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Dated: July 15, 2011
WW2 History of the

 92nd 'Buffalo' Infantry Division
   The 92nd Infantry Divsion was one of two all-black infantry divisions formed in WW2.  They adopted the name that was given to the black cavalry troops by the plain Indians in the 1880s.  This division arrived in Italy in the summer of 1944 with the 370th Regiment placed in combat on 24 August.  The division suffered a set-back in December when the Germans launched an attack through their position.  The division was strengthened with the addition of the 442nd and 473rd Regimental Combat Teams.  In the Spring offense, they
entered La Spezia and Genoa on the 27 April, 1945 and liberated several towns along the Ligurian coast.

                                                                                                                                                   Steve Cole
General History and Info 
92nd Infantry Division

   The shoulder patch is a circular green patch with black border and a black buffalo.

Command and Organization:
  The 92nd Infantry Divisoin was part of the 5th Army in Italy.  The divisions within the 5th Army were orgnaized into Corps.  During various times, the 5th Army consisted of the II Corps, IV Corps and VI Corps.

  The 92nd Divisin consisted of 365, 370 & 371 Infantry Regiments.  Each Regiment consisted of three battalions that commanded four companies.  The 1st Battalion consisted of Companies A, B, C, & D; the 2nd Battalion of Companies E, F, G, & H; and the 3rd Battalion of Companies I, K, L, & M(heavy weapons).  The Cannon Company was a light artillery unit that reported to the regiment.   At the end is infomation about the organization of the division, followed by a glossary of military terms--- see Organization of 92nd.

      Activated:   15 Oct 42                                 Overseas:   30 July 44
      Entered Combat:  23  August 44                  Inactivated:  28 Nov 45


Organization of Division - Units + Summary of Awards & CasualtiesCLICK TO GO

Color Legend:
         Allied Units  (Only highlight units other than the 88th Division)
       German Units
       Bold (black)   Important dates, towns or leaders.


History of African-American Soldiers

   Black soldiers were first used during the American Civil War where they were organized as State Militia units.  It wasn't  until after the Civil War, that black units were included in the Regular Army of the United States.  Four black units were formed to help fight during the wars with the plains Indians:  24th & 25th Infantry Regiments and the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments.  It was from the Indians  that they began to be called "Buffalo Soldiers".  This was due to their tightly curled hair and the buffalo hides they wore.  This name became a badge of honor as the buffalo was a respected animal among the Indians.
  The Buffalo Soliders also saw service during the Spanish American War, where they assisted the Rough Rider charge, and also with General Pershing's campaign on the Mexican border.
   During WW1, the Army had planned to raise 2 all-black divisions.   Only the 92nd Infantry Division was formed at Camp Upton, NY.  The 92nd Division consisted of approximately 25,000 black enlisted men and 1,000 white and black officers.  The division departed for France in June 1918 and was assigned to a quite sector of the front lines.  They did see some combat service in the Meuse-Argounne offensive on 24 September 1918.  The 92nd Division returned to the US and was demobilized in March 1919.

    At the beginning of World War II, the War Department envisioned 4 all-black divisions.  However only 3 divisions were formed: 2nd Cavalry, 92nd & 93rd Infantry.  The 2nd Cavalry Division was sent to North Africa and was broken up and used for port operations.  The 93rd Infantry Division was sent to the Pacific Theater at Bougainville.  The 92nd Infantry DIvision was the only black division to be deployed in front-line combat service.  Other smaller black units, such as signal, quartermaster and tank destroyer units also saw service in combat.



The 92nd Infantry Division

Under Construction
Brief history follows:  more to be added.

   The 370th Regimental Combat Team, attached to the 1st Armored Division, arrived in Naples, Italy, 1 August 1944 and entered combat on the 24th. It participated in the crossing of the Arno River, the occupation of Lucca and the penetration of the Gothic Line. Enemy resistance was negligible in its area. As Task Force 92, elements of the 92nd attacked on the Ligurian coastal flank toward Massa, 5 October. By the 12th, the slight gains achieved were lost to counterattacks.
    On 13 October, the remainder of the Division concentrated for patrol activities. Elements of the 92nd moved to the Serchio sector, 3 November 1944, and advanced in the Serchio River Valley against light resistance, but the attempt to capture Castelnuovo did not succeed. Patrol activities continued until 26 December when the enemy attacked (Winter Line), forcing units of the 92nd to withdraw. The attack ended on 28 December. The attacking forces were mainly from the Alpine Division "Monte Rosa" a division of the army of the Italian Social Republic(4 battalions) with the support of 3 German battalions. Aside from patrols and reconnaissance, units of the 92d attacked in the Serchio sector, 5-8 February 1945, against the Italian Bersaglieri Division "Italia", another unit of the army of the Italian Social Republic, but enemy counterattacks nullified Division advances.

