Texas Almanac, 1945-1946 Page: 76
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76 TEXAS ALMANAC.-1945-1946.
Texas and Texans in
Texas, with a relatively mild climate, great
expanse of open terrain and varied topogra-
phy, early became a major training ground
for fighting men in World War II. An esti-
mate at the end of 1944 placed at more than
1.000,000 men the total in all branches who
had received training in this state. Twenty
combat divisions had been trained In Texas
at the end of 1944.
Texas' 36th Division.
Most accounts of Texas' role in fighting
the second World War begin with the famed
36th Division, "Texas' own," the first Amer-
ican soldiers to set foot on the European
Continent. The 36th stormed ashore at Sa-
lerno on bloody Sept. 9, 1943, battling on to
Cassino and north through Italy before par-
ticipating in the invasion of southern France
in the summer of 1944. From there it drove
on up to the southern edge of the western
front, where it became locked in battle with
the Germans. In December of 1944 it was
placed under command of the First French
Army, which broke the German defenses in
the southern Vosges.
History of the colorful division goes back a
century ago to the Alamo, where Texans
stood and died for their liberties. Some of
the units formed by the Republic of Texas
have descended to the present. Texas units
organized for the Spamnish-American War in
1903 became the Texas National Guard.
The 36th was first organized as a division
in 1917, landing in France in July, 1918.
The 71st Brigade "went over the top' Oct. 8.
From Oct. 9 until Oct. 23 the division suf-
fered 5,000 casualties on the western front.
From 1925 until the approach of the present
war the 9,000 men in the peacetime unit
trained every summer at Camp Hulen, near
From November, 1940, until the spring of
1942 the unit trained at Camp Bowie, near
Brownwood, later moving to Florida and to
Camp Edwards, Mass., before leaving for the
Mediterranean battleground. Replacements
from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jer-
sey joined the outfit.
The 36th's great heroism in World War II
began with the famous Lost Battalion in
November. 1941. This unit of the 131st
Field Artillery set out for the Philippines,
but was diverted to Java. When the Japs
swarmed over Java little was known of its
fate, although some are known to be pris-
Losses were terrific for the 36th as it hit
the beaches of Salerno in the predawn of
Sept. 9 and fought its way inland to a main
railroad line 1,000 yards from the water.
Losses at Cassino were even greater, and in
forty-eight hours casualties on the Rapido
River banks were among the most severe
in this war to the end of 1944. Command-
ing at Salerno and Cassino was Major Gen.
Fred L. Walker, who had succeeded Major
3en. Claude V. Birkhead. In the summer
when General Walker returned to America
Major Gen. John E. Dahlquist took com-
112th Cavalry Regiment.
On the other side of the world a great
Texas outfit cited for gallantry was the 112th
'avalry Regiment of the Texas National
uard, called into federal service in 1940.
It received most of its training in this coun-
try at Fort Clark, Texas. It left there in
July. 1942. for New Caledonia for additional
,raining, then went into combat as jungle
troops on the peninsula of Arawe on New
3ritain Island. Losses were heavy as it
.ngaged in a diversionary action while a
unit of Marines attacked the island proper.
The 1st Cavalry Division, recruited mostly
'rom Texas and Colorado plainsmen. was
organized at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas,
Second World War.
Aug. 31, 1921. For twenty-two years it was
stationed along the Mexican border. In late
1942 it was ordered dismounted and con-
verted into an infantry organization.
In 1943 it left Fort Bliss for the Pacific
theater. Late that year elements of the di-
vision took Los Negros, key to the Admiralty
Islands group. Then it went to the Philip-
pines with Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
2d Infantry Division.
Another infantry division with a big com-
plement of Texans and closely allied with
Texas military history is the 2d Infantry
Division. It is Fort Sam Houston's own,
training there from 1939 until November,
1942, when it moved to Camp McCoy, Wis.
It had 80 per cent selectees. From Wiscon-
sin the division went to Ireland, then in 1944
hit the Normandy beaches on D day. Later
it went with the First Army In France. The
old 2d was activated in France during World
War 1 and received 750 American decorations.
It first came to Fort Sam Houston in August,
1919, where It trained as a Regular Army
Another unit with a big complement of
Texans including Texas youths in the Army
Specialized Training Program, is the 103d In-
fantry Division. It trained at Camp Clal-
borne from November, 1942, until September,
1943, and at Camp Howze, Texas, from 1943
until September, 1944. It moved from the
Texas camp in September, 1944, and on Nov.
22 it was reported in the Vosges Mountains
on the western front, presumably with the
The 45th Infantry Division, originally an
Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Colo-
rado National Guard outfit, is closely linked
with Texas history and has a goodly num-
ber of Texans in it now. Ordered into serv-
ice Sept. 16, 1940, it trained a while at Fort
Sill, Okla., then on March 1, 1941, moved to
Camp Barkeley, near Abilene. After other
training it sailed for North Africa, arriving
at Oran June 22, 1943. It Participated in the
Sicilian invasion, then hit the bloody beaches
at Salerno. It also was in on the Anzlo cam-
paign. In July. 1944, it was in the invasion
of southern France with the 36th. It was on
the western front with the Seventh Army at
the end of 1944.
90th Infantry Division,
The 90th Infantry Division, Texas-Okla-
homa outfit in World War I, had a great
number of Texans in it at the end of 1944.
It was reactivated at Camp Barkeley in Feb-
mary, 1942, and its commander was Major
Gen. Henry Terrell Jr., native of San Anto-
nio. The division landed in Normandy June
8 two days after D day, helped cut across
the Cherbourg peninsula. participated later
in the drive on Germany under Lt. Gen.
George S. Patton Jr. The original 90th was
formed at Camp Travis and was known as
The twenty divisions trained in Texas In-
Camp Barkeley.-llth Armored, 12th Ar-
mored, 45th Infantry, 90th Infantry
Fort Bliss.-1lst Cavalry.
Camp Bowie.-4th Armored, 13th Armored,
31st Infantry, 36th Infantry.
Fort Clark.-2d Cavalry.
Fort Sam Houston.-2d Infantry, 88th In-
fantry. 95th Infantry.
Camp Howze.-84th Infantry, 86th Infantry,
Camp Maxey.-99th Infantry. 102d Infantry.
Camp Swlft.-10th Mountain, 97th Infantry.
TEXANS IN THE ARMED SERVICES
The breakdown of men and women in the
armed services by states to Jan. 1, 1944,
latest available at time of publication of the
Texas Almanac, showed that there were ap-
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Texas Almanac, 1945-1946, book, 1945; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117166/m1/78/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.