I have been loosely following the 34th Division and my father during World War II.  They landed in Algeria and fought Rommel in Tunisia.  Then all the way up the Italian Peninsula.  The maps below show their route.   We arrived in Civitavecchia and travelled north to La Spesia.  Tomorrow we head north to Como.


From Clif Hullinger's blog  https://hullingerwwii.blogspot.com/

Videos https://109thvideo.blogspot.com/


South of Florence



I joined "B" Co. 109th Engineers, 34th Division in Nov 1944. but we were about fought out by then and after some attacks which didn't go anywhere, the generals went on hold until spring. We still got involved in patrolling, mines, and maintaining roads and mule trails and had a few narrow escapes but nothing major. 

Morale was pretty low, especially in the Infantry. By this time they had most of the 21,000 casualties that the Div. had by war end. The few old timers that were left had been overseas 3 years and knew that the only way to survive was to get wounded bad enough to be sent home. From where we were in the mountains, we could look north and see the tops of the Alps on a clear day. We figured we would be there for the next winter and they were higher and colder than anything we had seen so for. 

Anyway, quite a few would deliberately do something to be court martialled and put into the stockade. For a while, we would take details of stockade prisoners out to work on roads but they knew we had no way to make them work and we hated the job anyway.



Some of them were battle fatigued enough so they should have been sent back. As soon as a shell came in they scattered like a covey of quail so Headquarters stopped that practice. We had been a very good division when we came to Italy but were never very good after Cassino. But after a winter of not much fighting, and with the weather warming up, things started looking up again. I was promoted to 1st Lt. which was fairly automatic at this time.



Po Valley



The European front started to collapse in the spring and by the time we jumped off in May, the Germans didn't have much left and we broke into the Po valley and it was a rat race from then on. We first swung left up to block any Germans in the mountains west of Bologna, and then made another loop across the Po to trap the Germans who had been on the France/Italian border west of Milan. The whole division was on the road with our lights on as we moved west towards Milan when we met a convoy of Germans in trucks driving in blackout. They were full of soldiers heading for the Brenner Pass. There were no guards or anything and we never knew if they had already surrendered or not. If not, meeting a full division with lights on coming from what was your supply line and homeland, would be a real morale buster.








Thanks for the copies of the maps from, with a nice history of Private Ricardo de Lama and the 34th in Italy.

 https://www.goticatoscana.eu/en/the-trail-of-the-34th-infantry-division-in-wwii-34th-inf-div/


Beth and I are on a Med cruise in May 2022, roughly following the path that the "Red Bull" 34th National Guard Division and my father followed 80 years ago.  They came from Northern Ireland through the straits of Gibraltar, fought Rommel in Tunisia, and then slogged all the way north through Italy - Salerno, Monte Cassino, Anzio, etc. We arrive in Tunisia today, then up the Italian Peninsula. I have been to most of their battlefields, with Monte Cassino being the worst terrain for an offensive campaign.


The 34th Infantry Division had more combat days than any other United States Infantry Division in WWII. 

They got in on the ground floor of the war. More about them at:





Craig Harlan Hullinger