How Much Do You Know About Famous Military Units Throughout History?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Pfc. R. Alan Mitchell, U.S. Army

About This Quiz

Throughout history, humans have resorted to violence to settle their disputes, and the dead are mostly forgotten in the ashes of war. But once in an while a special group of warriors make legacies that last for decades or even centuries. Do you know anything about famous military units?

If you’ve watched the movie “300” — and we know you have — you realize that a tiny group of Spartan warriors managed to hold off a huge Persian force at the of Battle of Thermopylae. Sure, all of the Spartans died, but they landed a permanent place in history and scored a Hollywood hit, to boot.

From the American Revolution through the World Wars to modern terror-fighting groups, a number of U.S. units have reached legendary status. Some of them fought for colonial independence, while others simply struggled for survival in the Second World War. Do you know the unit that barely withstood the Nazis at Bastogne?

The American Civil War was scattered with incredible troops, too. Some fought for the Union, others for the Confederacy. Do you know any of the famous units that battled, and died, during the War of Secession?

Whether the bloodshed and carnage fulfill political conquests or just help one nation survive another’s aggression, war’s heroes are legion. Grab your weapon of choice and do battle with our famous military units quiz now!

What is the nickname of the U.S. 1st Armored Division?

The 1st Armored Division is nicknamed "Old Ironsides." During the World War II, this was the first armored unit to see the battlefield.


Where did the U.S. 1st Armored Division first do battle?

During WWII, there were major tank battles in North Africa, and that’s where the 1st Armored Division first saw the Axis. "Old Ironsides" took major casualties at the beginning of its tour of duty but eventually found its momentum.


What sort of unit is the famous U.S. 101st?

The 101st Airborne is a legendary division of the U.S. Army. It’s a light infantry unit that’s specially trained for air assaults.


The 101st Airborne gained major star status thanks to its actions in which country during WWII?

The 101st Airborne was deployed during D-Day in WWII. Its troops were vital to security ground in France, pushing back the Nazis one bit of sand at a time.


What’s the nickname of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division?

The U.S. 1st Infantry Division is called "The Big Red One." It was formed in 1917 as part of World War I and gained fame for its battlefield accomplishments.


The 1st Infantry Division was the first American unit to face combat in which war?

When President Wilson finally decided to join the fight of WWI, it was the 1st Infantry Division that saw the first U.S. combat. It’s one reason "The Big Red One" is so famous.


What are the "Wild Weasels"?

Wild Weasels are part of an U.S. Air Force mission sent to destroy enemy air defense systems. They’re often tasked with the (obviously treacherous) job of baiting enemy radar into targeting them, after which the Air Force sends planes to attack the air defense installations.


Wild Weasels became famous during which conflict?

The first Wild Weasels missions came during the Vietnam War. The Air Force used the F-100 Super Sabre and the Navy deployed its A-4 Skyhawks, both of which were successful in destroying North Vietnamese air defense systems.


The No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, from Poland, gained fame during which battle?

During WWII’s Battle of Britain, the Polish No. 303 squadron was deadly in the air. They had the best ratio of enemy aircraft downed (126) compared to their own losses (18).


Why were the Polish pilots of the No. 303 squadron so successful in the Battle of Britain, particularly compared to many British pilots?

The Polish pilots of the No. 303 were veterans with a lot of experience. Many other Allied pilots were far less battle-tested ... and the numbers proved it.


How many towns did "Old Ironsides" (1st Armored Division) help to capture during WWII?

During WWII, the 1st Armored Division was a part of battles in both Africa and Europe. Along the way, it played a role in the capture of more than 40 towns and cities.


What sort of unit was the 1st Panzer Division?

During WWII, Germany’s 1st Panzer Division earned respect as an elite armored unit. It was part of the invasion of Poland at the start of the war and also invaded the USSR on the Eastern Front later in the conflict.


At the end of WWII, why did Germany’s 1st Panzer Division retreat to the west before surrendering?

The 1st Panzer Division knew the war was lost, and all of them knew that it was safer to surrender to the Americans rather than the Soviets, who were not known for treating Nazi P.O.W.s with kindness.


