6th Armored Division (United States)
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|6th Armored Division|
6th AD Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
|Active||15 February 1942–18 September 1945
|Branch||United States Army|
|Part of||Armor Branch|
|Colors||Yellow, Red and Blue|
|MG William H. H. Morris
MG Robert W. Grow
BG George W. Read, Jr..
|U.S. Armored Divisions|
|5th Armored Division (Inactive)||7th Armored Division (Inactive)|
The 6th Armored Division ("Super Sixth") was an armored division of the United States Army during World War II. It was formed with a cadre from the 2nd Armored Division. 6th AD was formed under the 1942 Table of Organization and Equipment.
The division was activated on 15 February 1942 at Fort Knox. It moved to Camp Chaffee on 15 March 1942 to make way for other Armor units, and then completed its assembly and unit training. The division then participated in the VIII Corps Louisiana Maneuvers from 25 August 1942, and then returned to Camp Chaffee on 21 September 1942. 6th AD then moved to Camp Young at the Desert Training Center on 10 October 1942, and participated in the #1 California Maneuvers. The 6th AD then moved to Camp Cooke to consolidate the lessons learned. 6th AD then staged at Camp Shanks on 3 February 1944, and departed the New York Port of Embarkation on 11 February 1944, and arrived in England on 23 February 1944.
After continuing its training in England, 6th AD landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on 19 July 1944 as a follow-on unit, and went on the offensive as separate combat commands in the Cotentin Peninsula in support of the Normandy Campaign.
At the end of the Normandy Campaign, 6th AD assembled at Le Mesnil on 25 July 1944. 6th AD then passed through 8th Infantry Division to clear the heights near Le Bingard on 27 July 1944, and Combat Command A secured a bridgehead across the Sienne River near Pont de la Roque on 29 July 1944, and overran Granville on 31 July 1944. 6th AD then returned to Avranches, where it relieved 4th AD and secured the area bridges.
The 6th then turned east and cut across France, reaching the Saar in November. It crossed the Nied River on 11–12 November, against strong opposition, reaching the German border on 6 December, and established and maintained defensive positions in the vicinity of Saarbrücken.
On 23 December, the division was ordered north of Metz to take part in the Battle of the Bulge, and took over a sector along the south bank of the Sauer. The 6th was heavily engaged in the battle for Bastogne, finally driving the enemy back across the Our River into Germany by late January 1945.
After a short period of rehabilitation, the division resumed the offensive, penetrated the Siegfried Line, crossed the Prum, reached the Rhine River at Worms on 21 March, and set up a counterreconnaissance screen along its west bank. The 6th crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim on 25 March, drove on to Frankfurt, crossed the Main, captured Bad Nauheim, and continued to advance eastward, and surrounded and captured Mühlhausen on 4–5 April. After repulsing a light counterattack, it moved forward 60 miles to cross the Saale River and assisted in freeing Allied prisoners of war and the notorious German concentration camp at Buchenwald. The division raced on, took Leipzig, crossed the Mulde River at Rochlitz on 15 April 1945, and stopped, pending the arrival of the Red Army. Defensive positions along the Mulde River were held until the end of hostilities in Europe.
The division was deactivated on 18 September 1945 at Camp Shanks, New York.
At the end of World War II, two 6th Armored Division assistants from G-3, Majors Paul L. Bogen and Clyde J. Burke along with Aide-de-Camp Captain Cyrus R. Shockey, compiled a Combat Record of the Sixth Armored Division in the European Theatre of Operations 18 July 1944-8 May 1945. The official history by George F. Hofmann, The Super Sixth: History of the 6th Armored Division in World War II (1975, reprinted 2000) has been called by noted World War II scholar Martin Blumenson, a "first-rate military history." He also noted that General Patton called the 6th AD one of the two best divisions in his Third Army (Journal of American History, December 1976).