The Red Bull in World War II 34th Infantry Division Resources 1941-1945

History of the 34th Division

World War II, 1941-1945

34th Division FAQ

  • Activated: 10 February 1941 (National Guard Division from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota).
  • Overseas: May 1942
  • Days of combat: 517
  • Distinguished Unit Citations: 3
  • Awards:
    • Medal of Honor: 10
    • Distinguished Service Crosses: 98
    • Distinguished Service Medals: 1
    • Silver Stars: 1,153
    • Bronze Stars: 2,545
    • Legion Of Merit: 116
    • Soldier's Medal: 54
    • Purple Hearts: 15,000
  • Casualties:
    • Killed in Action: 3,737
    • Wounded in action: 14,165
    • Missing in action: 3,460
    • Total Battle Casualties: 21,362
  • Commanders:
    • Maj. Gen. Ellard A. Walsh (February-August 1941)
    • Maj. Gen. Russell P. Hartle (August 1941-May 1942)
    • Maj. Gen. Charles W. Ryder (May 1942-July 1944)
    • Maj. Gen. Charles L. Bolte (July 1944 to inactivation)
  • Returned to U. S.: 3 November 1945.
  • Inactivated: 3 November 1945.


  • The National Guard’s 34th Infantry “Red Bull” Division, as part of the US North African invasion force, was credited as having the first American soldier to step off the boat in support of the war effort on North African soil.
  • The 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division holds the distinction of having spent more days in combat than any other US Army Division in World War II.
  • The 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division holds the distinction of having taken more enemy-defended hills than any other US Army Division in World War II.


Order of Battle

34th Infantry Division
Mediterranean Theater of Operations, WWII
  • 34th Division Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • 133rd Infantry Regiment
  • 135th Infantry Regiment
  • 168th Infantry Regiment
    • 168th Commandos
  • 100th Infantry Battalion (9 Sep 43 - 31 Mar 44)
  • 442nd Regimental Combat Team (12 Jun 44 - 10 Aug 44)
  • 34th Division Artillery, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery
    • 125th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)
    • 151st Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)
    • 175th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)
    • 185th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm)
  • 34th Military Police Company
  • 34th Quartermaster Company
  • 34th Reconnaisance Troop (Mechanized)
  • 34th Signal Company
  • 109th Engineer (Combat) Battalion
  • 109th Medical Battalion
  • 734th Ordnance (Light Maintenance) Company
  • 1st Ranger Battalion (separate, but activated with 80% 34ID personnel)

Distinctive Unit Insignia
34th Infantry Division

133rd Regiment

135th Regiment

168th Regiment

100th Battalion

442nd Regiment

125th Field Artillery

151st Field Artillery

175th Field Artillery

185th Field Artillery

109th Medical

109th Engineer


34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls"
133rd Infantry Regiment

Nominal strength: 3,258 men

  • Headquarters
  • 1st Battalion: HQ Company, Rifle Companies A, B, C; Heavy Weapons Company D
  • 2nd Battalion: HQ Company, Rifle Companies E, F, G; Heavy Weapons Company H
  • 3rd Battalion: HQ Company, Rifle Companies I, K, L; Heavy Weapons Company M
  • Cannon Company
  • Attached Units:
    • 151st Field Artillery Battalion
    • 757th Tank Battalion
    • 807th Tank Destroyers Battalion
  • Mediacl, supply, mess and transportation personel with various attached Battalion Trains as needed


Elements of an army
9 to 10 soldiers. Typically commanded by a sergeant or staff sergeant, a squad or section is the smallest element in the Army structure, and its size is dependent on its function.
16 to 44 soldiers. A platoon is led by a lieutenant with an NCO as second in command, and consists of two to four squads or sections.
62 to 190 soldiers. Three to five platoons form a company, which is commanded by a captain with a first sergeant as the commander's principle NCO assistant. An artillery unit of equivalent size is called a battery, and a comparable armored or air cavalry unit is called a troop.
300 to 1,000 soldiers. Four to six companies make up a battalion, which is normally commanded by a lieutenant colonel with a command sergeant major as principle NCO assistant. A battalion is capable of independent operations of limited duration and scope. An armored or air cavalry unit of equivalent size is called a squadron.
3,000 to 5,000 solders. A brigade headquarters commands the tactical operation of two to five organic or attached combat battalions. Normally commanded by a colonel with a command sergeant major as senior NCO, brigades are employed on independent or semi-independent operations. Armored cavalry, ranger and special forces units this size are categorized as regiments or groups.
10,000 to 15,000 soldiers. Usually consisting of three brigade-sized elements and commanded by a major general, divisions are numbered and assigned missions based on their structures. The division performs major tactical operations for the corps and can conduct sustained battles and engagements.
20,000 to 45,000 soldiers. Two to five divisions constitute a corps, which is typically commanded by a lieutenant general. As the deployable level of command required to synchronize and sustain combat operations, the corps provides the framework for multi-national operations.

