The 84th Infantry Division lineage dates back to as early as 1917. In the early years, it was known as the “Lincoln Division”, made up of units primarily from Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana. During WWI, the Lincoln Division provided replacements for other units, but saw no combat as a division. They were inactivated January 1919, and reactivated in October 1942.1 The 84th Infantry Division was made up of: three infantry regiments, four field artillery battalions, one engineering combat battalion, one medical battalion, one signal battalion, one light maintenance company, one quartermaster company, and a recon troop. The division was comprised of about 16,000 men in 1943.2
The 84th Infantry “insignia consists of a white ax splitting a white rail on a red circular background.”3 They are known as the Railsplitters, a tribute to Abraham Lincoln’s famous use of an ax. Once reactivated in 1942, the men began their preparations for WWII by war gaming at the Louisiana maneuver area, a training camp filled with some of the harshest elements, to include marshes and hilly terrain. They practiced “free maneuvers”, which was the combination of infantry, artillery, tank destroyers, and other branches of the Army.4 They trained in amphibious operations, and hundreds of new Railsplitters learned to swim. The veteran commanders seemed to have a great grasp on what their men needed before sending them to the front lines of western Germany.5
After eight weeks of intense training in the swamps of Louisiana, the Railsplitters were then relocated to Winchester, England for one month, and conducted policing and mine training.
The following story is of you, actions and accomplishments to date. Much history is yet to be made. Mere human wo...
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...ibly be experienced on the western front. Because of the training done in Britain, it made the battle of Geilenkirchen a success, due to the fact that all players were familiar with how each Army operated. By identifying the strengths that each Army had to offer, and employing them in the right situations, this also contributed to the success of the mission.
Weather is always a factor in any battle. Commanders must always consider the effects of equipment and personnel in any type of environment. When we rely on a piece of equipment that requires a dry environment, such as a tank, planning a battle during a wet season may not be the most suitable decision.
Although the 84th Infantry consisted mainly of Reserve, National Guard, and draftees, it goes to show that the people’s will to win when fighting for a just cause may be the strongest power on the battlefield.
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