The 32D 'Red Arrow' Veteran Association

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The 32D Infantry Division

in World War II

The ‘Red Arrow’

 
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Index:

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Mobilization, Training and Deployment to Australia

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Papuan Campaign - Strategic Situation & Overview

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Papuan Campaign - The Advance to Buna

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Papuan Campaign - The Battle of Buna

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Papuan Campaign - The Battle of Sanananda

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Back to Australia - Rest, Rehabilitation and Training

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New Guinea Campaign - Saidor

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New Guinea Campaign - Aitape

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New Guinea Campaign – Biak

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New Guinea Campaign - Morotai

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Leyte Campaign

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Luzon Campaign - The Villa Verde Trail

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Luzon Campaign - Mopping Up

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Occupation of Japan

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James Campbell has written a remarkable book describing the 32D Infantry Division’s grueling march over the steaming and disease ridden Owen Stanley Mountains during their approach to Buna, New Guinea. It also effectively details the Division’s early struggles and eventual triumph in the capture of Buna, its first battle during WWII. Click on the book cover to the left, it will take you to Mr. Campbell's web site, where you will find information about how to purchase this book.

 

 

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Mr. Howard Kelley, a 32D Infantry Division Veteran, has written a book describing his service during World War II. In Born in the U.S.A. - Raised in New Guinea, he shares some of his most personal experiences as a member of the 'Red Arrow's' 3D Battalion, 127TH Infantry. This book offers a rare, first-hand glimpse of the 32D Infantry Division in World War II, as seen through the eyes of an enlisted GI. Click on the book cover to the left, it will take you to Mr. Kelley's web site, where you will find information about how to purchase this book.

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Mobilization, Training and Deployment to Australia

In August of 1940, Congress passed the legislation necessary to order National Guard units into active Federal Service during peacetime. The National Guard troops could not be required to serve for more than 12 months or outside of the Western Hemisphere.

All 18 existing National Guard divisions, plus countless, smaller, non-divisional units, would be called up in the months that followed; the 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Infantry Division was among the first. The National Guard of the United States was activated in 20 increments between 16 Sept. 1940 and 23 June 1941. The 32D Division was part of the second increment.

On 25 September 1940, President Roosevelt ordered 35,700 National Guard officers and men to active duty, with a report date of 15 October. This was the second increment of National Guard mobilizations and included the 32D Division, minus the 32D Tank Company which would be detached from the Div. and mobilized separately a few weeks later. The order included the announcement that the Div. would train at Camp Beauregard, LA. [added 27 Apr. ‘14]

Other units in this order were:

The 27TH Division from NY, minus its tank company; the Div. would train at Ft. McClellan, AL.

The 37TH Division from Ohio, minus its tank company as well as Co. F and Co. I, 112TH Med. Regt. The Div. would train at Camp Shelby, MS.

The 102D Observation Squadron from NY that would train at Ft. McClellan, AL.

The 153D Observation Squadron from MS that would train at its home station in Meridian, MS.

The 107TH Observation Squadron from MI that would train at Camp Beauregard, LA.

Since its post-WWI reorganization and Federal recognition in May of 1926 the 107TH had been organic to the 32D Division, however it was detached from the Div. when it was activated and came under control of the Regular Army. “The War Department was in alarm over the extent to which mechanized armor and military aviation had been neglected [in the Regular Army]. In a desperate, eleventh-hour effort to remedy the situation, all the National Guard Divisional Tank units and the Divisional Air Observation Squadrons were ordered to active duty as non-divisional troops and quite often sent to a different camp, or even a different Corps area, from that of the parent Division. (Hill 532) [added 27 Apr. ‘14]

Almost overnight the Army Air Corps grew from 55 air squadrons to 84. However, all 29 of the newly added National Guard aviation units were observation squadrons, the Air Corps did not need that many observation squadrons, they already had 10 to begin with. Most of the old National Guard observation squadrons would be converted to perform different missions, about two thirds of them would keep their original unit number, but a third of them would lose that too. [added 27 Apr. ‘14]

The 107TH retained its original unit number, but it would be converted to a photo reconnaissance squadron. Deployed to England in Aug. ’42, it flew British Spitfires for about a year until the arrival of its new F-6As, a photo reconnaissance variant of the P-51 ‘Mustang’. [added 27 Apr. ‘14]

The Wisconsin National Guard’s 126TH Observation Squadron would become the 34TH Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (the 126TH was not organic to the 32D Division, it was a Corps-level asset). [added 27 Apr. ‘14]

On 15 October 1940, the 32D Division (consisting of National Guard units from Michigan and Wisconsin) was called to Active Duty.

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The Division was commanded by Major General Irving J. Fish and had a strength of approximately 11,600 soldiers. Like almost all units in the National Guard, and even the Regular Army, at this time, the 32D Division was not at full strength and did not have all of the equipment it was authorized.

 

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"See You In a Year"
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"Honoring Those Who Have Served through Art".
A.M. Stencel
Stencel Military Fine Art

When the Division was called up, it was basically the same “square” division that it was during World War I. It was centered around the 125TH and 126TH Infantry Regiments of the 63D Infantry Brigade from Michigan and the 127TH and 128TH Infantry Regiments of the 64TH Infantry Brigade from Wisconsin. The 32D Division's 57TH Field Artillery Brigade was comprised of the 120TH, the 121ST and the 126TH Artillery Regiments of the Wisconsin National Guard.

