13th Armored Division (United States)
|13th Armored Division|
Shoulder sleeve patch of the 13th Armored Division
|Active||1942 – 45
1947 – 52
|Nickname(s)||"The Black Cats"|
|Engagements||World War II
Rhineland (Ruhr Pocket)
|MG John B. Wogan (1942-45)
MG John Millikin (1945)
|U.S. Armored Divisions|
|12th Armored Division (Inactive)||14th Armored Division (Inactive)|
The division was activated on 15 October 1942 at Camp Beale, east of Marysville, California.
The 13th Armored, known as the Black Cats, landed at Le Havre, France, 29 January 1945. After performing occupation duties, the Division moved to Homberg near Kassel to prepare for combat under the Third Army, 5 April. At Altenkirchen, it was attached to the XVIII Corps and prepared for the Ruhr Pocket operation. The attack jumped off at Honnef, 10 April. After crossing the Sieg River at Siegburg, the 13th pushed north to Bergisch-Gladbach, then toward Duisburg and Mettmann by 18 April.
Shifting south to Eschenau, the Division prepared for Bavarian operations. Starting from Parsberg, 26 April, the 13th crossed the Regen river, then the Danube at Matting and secured the area near Dunzling. On the 28th, elements closed in at Plattling and crossed the Isar River. Moderate to heavy resistance was met during this drive through southern Germany. The Division smashed into Braunau am Inn, Austria, 2 May, and the command post was set up in the house where Hitler was born. A bridgehead across the Inn was established at Marktl, but the river was not crossed as orders came to reassemble north of Inn, 2 May.
Preparations were made for further advances when the war in Europe ended. The 13th remained in Germany until 25 June and left Le Havre, France, for home, 14 July 1945.
The division moved to Camp Cook, California after returning to the United States. It was training in amphibious operations at the time of the Japanese surrender. The men were aware that it was an open secret that they were likely to participate in the invasion of Japan. It was inactivated on 15 November 1945.
The division was reactivated in 1947, reflagged from the 19th Armored Division, which had been 'placed on rolls,' but not actually activated, during World War II. The 19th Armored Division was eventually activated just after the war, and allotted to the Sixth Army area of the Organized Reserves (specifically California, Oregon, and Arizona). In 1947, the 19th Armored Division was reflagged as the 13th Armored Division at California's request. In 1952, the division was reflagged as the 63rd Infantry Division in Los Angeles, California, and thus the 13th Armored Division was finally inactivated.