In October 1940, Allen was promoted to brigadier general, and in June 1942, he was promoted to major general. He took command of the 1st Infantry Division in August. Allen led his division through the training buildup for Operation torch (the invasion of North Africa on 8 November 1942) and in the subsequent campaigns in Tunisia and Sicily. Known as a tough, inspirational commander, Allen was revered by members of the 1st Infantry Division (the "Big Red One"). As a result of his unswerving advocacy of his division and incidents that suggested toleration of lack of discipline, Allen and his assistant division commander, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. were removed from command following the attack on Troina, Sicily, in August 1943.
Major General Allen returned to the United States to organize and train the 104th Infantry Division (Timberwolves). He took them to France in September 1944, where they fought alongside his beloved Big Red One. In an army in which relief from combat command usually meant no second chance, Allen was restored to division combat command because he was an effective fighter and a distinguished soldier. After successful campaigns in central Europe, Allen took his Timberwolves home in June 1945. Allen retired in August 1946 and died in El Paso, Texas, on 12 September 1969.
John F. Votaw
Atkinson, Rick. An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942–1943. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.; D'Este, Carlo. Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily, 1943. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1988.; Society of the First Division. Danger Forward: The Story of the First Division in World War II. Washington, DC: Society of the First Division, 1947.