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13th Infantry Division / 13th Airborne Division

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Circular Patch with Black Cat: Thirteenth Infantry Division / 13th Division

Unicorn with "Airborne" Tab: Thirteenth Airborne Division / 13th Airborne



13th Infantry Division: "The Black Cat" and "Lucky 13th"

13th Airborne Division: "The Unicorn Division



None reported.



1918 [infantry]

Aug 13, 1943 [Airborne]



1919 [infantry]

Feb 26, 1946 [Airborne]





World War I


Organized at Camp Lewis, American Lake, Washington, July, 1918. The 1st and 44th Regular Army Infantry Regiments were already stationed at Camp Lewis, and a certain number of non-commissioned officers and enlisted men were transferred to form the nucleus of the 75th and 76th Infantry Regiments. The personnel of the division consisted mostly of the selective service quotas of August and September. Intensive training was begun immediately and by the 1st of November the division was equipped and ready for overseas service. On January 19, 1919, orders were issued for the demobilization of the division and in the early part of March all commissioned and enlisted personnel except those belonging to the regular establishment had been discharged or transferred.


Major General Joseph D. Leitch was the commanding general of this division.


This division consisted of the following organizations: 13th Div. Hqs., Troop, 25th Inf. Brig. (1st and 75th Inf., 38th Machine Gun Bn.), 26th Inf. Brig. (44th and 76th Inf., 39th Machine Gun Bn.), 13th Fld. Arty. Brig. (37th, 38th, and 39th Fld. Arty.), 213th Engr. Regt. And Train, 213th Fld. Sig. Bn., 13th Train Hqs and M.P., 13th Supply Train, 13th Trench Mortar Battery, 13th Amm. Train, 13th Sanitary Train (249th, 250th, 251st and 252d Field Hospitals and Amb. Cos.)



World War II


The 13th Airborne Division was activated at Camp Mackall, North Carolina on August 13, 1943 - Friday the 13th - under the command of Major General George W Griner. However, that December General Griner was replaced by Major General Eldridge Chapman. (pictured left) General Chapman, one of the U.S Army's early airborne pioneers, was head of Airborne Command at Camp Mackall and had seen action in the Mexican Border incident and World War I.


At the beginning of 1945 the 13th Airborne Division, embarked for Europe and arrived in February. They billeted in the small towns southeast of Paris. The division's major units when they arrived in France were the 515th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) commanded by Colonel Harvey J Jablonsky; the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) commanded by Colonel Samuel Roth and the 326th GIR commanded by Colonel William Poindexter. To strengthen the division for the final push into Germany the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team commanded by Colonel Rupert Graves was also assigned as a permanent unit.


The 517th were veterans of Italy, Southern France, Belgium and Germany and chafed under the untested leadership of the 13th Airborne officers. The officers combat leadership would remain untested as potential aiborne objectives were continually overrun by advancing ground troops. Another operation code-named "Arena" called for dropping four to six Allied airborne divisions 100 miles east of the Rhine. It would be the largest airborne operation yet but General Eisenhower was unconvinced of its necessity and cancel it.


Operation Varsity was the first airborne invasion over the Rhine into Germany itself. But General Ridgway gave the nod to the 17th Airborne based on their combat experience in the Ardennes. The 13th Airborne would be kept in "strategic reserve".


After the German surrender on May 7, 1945 the 13th and 101st Airborne Divisions were notified of their reassignment to the Pacific. However, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in August, 1945 again dashed the 13th Airborne's chance to prove themselves. That same month the 13th Airborne was shipped home and deactivated.


Divisional history from:







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17th Airborne, on dark blue twill


Interests: German made patches (fruit loop, bevo etc.), Berlin Briagde, VII Corps, German made Aviation patches, USMLM Potsdam, Mission to Moscow, EUCOM, 7th Army & 70th Inf Div




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Personal collection.

See you :thumbsup:

507th PIR
"Down to Earth"
Normandy // Belgium // Germany

Collector of US Airborne & Special Forces (WWII - Today)

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A single piece example.





In Memory Of......
Pte Harold Griffiths, 1805, 1/6th Manchester Regt, KIA June 4th, 1915 in Gallipoli
Cpl Isaac Judges, 40494, 6th East Yorkshire Regt, KIA October 3rd, 1917 in Ypres
May they rest in peace.....

MSgt - USAF Retired




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