Over the course of World War II, the 34th Infantry Division as a whole compiled 517 days on front lines in North Africa and Italy. Counting individual units, the  34th Infantry Division was in action for 611 days, one of the highest totals of all U.S. Divisions.

As the U.S. was being drawn into WW II, the 34th Infantry Division was reactivated during February 1941 with troops from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Its training included participating in the Louisiana Maneuvers, before more than 4,500 soldiers were eventually sent to Europe.

After landing at Algiers, the 34th Infantry Division attacked and captured the port and regional airfields. Its first major engagement - Operation Torch - developed in French Algeria, beginning November 8, 1942. The 34th also played a role in the Allied victory in the Battle of Tunisia.

The 34th Infantry Division landed at Salerno during September 1943 and attacked the German defenses at the Bernhardt Line during January 1944. At the Mignano Gap, the 34th improvised by utilizing herds of goats to clear minefields. In bitter fighting at the First Battle of Monte Cassino beginning in January 1944, the 34th suffered a casualty rate of 80 percent before being relieved. Cassino was eventually taken, but with five divisions.

The 34th pushed its enemies out of Cisterna and the 34th pursued them until the German surrender on May 2, 1944.

The 34th Infantry Division suffered 21,362 casualties, one of the U.S. Army’s highest rates, and more than 15,000 Purple Hearts were delivered. Ten unit soldiers were honored with Medals of Honor. The 34th was inactivated during November 1945, before being reconstituted within the Iowa and Nebraska National Guards about a year later. In 1963, the unit was transformed as part of the 67th Infantry Brigade during 1963.

The unit crest features a blue scroll with the gold-lettered words “ATTACK ATTACK” at the top and “ATTACK” at the bottom. It was embraced as the division motto in 1943.

For additional information on the 34th Infantry Division, visit our pages devoted to its Combat Service ID Badge and Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.

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