Activated 14 Jul 1943•  Entered Combat 24 Dec 1944•  Days of Combat 106  •  Casualties 3,971


Commanding General

Maj. Gen. Henry J. Collins   (Jun 43 - Jul 46) 



Rhineland (15 Sep 44 - 21 Mar 45)
Central Europe (22 Mar 45 - 11 May 45)

Campaign Route Map of the 42nd Infantry Division

This vintage map chart the journey of the 42nd Infantry Division throughout Europe during World War II. The map can be zoomed in and purchased at HistoryShots.com.


The three regiments and a detachment of the Division Headquarters arrived in France at Marseilles, 8-9 December 1944, and were formed into a Task Force Unden, under the Assistant Division Commander. Assigned to VI Corps, Seventh Army, the Task Force entered combat in the vicinity of Strasbourg, relieving elements of the 36th Infantry Division, 24 December 1944. Defending a 31-mile sector along the Rhine, north and south of Strasbourg, the Task Force repulsed a number of enemy counterattacks, at Hatten and elsewhere. After throwing back an enemy attack, 24-26 January 1945, Task Force Linden returned to Seventh Army Reserve and trained with the remainder of the Division which had arrived meanwhile. On 14 February 1945, the Division entered combat as a whole, taking up defensive positions near Haguenau in the Hardt Mountains. After a month of extensive patrolling and active defense, the 42d went on the offensive, attacking through the Hardt Mountains, broke through the Siegfried Line, 15-21 March, cleared Dahn and Busenberg, and mopped up in that general area, while the Third Army created and expanded bridgeheads across the Rhine. Moving across the Rhine, 31 March, the 42d captured Wertheim, 1 April, and Wurzburg, 2-6 April, after a fierce battle. Schweinfurt fell next after hand-to-hand engagements, 9-12 April. Furth, near Nurnberg, put up fanatical resistance, but was taken, 18-19 April, by the Division. On the 25th, the 42d captured Donauworth on the Danube, and on the 29th liberated some 30,000 inmates at Dachau, most notorious of the Nazi concentration camps. Passing through Munich, 30 April, it cut across the Austrian border north of Salzburg, 5 May, as the war in Europe ended.

Notes and sources:
Date Activated is the date the division was activated or inducted into federal service (national guard units).
Casualties are number of killed, wounded in action, captured, and missing.
The dates after the campaign name are the dates of the campaign not of the division.
The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States; , U.S. Government Printing Office. Army Battle Casualties and Nonbattle Deaths in World War II, Final Report, 1 December 1941 - 31 December 1946. US Army Center of Military History at http://www.history.army.mil/ Various divisional histories