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47th Infantry Regiment (United States)

The 47th Infantry Regiment is an infantry regiment of the United States Army. Constituted in 1917 at Camp Syracuse, New York, the regiment fought in The Great War, and was later inactivated in 1921. Reactivated in 1940, the regiment fought during World War II in North Africa, Sicily, and Western Europe, then was inactivated in 1946. During the Cold War, the regiment saw multiple activations and inactivations, with service both in the Regular Army and the Army Reserve; it fought in Vietnam. Ultimately it was reactivated as a training regiment, and as of 1999, it has been assigned to Fort Benning.[7]

47th Infantry Regiment
47 Inf Regt CoA.jpg
Active1917 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Army
TypeInfantry basic training
SizeRegiment
Garrison/HQFort Benning, GA
Nickname(s)"Raiders"[1]
Motto(s)Ex Virtute Honos (Honor Comes From Virtue)
EngagementsWorld War I
World War II
Vietnam War
Commanders
Current
commander
2nd Bn – LTC Shawn M. Bault
3rd Bn – LTC Tony Massari
Notable
commanders
Alexander Patch[2]
Edwin Randle[3][4]
George W. Smythe[5][6]
Insignia
Distinctive unit insignia47 Inf Regt DUI.jpg
U.S. Infantry Regiments
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46th Infantry Regiment 48th Infantry Regiment

Contents

Present dayEdit

The 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment is stationed at Sand Hill, Fort Benning. The battalion falls under the 194th Armored Brigade, and MCoE TRADOC.[8]

On 8 April 2013 an inactivation ceremony was held for the 3d Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, resulting in a reduction of 44 soldier and 27 civilian positions.[9] On 4 March 2019, the battalion was re-activated in the 198th Infantry Brigade for infantry one station unit training.[10]

Combat chronicleEdit

The Great WarEdit

The regiment was formed from cadre from the 9th Infantry Regiment.[11] Initially assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, it fought in Europe during the Great War;[12] within the division the regiment was part of Brigadier General Benjamin Andrew Poore's 7th Infantry Brigade.[11] In early August 1918, the regiment fought near Bazoches-sur-Vesles during the Second Battle of the Marne.[13] During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the regiment was commanded by Major James Stevens.[14] In September and October 1918, the regiment fought near Cuisy, Septsarges, and Brieulles-sur-Meuse.[15] It ended the war near Fays, Vosges, and served in the Army of Occupation near Coblenz until July 1919.[16]

World War IIEdit

 
Map of landings of the regiment at Safi, Morocco

Just prior to World War II, the regiment was garrisoned at Fort Bragg, and was commanded by Colonel Patch; after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Patch was reassigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations.[2][17] During World War II, the regiment was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division.[12] The regiment took part in Operation Blackstone in North Africa, where it fought against Vichy French forces during an amphibious landing;[18] the regiment's Company K were the first American troops to land in French Morocco.[19] At the time of the regiment was commanded by Colonel Randle.[3] Following its actions during Operation Torch, of which Blackstone was a part of, the regiment took part in divisional duties of monitor Spanish Morocco, which lasted into early 1943;[20] during this time, the regiment conducted a +200 miles (320 km) foot march from Safi to Port-Lyautey.[21]

Still in North Africa, along with the rest of the 9th Division, the regiment fought in the Battle of El Guettar, which resulted in a significant number of casualties;[22] for actions during the battle, the regiment's commander, received the Distinguished Service Cross (he would later go on to be promoted to be the assistant division commander of the 77th Division).[4][23] Following El Guettar, the regiment moved north, and fought in the Battle of Sedjenane, and soldiers of the regiment's 2nd Battalion, were the first Allied soldiers in Bizerte.[24][25] After Colonel Patch was promoted and parted ways with the regiment, Colonel Smythe became the regiment's commander.[26] Along with the rest of the 9th Infantry Division, the regiment was sent to Sicily, in 1943;[24][27] in Sicily the regiment was tangentially involved during the Battle of Troina, which saw the 9th Infantry Division's other infantry regiments seeing significant combat.[28] Remaining in Sicily after the Axis forces retreated, the regiment got orders to move in November 1943, making its way to England;[24] with the rest of the 9th Infantry Division, the regiment trained and relaxed until June 1944.[20] The division was garrisoned around Winchester; during this time there were a few marriages between American Soldiers and British civilians.[29] The regiment was garrisoned around Alresford; there the regiment had adopted a dog as a mascot, but it died when struck by vehicle in May 1944.[30]

