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 1942–45
Country USA
Branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Type Armored
Size Division
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"
Mascot Tiger
Equipment M4 Sherman tank, tank destroyer
Engagements World War II
Battle of the Bulge
Rhineland Campaign
Central Europe Campaign
Ardennes Campaign
Decorations Presidential Unit Citations (5)
Commanders
Notable
commanders
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. In 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.

Combat chronicle[edit]

See also or Siege of Bastogne

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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 moved into the Siegfried Line and led General George S. Patton's Third Army into Germany on 19 November 1944.[1]

Bastogne[edit]

CCB’s lead Sherman tanks, tank destroyers and half-tracks entered Bastogne 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.

At the same time, German forces moved westward with increasing momentum. Bastogne, a hub from which seven main roads diverged, was essential to the swift movement of Rundstedt’s panzers. Before dawn of 19 December five Nazi divisions attacked CCB. Bazooka-armed American soldiers and a single platoon of tank destroyers fought 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-covered fields and woods. For eight hours, CCB alone withstood multiple German attacks before reinforcements arrived from the 101st Airborne Division, which had moved into Bastogne under the screen of the 10th’s actions.

The Germans still maintained an advantage and the outnumbered Americans withdrew closer to Bastogne. The Germans sent pincers to the north and south. The night of 21 December, the pincers met and closed west of the city. In the surrounded city, the 10th assembled a mobile reserve force to strike in any direction.

CCB endured the cold, artillery barrages and bombing while their supplies and ammunition dwindled. Fourth Armored Division tanks finally broke through on 26 December, but CCB continued to fight until 18 January.[2]

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After the battle, the 10th Armored Division's 21st Tank Battalion and Combat Command B were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions 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. Years after the war, General Anthony McAuliffe said "In my opinion, Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division was never properly credited with their important role in the Bastogne battle."[1]

Across the Saar[edit]

In early February 1945, the 10th reassembled at Metz and was able to rest briefly after rejoining the XX Corps (United States). On 20 February 1945, the 10th again attacked the German defenses. In one day, they broke the German lines, and after 48 hours, the division advanced 85 miles, overran the Saar-Moselle Triangle, and reached the Saar River. The 10th then crossed the Saar and captured Trier and a bridge across the Moselle River. The loss of this heavily defended city caused German defenses to collapse. Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Patton visited the 10th Armored Division to congratulate them.[1]

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. German dispatches referred to the 10th as the "Ghost Division." As it drove into Bavaria, the 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.[1]

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 led the Seventh Army into Austria. By the conclusion of hostilities on 9 May 1945, the 10th had reached Mittenwald, Bavaria where they halted. 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.[1]

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Tigers on break

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.

In 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.

Casualties[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]

  1. ^ a b c d e Buckheit, John (July–August 1992). "10th AD Tigers Missed Credit For Valiant Fight at Bastogne". Armor CI (4): 41–43. 
  2. ^ "Terrify and Destroy: The Story of the 10th Armored Division". 10th Armored Division. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  • Nichols, Lester M. (2000) [1950], Impact: The Battle Story of the 10th Armored Division (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 (Hardcover), Divisional Histories (1st ed.), D-Day Militaria (January 2004), ISBN 978-1-932891-49-2 
  • Gardner Hatch (March 1989), Tenth Armored "Tiger" Division (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 (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]