North Africa

On 26 October 1942 the regiment left Scotland by ship which, as part of a large invasion fleet, headed for French Morocco. In its first amphibious assault under combat conditions, the 16th Infantry landed on a beach near Arzew, French Morocco at 0100 hours, on 8 November 1942. Over the next three days, the regiment battle relatively light resistance from Vichy French forces and helped to capture Oran. It doing so, the Big Red One established a permanent presence for the US Army in North Africa. During the remainder of the North African campaign the 16th Infantry fought a number of locations to include the OusseltiaValley, Kasserine Pass, El Guettar, and Mateur in Tunisia. For its actions at Kasserine the regiment was decorated with the Croix de Guerre by the French Government and it received its first Presidential Unit Citation for its actions near Mateur.

  • Part of the 16th Infantry embarked on HMT Duchess of Bedford at Greenock, Scotland in October 1942 for the trip to North Africa.

  • The rest of the regiment boarded HMT Warwick Castle for the voyage to French Morocco.

  • Troops of the 2nd Battalion land about dawn at Arzew, 8 November 1942.

  • The 16th Infantry landed here at Arzew, French Morocco, on 8 November 1942.

  • The 16th Infantry held firm at Kasserine Pass. These troops exude the cockiness of those who know they’ve performed well.

  • Troops of the 2nd Battalion pass through Kasserine Pass 26 February 1943 en route to Farrinana, Tunisia.

  • En route to the next fight.

  • Another view of the 2nd Battalion passing through Kasserine Pass 26 February 1943.

  • PFC John F. Plichta, 2nd Battalion, moves forward thru Kasserine Pass. Plichta, as a staff sergeant, would later be killed in action on Omaha Beach.

  • Fighting positions like these were typical of those the regiment used in North Africa. These are 18th Infantry troops defending along the Gabes Road.

  • LTC Charles J. Denholm at Tunis. Denholm and a sizable number of men from his 1st Battalion were captured on Hill 523 near Mateur, Tunisia. They escaped capture when Allied air attacks forced the crew of their prison vessel to abandon ship near Tunis harbor.

  • LTC Charles J. Denholm, commander 1st Battalion, shares a hot cup of coffee with COL Taylor at their reunion 8 May 1943 after Denholm and his men escaped.

  • CPT Edwin Elder, Commander of C Company, shortly after his release from capture at Hill 523.