There is a vast amount of detailed information on the shipment of divisions overseas in World War II, but a simple table with precise dates and brief explanatory notes for the main phases in the movement of divisions overseas in 1942 has not been found in Department of the Army files. The sources of information on which this table and the accompanying notes were based are scattered in diverse Army files and publications. A compilation of the assembled detailed data from which the table and notes were drawn is contained in Strategic Plans Unit Study 4. Further detailed information can be secured by consulting official division records now located at the Field Records Division, Kansas City Records Center, Kansas City, Missouri.
Shipment of Divisions--1942
The most useful sources consulted were: (1) division headquarters history data cards of the Organization and Directory Section, Operations Branch, Adjutant General's Office; (2) "Combat Chronicle, An Outline History of U.S. Army Divisions," prepared by the Order of Battle Section, OCMH; (3) report, title: Summary of Historical Events and Statistics New York Port of Embarkation, 1942, OCT HB NYPE; (4) Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation Historical Report 1, title: Description of the Port and its Operation through October 31, 1942, OCT HB HRPE; (5) combat operations reports of the divisions on file in Historical Records Section, Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office; and (6) division histories published by division associations. It was necessary to rely heavily on the history data cards maintained by the Organization and Directory Section, Operations Branch, Adjutant General's Office. These history data cards were compiled during the war from whatever sources were available--water transportation reports, strength reports, station lists, postal reports, and AG letters--and are therefore not entirely accurate. Discrepancies were also found in the combat operations reports for departure and arrival dates of divisions.
There are a number of explanations for these discrepancies. Scheduled departures might be changed or delayed; availability of shipping might send units of the division in different convoys; time of arrival of a ship might be reported as a different day from that of debarkation of troops; and ships arriving at one harbor might be diverted to another harbor for unloading. The time factor might also account for differences of one day, depending on the use of the Washington date or the local overseas date, or the hour--before or after midnight.
The dates given in this table represent the closest possible adjustment of the conflicting data found in the records and are reliable within a very small margin of error.
In the study of the phases of movement of those divisions shipped overseas during 1942, it appeared that, unless the movement was made on a ship of the size of the Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth, a division's movement would usually be divided into shipments of an advance detachment, followed
at a later date by the division headquarters and the main body of troops, and frequently by a rear echelon movement of units held in port-of-embarkation backlog, depending on the availability of shipping. If the destination was in a combat area, a regimental combat team would often comprise the first echelon of a divisional movement. In the light of piecemeal movements of the elements of a division, it was found most useful in establishing dates to chart the movement of the division headquarters. Unless otherwise indicated, the dates used in the table for sailing, arrival, and reshipment refer to the division headquarters. These dates do not necessarily coincide with those for the movement of the advance echelon or the rest of the division.
Shipment of Divisions--1942
Division1 Date of Overseas Orders2 Port of Embarkation3 Date of Sailing Date of Arrival Overseas Destination Date Divisional Movement Completed4 Date of Reshipment 5 Destination Philippine6 --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- 24th7 --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- 25th8 --- --- --- --- --- --- 10 Dec 429 Guadalcanal January: 34th 31 Dec 4 New York 15 Jan 4210 26 Jan 42 Northern Ireland 15 May 42 10 Dec 4211 North Africa Americal [Task Force 6814]12 14 Jan 42 New York 22 Jan 42 12 Mar 42 New Caledonia 23 Apr 42 4 Dec 4213 Guadalcanal March: 27th 27 Dec 41 San Francisco 10 Mar 42 15 Mar 4214 Hawaii 17 Apr 42 --- 41st 16 Feb 42 San Francisco 19 Mar 42 7 Apr 42 Australia 15 May 42 23 Dec 4215 New Guinea April: 32d 28 Mar 4216 San Francisco 22 Apr 42 14 May 42 Australia 14 May 42 27 Sep 4217 New Guinea 5th 5 Mar 4218 New York 30 Apr 42 11 May 42 Iceland 11 May 42 --- --- May: 1st Armored 25 Mar 42 New York 11 May 42 16 May 42 Northern Ireland 13 Jun 42 9 Dec 4219 North Africa 37th 15 Mar 4220 San Francisco 26 May 42 10 Jun 42 Fiji Islands 20 Sep 42 --- --- August: 1st 28 May 42 New York 2 Aug 42 7 Aug 42 England 7 Aug 42 26 Oct 42 North Africa 40th 25 Jul 42 San Francisco 23 Aug 42 1 Sep 42 Hawaii 6 Oct 42 --- --- October: 43d 29 Aug 42 San Francisco 1 Oct 42 23 Oct 42 New Zealand 30 Oct 4221 18 Nov 42 New Caledonia 29th 10 Sep 42 New York 5 Oct 42 11 Oct 42 England 11 Oct 42 --- --- 3d 5 Sep 4222 Hampton Roads 24 Oct 42 8 Nov 42 North Africa 27 Jan 43 --- --- December: 2d Armored 27 Oct 4223 New York 12 Dec 42 25 Dec 42 North Africa 25 Dec 42 --- --- 9th 6 Nov 4224 New York 12 Dec 42 25 Dec 42 North Africa 27 Jan 43 --- ---
Table of Contents
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1. Summary of shipment of division headquarters by month.
