Military Wiki
Henning Linden
Brigadier General Henning Linden as Assistant Division Commander of the 42nd Infantry Division in World War II
Born (1892-09-03)September 3, 1892
Died March 15, 1984(1984-03-15) (aged 91)
Place of birth Mound, Minnesota
Place of death McLean, Virginia
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1917–1952
Rank Brigadier General
Unit 42nd Infantry Division
Commands held 53rd Infantry Regiment
Task Force Linden
United States Army Military Arts Department
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Army Commendation Medal
Relations Colonel John H. Linden (son)

Henning Linden (September 3, 1892 – March 15, 1984) was a United States Army Brigadier General during World War II. He was prominent for his role in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp while serving as Deputy Commander of the 42nd Infantry Division.

Early life

Henning Linden was born as Carl Henning Linden in Mound, Minnesota on September 3, 1892,[1][2][3] to Swedish immigrant parents.[4] He completed the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Minnesota and was a Cadet Captain, graduating in 1917 with a degree in civil engineering.[5][6][7] He then joined the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, assigned to the 40th Infantry Regiment.[8][9][10]

World War I to World War II

He commanded a company of the 33rd Infantry Regiment in Panama during World War I, and afterwards served in several command and staff assignments of increasing rank and responsibility.[11]

In the early 1920s Linden was Assistant Professor of Military Science for the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Maryland.[12]

In the early 1930s Linden was adjutant of the garrison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[13] In 1936 he graduated from the Command and General Staff College and was reassigned to Fort McClellan, Alabama.[14][15]

In the early 1940s Linden was an Assistant Professor of Military Science for the ROTC program at Boston University.[16]

World War II

At the start of World War II he was commander of the 53rd Infantry Regiment in the Aleutian Islands as the United States retook them from Japan.[17] In 1943 he was promoted to Brigadier General as Assistant Division Commander of the 42nd (Rainbow) Infantry Division.[18] He commanded its three infantry regiments as "Task Force Linden" which arrived in Marseilles, France that fall, deployed in an attempt to prevent two German armies in Alsace from breaking out, and successfully defended along a 30-mile front.[19][20][21] Two units of "Task Force Linden", the 222nd Regiment and 1st Battalion 242nd Regiment, were awarded Presidential Unit Citations for extraordinary heroism.[22][23]

At the end of January, 1945 the rest of the division arrived in France, and as part of the Seventh Army the 42nd penetrated German defenses in the Haardt Mountains, crossed the Siegfried Line, bridged the Rhine River, and captured the cities of Wurzburg, Schweinfurt, Fürth and Donauworth.[24][25]

Dachau Liberation

Main Article: Dachau Concentration Camp Liberation

On April 29, 1945 General Linden led a group of reporters including Marguerite Higgins and a 42nd Division detachment as the soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp, generating international headlines by freeing more than 30,000 Jews and political prisoners.[26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

Post-World War II

After World War II he served in occupied Austria and was Chief of the Army's Military Arts Department until he retired in 1952.[35][36]

Awards and Decorations

His awards included: the Silver Star; two Bronze Stars; two Legions of Merit; two Army Commendation Medals; World War I Victory Medal; World War II Victory Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 bronze stars; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; American Defense Service Medal; and Army of Occupation Medal.[37][38] He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre (France) and the Order of Leopold II (Belgium).

Death and Burial

General Linden died in McLean, Virginia on March 15, 1984.[39] He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 1, Site 792-E.[40]

Dachau Controversy

For years there has been an ongoing controversy between adherents of Felix L. Sparks and those of Linden over whether the 45th Infantry Division or 42nd Division Troops led by Linden were the actual liberators of Dachau. General Linden's son, Colonel (Retired) John H. Linden addresses the question in 1997's Surrender of the The Dachau Concentration Camp, 29 APR 45: The True Account, referring to numerous first hand accounts and primary source documents to bolster his father's version of events.[41]

Looting Controversy

Recent writers have found fault with Linden, Harry J. Collins and other officers who performed occupation duty after World War II, suggesting that they requisitioned luxury items, from the Hungarian Gold Train, for furnishing their offices and quarters —- items allegedly taken from Jewish families by the Nazis during the war. Linden is reported to have received 10 rugs for his quarters on the von Trapp Estate. Many items were not returned to their original owners, who had been killed or displaced during the war, but were later sold at auctions, with the proceeds used to aid war refugees.[42]


