Who am I?
Clem, 34 years old and Belgian
I’m Clément, a Belgian in my thirties. I’ve been collecting objects and archives relating to the history of the 9th Infantry Division during the Second World War for over fifteen years now.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for history, particularly military history. I’ve made it my hobby, through collecting, historical research and writing, and finally through historical re-enactment.
Why this website?
Immerse yourself in the little-known history of a unit that took part in eight campaigns on two continents, from North Africa to Central Europe.
When I began my research, I quickly realised that there were too few – if any – places to read clear, accurate and, above all, well-written information about this division’s military campaigns.
Indeed, researches and papers produced at the tactical level, the subject of which is often the actions carried out at regimental or battalion level, can easily be found in the specialised press, but very rarely do these productions manage to avoid the pitfall of ‘descriptive history’, and therefore never provide any relevant analysis.
So, using my extensive researches, experience and professional training, I decided to build this website, where anyone can find both descriptive individual histories and tactical or operational analyses of the actions and operations conducted by the division in North Africa and Europe between 1942 and 1945.
Why « Notorious Ninth »?
In the U.S. Army, as soon as it organized itself around divisions, the esprit de corps developed very quickly, notably thanks to the introduction of divisional shoulder sleeve insignias dating back from the First World War.
This is a well-known phenomenon in the armies: each unit has to claim to be the elite, the best, the first, the strongest.
In addition to the esprit de corps identity based mainly on the shoulder badge, men have also given themselves nicknames. Among these, the 9th Infantry Divison was given several nicknames, such as « Old Reliables », « Varsity » or « Hitler’s Nemesis ».
One of his nicknames is the result of a figure of style particularly used at the time to nickname American units: the tautogram, or the fact of using for each word, the same first letter; here the N of Ninth, 9th. It was simply necessary to find a qualifier beginning with N: Notorious; which also happens to be the Radio Call Sign of the Division Headquarters!