The only known documentary of the 88th Infantry Division as told through stories of the veterans. The weather was often wet and cold; the terrain was muddy and hilly; and the men were always sore and tired. The 350th Infantry Regiment and the 349th Infantry Regiment soon followed, and the entire 88th was assembled in North Africa by 27 December 1943. In the first few weeks, the draftees had to learn how to make a bed, sweep and mop a floor, police an area, what the letters “K.P.” meant, how to stand at attention, how to march, field sanitation, basic first aid, military organization, close-order drill, courtesy, discipline and the difference between stripes and bars. Sloan was tough, but the toughness paid off — total casualties in the division only numbered 134 officers and 1,844 enlisted men after 100 days of heavy fighting. They were involved in some brief but intense fighting at Monterosi, battling German tanks and hoping to buy time for the main body of troops who were blasting Nazi soldiers fleeing north by Highway 2. 88th Infantry Division Blue Devils. By 2200 on 8 July, the town was in American hands. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. VE Day Eisenhower Flyer CD 2 1 Page - PDF. The 88th Division arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco in November and December 1943, and advance elements went into action in 27 February 1944. The trip from Volterra to the north bank of the Arno was accomplished, but not without high cost: the division lost 142 officers and 2, 257 enlisted men killed, wounded, or missing. It was one of the first of the Organized Reserve divisions to be reactivated, created nearly "from scratch" after the implementation of the draft in 1940. After breaking out of the mountains, the 88th Division was thrust right back into combat. Fighting to the left of the British 1st Infantry Div who were the remnants of the decimated infantry Battalions at Anzio, given six weeks to replace their losses and train up for the attack on the Gothic Line. The 88th Units were shuttled up and down the front in the hope of confusing the enemy. This page is dedicated to the men in the 88th Infantry from WWII. In two days of fearsome fighting, the Blue Devils knocked the German defenders off the key … The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. For seven bloody days, the Blue Devils threw back every assault and held the critical position. Our funding helps to acquire and conserve Army historical art and artifacts, support Army history educational programs, research, and publication of historical materials on the American Soldier, and provide support and counsel to private and governmental organizations committed to the same goals. After the crossing, the men were once again relieved from the front lines and sent back for seven weeks of refitting and training. The ruse worked, and the relief went smoothly. Fighting continued through 14 May, when the 1st Battalion moved on the town from the right and the 3d Battalion pushed upwards. The Fifth Army was trying to get to Cassino in hopes of gaining a hold on the central Italian highway to Rome, thus forcing a German retreat on both ends of the line. The files below are found on CD 2. Although none of these people truly knew what was happening at the front it was because of them that this portion of the Italian campaign was called “the quiet war.” Although it was relatively quiet, the 88th was getting a taste of what it was like on the front lines. The 88th Division was one of the experimental draftee divisions. The 351st, however, did not fare as well as its counterpart. The Gustav line had been cracked. This time they were headed by train to Oran. The last units came ashore by 21 February, and the entire division was reunited in Naples. The men in the 88th did not celebrate wildly, but instead reflected a quiet joy. For those fighting in the European Theater, World War II was over. MtMestas.com is an archive of Documents, Pictures and Stories about the 88th Infantry Division Blue Devils, the Mt.Mestas Memorial Monument, PFC Felix B. Mestas, Jr., and the Invasion of Italy and Trieste (TRUST) periods of World War II between 1942-1954. Everyone wanted to be first into Rome, but at 1530, on 4 June, the all-draftee 88th became the first division to enter the city. The battalion arrived at the front on 27 February. Although the Germans put up a fierce fight, Mount Diamano fell to the 350th Infantry in less than an hour. Most of the French corps was still enroute from North Africa and therefore were spread too thin. Oklahoma Dept. The 349th Infantry came behind the 350th and 351st and led the division’s advance across the Ausonia Valley. THE BLUE DEVILS COME HOME. The 91st Infantry Division relieved the 88th so they could once again take time for refitting and training. The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. The Germans were trying to keep the Allies as far south as possible as possible to avoid having them get anywhere close to Germany itself. The 88th Division played a major role in the battle of Italy, where it was rated by the Germans after the summer of 1944 as the best American division in Italy. Combat