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WHICH Allied Division saw the most days in Combat.


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#1 A Potts

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 04:09 PM

I have asked myself this question and decided it must be one from the Eight Army. Maybe the 2nd New Zealand etc.

Possibilly :

US 32
AUS 9/7/6
USSR Division (which I don't know)
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#2 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:35 PM

Most likely for the Western Allies one of the British divisions that fought in France then went to the Middle East and then to Italy.
For the US I think it was the 4th Infantry Division that had the most actual combat days.
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#3 Slipdigit

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 07:20 PM

The 32nd Infantry Div is credited with 654 days. The 4th was in action "only" from 6 June to the end of the war.

I would think that the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 36th and 45th would have more than the 4th.
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#4 A Potts

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:05 PM

I know that the 32nd Division did alot of "hauling', as you would say in the States.

However, did a British Division or indeed an Australian Division see more active service. I am not sure. If they did not, the 32 nd must take the honours.
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#5 Slipdigit

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:16 PM

I don't know the numbers on the British or Aussie divisions, I was hoping y'all did. I don't how the 32nd compares.
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#6 Paul Reed

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 10:50 PM

On the British side it won't be one division, as several in the original BEF had long periods of front line service during WW2; the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions for example.
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#7 4th wilts

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:18 PM

british mobile-then renamed-7th armd div.u.s 1 marine div.russia 1st nkvd div.guessing of course.lee.
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#8 sapper

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:31 PM

There is no doubt in my main! It was my old Division the "Third British Infantry Division! Commonly called "Monty's Ironsides" Or earlier, it earned the name of "Iron Division" because of ite fighting qualities. going back to archaic times. Fought on France in 1940 acquitted itself very well. Acted as rearguard to fight off the enemy while Dunkirk was in operation. earned a great reputation for that.

Monty "rewareded"? the Div by the accolade of last out of France. First back into France. On Sword. IT suffered the greatest casualties, and was the only div to take part in every battle from Normandy to Bremen. Not my words, but the archivist.

No Doubt at all. The Div that earned the name of "The Iron Division"
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#9 sapper

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:31 PM

There is no doubt in my main! It was my old Division the "Third British Infantry Division! Commonly called "Monty's Ironsides" Or earlier, it earned the name of "Iron Division" because of its fighting qualities. going back to archaic times. Fought in France in 1940, acquitted itself very well. Acted as rearguard to fight off the enemy, while Dunkirk was in operation. earned a great reputation for that.

Monty "rewarded"? the Div by the accolade of last out of France. First back into France. On Sword. It suffered the greatest casualties, and was the only div to take part in every battle from Normandy to Bremen. Not my words, but the archivist.

No Doubt at all. The Div that earned the name of "The Iron Division"
sapper
Eighth Brigade
Third British Infantry Division
Monty's Ironsides
Any doubt? Look at the medals and awards.
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#10 4th wilts

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 03:47 PM

the americal div was about a lot after uncle sam entered the war as well,apparently.the australian 6th div was in early too,apparently.lee.
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#11 syscom_3

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 03:37 AM

the 25th inf division had 165 days of continual combat in the Philipines.
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#12 spidge

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 04:05 AM

The 32nd Infantry Div is credited with 654 days. The 4th was in action "only" from 6 June to the end of the war.

I would think that the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 36th and 45th would have more than the 4th.


The 32nd logged a total of 654 days of combat during WWII, more than any other US division in any war.



This seems to be number one in the US Divisions.

From the book by Patrick C Delaforce

The 51st Highland Division was the most famous infantry division that fought with the British Army in WW2. It was the only infantry division in the armies of the British Empire that accompanied Monty from during Alamein to Berlin.



Does not give days however they must have been quite high.

The
Third British Infantry Division spent 4 years in England between Dunkirk and D-Day so they would never get near the 654 days of the US 32nd.

With respect to the Australian divisions, I have not seen recorded days in combat however some would be quite high.

The 7th division
sometimes known by the nickname "The Silent Seventh", due to a perception that its achievements were and are unrecognised, in comparison to the other 2nd AIF divisions. The origin of this belief appears to be censorship of the reporting of the fierce fighting in the Syria - Lebanon campaign against the Vichy French. The 7th Division was one of only a few Allied units to serve with distinction in the Middle East campaign, North African campaign and the South West Pacific Area.

The 18th brigade 7th Division was at Tobruk where they were in combat for over 250 days.