The 119TH Field Artillery Regiment of the Michigan National Guard had recently been detached from the 32D Division and assigned to the 72D Field Artillery Brigade, headquartered in Michigan. The 72ND Field Artillery Brigade included the 182D Field Artillery, 177TH Field Artillery, and 119TH Field Artillery, all Michigan National Guard. The 126TH Field Artillery, which took the place of the 119TH Field Artillery in the 57TH Field Artillery Brigade, had recently been converted from the 105TH Cavalry Regiment of the Wisconsin National Guard.

Some of the major unit commanders at this time included:

63D Infantry Brigade - Brigadier General Thomas Colladay
    125TH Infantry Regiment - Colonel Matthias A. Weisenhoefer
    126TH Infantry Regiment - Colonel William Haze
64TH Infantry Brigade - Brigadier General Paul B. Clemens
    127TH Infantry Regiment - Colonel Forrest H. Himes
    128TH Infantry Regiment - Colonel William A. Holden
57TH Field Artillery Brigade - Brigadier General William S. Wood, Jr.
    120TH Field Artillery Regiment - Colonel Jim Dan Hill
    121ST Field Artillery Regiment - Colonel Waldemar F. Breidster
    126TH Field Artillery Regiment - Colonel Frederick C. T. John

On 20 October LTC J. Tracy Hale Jr. succeeded COL Himes as commander 127TH Infantry

During the last week or so of October 1940, the Division was shipped to Camp Beauregard, Louisiana. Most of the personnel and equipment were shipped by rail, but some advance detachments went by motor convoy.

The Division suffered its first casualty in one such convoy when PVT Donald George Henry, from Wisconsin Rapids, WI, died after being struck by a drunk driver at 1110 hours on 22 October at Covington, TN. He was one of several Soldiers riding their own motorcycles who were detailed to serve as dispatch riders and traffic guides for the convoy bound for Camp Beauregard, LA. The car driver, William Ford, had narrowly missed a couple of vehicles in the convoy before colliding with PVT Henry. The impact caused the motorcycle to become imbedded in the car; the two moved as one while the car spun several times. The motorcycle was dislodged when the car rolled. Henry was thrown inside the car; he suffered head injuries and a broken neck. He expired in the ambulance enroute to a hospital in nearby Ripley, TN. Ford escaped serious injury and was immediately arrested, a case of liquor was found in his car. He was supposedly charged with second degree murder. He, reportedly, had to be moved from the local jail to another location; the local populace being incensed by what he had done, there were threats he might be lynched. PVT Henry had enlisted in his local Wisconsin National Guard unit, Btry. E, 120TH FA Regt., at Wisconsin Rapids, WI shortly before they mobilized on 15 October. [added 24 Mar. ‘14]

Late in the afternoon of 22 October, the 81 officers and Soldiers then assigned to Co. E, 127TH Inf. marched from their brand new armory at the fairgrounds in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to the Chicago & North Western railroad depot. They were escorted by the local Marine Band. At the depot they embarked a special train which included Pullmans, diners, and baggage cars the trip to Camp Beauregard. [added 25 Dec. ‘13]

Also on 22 October, Co. G, 127TH Inf. departed from the Milwaukee Road railroad depot at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin at 2030 hours aboard a 12-car train bound for Camp Beauregard. A crowd of 4,000 citizens turned out see them off; the community had a population of 4,562 people in ’40. [added 15 Dec. ‘13]

Co. I, 127TH Inf., and the HQ Cos. of both the 1ST and 3D Bns. of the 127TH Inf., departed the Twin Cities of Menasha and Neenah, Wisconsin, bound for Camp Beauregard, on 22 October. A newspaper article in the Menasha Record on 20 October 1943, commemorating the 3rd anniversary of their mobilization for WWII, recalled that “The boys were given a rousing sendoff by the cities of Menasha and Neenah, whose people gathered upon the streets to see them on parade as they marched to the [Chicago & North Western Railroad] depot for entrainment to the southern camp.” [added 29 Apr. ‘13]

That process was repeated for 157 company-size units in 83 communities from Abbotsford, Wisconsin to Ypsilanti, Michigan at the end of Oct. ‘40. [added 29 Apr. ‘13]

The living conditions for the soldiers at Camp Beauregard were less-than-ideal, so some soldiers un-affectionately nicknamed it 'Camp Disregard.' The poor living conditions were partly the result of the fact that the camp was designed to accommodate one regiment, but the entire 32D Division was sent there anyway.

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Infantry Soldiers of the 32D Division stand at attention in a company street at Camp Beauregard, LA.

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Artillery Soldiers of the 32D Division stand at attention in a battery street at Camp Beauregard, LA.

On 16 November 1940, the 32D Division Tank Company of Janesville, Wisconsin (informally known as the Janesville Tank Company), which had been detached from the 32D Division, entered Federal service with a strength of 114 officers and men. The unit's name would be changed to Company A, 192D Tank Battalion, 1ST Armored Division.

“The War Department was in alarm over the extent to which mechanized armor and military aviation had been neglected [in the Regular Army]. In a desperate, eleventh-hour effort to remedy the situation, all the National Guard Divisional Tank units and the Divisional Air Observation Squadrons were ordered to active duty as non-divisional troops and quite often sent to a different camp, or even a different Corps area, from that of the parent Division. (Hill 532) [added 27 Apr. ‘14]

On 27 November, Company A, 192D Tank Battalion left Janesville in a convoy of trucks bound for Fort Knox, Kentucky. At Fort Knox, new M-3 light tanks were issued along with other vehicles and equipment.

