I CORPS, 6TH ARMY (US)
I Corps Insignia approved on 8 June 1942
I Corps was reactivated on 1 November 1940 at Columbia, South Carolina. For the next nine months I Corps trained and took part in large scale maneuvers. Maj. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr., previously the Commanding General of VII Corps, was appointed as the Commanding General of I Corps. However General Richardson had strong objections to serving under Australian Command and the role of Commanding General of I Corps was handed over to Major General Robert L. Eichelberger on 6 July 1942. Eichelberger had been a classmate at West Point of both General Harding of the 32nd Infantry Division and General Fuller of the 41st Infantry Division which were both later assigned to I Corps.
I Corps was deployed to the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) on 11 September 1942 and arrived at Rockhampton in central Queensland, Australia on 17 October 1942. The Corps at that time comprised the 41st Infantry Division, a small number of Corps troops, and the 32nd Infantry Division.
The 32nd Infantry Division and the 41st Infantry Division were ordered to new camps in Queensland, where they were to assigned to I Corps and given training in jungle warfare. The 41st Infantry Division, then in training at Camp Seymour near Melbourne, began to move to Rockhampton on 12 July 1942. The 32nd Infantry Division began to move on 13 July 1942 from Camp Woodside and Camp Sandy Creek near Adelaide to Camp Cable, in south east Queensland about 30 miles south of Brisbane.
Carl R. Thien (Serial No. 32118223) from New York, USA was in Headquarters Company, I Corps and was based in the US Army Camp in the Botanical Gardens in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. This camp was part of Camp Rockhampton during WW2. He later went on to serve as a combat photographer with the 201st Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. While in Rockhampton, Eleanor Roosevelt visited their camp.
Photo:- Carl Thien Collection via CThien.com
Carl R. Thien
The I Corps officers were billeted in the Criterion Hotel in Rockhampton. Headquarters for I Corps was set up in Building Two and some other temporary buildings in the Rockhampton Town Hall in Bolsover Street. Many other buildings around Rockhampton were commandeered for work locations for I Corps personnel. Camp Rockhampton was established covering large areas of the countryside in and around Rockhampton.
One of the many soldiers who served in the Rockhampton area was Grant H. Levin, a neuro-surgeon who had recently purchased a new camera and wandered into a camera club meeting one night in Rockhampton and met Mr Bencke who helped to teach him how to use his new camera. Some research shows that there was a Doctor Grant H. Levin, a neuro surgeon at Mt Zion in California after the war. This is possibly the same Grant H. Levin.
Grant H. Levin with his camera in the bush near Rockhampton
From 19 November 1942, the 32nd Infantry Division and the 163d Infantry Regiment of the 41st Infantry Division took the offensive to the Japanese in New Guinea They were later reinforced by the Australian 7th Division. I Corps and the Aussies pushed slowly forward until Buna was captured on the north coast of the island on 22 January 1943. This was the first Allied victory against the Japanese Army. I Corps received the Distinguished Unit Citation for this battle. Some would suggest that this victory marked the turning point in the ground war against Japan.
I Corps then returned to Rockhampton, where it was engaged in more training of the new forces arriving from the US in that area. On 27 May 1943 General Douglas MacArthur left Brisbane by aircraft at 0900 for Rockhampton to inspect I Corps accompanied by his Aide, Lieutenant Colonel Morhouse. They arrived back in Brisbane at 1730 hours.
Chemical Officer, Colonel Riegelman, of I Corps had lead the way in the development of flame thrower operations and was the first to issue a training publication on the use of the flame thrower in the Southwest Pacific Area. Flame thrower operators for I Corps' 24th Infantry Division and 41st Infantry Divisions trained at a jungle assault school near Rockhampton.
The 24th Infantry Division left the USA on 8 August 1943 and arrived at Camp Caves near Rockhampton on 8 September 1943 and were assigned to I Corps. They left Rockhampton on 31 January 1944 and moved to Goodenough Island by about 14 February 1944. They were involved in combat operations at Tanahmerah Bay, New Guinea, Leyte, Philippine Islands. They spent time at Mindoro, Mindanao, and Japan.
