34th Infantry Division “REDBULL DIVISION” History
The 34th was originally activated as a Nation Guard unit in 1917 from the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas. The division began training at Camp Codey, in New Mexico. This lead to the given name “The sandstorm division” and lead to the invention of the distinct insignia of a red steer skull over a black olla (Mexican water jug). They were then given the name “RedBulls” buy the Germans and adopted this unofficially until it later became permanent.
During the inter war years, the division continued to serve as a Nation Guard unit. The unit was incorporated in “precautionary training” during the year of 1941 with the build up to ww2. The division was part of the intense training seen at Camp Columbine, Louisiana following its official activation on February 10th.
After the US entered the Second World War, the 34th took part in operation Torch on November 8th 1942, the allied invasion of North Africa. Elements of the 34th landed at Algiers, and joined other allied forces in chasing the German forces towards Tunisia.
The operation was a success, however the division was involved in the heaving fighting that broke out in 1943 over the mountain passes at Faid pass, and Fondouk Gap, which saw many G.Is captured, as well as heavy casualties were sustained during the battle of Kasserine pass.
During April 1943, the division was tasked with the capture of the German bastion of hill 609, A heavily fortified position that allowed the Germans to reinforce Africa via way of Sicily. After two days of heavy fighting, the division took the position, a victory the division was eager to achieve after the setbacks at Kasserine, Faid and Fondouk. Two weeks later German forces surrendered and the division was recognized as being battle hardened, and sent to garrison in Tunisia where rest and intense training began for their next major operation... Italy.
The 34th missed the invasion of Sicily as it instead underwent additional training in preparation for the invasion of Italy. The 34th was held in reserve, and later became a part of Clark’s 5th army and arrived at Salerno and began a slow advance toward the north into the mountains. Tasked with taking the “Gustav line” which was a heavily fortified German line spanning the entire peninsula above Naples. The division fought hard through the weaving hills, freezing weather, and the rough Volturno River, capturing several key points along the way including Monte Pantano, Monte Chiaia, San Vittore, Monte Trochhio and the Rapido River. The German resistance was bitter and hand drew many allied troops into hand to hand fighting to route them from their positions in the hills. The worst was far from over as now the division was now caught in the grim and costly assault on the famed Monte Casino.
The division took on a series of hills leading up to Monte Casino, and attempted to assault the abbey itself but was forced backed from the heavy German resistance. Due to the brutal fighting of the Italian winter, the division was pulled off the line for rest in mid
February. The causalities sustained were once again a high toll for the division to pay for their efforts. With only a month to catch its breath, the 34th was called on to assist in the landings at Anzio, anallied attempt to buy pass the Gustav Line. The 34th after encountering heaving German counter attacks broke out in May 1944 and assisted with the push into Rome on the 4th of June. ..Two days later the Allies invaded Normandy, France. Next came the drive North and the division was once again caught in fierce, yet thinning resistance engaging the German forces at Belvedere, San Vincenzo, Cecina, Rosignano, Leghorn, and Pisa, as well as other locations. The 34th then went head to head with German forces at Arno River and the Gothic line near the Apennines and the campaign Po River Valley. The final major fight for the 34th came in April 1945 leading to the German rout in May. This lead to the
elements of the German LXXV Corps surrendered to the 34th near Milan. A few days later the surrender of Germany was announced and the war in Europe had come to a close with the division near the borders Switzerland and France.