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43rd Infantry Division

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Forty-Third Infantry Division / 43rd Division



"Winged Victory"



The 43d Infantry Division patch is a black Grape Leaf imposed on a red quatrefoil background. The patch is khaki bordered. The Grape Leaf represents the four states whose National Guard troops in 1925 made up the division: Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Their New England home was called Vinland by Explorer Leif Ericson because of abundant wild grapes he found there. The four sections of the quatrefoil represent the four states referred to.


From: http://www.usarmygermany.com/Units/43rd%20...20Inf%20Div.htm




World War II

New Guinea

Northern Solomons





Feb 24, 1941





Feb 23, 1941

Oct 26, 1945







Pre-World War II


The 43d Infantry Division became an active National Guard unit in 1923 in accordance with the National Defense Act of 1916. Originally there were two infantry brigades, the 85th in Connecticut, and the 86th in Vermont. The 85th Brigade consisted of the 102d Infantry and the 169th Infantry Regiments both in Connecticut. The 86th Brigade was made up of the 172d Infantry Regiment in Vermont and the 103d Infantry Regiment in Maine. The 68th Field Artillery Brigade located in provenance, Rhode Island consisted of the 103d Field Artillery Regiment in provenance, the 192d Field Artillery Regiment in Connecticut and the 152d Field Artillery Regiment in Maine. The Division Headquarters was located in Hartford, Connecticut. Special units were spread throughout those four New England states.


World War II



Activated: 24 February 1941.


Overseas: 1 October 1942.


Campaigns: New Guinea, Northern Solomons, Luzon.


Distinguished Unit Citations: 5.


Awards: MH-2 ; DSC-40 ; DSM-2 ; SS-736 ; LM-53; SM-51 ; BSM-2,496 ; AM-27.


Commanders: Maj. Gen. Morris B. Payne (February-August 1941), Maj. Gen. John H. Hester (August 1941-July 1943), Maj. Gen. Leonard F. Wing (August 1943 to inactivation).


Returned to U.S.: 19 October 1945.


Inactivated: 26 October 1945.


Combat Chronicle

The 43d Infantry Division landed in New Zealand on 23 October 1942. The 172d Infantry Regiment arrived at Espiritu Santo, 26 October. The Division moved to Noumea, New Caledonia, in November and to Guadalcanal, 17 February 1943. Russell Islands were occupied without opposition, 21 February, and training continued. Elements landed on Vangunu and Rendova Islands against minor resistance, 30 June, but the enemy fought fiercely before relinquishing Munda and its airfield, 5 August. Vela Cela and Baanga were taken easily, but the Japanese resisted stubbornly on Arundel Island before withdrawing, 22 September. After training at Munda, the 43d moved to Guadalcanal and thence to New Zealand for rest and rehabilitation.


On 19 July 1944, the Division assumed defensive positions at Aitape, engaged in patrols and reconnaissance at Tadji and along the Drinumor River, 25 July, and took the offensive, 8 August 1944, ending organized resistance on the 25th. On 9 January 1945, the 43rd made an assault landing in the San Fabian area, Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. Under enemy fire, the Division secured the beachhead and fought into the Lingayen Plain by 12 February. The offensive was resumed against the enemy north and west of Fort Stotsenburg, 27 February.


After ending Japanese resistance in the Zambales Mountains, the 43d swung south against the Shimbu Line. On 6 May 1945, the attack continued in the Bulucan area. Ipo Dam was secured and enemy opposition smashed in the Ipo area, 19 May. Mopping-up activities continued until 30 June 1945. The Division left Manila, 7 13 September, for occupation duty in Japan until it left for home.



Post-World War II to 1950


In 1946 the Division was reorganized as a National Guard division. In this reorganization only the states of Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island were included in the makeup of the Division. The 172d Infantry with the 206th Field Artillery (105H) with elements of other combat support units made up the Vermont allocation. The Division Headquarters, 102d and 169th Infantry regiments with the 963d Field Artillery (105H0 and the 192d Field Artillery (105H) with detachments of combat support were organized in Connecticut. In addition, the 143d Tank Battalion joined the Division from that state. In Rhode Island the 43d Division Artillery Headquarters, the 103d FA (155H), the 118th Engineer Battalion © and the 43d Signal Company plus elements of combat support units made up that state's contribution.



