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Top US Divisions in the ETO

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by KodiakBeer, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    There is a famous letter written to Genera Hobbs (30th ID) by S.L.A. Marshall, where he tells him that the 35 historians at SHAEF were asked by Eisenhower to rate the Divisions in the theater in order of performance, for the purpose of awarding presidential unit citations. There was a list for Infantry Divisions and another for Armored Divisions, and the 30th was rated as the best Infantry Division. There was a "top 5" in each category that were supposed to get the award.

    Over the years, a lot of people have asked what happened to those lists. Which unit was rated as the best Armored Division? What other units also made the top 5?

    There is a film project on the 30th Division (linked below) that has uncovered those lists. In the trailer, a screen grab reveals a partial page where you can see the #1, #4 and #5 from the Infantry Division list. Numbers two and three are on the left side of the page that you can't see.

    #1: 30th Infantry Division
    #2: Not Visible
    #3: Not Visible
    #4: 1st Infantry Division
    #5: 5th Infantry Division

    Nothing is visible of the Armored Division list.

    Apparently, another list was also compiled within SHAEF and the 30th made that list as well, but the trailer doesn't reveal if they were also at the top, so that list may differ from the Marshall findings.

    It would be fascinating to see these lists! Does anyone have any insight into this? Does anyone know where these lists might be found?

    Heroes Of Old Hickory - Heroes of Old Hickory
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I know the full list is somewhere on this forum. Finding it will be the issue.

    From the letter:

    Armored divisions were on a different list. I've never seen that list.

    I am left to wonder if airborne divisions were considered "infantry?"
     
  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I don't think the Airborne would make the top of the list, simply because they were pulled out for two months beginning in July and didn't return until Market Garden in September. They simply wouldn't have seen as much action as some of the infantry divisions who were in the ETO for the full eleven months.

    Of course, even that criteria of rating only within the ETO is kind of unfair because it doesn't credit those divisions who were in north Africa, Sicily, Italy, prior to Normandy.

    Still, it is what it is and I'd like to see those ratings.
     
  4. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The letter is well known, but the list has always remained elusive.
     
  6. dobbie

    dobbie recruit

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    I dont know if airborne divisions would be listed separately, but the 101st Airborne was the first full division awarded the Presidential Unit Citation instead of individual regiments within ....would think that would account for something?
     
  7. Cas

    Cas Member

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    Never heard of these lists, but I wonder which Armored divisions made the top 3, my guess should be 2nd and 3rd
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I've written the film people asking if they could release those lists. So far, they have not responded.

    Here is the screen grab from the movie trailer.

    View attachment 17935
     

    Attached Files:

  9. dobbie

    dobbie recruit

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    IIRC, the 101st Airborne division was the first to have the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the entire division for its defense of Bastogne.
     
  10. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    As far as I know, there were two lists. One put together by S. L. A. Marshall and his SHAEF historians, and another put together by some other SHAEF staff group. Or, more accurately, two sets of lists - one each for infantry armored divisions from two different staff groups.

    The lists have always been hidden, probably just to minimize butt-hurt by all the divisions over their rankings.

    The people I linked in the OP have found those lists, so they are out there somewhere. I'd love to see them. They have not responded to my email queries so they apparently want to keep them proprietary until (if) their film ever gets released.

    The reason I don't think the Airborne would make the top of an honest list isn't because they didn't perform well in combat (they certainly did), but because they were essentially held in reserve for much of the war - that's the nature of airborne warfare. Many of the infantry and armored divisions were in continuous combat from Normandy to the Elbe. They fought a lot more battles, took more ground, took more prisoners, killed more Germans, etc.
     
  11. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The 101st was the first U.S. Army Division in the ETO to be awarded a PUC, but its initial award was for Normandy, Bastogne was a second award.
    The first U.S. Army Division to receive the award was the 32d Infantry Division for Kokoda-Buna Gona in the PTO a little over a year before the Normandy Invasion.
    "the first full division awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.." This is true for U.S. Army units, but the first divisional sized unit to be awarded a PUC in WWII was the First Marine Division, (also PTO) for Guadalcanal in 1942. They would also end up with the most, three, Guadalcanal, Peleilu, and Okinawa.
     

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