Which famous U.S. unit was trapped in Belgium during WWII’s Battle of the Bulge?

Desperate Germans launched their final major offensive at the Battle of the Bulge, trapping the 101st Airborne near Bastogne. The 101st stubbornly held its ground in the December deep freeze until General Patton arrived with vital reinforcements.


At the Battle of the Bulge, a German general requested that the 101st Airborne — which was trapped— surrender. How did the 101st’s General McAuliffe respond?

When the Nazis insisted that the 101st lay down their arms, U.S. General McAullife responded with one word: "Nuts!" As the legend goes, the German general needed an explanation as to exactly what McAullife meant.


The Stonewall Brigade was part of which war?

The Stonewall Brigade was under the command of Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson during the American Civil War. They were renowned for their discipline, which they inadvertently broke by shooting their own commander in 1863.


What happened to the Stonewall Brigade during the 1864 Battle of the Wilderness?

During the Battle of the Wilderness, the Stonewall Brigade was completely decimated, with only 200 men surviving a Union assault. The unit was so depleted that it was disbanded after this battle.


The famed U.S. 82nd ______ Division has been a part of many major missions since World War I.

The 82nd Airborne Division is yet another well-regarded U.S. Army unit. These troops are part of parachute assault teams that can drop behind enemy lines any time of day or night.


The 82nd Airborne wears a famous shoulder patch. What is that patch?

The 82nd Airborne’s troops wear patches that read "AA," which stands for "All-American." The unit drew men from all 48 states during WWI, making them a truly "All-American" group.


The 13th Guards Rifle Division fought for _____ during WWII.

In WWII, the 13th Guards Rifle Division was a famous Soviet unit. At the Battle of Kharkov, the unit lost 50% of its men but later took the field again with new troops.


The men of the U.S. 101st Airborne withstood a Nazi assault at the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. After reinforcements rescued the 101st, what happened?

The 101st barely withstood a major Nazi encirclement and harrowing winter weather before reinforcements arrived. Their reward? They were told to chase down the Germans — a fact that left many of the men dejected, as they anticipated at least a bit of rest before continuing into combat.


The Green Mountain Boys gained fame in which war?

When hostilities started during the American Revolution, a band of militiamen called the Green Mountain Boys crossed Lake Champlain and captured Fort Ticonderoga. It was, shall we say, one of America’s first special ops raids.


The Immortals were a legendary unit of which army?

During the Achaemenid Empire, the Persian army featured a 10,000-strong unit nicknamed the Immortals. They were an infantry unit feared for their skills with both sword and bow.


The U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment is best known for the 1866 Battle of the Little Bighorn. What happened there?

At the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the 7th Cavalry, led by General George Custer, was overrun by an alliance of Indian warriors. The unit was wiped out.


The U.S. 7th Cavalry was destroyed at the 1866 Battle of the Little Bighorn, which is often better known as ______.

General Custer was a swashbuckling type on the Old West frontier. But he was underprepared for the Indian onlslaught, and he and all of his men were killed during "Custer’s Last Stand."


What is the nickname of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division?

The 101st is nicknamed the "Screaming Eagles." They wear shoulder patches with eagles that look like they are sticking their tongues out at the enemy.


A unit called "Rogers’ Rangers" fought for _____ during the French and Indian War.

Rogers’ Rangers was a ranger company that fought for the British in the French and Indian War. These men had exceptional scouting skills that made them invaluable for finding the enemy in a wild and untamed land.


True or false, is the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division, which was born during WWI, still active?

The 82nd is still very much a part of the American military. The unit’s headquarters are at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.


The U.S. 3rd Infantry Division is nicknamed "Rock of the Marne," a moniker it earned during _____.

In WWI, the 3rd Infantry Division held back a terrifying German assault at the 1918 Second Battle of the Marne. "The Rock of the Marne" kept the Germans from finding a path straight to Paris.


What’s the motto of the 82nd Airborne?

If you like ominous mottos, the 82nd Airborne has one for you: "Death from Above." If you don’t think they mean it, ask the Nazis who confronted these fierce paratroopers in WWII.


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