  1. Minnesota Births and Christenings Index, 1840-1980, entry for Henning Linden, accessed via, February 20, 2012
  2. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, entry for Henning Linden, accessed via, February 20, 2012
  3. UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960, Record for USNS William O. Darby, May, 1959, entry for Henning Linden, accessed via, February 20, 2012
  4. Kastrup, Allan The Swedish heritage in America:the Swedish element in America and American-Swedish relations in their historical perspective. 1975. Page 738. ISBN 1299908055.
  5. U.S. Army Adjutant General, U.S. Army Register, 1920, page 787
  6. University of Minnesota, President's Report, Volume 21, Issue 37, 1918, page 149
  7. University of Minnesota, Bulletin, Volume 20, Issue 20, 1917, page 126
  8. The American Swedish Monthly, published by Swedish Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A., January 1, 1944
  9. U.S. Army Register, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1920, page 787
  10. United States Committee on Public Information, The Official Bulletin, Recently Appointed Second Lieutenants Assigned, November 26, 1917, page 7
  11. Army List and Directory, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1919, page 122
  12. University of Maryland, Biennial Report, 1921, page 157
  13. Newspaper article, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Jefferson City Post-Tribune, April 17, 1933
  14. Newspaper column, Army Orders, March 12, 1936
  15. United States Army Command and General Staff College, Annual Report for 1935-36, 1936, page 6
  16. Annual Report for 1940, published by Boston University, 1941 (Volume 30, Issue 31), page 34
  17. Bellamy Park: Memoirs, by Bradford Grethen Chynoweth, 1975, page 177
  18. Chicago Tribune, Henning Linden Wins Brigadier General's Star, July 11, 1943
  19. Jean Bryant, Pittsburgh Press, Dachau Survivor, Lierators Meet Here 33 Years Later, July 16, 1978
  20. Flint Whitlock, Given Up for Dead: American Gi's in the Nazi Concentration Camp at Berga, 2009, page 104
  21. Kenneth K. Hatfield, Heartland Heroes: Remembering World War II, 2003, page 185
  22. Howard J. Leavitt, Tales of Valor, 2004, page 338
  23. Turner Publishing, The Legacy of the Purple Heart, Volume 2, 2001, page 96
  24. Newspaper article, 42d 'Rainbow' Division, With U.S. 7th Army First Regiments Reach France in November, Chicago Tribune, February 7, 1945
  25. First to the Rhine: The 6th Army Group in World War II, by Harry Yeide and Mark Stout, 2007, page 285
  26. Newspaper article, Yanks Release 32,000 From Infamous Dachau Prison, by Howard Cowan, Associated Press, Modesto Bee And Herald-News, May 1, 1945
  27. Newspaper article, Yankees Free 32,000 In Camp, Piqua Daily Call, May 2, 2945
  28. Dachau 29 April 1945: The Rainbow Liberation Memoirs, by Sam Dann, 1998, page 16
  29. Justice at Dachau: The Trials of an American Prosecutor, by Joshua Greene, 2003, page 8
  30. Five Days That Shocked the World, by Nicholas Best, 2012, page 104
  31. Newspaper article, Yanks Storm Past Trainloads of Bodies to Free 32,000 Prisoners at Bloody Dachau Camp, Associated Press, Spokane Daily Chronicle, April 30, 1945
  32. Dachau Survivor, Liberators Meet Here 33 Years Later, by Jean Bryant, Pittsburgh Press, July 16, 1978
  33. Newspaper article, Dachau Exhibit Opens at New York State Military Museum, The Saratogian, April 14, 2011
  34. Lee Miller: A Life, by Carolyn Burke, 2005, page 258
  35. Newspaper article, Linden Gets Farewell Salute, Stars and Stripes, Europe, Mediterranean, and North Africa Edition, January 19, 1948
  36. Newspaper article, Commander Retires, by Associated Press, Kingsport Times, September 30, 1952
  37. U.S. Army Register, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1959, page 606
  38. Official U.S. Army Register, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1965, page 320
  39. Social Security Death Index, entry for Henning Linden, accessed via, February 20, 2012
  40. Death Notice, Henning Linden, Washington Post, March 19, 1984
  41. Surrender of the Dachau Concentration Camp, 29 APR 45: The True Account, by John Henning Linden, 1997, title page
  42. Kenneth D. Alford, Allied Looting in World War II, 2011, page 237

External resources

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).