- Surname : the figthing first ou the red one.

- Motto : no mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great, duty first.

The 1st Infantry Division was activated in June 1917 as the then, 1st Expeditionary Division, but the creation of the 16th Regiment is dated back to around 1798. The BRO was the first american Infantry Division created with the aim of combating the german forces during World War I. It consisted of three Infantry Regiments (16th, 18th and 26th), and three Artillery Regiments (5th, 7th and 33rd). The division totalled nearly 28.000 Men.

From June to December 1917, the different elements of the Division were sent to Europe. The BRO participated in May 1918 in the battle for Picardy in Northern France winning the first American victory on the West European front . When the war ended on November 11th 1918, the BRO was in Sedan, France, ready to enter in German territory. It arrived in Germany to stay there as Occupation Forces until August 1919 when it was brought back to Fort Hamilton in New York.

Between WWI and WWII, the First Division was reorganized and transferred at Fort Benning. In 1939, in the wake of World War II, the division was transferred to Fort Devens to finally be stationed at Camp Blanding in 1942 where it resumed it’s training.

In August 1942 it left the United States for Scotland where it resumed amphibious landing trainings.

In November 1942, the BRO enters action for the first time in WWII with it’s participation in the landing in Morocco with the Western Task Force of General Patton. The Division will then fight in Tunisia and will be the first Division to make an amphibious landing for the invasion of  Sicily in July 1943.

In October 1943, the BRO is brought back to the British Isles where it was due to resume it’s preparation for D-Day.

On 6th of June 1944, it’s finest hour arrived. The BRO landed at “Omaha Beach” in Normandy at 06H30 along with the 29th Infantry Division. The BRO consisted of three “Regiment Combat Team” (RCT) given the numbers 16, 18 and 26 combining other elements of Infantry, Artillery, engineers, medical services and miscellaneous specialized units such as the 165th Signal Photo Company. The 16th RCT is the first to land in sector “Fox Green” and “Easy Red” with on it’s left the 116TH RCT of the 29th Infantry Division. On the beachhead, it is chaos and hell, but under the orders of General Taylor, the men will fight hard giving a rough time to the 352th german Infantry Division. They finally made a breakthrough to Colleville. At D+1, the whole area is cleaned and on June 10th the BRO reaches the highway Cean-Balleroy, to stay there all day.

On June 11th 1944, the BRO heads toward caumont l’Eventé which is liberated on June 13th in the morning without heavy fighting. The toll of one week of combat is heavy, 1744 dead, injured or missing.

During July, the BRO participated in operation « Cobra” with the 3rd Armored Division. It then went through the positions of the 9th Infantry Division toward Marigny and Crampond. At the end of the month, the BRO was progressing south and reached Brécey to create a bridgehead at the other side of the river la “Sée”. Progression went on through towns such as Coutances, Mortain, Mayenne to finally reaching the north east toward the river la “Seine”. In mid-August, the division fights on the south of the Falaise pocket.

The BRO crosses the « Seine » river in the region of Corbeil and Melun on August 27th. Further on, It crosses the “Marne” to reach Soisson on the 31st. At the beginning of September, the BRO finally arrives in Belgium. After liberating Charleroi, Mons, Namur and Liège, it pushes the germans back behind the “Rhine”, crosses the “Siegfried Line” and takes part in the heavy fighting of “Aachen”, which falls after a frontal assault on October 21st. Then, the Division heads  toward the “Hurtgen Forrest” where it fights there until December 7th 1944. But on December 16th, the germans counter attack in what will become the famous “Battle of the Bulge”. The BRO defends its positions in the sector between West of Büllingen and South of Bütgenbach and Waimes on December 17th and 18th. Finally in mid January the BRO participate in the counter attack, and re-cross the “Siegfried Line”, cross the river “Roer” in February 25th 1945 in the sector of Kreuzau. The BRO then advance toward Bonn which falls on March 8th. The First Infantry then reaches the “Rhine” river on March 15th that can be crossed on dry feet thanks to the capture of the famous “Remagen” bridge by the 9th Armored Division. The BRO has time to establish a bridgehead before the “Remagen bridge” finally collapses.

The division participate to the fall of the Rhur pocket, capture Paperborn at the beginning of April and pushes toward the « Harz Hills ». On May 1st, it crosses the tchekoslovakian border and liberate the concentration camp of Falkenau (Falknow). It finally arrives at Karlsbad (Karlory Vary) in Bohemia where it receives orders to stop and wait.

The First Infantry Division like in WWI will stay as an occupation force in West-Germany until 1955 where it is brought back to Fort Riley, Kansas.


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