experienced men came from North Africa to offer tips and battle methods to the new soldiers. As the debate continued, Allied commanders in Italy decided to go forward with their original plans to break out of the Anzio beachhead and smash the Gustav Line. The Blue Devils proved that with rigorous training, teamwork, competent leadership, and fierce determination, an all-draftee division was more than capable of fighting well against a well-trained, well-equipped, and battle-hardened enemy. In 344 days of combat, the Division sustained a total of 15,173 casualties – killed, wounded, and missing in action. Much of the experience in reactivating it was used in the subsequent expansion of the U.S. Army. All the soldiers cared about now was wrapping the job up and going home. Machine guns, mortars, and artillery were well hidden and placed everywhere. That feeling followed the men from Camp Gruber to the Louisiana Maneuver Area on 16 June, and to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in August 1943, as the men completed their training, and even into November 1943 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, as they waited for deployment overseas. The ship was overcrowded and many of the men battled seasickness. They had won the battle, but not without great cost — approximately fifty percent of the 350th were killed, wounded, or missing. In response, MG John E. Sloan promised: “The glory of the colors will never be sullied, as long as one man of the 88th still lives.” With those words, MG Sloan reactivated the 88th Infantry Division. It was once again rainy, cold and miserable at the front. The soldiers began to wonder when, and if, they would ever see the front. in dark blue. On 1 February 1944, the rest of the 88th Division began their trip to Italy. Four days later the 351st came out of division reserve and took the town of Laiatico. 9-ott-2017 - Esplora la bacheca "Blue Devils 88th" di Riccardo Matacotta, seguita da 176 persone su Pinterest. The Germans were caught, and the Fifth Army broke through into the Po Valley. MG Sloan was a strict disciplinarian and a stickler for minute details, but in the end he got the results he desired. The 88th attacked to the northwest, with their orders being to cut Highway 6 then head eastward towards Rome. They found themselves completing obstacle courses, going on night compass marches, dealing with gas mask drills, and learning how to fire rifles and other small arms. The citizens of the town were herded into a church so they could not warn the Allies of what lay ahead, and then were mercilessly shot by German tanks. This booklet gives a good overview of the historyofthe 88th ‘Blue Devil’ Division during its 344 days in combat. On 5 and 6 July 1944, the 88th was once again back at the front. The 88th served 344 days of combat and lost 15,173 officers and men killed, wounded and missing. All civilian areas were heavily mined and booby trapped, including houses and streets. Many thought BG Kendall was not of the same caliber as MG Sloan. In early May 1945 troops of its 349th Infantry Regiment joined the 103d Infantry Division of the VI Corps of the U.S. Dad read it and wanted to know why his name wasn't in the appendix (He was 88 at the time and was slipping a little). In all its travels the division had gotten sloppy, so Sloan ordered more training in the Atlas Mountains. 7 years ago today this blue devil earned his wings to heaven. He graduated from Eagle River High School, then enlisted in the Army in 1946-1948, serving in the 88th Infantry Division, the “Blue Devils,” 350th Infantry Regiment, F Company, and participated in the Italian Occupation. The Germans had spent six months digging themselves into caves, wrecked buildings, and rocky ridges. The rest of the division was sent to Lake Garda, where they were given the assignment of guarding 300,000 POWs. At night they could see faint flashes over the mountains behind Piedmonte d’Alfie which suggested the front lines were located in what the soldiers called “Purple Heart Valley” and Cassino. Book. There was ever-present radio interference, making communications almost impossible. Monday-Friday (excluding Holidays) He was the obvious replacement, since he had been with the division since Camp Gruber, but it was upsetting to many of the soldiers to see MG Sloan go. They were called the Blue Devils by Nazis because they fought like devils. The Allies, however, were torn: an invasion of France was being planned and they did not know how best to use all their troops. The 88th Division arrived overseas with about 14,000 men. They were also exposed for the first time to the sights and sounds of war: the gunfire, rubble and the physical destruction of the Italian countryside. 88th Infantry Division Blue Devils Discussion Group Meet Others Post Pictures Ask Questions Sponsored by MtMestas.com Click Here. To almost all, these men were well-trained, well-behaved, and very well-received. 