World War I
Activated: 27 August 1917.
Overseas: May 1918.
Major Operations: Meuse-Argonne, St. Mihiel.
Casualties: Total-7,144 (KIA-1,169; WIA-5,975).
Maj. Gen. C. W. Kennedy (23 August 1917)
Brig. Gen. J. S. Mallory (28 November 1917)
Brig. Gen. James T. Dean (28 December 1917)
Maj. Gen. Hugh L. Scott (2 January 1918)
Brig. Gen. James T. Dean (16 March 1918)
Maj. Gen. J. H. McRae (20 April 1918).
Inactivated: June 1919.
World War II
Activated: 15 August 1942.
Overseas: 14 October 1944.
Campaigns: Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.
Days of combat: 125.
Distinguished Unit Citations: 4.
Awards: MH-1 : DSC-5 ; DSM-1 ; SS-491; LM-14; SM-20 ; BSM-5,674 ; AM-74.
Maj. Gen. Edwin P Parker, Jr. (August 1942-November 1945)
Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker (January 1946 to inactivation).
Inactivated: 22 May 1946 in Europe.
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.
Assignments in the 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.
Nickname: Lightning Division. Slogan: Audaciter (Boldness). Shoulder patch: A red semicircle with a white bolt of lightning superimposed upon it. Association: 78th Division Veterans' Association, Inc., 620 High Street, Newark, N. J. Publications: Lightning; by unit members; TI&E, ETOUSA; distributor, secretary, 78th Division Veterans' Association. Lightning, the History of the 78th Division; by Division Historical Association; The Infantry Journal, Washington 6, D. C.; 1947. The Flash, monthly newspaper of the 78th Division Veterans' Association.
* See footnote, 1st Infantry Division.
[Nota Bene: These combat chronicles, current as of October 1948, are reproduced from The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950, pp. 510-592.]