Rainbow Division

The Rainbow Division

In the autumn of 1944, the three Infantry Regiments were rushed overseas ahead of the remainder of the Division. They were designated as "Task Force Linden" and, in the words of one infantryman, "flung into the maw," totally fragmented, segregated with no artillery or back up support to bolster other thinned-down divisions trying to prevent a breakout of two German armies in Alsace. Task Force Linden's companies were used to defend against and attack and counterattack powerful German forces along a 30-mile furious battle front in January 1945. The rest of the Division arrived in France in January and the Division was at last intact. The Rainbow Division as part of the expanded 7th Army attacked through the strong German defensive positions in the Hardt Mountains of France, penetrated the Siegfried Line at the German frontier, crossed the Rhine, and advanced into the cradle of Nazism, capturing Wurzburg, Schweinfurt, Furth (Nuremberg's twin city), Donauworth,and on the 29th liberated some 30,000 inmates at Dachau, the notorious Nazi extermination camp. They swept through Munich on April 30, and crossed the Austrian border and ended their campaign near Salzburg on V-E day, May 8.  By the end of the war, the 42nd Division had established an enviable record. It was first in its corps to enter Germany, first to penetrate the Seigfried line and first into Munich. Rainbow soldiers had seized over 6,000 square miles of Nazi held territory during their march across Europe. Today elements of the 42nd Infantry Division are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror.

Back to History