10th Armored Division (United States)

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10th Armored Division (United States)
10th US Armored Division SSI.svg
10th Armored Division Shoulder Patch
Active 1942–1945
Country USA
Allegiance Allies of World War II
Branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Type Armored Division
Role Offensive Operations
Size Division (Military)
Part of 12th Army Group.svg Twelfth United States Army Group
US3ASSI.svg Third United States Army
US Seventh Army SSI.svg Seventh United States Army
XX Corps ssi.gif XX Corps
Nickname Tiger Division
Motto Terrify and Destroy
Better than Most, As good as the Best
Colors Red, Blue and Yellow
Mascot Tiger
Equipment M4 Sherman Tank
Tank Destroyer
Infantryman
Engagements World War II
Battle of the Bulge
Rhineland Campaign
Central Europe Campaign
Ardennes Campaign
Allied-occupied Germany
Decorations (5) Presidential Unit Citation (United States)
Commanders
Notable
commanders
General George S. Patton
General Walton Harris Walker
Major General Paul Newgarden
Major General William H. H. Morris
U.S. Armored Divisions
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9th Armored Division (Inactive) 11th Armored Division (Inactive)

The 10th Armored Division (nicknamed Tiger Division) was an armored division of the United States Army in World War II. During the European Theater of Operations the 10th Armored Division was part of the Twelfth United States Army Group and was originally assigned to General George S. Patton’s Third United States Army. Near the conclusion of the war the 10th Armored saw action with General Alexander Patch's Seventh United States Army.

The 10th Armored Division was inactivated on 13 October 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. On 25 February 1953, the division was allotted to the Regular Army but remained inactive.

10th Armored Division Combat Chronicle[edit]

See also Battle of Bastogne or Siege of Bastogne

Note. The bulk of this section of the article is taken from the July–August 1992 issue of Armor Magazine, pp. 41 - 43, in the article titled "10th AD Tigers missed credit for valiant fight at Bastogne", by Captain John Buckheit. Armor Magazine allows the reprinting of its material provided that the publication and author are credited.

A.
Alternate Emblem

The division, which served under General George S. Patton's Third Army, was activated on 15 July 1942, at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 10th Armored Division entered France through the port of Cherbourg, 23 September 1944, and put in a month of training at Teurtheville, France, before entering combat. Leaving Teurtheville, 25 October, the Division moved to Mars-la-Tour, where it entered combat, 2 November, in support of the XX Corps, containing enemy troops in the area. Later that month, the 10th participated in the capture of Metz. It was the first time in 1500 years that the ancient fortress at Metz fell. After fierce fighting, the 10th slammed into the vaunted Siegfried Line and led General George S. Patton's Third Army into Germany on 19 November 1944.

On 17 December 1944 the Allied tide of battle came to a halt. In the north, the Germans had launched their Ardennes Offensive later called The Battle of the Bulge. The 10th was the first division to move north in an attempt to impede the German assault. Combat Command A moved 75 miles in a single day, directly into the attack. The 10th assumed responsibility to protect Luxembourg and the Third Army's right flank. Combat Command B was dispatched directly to Bastogne by Patton on 17 December 1944. At that time, the 101st Airborne Division was on respite in France; Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division was the only combat unit defending Bastogne at the time. For over eight hours CCB held Bastogne alone, against eight German Divisions. When the 101 Airborne Division arrived both military outfits were surrounded and trapped. However CCB and the 101 Airborne Division maintained a defensive posture and held until the German offensive burned out several days later.

At the Conclusion of the battle, the 10th Armored Division's, 21st Tank Battalion and Combat Command B were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their extraordinary heroism from 17 to 27 December 1944 Battle of the Bulge. The 101 Airborne Division was also honored with the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions at Bastogne.

