117th Regiment Patch

117th Infantry Regiment in France,
Belgium, and Germany

- - A Map - -

The map may not be all that intuitive: the initial, or default view has all the six basic layers expanded. Those layers are essentially six phases in the progress from landing in Normandy to sailing home. Layers can be turned off with the checkbox on the left in the legend. The legend is not open by default, but can be opened using the small open/close button in the upper left.
As with any Google map, use the wheel on your mouse, or two fingers on a mobile device to zoom. Click or touch one of the numbered labels will open the detail for that which may contain photos or detail maps. The twin brackets in the upper right will open it in a new window.
One layer has a starred center. Those are the approximate location of where Cyril earned his battle ribbon along with the citation.
The map was created as a research tool to determine the context in which my first cousin, Cyril Branston Spicer, Jr., received his battle ribbons.

In doing the map I realized it could be used by others to learn more about the 117th, one of the three infantry regiments of the storied “Old Hickory” 30th Infantry Division in World War II. The map and locations have been pieced together from After Action Reports and a number of sources on the 30th. Not knowing what battalion Cyril was attached to has hampered the detail, leaving a certain amount to the imagination.

The main sources I used are listed below the map. Oldhickory30th.com is a tremendous resource with a great number of pages of reports and photos, but scattered. I’m sure I missed some things from those numerous pages.

30th Infantry Division Patch


Many thick books could be written with just a bibliography on World War Two. Below are the resources I used to make this map as well as general references to the 30th Infantry Division.
Links below will open in a new window or tab.

After Action Reports (AARs)

  1. 117th Resume of Operations Jun 44 to Sept. 44
    1. Online accessed November, 2021:
      1. Henry E. Kelly, Colonel, 117th Infantry letter of 20 July 1944 (June)
      2. William A. Buckley, Captain, 117th Infantry Personnel Officer (July)
      3. Lester D. Royalty, Captain, 117th Infantry Adjutant (August & September)
    2. Vire River Crossing (Interviews 3 Aug & 24 July):
      1. http://www.oldhickory30th.com/VireRiverCrossing117.pdf
      2. (more AARs at http://www.oldhickory30th.com/Photos4.htm
  2. 117th 3rd Battalion AAR Oct 44
    1. Online accessed November 2021: Interview with Lt. Col. S.T. Battalion Commander, 3d Battalion, 117th Infantry Regiment; Lt. Robert Peters, platoon leader of the 3d battalion anti-tank platoon, 17 October, 1944. By Capt. Hechler
  3. 117th Resume of Ops Nov 44 Dec 44
    1. Online accessed November 2021
      1. Ele W. Pearce WOJG, 117th Infantry Asst. Adjutant ((November)
      2. William A. Buckley, Captain, 117th Infantry Personnel Officer (December)
  4. January, 1945: typewritten after action reports by Capt. N.B. Sigband in five parts - An Introduction covering the preparations, Jan 3-9; Preparation for the St. Vity Offensive Jan 10-12; Offensive Phase 1 Jan 13-15; Phase 2 Jan 16-20; Phase 3 Jan 21-23. Initialed by AGO 15 April 1946.
    1. Online accessed November 2021
    2. Downloaded and combined into one document for download this site.


  1. Atkinson, Rick, The Guns at Last Light – the War in Western Europe, 1944-1945, (Picador, New York, 2003). The maps in this book are the wonderful product of Gene Thorp and can be seen at his website, Cartographic Concepts.
  2. Baumer, Robert, Old Hickory: The 30th Division: The Top-Rated American Infantry Division (Stackpole, Lanham, MD, 2017)
  3. Blumenson, Martin, Breakout and Pursuit (Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., 1993) – PDF download.
  4. Featherston, Alwyn, Saving the Breakout: The 30th Division's Heroic Stand at Mortain, August 7-12, 1944 (Presidio, 1993) (Second edition in 1998 under the title Battle for Mortain.)
  5. Fussell, Paul, The Boys Crusade (Modern Library; Reprint edition 2005)
  6. Hodges, General Courtney H., Normandy to Victory (Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2008); http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/956908974 (limited preview at Google Books)
  7. King, Martin; Hiborn, David; Collins, Michael, The Fighting 30th Division – They Called Them Roosevelt’s SS (Casemate, Philadelphia and Oxford, 2015). Kindle edition at Amazon.
  8. Miller, Donald L., The Story of World War II (Revised and expanded from original text by Henry Steele Commanger), (Simon & Shuster, 2002) Amazon
  9. ST-LO (7 July – 19 July 1944), (American Forces in Action Series, CMH Pub 100-3, 1994) – PDF download.

