World War I
Activated: January 1918
Overseas: November 1918
Col. Elmore F. TAGGART (5 january 1918)
Col. G. L. VAN DEUSEN (15 february 1918)
Brig. Gen. J. D. LEITCH (25 february 1918)
Maj. Gen. J. F. MORRISON (10 march 1918)
Brig. Gen. J. D. LEITCH (18 march 1918)
Maj. Gen. William S. GRAVES (18 july 1918)
Brig. Gen. J. D. LEITCH (4 august 1918)
Maj. Gen. W. S. GRAVES (11 august 1918)
Brig. Gen. J. D. LEITCH (12 august 1918)
Maj. Gen. Eli A. HELMICK (2 september 1918)
Brig. Gen. J. J. BRADLEY (20 november 1918)
Maj. Gen. Eli A. HELMICK (26 november 1918)
The 8th Infantry Division did not participate in any battle during the First World War.
It returned to the United States and was deactivated in January 1919.
World War II
Activated : 1 July 1940 at Camp Jackson, South Carolina
Overseas : 5 december 1943
Days of combat : 266.
Distinguished Unit Citations : 5
Medal of Honor (Médaille d'honneur) = 3
- Private First Class Ernest Prussman 13th Infantry Regiment
- Private First Class Walter C. Wetzel 13th Infantry Regiment
- Staff Sergeant John W. Minick, Company I, 121st Infantry Regiment
Distinguished Service Cross (États-Unis) = 33
Distinguished Service Medal (États-Unis) = 2
Silver Star (Étoile d'argent) = 768
Legion of Merit = 12
Distinguished Flying Cross = 2
Soldier's Medal = 24
Bronze Star Medal = 2874
Air Medal = 107
Total battle casualties: 13 986
Killed in action: 2 532
Wounded in action: 10 057
Missing in action: 729
Prisoner of war: 668
Maj. Gen. Philip B. Peyton (june 1940 - december 1940)
Maj. Gen. James P. Marley (december 1940 - february 1941)
Maj. Gen. William E. Shedd (february 1941)
Maj. Gen. Henry Terrell, Jr. (march 1941)
Maj. Gen. James P. Marley (april 1941 - july 1942)
Maj. Gen. Paul E. Peabody (août 1942 - january 1943)
Maj. Gen. William C. McMahon (february 1943 - july 1944)
Maj. Gen. Donald A. Stroh (july 1944 - december 1944)
Maj. Gen. William G. Weaver (december 1944 - february 1945)
Maj. Gen. Bryant E. Moore (february 1945 - november 1945)
Maj. Gen. William M. Miley (november 1945 to inactivation).
Returned to U.S. : 10 july 1945.
Inactivated : 20 november 1945.
Major-General William C. McMahon was relieved shortly after the division arrived in Normandy.
His successor, Major General Donald A. Stroh, was raised during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest; The death of his son, pilot in the U.S.A.A.F., Who was shot down over Britain, had deeply affected him.
After a rest, Major General Stroh took over the command of another division.
Subordinate Units :
13rd régiment d'infanterie
28th régiment d'infanterie
34th régiment d'infanterie
121st régiment d'infanterie
43rd Field Artillery Battalion
45th Field Artillery Battalion
56th Field Artillery Battalion
28th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm)
8th Signal Battalion
708th Ordnance Company
8th Quartermaster Company
8th Reconnaissance Troop
12th Engineer Battalion
8th Medical Battalion
8th Counter Intelligence Detachment
During World War II, the 8th Infantry Division was sent to Europe to fight against the Axis. After training in Ireland the 8th Infantry Division landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, 4 July 1944, and entered combat on 7 July. Shortly after its arrival, the division captured the French cities of Rennes and Brest. Fighting through the hedgerows, it crossed the Ay River, 26 July, pushed through Rennes, 8 August, and attacked Brest in September. When U.S. Brigadier General Charles Canham who was at the time the deputy commander of the 8th Infantry Division arrived to accept the surrender of German troops in Brest, the commander of the Brest garrison, General Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke asked the lower-ranking man to show his credentials. Canham pointed to his nearby troops and said "These are my credentials". That phrase has since become the 8th Infantry Division's motto.
Following these actions, the 8th turned eastward toward the German border, taking part in the heavy fighting in the Hürtgen Forest in November 1944. The Crozon Peninsula was cleared on 19 September, and the division drove across France to Luxembourg, moved to the Hurtgen Forest, 20 November, cleared Hurtgen on the 28th and Brandenberg, 3 December, and pushed on to the Roer. That river was crossed on 23 February 1945, Duren taken on the 25th and the Erft Canal crossed on the 28th. The 8th reached the Rhine near Rodenkirchen, 7 March, and maintained positions along the river near Koln. In early March 1945, the 8th had advanced into the Rhineland. It fought its way into the Ruhr region the following month.
On 6 April the division attacked northwest to aid in the destruction of enemy forces in the Ruhr Pocket, and by the 17th had completed its mission. After security duty, the division, under operational control of the British Second Army, drove across the Elbe, 1 May, and penetrated to Schwerin when the war in Europe ended. On 2 May 1945, as it advanced into northern Germany, the 8th Infantry Division encountered the Neuengamme concentration camp Wöbbelin subcamp, near the city of Ludwigslust. The SS had established Wöbbelin in early February 1945 to house concentration camp prisoners who had been evacuated from other Nazi camps to prevent their liberation by the Allies. Wöbbelin held some 5,000 inmates, many of whom suffered from starvation and disease. The sanitary conditions at the camp when the 8th Infantry Division and the 82nd Airborne Division arrived were deplorable. There was little food or water, and some prisoners had resorted to cannibalism. In the first week after liberation, more than 200 inmates died. In the aftermath, the United States Army ordered the townspeople in Ludwigslust to visit the camp and bury the dead. The 8th Infantry Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the U.S. Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988
Casualties : Total battle casualties: 13,986 Killed in action: 2,532 Wounded in action: 10,057 Missing in action: 729 Prisoner of war: 668