On 4 December 1940, PVT Harold W. Buckley, from Madison, WI and assigned to Co. G, 128TH Inf., became the first 128TH Inf. Soldier to die since mobilization. He died of natural causes at Camp Livingston. He was a PVT in Co. G, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Madison, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. I thought he was the 1st Soldier from 32D Div. to die since mobilization, but have subsequently learned that PVT Donald G. Henry, 120TH FA Regt., was killed in an accident on 22 Oct. '41. [updated 24 Mar. ’14, added 11 Mar. ‘14]

In February of 1941, the 32D Division moved to Camp Livingston, Louisiana.

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A company street at Camp Livingston, LA.

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Co. D & HQ Detachment, 1ST Battalion, 128TH Infantry pass in review at Camp Livingston, LA, on 29 May 1941.

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BG Wood & Staff of the 57TH Field Artillery Brigade pass in review at Camp Livingston, LA, on 29 May 1941.

On 30 March 1941, a truck transporting (at least) five Soldiers from the 32D Division overturned at Fishville, LA. PVTs Albert A. Fiet and Robert W. Marx were two of those injured in the accident. Both men were members of HQ Co., 64TH Inf. Bde., Wisconsin National Guard, at Sparta, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. PVT Marx succumbed to his injuries (DNB) on 4 Apr. '41. PVT Fiet was expected to recover from his injuries, but his ultimate fate is unknown. [added 11 Mar. ‘14]

On 11 April 1941, 2LT Wilmer E. Esler, from Detroit, MI and assigned to the 107TH Observation Squadron, was killed in an air crash at Camp Beauregard’s airfield. He was killed when his O-47B, ser. no. 39-96, experienced engine failure on takeoff; it reached an altitude of about 150 feet before it crashed. Two companions were injured in the crash. On 19 Jun. '41 the air field at Camp Beauregard was named Esler Army Airfield in his honor. He was a 2LT in 107TH Observation Squadron, Michigan National Guard, at Romulus, MI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. The 107TH Observation Squadron had been organic to the 32D Div., but upon mobilization it was detached from the Div. and absorbed into the Regular Army’s fledgling air forces. [added 27 Apr. ‘14]

In July of 1941, the 32D Division’s official name was modified to 32D Infantry Division. This change applied to all U.S. divisions designated as infantry divisions.

On 12 August 1941, congress narrowly passed legislation that would allow the Federal service of the National Guard to be extended from 12 to 18 months, and would permit the National Guard to serve outside the Western Hemisphere.

In August and September of 1941, the 32D Division was participating, in the words of then COL Jim D. Hill, CO of the 120TH Field Artillery Regiment, "in a series of the most grandiose field exercises and full maneuvers ever staged any time, anywhere, before or since, by American troops. (430)" These exercises were collectively referred to as the Louisiana Maneuvers. They started out pitting division against division, then built up to corps against corps, and culminated in the grand finale of Lieutenant General Walter Krueger's Third Army taking the offensive against Lieutenant General Ben Lear's Second Army.

"The Great Maneuvers"

    "Lear's Second Army (Red) Order of Battle included 3 'square' Infantry Divisions (Guard), 2 'triangular' Infantry Divisions, two Armored and one Cavalry [horse] division. Krueger's Third Army (Blue) consisted of 8 'square' Infantry Divisions (Guard), two 'triangular' Infantry Divisions, one Tank Group of only 60 light tanks, 3 Anti-Tank Battalions, one Cavalry [horse] Division and one Cavalry [horse] Brigade. Each Army Commander had 300 Air Corps planes at his disposal. A company of paratroopers was present and operational for the first time in American history. Note that Lear was comparatively light and nimble with a tremendous preponderance in armor and enjoyed all the advantages inherent in being on the defense in most difficult terrain. The opposing Third Army was heavy with 330,000 officers and men, weak on proportional motor vehicles and short on Armor and modernity of Divisional organization and equipment.
    "Initial deployment for Krueger's Blues, with Headquarters at Lake Charles, was from Beaumont, Texas to Bayou Teche, Louisiana. Lear's Red Second Army initially was deployed North and East of the Red River from Alexandria Northwesterly to Shreveport and Caddo Lake on the Texas border. The river line and its terrain were unfavorable to tank tactics, hence Lear with some logic crossed the river on a wide front for a strong thrust forward to seize the comparatively open Peason Ridge country where the preponderance of Red Armor would be most advantageous. Red Cavalry swept wide from the Northwest flank to help foreclose the mortgage on Peason Ridge country and threaten Blue's flank from the line of the Sabine River. But the Red Cavalry did not sweep wide enough and started its flanking movement too soon. Krueger's Third Army Blue Cavalry successfully screened its own Army's open flank but also used its weight and mobility to sweep still more widely and cut deep into Red's rear North and East of Mansfield, Louisiana. While the horse cavalry war was proceeding along a line that would have met with the warm approval of both Phil Sheridan and Jeb Stuart, Blue Army's eight 'square' Guard Divisions were proving to be far less cumbersome and awkward than their obsolete organization and shortage of equipment had appeared to dictate. By temporarily 'grounding' a part of each division while all vehicles did fast shuttle movements, Blue Infantry from the Guard Divisions appeared amazingly soon in areas where time and space factors had suggested impossibility.
    "Fast shuttle motor movements reconcentrated the 'square' Divisions for coordinated attacks upon specified objectives on their fronts. Thus each Division fought its own little war within its zone of action. Lear's Red Armor was denied the ownership of Peason Ridge with its potential for a quick defensive victory through offensive tactics.
    "The Red Air Force was either less lucky or not so well handled. Moreover, it had been beefed up with some Navy fliers who knew not the terrain and who had no opportunity to become integrated into an instinctively reacting membership of their entire team. The 300 Blue planes were credited with more successful missions. A Blue paratroop drop of 127 officers and men, as rear area raiders and saboteurs, wrecked General Lear's Red communications. They stank up Lear's own headquarters with smoke bombs simulating complete destruction, which could have claimed Lear as a casualty. "A re-e-edicu-u-lous performance!" General Lear sputtered in the lobby of the Camp Polk movie theater shortly prior to the grand critique.
    "The Umpires must have partially thought likewise. The squad that pulled the stunt was ruled out because its only hostile identification was a short, thin strand of blue baby ribbon. This notwithstanding, the tide of battle forced Lear to displace his Headquarters to the rear. But it was the Cavalry that ended the long, hot, dusty campaign. With the Guard Cavalry Brigade screening and thus containing the entire Red Cavalry Division, the Blue Division of horse Cavalry swept far to westward and came in behind the Red forward positions to capture and destroy supplies. These included the Red gasoline depot. There could be but one Umpire ruling. The Red tanks and other mobile vehicles were declared immobile as their fuel tanks became empty.
    "The maneuver war was over except for the equally grandiose critique. In it there was almost as much yapping about improperly policed, vacated bivouac areas as there was about tactics and strategy. This fell alike upon all units, Regulars and Reservists in the 'triangular' Divisions and Guardsmen in the 'square' Divisions. This situation was indeed bad throughout the maneuvers for the simple reason that the thrifty Louisiana farmers broke out their shovels and opened all the marked and dated kitchen refuse pits as fast as the sites were vacated so that their hogs could get at the garbage. Maneuver Headquarters . . . must have been aware of this, for one of the Guard Regimental Executive Officers sought a measure of remedial action by switching the markings upon otherwise properly-covered kitchen pits and the latrine trenches. There appears to have been a civilian complaint. In any event, the Guard officer received a written rebuke for having displayed an unsanitary sense of humor. (Hill 431-33)"