50,000 + soliders. Typically commanded by a lieutenant general or higher, an army combines two or more corps. A theater army is the ranking Army component in a unified command, and it has operational and support responsibilities that are assigned by the theater commander in chief. The commander in chief and theater army commander may order formation of a field army to direct operations of assigned corps and divisions. An army group plans and directs campaigns in a theater, and is composed of two or more field armies under a designated commander. Army groups have not been employed by the Army since World War II.





34th Division Battle Highlights

8 Nov 1942: Elements of 34th Infantry Division: 175th FA Bn., 168th Infantry, 3rd Bn., 135th Infantry, 1 Platoon, Company “C” 109th Engineer. Company “C” 109th Med. Battalion, as part of Eastern Assault Force landed in Algiers. Opposed by Senegalese and French tanks who surrendered because of lack of ammunition.

9 - 11 Nov, 1942: Armistice consummated. Sent to Tunisia with 1st British Army.

15 Nov 1942: 175th FA Battalion detached and sent to Medjaz el Bab in support of French Unit. Repelled Infantry tank attack.

24 Dec 1942: 2nd Battalion, 168th Infantry was attached to 12th Air Force, Anti-Tank Company; 168th Infantry was sent to Biskra, French desert outpost.

11 Jan 1943: 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Reg. left the Gofsa-Sbeitla area under 1st Arm'd Division.

29 Jan 1943: 34th Infantry Division minus 2nd Battalion, 133rd Infantry, and elements included in Eastern Assault Force landed off Port of Orane and proceeded 90 miles Southwest to Tiemcen. 3rd Battalion, 135th Infantry, rejoined Division. 2nd Battalion, 133rd Infantry assigned to Allied Force Headquarters as guard troops.

9-30 Jan 1943: Rigorous training program. (31 Jan 43) (168th Inf. captured Sened Station So. Tunisia. Took up position near Faid Pass. Was surrounded and cut to pieces. Heavy losses. 50% killed or captured. Enemy progressed through Kasserine PAss threatening South flank of defense line being built by 34th Division).

1-13 Feb 1943: Proceeded to Maktar in 3 groups, became attached to French XIX Corps.

9 Feb - 26 Mar 1943: Defensive operations, defeated hostile armored force which attacked in SPAPA Gap (19-21 Feb 43).

25 Feb - 4 March 1943: Reorganization of 34th Division under command of II Corps.

27 Mar - 7 Apr 1943: Offensive action south of Fondouk Gap. Attained objective.

7-10 Apr 1943: As part of IX Corps (British), participated in attack on Fondouk Gap. Did not capture objective.

10-13 April 1943: Captured Fondouk Gap. Occupied and defended Gap. Division relieved of attachment to British IX Corps, returned to II Corps.

13-21 April 1943: Elements of 34th Division rejoined and moved to vicinity of Maktar. Intensive training.

21-27 April 1943: Division moved to vicinity of Boja.

27 April - 2 May 1943: Captured and held HILL 609. First definite breach of enemy final defensive position by allied troops.

5-9 May 1943: Offensive action driving enemy from east defensive position near Eddekhila. Chouigui Pass opened and occupied. Enemy surrendered, division advanced Southeast against Febourba, Tunis, and northeast against Ferryville. Porte Farina Line.

11 May 1943: Armistice signed and enemy surrendered.

13 May 1943: Tunisian campaign officially ended.

13 May - 14 Sept 1943: Non combat. Engaged in garrison duty and training.

14-25 Sept 1943: Enroute to Salerno.

26 Sept - 31 Oct 1943: Engaged enemy Eastern slopes of Calores River Valley - East of Monte Morano. Advanced against heavy opposition; seized bridgehead across Calores River; forced a crossing of Volturno River; advanced to positions north of Venafro.

1-30 Nov 1943: Reconnaissance. Mopping-up, intensive patrol duty and rest.

1 Dec 1943: 168th Inf and 133rd Inf beat off counterattack near Mt. Pantano.

2-3 Dec 1943: 168th Inf engaged in heavy battle for Mt. Pantano.