On 1 April, the 370th RCT and the attached 442nd RCT (Nisei) attacked in the Ligurian coastal sector and drove rapidly north against light opposition of German 148th Infantry Division supported by Italian coastal units. The 370th took over the Serchio sector and pursued a retreating enemy from 18 April until the collapse of enemy forces, 29 April 1945. Elements of the 92nd Division entered La Spezia and Genoa on the 27th and took over selected towns along the Ligurian coast until the enemy surrendered, 2 May 1945.

Between August 1944 and May 1945 the 92d Division suffered 3,200 casualties, factoring losses from units attached to the Division brings the totals up to 5,000 casualties.

    On Italian Front the Buffallo soldiers had opportunity to made contact with men of many nationalities: beyond other segregated Americans like the Japaneses descendents, They had contact with the also segregated troops of British and French colonial empires( Black Africans, Morrocans, Algerians, Indians, Gurkhas, Jews and Palestinians )as well as with exiled Poles, Greeks and Czechs; anti-fascist Italians and the Non-segregated troops of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force.

Reorganization  - After the defeat by the German Counter-attack in December.

By April 1, there were only 2,000 Negro replacements available to the entire 92nd Division compared to 1,200 replacements for the Japanese-American 442 Regimental Combat Team.  Higher headquarters was concerned about how to re-equip the all-black regiments to bring them back to full strength.  The 365th Infantry Regiment was relieved by the 473 Regiment in the Serchio Valley and detached from the 92nd Infantry Division and attached to the IV Corps for re-training and re-equipping.  The 366th Infantry Regiment was relieved of its duties and turned in their infantry equipment.  They were converted to two general service engineer regiments to serve behind the lines.

   The 370 Regiment was removed from front-line duties and re-organized  by transferring officers and men from the other two organic division regiments. 

  Overh a 3 week period, almost half of the men of the 370 Regiment were transferred out and the experienced soldiers from the other two regiments were brought in to it.  By 1 March, the re-organization was almost completed with the following changes.

          Officers         =      -62          +70
          Warrant Ofcrs=        -1            +1
          Enlisted        =   -1264       +1358 
     Total Strength    =    139 officers, 3 warrant officers and 2,800 enlisted men

  The 473rd Regimental Combat Team was organized from existing anti-aircraft units that were no longer needed to defend against enemy aircraft.  The units that formed the new 473RCT included: 2nd Armored Group HQ, 434th, 435th, 532nd and 900 Anti-Aircraft Weapons Battalions.  Colonel Willis D. Cronk of 2nd Armored Group HQ was placed in command during the reqganization and was soon replaced by Col. William P. Yarborough.  The 473RCT was sub-divided into three battalions:  1st Battalion lead by Lt.-Col. Peter L. Urban, 2nd Battalion under Lt.-Cole Hampton H. Lisle and 3rd Battalion lead by Maj. Paul Woodward.

  After the reorganization was almost completed, General of the Army Marshal visited the 92nd Division on 28 February.