On 10 June, four days after D-Day, the 9th Infantry Division landed at Utah Beach. Assigned to VII Corps, it was allocated to the liberation of the Cotentin Peninsula, being the division that sealed off the peninsula to prevent additional German reinforcements from breaking through.[20][31] Medical supplies for the regiment had been lost during its movement from England to Normandy, but were replaced and captured German vehicles were pressed into service by the regiment's medical detachment.[29] With the entire regiment having landed by 14 June, the regiment began its combat in France on the 15th, fighting alongside regiments of the 82nd Airborne Division, attacking along a path which was near, or included, Orglandes, Hautteville-Bocage, and Ste. Colombe;[32] by 18 June, the regiment reached Saint-Lô-d'Ourville, via Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte, Saint-Sauveur-de-Pierrepont, and Neuville-en-Beaumont.[33] Relieved by the 357th Infantry Regiment (of the 90th Infantry Division) along the English Channel, facing Jersey, the regiment moved to Saint-Jacques-de-Néhou where it began its push northward to Vasteville, via Bricquebec; on 20 June it began its push towards Cherbourg, but was initially halted near Sideville by stiff German prepared defenses around the outskirts of the port city.[34] On 22 June, the attack on Cherbourg began, with the regiment errantly being attacked by aircraft of the IX Bomber Command, and the 39th Infantry Regiment following behind its advancement;[35] by the 24th the regiment had broken through the enemy defenses, and along with the 39th, where fighting within the suburb of Octeville.[36] The regiment continued to fight in the western portion of Cherbourg, and by the 26th it captured German General Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben and Admiral Walter Hennecke. The city fell to the Allies by the next day; following the liberation of the port city, along with the 60th Infantry Regiment, the 47th fought the remaining German forces in Cap de la Hague, ultimately capturing over 6,000 Germans by 1 July.[37]

By 10 July, the 9th Infantry Division was tasked to join the effort to liberate Saint-Lô; the next day it was attacked by the Panzer Lehr Division.[38] On 11 July, wounded men and medical officers of the regiment's third battalion, were captured by German forces; one of the medical officers would later be killed by friendly fire and buried at Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, while the other was liberated at Château-Thierry while taking care of wounded prisoners of war.[29] In early August the regiment, along with the 60th Infantry Regiment, was fighting in the area of Gathemo.[39] The liberation of Château-Thierry occurred on 27 August, while the 9th Infantry Division was following the wake of the movement of the 3rd Armored Division.[20]

 
Soldiers of the 47th Infantry Regiment, march through Remagen, in March 1945

On 14 September, the regiment entered Germany, at or near, Roetgen;[40] it was the first German city to fall to the Allies.[41] 16 September, the regiment began the Allies' Siegfried Line campaign, when it penetrated it near Schevenhütte.[42] The regiment fought in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest;[43] during the battle the regiment captured Frenzerburg Castle.[44] By 30 September, the regiment had lost 163 officers, with one company having had 18 officers killed, leading to a loss of experienced leadership over time.[45] During the Battle of the Bulge, the regiment served as a cornerstone of American resistance around Eupen.[5][46] The regiment had the distinction of another first; on 8 March 1945, soldiers of the regiment became the first infantry troops to cross the Rhine River, doing so at Remagen;[31][47] for its actions during the crossing of the Rhine, the regiment was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.[20]