Korean War


On July 10, 1951, the 43rd Infantry Division was alerted for service in Europe. Before sailing, the division scored highly in Exercise Southern Pine in North Carolina in the fall of 1951. Before winter set in, the division had moved into its positions in Bavaria, ready to resists any aggressive assault on the keystone of Western democracy.


The division's units are stationed in three German cities: Munich, Nürnberg and Augsburg.


1953 In Review

During 1953 the 43d "Winged Victory" Division added many new laurels to its long list of accomplishments.


High among the achievements was the winning of the coveted Leclerc Trophy for the United States by the 2d Battalion of the 102d Infantry Regiment. The shooting competion is one of the most rugged shooting courses that can be fired. To win the 102d defeated the champions from six other NATO nations. This was the first time that the United States has ever won the trophy.



One of the highest honors to befall the 43d Division was the winning of the USAREUR Commander's Athletic Participation Trophy. This was accomplished by Winged Victorymen winning the USAREUR track and field meet and the USAREUR swimming championship. The Division also piled up many of its points by having excellent teams in baseball, soccer, tennis and golf.


Another group that brought fame to the 43d Division was the Winged Victory Chorus which for the second consecutive year won the title of "Best Chorus in Europe" by sweeping the USAREUR Soldier Singing Contest. The chorus has presented many concerts for civilians and has participated in some of the large music festivals throughout Europe.


Armed Forces Day in '53 was an interesting occasion. This was the first time since WWII that soldiers had paraded in the streets of Germany. All the Kasernes were open to the public and the Germans flocked to see the displays and equipment.


Training played the major role in the division's activities for the year. Starting with small unit training during the first part of the year the the problems became tougher and tougher. As a mark of achievement the top infantry battalion as judged by their scoring in the VII Corps tests is presented the Gold Rifles Award. This year the 2d Bn, 172d Infantry Regiment, won the honor by placing highest in the Corps.


The best artillery battalion in the Division is also presented an award -- the Standard of St. Barbara. It, like the infantry award, is presented to the battalion which makes the highest score in VII Corps tests. In '53 the standard was won by the 192d FA Bn.


As September rolled around the true test of Division's training was brought out as the Winged Victorymen took part in three large scale manuevers. The first and largest was the NATO Field Training Exercise "Monte Carlo." In this exercise the entrie division brought credit upon itself for the excellent manner in which it performed. It was the 43d Divison men that broke through the "Enemy" lines and reached the final objective.


In the other two exercises the division did an outstanding job. They were highly commended for their part in the VII Corps FTX "Harvest Moon."


The Division not only was outstanding in training and athletics but the men also did much to show the German people the generosity of the American way of life. Through the GYA (German Youth Activities) thousands of German children learned about Americans. The GYA is sponsored by the 43d Division and the variety of activities sponsored ranged from an American type Soap Box Derby to a Meistersinger Contest for promising young opera singers.


The soldiers of the 43d also did a wonderful job of supporting two of the outstanding charities that are well-known in the States. Over $31,000 was contributed towards the March of Dimes during 1953. In this campaign only one other unit topped the 43d. In response to the plea for funds by the American Red Cross, the Division led all the troops in USAREUR by contributing over $15,000. When funds were requested for the Army Emergency Relief program the entire Division threw in their support and as a result led all of the units stationed here by putting in over $17,000.


What was probably one of the brightest occasions during 1953 was "Operation Friendship." Under this program the men of the various units sponsored Christmas parties for German orphans and for the needy in the area. More than 10,000 children were guests of the servicemen at their kasernes. They were given dinners, shown movies, and received valued and needed gifts. The look in any of the children's eyes made all the effort worth while.


As 1953 drew to a close, the men who had served in the 43d Division throughout the year could look back and say, "We did a good job."



Post-Korean War to The 1960s


In 1953, the 43d was redesignated the 5th Infantry Division. The colors of the 43d were returned to Hartford, Connecticut with appropriate ceremonies.


At this point, a then reconstituted Division took its place with the other National Guard Divisions on the Army's rolls. In 1963, in one of the many down-sizings of the Armed Forces, the Division left active National Guard service.


Divisional history from:







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Hope viewers enjoy seeing just some of the multitude of variations found with this divison. Will start with pre-war examples,most of which have the numeric designation in the center of the patch. The WW2 will be bullion examples,bevo and hand-made examples.







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