In December 1941 the 6th & 7th division were recalled and the 7th division went straight to New Guinea where the 21st brigade (Brigadier Potts - any relation Aaron) were involved on the Kokoda track. The 18th went to Milne Bay where they were first to beat the Japanese on land. The 7th were then, except for retraining for amphibious landings on Borneo, not out of the action until August 1945 when the Japanese finally surrendered.
How those next three and a half years transferred into days in combat is difficult to assess however they were definitely busy for most of it!
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
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#13 Nellis kid

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 12:38 PM

I believe it had to be the desert rats - no real foundation for this - just a hunch
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#14 4th wilts

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 01:11 PM

51 hd was captured at st.valery,then reconstituted.lee.
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#15 Gibbo

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 04:06 PM

One possibility not yet mentioned is the 4th Indian Division. It & the 7th Armoured, then still called the Mobile Force, were the only 2 British Commonwealth forces in Egypt when hostilities in the Western Desert started in June 1940. It was in operational theatres in Africa & the Middle East until May 1943 & then in Italy & Greece from January 1944 to the end of the war.

The 7th Armoured's operational career started & finished at the same times but it was training in the UK between leaving Sicily in October 1943 & D-Day, which would leave it very close to the 4th Indian in terms of time in operational theatres.

4th Infantry Division (India) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

7th Armoured Division (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On reflection, though, I think that the answer probably either the 7th Australian Division nominated by Spidge or the 6th Australian. They arrived in the Western Desert after the 4th Indian & 7th Armoured had been fighting for around 6 months but didn't have periods out of the line as long as the time that the 4th Indian remained in Africa after the end of that campaign or that the 7th Armoured was training in the UK before D-Day. In addition their war lasted 3 months longer since they were in the Pacific.
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#16 4th wilts

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 04:28 PM

yeah,the 4th indian was fighting down in abbasynia was it not.yours,lee.
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#17 A Potts

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 10:49 PM

Via Spidge:

[quote name='4th wilts'](Brigadier Potts - any relation Aaron)[quote]


I would be extremely honoured if it were the case, but alas no.

Grand Pop Potts was a failed air recruit in the RAAF (his short career is still on the records if you search 'John Cornelius Potts'), he apparently flew the famed 'Boomerang' a couple of times. He told us that he had a predilection towards G-forces that made him unfit to fly. He worked for a short while in RAAF administration and then got a job in 'price control monitoring'.

He said that he felt very stupid checking out the price of Bacon etc., while his friends were off fighting. I believe he had some great times in Brisbane with his new found US friends in Brisbane.

PS - He was a Jeweller by trade and towards the end of the war he opened a shop on Queen Street (the main strip in Brisbane) and called it 'Santa Fe' on the advice of a USAAF officer.

'Santa Fe' closed in 1976.
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#18 A Potts

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 10:16 PM

Okay lets use my Grandfather as an example.

His discharge had him at 1500 days overseas plus. He spent the entire war in New Guinea in the 49th Militia Battallion and the 2/1 AIF.

If you discount the fact that he was in Port Moresby (from May 1940) until Japan declared war (December 1941), you would need to minus about 500 days.

Depending on what the definition of 'combat' is, that would put him in harms way for about 1000 days.

This presumably would be easily more than the 32nd US. I would again suggest that if it was not an Australian Division it must be from the Eighth Army. (2nd NZ, 51st Highlanders etc,)
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#19 51highland

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 06:39 AM

51 hd was captured at st.valery,then reconstituted.lee.


Not all 51st captured, 154th Brigade known as "ARK FORCE" were evacuated from Le Havre area to Cherbourg and eventually back to England.
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#20 spidge

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 09:49 AM

There wouldn't be a huge number to pick from.

Possibly needs further investigation.
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
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My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#21 spider

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:30 PM

The 6th Division was the first division formed for the Second AIF in the Second World War in September 1939.

As a formation, the 6th Division fought in the campaigns in Libya, Greece, and the Aitape-Wewak region of New Guinea. Its individual brigades also fought on Crete, in Lebanon, along the Kokoda Trail and at the Japanese beachheads in Papua, and in the Wau-Salamaua region of New Guinea.

Between 1943 and 1944 the Division was out of action and based in Australia.

As as actual days in action that is up to interpretation.

Spider
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#22 ozjohn39

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:38 PM

Spider,

The poor old 6th Div was fragmented quite a lot with a Brigade, or 2 perhaps, going to England in 1940 and some later going to Greece/Crete etc.

Many of its battles were not as a complete Division structure.

John.

Edited by ozjohn39, 12 March 2009 - 05:41 PM.

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#23 Tom Canning

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:59 PM

This question of how many days in action is always intriquing to me as invaribaly we have many of the guesses which are totaly wrong and misses some of the main participants

For example we have mention of the 51st HD from France - Then Alamein( 30 months later) - via Tunisia and Sicily - D day to the end...

