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G Co. /120th Infantry Regiment
Living History Unit

Unit History

"OLD Hickory"

The "Old Hickory" Division shoulder patch was designed for 30th Division troops of World War I in honor of President Andrew Jackson, Tennessee statesman who led troops from Tennessee and the Carolinas in the War of 1812. When this insignia was first issued in France in 1918, it was inadvertently worn with the "O" on its side, but was changed in 1940 to the upright position. The insignia combines the initials "O" and "H" and the Roman numeral "XXX" in blue, with an oval-shaped background in red.

The 30th Infantry Division History

The 30th Infantry Division was made up of the existing National Guard units from the States of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee at the beginning of WWII. During WWII, The 30th Infantry Division served in Europe with distinction, and was designated as the #1 Infantry Division in the European Theater by Gen. Eisenhower's Chief Historian, Col. S.L.A. Marshall.

Although the 30th Infantry Division was not involved in the actual invasion of Normandy, the 30th served valiantly at St. LO and at Mortain in France; it was the first infantry division to enter Belgium and The Netherlands. The 30th was also instrumental in breaching the Siegfried Line in October 1944, and the capture of Aachen, Germany, the 1st large German city to be captured by the Allies in WWII.

The 30th made a rapid advance around the north side of the Ruhr Industrial Pocket, capturing Brunswick and finally capturing Magdeburg on the Elbe River on 17 April 1945. 

Here the 30th Infantry Division met the Russians and remained in occupation of Magdeburg throughout the month of May, when it was turned over to the Russians for their permanent occupation, as this was their designated occupation territory. This brought the end of the war to the 30th Infantry Division.

After a brief occupation of an area on the Czech border, the 30th was alerted to return to the United States for further deployment to the Pacific. However, enroute to the U.S.A., the war in the Pacific came to an end by the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan.

The 30th infantry Division was proudly called "Old Hickory" after Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States.

The 30th returned to Ft. Jackson, SC where it had originated, and was deactivated on 25 November 1945.

World War II Information

  • Activated: 16 September 1940

  • Assigned to Camp Atterbury, Indiana 10 November 1943 to 26 January 1944

  • Overseas: 11 February 1944

  • Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe

  • Days of combat: 282

  • Distinguished Unit Citations: 8

  • Awards: MH-6 ; DSC-50 ; DSM-1 ; SS-1,773 ; LM-12; DFC-3 ; SM-30 ; BSM-6,616 ; AM-154.

  • Foreign Awards: Belgian Fourragere-2 per Belgian decree #1393, dated 20 November 1945

  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. Henry D. Russell (September 1940 – April 1942), Maj. Gen. William H. Simpson (May–July 1942), Maj. Gen. Leland S. Hobbs (September 1942 – September 1945), Maj. Gen. Albert C. Smith (September 1945 to inactivation.)

  • Returned to U.S.: 19 August 1945

  • Inactivated: 25 November 1945.

World War II Order of Battle

  • Headquarters, 30th Infantry Division

  • 117th Infantry Regiment

  • 119th Infantry Regiment

  • 120th Infantry Regiment

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 30th Infantry Division Artillery

  • 113th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm)

  • 119th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)

  • 197th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)

  • 230th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)

  • 105th Engineer Combat Battalion

  • 105th Medical Battalion

  • 30th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)

  • Headquarters, Special Troops, 30th Infantry Division

  • Headquarters Company, 30th Infantry Division

  • 730th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company

  • 30th Quartermaster Company

  • 30th Signal Company

  • Military Police Platoon

  • Band

  • 30th Counterintelligence Corps Detachment

30th Infantry Division Combat Chronicle

After training in the United States for just over two years, the 30th Infantry Division, under the command of Major General Leland Hobbs, arrived in England, 22 February 1944, and trained for the Allied invasion of Normandy until June. It landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy, on 11 June 1944, five days after the initial D-Day landings of 6 June 1944, secured the Vire-et-Taute Canal, crossed the Vire River on 7 July. Beginning on 25 July, the 30th Division spearheaded the Saint-Lô break-through of Operation Cobra, which was intended to break out of the Normandy beachhead, thus ending the stalemate that had occurred.

