1941-1943

1941


After being inducted on 3 February 1941 at their home armories members of the 29th Division, moved to Fort Meade.

 

1942


Between April and September 1942 those commands remaining in the 29th Division, after reorganization  conducted training in Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, ending up at Fort Blanding, Florida. They then moved secretly by train to a staging area at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, for deployment overseas. Most of the Blue and Grey, including the 116th Infantry, left the port of New York aboard the ocean liner Queen Mary on 26 September for an unescorted high-speed run across the Atlantic. The rest followed on the Queen Elizabeth on 5 October. The troops landed in Scotland and were transported to Tidworth Barracks, in southern England, where an intensive training program began.


While at Tidworth the European Theater of Operations created a provisional unit within the 29th Division, the 29th Ranger Battalion. 
The Army's lone ranger battalion recently demonstrated its worth in North Africa and planners in London wanted a similar elite group in England to prepare for the invasion of Europe. The picked men learned specialized assault tactics by training with British Commandos and detachments accompanied their instructors on three hit-and-run raids in Norway and in the English Channel.

 

The 29th Rangers also performed well in allied pre-invasion exercises in England. A policy decision by the War Department awarded the ranger mission to others, forcing London to disband the battalion in October 1943. Fortunately for the Blue and Grey, the men returned to their former units and passed on their skills.

 

1943


In May 1943 the division moved to the Devon-Cornwall peninsula and started conducting simulated attacks against fortified positions. Assault landing practice followed at the  amphibious training center at Slapton Sands. In July 1943 while in Devon the 29th changed commanders with Maj. Gen. Charles Gerhardt. Gerhardt and his dog "D-Day" would become familiar sights to all who served in the 29th.

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