The invasion of Normandy, fifty-seven years ago, had the members of the 314th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division fight their way from Utah Beach, through Cherbourg, into La-Haye-du-Puits, across France, through the Forêt de Parroy, into Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and then conduct operations as part of the Army of Occupation in Czechoslovakia. The 314th was the first U.S. Army unit to cross the Seine River and the first into Belgium.
Battles in France included the Utah Beach area, the assault on and capture of Fort du Roule on 25 June 1944, the capture of Cherbourg on 26 June 1944, the battle against units of the Waffen SS for and capture on 7 July 1944 of La Haye du Puits, the battle on 9 July 1944 for Hill 84, the Normandy Breakthrough, and the Mayenne River Bridgehead at Change established on 6 August 1944. In August and September, the regiment's combat activities included Falaise Gap, Mantes-Gassicourt, Charmes, and the Meurthe River.
October and November 1944 saw the regiment fighting in Moncel, frontally assaulting Forêt de Monden, attacking and participating in the capture of the Forêt de Parroy and its main road junction on 5 Oct 44 and the taking of Lunéville. In November 1994, fighting continued in Lunéville and moved onward to the Vosges Mountains and Saverne Gap. On 11 December 1944, the regiment captured Hagenau. In December, the regiment invaded Germany and fighting continued in Germany and France, including the capture of Ruhrweiller-Drusenheim on 6 January 1945. In one of the war's many unfortunate moments, on 19 January 1945, the Germans captured the regiment's second battalion.
In February 1945, the regiment accomplished a rapid redeployment into Belgium and into the Netherlands and in March the regiment entered Germany. Combat in 1945 included Bais d'Ohlangen-Schweighausen, the Battle of the Autobahn, the capture of Steele on 9 April 1945, and the occupation of Dortmund.
The 314th captured twelve thousand prisoners and suffered over five thousand wartime casualties.
Wartime assignments placed the regiment under the First, Third, Seventh and Ninth Armies. On 2 June 1945, the regiment arrived in Czechoslovakia as part of the Army of Occupation. The regiment began movement back to the U.S.A. on 14 November 1945 and was deactivated on 11 December 1945.
The specific towns at which individual soldiers found themselves, and the dates of their service in those towns, varies, of course, based on their individual assignments. For a detailed chronology, found in the papers of Sergeant Charles F. Rowell of the 113th Cavalry Squadron, of either his or a fellow soldier's tour with the 314th, click here; Sergeant Rowell's son maintans that web page. If anyone else has a chronology, please e-mail it me.
The 314th Infantry Regiment as a unit earned the French Croix de Guerre with Palm Streamer embroidered PARROY FOREST, and the Croix de Guerre Streamer with Palm embroidered NORMANDY TO PARIS. Battalions of the 314th earned four U.S. Presidential Unit Citations, each acknowledging extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy in the same degree as that which would warrant award of a Distinguished Service Cross to an individual.
Soldiers of the 314th individually earned decorations including two Congressional Medals of Honor, Distinguished Service Crosses, and Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals, as well as the French Legion of Honor in the Grade of Chevalier, the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Croix de Guerre with Silver Gilt Star, the Croix de Guerre with Gilt Star, the Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star and the Croix de Guerre Fourragère, and the British Military Medal. The regiment's campaign credits were Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe and Ardennes-Alsace.
Description: A gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches (2.86cm) in height overall consisting of a shield blazoned: Azure upon a mount Proper a falcon close Or within an orle of the last, in bordure three fleurs-de-lis of the like. Attached below the shield a Blue scroll inscribed "FORTITUDE AND COURAGE" in Gold letters.
Symbolism: The 314th Infantry was organized at Camp Meade as a unit of the 79th Division in 1917. It served overseas during World War I and took part in the Meuse-Argonne operation and held a sector in Lorraine. The falcon recalls Montfaucon and the three fleurs-de-lis recall the regiment's first service in the Meuse-Argonne, the Troyon Sector and the second service in the Meuse-Argonne.
I am the Infantry--Queen of Battle!
For two centuries I have kept our Nation safe, Purchasing freedom with my blood.
To tyrants, I am the day of reckoning; to the suppressed, the hope for the future.
Where the fighting is thick, there am I. I am the Infantry!
to those who have gone ahead,
once the music stops or you decide to stop it, you can call for the playing of
as a final salute.
Return to the 314th Infantry Association homepage.