The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army is the oldest division in the United States Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917. It was officially nicknamed the The Big Red One after its shoulder patch and is also nicknamed The Fighting First. However, the division has also received troop monikers of The Big Dead One and The Bloody First as puns on the respective officially-sanctioned nicknames.
The Division was first called into action when Japan Bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war. On the 22nd of October 1942, the 1st departed for the amphibious assault of North Africa.
The North African CampaignEdit
the division landed in Oran, Algeria on 8 November 1942 as part of Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North-Africa. The 1st Division commander was Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen and Brigadier General Theodore Roosevekt, Jr. as deputy division commander. Elements then took part in combat at Maktar, Tebourba,Medjez el Bab, the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, where American forces were pushed back, and Gafsa. It then led the allied assault in brutal fighting at El Guettar, Beja, and Mateur. The 1st Infantry Division was in combat in the North African Campaign from 21 January 1943 – 9 May 1943, helping secure Tunisia.
The Italian CampaignEditIn July 1943, the division took part in Operation Husky, invading Sicily still under the command of Major General Allen. Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr. specifically requested the Big Red One as part of his forces for the invasion of Sicily. It was assigned to the II Corps. It was in Sicily that the 1st saw heavy action when making amphibious landings opposed by Italian and German tanks at the Amphibious Battle of Gela. The 1st then moved up through the center of Sicily, slogging it out through the mountains along with the 45th Infantry Division. In these mountains, the division saw some of the heaviest fighting in the entire Sicilian campaign at the Battle of Troina; some units losing more than half their strength in assaulting the mountain town. On 7 August 1943, command was assumed by Major General Clarence R. Huebner.
The French CampaignEdit
When that campaign was over, the division returned to England 5 November 1943 to prepare for the eventual Normandy invasion. The First Infantry Division and one regimental combat team from the 29th Infantry Division comprised the first wave of troops that assaulted German Army defenses on Omaha Beach on D-Day with some of the division's units suffering 30 percent casualties in the first hour of the assault, and secured Formigny and Caumont in the beachhead by the end of the day. The division followed up the Saint-Lo break-through with an attack on Marigny, 27 July 1944, and then drove across France in a continuous offensive, reaching the German border at Aachen in September. The division laid siege to Aachen, taking the city after a direct assault on 21 October 1944. The First then attacked east of Aachen through the Hurtgen Forest, driving to the Rur, and was moved to a rear area 7 December 1944 for refitting and rest following 6 months of combat.
The Belgium CampaignEditWhen the German Wacht Am Rhein offensive, commonly called the Battle of the Bulge, was launched on 16 December 1944, the division was quickly moved to the Ardennes front. Fighting continuously from 17 December 1944 to 28 January 1945, the division helped to blunt and reverse the German offensive. Thereupon, the division attacked and again breached the Siegfried Line, fought across the Ruhr, 23 February 1945, and drove on to the Rhine, crossing at the Remagen bridgehead, 15–16 March. 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, fighting at Kinsperk, Sangerberg, and Mnichov when the war in Europe ended.
Sixteen members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor.
Killed in Action: 3,616
Wounded in Action: 15,208
Died of Wounds: 664
The Firsts sucess in World War II, made their motto shine,
No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great, Duty First- 1st Infantry Division Motto.