Websites/Pages and Documents

  1. Hagberg, Darrel, “History of The United States Army’s 117th Infantry Regiment – 3rd Battalion – K Company” (Sep 2019 – accessed Nov, 2021) (Many thanks to Darrel Hagberg for pointing me to many resources, and for colorizing the image of Cyril Spicer, Senior and Junior taken probably in 1946. And also the patches of the 117th and 30th from his webpage.)
  2. 30th Infantry Division “Old Hickory” – oldhickory30th.com
    A deep, if now aging, website devoted to collecting after action reports, personal stories and photos. See especially the Reports pages and the Photos pages. No particular organization, but an incredible wealth of information.
  3. Barbara Whitaker “Finding Love in a World at War” – Well researched and easy to read blog posts accessed Nov. 2021:
    1. “30th Infantry Division – Battle of the Bulge” (August 31, 2015)
    2. “30th Infantry Division – From the Roer to the Rhine.” (January 25, 2016)
  4. Order of Battle of the US Army - ETO - 30th Infantry Division. (U.S. Army Center of Military History webpage)
  5. The 30th Infantry Division in World War II (Accessed November, 2021)

Personal Account

  1. Narrative of Warren C. Giles – events of Company “B”, 117th Infantry Regiment from April 1921 to November 24, 1945 obtained from the history of the parent units, personal interviews with Glenn R. Aytes, James E. Barclay, John M. Calhoun, William H. Cate, Roy B. Duggan, John I. Elkins, John B. Owen, Jr., Charles P. Robinson, Karl D. Saulpaw, Zebulon V. Sherrill, Edgar H. Tutterow, other individuals and the personal knowledge of the writer. (At parts these constitute an AAR.)
    1. This interesting narrative is buried deep in Indianamilitary.org and difficult to directly link: http://www.indianamilitary.org/30TH/SoThinkMenu/30thSTART.htm > Frank Tower’s Original Site > Unit Histories > 117th INF/B
            So, I copied it and turned it into a PDF which can be retrieved here.
  2. Hopefully, this section can be expanded. Suggestions are welcome. Oldhickory30th.com is replete with personal accounts.

Cyril B. Spicer, Jr.'s citations

The Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) is evident in pictures of Lt. Spicer.

The following citations were found in a typewritten, one page document in papers passed down from my father. I have no idea who typed them, or where the original citations might be. I met him, and his father, only once in Fort Smith, Arkansas when I was 15 going on 16. I have almost no recollection of that 1961 meeting or what was talked about. The citations, as typed, were not by date of action, as they are here - they may be in the order in which four of the ribbons were given at the hospital in Atlanta, Georgia in September of 1945.

  1. 28 August 1944 in France: Likely following the crossing of the Seine northwest of Paris and the liberation of Pontoise.

    Second Lieutenant CYRIL B. SPICER, JR., 0539315, 117th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, is awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in action on 28 August 1944, in France. During an advance by his battalion against heavy enemy resistance, Lieutenant Spicer, leader of a machine gun platoon, moved forward alone to reconnoiter for strategic location for his guns. While on this reconnaissance Lieutenant Spicer moved out of sight of his men. When he was about to return, he discovered that an enemy motorized patrol had cut him off from friendly troops. With extreme cleverness, Lieutenant Spicer managed to reach his section and immediately set up an ambush for the enemy patrol, we and his men succeeded in killing and capturing the entire patrol. The courage and initiative of Lieutenant Spicer in capturing this patrol and in choosing positions for his machine gun section enabled them to give the maximum support in the ensuing battle. Entered military service from North Carolina.

