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MG Raymond Oscar “Tubby” Barton

Photo added by Charles A. Lewis

MG Raymond Oscar “Tubby” Barton

  • Birth 22 Aug 1889 Granada, Prowers County, Colorado, USA
  • Death 27 Feb 1963 Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia, USA
  • Burial Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia, USA
  • Memorial ID 47292938

Major General, U.S. Army. Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1912.

Raymond Oscar Barton was born 22 August 1889, the son of Conway Oldham Barton, Jr., and Carrie Mosher Barton. Raymond attended Ada High School in Ada, OK, where he was Valedictorian of his graduating class of 1907.

Regrettably, little has been recorded about Barton's life prior to 1908, the year he entered the United States Military Academy. During his years at West Point, although his sports were boxing and wrestling, he somehow got the nickname ‘Tubby' that stayed with him the rest of his life. Tubby graduated from the Academy with the Class of 1912 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry.

Barton did not see combat during World War I, but he served in the postwar occupation forces in Europe for four years. As commander of the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, his unit was the last American military post in Germany prior to the departure of the U.S. Army from its occupation zone in 1923. [Raymond Barton married Clare Elliott Fitzpatrick in 1922, in Paris, France.]

Barton graduated from the Command and General Staff School in 1924 and served as an Instructor at the Command and General Staff School from 1928 to 1933. He graduated from the Army War College in 1933 and was a Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Georgetown University from 1933 to 1937.

During 1940-41, Barton was the Chief of Staff of the 4th Infantry Division and, in 1941-42, was the Chief of Staff of IV Corps.

Barton became the Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division on 3 July 1942, at the age of 53. During his 30 years in the military, he developed a reputation as an exacting and demanding leader. This was made clear when he first addressed the officers and men of the 22nd Infantry Regiment on the day he assumed command of the 4th Division.

"I am your leader. I want to know what you think. In the not too distant future we will be in battle. When bullets start flying your minds will freeze, and you will act according to habit. In order that you develop the right habits, training discipline must be strict. I know that 90 percent of you want to cooperate. I will take care of the other 10 percent."

One 4th Division colonel later described Barton as a "very strict disciplinarian who commanded his division with an iron hand." During the training exercises Barton was among the troops so often that they easily recognized his weathered face with its bushy eyebrows and clipped mustache. Shortly after he took command, a member of the 22nd Regiment said: "His manner was firm and brisk, but not sour or stiff. The rank and file are strongly impressed with the ability and energetic leadership he has exhibited in the short time since he took command of this division." This strong leadership, strict discipline, and exhaustive training, would prove to be very important in the battles to come for the 4th Infantry Division.

The 4th Division arrived in the United Kingdom in early 1944. On D-day, 6 June 1944, it landed at Utah Beach during the Normandy Invasion. In fact, the 8th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Division was the first surface-borne Allied unit to hit the beaches at Normandy. (For its brilliant success in that operation, the 8th received a Presidential Unit Citation.) After relieving the isolated 82nd Airborne Division at Sainte-Mère-Église, the 4th cleared the Cotentin peninsula and took part in the capture of Cherbourg on 25 June. After taking part in the fighting near Periers during 6–12 July, the division broke through the left flank of the German Seventh Army and helped stem the German drive toward Avranches. By the end of August, the 4th Division had moved to Paris, and gave French forces the first place in the liberation of their capital. On 11 September, the first American Infantrymen into Germany was a patrol from the division's 22nd Infantry Regiment.

The 4th then moved into Belgium through Houffalize to attack the Siegfried Line at Schnee Eifel on 14 September and made several penetrations. Slow progress into Germany continued in October, and by 6 November the division entered the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, where it was engaged in heavy fighting until early December. It then shifted to Luxembourg, only to meet the German winter Ardennes Offensive (what became the Battle of the Bulge) head-on starting on 16 December 1944. Although its lines were dented, it managed to hold the Germans at Dickweiler and Osweiler, and, counterattacking in January across the Sauer, overran German positions in Fouhren and Vianden. Halted at the Prüm River in February by heavy enemy resistance, the division finally crossed on 28 February near Olzheim, and raced on across the Kyll on 7 March. After a short rest, the 4th moved across the Rhine on 29 March at Worms, attacked and secured Würzburg, and by 3 April had established a bridgehead across the Main at Ochsenfurt. Speeding southeast across Bavaria, the 4th Division had reached Miesbach on the Isar by 2 May 1945, when it was relieved and placed on occupation duty.

The series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest became the longest battle on German ground during World War II, and the longest single battle ever fought by the U.S. Army in its history. During the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, Barton gave up his belt for tourniquet material to medic Russell J. York of his division at York's request. Lives were saved, and a Silver Star was personally awarded to Technician (Medical) 4th Grade York by General Barton for his actions. Barton relinquished command of the 4th Infantry Division on 26 December 1944, due to health problems. Major General Raymond Barton became one of only eleven generals who commanded their divisions for the duration of their combat service.

In early 1945, Barton briefly served as Commanding General 2nd Infantry Division. He then served as Chief of the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Fort McClellan, Alabama until his retirement from active duty in 1946.

Medals and Awards

Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
World War I Victory Medal
Occupation of Germany Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Pin and Silver Star
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal (Germany)

Honors

Barton Field, located at Fort Gordon, GA, is named in honor of Major General Barton.