4-12 Dec 1943: 169th relieved by 135th Inf. 34th Inf Div, relieved by 2nd Div, withdrew to S. Angelo d ‘Alife.

12-27 Dec 1943: Rehabilitation and training.

28-31 Dec 1943: Resumption by Division (minus 133rd Inf) of combat mission near Venafro to relieve 36th Inf Div (133rd Inf in II Corps Reserve)

1-4 Jan 1944: Patrol duty; preparation for attack on enemy outposts guarding Gustave Line.

5-10 Jan 1944: Offensive action; captured S. Vittore and La Chiaia. advanced on Cervaro and along east side of La Aqua Candida.

13-15 Jan 1944: Bitter offensive action. M. Trocchio falls.

15-20 Jan 1944: Division front “inched” forward through fierce fighting 1 mile W (?) of Portello on the N. to western slopes of M. Trocchio on the south.

20-24 Jan 1944: Intensive patrol activities.

24-30 Jan 1944: Rapido River crossed. Heavy resistance met. Cairo Village captured.

1-11 Feb 1944: Majola captured. Terrific attack launched on Monastery Hill and Cassino. Some house-to-house fighting in Cassino. Numerous strong positions held against enemy counterattacks but unable to progress against enemy strongpoints.

13-15 Feb 1944: Relieved by New Zealand Corps.

13-17 Feb 1944: Rest, training and reconnaissance.

17-25 March 1944: Embarked and landed at Anzio beachhead. 22 March 1944 Division was assigned to IV Corps.

25 Mar - 22 May 1944: Defensive action, patrol duty, training, reconnaissance. Participated in several small raids.

23 May - 4 June 1944: Offensive action; slow but steady progress toward Cisterna with enemy in full retreat.

5-8 June 1944: Offensive pursuit toward Rome to a point between Civitavecchia and Tarquinia.

9-26 June 1944: Training, rest and combat preparation.

26 June - 19 July 1944: Offensive action, stiff enemy resistance. Crossed Cecina River 30 June 1944 and advanced through rugged hills lying toward north. Captured Castellina and Leghorn. Latter captured with cooperation of 91st Div elements.

19 July 1944: Patrol duty, rest, training.

20 Aug 1944: (18 Aug 1944 attached to II Army Corps)

21 Aug - 4 Sept 1944: Assembly area, vicinity of Varno. Defense of coastal area between Antico E. Div Castagneto and Livorno. Training.

4-9 Sept 1944: Regrouping, patrolling, reconnaissance.

10-22 Sept 1944: Mount Citerna taken.

24 Sept - 8 Oct 1944: Advance N. of Gothic Line continues.

8-22 Oct 1944: Rest and regrouping.

22-25 Oct 1944: Monte Belmonte captured after hard fight.

25 Oct - 5 Feb 1945: Strengthened line of defense. Infantry patrol. Defensive activities. Rest and training.

5-6 Feb 1945: Limited objective attack for purpose of seizing high ground NW of Pizzano and NE of Monte Belmonte. Attack failed with high casualties.

7-13 Feb 1945: Patrol duty, planning and rest.

13 Feb - 4 March 1945: 34th Div relieved by 91st Inf div. Resting and training.

4-14 March 1945: Relieved 88th Inf Div. Reconnaissance for raid objectives.

14-18 March 1945: Probed enemy defenses.

19-20 March 1945: Two offensive attacks repulsed by enemy’s intensive defensive fires.

20 March - 15 April 1945: Preparations for offensive operations, regrouping, active defense, reconnaissance.

15-21 April 1945: Offensive attack. Bologna entered and occupied on 21 April 1945.

22-30 April 1945: (Division attached to IV Corps) Offensive action. Innumerable towns and objectives captured. Enemy in headlong retreat.

2 May 1945: Word received of surrender of all enemy forces in Italy. Mission becomes one of rounding up enemy troops.

15-22 May 1945: Div is relieved by 442nd Inf and moves to Torino-San Remo area W of French Italian border.

June 1945: Border patrol duties carried out and training programs conducted.

1-11 July 1945: Reconnaissance duties. relieved French occupation troops.

11 July 1945: Division relieved of border responsibilities.

11-21 July 1945: Enroute from Turin area to Xdine(?) to relieve the 10th Mountain Division.

(15 July 1945 detached from IV Corps; attached to 5th Army; 16 July 1945 attached to British 13th Corps)

21-28 July 1945: Yugoslavian border patrol on Morgan Line - guarded ammunition dumps. Part of Division engaged in patrol and MP duty in Trieste and Pola.