  2. 15 September 1944 in Holland – on the 12th the 117th entered the Netherlands and on the 14th liberated the City of Maastricht, Provincial capital. 1st city in Netherlands to be liberated. (Silver Star)

    First Lieutenant Cyril B. Spicer, Jr., 0539315, 117th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, is awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, for wear with the Silver Star previously awarded, (sic -see note above regarding order of award) for gallantry in action on 15 September 1944, in Holland. When enemy artillery fire fell on members of his platoon and civilians watching them, causing numerous casualties. Lieutenant Spicer stood in an exposed position and directed the terrified civilians to safety. Because some of the men helping him evacuate the wounded became casualties themselves, Lieutenant Spicer ordered the men to seek safety while he remained in the open and evacuated the wounded. Entered military service from North Carolina.

  3. 14 January 1945 in Belgium Battle of the Bulge counteroffensive that began January 13 by the 30th Division. (Bronze Star & Silver Star for the same action.)

    First Lieutenant Cyril B. Spicer, Jr., 0539315, 117th Infantry Regiment, United States Antsy, is awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, for wear with the Bronze Star previously awarded, for heroic achievement in action on 14 January 1945, in Belgium. When the company command post which Lieutenant Spicer and his two company runners and three artillery men were occupying was surrounded by enemy infantry and one tank stopped directly in front of it, Lieutenant Spicer quickly organized his five men and took up positions to protect the rear of the command post. Although under constant enemy small arms fire and directly in line of concussion grenades, Lieutenant Spicer directed his men and kept the enemy from entering the command post. Entered military service from North Carolina.

  4. 14 January 1945 in Holland - same day as above.

    First Lieutenant Cyril B. Spicer, Jr., 0539315, 117th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, is awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action on 14 January 1945, in Belgium. Enemy fire caused a number of casualties in the ranks of a platoon making an attack toward an enemy held town so that the remaining members of the platoon sought shelter and the attack was halted. Lieutenant Spicer fearlessly exposed himself to direct enemy fire, and, after evacuating the wounded to safety, he exhorted the other men so that they followed him in a successful assault and captured the objective. The courage and leadership displayed by Lieutenant Spicer reflect great credit on himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces. Entered military service from North Carolina.

  5. 26-27 February 1945 in Germany – The Roer River was crossed by the 30th Division near Jülich, Germany on the 23rd of February. (Bronze Star)

    First Lieutenant Cyril B. Spicer, Jr., 0539315, 117th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, is awarded the second bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, for wear with the Bronze Star previously awarded, for heroic achievement in action from 26 February 1945 to 27 February 1945, in Germany. When his platoon was given the mission of supporting another unit in its attack on an enemy town Lieutenant Spicer led his men through intense rocket fire to their objective. He then directed his men in clearing the area of the enemy. His courageous example was an inspiration to all his men. Entered military service from North Carolina.

Purple Heart

He was wounded in October of 1944 and then in March of 1945 according to the newspaper accounts. The 1947 Army Register indicates a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster.