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Soldiers of Co. D, 128TH Infantry, during the Louisiana Maneuvers in September 1941.

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A bivouac area during the Louisiana Maneuvers in September 1941.

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Soldiers conducting daily exercise in a bivouac area during the Louisiana Maneuvers in September 1941.

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A field kitchen during the Louisiana Maneuvers in September 1941.

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A truck from the 120TH Field Artillery Regiment stuck in mud during the Louisiana Maneuvers in September 1941.

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Engineers constructing a pontoon bridge during the Louisiana Maneuvers in September 1941.

 

 

About October of 1941, the Division organized a regimental combat team for the Carolina maneuvers (held later in November). It was called the 128TH Regimental Combat Team but it consisted of units from the 126TH, 127TH and 128TH Infantry, 120TH Artillery, 107TH Engineers, 107TH Medical Regiment and other personnel from the Division.

In mid-October 1941 the 192D Tank Battalion, including the former 32D Division Tank Company (now Co. A of the 192D), was moved by rail to San Francisco, California. The 192D was sent to the Philippines, where with the 194TH Tank Battalion became the Provisional Tank Group on Luzon. This Tank Group included the tank companies from the National Guard Divisions from California (40TH), Kentucky (38TH), Illinois (33D), Minnesota (34TH), Ohio (37TH) and Wisconsin (32D).

Prior to the creation of the 1ST and 2D Armored Divisions on 15 July 1940, the only armored force the US Regular Army had was an experimental Mechanized Cavalry Brigade at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Just prior to the induction of the National Guard divisions, their organic tank companies were declared non-divisional GHQ (General Headquarters) Troops. As a result, each division was stripped of its tank company and those companies now came under the direct control of the new and growing Armored Force, with then BG Adna R. Chaffee as its first Chief. When it was recognized that US forces in the Philippines needed some tanks for a more balanced force against the rising threat from Japan, BG Chaffee selected the 6 National Guard tank companies mentioned above. The tank companies of the 18 National Guard Divisions represented the oldest, most-experienced, and best-equipped armored units in being in the US. These National Guard tank companies had been training with World War I French tanks (FT-17) up until about 1940 and only now were being equipped with the M-3 light tank.

On 13 November, Brigadier General William S. Wood, Jr. resigned so he could return to his civilian job as vice-president and general manager of Beloit Iron Works (later Beloit Corp.), which was starting to receive numerous defense contracts. He was succeeded by Brigadier General Ellerbe W. Carter as Commander of the 57TH Field Artillery Brigade. About the same time Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth L. Hallenbeck became the commander of the 125TH Infantry, taking the place of Colonel Matthias A. Wiesenhoefer.

On 3 December 1941 the 632D Tank Destroyer Battalion was formed at Camp Livingston, Louisiana from personnel of the 32D Infantry Division.

When the 'square' National Guard divisions were 'triangularized', each was required to create one tank destroyer battalion from surplus units (for some reason, the 41ST Division was not faced with this requirement). These battalions were numbered in the 600-series with the last 2 digits indicating the division it came from. There were 7 additional tank destroyer battalions created from the 7 brigades of National Guard corps artillery. They were numbered in the 700-series with the last 2 digits indicating the brigade it was created from. These battalions were non-divisional units, they were GHQ Troops under the control of the Armored Force (so technically they were not organic to the parent unit). However, some of these tank destroyer battalions went overseas as an attachment to the parent unit and were, for the most part, considered organic to them. Most were separated, some were redesignated to become part of an armored division, others were inactivated with their personnel absorbed into some other Armored Force unit.

