April 6Douglas MacArthur, serving as Chief of Staff for the Division, commented so it “would stretch over the whole country such for instance a rainbow.” In this manner, the 42nd became known as the “Rainbow Division.” It comprised four infantry regiments from New York, Ohio, Alabama, and Iowa. Men from a great many other states, one of the New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Maryland, California, South Carolina, Missouri, Connecticut, Tennessee, New Jersey, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania also joined the Division and became machine gunners, ambulance drivers, worked in field hospitals, or served in the military police.
The Southeastern Department commander recommended that the 4th Alabama Infantry be assigned to the 42nd. The commander of the 4th was Colonel William P. Screws, a former regular army officer who had served from 1910 to 1915 while the inspector-instructor for the Alabama National Guard. Screws were widely regarded as one of the significant assets of the Alabama National Guard, and his reputation was likely a prominent aspect in the choice of the 4th to join the 42nd. To upgrade the 4th Infantry to war strength, the transfer of the necessary amounts of enlisted men from other Alabama Guard units, including the very first and 2nd Infantry Regiments and the very first Alabama Cavalry.
Belgium is where Tintin comes, and an amusing souvenir is a must. Also on the must-buy list are pralines, initially made by Neuhaus. Knives from Belgium includes a massive range of reliable, exotic beers, only some of which are exported. Take your pick of the finest; you might not think it is elsewhere. Belgian laces, beautiful with intricate patterns and impeccable finishing, make breathtaking dresses and veils.
If you find yourself in the Netherlands, a set of Dutch wooden clogs, tulips, and blue and white Delftware would be great additions to your house collection. You can even get miniature windmills, which are dainty and look lovely.
Luxembourg produces ethereal crystal, but it is the cuisine, influenced by France, Belgium, and Germany. That’s the real revelation for travelers. Ardennes ham, black pudding, and plum tarts are authentic delicacies, and worth carrying if you live a brief flight away.
On August 15, the War Department officially redesignated the 4th Alabama Infantry during the 167th Infantry Regiment, 84th Brigade, 42nd Division. The regiment comprised 3,622 enlisted troops and 55 engaged medical staff for an overall total of 3,677men. The first Alabama Infantry had contributed 880 enlisted men to join the new 167th, the second Alabama Infantry, and the very first Alabama Cavalry had provided enlisted men to bring the 167th to war strength, that was nominally 3,700 officers and men.
The Rainbow Division became one of the first delivered to Europe in 1917 to support French troops in battles at Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, the Verdun front, and Argonne. On July 15, 1918, the Division, acting within the 4th French Army, assisted in containing the last German offensive at the Battle of Champagne.
Let us set the scene for the problem of alleged American battlefield atrocities on the part of the rainbow division. On July 15, 1918, the Germans, inside their final bid to finish the war inside their favor, launched a massive attack southward in the Champagne country of France. Although the majority of the defending troops were French, there were some units of the U.S. 42nd Division also active in the defense and in the counter-attacks that ensued.
Regarding the battle participation of the U. S. 42nd (‘Rainbow’) Division in the Champagne-Marne Defensive battle of July 15, 1918, we read as follows in Donovan, America’s Master Spy, by Richard Dunlop:
“The regimental commanders [of the U. S. 42nd Division] were instructed to publish just a few men in the first trench line, which may easily fall. Most were to be positioned in the 2nd line, where they certainly were also anticipated to withdraw while the Germans swept ahead.”