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Citizen Soldiers: 35th Infantry Division

D-Day: American

Santa Fe
35th Infantry Division

The 35th Infantry Division’s nickname and patch were created to commemorate the men who built the old Santa Fe Trail. The division landed in Normandy on 5-6 June 1944 and entered combat on 11 July. They held Emelie, just north of St. Lô, against twelve separate counterattacks by various German forces.

Task Force S

In late July the 35th configured itself to adapt to the expected fast-paced breakout. One of the regiments was selected as the division’s fast element, whilst the others served as follow up forces. The new unit was called ‘Task Force S’ for its commander, Brigadier General Edmund Sebree. It contained the 137th Infantry Regiment, the 219th Field Artillery Battalion, and the entirety 737th Tank Battalion, along with some supporting engineer, reconnaissance, and tank destroyer units. With the infantry riding atop the tanks, the unit was reasonably well mechanised and ready for pursuit operations.

After the breakout, Task Force S steam-rolled through the countryside. When resistance was met, the task force reduced or contained the enemy before moving on, leaving the rest to the division’s mop-up regiments. In this fashion, the task force continued south along the Vire River, finally contacting the 29th Infantry Division at La Touberie.

Mortain

In August 1944, the division was on its way to Brittany to join the Allied attack there when suddenly a German counterattack struck Mortain. The Santa Fe division rushed to help the embattled 30th Infantry Division. Time and supplies were running out for the Old Hickory men trapped on Hill 314, so the 35th launched a bold rescue mission.

While 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 320th Infantry Regiment attacked from the west, 1st Battalion mounted its infantry on the back of the 737th Tank Battalion and attacked in a wide flanking move to the south. The two attacks met and took the base of the hill and successfully relieved the Old Hickory battalion on Hill 314.

More on the Battle for Mortain...

With Patton

The 35th joined the Third Army and supported Patton’s advance across France. Its adaptation as a reasonably motorised unit helped it keep pace with Patton’s advance to Lorraine and Belgium, where the division would once again be asked to help relieve an embattled US bastion in Bastogne.

35th Infantry Division 
35th Infantry Division 'Santa Fe'

Fielding the 35th Infantry Division

To field a Rifle Company from the 35th Infantry Division, use the Rifle Company on page 42 of D-Day: American. You can also use the 35th Infantry Division Santa Fe Command Card to allow the Rifle Company HQ and Rifle Platoon teams to use the Tank Riders rule from the Command Card for +1 point per Unit.


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