28 July 1945: Raids carried on in Schio. Training with emphasis on specialized Training, Recreation. Division garrisons Venesia Guilia through the fall.

From a zeroxed paper that my grandfather gave to me many years ago. Unsure of its origin.





34th Division Fact Sheet


Office of Technical Information


NICKNAME: Red Bull Division.

SHOULDER PATCH: A bovine skull, in red, on an olla of black. An olla is a Mexican water flask and is suggestive of division's training in New Mexico.

SLOGAN: "Attach, Attack, Attack!"

SOURCE OF DIVISION: National Guard units from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.

HISTORY: Organized at Camp Cody, Now Mexico, on 17 Oct. 1917. Elements of the division went overseas between Sept. and Oct. 1918. Most of the division personnel was sent to other organizations. Headquarters and the permanent cadre returned to U.S. in Dec. 1918. (The 135th Infantry dates back to the early Nebraska Militia Brigade, 1854. Participated in Indian campaigns, Civil War, and all succeeding wars. "Buffalo Bill" Cody and "Black Jack" Pershing were former members. In 1898 the 135th took possession of Wake Island for U.S.)

INDUCTION DATE: 10 February 1941.

INACTIVATION DATE: 3 November 1945, Hampton Roads, Va.

TRAINING: After basic training at Camp Claiborne, La., division took part in Third Army maneuvers in Louisiana which started 21 Sept. 1941. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor certain units were dispatched to key places in the southern states for security purposes.

LEFT THIS COUNTRY: Elenents shipped out between 14 Jan. and 13 May 1942 for Northern Ireland. By end of May entire division was in Ireland.

OVERSEAS TRAINING: Trained in Northern Ireland where it held maneuvers with armored and Infantry units. Had amphibious training in Scotland. Had small unit training in Algiers. Later trained under the Fifth Army at the Invasion Training Center.

BATTLE CREDITS (Division): Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Northern Apennines and Po Valley.

AWARDS: lst Battalion, 168th Inf. Rogt. received Distinguished Unit Citation for action on Mount Pantano 29 Nov. to 3 Dec. 1943; 2d Battalion, 168th Inf. Regt. received Distinguished Unit Citation for action 6 to 13 Jan. 1944. Up to 31 May 1945, men of the division had won 15,000 Purple Hearts; 9 Medals of Honor; 98 Distinguished Service Crosses; 116 Legions of Merit; 1074 Silver Stars; 1954 Bronze Star Medals; 7 British awards; 7 French awards; 6 Italian awards; 1 Distinguished Flying Gross; 34 Air Medals with 52 Oak Leaf Clusters.

SUCCESSIVE COMMANDING GENERALS: Maj. Gen. Ellard A. Walsh from Feb. to Aug. 1941; Maj. Gen. Russell P. Hartle, Aug. 1941 to May 1942; Maj. Gen. Charles W. Ryder from May 1942 to July 1944; Maj. Gen. Charles L. Bolte from July 1944 to inactivation.

CURRENT COMMANDING GENERAL: Maj. Gen. Bolte was born in Chicago, Ill., on 8 May 1895. He was graduated from Armour Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science degree in 1917. Meanwhile he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve in 1917 and commissioned in the Regular Amy on 25 Oct. 1917. Sailed for France with the 58th Infantry Regiment and took part in the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. Returned to U.S. in 1919. From then until 1926 he held various staff positions. In 1927 he was graduated from the Infantry School, was assigned as an instructor at the school later. Graduated from the Command and General Staff School 1932. Four year tour of duty in China followed. Was graduated from Army War College in 1937 where he remained as an instructor until assignment in 1940 to the War Planning Group. In 1941 he began a tour of duty in London and in Jan. 1942, was assigned as Chief of Staff of U.S. Forces in the United Kingdom. The following July he was appointed Chief of Staff of the newly formed European Theater of Operations. He returned to U.S. late in 1942 for duty with Army Ground Forces in Washington, D. C. In 1943 he was appointed commanding general of the 69th Infantry Division and in July 1944, as commanding general of the 34th.

COMPONENT UNITS: 133rd, 135th and 168th Infantry Regiments; 151st, 125th and 175th (L) and 185th (M) Field Artillery Battalions.