2. The date given for overseas orders is that of AGO orders to the division headquarters to move the division to the staging area or port of embarkation from which the division actually left.
3. Port of embarkation from which the division headquarters and main body of troops sailed.
4. This dating is that given for "completed overseas movement" in the chart, "Estimated Status of Divisions as of 15 November 1945," prepared by the Logistics Group, OPD.
5. Date of reshipment is the date of sailing of the division headquarters for a new destination unless otherwise indicated.
6. The Philippine Division was activated in the Philippine Islands on 8 June 1921, and at the beginning of hostilities in December 1941 consisted of two Philippine Scout regiments--the 45th and 57th Infantry and an American regiment--the 31st Infantry--all part of the Regular Army. The division was lost in combat against the Japanese in the Philippine Islands in April 1942.
7. The 24th Infantry Division, originally activated in Hawaii in 1921 as the Hawaiian Division, was redesignated the 24th Infantry Division on 26 August 1941. The division, on Oahu with headquarters at Schofield Barracks, suffered minor casualties when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Thereafter the 24th Division was charged with the defense of northern Oahu. In the summer of 1943 the division was moved to Australia to undergo further training for the Hollandia-Tanahmerah campaign.
8. The 25th Infantry Division was activated on 1 October 1941 in Hawaii with the 27th and 35th Infantry Regiments (formerly part of the Hawaiian Division) assigned to it. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the division guarded vital installations on southern Oahu. After 7 December 1941 the 25th Division moved to beach positions for the defense of Honolulu and Ewa Plains.
9. On 25 November 1942 the 25th Division began moving to Australia, but the destination was changed to Guadalcanal to make possible the relief of marines near Henderson Field. The division movement was trade in three phases, leaving Hawaii on 25 November, 10 December, and 17 December. First elements of the division landed near the Tenaru River, Guadalcanal, on 17 December 1942 and entered combat on 10 January 194'3.
10. The 34th Division left New York for Northern Ireland in three waves between January and May 1942, the division headquarters arriving in Northern Ireland in January.
11. Advance detachments of the 34th Division ( 168th Regimental Combat Team) landed at Algiers on 8 November 1942 with the Eastern Assault Force. On 21 December 1942 and 3 January 1943 units of the division that had been left behind in the British Isles landed at Oran.
12. Task Force 6814, which was organized in the United States for the defense of New Caledonia, left the New York Port of Embarkation on 22 January 1942, sailing via Panama and Australia. (Americal Division operations reports give the sailing date as 23 January 1942, but records of the New York Port of Embarkation give the loading date for Task Force 6814 as 19-20 January, and sailing date as 22 January 1942.) After the task force arrived in New Caledonia, additional units were requested. During April the 164th Infantry Regiment, the 97th Field Artillery Battalion (pack), the 72d Field Artillery Regiment, and the 700th Signal Air Warning Company arrived at New Caledonia and were added to Task Force 6814. On 24 May 1942 the Americal Division was constituted and organized from units of Task Force 6814.
