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45th Infantry Division


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#1 ADMIN

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 03:38 PM

Posted Image

NAME:
Forty-Fifth Infantry Division / 45th Division

NICKNAME:
"Thunderbirds"

BATTLE HONORS:

World War II
Sicily
Naples-Foggia
Anzio
Rome-Arno
Southern France
Ardennes-Alsace
Rhineland
Central Europe

ACTIVATED:
Sept 16, 1940

DEACTIVATED:
Dec 7, 1945


HISTORY:

Pre-World War II

Activated: In 1924 as a National Guard Division in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

During this time, the 45th Division used a red square with a yellow swastika, which was an an American Indian symbol.


World War II

Activated: 16 September 1940.

Overseas: 8 June 1943.

Campaigns: Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, Central Europe.

Days of combat: 511.

Distinguished Unit Citations: 7.

Awards: MH-8 ; DSC-61 ; DSM-3 ; SS-1,848 ; LM-38; SM-59 ; BSM-5,744 ; AM-52.

Commanders: Maj, Gen. William S. Key (September 1940-October 1942), Maj. Gen. Troy H. Middleton (October 1942-December 1943), Maj. Gen. William W. Eagles (December 1943-December 1944), Maj. Gen. Robert T. Frederick (December 1944-September 1945), Brig. Gen. Henry J. D. Meyer (September 1945 to inactivation).

Returned to U.S.: 14 September 1945.

Inactivated: 7 December 1945. (See National Guard.)

Combat Chronicle
----Mediterranean Theatre
The 45th Division landed in North Africa, 22 June 1943, and trained at Arzew, French Morocco. It landed in Sicily, 10 July, in its first major amphibious operation and moved inland under minor opposition. The enemy resisted fiercely at Motta Hill, 26 July, before losing the fourday battle of "Bloody Ridge." On 1 August, the Division withdrew for rest and patrols. On 10 September 1943, the second landing at Salerno occurred. Against stiff resistance, the 45th pushed to the Calore River, 27 September, crossed the Volturno River, 3 November, and took Venafro. Until 9 January 1944, the Division inched forward into the mountains reaching St. Elia north of Cassino before moving to a rest area.

The 45th landed at Anzio, 22 January 1944, and for 4 months stood its ground against violent assaults. It went over to the attack, 23 May, crossed the Tiber River, 4 June, outflanking Rome and withdrew for rest and training on the 16th.

-----France and Germany
The 45th participated in its fourth assault landing during Operation Dragoon, 15 August 1944, at St. Maxime in Southern France. Against slight opposition, it spearheaded the drive for the Belfort Gap. It took the strongly defended city of Epinal, 24 September, crossed the Moselle River and entered the western foothills of the Vosges, taking Rambervillers on the 30th, and crossing the Mortagne River, 23 October.

After a brief rest, on 25 November the 45th cracked the forts north of Mutzig (Fort Kaiser Wilhelm II designed in 1893 to block access to the plain of Alsace [1]), crossed the Zintzel River and pushed through the Maginot defenses. From 2 January 1945, the Division fought defensively along the German border, withdrawing to the Moder River. On 17 February, it went back for rest and training. The 45th moved north to the Sarreguemines area and smashed at the Siegfried Line, 17 March, taking Homburg on the 21st and crossing the Rhine between Worms and Hamm on the 26th. The advance continued, Aschaffenburg falling, 3 April, and Nuremberg on the 20th. The Division crossed the Danube, 27 April, took Munich on the 30th and liberated 32,000 captives in the Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945. The Division captured Munich during the next two days, and on the eve of V-E Day, began operating Radio Station Thunderbird. During the next month, the Division occupied Munich and set up collection points and camps for the massive numbers of surrendering troops of the Axis armies. The number of POWs taken by the 45th Division during its almost two years of fighting totaled 124,840.

The Division returned to New York in early June, 1945, and from there went to Camp Bowie, Texas. On December 7, 1945, the Division was deactivated and its members reassigned to other Army units.

During World War II, the 45th Division fought in 511 days of combat. Over 20,000 soldiers in the Division were killed, wounded or missing in action.

Division Involvement in War Crimes
During the invasion of Sicily in 1943, the U.S. 45th (Thunderbird) members of the division executed 76 German and Italian Prisoners of War in the Biscari Massacre. One officer and one NCO were court-martialled.

Members of the Division executed a number of guards after the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp in the so-called Dachau Massacre.


Divisional history from:
http://en.wikipedia....fantry_Division


#2 craig_pickrall

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:35 AM

Institute of Heraldry drawings

45_INF_DIV_1.jpg

Patch variations

45_INF_DIV_2.jpg
45_INF_DIV_3.jpg

#3 Jim Baker

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 06:26 PM

45th ID, white back.

Attached Images

  • 45th_Infantry___16_.JPG


#4 dtom38

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 08:49 PM

Embroidered on wool, white back.

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/gallantryinaction/95th%20Division/e6cafa96.jpg

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/gallantryinaction/95th%20Division/cc909ea4.jpg

#5 Roy

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 09:48 PM

Here is an OD border variation of the 45th Infantry Division patch, and a view of the reverse.