The 10th Armored Tigers played key roles in several of the war's greatest battles, including Combat Command B's gallant defense of Bastogne. Years after the war, General Anthony McAuliffe praised the men of the Tiger Division, noting that, "In my opinion, Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division was never properly credited with their important role in the Bastogne battle."

In early February 1945, the 10th reassembled at Metz and rejoined the XX Corps (United States). For security reasons, the 10th stripped all identification from their vehicles and uniforms.

On 20 February 1945, the 10th again attacked the German defenses. In one day, they smashed the vaunted German lines, and after 48 hours, the division blitzed 85 miles, overrun the Saar-Moselle Triangle, and reached the Saar River. The 10th then crossed the Saar and pressed on to capture Trier and a bridge across the Moselle River. The shocking loss of this heavily defended city caused German defenses to collapse. Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Patton personally visited the 10th Armored Division to congratulate them on this remarkable achievement.

A
Tigers on break

The 10th continued forward never allowing the defending Germans to reorganize. In one week, the 10th advanced 100 miles and captured 8,000 prisoners from 26 different enemy divisions.

After a four-day respite, the 10th spearheaded General Alexander Patch's Seventh United States Army drive to Bavaria. With rapid night movements, the "Tigers" continually surprised the Germans by appearing in different sectors. German dispatches referred to the 10th as the "Ghost Division." As it drove into the heartland of Bavaria, the "Tiger" division overran one of the many subcamps of Dachau concentration camp in the Landsberg area on 27 April 1945. The 10th Armored Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the United States Army Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1985.

The division raced through Kaiserslautern, crossed the Rhine River on 28 March 1945, and continued east. The division helped to seize Heilbronn, defended the Crailsheim Salient, and moved south to isolate Stuttgart. On 23 April 1945, the 10th crossed the Danube River. Then on 27 April 1945, it leads the Seventh Army into Austria. By the conclusion of hostilities on 9 May 1945, the 10th had reached Mittenwald, Bavaria where they halted, their mission accomplished.

The 10th occupied southern Bavaria until September 1945. On 3 October 1945, the division sailed from Marseilles, France. It arrived at Newport News, Virginia on 13 October 1945 and was inactivated at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia on the same day. The 10th Armored Division had captured 650 towns and cities along with 56,000 German prisoners.

Division Nickname[edit]

The "Tiger" nickname of the 10th originates from a division-wide contest held while it was training in the United States, symbolizing the division "clawing and mauling" its way through the enemy. Major General Paul Newgarden, the division's first commander selected "Tiger" as the winner because a tiger has soldierly qualities, including being clean and neat and the ability to maneuever and surprise his prey.

"Stone of Bastogne"[edit]

The following is excerpts from Ray Moore’s "Terrify and Destroy" pamphlet (c. 1944).

“Stone of Bastogne” Blunts Nazi Blitz

Greying dusk shrouded Bastogne as CCB’s lead Sherman tanks, tank destroyers and half-tracks rolled through the town 18 December 1944. These were the first combat troops to reach the threatened city. CCB’s commander, Col. William L. Roberts, split his command to form a crescent-shaped arc facing eastward five miles from the city. A task force commanded by Maj. William R. Desobry went north to Noville, while a similar group under Lt. Col. Henry T. Cherry wheeled east to Longvilly. Lt. Col. James O'Hara’s group shifted southeast to Bras.

While the Tiger’s steal treaded tanks ground over Bastogne’s cobble-stoned streets, the avalanche of German might rolled westward with increasing momentum. Capture Bastogne, hub from which seven main roads spread spoke-like in all directions, was essential to the swift movement of Rundstedt’s panzers. Riding the crest of a 14-mile advance, five Nazi divisions knifed through the fog and engaged CCB in the pre-dawn darkness of 19 December.

For the first time since he launched his assault, Von Rundstedt was stopped!

Bazooka-armed doughboys and a single platoon of tank destroyers came to grips with a column of German Panzer IV tanks on the Houffalize-Noville highway, turned them back after a furious engagement. More enemy armor followed and with the road blocked, the battle spilled into the snow-mantled fields and woods, raged unabated.

