103d INFANTRY DIVISION WORLD WAR II ASSOCIATION

103d Infantry Division History: Photos

General Gordon Sullivan, former Chief of Staff in the United States Army, summed up World War II with these words: "While World War II continues to absorb the interest of military scholars and historians, as well as its veterans, a generation of Americans has grown to maturity largely unaware of the political, social, and military implications of a war that, more than any other, united us as a people with a common purpose."

 

St. Die des Vosges, November 1944

 

Two weeks after entering combat, elements of the 103d Infantry Division drove the Germans beyond St. Die. Less than seven weeks after their final "Pass In Review" ceremony at Camp Howze, Texas, the Division had seized the heights commanding St. Die. One Battalion of the 409th pushed southwest to take St. Die. On Thanksgiving morning1944, the 411th Infantry Regiment occupied the town previous held by the Germans.

 

T/SGT William Paine, 410th Infantry Regiment crouches, ready for action, in front of his log dugout. This photo was taken in the woods near Groshliederstroff, France near Saarbrucken.

Gun crew of the 410th Infantry Regiment manning a .30 caliber machine gun, on alert for counter-attack in the newly captured town of Gumbrechtshoffen, France, located just southwest of Wissembourg.

 

Members of the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) push forward through heavy snow somewhere in the Vosges Mountains. During this period Americans faced rough weather, but forces are made progress along the battle front.

103d Infantry Division soldier inspects a sign denoting where the Cactus Division crossed the line into Germany.

Late on the night of May 3rd Colonel Donovan Yeuell's 411th Infantry Regiment motor marched more than 40 miles, through the 409th advance positions in Innsbruck and up toward Brenner Pass, one of only two routes through the Alps between Innsbruck and Italy. As was his style, Col. Yeuell rode in his jeep, the second vehicle in the convoy, behind the lead tank. Our radio truck was the third vehicle followed by the rest of Task Force Brenner. We traveled with our headlights ablaze for the first time since before we were committed to action at St. Diè. The weather was lowering and getting worse by the minute. The temperature dropped below freezing again and it began to snow.

 

Thousands of German soldiers, in awe of the glaring headlights of the 175 vehicle column, poured out of the forests and surrendered. They were directed to discard their weapons and were sent, disarmed and unguarded, back toward Innsbruck to our PW cages. We advanced at very high speed considering road conditions and weather and secured Brenner Pass at 040151 (May 4th, 1:51 a.m.), without opposition.

 

The task force stopped for the night and the CP was set up in a building right next to the Brenner Pass border check point gate.

 

From "PAPA'S WAR" PART 6, Pierce Evans, 411th Infantry Regiment

103d Cactusman shows off the newly established Enlisted Men's Club. Note that the club is OFF LIMITS to officers. Good move!

Third from the Right, T/SGT Leo Hrigora. Documents indicate this may be the Displaced Persons Team that Captain Himiec asked

T/SGT Hrigora to form.

T/SGT Leo Hrigora standing in front of the truck that replaced one the Germans burned.

T/SGT Leo Hrigora standing in front of the truck that replaced one burned by the Germans.

Major General William H. H. Morris, Commanding General of VI Corps, and Major General Anthony McAuliffe, Commanding General, 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) on the Reviewing Stand. The two generals salute as the troops pass in review.

The black and white photo was taken 15 March 1945,

shortly after K/410th Infantry Regiment cleared Niefern, France. The color picture, right, is a Google® picture of the same street today. Notes: (1) The base of the door frame matches; (2) The top of the door frame matches; (3) The two sliding doors; and (4) Dead German in the street.

 

David Gilbert (son-in-law of Earl Hayes I/410th). David Gilbert (son-in-law of Earl Hayes I/410th) received the 1945 picture from the widow of LT Don Paulson, Platoon Leader, 2nd Platoon, I/410th.

 

Mannheim --- 1945

 

 

 

"The inhabitants of Mannheim, quite naturally, feared the worst from this forward thrust of our troops but soon discovered that we respected civilians and for that matter the German soldiers too, only doing what we had to do and deeply regretting the resultant injuries, deaths and destruction. We were particularly fond of the little children and wouldn't harm them for the world. My younger brother Donald just sent me a letter related to this:

 

I have a great footnote to the activities of your 103rd Infantry Division. A month ago Gene and I were eating at the Riverdale Senior Citizens Center when an older lady sat across from us at the table. She introduced herself in broken English that caused us to ask where she was from.

 

'I'm from Germany,' she replied. 'I came to Ogden in 1967.'

 

Then she startled us as she could hardly contain her emotions as she blurted out, 'I was 14 years old when the American soldiers arrived in Mannheim. We were afraid that we would be harmed and brutally treated, but the soldiers gave us food and treated us kindly. They played with us. They hugged us and loved us and we cried when they moved on.'

 

When I mentioned that my brother Wendell was part of the 103rd Infantry Division that entered Mannheim, she indicated that she remembered the unit identification very well. So, her story is a great parting note to the 103rd as well as to all other American army units. The U.S. does not go into battle to conquer and enslave people to keep them down in a subservient position; but the purpose is to free and build people up to recognize the sanctity of life and the value of each human soul. So, add that footnote to the 103rd which was a common experience of all American fighting soldiers wherever they went.

 

Donald's letter overwhelmed me with emotion. Imagine! I could have actually given that then young girl a hug as I shared some K-rations with her and others.

 

Cordially,

Wendell Hall, AT Company, 411th Infantry Regiment

 

1LT Arthur M. Flynn Photograph Collection

 

1LT Arthur M. Flynn served with the U.S. Army from 1942 into 1946. After graduating from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion, 409th Infantry Regiment, 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) as the Ammo & Pioneer Platoon Leader. Ironically, LT Arthur Flynn's identical twin brother, 1LT Charles H. Flynn, was assigned as a Platoon Leader with Company A, 1st Battalion, 409th Infantry Regiment.

 

During his combat tour with the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus), LT Flynn collected a photographic history of his unit, covering events from the landing at Marseille, France to May, 1945. The ships were loaded at Le Havre, France and before they could set sail, V-J Day occurred, ending World War II. The photo album files required division in Five Phases.

 

 

 

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