DID Item No. D80061
Figure is 1/6 scale and stands 12 inches tall.
DID WWII US Army Infantry Russell Franklyn.
The 34th Infantry Division is an Army division of the United States National Guard that participated in World War I, World War II and continues to serve today, with most of the Division part of the Minnesota and Iowa National Guard. It holds the distinctions of being the first US Division deployed to Europe in World War II, and having spent more days in combat and having taken more enemy-defended hills than any other U.S. Army Division in the war.
The United States Army Rangers also trace their lineage back to the 34th Division. The modern incarnation of the Rangers were developed from 34th Infantry volunteers in Ireland under the command of Major William O. Darby. Of the original five hundred twenty WWII Rangers, two hundred eighty one came from the 34th Infantry Division.
The division was established as the 13th Division of the National Guard in early 1917, consisting of units from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. By the end of that same year, the 13th Division became the 34th Division. It arrived in France in October of 1918 but was too late to see action in World War I as the war ended the following month.
The 34th Infantry Division saw its first combat in the North African invasion, 8 November 1942, landing at Algiers and seizing the port and outlying airfields. Elements of the Division took part in numerous subsequent engagements in Tunisia during the Allied build-up, notably at Sened Station, Faid Pass, Sbeitla, and Fondouk Gap. In April 1943 the Division assaulted Hill 609, capturing it on 1 May 1943, and then drove through Chouigui Pass to Tebourba and Ferryville.
The Division then trained for the Salerno landing. The 151st FA Bn. went in on D-day, 9 September 1943, at Salerno, while the rest of the Division followed on 25 September. Contacting the enemy at the Calore River, 28 September 1943, the 34th, part of U.S. II Corps, drove north to take Benevento, crossed the winding Volturno three times in October and November, assaulted Mount Patano and took one of its four peaks before being relieved, 9 December 1943. In January 1944, the Division was back in II Corps front line battering at the Bernhardt Line defenses. Thankfully, after bitter fighting through the Mignano Gap, they were able to take Mount Trocchio without resistance as the German defenders withdrew to the main prepared defenses of the Gustav Line. On 24 January 1944, during the First Battle of Monte Cassino they pushed across the Rapido River into the hills behind and attacked Monastery Hill which dominated the town of Cassino. While they nearly captured the objective, in the end the attacks on the monastery and the town failed. The performance of 34 Division in the mountains is considered to rank as one of the finest feats of arms carried out by any soldiers during the war. In return they sustained losses of about 80% in the Infantry battalions. They were relieved from their positions 11-13 February 1944. Eventually, it took the combined force of five allied infantry divisions to finish what the 34th nearly accomplished on its own.
The Division participated in six major Army campaigns in North Africa and Italy. The Division is credited with amassing 517 days of front line combat, more than any other U.S. division. One or more 34th Division units were engaged in actual combat with the enemy on 611 days. This would have been 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, the IRONMAN battalion. This battalion still holds the record over the rest of the United States Army for days in combat. The division was credited with more combat days than any other division in the war. The 34th Division suffered 3,737 killed in action, 14,165 wounded in action, and 3,460 missing in action, for a total of 21,362 battle casualties. Casualties of the division are considered to be the highest of any division in the theater when daily per capita fighting strengths are considered. There is little doubt the division took the most enemy-defended hills of any division in the European Theater. The division's men were awarded 10 Medals of Honor, 98 Distingished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, 1,153 Silver Stars, 116 Legion of Merit medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, 2,545 Bronze Stars, 54 Soldier Medals, 34 Air Medals, with duplicate awards of 52 oak leaf clusters, and 15,000 Purple Hearts. More recently, in 2000 the Minnesota Legislature renamed all of Interstate 35 in Minnesota the "34th Division (Red Bull) Highway," in honor of the Division and its service in the World Wars.
Figure is new in box, never removed. Box is in excellent condition.