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Research the 29th Infantry Division

The purpose of this section is to provide researchers online access to the World War II records of the 29th Infantry Division from D-Day, June 6, 1944, to V-E Day, May 8, 1945. These records have been held since 1946 by the Maryland National Guard at the historic Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore and are currently under the care of the Maryland Military Historical Society. In 2007, the Maryland Military Historical Society was a recipient of a generous grant by the Middendorf Foundation of Baltimore to help preserve the 29th Division archives. Thanks to this timely financial support, the Maryland Military Historical Society was able to scan all the 29th Division's World War II records with the ultimate goal of placing them on this website.

During its 11-month campaign from Omaha Beach to Bremen, the 29th Infantry Division generated thousands of paper records, including daily operation summaries, transcripts of radio and telephone conversations at division headquarters, maps, monthly after-action-reports, lists of casualties, and a daily division newsletter entitled "29 Let's Go". In late 1945, just prior to the 29th Division's return to the United States from Germany, Col. William J. Witte, formerly the division's chief operations officer, carefully stored those records in boxes for trans-Atlantic shipment to Baltimore. Thanks to Colonel Witte's diligence, the 29th Division returned stateside with one of the most intact and thorough collections of combat records of any U.S. Army division in World War II.

In 1946, Witte selected Lt. Joseph Ewing, a former platoon leader in the 175th Infantry's Company G, to write the 29th Division's official World War II history. Ewing delved into the division's records expertly, and in 1948 the Infantry Journal Press published his 29 Let's Go!, probably the best divisional history of World War II. Sixty years later, it is still in print. In the early 1980s, Joseph Balkoski, currently the 29th Division's Historian, was granted complete access to the 29th Division's archives, and he set about to write a detailed multi-volume history of the division in World War II based on the primary source documents held in the Fifth Regiment Armory. Actively supported by Ewing and John P. Cooper, the wartime commander of the 110th Field Artillery Battalion, he completed the first volume, Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy, in 1989. The second volume, From Beachhead to Brittany: The 29th Infantry Division at Brest, was completed in 2008; and Balkoski is currently completing the third volume, Into the Reich: The 29th Infantry Division in Germany.

The 29th Infantry Division was one of the most illustrious U.S. Army outfits of World War II. It was in combat almost continuously from D-Day to V-E Day and suffered 20,111 battle casualties in eleven months of combató204.2% of it normal manpower complement of approximately 14,000 men. It gained four campaign ribbons for service in the European Theater and was awarded the prestigious Croix de Guerre Avec Palme by the French government for its exemplary service on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

For a summary of 29th Division history from its founding in 1917 to 2008, click on this link: [Insert link to 29ID History Article]. The cost for creation and maintenance of this website is borne by the Maryland Military Historical Society, which depends entirely on donations and grants to fund projects related to the preservation of 29th Division history. Donations to the Society in support of its mission are greatly appreciated. To make a monetary donation to the Society, please click here.

 

 

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