For eight hours, CCB alone withstood the multiple blows of the Nazi’s Hydra-headed attack. Then help arrived. First reinforcements of the 101st Airborne Div., which had moved into Bastogne under the screen of the 10th’s actions.

Drawing from a seemingly endless reservoir of might, Germans still maintained an overwhelming balance of power. The outnumbered Americans shifted their defensive arc nearer Bastogne.

Balked frontally, the German attack swirled around the city, shooting pincers to the north and south. The night of 21 December, the pincers met and closed west of the city. Bastogne became the “hole in the dough-nut.”

In the center of the hole, the 10th assembled a highly mobile reserve force to strike in any direction. Bastogne’s “Fire Brigade,” as it was called, fought wherever the battle flamed hottest. This force was Bastogne’s indispensable backbone of steel.

The remainder of the epic, like the beginning, is a tale of the individual soldier’s raw courage.

The Tigers saw the fanatical enemy press in from all sides; rocked beneath terrific artillery barrages and repeated bombing; froze in ice-filled foxholes and along the snow-covered slopes; watched supplies and ammunition dwindle. Threatened with extinction, they echoed Maj. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s reply of “Nuts” to the German surrender ultimatum. Men of the 10th stood, fought, died.

Fourth Armored Division tanks cracked the ring on 26 December, but CCB’s fight wasn’t over. The weary, triumphant Tigers did not take their final ride through Bastogne’s rubble strewn streets until 18 January.

In 30 days of hell, these men of CCB had earned the Presidential Unit Citation (United States), formerly the Distinguished Unit Badge.

10th Armored Division on Film[edit]

In the 2001 HBO show, Band of Brothers, a 10th Armored Division Officer, played by comedian/actor Jimmy Fallon, is depicted handing out ammunition and supplies to Easy Company Paratroopers from the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge.

The 10th Armored Division is also represented in the epic 1970 Academy Award-winning film Patton (film). General Patton was played by George C. Scott.

Casualty Statistics 10th Armored Division[edit]

Battle Casualties Killed in Action Non-battle Casualties Total % of Division Wounded or KIA
4,697 784 3,684 78.5%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Nichols, Lester M. (2000) [1950], Impact: The Battle Story of the 10th Armored Division (Book/Hardcover), Divisional Histories 54 (2nd ed.), The Battery Press, Inc.; 2 edition (2000), ISBN 978-0-89839-303-3 
  • Wiegand, Brandon T. (2004) [2004], Index to the General Orders of the 10th Armored Division in World War II (Book/Hardcover), Divisional Histories (1st ed.), D-Day Militaria (January 2004), ISBN 978-1-932891-49-2 
  • Gardner Hatch (March 1989), Tenth Armored "Tiger" Division (Book/Hardcover), Divisional Histories (1st ed.), Turner Pub Co, ISBN 978-0-938021-27-8 
  • Wilson, John B. (1999) [1999], Armies Corps Divisions and Separate Brigades (Book/Hardcover) (1st ed.), Government Printing Office, ISBN 0-16-049992-5 
  • 10th Armored Division web page [1]
  • United States Memorial Holocaust Museum [2]

Patton's Unsung Armor of the Ardennes -The Tenth Armored Division's Secret Dash to Bastogne - Eugene Patterson, Managing Editor of the Washington Post; Editor, Chairman and CEO of the St Petersburg Times

External links[edit]

  • [3]
  • [4] Tiger Division.com
  • [5] 419th.com
  • [6] Old Tiger Cub.com
  • [7] 10th Armored.com
  • [8] World War II Silvers Star Recipients
  • [9] United States Memorial Holocaust Museum
  • [10] history.army.mil (10th AD)
  • [11] Battle of the Bulge on the Web
  • [12] Lone Sentry.com
  • [13] Center of Military History