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8th Infantry Division in WW2

Normandy - Northern France - Rhineland - Central Europe

Killed In Action  2,532    Wounded In Action 10,057      Died Of Wounds 288

Total days in combat - 266          Manpower turnover - 149.4%

grenade throwThe 8th Division was reactivated  for WW2 as the 8th Infantry Division on 1 July 1940. Originally a square division, it was trimmed down to a triangular one by losing the 34th Infantry Regiment and the 83rd Artillery Regiment [1]. For a while it was equipped with organic trucks and known as the 8th Motorized Division. 

The division went through a few minor reorganizations, took part in the Carolina and Tennessee manuvers and spent six months at the desert training camp [2]. Reverting to a standard Infantry Division, it sailed for Northern Ireland where it trained for the invasion of France [3]. Landing on the 4th of July 1944, the division soon saw action in the Normandy Campaign. The  Assistant Division Commander, General Nelson W. Walker, was lost to enemy fire, and the Division Commander,
Major General William C. McMahon was relieved when the unit failed to make headway in the first few days.[4]

With a new commander, Major General Donald Stroh,  the division fought down the Cotentin Peninsula as part of Operation Cobra. Its role in the Northern France Campaign was to turn west to help capture the port of Brest. Here the division battered against German paratroops who had no where to retreat to.  It was at the fall of Brest and capture of the German Commander Bernhard Hermann Ramcke that the new Assistant Division Commander, Brigadier Charles Canham, uttered the words that would become the division motto, "These are my credentials." [5]

At the end of September 1944 the division was sent to Luxembourg to build up its strength and prepare for the Rhineland Campaign.
It was then put into the bitter fighting for the Hurtgen Forest. There the enemy was not only the Germans, but the harsh weather as well. The division spent an unhappy Christmas in cold weather and General Stroh was sent back to the states on 29 November 1944 for a rest after the emotional stress of losing his son at Brest. [6] The unit had been devastated in the fierce cold and fighting, and was given a new commander Major General William G. Weaver to continue the fight. In the German Ardennes Offensive it held a position on the north flank of the Bulge. In February the division's command passed to Maj. Gen. Bryant E. Moore and a tough combat crossing of the Roer River at Duren was performed on 23 February 1945
 welcome homeIn the Spring the 8th broke out onto the fields of Germany taking part in the Central Europe Campaign moving up to, and crossing the Rhine River in March. Here the 8th swung around to the south of the Ruhr Pocket helping surround and capturing an estimated 350,00 German troops in the area [7]. At the start of May it crossed the Elbe River and  liberated the  Wobbelin sub-concentration camp, which was part of the main Neuengamme Concentration Camp. This subcamp held an estimated 5,000 prisoners and had been established in February 1945 to house those evacuated from other camps abut to be over-run. [8] At war's end it assumed occupation duties in the area around Schwerin, Germany before retruning back to the States.

On 3 August 1945 the 8th Division departed  France and arrived in New York, NY on 14 August 1945 where the men were eventually discharged and the unit inactivated.

A number of general articles about the WW2 Army are available here

Commanding Officers in WW2

Documents on the 8th Infantry Division

Graphics, Photos, Maps and Films

Organization and Specific Unit information

The following chart is a graphic representation of the structure of the division in WW2. You can find information on the specific unit by clicking on its box. This includes unit histories, casualty lists, after action reports, individual soldier's stories, and much more.

8th Division HQ 13th Infantry Regiment 8th div org chart

The Experimental 8th Infantry Division 'TIMERIME' Time Line


Interactive map of the 8th Infantry Division

This is a map of various important locations in the WW2 History of the 8th.

  Yellow markers indicate  notable locations;        river crossing map pin This marker denotes a major river crossing.

    Blue ones the site of the Division Headquarters as it moved through Europe.