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Citizen Soldiers: 80th Infantry Division

D-Day: American

Blue Ridge
80th Infantry Division

Originally comprised mostly from men of the ‘Blue Ridge’ states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, the division served with distinction in World War I. The 80th Infantry Division was reactivated for duty on 15 July 1942.

The Blue Ridge Boys landed in France on 3 August 1944 and were quickly dispatched to help the 30th Infantry Division contain the German counterattack at Mortain. However, they arrived too late to take part and were instead rushed forward to help seal the Falaise Gap.
Argentan

To help seal the Falaise Gap, the division was tasked with taking Argentan and the high ground north of the city. The Blue Ridge Boys faced tough fighting against the 116. Panzerdivision. A heavy and precise bombardment from Div Arty on the 18 and 19 August helped seven battalions of the 80th Infantry Division to evict the Germans on 20 August. 

As the Blue Ridge Boys cleared Argentan, the Allies closed the Falaise Gap near Chambois. The 80th then joined in the reduction of the enemy troops trapped inside.

Lorraine

After mopping up in the Falaise Pocket, the Blue Ridge Division joined the Third Army and were sent to train in armor-infantry tactics for several days. They then teamed up with the hard-charging 4th Armored Division in the sweep across France.

The 4th Armored and 80th Infantry Divisions spearheaded the Third Army’s advance, fuel began to run dangerously low. The 80th Quartermaster Company was stretched over 165,000 miles, keeping the division going. Just as the advance was about to grind to a halt the 80th uncovered a German supply of 80,000 gallons (64.4 million litres) of gasoline, and the advance was on once more. They crossed the Meuse River and captured Commercy on 1 September.

The Blue Ridge Boys captured another gasoline store, which enabled the spearhead to make it to the Moselle River before the petrol shortage finally stopped. Nevertheless, the resourceful men of the 305th Engineer Combat Battalion constructed a crossing over the Moselle that the 80th exploited and established a sturdy bridgehead. This would serve the US Army well in Patton’s upcoming Lorraine campaign.

80th Infantry Division 
80th Infantry Division 'Blue Ridge'

Fielding the 80th Infantry Division

To field a Rifle Company from the 80th Infantry Division, use the Rifle Company on page 42 of D-Day: American. You can also use the 80th Infantry Division Blue Ridge Command Card allow you to immediately roll to Range In another artillery Unit after getting a Time on Target bombardment, treating this new attempt as the same attempt as the first for 3 points.


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