MG Raymond O. Barton has Honoree Record 3260 at MilitaryHallofHonor.com.
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D-Day Side Story: Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

In February 1944, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt) was sent to England to help lead the Normandy invasion. He was assigned as Assistant Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division. However, he had to fight to play a role in the critical early hours of the beach landing on D-Day. The division's commanding officer, Major General Barton, was reluctant because of Roosevelt's physical condition. He had been diagnosed with arthritis in 1941, a condition resulting from his receiving a machine-gun bullet in the leg near Soissons in the summer of 1918 during WWI. And he had been recently felled by a fever that reached 103 degrees, developing into pneumonia. After several verbal requests to Barton were denied, Roosevelt sent him this written petition:

"The force and skill with which the first elements hit the beach and proceed may determine the ultimate success of the operation.... With troops engaged for the first time, the behavior pattern of all is apt to be set by those first engagements. [It is] considered that accurate information of the existing situation should be available for each succeeding element as it lands. You should have when you get to shore an overall picture in which you can place confidence. I believe I can contribute materially on all of the above by going in with the assault companies. Furthermore I personally know both officers and men of these advance units and believe that it will steady them to know that I am with them."

With much misgiving, General Barton approved this letter and stated that he did not expect Roosevelt to return alive. When Barton came ashore, he met Roosevelt not far from the beach. He later wrote that:

"While I was mentally framing [orders], Ted Roosevelt came up. He had landed with the first wave, had put my troops across the beach, and had a perfect picture (just as Roosevelt had earlier promised if allowed to go ashore with the first wave) of the entire situation. I loved Ted. When I finally agreed to his landing with the first wave, I felt sure he would be killed. When I had bade him goodbye, I never expected to see him alive. You can imagine then the emotion with which I greeted him when he came out to meet me [near La Grande Dune]. He was bursting with information."

Roosevelt's gallant leadership earned him the Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously on 28 September 1944, after he died of a heart attack in France on 12 July 1944.

Barton and Roosevelt's actions on D-Day are portrayed in "The Longest Day," a 1962 film in which the role of Barton was played by actor Edmond O'Brien and the role of Roosevelt was played by Henry Fonda.
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Comments about Gen. Barton's 4th Infantry Division:

Ernest Hemingway: During the war, Barton became friends with the novelist, Ernest Hemingway, who sought his favor as the war correspondent assigned to the division, and the two corresponded after the war. Hemingway wrote to Barton:

"You had one of the greatest divisions in American military history."

Major General J. Lawton Collins, VII Corps Commander (Barton's direct commander), commended the 4th Infantry Division following the Cherbourg campaign, saying:

"It is a tribute to the devotion of the men of the division that severe losses in no way deterred their aggressive action. The division has been faithful to its honored dead. The 4th Infantry Division can rightly be proud of the great part that it played from the initial landing on Utah Beach to the very end of the Cherbourg campaign. I wish to express my tremendous admiration."

Gen. Collins later commended the 4th Division again, praising its "ability to take every objective assigned to it."

Lieutenant General (then Major General) L.T. Gerow, V Corps Commander, wrote the following after the division's attack on the Siegfried Line at Schnee Eifel on 14 September:

"The aggressive courage, unselfish devotion, tenacity of purpose and outstanding leadership of all ranks is evidenced by the fact that the 4th Infantry Division has never failed to capture its assigned objectives and has never lost ground to the enemy... It is without reservation that I say you have a hard fighting, smooth functioning division."

Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., wrote the following in a letter to Major General Raymond O. Barton, then 4th Infantry Division Commander:

"No American division in France has excelled the magnificent record of the 4th Inf. Div., which has been almost continuously in action since it fought its way ashore on the 6th day of last June; but in my opinion your most recent fight, when such a depleted and tired division you halted the left shoulder of the German thrust into the American lines and saved the City of Luxembourg, is your most outstanding accomplishment."

Prior to the battle referred to by General Patton, the German battalion commander told his men "It will be easy to take Dickweiler, it is held by only two platoons."

The German commander was right that there were only two platoons; he was 'dead' wrong about everything else. The 4th Infantry Division was widely dispersed along a 35-mile front in Luxembourg; a depleted, battle-weary company every two miles or more. But the Germans didn't take Dickweiler and they were slashed to ribbons trying!

This procedure was duplicated everywhere the German 212th Division smacked the 4th Division's 12th Infantry Regiment. Enemy forces swarmed around small units, outnumbering them as much as 5 to 1. But the troops of the 12th fought on, doggedly holding each isolated town until reinforcements came.

The defense of Luxembourg was a triumph for the fighting men of the Famous Fourth who stood their ground regardless of the odds. They took literally Gen. Barton's statement "The best way to handle these Heinies is to fight 'em!"
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In Retirement

After retiring from the U.S. Army, the general and his wife, Clare, retired to Augusta, Richmond County, GA, where he served as President of the Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

Major General Raymond Oscar "Tubby" Barton, one of the best division commanders in the U.S. Army during WWII, died on 27 February 1963, in Augusta, GA.

Bio compiled by Charles A. Lewis


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  • Maintained by: Charles A. Lewis
  • Originally Created by: Russ Jacobs
  • Added: 29 Jan 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 47292938
  • Charles A. Lewis
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for MG Raymond Oscar “Tubby” Barton (22 Aug 1889–27 Feb 1963), Find A Grave Memorial no. 47292938, citing Westover Memorial Park, Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Charles A. Lewis (contributor 47162573) .