Brief History of the 99th Infantry Division in World War II
|The 99th Infantry Division was activated as a component of
the Army of the United States on November 15th, 1942, with Headquarters
at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. After participating in the 1943 Louisiana
maneuvers, the Division had one change of station before embarking
for the European Theater in September 1944. The 99th had a brief
stop-over in England before landing at Le Havre, France, on November
3rd and proceeding to Aubel, Belgium, arriving on the front on November
9th north of the Roer River between Schmidt and Monshau, Germany.
After a few weeks of intensive patrol action, the Division attacked
the Westwall fortifications known as the Siegfried Line on December
13th and encountered strong enemy resistance.
On December 16th, the German Sixth Panzer Army hit the Division's
lines in several place and made some breakthroughs in the opening
attack of what would be called the Battle of the Bulge. Though facing
numerically superior forces, the 99th held and withdrew gradually
to defensive positions east of Elsenborn where the Divisions held
in spite of enemy attempts to break through and enlarge the Bulge.
After the German retreat from the Ardennes, the 99th re-equipped
and engaged in aggressive patrol action until February 1, 1945,
when it attacked enemy forces in the Monshau Forest area and continued
to advance and mop up enemy remnants until February 13th. A rest
and training period followed until March 2nd when the 99th advanced
towards Keln, crossed the Erft Canal near Glesch, and then cleared
several towns west of the Rhine.
On March 11th, the Division crossed the Rhine River at Remagen and
advanced into the heart of Germany passing through Linz and crossing
the Wied River on March 23rd. After cutting the Koln-Frankfurt Autobahn,
the 99th crossed the Dill River and entered Giessen on March 29th
and then moved to Schwarzenau to attack enemy forces trapped in
the Ruhr Pocket. Advancing into the southeast sector of the pocket
against fierce enemy resistance, the men of the 99th fought from
April 5th until the 16th when Iserlohn was captured and organized
enemy resistance ended. One week later, the Division was on the
attack again and crossed the Ludwig Canal against strong enemy forces
and advanced to the Altmuhl River which was crossed on April 25th.
Continuing to fight against die-hard enemy elements, the 99th crossed
the Danube River near Eining on April 27th and crossed the Isar
River four days later after a stubborn fight. The Division advanced
to the Inn River and was at Giesenhausen east of Munich whe the
war in Europe ended. After a short period of occupation duty, the
Division returned home in September 1945 and was inactivated on
October 15, 1945.
A total of 1,134 men of the "Checkerboard" Division were
killed in action and 4,177 were wounded during three campaigns and
151 days of combat.
The shoulder patch worn by the 99th Division was approved on May
21, 1923. The black shield represents the iron district of Pennsylvania,
and the checkerboard design is from the Coat of Arms of William