Janesville’s regional Red Arrow club might have disbanded last year, but a documentary profiling the formation of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division in World War I will bring renewed attention to the famed group.
“Dawn of the Red Arrow,” a feature-length documentary, premiered Sunday on the Wisconsin National Guard’s YouTube channel, according to a news release.
The date coincides with the 32nd Division headquarters arriving in Brest, France, in 1918.
The documentary caps a multiyear effort to commemorate the centennial of the 32nd Division, according to the release. It follows the story of 23,000 National Guard soldiers from Wisconsin and Michigan as they trained in Texas and made a name for themselves on the battlefields of France.
The group earned its trademark Red Arrow shoulder patch—a red arrow through a horizontal line—after piercing every enemy line it faced in World War I, according to a previous Gazette story.
The French called the division “Les Terribles,” meaning “The Terrible Ones,” because of its indomitable spirit.
During the 1930s, the Janesville National Guard armory was home base for the 32nd Tank Company, a unit of Wisconsin’s 32nd Division. In November 1940, the unit merged with three other National Guard units and was redesignated Company A of the 192nd Tank Battalion.
Soldiers from Company A fought in World War II and took part in the infamous Bataan Death March.
The 32nd Division Red Arrow Club of Southern Wisconsin formed in Janesville in 1924.
Dwindling membership forced it to disband last July.
After the YouTube premiere, “Dawn of the Red Arrow” can be downloaded at gazettextra.com/arrow _doc.