The First (US) Infantry Division...

...a Militaria Unit History from Histoire & Collections, via Casemate Books

Title:  The First (US) Infantry Division

Author: Stephane Lavit & Philippe Charbonnier

Publisher:  Histoire & Collections

ISBN:  978-2-35250-464-1


Another addition to the series of Militaria unit histories by Histoire & Collections, and this one covers the 1st (US) Infantry Division, the 'Big Red One'.  Formed in 1917 and still active, the US First Infantry Division, well known thanks to their unit badge as 'The Big Red One'.  Activated for service in France in 1917 the division has served the US Army well from then through to the present day, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In this new title in their Unit History series, authors Stephane Lavit and Philippe Charbonnier have done a very neat job with this one.

The book is split into 13 chapters and is well illustrated with archive photos and maps throughout.  It starts with 'The Birth of a Division', looking at even earlier history of various units that came to be incorporated into the new division.  It then provides basic information on the division moving via the UK to their arrival on the Western Front in France in December 1917 through to the end of WW1.  The inter-war period is summarised in just one brief paragraph.  Then in 1939, chapter 2 looks at 'Stateside Training'.  Chapter 3 moves on to 1942 and the arrival of the division in 'North Africa' and what they did there, including maps and the then Order of Battle.  Next it moves on to Sicily, and their role in the invasion.  This move on to chapter 5, 'Omaha Beach and the Liberation of France'.  Plenty of period photos accompany this, many of which I was unfamiliar with before.  That lead on to chapter 6, 'Belgium and Germany'.  This includes the liberation of Mons, the capture of Aachen and on into the Hurtgen Forest.  Then came 'The Battle of the Bulge', when the division was in the Malmedy sector.   Chapter 8 deals with 'To Czechoslovakia and Victory in Europe'  to round off WW2.

Chapter 9 deals with 'Occupation and the Cold War' while chapter 10 is a one-page look at 'The Big Red One in Movies', which looks particularly at the film with the same name as their famous badge.  Chapter 11 is another brief element, covering 'From Vietnam to the Gulf'.  Chapter 12 is a collection of 'The Big Red One in Facts and Figures', with detail such as a list of WW2 Campaigns and overseas assignments, Command Structure, awards and very usefully, a list of the individual units attached to the 1st Infantry Division.  The final section looks at 'The Big Red One Division Senior Officers and Heroes', which details notable individuals and Medal of Honor recipients.

This is a  concise but very informative history of this famous US Army division and the maps and photos will interest historians and modellers alike.