Attached Images

  • 45thod1.jpg
  • 45th.jpg


#6 GLM *Deceased*

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 09:28 PM

WWII VARIATIONS:

PRE AND EARLY WWII (EMBROIDERED ON WOOL)
EARLY WWII OD BORDER (GREEN BACK)

WWII OD BORDER (WHITE BACK)
STANDARD LARGE WWII (RED EYE)

Attached Images

  • 45ID_01_fr.jpg
  • 45ID_01_rev.jpg
  • 45ID_02_fr.jpg
  • 45ID_02_rev.jpg


#7 GLM *Deceased*

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 09:35 PM

WWII VARIATIONS:

STANDARD SMALL WWII (FLAT EMBROIDERY WITH GOLD EYE)
STANDARD SMALL WWII (ROW EMBROIDERY WITH GOLD EYE)

WWII ITALIAN "DRAPERY" WOVEN (WITHOUT COTTON BACKING)
WWII ITALIAN "DRAPERY" WOVEN (WITH COTTON BACKING MATERIAL)

Attached Images

  • 45ID_03_fr.jpg
  • 45ID_03_rev.jpg
  • 45ID_04_fr.jpg
  • 45ID_04_rev.jpg


#8 Gregory

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 01:12 AM

Hello

I have a question related to early symbology of this division. Was it political decision to change swastika into other symbol in view of bad swastika image in nazi hands?

Best regards

Greg

#9 harrier9601

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:50 PM

Pre/early WWII felt-on-felt

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/4b3fe87d.jpg


WWII vintage US-made bullion by Meyer

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/f37ef440.jpg

#10 harrier9601

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:53 PM

Korean War vintage Japanese-made bullion

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/0dc18fd9.jpg


Standard WWII - Korean War cut-edge patch with unofficial red/gold "KOREA" tab

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/9311d887.jpg

#11 Proud Kraut

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 11:13 AM

German made bullion with pre-1948 pricetag on back.

Lars

Attached Images

  • 45_Inf_Div_c.JPG
  • 45_Inf_Div_c_2.JPG


#12 NorBn

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:33 AM

DCU made in Afghanistan in 2004 and DCU made in Iraq 2008:

Attached Images

  • 045th__24_Afghan_made.jpg
  • 045th__26_Iraqi_made.jpg


#13 NorBn

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:35 AM

ACU made in Iraq 2008:

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  • 045th__27_Iraqi_made_ACU.jpg
  • 045th__28_Iraqi_made_ACU.jpg


#14 Steindaddie

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 06:59 PM

At the request of fellow member Wailuna, I am posting this 45th variation. The SSgt wearing this patch is a member of the 120th Observation Squadron, Colorado National Guard, 1938. You can see the entire photo in the Military Aviation section of our forum.

Will

Attached Images

  • 45th.jpg
  • 45th__1_.jpg


#15 Teamski

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:15 PM

Another 45th variation.

-Ski

Attached Images

  • 45f.jpg
  • 45b.jpg


#16 Teamski

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:16 PM

An interesting OD bordered 45th.

-Ski

Attached Images

  • 45odf.jpg
  • 45odb.jpg


#17 Bluehawk

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:44 PM

Hello

I have a question related to early symbology of this division. Was it political decision to change swastika into other symbol in view of bad swastika image in nazi hands?

Best regards

Greg

I cannot imagine any other possible reason to have changed it.

The Nazi party altered and tainted forever the ancient traditional meaning of that symbol... whether it is represented oriented clockwise or not.

Link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Edited by Bluehawk, 11 September 2008 - 04:48 PM.


#18 harrier9601

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:52 PM

Pre-WWII felt-on-felt:

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/197bb853.jpg

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/3020f308.jpg

#19 harrier9601

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:54 PM

WWII vintage with an OD border and white back:

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/64b31536.jpg

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/b667d289.jpg

#20 harrier9601

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:55 PM

Post-WWII German made:

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/25597450.jpg

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/4b7ca17e.jpg

#21 Wailuna

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 03:35 PM

A round variant of the first type of 45th Division SSI. Attributed to a member of Co. I, 157th Infantry (Burlington, Colorado), whose unit wore the round variant in 1920s.

45ID_Round__f__Forum.jpg
45ID_Round__r__Forum.jpg

(From the Patch Johnson collection; used with permission)

Note: See post #14 above for another example of the round variant and link here for more information on the original photograph.

#22 Bocage

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:49 AM

Pre-WWII felt-on-felt:

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/197bb853.jpg

http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh230/harrier9601/OKNG/3020f308.jpg


Hi,
Just a question: I also see these embroidered on twill. Which ones are older in your opinion? My guess is, the twill patches were made 1930-1933 and the felt patches before 1930? I mean: the division dropped the swastika-design in 1933, of course... So after that no 'first design' patches were produced I guess. Would be very interested in some photos of the pre-thunderbird patch and some reference/estimation as to the time frame they were worn. Many thanks! Bocage

Two current intems on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/...=item3cca1cb9e5
http://www.ebay.com/...=item3cca1c2e85

#23 Wailuna

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:49 PM

...Would be very interested in some photos of the pre-thunderbird patch and some reference/estimation as to the time frame they were worn....

Did you miss this one (link here)? It was worn ca. 1938 and the image was posted on the Forum more than four years hence.

post_1949_1220237926.jpg



#24 brian1green

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 07:11 PM

Found this patch today and have suspected it to be 45th infantry. Cannot find any other examples exactly like it. Has anyone else seen this particular variant, assuming it is 45th? Measures 2 1/4 inches square. Thanks!

 

swastika1.jpg

 

swastika2.jpg




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