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1st Infantry Division

The 1stInfantry Division saw its first combat in World War II in North Africa, landing at Oran and taking part in the initial fighting from November 8 to 10, 1942. Elements then took part in seesaw combat at Maktar, Medjez el Bab, Kasserine Pass, Gafsa, El Guettar, Beja, and Mateur from January 21 to May 9, 1943, helping secure Tunisia. The First was the first ashore in the invasion of Sicily on July 10, 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. 

An LCVP carries GIs of the 1st Infantry Division, 6th Regimental Combat Team in the second assault wave on D-Day to Omaha Beach.

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 from November 8 through 10, 1942. Elements then took part in seesaw combat at Maktar, Medjez el Bab, Kasserine Pass, Gafsa, El Guettar, Beja, and Mateur from January 21 through May 9, 1943, helping to secure Tunisia. This division was the first ashore in the invasion of Sicily on July 10. 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 1st Division assaulted Omaha Beach on D-Day on June 6, 1944, with 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 on July 27, and then drove across France in a continuous offensive, reaching the German border at Aachen in September. 

Private Joseph Richard, 1st Infantry Division guards an anti-tank gun in Chaumont, France on July 9, 1944.
GIs from the 1st Infantry Division battle through central Aachen on October 17, 1944.

The division laid siege to Aachen, taking the city after a direct assault on October 21. The 1st then attacked east of Aachen through the Hurtgen Forest, driving to the Roer, and moved to a rest area on December 7 for its first real break in six months' combat, when the von Rundstedt offensive suddenly broke loose on December 16. The division raced to the Ardennes, and fighting continuously from December 17, 1944 to January 28, 1945, helped blunt and turn back the German offensive. Thereupon, the division attacked and again breached the Siegfried Line, fought across the Roer on February 23, 1945, and drove on to the Rhine, crossing at the Remagen bridgehead on March 15 to 16. 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.

A 1st Infantry Division half-track plows its way through the Hurtgen Forest on February 15, 1945.
Men of Company C, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Infantry Division march toward Frauw√ llesheim after crossing the Roer River. February 25, 1945.

Overseas: August 7, 1942.

Campaigns: Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.

Days of Combat: 443.

Distinguished Unit Citations: 20.

Awards: Medal of Honor-16; Distinguished Service Cross-130; Distinguished Service Medal-5; Silver Star-6,019; Legion of Merit-31; Soldier's Medal-162; Bronze Star Medal-15,021; Achievement Medal-76.

Engineers of the 299th Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st ID, seek shelter from German machine-gun fire on Omaha Beach. June 6, 1944.