By early April, the 9th Infantry Division was assigned to III Corps, and was part of the effort against the Ruhr Pocket;[48] once again the Panzer Lehr Division attacked the 9th Infantry Division. For its actions in repelling the attack the regiment earned another Distinguished Unit Citation.[49] By mid-April 1945, the 9th Infantry Division was re-assigned to VII Corps, and fought against remaining German forces in the Harz Mountains; there they encountered concentration camps near Nordhausen.[50] After the Germans surrendered, the regiment conducted occupation duty in Germany, which lasted until late 1946;[31] part of the duty included a stint at the Dachau Concentration Camp.[10][31]

VietnamEdit

 
Soldiers of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division at My Tho in April 1968

In Vietnam, the regiment fought in the Mekong Delta, where it conducted riverine warfare;[10] along with other units assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, the regiment was based out of Đồng Tâm Base Camp.[51] However, the regiment's 3rd Battalion was based in Kiến Hòa province.[52] In addition to riverine operations, the regiment also conducted air mobile operations.[53]:76

During the conflict three of the regiment's battalions served;[12] the 2nd Battalion was deployed from January 1967 until October 1970, the 3rd Battalion was deployed from January 1967 until July 1969, and the 4th Battalion was deployed January 1967 until July 1969.[54] For the most part the regiment's battalions were assigned to the 9th Infantry Division's 2d Brigade, except for the 2nd Battalion, which was temporarily assigned at various times in 1968 to the division's other two brigades.[55] During its time in Vietnam, the regiment conducted joint operations with the United States Navy, with Soldiers deploying from Navy boats, and billeting aboard Navy ships.[56]

In 1966, upon learning of the regiment's upcoming riverine mission, the regiment's leadership worked with the Navy's Amphibious Training School, in Coronado, to gain the skills needed for the upcoming deployment.[53]:54 In January 1967, the regiment deployed from Fort Riley, by way of San Francisco, disembarking at Vũng Tàu.[53]:59 From mid-February to late-March 1967, the regiment's 3rd battalion conducted combat training, with the USS Whitfield County (LST-1169) and the 9th River Assault Squadron, in the Rung Sat Special Zone.[53]:59–67, 70 In April and May 1967, the regiment's 4th battalion conducted operations in the Rung Sat Special Zone.[53]:67, 70

Beginning in April 1967, the regiment's 3rd battalion began the regiment's presence in the Mekong Delta proper.[53]:75 By May of that same year it began to conduct combat operations near Ap Bac;[53]:77 that same month, the regiment's 4th Battalion completed operations in Rung Sat and began operations in the Mekong Delta.[53]:81 On 19 May 1967, on the banks of the Mỹ Tho River, 2nd Brigade's headquarters was attacked, with the regiment's 3rd battalion thwarting it.[53]:83 In June 1967, the regiment took part in Operation Concordia, with the USS Colleton (APB-36) providing medical support.[53]:105–108 In early July 1967, the regiment conducted operations in the Gò Công Province;[53]:110–112 at the end of that month, the regiment operated in Can Guioc.[53]:114–120 In August, and early September, the regiment operated in the Long An Province; while there, they supported units from the Republic of Vietnam Marine Division.[53]:125–127 From October 1967 until January 1968, the regiment was involved in Operation Coronado V & IX, with it ending when the regiment embarked on the USS Benewah (APB-35).[53]:128–143

During the Tet Offensive, in early February, the regiment fought heavily in and around Mỹ Tho.[53]:150–151 From mid-February and into early March, the regiment took part in Operation Coronado XI.[53]:151–160 Following that operation, the regiment was involved in Operation Truong Cong Dinh until April. Several helicopters were lost due to enemy fire, and two artillery barges sunk; the Benewah was struck by enemy fire, and one LCM was sunk.[53]:160–163 In July, the regiment's 4th Battalion conducted operations with the South Vietnamese Army's 9th Division.[53]:165 In October, two of the regiment's battalions conducted pacification operations in Kiến Hòa province.[53]:171

Regimental lineageEdit

The regiment's lineage is as follows:[7]

