The 100th Infantry Division in WWII

Historical Overview

The 100th Infantry Division was activated on 15 November 1942, in a ceremony at Fort Jackson, South Carolina presided over by the Commanding General of XII Corps, then-Major General William S. Simpson. On that auspicious day, Major General Withers A. Burress took the Division colors on the parade ground at Fort Jackson, and did not relinquish them for almost three years. By the time he handed them to Brigadier General Andrew C. Tychsen in Bad Canstatt in Occupied Germany, on 22 September 1945, the soldiers of the Century Division had added two campaign streamers to their colors, for the Rhineland and Central European campaigns. [A third streamer, for the Ardennes-Alsace campaign, would be awarded later, as a result of the efforts of Generals Jacob Devers (CG, Sixth Army Group) and Alexander Patch (CG, Seventh Army) to gain recognition for their soldiers' repulse of the last German offensive in the West, Operation NORDWIND in January 1945.]

In the interim, the 100th Infantry Division had been forged and trained at Fort Jackson, tempered in the Cumberland Mountains during Second Army Tennessee Maneuvers Number 4, and honed during Supplemental Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, prior to embarkation for combat in Europe at New York City on 6 October 1944. Arriving in Marseilles on 20 October, the Division test-fired its weapons, marshalled and moved by echeloned truck convoy over 500 miles to the front near Baccarat, France. As the 399th Infantry Regimental Combat Team began its relief of elements of the 45th Division on the south/west bank of the Meurthe River, the Century Division fired its first shot at the enemy. At 1711 hours on 1 November, Battery B of the 925th Field Artillery Battalion fired its first registration round into the gathering gloom of a mountain nightfall. The 100th Infantry Division had entered the Vosges Mountains campaign.

During the second half of the month, the 100th took part in the VI Corps penetration of the heavily-fortified German 19th Army Vosges Winter Line, thereby helping to accomplish something never before accomplished by any army in history – the breach of the Vosges Mountains when defended.