643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion
|643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion|
3" anti-tank gun, possibly of the 643rd Battalion, guarding a crossroads in the Ardennes on 22 December 1944
|Part of||Independent unit|
|Equipment||3" anti-tank guns
The battalion was activated at Camp Blanding on 15 December 1941, in line with the reorganisation of the anti-tank force, by redesignating the Provisional Antitank Battalion of the 43rd Infantry Division. It was later organized as a towed battalion, equipped with towed 3" anti-tank guns.
The 643rd deployed into Normandy exactly three years after it was activated, landing at Cherbourg on 15 December 1944. The following day, a major German offensive was launched in the Ardennes forest, beginning the Battle of the Bulge, and the battalion was rushed into action, arriving at the front on 22 December. One company was deployed that same evening to support an attack on Hotton by elements of Combat Command Reserve of the 3rd Armored Division. The battalion remained attached to the 3rd Armoured until 26 December, supporting it in a number of small-scale engagements.
The battalion was later briefly attached to the 82nd Airborne Division before being assigned to the 83rd Infantry Division on 2 February; it would serve with them for the remainder of the war After being re-equipped with M18 Hellcat tank destroyers in March, it pushed into central Germany with the 83rd, crossing the Elbe river before being withdrawn to take up occupation duties in the Harz Mountains at the end of the war.
- Yeide, p. 265
- Cole, p. 386
- "3rd Armored Division". Order of Battle of the United States Army World War II. United States Army. December 1945. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- "82d Airborne Division". Order of Battle of the United States Army World War II. United States Army. December 1945. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- "83rd Infantry Division". Order of Battle of the United States Army World War II. United States Army. December 1945. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion (United States).|
- Yeide, Harry (2007). The tank killers: a history of America's World War II tank destroyer force. Casemate. ISBN 978-1-932033-80-9.
- Cole, Hugh M. (1964). "The Ardennes:Battle of the Bulge". Office of the Chief of Military History Department of the Army. LCCN 65060001.
- Tankdestroyer.net (Web based United States tank destroyer forces information resource) Tankdestroyer.net