The shoulder patch of the 13th Airborne Division is a winged unicorn on a blue shield, and it is a happy choice. Tradition associates the unicorn with qualities of courage and strength, and the elements of the 13th which fought in Europe against the Nazis, displayed these qualities in abundance.
In World War I the 13th was an infantry division, and was prepared to sail overseas when the Armistice stopped all troop movements. In World War II the Division was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and later was transferred to Camp Mackall, North Carolina, The Airborne Center.
Although the 13th was assigned to the First Allied Airborne Army, it was not committed to action in the European conflict. The 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, however, which was joined to the division overseas, had had previous combat service. Operating as a combat team, the 517th fought in Italy in September 1944, and then in southern France.
In the Ardennes campaign, when the threat of the German breakthrough was at its height, the 517th fought with outstanding valor. The 1st Battalion of this rugged outfit was attached to the 3d Armored Division and went into combat around Soy and Hotten.
The 2nd Battalion, and that part of the 3d Battalion not guarding XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, was attached to the 30th Infantry Division. For their action in this bitter campaign the team was commended by the late Major General Maurice Rose, commanding general of the 3d Armored Division.
After V-E Day, the 13th was stationed in France, at Vitry-le-François. Later it returned to the United States and was about to embark for service in the Pacific when the war ended.
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
The division insignia is a winged Unicorn in golden orange placed on an ultramarine blue shield. The Unicorn is associated, by tradition, with the qualities of virtue, courage and strength. The division is commonly known as the "Black Cat Division: because of the flaunting of superstition by its activation on Friday, 13 August 1943.
|6 Feb 45||Maj. Gen. Elbridge G. Chapman|
|6 Feb 45||Brig. Gen. Hammond M. Monroe|
|6 Feb 45||Brig. Gen. Eric S. Molitor|
|6 Feb 45||Col. Hugh P. Harris|
|6 Feb 45||Lt. Col. Bernard G. Teeters|
|6 Feb 45||Lt. Col. William J. Blythe|
|6 Feb 45||Lt. Col. Frederick O. Hartel|
|6 Feb 45||Lt. Col. Sigfried E. Carlson|
|6 Feb 45||Lt. Col. Samuel A. Lewis|
|6 Feb 45||Lt. Col. Harley N. Trice|
|12 Feb 45||Col. Harvey J. Jablonsky|
|1 Mar 45 (Regiment assigned)||Col. Rupert D. Graves|
|6 Feb 45||Col. Samuel Roth|
|6 Feb 45||Col. William O. Poindexter|
* Regiment disbanded 1 Mar 45.
|Activated||13 August 1943|
|Arrived ETO||6 February 1945|
|Arrived Continent (D+249)||10 February 1945|
|Entered Combat||No Combat|
|Days in Combat||0|
Do you have items such as papers, photos, uniforms, gear, guns, weapons and other artifacts? Read more and Support Us.
If you have any data and roster info on units and those who served we would be interested in adding it to our digital project-library; please Contact Us
Help us with transcribing data. Unit histories, personnel rosters, award documents. Want to help? Contact Us
Copyright, 2023, Sons Of Liberty Museum, Inc.,
All Rights Reserved