A Short Biography

Cyril junior was an “Army Brat.” His father was a “lifer,” having enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in 1909, seeing World War I only at the end. Back in America, Cyril senior married Mable Coble in 1920 and Cyril junior was born in 1921 in Des Moines, Iowa, his mother’s home-town. At age six, he went to Puerto Rico with the family when his father was stationed there for three years. Back in 1930 to Fort Snelling in Minneapolis, then Detroit where his father was an instructor to the Michigan National Guard and then a Major at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri by 1939. The ”B.” in the name comes from Kitty Branston (1829-1900), the maiden name of Cyril senior’s English grandmother.
1939 in Mankato at the time of Cyril senior's father Henry's funeral in August.
At the outbreak of World War II, Cyril junior was a student at “Ole Miss” – the University of Mississippi - where he had risen in the ranks of the Reserve Officer Training Corps to First Sergeant of Company “B.” (Footnote: “Ole Miss” – 1943 yearbook, Ancestry image 153 with a typo: “S. Spicer” – other yearbook entries nickname him as “Spike” Spicer. ) It was there at Ole Miss that he met Bessie Lee Anderson, known regularly just as “Lee”, who was named one of the five most beautiful women on campus by the renowned talent scout, Earl Carroll of Hollywood. (Footnote: The students at Ole Miss regularly chose 25 “favorites” and it was from those 25 pictures that were submitted to the theatrical producer Earl Carroll in Hollywood to pick the five winners. 1943 yearbook for more pictures, but for the letter click here. ) They were married on December 19, 1942 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Footnote: “Miss Anderson Married To Cyril B. Spicer, Jr.”, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.), Dec. 27, 1942, page 24. Article states that the couple will return to school in January and upon graduation Mr. Spicer will receive his commission and enter into the service of the army. The article is quite complete with information about the couple. ) Cyril had enlisted in the Reserved Corps in June of 1942 and was called to Active Duty with the Reserves on the 12th of August, 1943. He was on Active Duty as a 2nd Lieutenant from January 7, 1944. Whether he sailed with the 117th Regiment to Europe in February of 1944 is unknown, but it is possible he trained with them in Tennessee or Camp Atterbury in 1943 and was likely with them when they landed in Normandy in June of 1944. The first we know for sure is his citation in Holland in September. There is no real detail as to his combat history other than the citations.
Following the surrender in Germany, he is reported to have served three years with the Army of Occupation in Germany. (Footnote: “CAPT. C.B SPICER NEW MEMBER OF COLLEGE ROTC" – Gettysburg Times, 6 October 1950, pgs 1 & 4. One son was born in Regensburg, Germany in 1948. ) Details of that are obscure, but in a picture taken with his father about that time while likely on leave he appears to be assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division, albeit that could have been a temporary assignment. He achieved the permanent rank of 1st Lieutenant as of January 7, 1947. In 1949 he joined the staff of Gettysburg College teaching military strategy and tactics and was promoted to Captain September 27, 1950. His wife was noted as joining the Campus Club in Gettysburg in September of 1949, while the same Gettysburg Times reports in October of 1950 that Captain Spicer is a “New Member of the College R.O.T.C. (Footnote: Same article in the Gettysburg Times is inaccurate as to his college alma mater and the unit he served with in the war, and conflicts with the 1951 yearbook of Gettysburg College where he is pictured as “1st Lt. Cyril B. Spicer, Jr.” an assistant professor, also very likely a mistake as to rank. ) As newspaper articles in the Gettysburg Times reflect, he was in Gettysburg until 1952; the Times reporting that “Captain Cyril B. Spicer, Jr., retiring professor of military science and tactics, infantry, at Gettysburg College, will be the grand marshal.” [Of the Fourth of July parade.] (Footnote: “Four Bands, Nine Drum And Bugle Corps, 13 Floats, 25 Fire Companies Here on the 4th”, Gettysburg Times, June 28, 1952, page one. )
Mysteriously, the next year he was dismissed from the Army. (Footnote: Dismissals: Cyril B. Spicer, Jr; Losses-Regular Army Active List, US Army Military Registers, 1798-1969. Year 1954, Vol 1, page 843; https://www.fold3.com/image/312873135; No other information other than rank, serial number, branch and date of dismissal. ) Circumstances surrounding that are unknown, and little is known of Cyril junior after that other than he was in Fort Smith, Arkansas with his parents in 1960, Denver in 1968 and Reno, Nevada in 1982 where he died on October 27th. His obituary states that he had lived in Reno for 12 years, was a television announcer and author with four surviving children. (Footnote: “Cyril B. Spicer”, Reno Gazette-Journal, 3 November 1982, page 44. (Likely KOLO-TV in Reno.) ) Known locally as “Cy Spicer,” he was publicist for the Nevada Opera Guild, and in one article is called the “unofficial goodwill ambassador for classical music outlets in Reno.” (Footnote: “Pioneer Theater’s acoustics hit flat note of listeners”, Reno Gazette Journal, 13 March 1975, page 19. ) Click here for his Find-a-Grave memorial.
Having met Cyril junior only once when I was in high school, I know next to nothing as to what kind of person he was. I only know that, now having studied the details of the actions he was involved in, he saw some horrific things. The casualties from the Bulge alone cost 19,000 American dead, 48,000 wounded and 21,000 missing (mostly prisoners). It alone must have left some deep scars. (Footnote: Fussell, Paul, The Boys Crusade, page 132. )



Page created November, 2021

© Text copyright: Steve Spicer

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