13. The 164th Infantry Regiment of the Americal Division went into action on Guadalcanal on 13 October 1942. When the arrival of the first elements of the 43d Division in New Caledonia permitted the release of the Americal Division from its mission of defending New Caledonia, the entire division was committed to Guadalcanal. The second unit of the Americal Division, the 182d Regimental Combat Team, arrived at Guadalcanal on 12 November 1942 and was followed a few weeks later by the division headquarters and other units.
14. Strength reports and OPD's "Estimated Status of Divisions as of 15 November 1945" give an April dating for the arrival of the entire 27th Division overseas. According to Capt. Edmund G. Love (The 27th Infantry Division in World War II, p. 18), the Lurline, carrying the 27th Division headquarters, arrived at Hilo on 15 March 1942, and the division completed its overseas movement in April 1942.
15. This date represents the sailing of the first contingent of the 41st Division from Australia for New Guinea. The 163d Infantry Regiment arrived at Port Moresby on 27 December 1942, the 186th Infantry Regiment arrived in New Guinea in January, and the 162d Infantry Regiment arrived in February 1943.
16. Late in December 1941 the 32d Division had been earmarked for M
AGNET (Northern Ireland) and in February 1942 was ordered to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, in preparation for overseas movement. In March the division was withdrawn from the M AGNET Force and ordered to the San Francisco Port of Embarkation for shipment to Australia.
17. The transfer of the 126th and the 128th Infantry Combat Teams of the 32d Division to New Guinea was accomplished partly by sea and partly by air, the division headquarters being flown to Port Moresby. The 127th Infantry Combat Team disembarked at Port Moresby two months later, on Thanksgiving day.
18. The 10th Infantry Regiment (less the 2d Battalion) and the 46th Field Artillery Battalion of the 5th Division had arrived in Iceland on 16 September 1941. Other elements of the division left the United States in February and early April 1942.
19. Elements of the 1st Armored Division first went into action in the North African invasion, landing at Oran on 8 November 1942.
20. In January 1942 the 37th Division was ordered to the New York Port of Embarkation for shipment to Northern Ireland. After arriving at the staging area, Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, the division was ordered in March to the San Francisco Port of Embarkation for shipment to New Zealand. The 1st and 3d Battalions of the 147th Infantry Regiment, and the 134th Field Artillery Battalion had been detached from the division in March, sailing from the New York Port of Embarkation for Tonga. In May the destination of the 37th Division was changed to the Fiji Islands, and the main body of troops sailed late in May.
21. Estimates vary between 20 October 1942 as the date the 43d Division completed overseas movement and 30 October as the port-of-debarkation arrival date for the 43d Division. Since the 172d Regimental Combat Tram of the 172d Division sailed on 6 October and arrived at Espiritu Santo on 26 October, the 30 October date has been used as that for completion of overseas movement.
22. The 3d Division had been given amphibious training in California and scheduled for shipment to the Pacific, but was earmarked for the North African operation in August 1942 because of its advanced state of training.
23. Elements of the 2d Armored Division landed at three points on the French Moroccan coast in the North African invasion on 8 November 1942. The division as a whole did not enter combat until the invasion of Sicily, at the assault landing at Gela, 10 July 1943.
24. In September 1942 the 9th Division was assigned to Task Force "A," but the 39th Combat Team (about one half of the division) sailed from New York on 26 September 1992, landing at Belfast, Ireland on 5 October. This unit sailed from the United Kingdom on 26 October with the Eastern Assault Force for the North African invasion, landing east of Algiers on 8 November. The 47th and 60th Combat 'reams (about one fourth of the division) left the United States with the Western Task Force on 24 October, coming to North Africa on 8 November. The 47th Combat Tram landed at Safi, and the 60th Combat Team landed at Port Lyautey, French Morocco. The remaining elements of the division (about one fourth) had arrived in North Africa front the United Stairs at the end of January 1943. The division was not entirely reassembled as a unit until March 1943, in Tunisia.