View Full Version : 79th infantry division, us army, WWI - thanks to all vets

May 26, 2013, 14:23
while doing a bit o family history research i found a relative who was in the 79th inf div, WWI, and found that even though the division's history is brief the boys did us proud at meuse-argonne. our recent outstanding military performance in operations in iraq, afghanistan, everywhere, makes me proud of our troops, they are the best, my hats off to you all, thanks to you all for an outstanding job, you have my eternal gratitude.

Although the 79th Division had completed far less than half the prescribed training and had no combat experience, Pershing assigned it the most difficult task of the attacking divisions, the capture of Montfaucon, a butte that had been heavily fortified by the Germans. One of the lead units in the attack was the 314th Infantry Regiment composed primarily of men from eastern Pennsylvania. Called the "Gibraltar of the Western Front," Montfaucon constituted one of the strongest positions in Germany's famed Hindenburg Line. The fortress consisted of concrete bunkers, machine gun nests, deep shelters and, most importantly, a sophisticated telescope in a well-protected observation post that could call down accurate artillery fire on the entire American front. Because the hill was such an important military asset, the Germans protected it with two advanced defensive lines and countless bands of barbed wire. Pershing regarded its early capture as essential to the success of the entire operation.On September 26, 1918, the 79th attacked the formidable position, with the 313th and 314th Regiments leading the advance on the left and right respectively. Although the Germans had abandoned their first-line positions in the face of a tremendous artillery barrage, they fiercely defended the second line that lay a mile south of Montfaucon. At the ruined village of Malancourt, the 314th entered a box valley surrounded on three sides by steep hills. The Germans had dug in dozens of machine-guns among these hills, effectively entrapping the regiment and inflicting devastating losses. Though the 314th fought valiantly, it could not overcome the stubborn German resistance, and spent the night of September 26 under intense fire without support

.The troops were tired when they went into the fight. They had been held in the woods with wet clothes and wet feet for a week or more, made a long march before going in, without any sleep, and went over the top after having been under our bombardment for several hours. For green troops it was quite an ordeal.
- COLONEL WILLIAM H. OURY, commanding the 314th Infantry

On the morning of September 27, the 314th and 313th, aided by troops from the 315th and 316th regiments, renewed their attack on Montfaucon. Advancing doggedly onward with the support of artillery and tanks, they captured the butte by noon. By taking the key position in a day and a half, the 79th Division had convincingly disproved the prediction of the French high command that the Americans would not capture Montfaucon before Christmas.As the Germans rushed reinforcements into the area, the U. S. divisions encountered much stiffer resistance, akin to that encountered by the 79th at Montfaucon. Following the capture of the fortress, the division took the village of Nantillois and crashed into the main line of German resistance near the Madeleine Farm just south of the village of Cunel. In the rolling hills in front of the Bois d'Ogon, the division lost many men due to German machine-gun fire and artillery barrages directed from Hill 378 east of the Meuse River. The stiffening German resistance and massive reinforcements eventually brought Pershing's troops to a momentary standstill. In light of the 79th's losses in men and materiel, the division was withdrawn from the line and sent to a quiet sector of the front for refitting. Despite its losses, the 79th division had performed magnificently. The bravery and persistence of the troops and their compatriots are recognized by the tallest U. S. military monument in Europe, a Doric column some 200 feet tall.

May 26, 2013, 19:35
They were in WWII as well. Their real insignia was on the ring worn by Tom Selleck in Magnum PI.

May 26, 2013, 21:50
They were in WWII as well. Their real insignia was on the ring worn by Tom Selleck in Magnum PI.

Did they change their SSI? A brief search turned up a bunch of pictures with Soldiers wearing the WWII insignia.

May 27, 2013, 07:36
Not a clue, have only had interest in the WWII era. Do wonder how an army insignia got picked to be on a navy ring for a tv show though.

May 27, 2013, 10:28
My dad's father was in France in 1917, part of a cavalry regiment, he lied about his age to enlist. I haven't been able to find really any information, as I cannot remember which unit he was with, and one of my aunts has the photographs of him in uniform, and with his company, which has the all of the regimental info on it. He never talked much about the war, especially to us younger grandchildren, but the stories he did tell were not pleasant. The conditions in the trenches, the gas attacks, being wounded, their doctors/surgeons were horse doctors, and seeing his friends fall took their toll on him, and the other troops he served with. His dislike of the French was due to the mistreatment the French gave to our troops while they were in Paris, waiting to return home.