On Friday 26 November 1943 General Douglas MacArthur accompanied by General Lumsden and Colonel Palmer of the Royal Army, and his aide, Lieutenant Colonel Morhouse, departed Archerfield Airfield at 0730 hours and proceeded by air to Rockhampton where he was met by General Eichelberger and staff and inspected the Rehabilitation Center, for the 24th Infantry Division and the 41st Infantry Division, and returned to Brisbane at 1830 hours.
Photo:- US Army
101st Station Hospital Rockhampton
Lt. Col. Garfield, G. Duncan, MC explaining the malaria suppressive
therapy charts to General Douglas MacArthur at the 101st Station Hospital, Rockhampton on 26 November 1943.
Left to right:- Colonel Duncan; two officers in doorway unidentified; Lt Col. Wallace A. Dunton, Sixth US Army
Training Center; Lt. Col. C.H. Morehouse, Aide-de-Camp to General MacArthur; Lt. Gen Herbert Lumsden, British Army
Liaison Officer; Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, Commanding General, I Corps; Col. Frank LaRue, Commanding
Officer, Sixth US Army Training Center; and General Douglas MacArthur at far right.
The 58th Signal Battalion provided communications support for I Corps and was billeted in a tent camp on the outskirts of Rockhampton. The 58th Signal Battalion provided the main link between I Corps and Sixth Army headquarters as well as between I Corps and MacArthurís theater headquarters.
At 0825 hours on Wednesday, 26 January 1944, General Douglas MacArthur accompanied by Colonel Lehrbas and Huff, left Brisbane by air for Rockhampton, arriving at 1010 hours. They drove into country to lunch with General Eichelberger and his staff. MacArthur completed a brief inspection of I Corps Headquarters area and, along the road, conferred briefly with General Fuller and inspected troops of the 41st Infantry Division. He left Rockhampton at 1430 hours and arrived Brisbane at 1625 hours. General MacArthur celebrated his birthday that day in Rockhampton.
From February until March of 1944 the Corps was preparing for its next assignment which was the capture of Hollandia on the north coast of Dutch New Guinea. The 24th Infantry Division and the 41st Infantry Division were assigned to this role. The Task Force carried out a successful amphibious assault on 19 April 1944. They mopped up the Japanese forces in the area to allow the establishment of air bases. The area was not fully secured until 6 June 1944.
The Japanese 18th Army had been cut off from its supply bases by General Douglas MacArthur's leap-frogging strategy. I Corps then focussed on the capture of Biak, which was completed by 24 June 1944. This was one of the final campaigns in the lead-up to the invasion of the Philippine Islands. On 20 August 1944, Major General Innis P. Swift took over as commander of I Corps from General Eichelberger, who was then assigned as the Commanding General of the Eighth Army.
I Corps landed on the coast of the Lingayen Gulf in Northern Luzon, Philippines on 9 January 1945. Their role was to establish a base for future operations to the north. They also denied the Japanese access to the northern areas of the China Sea.
I Corp pushed through the Japanese forces for 34 days covering 100 miles across central Luzon and split the Japanese forces in the north from those in southern Luzon. I Corps then headed northward and broke through enemy resistance into the Cagayan Valley and moved to the north coast and eliminated effective Japanese resistance in northern Luzon.
In early July 1945 I Corps under the direction of the Sixth Army, began planning an invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan. This was cancelled on 14 August with the announcement of the Japanese agreement to surrender.
Plans were then drawn for the part that the Corps was to play in the movement to Japan and the subsequent Occupation Forces.
During the two and a half years in which I Corps was in action against the Japanese, the following divisions were attached or assigned to it at various times:-
- 6th Division
- 8th Division
- 9th Division
- 24th Division
- 25th Division
- 30th Division
- 32nd Division
- 33rd Division
- 37th Division
- 41st Division
- 43rd Division
- 77th Division
- 98th Division
- 2nd Marine Division
- 7th Australian Division
- elements of the 11th Airborne Division
© Peter Dunn 2006
This page first produced 6 September 2008
This page last updated 05 May 2013