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Citizen Soldiers: 30th Infantry Division

D-Day: American

Old Hickory
30th Infantry Division

The 30th Infantry Division is named in honour of President Andrew Jackson who commanded the Tennessee and Carolinas unit in the War of 1812. The 30th Infantry Division, along with the 2nd Armoured, was one of two divisions chosen by the Corps of Engineers to test camouflage uniforms during the Normandy Campaign. These uniforms were removed by the end of the campaign due to similarity with German uniforms and to keep friendly fire to a minimum.

Mortain

Old Hickory secured the Vire-et-Taute canal across the Vire River on 7 July. The 30th relieved the tired 1st Infantry Division on 5 August. The very next day the Germans launched Operation Lüttich, or ‘liege’, aimed at cutting through the American supply lines supporting Operation Cobra. This assault was aimed at Avranches via Mortain.

The Germans threw the weight of the XLVII Panzer Corps, including one and a half SS-Panzer Divisions and two Heer Panzer Divisions, at the American lines. Their left flank hit the 30th Infantry Division at Mortain. The Germans achieved surprise and managed to take the village, but were unable to push through Old Hickory’s positions.

The following week, from 7 August to 12 August, the 30th stopped every German attempt at breaking through to Avranches in vicious hand-to-hand combat. Command posts fought on the front line merely a few hundred yards from enemy tanks, artillery fired at point-blank ranges, and ambushes, flanking marches, and individual acts of heroism were the order of the day. The 30th would not be moved.

Hill 314

Part of the 30th’s stand against the Mortain offensive, included holding the vital Hill 314, which had a dominating view of the whole area. The hill was held by 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment, and despite being surrounded and cut off, the battalion’s 700 men held against everything the SS could throw at them. They were finally relieved on 12 August, losing 300 of their own, but holding the hill against the odds.

By 13 August the Germans were driven from Mortain and after a week of fighting, Old Hickory had halted the daring German attack and sent the enemy panzers packing straight into the closing Falaise Gap.

More on the Battle for Mortain...

30th Infantry Division 
30th Infantry Division 'Old Hickory'

Fielding the 30th Infantry Division

To field a Rifle Company from the 30th Infantry Division, use the Rifle Company on page 42 of D-Day: American. You can also use the 30th Infantry Division Old Hickory Command Card to exchange Blood ‘n Guts for Old Hickory giving you Last Stand 3+ and Rally 4+ for 2 point.


Last Updated On Thursday, May 28, 2020 by Wayne at Battlefront