The 632D Tank Destroyer Battalion was, essentially, treated as an organic unit of the 32D Division. It went to Australia with the 32D Division. It fought with the 32D at Aitape and Saidor. It went into the battle for Leyte with the 1ST Cavalry Division, but later joined the 32D on Leyte. On Luzon it was initially attached to the 13TH Armored Group but subsequently served with 37TH, 44TH and 32D Divisions on Luzon.

On 7 December 1941, in conjunction with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began bombing the Philippines in preparation for an amphibious assault a few days later. Company A, 192D Tank Battalion (formerly the 32D Div. Tank Co.) fought against the Imperial Japanese Forces in many engagements and rear guard actions, and rendered assistance in covering the eventual retreat of our forces into Bataan.

Wisconsin’s Governor Julius P. Heil visited the Soldiers of the 32D Division at Camp Livingston, LA on 10 December. [added 27 Aug. ‘13]

On 1 February 1942, the 32D Division was reorganized into a “triangular” division, centered around three infantry regiments instead of four. This change affected all National Guard divisions (the Regular Army divisions had been “triangularized” starting 1 Nov. ‘40). Obviously a reorganization of this size and scope was not completed in one day; 1 February is simply the official date of the reorganization.

The 32D and 37TH Divisions were the first National Guard divisions to convert on 1 February 1942, the conversion of the other National Guard divisions was staggered between that day and 1 September 1942. With this reorganization, all divisional infantry brigade headquarters (with one exception) were disbanded. One infantry brigade headquarters company from each division was converted and redesignated as the division reconnaissance troop (with two exceptions). The headquarters and headquarters battery of each divisional field artillery brigade was reorganized as the division artillery headquarters and headquarters battery. Other divisional elements were reorganized, redesignated, reassigned, or disbanded.

As a result, the 125TH Infantry Regiment was detached from the Division and assigned to Fourth Army to expand the forces defending the West Coast. The three existing artillery regiments (120TH, 121ST and 126TH) were converted into four battalions (120TH, 121ST, 126TH and 129TH; three battalions of 105mm howitzers and one battalion of 155mm howitzers).

The 1ST Battalion of the 120TH Field Artillery Regiment became the 120TH Field Artillery Battalion.

The 2D Battalion of the 120TH Field Artillery Regiment became the 129TH Field Artillery Battalion.

The 1ST Battalion of the 121ST Field Artillery Regiment became the 121ST Field Artillery Battalion on 1 February 1942.

The 1ST Battalion of the 126TH Field Artillery Regiment became the 126TH Field Artillery Battalion.

 

The 2D Bns. of the 121ST and 126TH FA Regts. were initially combined to form the 173D Field Artillery Regiment. The 2D Bn., 126TH FA became the 1ST Bn., 173D FA Regt. on 16 Jan. ’42, and the 2D Bn, 121ST FA became 2D Bn., 173D FA Regt. [updated 28 Apr. ‘14]

 

The 173D FA Regt. was short-lived, it was redesignated the 173D Field Artillery Group on 24 February 1942 during yet another reorganization. The 1ST Bn., 173D FA Regt. was redesignated the 173D FA Bn. on 8 Feb. ’43. The 2D Bn., 173D FA Regt. was redesignated the 985TH FA Bn. The 173D FA Group served in the Mediterranean Theater and primarily fought in Italy (Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, North Appenines, and Po Valley Campaigns). [updated 28 Apr. ‘14]

The engineer, medical and quartermaster regiments were also converted into battalions as part of the reorganization to a “triangular” division. When the reorganization was complete, the 32D ‘Red Arrow’ Infantry Division consisted of the following units:

Division Headquarters and Headquarters Company

Military Police Company
126TH Infantry Regiment
127TH Infantry Regiment
128TH Infantry Regiment

Division Artillery Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (formerly HHB, 57TH FA BDE)

120TH Field Artillery Battalion (LTC Harold A. Morgan)

121ST Field Artillery Battalion (LTC Melvin L. McCreary)

126TH Field Artillery Battalion (LTC Ross J. Quatsoe)

129TH Field Artillery Battalion (LTC Kenneth J. Hough)

107TH Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Colonel Ralph A. Loveland)
107TH Medical Battalion (LTC Carl Hanna)
107TH Quartermaster Battalion (MAJ Donald M. Farris)
32D Signal Company
32D Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (created from 64TH Inf. Bde. HQs from Sparta, WI)
[updated 28 Apr. ‘14]
632D Tank Destroyer Battalion (not officially organic to the Division) (MAJ Roy W. Bailey)

 

The drastic reorganization meant that thousands of the Division’s soldiers and officers were now excess, and their pending loss was difficult for many at first. Many of these men were National Guard Soldiers from Michigan and Wisconsin who had served with the 32D Division for years. Some of them, especially junior enlisted and junior officers, could be transferred to fill vacancies within the Division. For many, the only option was a transfer to some other unit outside the Division.

 

COL John C. P. Hanley and LTC Sylvester S. Zintek were transferred to the 28TH ‘Keystone’ Infantry Division (Pennsylvania National Guard), then training at nearby Camp Beauregard, LA. Both had been with the Wisconsin National Guard for many years, COL Hanley resided in Chilton, Wisconsin, and had commanded the 107TH Quartermaster Regiment, LTC Zintek was from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and had been the regimental surgeon for 127TH Infantry.