Then there is the 4th Indian - from early 1940 to Beda Fomm - then Ethiopia - then Syria - then Tunisia - then all through Italy finally finishing the war in Greece ... would merit my votes.....

.....but then there was the 50th TT division from France - Desert at Sidi Rezigh -Knightsbridge - the Cauldron - Gazala Gallop losing 150th Bde - EL Alamein - Tunisia - Sicily - D day - all through until exhaustion at Bremen - then to Norway

..... and of course there were the 1st -4th and 5th Divisions who saw afair bit of acrtion long before the Americans joined in ....and we mustn't forget the 7th Armoured ( I know they were called something else at the time but they became 7th Armoured) they first moved to the wire in December 1940 to stop the Italians from invading Egypt - most of all the battles in the Desert - Tunisia - Italy - then D day to Hamburg and finally Berlin for the big parade..... so the big votes would go to 4th Indian - 50th and 7th Armoured - in my book !
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#24 Korps Steiner

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:53 PM

50 Div have got to be somewhere near the top of the pile as stated by Tom if any Div saw more days in action than them then they had a long , tough war,

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#25 Macca

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:45 PM

I think that the original suggestion of 2NZDiv could well be accurate. Some units, chiefly transport and signal, accompanied O'Connor on his advance to Beda Fomm. As a larger unit (2 Brigades) they first saw action in Greece in April 1941 and apart from missing out on Sicily remained at the front until they occupied Triest in May 45. By my calculation a little over 1,400 days. Did they also advance the furthest?
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#26 Recce_Mitch

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:11 PM

78 Div has to be in the running.

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#27 Tom Canning

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:19 PM

Macca -
you might have your wires crossed with the Kiwi's supporting O'Conner at Beda Fomm as the 2 nd NZ Div was not formed as a Division until Feb 41 - prior to heading for Greece and just after the Beda Fomm thing

The Beda Fomm battle was essentially fought by 4th and 7th Armoured brigades of 7th Armoured Division - the Royal Horse Artillery and the KRRC - the 6th Australian Div was up around Derna and Barce chasing the Italians towards Beda Fomm - this Battle was fought between Jan 24th and Feb 6th and as there may well have been involvement by an isolated brigade of Kiwi's - there is no mention of them being near Beda Fomm at that time.

Not taking anything away from 2nd Kiwi's they did a great job in Greece - Crete - back in the Desert and finally Italy where they took beatings at the Sangro - Cassino - where they were all but eliminated after two battles and never fully recovered and again later at the end of the Gothic Line all the way to Trieste.

One of their members at Cassino asked a member of the 16/5th Lancers at the station - where the 28th brigade of Maoris' were taking a beating - "Do you know why they call us Kiwi's ?" - on getting a stunned silence he continued "it's because we cannot fly - we are blind - and fast becoming extinct around here " - he got that right.

The 2nd New Zealand Division did a powerful job for 8th army since 1941 and have nothing to be ashamed of as I pointed out to the assistant Curator at Dunedin's Museum where I spied a painting of a scene at the Sangro tucked away in a dark corner - his ears were burning and that painting was front and centre all the following week !

BUT - the 30th - 4th Indian and 7th Armoured shades them - even on mileage !

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#28 Tom Canning

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:41 PM

Recce Mitch -
The 78th Div were no where near the the length of activity to the 30th - they were formed specifically for the North African Torch campaign on November 8th 1942 - fought well there and also as part timers in Sicily then onto Italy where - after Foggia - Termoli - Cassino - Liri Valley and Trasemino - they had a months long rest in Egypt until returning for the last part of the Gothic line - then through to the end and finished up in Austria along with 46th and 6th Armoured Divs from the same North African campaign.
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#29 spider

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:24 AM

Sgt "Chip" Saunders of King Company 2nd Platoon spent 5 Years in Combat
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#30 spider

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:42 AM

Spider,

The poor old 6th Div was fragmented quite a lot with a Brigade, or 2 perhaps, going to England in 1940 and some later going to Greece/Crete etc.

Many of its battles were not as a complete Division structure.

John.


Think you will find all the AIF Divisions were fragmented at some time during their existence for operational reasons (not sure how the UK and US Divisions were deployed) and the Bde's not brought together again as Divisions till 1944 onwards, with 3 separate campaigns in the Pacific

18th Bde was re-allocated to the 7th Division in mid 1940 and the 19 Bde to the 6th Division.
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Spider
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

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Cpl Ivor J Warnes RAAF - Served: 06/11/1939 - 23/11/1944
 

 





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