* Activated: 15 August 1942
* Overseas: 6 April 1944
* Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe
* Days of combat: 244
* Distinguished Unit Citations: 7
* Awards: MH-1 ; DSC-7 ; DSM-1 ; SS-710; LM-11; SM-25 ; BSM-6,294 ; AM-110
* Commanders: Maj. Gen. Frank W. Milburn (August 1942-December 1943), Maj. Gen. Robert C. Macon (January 1944-31 January 1946)
* Returned to U.S.: 26 March 1946
* Inactivated: 5 April 1946
The 83d Infantry Division arrived in England on 16 April 1944. After training in Wales, the division landed at Omaha Beach, 18 June 1944, and entered the hedgerow struggle south of Carentan, 27 June. Taking the offensive, the 83d reached the St. Lo-Periers Road, 25 July, and advanced 8 miles against strong opposition as the Normandy campaign ended.
After a period of training, elements of the division took Chateauneuf, 5 August, and Dinard, 7 August, and approached the heavily fortified area protecting St. Malo. Intense fighting reduced enemy strong points and a combined attack against the Citadel Fortress of St. Servan caused its surrender, 17 August. While elements moved south to protect the north bank of the Loire River, the main body of the division concentrated south of Rennes for patrolling and reconnaissance activities. Elements reduced the garrison at Ile de C’zembre, which surrendered, 2 September. The movement into Luxembourg was completed on 25 September. Taking Remich on the 28th and patrolling defensively along the Moselle, the 83d resisted counterattacks and advanced to the Siegfried Line defenses across the Sauer after capturing Grevenmacher and Echternach, 7 October. As the initial movement in operation “Unicorn,” the division took Le Stromberg Hill in the vicinity of Basse Konz against strong opposition, 5 November, and beat off counterattacks. Moving to the Hurtgen Forest, the 83d thrust forward from Gressenich to the west bank of the Roer. It entered the Battle of the Bulge, 27 December, striking at Rochefort and reducing the enemy salient in a bitter struggle. The division moved back to Belgium and the Netherlands for rehabilitation and training, 22 January 1945. On 1 March, the 83d advanced toward the Rhine in Operation Grenade, and captured Neuss. The west bank of the Rhine from north of Oberkassel to the Erft Canal was cleared and defensive positions established by 2 March and the division renewed its training. The 83d crossed the Rhine south of Wesel, 29 March, and advanced across the Munster Plain to the Weser, crossing it at Bodenwerder. As opposition disintegrated, Halle fell on 6 April. The division crossed the Leine, 8 April, and attacked to the east, pushing over the Harz Mountain region and advancing to the Elbe at Barby. That city was taken on the 13th. The 83rd established a bridgehead over the river.
On April 11, 1945 the 83rd encountered Langenstein, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentraion camp. At the camp, the troops found approximately 1,100 inmates. The inmates were malnourished and in extremely poor physical condition. The 83rd reported the death rate at the camp to be 500 per month. Also, that the prisoners had been forced to work 16 hour days in nearby mines, and were shot if they became to weak to work. After liberation the death rate continued at approximately 25-50 people per day, due to the severe physical debilitation of the prisoners.
To slow the spread of sickness and death, the 83rd ordered the local German mayor to supply the camp with food and water. Also, medical supplies were requisitioned from the U.S. Army’s 20th Field Hospital. In addition, the 83rd recovered documents for use by war crimes investigators.