Honors Overview

This site is attempts to chronicle the battle history of the U.S. 44th Infantry Division in World War II.  Even among those who know a great deal about the European Conflict, the 44th account is primarily one of battles forgotten, sacrifices discounted, and triumphs ignored.

The history of the 44th is one of progression, from a green ‘plain vanilla’ infantry division to an accomplished battle hardened unit of distinction.  The evolution is marked by early failures and overcoming many obstacles to include:

  • Survival in harsh conditions outdoors during the coldest winter on record.
  • The mental and physical strain resulting from the grueling record 144 continuous days of combat as they fought, bled and died against a determined and capable enemy.

These soldiers matched wits and skill with a deadly and often fanatical opponent. Enemy units from every spectrumof capability in the German military were encountered and dispatched.  In bitter combat at crucial junctures in history, the elite Waffen SS and Panzer Lehr met their match.   The destruction, or more often the capture, of pathetic last ditch replacement units, consisting of young boys, old men and the physically disabled told volumes about the true nature of the Nazi Regime.  The account involves scaling the walls of a fortress, a spared historic city, sniping from fanatic ‘Werewolfs’ and Hitler Youth, of winter close-quarter fighting  in the rugged mountains, and of lighting strikes and bold moves along the Autobahn. The Infantry Division was not heavily armed in comparison to their fierce opponents. These soldiers were the ones who bravely withstood and also conquered the mighty Panzers and Tigers. Yes, they did the impossible and yet they were not credited. Instead of encouragement, they faced more and more duties and relieved other units of their duties. Many times, more than the enemy strikes, the internal politics and favoritism wounded these battling heroes. When they were capable of attacking, they were ordered to defend and when they successfully obliged, they were told to attack. One by one, the heroes reduced in number, but never in courage. In this link, you can find everything you need to know about this very less written and told war plights of true soldiers.   The war in Europe is all but over. Hitler is dead yet the 71st Regiment executes a brilliant and energetic maneuver, the dangerous assault in the Alps at Fern Pass. And buddies die.  And theirs is the story of graves.  And more graves.