7:30 a.m. -3:00 p.m. Goodbye 2020 - Welcome 2021 - Happy New Year. See more ideas about wwii, blue devil, infantry. That attack occurred 28 September when elements of four German divisions assaulted the 350th Infantry atop Mount Battaglia. The 88th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the United States Army that saw service in both World War I and World War II. The few critical comments by the author are only to be expected. There were no more reserves, but the North Apennines campaign had to continue. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It was a relief when the ships docked in Casablanca. Chart Enlisted Men's Uniform Insignias CD 2 1 Page - … While the 350th battled atop Mount Battaglia, the 349th Regiment was busy attacking the village of Belvedere enroute to their destination of Mount Grande. Although the principal mission for the 88th was a holding and harassing action, ground troops were used mostly for reconnaissance. While studying the Allies to figure out where to launch his main attacks, Field Marshall Albert Kesselring, the German commander, held his reserves in preparation for a surprise counter-attack. An advanced party of officers and men flew to Italy in late December 1943 under the command of BG Kendall. The 34th and 36th Infantry Divisions withdrew from the front for much needed rest and reorganization. 88th Infantry DIVISION - Blue Devils (Cloverleaf WWI) Activated 15 Jul 1942 • Entered Combat 27 Feb 1944 • Days of Combat 307 • Casualties 13,111 Seventh Army, part of the 6th Army Group, which had raced south through Bavaria into Innsbruck, Austria, in Vipiteno in the Italian Alps. At 1600 on 2 May, German forces surrendered. 351st Infantry Regiment The units were losing men faster than they could be replaced, but orders remained unchanged: the 88th Division was to keep going. In 344 days of combat, the 88th Infantry Division lost 2,298 men killed in action and 9,225 men wounded. Tired and battle worn, many in the Fifth Army had been fighting since Salerno, Sicily, or even as far back as North Africa. The 88th was ordered to seize the ancient Etruscan fortress town of Volterra, location of a large German garrison. Orders came in to hold and dig in where they were. Some of the soldiers had enough points to ship out during the summer, while others were moved to Trieste for occupation in the fall. Trying to break through the Gothic Line, the 88th encountered some of the heaviest fighting in the fall of 1944. The 351st Infantry Regiment was activated in July 1942 at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma as part of the 88th Infantry Division. Rank Insignia of Grade CD 2 1 Page - PDF. BG Paul Kendall, who led the expedition, was the first member of the 88th to set foot on foreign soil. Jan 8, 2021 - Explore Philip Barnett's board "U.S. 88th Infantry Division", followed by 1083 people on Pinterest. Villamanga fell to the 349th on 13 July, and the 351st took Monte Foscoli. By the end of World War II the 88th Infantry fought its way to the northernmost extreme of Italy. The few critical comments by the author are only to be expected. Nickname: Blue Devil Division; sometimes called Clover Leaf Division. Originally, the unit was known as the "Clover Leaf Battalion" but later became known as the "Fighting Blue Devils". John was eventually assigned to the 351st Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division. The respite was short, however, because MG Sloan did not want his men to lose their fighting edge. Rumors flew about where the units would be assigned. The 349th Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment of the United States Army's 88th Infantry Division, the "Blue Devils. Office Hours Many thought it was too good to be true. They blasted the Germans out of the village and without stopping, captured Sassaleone and cut the road to Castel del Rio. Aboard a Liberty ship, the trans-Atlantic voyage was no easy feat. of Commerce State Incentives, Sales Tax Incentive for Downtown Retailers, Starbirds National Rod Custom Car Hall of Fame, Genealogy-Cemetery Transcription and Headstone Pictures, MUNICIPAL POOL PRIVATE PARTY ON-LINE APPLICATION, Activated:  August 5, 1917, Camp Dodge, Iowa, Called to active service:  July 15, 1942, Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, Campaigns: Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley, Awards: Medal of Honor-3 ; Distinguished Service Cross (United States)-40 ; Distinguished Service Medal (United States)-2 ; Silver Star-522; Legion of Merit-66; Soldier's Medal-19 ; Bronze Star Medal-3,784. This time they geared up to cross rivers, as the upcoming assault crossing of the Arno was not going to be easy. After resting in Montecatini, the 88th was once again headed back to the front on 24 January 1945. It was difficult to get supplies to the troops and evacuate the wounded. During World War II, the Germans thought the 88th was an elite stormtrooper Division. The Regiment was formed with 2,500 men, roughly half of whom were Catholic and from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. They were headed towards the Eternal City. After only a few short days, he launched another training regimen. It was a drastic change in climate for most, and a more drastic change in lifestyle. the 88th Infantry Division Blue Devils, the Mt.Mestas Memorial Monument, PFC Felix B. Mestas, Jr., and