an American Renault FT, c. 1918.

The 42nd Division entered the Meuse-Argonne Offensive when it relieved the 1stDivision north of Exermont on October 13, 1918. They attacked on October 14 and 15, 1918, and captured Hill 288, Hill 242, Tuilerie Farm, and the Cote de Chatilou. This broke through the Siellung section of the German Hindenburg Line. Attacking again on November 5, 1918, the division seized heights above the Meuse dominating Sedan. The division participated in the occupation of Germany into the spring of 1919.

Constituent Units of the 42ndDivision

83rdInfantry Brigade

  • 165thInfantry Regiment
  • 166thInfantry Regiment
  • 150thMachine Gun Battalion

84thInfantry Brigade

  • 167thInfantry Regiment
  • 168thInfantry Regiment
  • 151stMachine Gun Battalion

67thField Artillery Brigade

  • 149thField Artillery Regiment
  • 150thField Artillery Regiment
  • 151stField Artillery Regiment
  • 117thTrench-Mortar Battery

Divisional Troops

  • 149thMachine Gun Battalion
  • 117thField Signal Battalion
  • 117thEngineer Regiment
  • Headquarters Troops
42nd Division Insignia stained glass in the memorial chapel at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.