78th INFANTRY DIVISION "LIGHTNING"

 

 

 The "Lightning" shoulder patch originated in World War I. The battles of the 78th Division were likened by the French to a bolt of lightning, leaving the field blood red. Thus the insignia became a single streak of lightning across a red field.

 
ACTIVATED
15 August 1942, Camp Butner, North Carolina.
 
 
ARRIVAL EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS (ETO)
25 October 1944
 
 
ARRIVAL CONTINENT (FRANCE)
22 November 1944 ( D +169 )
 
 
ENTERED COMBAT (ETO)
First elements 11 December 1944
Entire Division 13 December 1944
 
 
COMMANDING GENERAL (ETO)
 
  ( August 1942 - June 1945 )  
 

 
   Maj. Gen. Edwin P. Parker, Jr.  
     
   
 
 

ORGANIC UNITS

   
309th Infantry Regiment
310th Infantry Regiment
311th Infantry Regiment
78th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop ( Mechanized )
303rd Engineer Combat Battalion
303rd Medical Battalion
 
78th Division Artillery
307th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Howitzer)
308th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Howitzer)
903rd Field Artillery Battalion (105 Howitzer)
309th Field Artillery Battalion (155 Howitzer)
   
Special Troops
778th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
78th Quartermaster Company 
78th Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
Headquarters Company
Band
 
 

ASSIGNMENTS ( ETO )

 

  9 November 1944: Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.

  28 November 1944: XIX Corps.

  5 December 1944: V Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.

  18 December 1944: VII Corps.

 

  20 December 1944: Attached, with the entire First Army, to the British 21st Army Group.

  22 December 1944: XIX Corps, Ninth Army (attached to the British 21st Army Group), 12th Army Group.

  2 February 1945: V Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.

  3 February 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps.

  12 February 1945: III Corps.

  16 March 1945: VII Corps.

  3 April 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps.

  19 April 1945: First Army, 12th Army Group.
 

 CAMPAIGNS (ETO)

 
  RHINELAND ( 15 September 1944 - 21 March 1945 ) (active)
  ARDENNES-ALSACE ( 16 December 1944 - 25 January 1945 ) (active)
  CENTRAL EUROPE  ( 22 March 1945 - 11 May 1945 ) (active)
 
 

COMBAT CHRONICLE

The 78th Infantry Division arrived in England, 26 October 1944, and received further training. It landed in France, 22 November, and moved to Tongres, Belgium, and to Rotgen, Germany, to prepare for combat. The 311th Infantry Regiment was attached to the 8th Division in the Hurtgen Forest, 10 December. The 309th and 310th Infantry Regiments relieved elements of the 1st Division in the line in the vicinity of Entenpfuhl, 1-12 December. On the 13th these regiments smashed into Simmerath, Witzerath, and Bickerath and were fighting for Kesternich when Von Rundstedt launched his counteroffensive in the Monschau area, 18 December. The 78th held the area it had taken from the Siegfried Line against the violent German attacks throughout the winter. The Division attacked, 30 January 1945, and took Kesternich, 2 February, the town of Schmidt on the 8th, and captured intact the vital Schwammanauel Dam the next day. In the advance, the Roer River was crossed, 28 February, and the Division joined the offensive of the First and Ninth Armies toward the Rhine. That river was crossed over the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, 8 March, by the 310th Regiment, the first troops to cross in the wake of the 9th Armored Division. That unit, attached to the 9th Armored and acting as a motorized unit had driven across Germany capturing Euskirchen, Rheinbach, and Bad Neuenahr. The 78th expanded the bridgehead, taking Honnef and cutting part of the superhighway, the Autobahn, 16 March. From 2 April to 8 May, the Division was active in the reduction of the Ruhr Pocket and at VE-day was stationed near Marburg.

 

INACTIVATED

22 May 1946, in Europe (Germany).

 
 

 

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