the Invasion of Italy and Trieste (TRUST) periods of World War II between 1942-1954. The Blue Devils proved that with rigorous training, teamwork, competent leadership, and fierce determination, an all-draftee division was more than capable of fighting well against a well-trained, well-equipped, and battle-hardened enemy. Craig Criger, Superintendent By the end of It was produced by Jeffrey Wisotsky whose father and uncle were both in the 88th. On 4 May 1945, the 88th Division joined the 103d Infantry Division, another draftee division, driving south through Brenner Pass from Innsbruck. True to their prediction, the Blue Devils attacked towards the Gothic Line on 10 September 1944. Shoulder patch: An infantry blue quatrefoil, formed by two Arabic numeral "8's". During the time it was in combat, from March 4 1944 to May 2 1945, the Blue Devils suffered over four thousand battle casualties, of whom twelve hundred were killed in action. Sixty percent were infantry and the rest were artillerymen, medics, ordnancemen, signalmen, reconnaissance troops, quartermasters, and engineers. 88th Infantry Division – Blue Devils 89th Infantry Division – “The Rolling W” The 90th Infantry Division – “Tough ‘Ombres” 91st Infantry Division – “Powder River” 92nd Infantry Division “Buffalo Soldiers” 93rd Infantry Division – The Blue Helmets 94th Infantry Division – “Pilgrim Division,” 95th Infantry Division – “The Victory Division” 96th Infantry Division Deadeyes 97th Infantry Division – “The Trident division” For some reason, the men thought they were overrated and going nowhere. The division reassembled, but MG Sloan was unhappy with what he saw. 962 likes. By dawn of 13 May, the 350th also held Hill 316. After 100 straight days at the front, the Blue Devils were finally granted some much needed rest and relaxation. Soldiers on both sides had to trudge around the mountains in deep mud and water. On 7 May, it was announced the Germans had surrendered unconditionally. The Blue Devils moved into Bolzano, the city that had once been the headquarters of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe. This campaign and operations route map charts the journey throughout Italy for the 88th Division during World War II. The war in Italy had ended. Today the 88th’s lineage lives on as the 88th Regional Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve, with headquarters at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Most importantly, they learned it was best never to volunteer for anything. See more ideas about infantry, wwii, world war. Although overshadowed by the Normandy invasion two days later, the capture of Rome was a significant victory for the Allies and a welcome event for the Romans. Many mourned the men that did not make it to see the end. By the end of August, the 88th could sense it was once again to go into combat. On 11 May 1944, the 350th Infantry attacked enemy lines at Mount Diamano, Hill 316, Mount Ceracoli, and Mount Rotondo, while the 351st was ordered to seize Santa Maria Infante, then open the way into the Austene Valley. Not one man was lost during any of the crossings. Our focus is towards preserving Family and Historical knowledge. It was cold and wet in Naples, weather many of the men were not expecting. They were there primarily to recover from the voyage, have a few decent meals, see a few recent movies, and enjoy a quick sample of life in Casablanca. Because of the outstanding job it did in Italy, the 88th contributed its share to the winning of the war. Done in secret, the 88th took command of the British sector 4 March 1944. Comprised of mostly draftees, many of the newly conscripted men came from New England and the Mid-Atlantic States. All three regiments were involved in intense fighting, and all three were beginning to lose their drive. The training paid off – not only was the 88th back in top form, but also better prepared by the wintry terrain of the Atlas Mountains for what lay ahead in Italy. Finally the Blue Devils were going to get the rest they needed so desperately. U. S. ARMY 88TH INFANTRY DIVISION (BLUE DEVILS) -  The 88th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the United States Army that saw service in both World War I and World War II. Previous divisions were composed of either Regular Army or National Guard personnel. This time they went through special training to prepare for the impending spring offensive. To fool any enemy observers, the American soldiers wore British helmets while the switch took place. My grandfather was in North Africa and Italy in this battalion. Submit an application to OKDHS for winter heating bill assistance. By this time, mountain fighting had begun to take its toll on the soldiers. This name was taken from German propaganda, which was shouted over speakers with the intentions of demoralizing U.S. troops. VG+. The 88th was driving through the Dolomite Alps toward Innsbruck, Austria, when the hostilities ended on 2 May 1945. The regiment was formed from selective service personnel and sent to the Mediterranean Theater where it took part in the Italian Campaign from February 1944 to the close of hostilities in May 1945. Upon inspection