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The History of the 43rd Infantry Division, 1941-1945

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The History of the 43rd Infantry DIvision, 1941-1945

  • by Joseph E. Zimmer, Colonel, Infantry (Retired)
    • Merriam Press World War 2 History Series
      • Fifth Edition 2012
      • 186 6x9-inch pages
      • 58 photos
      • 14 maps

First published in 1945, this brand-new edition (not a facsimile reprint) is the story of the U.S. Army’s 43rd “Winged Victory” Division whose memorable record in World War II will stand forever as an inspiration to all freedom-loving Americans. It is the story of valiant men who dedicated their lives to preserve all in life that is precious and coveted.

     While the story of the division may be recorded for posterity only on the printed page, its days of tragedy and comedy, adversity and prosperity, famine and feast, combat and rest, labor and recreation, are eternally engraved on the souls of thousands of red-blooded Americans who fought, conquered, died in the name of justice, humanity, and freedom.

     The 43rd Infantry Division was organized following World War I, and was made up of National Guard troops from the New England States—Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut. Many of the organizations, particularly the Infantry Regiments and the Field Artillery Battalions had World War I records, and some had histories dating back to the days of the Revolutionary War.

     Upon induction into federal service on 24 February 1941, the officers and men were citizen soldiers. The division originally was inducted into federal service for the purpose of training for one year, but was held in service until inactivation on 1 November 1945, after having contributed greatly to the defeat of the enemy in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations.

    The 43rd saw duty and combat in such places as New Zealand, New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, the Russells, New Georgia, Munda, Arundel, New Guinea, invasion of Lingayen, the Shimbu Line, and Ipo Dam, as well as the surrender and occupation.

 

Contents

  • The Beginning

  • War Comes

  • Off to War

  • New Zealand

  • New Caledonia

  • Guadalcanal and the Russells

  • New Georgia

  • Securing Munda

  • Arundel

  • Defending Munda

  • Rest and Reorganization in New Zealand

  • New Guinea

  • Lingayen

  • Moving Inland

  • Stotsenberg

  • Crushing the Shimbu Line

  • Ipo Dam

  • Surrender and Occupation

  • Homecoming

  • Appendix: Leonard Fish Wing
Reviews

Very interested in this volume as my Dad and two of his brothers served in the division (my Dad's experience earned him the Bronze Star, four Purple Hearts and an arrowhead with four stars on his Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon). Additionally, my son closed out the life of the 43rd by serving in the 43rd Brigade of the 26th Infantry Division during the brigade's last year of organization. Having grown up in the Army, 1946-54, with the division, the red quatrefoil and black grape leaf get to be part of you. Colonel Zimmer's literature needs to be in the family.
—Tom Rozman
  
My father, who will be 88 years old, was a member of the 43rd Infantry Division. He showed me his copy of your book and I therefore wanted to get a copy for my own collection. My father enjoyed your book. Some of the photographs brought back memories of the places he had seen. In reading the book, my father commented that "it was nice to know what the other guys were doing!" Thank you for putting this book together. There is an ancient historian who once said: "The purpose of history is not to record that which happened, rather the purpose of history is to record that which is to be remembered." Thank you for helping us remember.
—Thomas Genduso
 
My maternal grandfather, John V. Gallardo, was killed while fighting the Japanese on Luzon in the Philippines, on 14 March 1945 fighting in the 43 Inf. Div, 103rd Inf. Regiment. I decided I really wanted to learn more about the unit history of the distinguished Division that he served with literally "till the end." Your work means a lot to those of us who care to learn and remember about fading battles and long ago wars and the warriors who fought them.
—Lance R. Gallardo, former Marine officer

Hopefully the book will fill in a few holes in my Dad's service in WWII. He was a Vermonter from North Troy who joined the 43rd and who during an approximately 10 day period in the early days of the Luzon campaign was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and the Distinguished Unit Citation (later upgraded to the Presidential Unit Citation) and two of his three Purple Hearts for taking three hills and participating in one of the infamous road blocks in that short period of time.
—Alan Griggs

Joseph E. Zimmer has produced a fine unit history of the 43rd Infantry Division. The division saw action in the South Pacific and Central Pacific, finally winding up the war in the occupation of Japan. Such individual unit histories are important additions to the history of World War II. Peppered with images of the "boys" of the 43rd and maps of engagements, this book will be a valued resource to historians or, as in my case, the descendants of those who served in the Winged Victory Division.
—Anonymous

This is not a page-turner, at times more like a list of events and facts than story-telling. But having said that, it records and preserves a part of our history that might otherwise have been lost. If, like me, you had a father or other relative that served in 43rd Infantry, it gives you an inkling of what they experienced in the long campaign across the Pacific. For anyone else, it is a poignant accounting of what military service meant in an another era, when the U.S. confronted the ultra-nationalist and racist Axis powers of WWII. And on a personal level, after all these years it is sobering to read: "positions were secured and held despite constant heavy artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire from commanding ground," knowing that was my father's unit.
—Rich Rangifer

I served in the 169th Infantry in the Seventies and you can still see the pride as I did serve with some members from the war. It made me appreciate their service all the more. Until reading the 43d's history I didn't realize what the units went through. The book really educated me on the great job the division did.
—John W.

My uncle was in the 43rd and I have often wondered what he went through in the pacific.....hell is the best way I can describe it after reading about it.
—Richard J.

I would would give this 5 stars, but the Kindle Edition is missing pages. My grandfather was in 43rd Division, 1st Battalion, 172nd Infantry, and it has been amazing to read about his exploits through the well documented work here. Fortunately I was able to fill in the missing info from other research.
—Justin Marra

Publisher's Comment: The eBook edition contains all the material found in the printed book. However, having been originally written just after the war, it wouldn't contain all the information that is available on the unit today.

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