 

COL Hanley was the commander of the 107TH QM Regt., Wisconsin National Guard, when the 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. He was a CPT assigned to Co. B, 4TH Wis. Inf. at Stanley, WI, when the Wisconsin National Guard mobilized for WWI. That company became HQ Co, 107TH Ammunition Train when the 32D Div. was created. CPT Hanley served with that unit in France during WWI. MAJ Hanley served with the 105TH Cav. Regt., Wisconsin National Guard, ca. 1920 to 1940, ultimately attaining the rank of COL and assigned as commander of the regiment. COL Hanley served in the European Theater during WWII. After his arrival in England he was assigned base transportation officer for the Normandy invasion. Later he was made chief of transportation for the UK and the liberated countries of Europe. He earned the French Croix de Guerre and Legion of Merit for his WWII service. When he was discharged after the war he moved to Manitowoc, WI, he died there suddenly on 22 Jul. '50 at the age of 59. He is interred at Evergreen Cemetery, Manitowoc, WI.

 

Only two of the Division’s original full-bird Colonels remained after the reorganization. COL J. Tracy Hale, from Milwaukee, remained commander of the 127TH Infantry. COL Frederick C. T. John, from Milwaukee, had been the commander of the 126TH FA Regt.

 

None of the Division’s four general officers survived the reorganization. Major General Irving J. Fish, from Wisconsin and commanding general of the Division, was soon to be transferred. Brigadier General Thomas Colladay, from Flint, Michigan, and commander of the 63D Inf. Bde., retired. Brigadier General Paul B. Clemens, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and commander of the 64TH Inf. Bde., transferred. Brigadier General William S. Wood, Jr., commander of the 57TH FA Bde., resigned, as mentioned above.

 

A number of the 32D Division’s now excess officers were transferred to help form the nucleus of the fledgling 82D ‘All-American’ Division which was just starting to be organized at nearby Camp Claiborne, LA, under the command of Major General Omar N. Bradley.

 

In February of 1942, General Fish was reassigned to other duties when he became over-age for combat command. General Fish had been associated with the 32D Division and the Wisconsin National Guard for many years; he served on the Mexican Border with the Wisconsin National Guard in 1916 and served with the 32D Division in World War I.

 

In truth, the creation and enforcement of this 'over-age' policy was little more than a thinly veiled excuse to get rid of senior National Guard officers and give their desirable commands to Regular Army officers. To make a long, complicated story short, the Regular Army in 1940 was bloated with officers, especially colonels but other officer ranks as well. This excess in officers was partly caused by the fact that the strength of the Regular Army was drastically reduced after World War I; they got rid of many enlisted soldiers but kept many officers. Also, the promotion system for officers between the wars was very ineffective. Sometimes the Regular Army officers that replaced these so-called 'over-age' National Guard officers were themselves over-age or later became over-age but were not replaced when they did. Another tactic used to replace National Guard officers with Regular Army officers was to give the National Guard officers extremely rigorous physical examinations, much more thorough than those given to enlisted soldiers, junior officers or Regular Army officers. In this way they could create more vacancies for Regular Army officers by claiming that some of these National Guard officers suffered from often unnamed or nonexistent ailments. This information is not being included here to imply that these Regular Army officers were in any way undeserving or unqualified for these positions. It is only being included to point out that some National Guard officers were treated in an unjust and unprofessional manner by some in the Regular Army.

 

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On 9 February 1942, Brigadier General Edwin F. Harding took command of the Division. He was promoted to Major General on 13 February.

 

MG Harding came to the 32D Division from the 9TH Infantry Division, where he had been assistant division commander. Before that he had been commander of the 27TH Infantry Regiment (at that time the 27TH Infantry was assigned to the Hawaiian Division). He had graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1909. He was a native of Franklin, Ohio.

 

Brigadier General Albert W. Waldron was assigned to the Division around this time as commanding general, 32D Division Artillery.

Shortly after General Harding assumed command, the Division moved to Fort Devens, Massachusetts and began preparing to be shipped to Northern Ireland.

On 25 March 1942, the Division was notified that it was being sent to Australia to help halt the Japanese advances in the Southwest Pacific and attempt to put the Japanese on the defensive.

The 32D Division, along with the 41ST Division, would become part of I Corps in Australia. Major General Robert L. Eichelberger, a classmate of General Harding’s at West Point, was the I Corps commander. I Corps had been scheduled to participate in Operation Torch in North Africa later in the year, until a last minute change sent it, too, to Australia. General Eichelberger had seen sudden changes of mission before (and he would see more in the future), during World War I, when scheduled to go to France, a last minute change found him as assistant chief of staff of our American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, Russia.

On 9 April 1942, Bataan fell to the Japanese. All surviving members of Company A, 192D Tank Battalion became prisoners and, along with the other American and Philippine forces who surrendered to the Japanese, participated in the infamous "Death March." Three years later, after the defeat of Japan, the 35 remaining men of the Janesville Tank Company were released from POW camps and returned home. The Company had 114 officers and men when it entered Federal service on 16 Nov. 1940.

 

On 10 April 1942, the Division boarded troop trains at Fort Devens and headed for San Francisco, the last train arriving there on 14 April. The 107TH Engineers had already sailed for Europe so the 114TH Engineer Combat Battalion from New England hastily took their place in the 32D Division.

 

While preparing to embark, the Division picked up some 3,000 replacements, most of these had just finished basic training (the Division was still short around 1,800 men).

On 22 April, the 32D Division sailed from San Francisco bound for Australia, making them the first U.S. division to be shipped overseas in one convoy.

