Cumberland Goes To War
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Cumberland Goes To War is a community heritage project coordinated and promoted by Allegany County Tourism in partnership with the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority, the City of Cumberland, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce. Funded in part by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the Allegany County Commissioners and the City of Cumberland. More information about the project and/or the images in the archive can be obtained by emailing info@cumberlandgoestowar.com.


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42nd Infantry Division

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Registered: August 2008
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When formed and activated for WWII, the 42ID was a unique unit, as it was a reconstitution of the Rainbow Division from WWI. Except for the division headquarters, none of its earlier elements had reformed in the interwar period, so the Army Ground Forces filled its new units with personnel from every state. To emphasize the 42ID lineage from the 42ID of WWI, Maj. Gen. Harry J. Collins activated the unit on 14 July, the eve of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Champagne-Marne campaign in France.
Following training at Camp Gruber OK and the journey to Europe, the three infantry regiments (222nd, 232nd, & 242nd) and a detachment of the 42ID Headquarters arrived in France at Marseilles, 8-9 December 1944, and were formed into Task Force (TF) Linden, under the Assistant Division Commander (ADC). TF Linden was task organized to VI Corps under 7th Army. TF Linden entered combat in the vicinity of Strasbourg, relieving elements of the 36ID on 24 December 1944. Defending a 31-mile sector along the Rhine, north and south of Strasbourg, TF Linden repulsed a number of enemy counterattacks, at Hatten and other locations. On 24 and 25 January 1945, in Bois D’Ohlungen, and the vicinity of Schweighausen and Neuborg, the 222nd Infantry Regiment repulsed repeated attacks by the German 7th Parachute, 25th Panzer and 47th VG Divisions. For this action the 222nd Infantry Regiment was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (2001). After these enemy attacks, TF Linden returned to reserve of the 7th Army and trained with the remainder of the 42ID which had arrived in the meantime.
On 14 February 1945, the 42ID as a whole entered combat, taking up defensive positions near Haguenau in the Hardt Mountains. After a month of extensive patrolling and active defense, the 42ID went on the offensive. The 42ID attacked through the Hardt Mountains, broke through the Siegfried Line, 15-21 March 1945, cleared Dahn and Busenberg, and mopped up in that general area, while the 3rd Army created and expanded bridgeheads across the Rhine. Moving across the Rhine, 31 March 1945, the 42ID captured Wertheim am Main, 1 April 1945, and Würzburg, 2-6 April 1945, after a fierce battle. Schweinfurt fell next after hand-to-hand engagements, 9-12 April 1945. Fürth, near Nürnberg, put up fanatical resistance, but was taken, 18-19 April 1945, by the 42ID.
On 25 April, the 42ID captured Donauwörth on the Danube, and on 29 April 1945, liberated some 30,000 inmates at Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp along with the 45th Infantry Division. The 42ID campaign ended passing through Munich, 30 April 1945, as it cut across the Austrian border located north of Salzburg.
During WWII, the 42ID was involved in various war crimes[dubious – discuss]. Well known war crimes included the massacre of about 200 men from the I Battalion, 38th SS Regiment from the 17-SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen in April 1945. The German POWs were shot at close range by the troops from the 42ID and buried in a mass grave by Nuremberg.
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