The division, now under the command of Major General Terry Allen, a distinguished World War I veteran, departed the New York Port of Embarkation on 1 August 1942, arrived in Beaminster in south-west England about a week later, and departed 22 October 1942 for the combat amphibious assault of North Africa.
Elements of the division then took part in combat at Maktar, Tebourba, Medjez el Bab, the Battle of Kasserine Pass (where American forces were pushed back), and Gafsa.
This victory was mainly due to the efforts of George C.
Marshall, who at the time was a lieutenant colonel in the 1st Division and organized soldier's movements and logistics. The division was at Sedan, the farthest American penetration of the war, and was the first to cross the Rhine into occupied Germany.
The original table of organization and equipment (TO&E) included two organic infantry brigades of two infantry regiments each, one engineer battalion; one signal battalion; one trench mortar battery; one field artillery brigade of three field artillery regiments; one air squadron; and a full division train.
The total authorized strength of this TO&E was 18,919 officers and enlisted men. Patton, who served as the first headquarters commandant for the American Expeditionary Forces oversaw much of the arrangements for the movement of the 1st Division to France, and their organization in-country. Coe, who later served as Chief of Coast Artillery, was the division's first chief of staff.
It then led the Allied assault in brutal fighting at El Guettar, Béja, and Mateur.