Tank Corps, National Army

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Tank Corps of the National Army
Activeestablished 9 March 1918[1]
Country United States
Branch United States Army
Part ofNational Army
CommanderIra Clinton Welborn

The Tank Corps, National Army,[2] was the stateside tank unit of the United States Army during and after World War I. Preceded by the Tank Service of the National Army of 15 February 1918 in the 65th Engineers[1] at Camp Meade,[3] the service was removed from the Engineer Corps and organized as the Tank Corps, National Army, with command transferring from Col H. H. Ferguson to Col Ira Clinton Welborn on 9 March.[1]

Training facilities[edit]

On 6 March 1918, a Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, for training tank recruits, was established on the Gettysburg Battlefield[4] at the former "Camp, United States Troops, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania."[5] On 15 July 1918, Col William H Clopton, Jr, arrived in the US[1] and subsequently formed the 2nd stateside tank training center at Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.[6] Approximately 2000 Camp Colt men transferred to Tobyhanna,[7][8] e.g., the 302nd [1] & 326th [2] Battalions), and Tobyhanna had 2 tanks and ~2200 men.[3]

Another tank training center was opened at Camp Polk in September 1918[9] (a heavy battalion from Camp Colt transferred to "form the nucleus").[7] At Camp Colt in October the 310th Tank Center was established as were the 338th, 339th, & 346th Tank Battalions[10] (John Montgomery Mahon[11] was the commander of Camp Colt's 310 Brigade Headquarters.)

On 11 November 1918, the Tank Corps[clarification needed] had 483 officers and 7700 enlisted men,[7] and the consolidation of tank training had begun at Camp Benning when Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived from Camp Colt on 24 December 1918 [4] (he remained until 15 March 1919, [5] and about 250 Camp Colt soldiers were transferred to Camp Benning after the armistice.)[12] On 26 December 1918, a portion of the Camp Polk tank school was transferred to Camp Benning "to work in conjunction with the Infantry school".[7] Camp Benning tank troops were moved to Camp Meade from 19–21 February 1919;[7] and Clopton was ordered to Camp Meade on 24 February 1919).[13]

The "Office of Director of the Tank Corps" was absorbed by the command of Brigadier General Samuel D. Rockenbach on 15 August 1919[7] after Rockenbach returned from Europe on 19 July 1919[14] (he had arrived in Europe in June 1917).[15]

Post-war disbandment[edit]

In 1919, General John J. Pershing, "appearing before a joint session of the Senate and House Committee on Military Affairs, suggested that the A.E.F. Tank Corps become an adjunct to the Infantry."[16] The National Defense Act of 1920 disbanded the National Army and the remaining two heavy and four light tank battalions became part of the infantry.[specify][17]


  1. ^ a b c d Committee on Public Information, United States (28 March 1919). "Organization of the Army Tank Corps". The Official U.S. Bulletin. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  2. ^ Motor Age. 34. Class Journal Company. 1918. p. 18. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Old Camp Colt Adjutant, Now US Alaskan Official, Recalls Birth of Armor". 27 August 1954. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  4. ^ Report of the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission, 1918 (Report). Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  5. ^ Annual report of the Secretary of War, Volume 8, United States War Department, 1918, p. 998, retrieved 12 January 2011
  6. ^ "Army Orders and Assignments" (pdf). The New York Times. 27 July 1918. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Rockenbach, Samuel D (13 October 1919). Report of the Director of the Tank Corps for the year ending June 30, 1919. Congressional serial set, Issue 7688 (Report). Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  8. ^ "----" (pdf). The New York Times. 16 September 1918. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  9. ^ "The Builder Magazine - April 1919". phoenixmasonry.org. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  10. ^ Rinaldi, Richard A. The US Army in World War I – Orders of Battle (Report). Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  11. ^ Seward, A.C.; Cambridge Philosophical Society; Cambridge University Press (1917). Darwin and modern science: essays in commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Charles Darwin and of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the Origin of species. University Press. pp. 5–15. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  12. ^ Perret G, Eisenhower[page needed]
  13. ^ "Army Orders and Assignments" (pdf). The New York Times. 25 February 1919. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  14. ^ "3,642 of A.E.F. return" (pdf). The New York Times. 31 July 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  15. ^ "Samuel D. Rockenbach Papers". VMI Archives. Virginia Military Institute. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  16. ^ Hofmann, George F. (1973). "The Demise of the U. S. Tank Corps and Medium Tank Development Program". Military Affairs. 37 (1): 20–25. JSTOR 1986566.
  17. ^ Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth A. Steadman (21 April 1982). "The Evolution of the Tank in the U.S. Army". Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Retrieved 11 October 2008.