4th Armored Division (United States)

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4th Armored Division
4th US Armored Division SSI.svg
4th Armored Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1941–1972
Country  United States
Branch Armor Branch
Size Division
Nickname "Patton's Vanguard" (unofficial)
Motto Name Enough (official)
Roosevelt's Butchers (Unofficial)
Colors Red, Blue and Yellow
Engagements

World War II

Commanders
Notable
commanders
MG John S. Wood
MG Hugh J. Gaffey
MG William M. Hoge
MG Thomas Trapnell
MG Leonard H. Kieley
Insignia
Distinctive Unit Insignia 4 Arm Div DUI.jpg
U.S. Armored Divisions
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The 4th Armored Division of the United States Army was an armored division that compiled a distinguished career in the European theater of World War II. Unlike many other World War II U.S. armored divisions, the 4th never adopted an official divisional nickname or slogan. Legend says their unofficial nickname came to be when the original commander, traditionally permitted to nickname a unit, replied that "Fourth Armored Division" was "Name Enough".

History[edit]

The division was activated on 15 April 1941 by cadre of the 1st Armored Division, and was fitted out as a full armored division in 1942 under the command of Major General John S. Wood. The 4th AD deployed to the United Kingdom in early 1944 in preparation for the invasion of France. After training in England from January to July 1944, the 4th Armored Division landed at Utah Beach 11 July and entered combat 17 July. As part of the VIII Corps exploitation force for Operation Cobra, the 4th secured the Coutances area on 28 July. The division then swung south to take Nantes, cutting off the Brittany Peninsula, 12 August 1944. Turning east, it drove swiftly across France north of the Loire, smashed across the Moselle 11–13 September, flanked Nancy and captured Lunéville, 16 September. It fought several German panzergrenadier brigades in the Lorraine area including the SS Panzergrenadier Brigade 49 and SS Panzergrenadier Brigade 51 at this time, defeating a larger German force through superior tactics and training.[1]

After maintaining a defensive line, Chambrey to Xanrey to Hénaménil, from 27 September to 11 October, the division rested briefly before returning to combat 9 November with an attack in the vicinity of Viviers. The 4th cleared Bois de Serres, 12 November, advanced through Dieuze and crossed the Saar River, 21–22 November, to establish and expand bridgehead and took Singling and Bining, then Baerendorf[2] 24 November, before being relieved 8 December.

Two days after the Germans launched their Ardennes Offensive, the 4th Armored entered the fight (18 December 1944), racing northwest into Belgium, covering 150 miles in 19 hours.[1] The division attacked the Germans at Bastogne, helping to relieve the besieged 101st Airborne Division. Six weeks later the division jumped off from Luxembourg City in an eastward plunge that carried it across the Moselle River at Trier, south and east to Worms, and across the Rhine, 24–25 March 1945. Advancing all night, the 4th crossed the Main River the next day, south of Hanau, and continued to push on. Lauterbach fell 29 March, Creuzburg across the Werra on 1 April, Gotha on 4 April, and by 12 April the division was across the Saale River. Pursuit of the enemy continued and by 6 May the division had crossed into Czechoslovakia, established a bridgehead across the Otava River at Strakonice, with forward elements at Pisek. It was reassigned to the XII Corps on 30 April 1945.[3]

The division's first commander was Major General John Shirley Wood, (known as "P" Wood to his contemporaries, the "P" standing for "Professor") who took over the division in 1942 and trained it for two years before he led it into battle. to combat. The British military armor theorist and historian, Capt. Basil H. Liddell Hart, once referred to General Wood as "the Rommel of the American armored forces." Like Rommel, Wood commanded from the front, and preferred staying on the offensive, using speed and envelopment tactics to confuse the enemy. General Wood often utilized a light Piper Cub liaison aircraft flown by his personal pilot, Maj. Charles "Bazooka Charlie" Carpenter, to keep up with his rapidly moving division, sometimes personally carrying corps orders from headquarters directly to his advancing armored columns.[4]

The 4th Armored was later commanded by Major General Hugh Gaffey, and Major General Archibald R. Kennedy. One of its most famous members was Creighton Abrams, who commanded the 37th Tank Battalion, then Combat Command B (CCB). Abrams later rose to command all U.S. forces in Vietnam and served as U.S. Army Chief of Staff in the 1970s. The current U.S. M-1 tank is named after him.[5]

Postwar Service[edit]

After a tour of occupation duty, the division returned to the United States for inactivation. Most of its elements, however, remained as occupation forces after redesignation as the United States Constabulary.

The Division was reactivated in 1954 at Fort Hood Texas and was deployed to Germany in 1957 with headquarters in Göppingen. It appears to have been part of VII Corps for most of this period.

On 30 June 1958 Combat Command "A" was at Wiley Barracks, New Ulm, It comprised 2nd MTB, 66th Armored Regiment (Leipheim), 2nd Armored Rifle Battalion, 41st Infantry (Neu Ulm), and 2nd Armored Rifle Battalion, 51st Infantry Regiment. CCB was at Ferris Barracks, Erlangen, comprising the 1st MTB, 35th Armour Regiment (Ferris Bks, Erlangen), 2nd Medium Tank Battalion, 67th Arm (Fürth), 2nd ARB, 50th Inf (Ferris Bks, Erlangen), and 2nd Rcn Sq, 15th Cavalry.[6] CCC was at McKee Barracks, Crailsheim.[7] It comprised 1st MTB, 37th Arm (McKee Bks, Crailsheim) and 1st ARB, 54th Infantry.[8]

The division remained in Germany until final inactivation in May 1971, when it was redesignated the 1st Armored Division.

World War II Assignments[edit]

  1. First United States Army: 18 December 1943
  2. VIII Corps: 22 January 1944
  3. XX Corps: 9 March 1944
  4. XV Corps: 20 April 1944
  5. VIII Corps: 15 July 1944
  6. XII Corps: 13 August 1944
  7. III Corps: 19 December 1944
  8. VIII Corps: 2 January 1945
  9. XII Corps: 12 January 1945
  10. VIII Corps: 4 April 1945
  11. X Corps: 9 April 1945
  12. VIII Corps: 17 April 1945

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Fox, Don M. (2003). Patton's Vanguard: The United States Army Fourth Armored Division. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-1582-7. OCLC 52766067. 
  2. ^ (French) www.dday-overlord.com La 4e Division Blindée le 24 novembre 1944.
  3. ^ Office of the Theater Historian (December 1945). "4th Armored Division". Order of Battle of the United States Army World War II European Theater of Operations: Divisions. Paris: Office of the Theater Historian. pp. 448–459. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Kerns, Raymond C., Above the Thunder: Reminiscences of a Field Artillery Pilot in World War II, Kent State University Press, ISBN 978-0-87338-980-8, ISBN 0-87338-980-8 (2009), pp. 23-24, 293-294
  5. ^ "m-1 abrahms". Frontline. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  6. ^ 4th Armored Division Yearbook 1958 via usarmygermany.com
  7. ^ http://www.usarmygermany.com/Sont.htm
  8. ^ 4th Armored Division Yearbook 1958

External links[edit]