World War II: 35th Infantry Division

The 35th Infantry Division was mobilized for WW II on December 13, 1940, and sent to Camp Robinson, Little Rock, Arkansas. At that time it consisted of the 134th, 137th, 138th, and 140th Infantry Regiments. In 1941 it participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 35th Division was rushed to San Luis Obispo, CA, where it performed coastal defense duties. While in California, the division was triangularized and redesignated as the 35th Infantry Division. The 138th Infantry was relieved from its assignment to the division and sent to the Aleutian Islands. The division then moved to Camp Rucker, AL, and then to Camp Butler, NC for further training. It participated in the Tennessee maneuvers from November of 1f943 to January of 1944. The 320th Infantry Regiment was formed and added to the division. In May of 1944 the 35th sailed for England where it began preparations for the invasion of Europe.

The 35th Infantry Division landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, between July 5 and July 7, 1944. It entered combat on July 11 and fought in the Normandy hedgerows north of St. Lo. After repelling a series of German counterattacks, the division entered St. Lo. Continuing its advance, the 35th took town after town in a drive spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division. By the middle of September the 35th had reached Nancy, France. In the first three days of the offensive the 35th had covered more miles than any other front line division—regular or National Guard.

As part of the Third Army, the 35th Infantry Division kept up the pressure against the German Army, forcing it to fall back toward Germany. During the battle for Achain in November, Staff Sgt. Junior J. Spurrier, Company G, 134th Infantry, won the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action. On December 8 the 35thcrossed into Germany and continued to advance until it was relieved on December 20 after 162 days of almost constant action.
The 35th’s rest period was interrupted by the German offensive in the Ardennes, called the Battle of the Bulge. The division moved into Belgium and took part in the fighting to relieve Bastogne. The 1stBattalion, 134th Infantry broke through the Germany ring and was one of the first units to reach the 101stAirborne. The 35th then went on the defensive against the continued German attack. During a five-day period, the Division Artillery fired more than 41,000 rounds. After another two weeks of fierce fighting, the division stopped the German advance.

On January 23, 1945, the 35th moved south to the Alsace region of France to help stop a German attack in the Seventh Army sector. One week later the 35th made one of the longest tactical moves of the war when it deployed 292 miles, by rail and truck, to Masstricht, Holland.
The 35th relieved the British 155th Brigade on February 6 in positions along the Ruhr River in Germany. The 35th Infantry Division then spearheaded the Ninth Army’s drive into the German heartland. After crossing the Rhine on March 25, the division kept advancing eastward until April 26, when it moved to Hanover, Germany, for occupation duty.

Although alerted for movement to the Pacific theatre, the advent of VJ day sent the division back to the United States in September 1945.

The 35th Infantry Division was inactivated on December 7, 1945, at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky.