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80th Division - Blue Ridge Division

On August 5, 1917, the 80thDivision, National Army, was established at Fort Lee, Va. The initial draftees of the division came from Pennsylvania (23,907), Virginia (13,808), and West Virginia (7,613). In October, the division began intensive training. By the spring of 1918 the division was at full strength. Due to the strong presence of draftees from the Blue Ridge Mountains, the division adopted the nickname of the “Blue Ridge Division.”

Commanding General of the 80th Division Maj. Gen. Adelbert Cornkhite, and Colonel William H. Waldron, Chief of Staff.

Some units of the division participated in the Somme Offensive during August and attacked enemy positions with New Zealand troops and with the 38thWelsh Division. On September 1, 1918 the division moved to the Tronville area to be the reserve of the U.S. First Army during the St. Mihiel Offensive (September 12-16, 1918). This secured Allied flanks, cut German communications southward, and positioned the Allies for a final offensive. Two of the division’s machine gun battalions fought in the St. Mihiel offensive, the rest of the division remained in reserve.

The 80th Infantry Division at BĂ thincourt, France. 1918.

On the first morning of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, September 26, 1918, the 80thDivision attacked and captured Bethincourt, Bois de Forges, and the Bois Jure—all by noon.

Enemy resistance increased, but the division reached Dannevoux by the evening and pushed its right flank against the Meuse River. The division pushed on to seize Cunel. It was placed in reserve on October 11, 1918 and returned to the offensive on November 2, 1918, seizing Buzancy, Warniforet and Yoncq.

Machine gunners of the 80th Infantry Division using a Browning heavy machine gun, 1918.

Constituent Units of the 80thDivision

159thInfantry Brigade

  • 317thInfantry Regiment
  • 318thInfantry Regiment
  • 313thMachine Gun Battalion

160thInfantry Brigade

  • 319thInfantry Regiment
  • 320thInfantry Regiment
  • 315thMachine Gun Battalion

155thField Artillery Brigade

  • 313thField Artillery Regiment
  • 314thField Artillery Regiment
  • 315thField Artillery Regiment
  • 305thTrench Mortar Battery

Divisional Troops

  • 314thMachine Gun Battalion
  • 305thEngineer Regiment
  • 305thField Signal Battalion
  • Headquarters Troops
80th Division Insignia stained glass in the memorial chapel at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.