The convoy consisted of:

Troopships:

·         USAT Ancon (formerly SS Ancon, later became USS Ancon (AP-66))

·         USAT Argentina (formerly SS Argentina)

·         USAT Hugh L. Scott (formerly SS President Pierce, later became USS Hugh L. Scott (AP-43)): carried 632D Tank Destroyer Battalion, 114TH Engineer Battalion, 107TH Medical Battalion, 32D Reconnaissance Troop [according to a copy of the ship’s newsletter The Deep Sea Doodle dated 11 May ‘42].

·         USAT Lurline (formerly SS Lurline): carried some or all of the 126TH Infantry Regiment.

·         USAT Matsonia (formerly SS Matsonia)

·         USAT Monterey (formerly SS Monterey)

·         USS Mount Vernon (AP-22) (formerly SS Washington): carried some or all of the 127TH Infantry Regiment.

Freighters:

·         SS Hawaiian Planter

·         SS Hawaiian Merchant

Escort:

·         USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

·         Two Australian destroyers joined the convoy as it neared its destination. [updated 19 May ‘12]

It is interesting to note that the date 7 May 1942 never existed for the men of the 32D Division. When their convoy crossed the International Date Line, they went from 6 May to 8 May.

On 14 May 1942 the 32D Division reached Adelaide, South Australia. It was sent to Camp Woodside (east of Adelaide) and Camp Sandy Creek (north of Adelaide).

In July of 1942 the Division relocated to Camp Tamborine, near Brisbane on Australia's east coast. The 900-mile move from Adelaide to Brisbane was rather difficult. Much of the Division's equipment and personnel were shipped by railroad (some also went by sea). Each Territory in Australia had its own (different) rail gauge (gauge refers to the distance between the two rails). The trains had to stop at the border of each territory; the train was then unloaded and all the equipment and soldiers had to be loaded onto a different train that was compatible with the rail gauge in the next territory. The 32D Division crossed the borders of four Australian Territories before it reached Brisbane.

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On 30 August, Camp Tamborine was renamed Camp Cable, in honor of Tec. 5 Gerald O. Cable, a Soldier from Michigan assigned to Service Company, 126TH Infantry. Tec. 5 Cable was making the trip to Brisbane aboard a Liberty Ship that was transporting some of the Division’s equipment. He went MIA, presumed KIA, when the ship, William Dawes, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on 22 July. He was on deck at the time of the attack and survivors believe he was killed in the initial explosion. He became the first Soldier of the 32D Division to be KIA in World War II. Tec. 5 Cable was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service and sacrifice on 22 Jul. ‘42. More information about him and his medal can be found on the roster of Silver Star recipients. [added 1 Feb. ‘13]

 

In August 1942 the 107TH Engineer Battalion (Michigan National Guard and formerly part of the 32D Division) and the 112TH Engineer Battalion (Ohio) were combined to form the 112TH Engineer Regiment in Ireland.

 

 

“NEW” photo added 7 Jun. ‘14

photo from collection of Tec. 5 Sydney E. Anderson

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Unit photograph of 1ST Platoon, Company A, 128TH Infantry – Somewhere in Australia

 

Men Lying Down: Pvt. Dominig Pifatta and Pvt. Lawrence.  1st Row, L to R: Pvt. Lawrence Hansford, Pvt. Cody Horly, Pfc. Sydney E. Anderson, Pvt. Milford Jones, Corp. Lyle R. Froeschle, Corp. Leo W. Rubusch, Corp. Kenneth A. Drake, Sgt. Richard E. ‘Rich’ Randles, Pvt. Claude Jones, Pvt. Leonard Badaczewski.  2nd Row, L to R: Pvt. Robert Nevins, Pvt. Chester Jones, Pvt. William Early, Pvt. Victor A. ‘Vic’ Jablonowski, Pvt. Clarence Jackson, Pfc. Bob Einim, Pfc. Orville Geise, Pvt. Leonard Hardin, Pvt. Ed Henderson, Pvt. John R. Mansfield.  3rd Row, L to R: Pvt. Robert H. Ivy, Pvt. Edmund Henke, Pvt. Link P. ‘Pershing’ Hopper, Corp. Virgil M. Stang, Sgt. Donald L. 'Donny' Gunvalson (Gunvaldson or Gunnaldson) (platoon guide), Lt. Hopkins (platoon leader), SSgt. Allen K. Johnson (platoon sergeant), Sgt. Henry Aho, Sgt. Richard L. ‘Rich’ Becker.  4th Row, L to R: Pfc. Carl Foss, Pvt. Aloysius Hieger (Alousos Heiger), Pvt. Roland (Ronald) P. Grossheim, Pvt. Clarence Henderson, Pvt. E. E. Jones, Pvt. Clifford J. Horn, Pvt. Clyde Gaskin, Pvt. Van W. Hill, Pvt. Ralph Hathoway, Pfc. Stanley Severson, Pfc. Marvin Market, Pvt. Harvey Hornbeck.  5th Row, L to R: Pvt. Clyde Downing, Pvt. Albert Dunn, Pvt. Robert J. Soden, Pvt. Orville L. Harbison, Pfc. John L. Halvorson, Pvt. Ken M. Mahoney, Pfc. Herman Seiler.

 

Photograph submitted by HSC Michael R. Anderson, USCG; grandson of Sydney E. Anderson. [added 7 Jun. ‘14]

 

SGT Henry Aho was from Menomonie, WI. He was a PVT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

PVT Leonard J. Badaczewski (Badazewski) was from Cuyahoga Co., OH. He entered active service 15 Oct. '40 at Cleveland, OH as PVT with Ohio National Guard.

