HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE 65th INFANTRY DIVISION


On July 1, 1943, formation began of the 65th Infantry Division. On August 16, 1943, MG Stanley Reinhart took command of the newly formed 65th Infantry Division at Camp Shelby, MS. Like many newly formed divisions in 1943, the men of the 65th traveled to different bases with the XV and IX Corps, training and building up for the upcoming battles that would take place across Europe. The 65th Infantry Division trained almost continuously until December 31, 1944 where they staged at Camp Shanks, NY, preparing to embark for France. on January 10, 1945, the 65th Infantry Division boarded troop transports in New York, NY and arrived in Le Havre, France on January 21, 1945.

For the next month, the 65th sorted out its equipment and went through some last minute training in preparation for battle.

The Division Advance Party arrived in Oberesch, Germany on March 2, 1945, followed by other troops of the Division on March 4. On March 9, 1945, the 65th Infantry Division relieved the 26th Infantry Division at the bridghead across the Saar River near Orscholz. 4 days later the 65th sent the 261st Infantry Regiment across the Saar near Menningen to clear the German defenders from the heights south of Merzig. After 4 days of bloody fighting the 261st Regiment swept the Germans from the heights and on March 18th, took the town of Dillingen. The rest of the 65th moved out of the bridgehead sending the 259th Regiment to capture Fraulautern and the 260th Regiment to capture Saarlauten.

After both towns were seized the division re-formed and fought its way through the West Wall and captured NeunKirchen. The division was then relieved and moved to Ottweiler for a much needed break.

Closing into the Schwabenheim area, the division crossed the Rhine with both the 260th and 261st during the night of March 29-30, 1945. It attacked across the Fulda on April 2nd in the wake of the 6th Armored Division, and the 260th reached the Reichensachen-Langenhain line on April 3rd, where it rested as armor with road priority passed it. The same day, the 259th crossed the Werra, and continued to the Greuzberg area on April 4th. The division assaulted Langensalza, which fell on April 6, 1945, but a German counterattack overran a battalion of the 261st at Struth on April 7th. The division restored the situation with air support and went into reserve on April 8th, moving to Berka April 10, 1945.

The division moved to Waltershausen April 11, 1945 and then mopped up stragglers at Arnstadt. On the 17th, it assembled in Bamberg and attacked toward Altdorf with the 259th and 260th the next day. Neumarket was taken after a sharp fight on April 23rd and the division drove to the Rhine against crumbling German resistance. The division forced the Danube southwest of Regensburg despite strong opposition, especially against the 261st on April 26th. The bridgehead was expanded and the 260th took Regensburg on April 27th as the 13th Armored Division passed through its sector. The division followed the armor and crossed the Isar River at Plattling May 1, 1945. The 261st reached the Inn River at Passau on May 2nd and assaulted across it at Neuhaus. Passau fell the next day and the 261st reached the Enns River and overran Enns. The 260th remained to garrison Linz and the division closed the Enns River May 6th, and made contact with the advancing Soviet Army in the vicinity of Strengberg on May 8, 1945 as hostilities ceased.

The Division reached Austria on May 4, 1945 and remained in Austria, under Brig. Gen. John E. Copeland until disbanded on August 31, 1945.


The 65th Infantry Division shoulder patch is a white halbert on a blue shield. The halbert, a sharp pointed battle-ax, was a potent weapon of the 15th Century foot soldier, being suitable either for a powerful cutting smash or a quick thrust. It was selected by Major General S. E. Reinhart, Commanding General of the 65th, as an emblem that would signify both the shock action and the speed of the modern infantry division.









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