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33rd Infantry Division

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Thirty-Third Infantry Division / 33rd Division



"Prairie Division" and "Illinois Division"




World War I

Le Hamel (four companies)

Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Somme offensive


World War II

New Guinea




July 1917

March 5, 1941



May 1919

Feb 3, 1946





World War I


The 33rd Infantry Division was constituted on July 17, 1917. It was organized at Camp Logan, Texas and arrived in France in June, 1918. The Division fought in the Amiens and Verdun sectors and participated in the St. Mihiel and Meusse-Argonne offensives. The Division returned to the states May, 1918, and was demobilized June 6, at Camp Grant, Illinois. The Division was next reorganized in the Illinois National Guard at Chicago, in 1923.


Activated: July 1917 (National Guard Division from Illinois).


Overseas: May 1918.


Major operations: Le Hamel (four companies), Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Somme offensive.


Casualties: Total-6,864 (KIA-691, WIA-6,173).


Commanders: Maj. Gen. George Ball, Jr. (25 August 1917), Brig. Gen. H. D. Todd, Jr. (19 September 1917), Maj. Gen. George Ball, Jr. (7 December 1917).


Returned to U. S. and inactivated: May 1919.



World War II


Activated: 5 March 1941 (National Guard Division from Illinois).


Overseas: 7 July 1943.


Campaigns: New Guinea, Luzon.


Distinguished Unit Citations: 6.


Awards: MH-3 ; DSC-31 ; DSM-2 ; SS-470 ; LM-34; SM-49 ; BSM-2,251 ; AM-36.


Commanders: Maj. Gen. Samuel T. Lawton (March 1941-May 1942), Maj. Gen. Frank Mahin (May-July 1942), Maj. Gen. John Millikin (August 1942-September 1943), Maj. Gen. Percy W. Clarkson (October 1943-November 1945) ; Brig. Gen. W. G. Skelton (November 1945 to inactivation).


Inactivated: 3 February 1946 in Japan.


Combat Chronicle


The 33d Infantry Division arrived in Hawaii on 12 July 1943. While guarding installations, it received training in jungle warfare. On 11 May 1944, it arrived in New Guinea where it received additional training. The 123d Infantry Regiment arrived at Maffin Bay, 1 September, to provide perimeter defense by aggressive patrolling for Wakde Airdrome and the Toem-Sarmi sector. The 123d was relieved on 26 January 1945. Elements of the 33d arrived at Morotai, 18 December 1944. Landings were made on the west coast of the island, 22 December, without opposition and defensive perimeters were established. Aggressive patrols encountered scattered resistance. The 33d landed at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, 10 February 1945, and relieved the 43d Infantry Division in the Damortis-RosarioPozorrubio area, 13-15 February.


The division drove into the Caraballo Mountains, 19 February, toward its objective, Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines and the headquarters of General Yamashita. Fighting against a fanatical enemy entrenched in the hills, the 33d took Aringay, 7 March, Mount Calugong, 8 April, and Mount Mirador, 25 April. Baguio and Camp John Hay fell on 26 April, under the concerted attack of the 33d and the 37th Infantry Divisions. Manuel Roxas, later President of the Philippines, was freed during the capture of Baguio. After mopping up isolated pockets of resistance, the Division broke up the last organized resistance of the enemy by capturing the San Nicholas-Tebbo-Itogon route, 12 May. All elements went to rest and rehabilitation areas on 30 June 1945. The division landed on Honshu Island, Japan, 25 September, and performed occupation duties until inactivated.


Of interest to historians, the 33rd Division was slated to be one of the units spearheading the invasion of the Japanese mainland on November 1, 1945, had the bombs not been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, abruptly ending the war.


Divisional history from:






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