During the operation, on both 24 and 25 July, the 30th Division encountered a devastating friendly fire incident. As part of the effort to break out of the Normandy hedgerows, US Army Air Force (USAAF) bombers from England were sent to carpet bomb a one-by-three mile corridor of the German defenses opposite the American line. However, USAAF planners, in complete disregard or lack of understanding of their role in supporting the ground attack, loaded the heavy B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress bombers with 500-pound bombs, destroying roads and bridges and complicating movement through the corridor, instead of lighter 100-pound bombs intended as antipersonnel devices against German defenders. Air planners switched the approach of attack by 90 degrees without informing ground commanders, thus a landmark road to guide the bombers to the bombing zone was miscommunicated as the point to begin the bombing run. Start point confusion was further compounded by red smoke signals that suddenly blew in the wrong direction, and bombs began falling on the heads of the American soldiers. There were over 100 friendly fire casualties over the two days, including Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces.

The division relieved the veteran 1st Infantry Division near Mortain on 6 August. The German drive to Avranches began shortly after. The 30th Division clashed with the elite 1st SS Panzer Division, and fierce fighting in place with all available personnel broke out. The division frustrated enemy plans and broke the spearhead of the enemy assault in a violent struggle from 7–12 August. After the liberation of Paris, the division drove east through Belgium, crossing the Meuse River at Visé and Liège on 10 September. Elements of the division entered the Netherlands on 12 September, and Maastricht fell the next day. Moving into Germany and taking up positions along the Wurm River, the 30th Division launched its attack on the heavily defended city of Aachen on 2 October 1944, and succeeded in contacting the 1st Division on 16 October, resulting in the encirclement and takeover of Aachen.

After a rest period, the 30th Division eliminated an enemy salient northeast of Aachen on 16 November, pushed through Alsdorf to the Inde River on 28 November, and then moved to rest areas. On 17 December the division rushed south to the Malmedy-Stavelot area to help block the powerful enemy drive in the Battle of the Bulge—the Germans's last attempt to win a decisive victory over the Western Allies. Again the division met the 1st SS Division, and again broke the spearhead of their assault. The 30th Division launched a counterattack on 13 January 1945 and reached a point 2 miles south of St. Vith, Belgium on 26 January, before leaving the battle and moving to an assembly area near Lierneux on 27 January, and to another near Aachen to prepare for attack deeper into the western edge of Germany at the Roer River. The Roer was crossed on 23 February 1945, near Jülich.

The 30th moved back for training and rehabilitation on 3 March, and on 24 March made its assault crossing of the Rhine. It pursued the enemy across Germany, mopping up enemy pockets of resistance, took Hamelinon 7 April, Braunschweig on 12 April, and helped to reduce Magdeburg on 17 April. The Russians were contacted at Grunewald on the Elbe River. The end of World War II in Europe came soon afterwards and, after a short occupation period, the 30th Division began its return to the United States, arriving on 19 August 1945. The surrender of Japan followed soon, which brought the war to an end.

120th Infantry Regiment Information

The 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment was most famous for its actions in the Battle of Mortain (German: Operation Lüttich), repelling a German advance and preserving an American breakout from 7–13 August 1944. The 2/120th's actions sustained the American initiative as Allied forces pushed through Northern France after the Normandy invasion.

120th Infantry Rgt.

Distinctive Unit Insignia

The 120th Infantry Regiment's distinctive unit insignia, approved on 28 June 1928, consists of a gold metal and enamel device 1 5/32 inches (2.94 cm) in height overall, consisting of a shield blazoned azure, in pale a prickly pear cactus and the entrance to the canal tunnel over the St. Quentin Canal. Attached below the shield is a blue scroll inscribed VIRTUS INCENDIT VIRES ("Virtue Kindles Strength") in gold.

The shield is blue for infantry. The cactus represents service on the Mexican border as the 3rd Infantry, North Carolina National Guard. The tunnel symbolizes the mouth of the tunnel in the Hindenburg Line at BellicourtFrance, captured by the 120th Infantry on 29 September 1918.

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