Original U.S. WWII Signed 48 Star Flag of the 28th Infantry Division
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is an exceptional flag that measures 67 x 43. Genuine WW2 issue 48 star American flag offered in good but yellowed condition consistent with its age and use in Europe during WWII. It is signed by 22 members of the 28th Infantry Keystone Division. The soldiers names are as follows:
Joe S. Marcisofsky
John F. Wolfe
Abe Laxer (Easton, PA)
Andrew Novortney (Chester, PA)
William A. Minnick
Pius E. Thompson
Wm. F. Keek (Detroit Michigan)
William J. Shindeck (Hazelton, PA)
Santo Mancwso (Joliet, Illinois)
Joseph Gabos (Vineland, NJ)
Anthony F. Galla
George J. Tomko
Arthur C. Fry
Jacob a. Grebe (Hazelton, PA)
Walter C. Schot
Frank Jakubiak (Alpena, Michigan)
VVm Nessmont (?)
Walter E. Weber
The division, commanded by Major General Edward Martin, was activated on February 17, 1941 during World War II (although the United States was neutral at this point) at Camp Livingston, Louisiana. That same month the division, now commanded by Major General James Ord, was reorganized; the brigade headquarters were disbanded, and the 111th Infantry Regiment was detached from the 28th 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, under the command of Major General Omar Nelson Bradley. The division, now under Major General Lloyd Brown, left the United States and went overseas on October 8, 1943, arriving in South Wales soon afterwards, where it began training for the invasion of Northern France. On July 22, 1944, the division landed in Normandy, seven weeks after the initial D-Day landings and was almost immediately involved in Operation Cobra.
The 28th Infantry Division pushed east towards the French capital of Paris through the Bocage, its roads littered with abandoned tanks and bloated, stinking corpses of men and animals. In little more than a month after landing at the Normandy beachhead, as part of the Allied invasion of Normandy, the men of the 28th entered Paris and were given the honor of marching down the Champs-Elysées on August 29, 1944 in the hastily arranged Liberation of Paris. Men of the 28th Infantry Division marches down the Champs Élysées in Paris, 29 August 1944.
After enjoying a brief respite, absorbing replacements of men and equipment, the division, now commanded by Brigadier General Norman Cota, formerly the Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the 29th Infantry Division, headed to the German defensive Westwall.
A small night patrol of the 109th Infantry 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 Hürtgen Forest. The divisional history conceded "the division accomplished little" in the campaign. 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 the 352nd Infantry Division and the 5th Parachute Division) in an infantry-tank attack on the "Ridge Road" just west of the Our River on December 16.
The Ardennes Offensive was launched along the entire divisional front by the 5th 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 December 22 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 D. "Ike" Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front, called the Colmar Pocket "a sore" on the 6th Army Group's front. The 6th Army Group was commanded by Lieutenant General Jacob Devers. The French First Army commander, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, and Devers met on January 11, 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 offensive, the 28thput back into action in a defensive position along the Meuse River from Givet to Verdun on January 2, 1945was "capable of only limited offensive action."
Battle plans were soon made and, on January 19, 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 the German Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, who almost always refused to retreat, gave the order in the early morning of January 29 for a partial retreat of his troops in the northern sector of the pocket. By February 2, 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.
The division was on the front line for 196 days of combat. Francis J. Clark was awarded the Medal of Honor; and 29 Distinguished Service Crosses ; 1 DSM; 435 Silver Stars; 27 Legion of Merit; SM - 21; Bronze Star Medal 2,312; AM - 100 were awarded. The division returned to the United States on 2 August 1945 and was inactivated there on 13 December 1945
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