U.S. WWII 28th Infantry Division Shoulder Patch - Keystone
New Made Item: Top quality embroidery. The 28th Infantry Division ("Keystone") is a unit of the Army National Guard and is the oldest division-sized unit in the armed forces of the United States. Some of the units of the division can trace their lineage to Benjamin Franklin's battalion, The Pennsylvania Associators (1747-1777). The division was officially established in 1879 and was later re-designated as the 28th Division in 1917, after the entry of America into the First World War. It is today part of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Maryland Army National Guard, Ohio Army National Guard, and New Jersey Army National Guard.
2.35" H x 2.35" W
It was originally nicknamed the "Keystone Division," as it was formed from units of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Pennsylvania being known as the "Keystone State". During World War II, it acquired the nickname the "Bloody Bucket" division by German forces during the Second World War due to its red insignia. But today the 28th Infantry Division goes by the name given to it by General Pershing during World War I: "Iron Division". The 28th is the first Army National Guard division to field the Stryker infantry fighting vehicle, as part of the Army's reorganization in the first decade of the 2000s. The 28th is also one of the most decorated infantry divisions in the United States Army.
The division was activated on 17 February 1941 at Camp Livingston, Louisiana. Lineage data gives the same date, but as the date the HHD 28th Division, was inducted into federal service 17 February 1941 at Harrisburg and Philadelphia. It was reorganized and redesignated on 17 February 1942 as Headquarters, 28th Infantry Division. That same month the division was reorganized, the brigades were disbanded, and the 111th Infantry Regiment was detached and reorganized as a separate regimental combat team, initially used to guard important Eastern Seaboard industrial facilities. The division trained in the Carolinas, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. It went overseas on 8 October 1943, arriving in South Wales. On 22 July 1944, the division landed in Normandy. It took part in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central European campaigns.
The 28th pushed east towards Paris through the bloating corpse-strewn stench of the Bocage through roads with abandoned tanks. In little more than a month after landing at the Normandy beachhead, the men of the 28th entered Paris and were given the honor of marching down the Champs-Elysées on 29 August 1944 in the hastily arranged Liberation of Paris.
A small night patrol of the 109th Infantry Regiment began the division's protracted struggle on the Siegfried Line on the Dragon's teeth (fortification) infested Westwall. The patrol crossed the Our River by bridge from Weiswampach, Luxembourg into Sevenig (Our), Germany, making it the first of the Allied armies to reach German soil. The 28th suffered excessive casualties that autumn in the costly and ill-conceived Battle of the Hurtgen Forest. The divisional history conceded "the division accomplished little" The campaign was the longest continuous battle of World War II. Finally, a tenuous line along the Our and Sauer Rivers was held at the end of November, only to be abruptly broken by two Panzer divisions, three infantry divisions and one parachute division (including 352nd Infantry Division and the 5th Parachute Division) in an infantry-tank attack on the "Ridge Road" just west of the Our River on 16 December.
The Ardennes Offensive was launched along the entire divisional front by the Fifth Panzer Army led by General der Panzertruppe Hasso von Manteuffel. The 28th, which had sustained heavy casualties in the First Army drive to the Roer, fought doggedly in place using all available personnel and threw off the enemy timetable before withdrawing to Neufchâteau on 22 December for reorganization, as its units had been badly mauled.
At the end of November 1944 a German "pocket" of resistance formed in the French Alsace region centered in the city of Colmar. The Colmar Pocket consisted of a strength of eight German divisions and a brigade of Panzer tanks. Combined forces of French and American armies were initially unsuccessful in closing this pocket.
General Dwight David Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, called the Colmar Pocket "a sore" on 6th Army Group's Commander Jacob L. Devers's western front. First Army (France) Commanding General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny and Devers met on 11 January 1945 and agreed it was long since time to drive the Germans back out of France. Two days later, de Lattre and Devers made a request to Eisenhower for reinforcements so their armies could make an offensive on the Colmar Pocket. Eisenhower's aide Major General Walter Bedell Smith subsequently told Devers that the 10th Armored Division and the 28th were being placed under his command. Smith also warned Devers that, after three months of intense fighting on the Siegfried Line as well as fighting off the initial thrust of the Ardennes Offensive, the 28thput back into action in a defensive position along the Meuse River from Givet to Verdun on 2 January 1945was "capable of only limited offensive action."
Battle plans were soon made and, on 19 January, the 28th went into action on the northwestern section of the pocket in the Kaysersberg Valley supporting the beleaguered 3rd Infantry Division, which had been holding there since late November 1944. Despite the bitterly cold conditions, the Allies prevailed. German intelligence knew nothing about the 10th and 28th presence in their sector until they attacked. The 28th advanced westward and pressed steadily toward the city of Colmar. In less than 10 days they reduced the pocket by half and German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, who almost always refused to retreat, gave the order in the early morning of 29 January for a partial retreat of his troops in the northern sector of the pocket. By 2 February, the 28th had cleared Colmar's surrounding areas and the French 5th Armored Division led the way into the town. On 9 February, the final organized German troops in Alsace were pushed back across the Rhine.
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