  • Constituted 15 May 1917 in the Regular Army as Company C, 47th Infantry
  • Organized 1 June 1917 at Syracuse, New York
  • (47th Infantry assigned 19 November 1917 to the 4th Division)
  • Inactivated 22 September 1921 at Camp Lewis, Washington
  • (47th Infantry relieved 15 August 1927 from assignment to the 4th Division and assigned to the 7th Division; relieved 1 October 1933 from assignment to the 7th Division; assigned 1 August 1940 to the 9th Division [later redesignated as the 9th Infantry Division])
  • Activated 10 August 1940 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • Inactivated 31 December 1946 in Germany
  • Activated 15 July 1947 at Fort Dix, New Jersey
  • Inactivated 1 December 1957 at Fort Carson, Colorado, and relieved from assignment to the 9th Infantry Division; concurrently redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Battle Group, 47th Infantry
  • Withdrawn 10 April 1959 from the Regular Army, allotted to the Army Reserve, and assigned to the 81st Infantry Division (organic elements concurrently constituted)
  • Battle Group activated 1 May 1959 with Headquarters at Atlanta, Georgia
  • Inactivated 1 April 1963 at Atlanta, Georgia, and relieved from assignment to the 81st Infantry Division
  • Redesignated 1 February 1966 as the 3d Battalion, 47th Infantry; concurrently withdrawn from the Army Reserve, allotted to the Regular Army, assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Inactivated 1 August 1969 at Fort Riley, Kansas
  • Activated 21 March 1973 at Fort Lewis, Washington
  • Relieved 16 February 1991 from assignment to the 9th Infantry Division and assigned to the 199th Infantry Brigade
  • Inactivated 14 January 1994 at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and relieved from assignment to the 199th Infantry Brigade
  • Headquarters transferred 2 October 1996 to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and activated at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
  • Inactivated 1 February 1999 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
  • Activated 1 March 1999 at Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Inactivated 15 December 2003 at Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Battalion redesignated 1 October 2005 as the 3d Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment
  • Headquarters activated 27 April 2006 at Fort Benning, Georgia

HonorsEdit

The regiment's campaign participation credits, and decorations, are as follows:[7]

Campaign participation creditEdit

World War I: Aisne-Marne; St. Mihiel; Meuse-Argonne; Champagne 1918; Lorraine 1918

World War II: Algeria-French Morocco (with arrowhead); Tunisia; Sicily; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe

Vietnam: Counteroffensive, Phase II; Counteroffensive, Phase III; Tet Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase IV; Counteroffensive, Phase V; Counteroffensive, Phase VI; Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer-Fall 1969; Winter-Spring 1970; Sanctuary Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase VII

DecorationsEdit

  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for CHERBOURG
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for HAGUE PENINSULA
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for WILHELMSHOHE, GERMANY
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for ROETGEN, GERMANY
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for NOTHBERG, GERMANY
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for FREUZENBERG CASTLE
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for REMAGEN, GERMANY
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for OBERKIRCHEN, GERMANY
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for MEKONG Delta
  • Valorous Unit Award for LONG BINH – BIEN HOA
  • Valorous Unit Award for Saigon
  • Valorous Unit Award for FISH HOOK
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for VIETNAM 1968
  • French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II for CHERBOURG
  • Belgian Fourragere 1940
    • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at the MEUSE RIVER
    • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the ARDENNES

In popular cultureEdit

  • Forrest Gump is shown to be a member of the regiment, wearing the regiment's distinctive unit insignia on his Class A Dress Green Uniform. In the film he is cast as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, then a unit of the 9th Infantry Division in the Vietnam War.[57]

See alsoEdit

Medal of Honor recipientsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "47th Infantry Lineage and Honors".

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  56. ^ Rick Atkinson (1 April 2010). The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966. Henry Holt and Company. p. 211. ISBN 978-1-4299-7904-7.
  57. ^ Baldwin, Leon (1997). "Photos of Forrest Gump". 9th Infantry Division. Archived from the original on 7 January 2002. Retrieved 22 July 2007.
    Spencer C. Tucker (20 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History, 2nd Edition [4 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 367. ISBN 978-1-85109-961-0.
    Robert G. Thobaben (3 October 2015). For Comrade and Country: Oral Histories of World War II Veterans. McFarland. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-7864-8200-9.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit