8TH INFANTRY DIVISION HELMET AND LINER DECALS OF WWII

The 8th Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on July 4, 1944. The division entered combat three days later and fought through the hedgerows and towns of Normandy’s Cotentin Peninsula.



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8th Infantry Division soldiers in Germany 1945

After the Allied breakout from Normandy, the 8th Infantry Division took part in the capture of the port city of Brest, France. From August 7 to September 19, fierce fighting raged in Brest as the 8th Division and other allied units battled against stubborn German defenses including veteran German Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) under the command of Lieutenant General Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke. Upon arriving at Ramcke’s headquarters, the 8th Infantry Division Assistant Commander, Brigadier General Charles Canham, was asked by Ramcke to show his credentials as a condition of the surrender. General Canham pointed to his rifle carrying GI’s who gathered to witness the surrender saying, “These are my credentials”.

After taking Brest, the 8th Division fought across Luxembourg and into Germany. They crossed the Roer River on February 23, 1945 and reached the Rhine River on March 7. The 8th Division helped capture 350,000 Germans in the Ruhr Pocket and liberated an estimated 5,000 prisoners at the Wobbelin Concentration Camp, a sub-camp to the main Neuengamme Concentration Camp. After Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, the 8th Division occupied the area around Schwerin, Germany. It departed for America on August 3, 1945.

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8th Infantry Division soldier in Mettman, Germany after the German surrender of the Ruhr (Rose) Pocket in April 1945. The helmet decal can be seen on the soldiers in the foreground who are facing the camera.



During WW2 and the subsequent occupation, the 8th Infantry Division commissioned a decal of their division insignia to be worn on helmets and liners. The decal was made in Paris, France and was printed on Duplex Paper. It was applied with varnish for both protection and adhesiveness. Numerous examples of 8th Infantry Division marked helmets and liners survive today. They are a small reminder of the sacrifice and service of the gallant men of the 8th Infantry Division in World War II.

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Collage of photographs from the 8th infantry Division unit history showing the helmet decal in use.

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Front of the decal

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Reverse

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Interior

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Decal placed on a steel M1 helmet

8th infantry division

Decal on a helmet liner covered in varnish



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