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D-Day: American

83rd Infantry Division

The 83rd Infantry Division was originally formed during World War I from Ohio draftees. The division’s patch is the letters that spell ‘Ohio’ imposed on top of each other. During WWII, the division was mixed and it took on the new nickname ‘Thunderbolt’ after its actions holding the Rhine river several years later.

The division landed at Omaha on 18 June and was immediately thrown into the hedgerows south of Carentan. By 25 July, they reached the St. Lô – Periers road and advanced eight miles into enemy lines during Operation Cobra.

St. Malo

After Cobra, the 83rd marched to Brittany to attack the fortress town of St. Malo on 5 August. The Germans had spent years fortifying the town. Free French partisans reported that the city held 10,000 German troops, but the US Army had learned the partisans’ numbers to be exaggerated, so they adjusted the French numbers to a more conservative 3000-6000.

In actual fact, the Germans had 8000 troops garrisoned in St. Malo, and another 4000 in the town of Dinard, located directly across the Rance River!

Originally, all of the division’s regiments were aimed at St. Malo, but the going got tough pretty quick. The 121st Infantry Regiment was detached from the 8th Infantry Division to help the 331st Infantry Regiment deal with Dinard, while the 329th and 330th went after the main objective of St. Malo.

The street fighting in St. Malo was a sign of things to come in Brest, as the doughboys adopted assault formations armed with pioneer equipment and flame-throwers to reduce German strongpoints. The battle came to a climatic fight over ‘the citadel’, an ancient structure in the centre of the city. The citadel was immune to everything the Americans could throw at it. In frustration, 8” guns were setup only 1500 yards from the wall and opened fire. The terrorizing result finally convinced the last of the Germans to surrender the city on 15 August.


The fight for Dinard was much harder than expected and one battalion from the 121st got cut off and surrounded. Despite several attempts to breakthrough to the ‘lost battalion’, the Germans held firm. It would take two regiments and the better part of VIII Corps’ artillery to finally break the German line and relieve the trapped battalion four days later.

83rd Infantry Division 
83rd Infantry Division 'Thunderbolt'

Fielding the 83rd Infantry Division

To field a Rifle Company from the 83rd Infantry Division, use the Rifle Company on page 42 of D-Day: American. You can also use the 83rd Infantry Division Thunderbolt Command Card to exchange Blood ‘n Guts for Thunderbolt, giving you Counterattack 3+ and Rally 4+ for 1 point.

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