SGT Richard L. Becker was from Dunn Co., WI. He was a CPL in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

PVT Clyde L. Downing was from Bragg City, MO.

SGT Kenneth A. Drake was from Dunn Co., WI. He was a PFC in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

CPL Lyle R. Froeschle was from Dunn Co., WI. He was a PVT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

PFC Roland (Ronald) P. Grossheim was from St. Louis, MO. He was KIA 2 Dec. '42 near Buna, New Guinea, earned Purple Heart, and is interred at Manila American Cemetery.

SSG Donald L. 'Donny' Gunvalson (Gunvaldson), platoon guide, was from Spring Valley, WI. He was a PVT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

PFC John L. Halvorson was from Menomonie, WI. He was a PVT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

PVT Orville L. Harbison was from Oregon Co., MO. He was KIA 2 Dec. '42 near Buna, New Guinea, earned Purple Heart, and is interred at Myrtle Cemetery, Myrtle, MO.

PVT Aloysius Hieger (Alousos Heiger) was from St Louis, MO. He was KIA, date and circumstances unknown, repatriated and re-interred ca. Aug. '48 at Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, Saint Louis, MO.

PFC Van W. Hill was from Craighead Co., AR. He entered service 10 Jul. '42 at Little Rock, AR. He has been MIA since 28 Jan. '44 at Teteri, near Saidor, New Guinea, FOD 17 Jan. '46. PFC Hill earned DSC for his actions 28 Jan. '44 at Teteri, he also earned Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. He is listed on Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery and is also memorialized at Macey Cemetery, Monette, AR.

PVT Link P. ‘Pershing’ Hopper was from Fornfelt, MO. He entered service 5 Jan. '42. He was KIA 2 Dec. '42 near Buna, New Guinea, repatriated ca. Jun. '48 and re-interred at Saint Joseph Cemetery, Scott County, MO.

PFC Robert H. Ivy was from Cherokee Co., KS. He entered service 8 Sep. '43 at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He was WIA and earned Purple Heart.

SSG Allen K. Johnson, the platoon sergeant, was from Menomonie, WI. He was a SGT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

PVT Lawrence might be Glenn E. Lawrence who entered service 24 Mar. '43 at Fresno, CA and was KIA 26 May '45 on Luzon, Philippines. He earned Purple Heart w/OLC and is interred at Manila American Cemetery.

PVT John R. Mansfield was from Indianapolis, IN. He entered service 29 Dec. '41 at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN. SSG Mansfield was KIA 17 Nov. '44 on Leyte, Philippines, shortly before he was scheduled to go home, and is interred at Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN.

SGT Richard E. Randles was a PFC in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40.

TSgt. Leo W. Rubusch (Rubush) was from Menomonie, WI. He was a PVT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. He was WIA near Buna, New Guinea and earned Purple Heart w/OLC.

PFC Robert J. Soden was from Pepin Co., WI. He was a PVT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. He was WIA and earned Purple Heart.

CPL Virgil M. Stang was from St. Croix Co., WI. He was a PVT in Co. A, 128TH Inf., Wisconsin National Guard, at Menomonie, WI when 32D Div. mobilized on 15 Oct. '40. CPL Stang earned a Silver Star, date and circumstances unknown.
 

Next Section - Papuan Campaign - Strategic Situation And Overview

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Bibliography (primary sources for historical information regarding the 32D ‘The Red Arrow’ Infantry Division’s exploits during World War II):

Blakeley, H. W., Major General, Retired.  The 32D Infantry Division in World War II.  The Thirty-second Infantry Division History Commission, State of Wisconsin, n.d.
Cannon, M. Hamlin.  Leyte: The Return to the PhilippinesU. S. Army Center of Military History, 1954.
Carlisle, John M.  Red Arrow Men: Stories About the 32nd Division on the Villa Verde.  Detroit: Arnold-Powers, Inc., 1945.

Drea, Edward J.  Defending the Driniumor: Covering Force Operations in New Guinea, 1944.  Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1984.

Drea, Edward J.  New Guinea - The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War II.  U. S. Army Center of Military History, n.d.
Hill, Jim Dan, Major General, Retired.  The Minute Man in Peace and War.  Harrisburg: The Stackpole Company, 1964.
Jungwirth, Clarence J.  Diary of a National Guardsman in World War II.  Oshkosh, WI: Poeschl Printing Company, 1991.
Mayo, Lida.  Bloody Buna.  Canberra, Australia: Australian National University Press, 1975.

Miller, John, Jr.  Cartwheel: The Reduction of Rabaul.  U. S. Army Center of Military History, 1959.

Milner, Samuel.  Victory in Papua.  U. S. Army Center of Military History, 1957.
Papuan Campaign - The Buna-Sanananda Operation.  Washington, D.C.: Historical Division, War Department, 1945.
The Red Arrow - 1955 - The 32D Division, Wisconsin National Guard.  n.p., 1955.
Smith, Herbert M., Lieutenant Colonel, Retired. Four Score and Ten: Happenings in the Life of Herbert M. Smith.  Eau Claire, WI: Heins Publications, 1995.

Smith, Herbert M., Lieutenant Colonel, Retired. Hannibal Had Elephants II.  Eau Claire, WI: Rev. William A. Heins, 1995.

Smith, Robert Ross.  The Approach to the Philippines.  U. S. Army Center of Military History, 1953.
Smith, Robert Ross. 
Triumph in the Philippines.  U. S. Army Center of Military History, 1963.

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