134th Infantry Regiment Crest

134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

35th Infantry Division emblem

Combat History of the 137th Infantry Regiment

World War II

Transcribed by Roberta V. Russo, Palatine, Illinois

Chapter 1


Europe was in turmoil. Our military leaders were not fooled by the cojolerie of Hitler and Mussolini that lulled the world into a sense of false security. On December 23, 1940, almost a year before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor threw us suddenly and violently into World War II, the 137th Infantry Regiment, as a part of the 35th Infantry Division, was ordered into Federal Service by Executive Order 8605.

The Regiment was inducted at the home stations of the component units. Units and home stations in Kansas were as follows:

Regimental Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Band - Wichita
Service Company - Wichita
Anti-Tank Company - Topeka
Medical Detachment - Wichita
1st Bn Headquarters Detachment - Cotton Wood Falls
A Company - Atchison
B Company - Emporia
C Company - Council Grove
D Company - Dodge City
2nd Bn Headquarters Detachment - Kansas City
E Company - Holton
F Company - Newton
G Company - Kansas City
H Company - Lawrence
3rd Bn Headquarters Detachment - Wichita
I Company - Wichita
K Company - Wichita
L Company - Kingman
M Company - Lawrence

Early in January, 1941, the 137th Infantry assembled as a regiment at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas. There it rubbed elbows with its sister regiments for the first time. After receiving filler replacements and undergoing a period of basic training, the Regiment got its first taste of a large scale maneuver in Louisiana. The Regiment drew high praise from the Maneuver Director's Headquarters upon emerging in the early fall of 1941.

From this able nucleus, the 137th furnished numerous cadres and perhaps 1,000 officers from its enlisted personnel during the subsequent expansion of our army. Men trained by the Regiment were distinguishing themselves in Africa, Sicily, Italy, and the far-flung islands of the Pacific, long before the 137th was committed in the invasion of Hitler's fortress, Europe.

With the advent of Pearl Harbor, the Regiment was rushed to the San Francisco Area. These were days of great excitement, rumors, and alerts.

In April, 1942, the 137th was ordered to the Los Angeles area, with the dream mission of beach defense embracing Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Balboa, Corona Del Mar, San Juan Capistrano, and Laguna Beach. Here the Regiment won numerous commendations and was taunted with the unkind name of "Hollywood Soldiers." However, the officers and men won the respect and admiration of the Californians. In addition to normal duties, the 137th was chosen to furnish the honor guards for President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace, frequently paraded in the streets of Los Angeles, made training films, and furnished troop backgrounds for several war pictures, including "As Thousands Cheer."

Early in 1943 the Regiment again assembled with the 35th Division, at Camp San Luis Obispo, for the first time since Camp Robinson, Arkansas, days. Fresh from its glamorous mission, the 137th was no doubt expected to be the "spoiled brat" of the Division. However, it was quickly proved that the training and discipline of the Regiment had not been neglected.

In April, 1943, the Regiment moved with the Division to Camp Rucker, Alabama, for advanced training. Here the 137th became acquainted with the 219th Field Artillery Battalion which later, in combat, teamed with the Regiment to form the indomitable Combat Team 137. Here the doughboys learned to follow artillery fire closely with every confidence that the able 219th forward observers would keep the fire where it belonged.

During the months of November and December, 1943, and January of 1944 the Regiment underwent toughening in body and spirit in the severe cold of the Tennessee Maneuver Area. The Regiment again won high praise for its brilliant performance.

Following the Tennessee Maneuvers, the 137th moved to Camp Butner, North Carolina, for final training, which culminated in the rugged mountain maneuvers in West Virginia. It was difficult to believe that the human body could endure the rigors of the weather and the long and hazardous marches over mountains and across deep and treacherous mountain streams, with 90 pounds of ruck sack. However, not a man fell out, although three enlisted men and one officer lost their lives in crossing the turbulent waters of Black Water Canyon.

After the West Virginia Maneuvers, the Regiment was reviewed in a Combat Team Exercise by Secretary of War Patterson and President Truman, then Senator Truman. The doughboys went under machine gun fire and followed artillery in one of the most realistic and hazardous exhibitions ever attempted by any unit prior to combat.

On May 4, 1944, the 137th moved to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, where every man had an opportunity for a final fling in New York City. After an inspection of men and equipment, the heavily laden troops walked up the gang-plank of the SS Thomas H. Barry and sailed with the ebb tide past the Statue of Liberty on the morning of May 11, 1944, to begin an Odessey of heroic achievement, to end only at the gates of Berlin 15 months later.

The good ship docked at Avonmouth, England, on May 24th, and the men of the Regiment were swished speedily by train through Exeter to Bodmin Road and Newquay. There, for two months, they kept in fighting trim in the moors of Cornwall, the same moors that were the haunts of the Hound of the Baskervilles, for the home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, was in Newquay. Regimental Headquarters, the Special Units, and Third Battalion were housed in the ancient barracks of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Brigade. Here the shadow of Jamaica Inn and other famous English sites, one could not help but dream of our English forbearers and wonder what the people were like hundreds of years ago.

The Regiment was inspected by General Eisenhower and General Patton, while in the final phases of preparation for the invasion. General Eisenhower walked along the ranks and talked inspiringly to the men.

The doughboys of the 137th saw the invasion get under way on June 6, 1944, and champed at the bit while awaiting their calling. It came soon enough, for on July 4, 1944, the Regiment was suddenly rushed to Plymouth and Falmouth. After spending a day in the marshaling areas, the Regiment sailed, part from Plymouth and part from Falmouth, on 6-7 July, 1944, and landed on French soil at Omaha Beach near Colleville-sur-Mere on 7-8-9 July, 1944.

PHOT0GRAPHS - Chapter 1

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