COMBAT HIGHLIGHTS: First American division to be sent to the European Theater of Operations, the 34th's first mission as part of the Eastern Assault Force was to land near Algiers, North Africa. On 8 Nov. 1942, it landed on the shores of North Africa. By 11 Nov. 1942, an armistice was consummated. During the months that followed the 34th was an emaciated division. Various units were pulled out to serve several purposes in opening of the Tunisian campaign. Though a great many of its men saw bitter fighting, the functioning was not divisional at this period. By the middle of March 1943, the 34th once more resumed the offensive as a division in the Sbeitla-Hadjeb el Aioun sector. This was open warfare. There were no flanks, no front and practically no rear. Fondouk Gap was the first objective. It was a head on assault. Losses were heavy and on 1 April the division was ordered to abandon its effort. After a few days holding action the attack was renewed, and in cooperation with British units, the Germans were driven out. On 1 May 1943, a brilliant victory of the 34th - the capture of Hill 609 - was completed; from then on the 34th pushed the Germans back with comparative ease until the end of the Tunisian campaign on 11 May 1943. The 34th was held in reserve for the landing at Salerno, Italy, on 9 Sept. 1943. Shortly after the landing it was in action and captured Montemiletto and Benevento in rapid succession. The34th pushed ahead to cross the Volturno, taking undisputed possession of the east bank. By the year's end the division was given a respite, after 76 successive days of contact with the enemy. Early in Jan. 1944 the division was once more attacking. So successful was this effort that the enemy pulled back into the Gustav Line. On 24-25 Jan. 1944, a furious attack was launched by the division, the ultimate objective being Cassino. By mid-February an exhausted division had achieved its objective. On 11 March the 34th was ordered to prepare for the beachhead operation at Anzio and took much of the pounding on that sector until May, when the long awaited break-out took place. By 3 June the enemy was in full retreat. The 34th, along with the lst Armored Division, was given the mission of an all-out pursuit of the enemy north and northwest of Rome. In mid-June came a rest, but by 26 June the unit was back in the line. Then came the crossing of the Cecina River and the battling of tough SS troops. But the 34th captured in succession Castallina, Pastina, Fauglia and then Leghorn, the latter city being taken 19 July 1944. In Sept. 1944, the 34th was in the vanguard of the American assault on the Nazi's Gothic Line. Then came the relative slackening off in activity in October when the 34th dug into defensive positions about eight miles south of Bologna, feeling out the enemy and waiting. The new year brought more activity, and by Feb. 1945, plans were under way for the drive on Bologna. In March the division began the slow but steady drive against the Germans which by April 1945, had developed into headlong retreat. At the war's end the division could take credit for having helped liberate thousands of square miles of Italy, with a record of more than 500 combat days. Elements arrived in the U.S. in late Oct. and inactivation came thereafter.

HEROES: Medal of Honor awards (P)-posthumous
Pvt. Furman L. Smith of Central, S.C. (P) for 31 May 1944 action near Lanuvio, Italy: 2d Lt. Thomas W. Wigle of Detroit Mich., (P) for 14 Sept. 1944 action in vicinity of Monte Frassino; Capt. William W. Galt of South Great Falls, Mont. (P) for 29 May 1944 action at Villa Crocetta, Italy; Pvt. Robert Booker (P) of Gallaway, Neb. for action in Tunisia in March 1943; PFC Leo Powers of Adler, Mont. for 3 Feb. 1944 action at Cassino; Lt. Ernest Dervishian of Richmond, Va. for 23 May 1944 action; lst Lt. Beryl R. Newman of Baraboo, Wis. for May 1944 action near Cisterna, Italy; S/Sgt. George J. Hall of Brooklyn, N.Y. for 23 May 1944 action at Anzio; St. Paul Riordan of Kansas City, Kan, (P) for 12 Feb. 1944 action at Cassino.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION: Infantry Journal, May 1944,"The Fight for a Hill"; Infantry Journal, June 1944, "Street Fighting in Cassino"; Infantry Journal, Sept. 1944, "Crossing the Volturno"; Yank, 2 Feb. 1945, Iron Man Battalion"; "Fighting Divisions" - Infantry Journal, Washington, D. C.; "The Story of the 34th Division from Louisiana to Pisa" published by I&E,
MTOUSA. Copies from The Adjutant General of Iowa, State Capitol, Des Moines 19, Iowa. "Volturno", "To Bizarte with the II Corps," "Salerno," and "The Winter Line" American Forces in Action Series, prepared by Historical Division, Special Staff. Copies from Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C.

DIVISION ASSOCIATION: 34th Infantry Division Association, Brig. Gen. Norman E. Hendricson, USA, 5101 10th Avenue, South, Minneapolis, Minn.