The 337th Infantry Regiment was a United Sates Army Infantry Regiment originally formed to serve in Europe under the 85th Infantry Division. The Regiment was organized at Camp Custer, Michigan in August of 1917.
It was deployed to France spending time in Nevers and Cosne serving as replacements for Divisions fighting at the front lines. After the end of WW I, the 337th was demobilized at Camp Custer in April of 1919. A few years later, The Regiment was reactivated as army reserves in June of 1921.
The Regiment was ordered into active military service on May 15, 1942, and reorganized at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. The Regiment traveled to the south for training in April of 1943 then desert training in the west in that summer. By that time, the 337th was consisted of the Headquarters Company and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battalions with 3,256 officers and enlisted soldiers.
The men of the 337th Infantry disembarked from the ports at Hampton Roads, Virginia, at Christmas in late December 1943. In early January, they all landed in Casablanca in North Africa where they performed amphibious warfare training at Port aux Poules. The Regiment joined the battle of World War II in March of 1944 on the shores of Naples, Italy. The 337th fought with other 85th Division regiments as well as elements of the 88th Division since both were attached to the 5th Army led by Lieutenant General Mark Clark. The most significant battles occurred during campaigns in the Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and the Po Valley as part of the effort to rid Italy of Nazi control. They were involved in intense, heavy combat as the 33th moved north to break through the German forces positioned along the Gustav Line in order to march towards the Gothic Line. The terrain was mountainous, treacherous…and the constant German strafing pinned down American forces and inflicted casualties.
By mid-September, the 85th Division penetrated the Gothic Line and continued north through Italy. The autumn and brutally cold winter was spent reinforcing and holding their positions. They also relieved some British regiments and well as other foreign forces. As the snow fell, an offensive was devised to take northern Italy then force their way into Hitler’s native Austria.
As the spring offensive progressed, Americans were hot on the heels of German forces, many times walking into vacant strongholds recently abandoned by Nazis. The Italian Army had collapsed and it’s leader Benito Mussolini hung by the end of April. Italian freedom fighters were providing intelligence to Allied forces and more and more prisoners of war were being captured.
German forces completely surrender on May 2, 1945. The 337th spent the following summer in reserves occupying the country and awaiting the possibility of deployment to the Pacific Theatre to battle the last arm of the Axis, Japan. The Regiment left Italy in mid-August 1945, which seemed to forecast no need for more military in the Pacific. A week or so later, American planes dropped atomic bombs on Japan which caused that nation to surrender on September 9.
The 337th Infantry Regiment arrived at the ports at Hampton Roads and was soon deactivated at nearby Camp Patrick Henry in Virginia. Some men were discharged while other were held in reserve for several weeks.