Patch, 103rd Infantry Division
Genuine WWII US shoulder sleeve insignia of the 103rd Infantry Division 'Cactus Division'.
The 103d Infantry Division arrived at Marseilles, France, 20 October 1944. It relieved the 3d Division at Chevry on 8 November, and attacked west of St. Dié, 16 November, in its drive through the Vosges Mountains. Meeting heavy resistance all the way, it crossed the Meurthe River, took St. Dié, 23 November and captured Diefenbach on 29 November and Selestat on 4 December.
The division crossed the Zintzel River at Griesbach, 10 December. Pushing through Climbach, the 103d crossed the Lauter River into Germany, 15 December, and assaulted the outer defenses of the Siegfried Line. On the 22nd, the division moved west to the Sarreguemines area where an active defense was maintained. The enemy offensive did not develop in its sector and the 103d moved to Reichshofen, 14 January 1945, to take up positions along the Sauer River. Defensive patrols were active and a limited attack on Soufflenheim on the 19th was repulsed by the enemy. On the 20th, the division withdrew to the Moder and repulsed German advances near Muehlhausen, 23–25 January. The 103d's offensive began, 15 March 1945. Crossing the Moder and Zintzel Rivers and taking Muehlhausen against sharp opposition, the division moved over the Lauter River and penetrated the defenses of the Siegfried Line. As German resistance disintegrated, the 103d reached the Rhine Valley, 23 March, and engaged in mopping up operations in the plain west of the Rhine River. In April it received occupational duties until 20 April when it resumed the offensive, pursuing a fleeing enemy through Stuttgart and taking Münsingen on the 24th. On 27 April, elements of the division entered Landsberg, where Kaufering concentration camp, a subcamp of Dachau, was liberated. The men of the division crossed the Danube River near Ulm on the 26th. On 3 May division approached Innsbruck, Austria. A working phone line was found to German HQ in Innsbruck and a German speaking officer called there to demand the German garrison surrender. After a short delay, the Germans gave up. The Germans also surrendered much of western Austria, and the Brenner Pass at Italian/Austrian border. Here the 103d linked up with the 88th Infantry Division who had been fighting its way up the Italian peninsula. After Victory in Europe Day the division received occupational duties until it left for home and inactivation.