U.S. ARMY 35TH INFANTRY DIVISION PATCH

During World War II, the 35th Infantry Division did not see action until it arrived in France on 11 July 1944. Over the next ten months, it would officially take part in five campaigns, but one of its finest moments came relatively soon after it had landed in France.

In early August 1944, German General Günther von Kluge, understanding that an Allied breakout from Normandy and the collapse of the German defensive line was merely a matter of time, launched a desperate but massive counterattack ordered by Hitler. In this instance, Hitler’s eagerness to counterattack was surpassed by Kluge, who launched the counterstrike on the night of August 6. Earlier that day, Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division had easily taken Hill 314, capturing 25 Germans who were happy the war was over for them.

But with the launch of the counterattack, code-named Operation Lüttich, some 700 men of the found themselves completely surrounded by SS Panzer forces. Although the defenders were able to hold their ground and could be partially supplied by parachute drops, the situation was growing increasingly untenable by the minute for the “Lost Battalion.” But when offered a chance to surrender several days after being trapped, an unnamed Lieutenant told the German envoy, “Go ____ yourself.”

Fortunately for the GIs stranded on what was designated Hill 314, news of the Battalion’s situation had reached Army command, and the 1st Battalion 320th Infantry of the 35th Infantry Division, backed by the 737th Tank Battalion had been sent on a mission to break the German envelopment and relieve the surrounded Soldiers.

After a ten-minute artillery barrage, the attack was launched at 3PM on August 10. By the end of that day, the assault had reached the foot of the hill, and the next day both the Infantry and Tanks began moving up Hill 314, engaging in hand-to-hand combat to dislodge the Germans from their positions. By the end of that day, the Germans had been pushed back and the 2nd Battalion had been relieved; by the 13th the German counterattack had come to an end. For their actions in relieving the 2nd Battalion, the 1st Battalion, 320th Infantry Regiment was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, and the 737th Tank Battalion was awarded French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.

You can learn more about the 35th Infantry Division by visiting our pages dedicated to the Division’s Distinctive Unit Insignia (a unit crest that comes in a pair, left- and right-hand versions) and the 35th Infantry Division CSIB.
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