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The 85th 'Custer' Division in World War IIThe purpose of this web site is to provide some historical information on the 85th 'Custer' Division in World War 2. I began this project by trying to tell the story of veterans, like my Dad. Since then, I've added information collected over the years, including historical documents obtained from the National Archives. For example, I have the Operational Reports for my Dad's unit, the 328th Field Artillery Battalion. The detailed history of the 85th Division is taken from the booklet "From Minturno to the Appennines", which was published for distribution to the GI's before the war ended. In addition to this published document, I have added comments and explanations and an un-published supplement that covers the last month of the war.
Including 328th Field Artillery Battalion & Other Units
"Custermen" was a name used for the soldiers, or the me, who served in the Custer Division.
See Brief History, below.
History of 85th 'Custer' Division Complete Unit history,
entitled "Minturno to the Apennines".
328th Field Artillery Battalion
History & Records of this Supporting Unit.
310th Combat Engineer Battalion
History of another Supporting Unit. Photos From Italian Front
Un-published photos collected from Veterans. Stories from the Front
Stories from GI's. Camp Shelby Photos & History of the primary Training base in Mississippi. Desert Warfare Center Map and brief history of California training camps. List of Reference Books
Books on history of Italian Campaign. THE GREATEST GENERATION Biographies of Soldiers who fought in Italy. The Italian Campaign General History Main Menu:
Battles, Generals, Units, & Maps.
Email Comments to:
A selection of email
received since January 2003.
Disclaimer: This website is not associated with any veteran's organization or any official U.S. Army or Department of Defense organization.
Copy Right Notice:No photos, text, or pages of this website may be used without prior written permission. All information contained within this website is from my private collection or records in public domain or property obtained with permission.
After rehabilitation and training, the 85th took over the defense of the ARNO RIVER Line, 15 to 26 August. The Division attacked the mountain defenses of the GOTHIC Line, 13 September, and broke through, taking Firenzuolaon the 21st. The 85th advanced slowly through mud and rain against heavy resistance taking La Martina and gaining the Idice River Valley road, 2 October, and reaching Mount Mezzano on the 24th overlooking the Po River Valley. From 27 October to 22 November, 1944, defense areas near Pizzano were held. On the 23d, the Division was relieved for rest and rehabilitation.
relieved the 1st British
6 January 1945, and
to cautious patrols until 13 March. After a brief training period, the
85th thrust southwest of Bologna, 14 April, pushing through Lucca
and Pistoia into the Po
Valley as enemy resistance collapsed. The Panaro
River was crossed on tile 23d and the Po River the next
Division mopped up fleeing Germans until their mass surrender, 2
May 1945, in the Belluno
Medal Of Honor: 4
Distinguished Service Medal: 3
Silver Star Medal: 554
Legion of Merit: 29
Soldier's Medal: 37
Bronze Star Medal: 4,988
ORGANIZATIONAL CHART of 85 INFANTRY DIVISION
of the 85th Infantry Division in WW2:
337th Infantry Regiment
338th Infantry Regiment
339th Infantry Regiment
328th Field Artillery Battalion
329th Field Artillery Battalion
403rd Field Artillery Battalion
910th Field Artillery Battalion
85th Recon Troop
310th Engineering Battalion
310th Medical Battalion
85th Signal Company
85th Quartermaster Company
785th Ordnance Company
756 Tank Bn - May 1944
6681st Signal (Pigeon) Company - May 1944
5th Mule Pack Group(Italian) - May 1944
Col. Raymond C. Barton, Asst Div. Commander - 1942
Brig-Gen Lee S. Gerow, Asst Div. Commander, 1943
Col. William T. Fitts, Jr, Chief of Staff - 1943
Col Jay W. MacKelvie, Division Artillery Commander - 1942 - Sept 1943
Brig-Gen Pierre Mallett, Division Artillery Commander - Sept 1943
Col. James F. Brady(WP 1926), CO 339 IR - March 1944
Dec 1943 - USA to Casablanca, N. Africa
USS General Alexander E. Anderson (1) - Div. HQ, 339 IR & 328FA
USS General William A. Mann - 338 IR, 329FA, 310 Med, & 310 Engr
HMS Andes - 337 IR, 910FA & Special Units
Mar 1944 - N. Africa to Naples, Italy
10 March: HMS Letitia - 339 IR
24-27 March: SS Nightingale, SS Lyon, SS Stanton, HMS Almanzora - Remainder of Division
Aug 16 - 25, 1945 - Naples, Italy to Hampton Roads, VA
USS West Point
(1) USS General Alexander E. Anderson was the troop ship that brought home the POW's from the camp at Cabanatuan, Phillipines, that was liberated in January 28, 1945. Reference the Epilogue from the book "The Ghost Soldiers". This raid was depicted in the recent 2005 movie "The Great Raid". At the end of this movie are actual film footage of the released captives making their voyage to San Francisco aboard the USS General Alexander E. Anderson.
C, 1st Battalion, 337th Infantry Regiment:
F, 2nd Battalion, 337th Infantry Regiment:
G, 2nd Battalion, 339th Infantry Regiment:
"VIS ET VIRTUS"
"WE ARE READY"
"RES SACRA MISER"
Cap of the Polar Bear Association, a veteran's organization of the 339th Infantry Regiment.
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