of the division, all were satisfied and impressed with the progress made by the men of the 88th. My brother explained that those listed therein were KIA's and MIA's. On 25 April, the Blue Devils became the first Allied troops to enter Verona. Yet they still trudged on, determined to make it to Rome. John W Black, my pap. The Blue Devils Enter Rome. New York: 88th Infantry Division Association, 1968. The days passed, and by mid-April, both the Germans and the Allies had twenty-two divisions in Italy. Soft cover. They did little more there than heavy patrolling and maintaining defensive positions, and were once again pulled out of line for further rehabilitation. Quite a short story of the American 88th Div "The blue Devils" in Italy. That turned out to be a big mistake: when the Germans tried to pull themselves out of a trap placed by the 10th Mountain Division, the 88th Division’s flanking maneuver held them in place. The 349th flanked the town on the right, the 350th flanked from the left, and the two met in the middle. American Trucking Associations Announced as Founding Supporter of the National Museum of the United States Army, USA Today Includes National Museum of the United States Army in 10 Best New Attractions. Reprint, revised, of the original 1947 edition, issued ca. Late in the night on 3 January 1944, the first members of the 88th went into the line with the Fifth Army. Originally printed in 1947, this is a superb history of the 88th 'Blue Devil' Division that fought in Italy from May 1944 until end of war in April 1945. On 2 November 1943, an advance party of ten officers left Camp Patrick Henry for North Africa. It was during this battle that the 3d Battalion, 351st Infantry, earned a Distinguished Unit Citation. The 349th was held in reserve. Fifth Army Headquarters had originally planned to break up the 88th Division and deploy them as needed, but MG Sloan did not want to see his division broken up. If you are interested in the unit history of the 88th Infantry Division or the Italian campaign in WWII. 918-786-4414ccriger@groveok.gov. The division was finally inactivated on 24 October 1947 in Italy. It was one of the first of the Organized Reserve divisions to be reactivated, created nearly "from scratch" after the implementation of the draft in 1940. King (fwd.). Highway 6 was cut on 2 June, and by 3 June, the Blue Devils were just 4,000 yards from their objective. Fighting not only the Germans but the treacherous terrain as well, the 88th was exhausted. In the opinion of correspondents and those still stationed in the rear, the action taking place at Cassino was not as exciting as it had been in Salerno, Naples, and Volturno. "Blue Devils " The 88th Infantry Division was the first organized Reserve Division to go overseas, and also the first to enter combat. The offensive began in April. MG Sloan was forced to retire in August of 1944 due to his worsening dermatitis. On 31 May, the 88th gave Bolanzo over to the Allied Italian troops, but since tensions were so high between the Italians and the Germans, the 349th Infantry stayed to prevent trouble. Still in a rear assembly area, the waiting was almost worse than the actual fighting. On 15 May 1944, the 88th pushed through undefended Spigno. There was a brutal battle on the outskirts of the city as the soldiers of the 88th ran into strong German resistance. He met with LTG Mark Clark, commander of the Fifth Army, and Clark agreed to keep the 88th intact. The division fought in the The 351st faced heavy fire on 18 May 1944 in its attempt to take Monte Grande, while the 349th and 350th advanced from Roccasecca to the Amaseno Valley, which they cleared on 28 May. General . Back to all Infantry Divisions. By 10 October, the 351st had pushed past the 349th, and faced German flamethrowers in a battle at Gesso. The arrival of the 88th was a much-needed respite for the Fifth Army. Upon arrival in Naples, the 88th became the first draftee division to enter a combat zone in World War II. The Blue Devils saw to it that MG Sloan was good on his word: the 88th Infantry Division had well finished the job it had started long before in World War I. Many of them remained in Italy for the next two years. Whereas the Allies were supplementing their lines with fresh troops, the Germans were pulling troops from the Eastern front to beef up their divisions. Even residents of cities and towns near Camp Gruber held the new outfit in high esteem. On 19 July the Allies dug in at San Miniato, where they soon experienced the brutality of the Nazis. After the war, the 88th Infantry Division absorbed some personnel and units from the 34th Infantry Division and served on occupation duty in Italy guarding the Morgan Line from positions in Italy and Trieste until September 15, 1947 when the Italian peace treaty came into force. By November, there was nothing more they could do in the drive through the Apennines. The 88th received its new orders: follow the Germans north. The division’s first battle casualty came that very same day, when SGT William A. Streuli was killed by enemy air attack two miles west of Venafro. 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