“Although official reports tend to give major credit to the 473rd, 442nd and 370th Combat Teams for capturing major towns and cities, the records establish that much of the credit should be given to the Partisans.”

~~~~~ End of Text ~~~~~

Mortar crew of 92nd Division at Massa
Mortar crew of 92nd Division in action at Massa.

Quote from “Buffalo Soldiers” by Arnold.

“Accordingly, over a three-week period, from 24 February to 17 March, 70 officers and 1,359 enlisted men holding decorations and/or Combat Infantryman Badges were transferred into the 370th Infantry {regiment} from the 365th and 371st Infantry, and 52 officers and 1,264 enlisted men were transferred out.”

Quote from “Buffalo Soldiers in Italy” by Hargrove.

  “Although two of the organic black regiments were detached form the 92nd Division, they did continue to fight as infantry under IV Corps control.

  "The Buffalo Division was now composed of the white 473rd Infantry, the Japanese-American 442nd Infantry, and the only one black (370th) Infantry.  However, all of its organic units in which all enlisted men, and some junior officers, were black, continued to function in this final offensive.  These units included the Division Artillery, the Combat Engineer Battalion, the Medical Battalion, the Cannon Companies, the air observation planes and all the other elements utilized throughout the combat experience of the 92nd Division.  Thus, over one-half of the “new” 92nd Division was still black, and their performance was to be vital importance to the eventual victory.” 
“The “new” 370th Infantry now had all white company commanders, and only one or two black junior officers in each company.  They were strangers, for the most part, to one another and many non-commissioned officers were in similar positions with enlisted men."

92nd Division troops escorting a German POW
Buffalo Soldiers escorting a German captured in civilian clothes outside the walled city of Lucca, Italy.

World War 1

Commanders:   Maj. Gen. Charles C. Ballou (29 October 1917),
                       Maj. Gen. Charles H. Martin (19 November 1918)
                       Brig. Gen. James B. Erwin (16 December 1918)
Returned to US and inactivated: February 1919 

WW1 Casualties: Total:  1,647    (KIA -120;   WIA - 1,527)

World War 2
   Activated: 15 October 1942.
   Overseas: 22 September 1944
   Returned to US:  26 November 1945
   Inactivated:  28 November 1945.

Campaigns:  North Apennines,  Po Valley 

            Medal of Honor - 2
            Distinguished Service Cross  - 2
            Distinguished Service Medal - 1
            Silver Star - 208
            Legion of Merit - 16
            Soldiers Medal - 6
            Bronze Star Medal  -  1,166
            Purple Hearts  -  1891
            Orders of the Crown of Italy  - 8
            Military Crosses for Military Valor (Italian)  - 17
            Military Crosses for Merit in War (Italian) - 22

Medal of Honor Recepients
1st Lt. John R. Fox, Cannon Company, 366th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division,
          near Sommocolonia, Serchio Valley, Italy, December 26, 1944.
1st Lt. Vernon J. Baker,  92nd Infantry Division, near Viareggio, Italy, April 5-6, 1945.


   Feb 9 – 10    370 Regiment :  13 Officers, 170 enlisted &  33 Non-Battle

Organization of the 92nd Infantry Division in WW2: 
      Major-Gen. Edward M. Almond - CG October 1942- August 1945
      Brig. Gen. John E. Wood
  - CG August 1945 - Inactivation
      Col. Frank E. Barber - Cheif of Staff  + KIA on 3 Oct 1944, his 3rd day in Italy

      Col. William J. McCaffrey - Chief of Staff
      Col. Raymond G. Sherman - CG 370th Infantry Regiment
      Lt.-Col Thomas St. John Arnold - Asst Chief of Staff, G-3, 1944-45
      Lt.-Col Robert C. Ross - CO  598th FA Battalion

      365 Infantry Regiment
      370 Infantry Regiment
      371 Infantry Regiment
      597 Field Artillery Battalion
      598 Field Artillery Battalion
      599 Field Artillery Battalion
      600 Field Artillery Battalion (155mm )
   Support Units:
          317  Engineering Battalion
          317  Medical Battalion
          792  Ordnance Company
           92  Quartermaster Company
           92  Recon Troop

    Attached Units:
         442 Regimental Combat Team (100th Battalion)
         473 Regimental Combat Team (formed from anti-aircraft units)
         758 Tank Battalion (Colored)
         760 Tank Battalion
         679 Tank Destroyer  Battalion (Colored)
         894 Tank Destroyer  Battalion
701 Tank Destroyer  Battalion
984 Chem Mortar Battalion
27  Armored Field Artillery Batn  Feb 45

  See Organization Charts of typical Infantry Division

DUI Pins of the 92nd  Division
DUI of 92nd Division 370 Infantry Regiment
371 Infantry Regiment
92nd "Buffalo" Division 370 Infantry Regiment
"Power to Strike"
 371 Infantry Regiment

598 Field Artillery Btn DUI 599 FA Btn 600 Field Arty Batln 317 Engineer Btn
598 Field Artillery
"Duty Courage And Firepower"
599 Field Artillery
"Fidem Servo"
(Italian-made pin)
600 Field Artillery
"Lean On Us"
317 Engineer Btn
"By Industry And Honor"
     @   The DUI shown is for the 371st Armored Infantry Battalion, formed after WW2 from this regiment.

Enemy Units  opposing the 92nd Division

German Divisions
148 Infantry Division
232 Infantry Division
42 Jager Division
90 Panzer Grenadier Division
5 Mountain Division

Other Smaller Units
Kesselring Machine Gun Battalion
4 Mountain Battalion
Mittenwald(LEHR) Mountain Battalion

Task Fore Kannitz

Italian Units
Monte Rosa Division
Italia Division

San Marco (Marine) Division

Brigato Nero (Black Brigades)
X Flotilla Mas (aka X-Mas or Deca-Mas)

Reference Books:

          "Buffalo Soldiers in Italy; Black Americans in World War II" - by Hondon B. Hargrove.

          "Buffalo Soldiers; The 92nd Infantry Division & Reinforcements in WW2" - by Thomas St. John Arnold.

          "Mutiny At Freeman Field" - by James C. Warren, Conyers Publishing Company, 1998.   A great book
   about an unknown group of Tuskegee Airmen in training as bomber crew and their struggle against the racist attitude in the Army.

Reference Material:
                      TO BE ADDED LATER

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Other unit histories located on my website:

    85th "Custer" Division   and associated 310th Combat Engineer Battalion

   88th "Blue Devil" Division91st "Powder River" Division  &  1st Armored Division

  3rd "Marne" Division45th "Thunderbird Division  &  442nd Regimental Combat Team

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For more on US 5th Army and the German X & XIV Armies, go to  Allied Units & Organizations.