Item:
ONSV7749

Original U.S. WWII 42nd Infantry "Rainbow" Division Small Named Painted Flag - 16" x 23"

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice U.S. WWII 42nd Infantry "Rainbow" Division hand painted flag, which looks to be named to G.M. NACE. We had considered that the name might be an abbreviation but we have not been able to find any information on any unit using that abbreviation, or a person with that name. It is a muslin flag measuring 16"H X 23"W, and the "Rainbow" insignia of the 42nd Infantry division has been painted onto it, over 42ND. DIV..

We are not sure what the purpose of the flag is, but it has two red-thread reinforced grommets on the top. so it looks to have been hung horizontally, possibly from a tent opening or something similar. It is in good shape, though there is some splitting on the fabric due to the paint hardening.

A wonderful piece of U.S. WWII memorabilia with some nice research potential, ready to display!

The U.S. 42nd Infantry Division in WWII

When formed and activated for World War II, the 42ID was a unique unit, as it was a reconstitution of the Rainbow Division from World War I. Except for the division headquarters, none of its earlier elements had reformed in the interwar period, so the Army Ground Forces filled its new units with personnel from every state. From the division standup at Camp Gruber until the division stood down in Austria, at every formal assembly, the division displayed not only the National and Divisional Colors, but all 48 state colors (State Flags). To emphasize the 42ID lineage from the 42ID of World War I, Maj. Gen. Harry J. Collins activated the unit on 14 July, the eve of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Champagne-Marne campaign in France.

Following training at Camp Gruber, OK and the journey to Europe, the three infantry regiments (222nd, 232nd, & 242nd) and a detachment of the 42ID Headquarters arrived in France at Marseille, 8-9 December 1944, and were formed into Task Force (TF) Linden, under Henning Linden, the Assistant Division Commander (ADC). TF Linden was task organized to VI Corps under 7th Army. TF Linden entered combat in the vicinity of Strasbourg, relieving elements of the 36ID on 24 December 1944.

In January 1945, defending a 31-mile sector along the Rhine, north and south of Strasbourg, TF Linden repulsed a number of enemy counterattacks, at Hatten and other locations, during the German "Operation Northwind" offensive. At the headquarters of the First Battalion, 242IR, Private First Class Vito R. Bertoldo was waging his 48-hour defense of the Command Post, for which he received the Medal of Honor. When the battalion CP was attacked by a German tank with its 88-mm. gun and machine gun fire, Bertoldo remained at his post and with his own machine gun killed the occupants of the tank when they tried to remove mines which were blocking their advance.[10] On 24 and 25 January 1945, in the Bois D'Ohlungen, and the vicinity of Schweighouse-sur-Moder and Neubourg, the 222nd Infantry Regiment held a position covering a front of 7,500 yards, three times the normal frontage for a regiment in defense. After a two-hour artillery bombardment the 222nd Infantry Regiment was repeatedly attacked by elements of the German 7th Parachute, 47th Volks Grenadier Division, and the 25th Panzer Grenadier Division. During the ensuing struggle one company of the 222nd IR was surrounded, but only withdrew from their position and infiltrated back through the Germans to the regimental lines after exhausting all but 35 rounds of ammunition. For 24 hours the battle raged, but the Germans were never able to break through the 222nd IR lines. For this action the 222nd Infantry Regiment was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (2001). After these enemy attacks, TF Linden returned to reserve of the 7th Army and trained with the remainder of the 42ID which had arrived in the meantime.

On 14 February 1945, the 42ID as a whole entered combat, taking up defensive positions near Haguenau in the Hardt Forest. After a month of extensive patrolling and active defense, the 42ID went on the offensive. On the night of February 27 Germans laid down a heavy contingent of artillery and mortar fire and under this the elements of the 6th Mountain Division were withdrawn and replaced by the 221st Volksgrenadier Regiment.

In the brief period this unit had been in the line it had come to respect the Rainbow and fear its patrols and raids. "Is your Division a part of Roosevelt's SS?" asked one German when captured. The remark was passed along and men kidded each other about being in the Rainbow SS. The 42ID attacked through the Hardt Forest, broke through the Siegfried Line, 15-21 March 1945, cleared Dahn and Busenberg, and mopped up in that general area, while the 3rd Army created and expanded bridgeheads across the Rhine. Moving across the Rhine, 31 March 1945, the 42ID captured Wertheim am Main, 1 April 1945, and Würzburg, 2-6 April 1945, after a fierce battle. Schweinfurt fell next after hand-to-hand engagements, 9-12 April 1945. Fürth, near Nürnberg, put up fanatical resistance, but was taken, 18–19 April 1945, by the 42ID.

On 25 April, the 42ID captured Donauwörth on the Danube, and on 29 April 1945, liberated some 30,000 inmates at CC Camp, a NSDAP prison camp. The 42ID passed through Munich, 30 April 1945, and ended its campaign by crossing the Austrian border north of Salzburg.

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