The Division was holding positions on the Roer when it was ordered to help contain
the German Ardennes offensive. The Division fought in eastern Belgium, blunting the
German Fifth Panzer Army's penetration of American lines. The Division helped reduce
the Bulge in January, fighting in the Ardennes forest in deep snow, and cleared the
area from Houffalize to the Ourthe River of the enemy. After a rest in February,
the division drove on across the Rhine 27 March, and was the first American Division
to reach the Elbe at Schonebeck on 11 April. It was halted on the Elbe, 20 April,
on orders. In July the division entered Berlin-the first American unit to enter the
German capital city.
During World War II the 2nd Armored Division took 94,151 prisoners-of-war, liberated
22,538 Allied prisoners of war, shot down or damaged on the ground 266 enemy aircraft,
and destroyed or captured uncountable thousands of enemy tanks and other equipment
In 238 battle days the 2nd Armored suffered 7,348 casualties, including 1,160 killed
The division was recognized for distinguished service and bravery with 9,369 individual
awards, including two medals of honor, twenty-three distinguished service crosses,
and 2,302 silver stars,a few receiving the silver star was, Douglas MacArthur, Bill
Bowerman, Hugh Armagio, and Stan Aniol as well as nearly 6,000 purple hearts.
The division was twice cited by the Belgian Government and division soldiers for
the next 50 years proudly wore the fourragere of the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
World War II:
The 2nd Armored was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia on 15 July 1940, originally commanded
by Major General Charles L. Scott, with Colonel George S. Patton in charge of training.
Scott was promoted to command the I Armored Corps in November of that year, which
put Patton, now a brigadier general, in command of the division. The Division served
with the First, Seventh, and Ninth Armies. The 2nd Armored was organized as a "heavy"
armored division having two armored regiments of four medium tank and two light tank
battalions of three companies each. Along with the 3rd Armored Division, it retained
its organization throughout World War II while all 14 other U.S. armored divisions
were reorganized as "light" armored divisions having three tank battalions, each
consisting of three medium tank companies and one light tank company. Both types
had an infantry component of three mechanized battalions, although the heavy divisions
maintained an "armored infantry regiment" organization.
The core units of the 2AD were the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, the 66th Armored
Regiment, the 67th Armored Regiment, the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, the 82nd
Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 142nd Armored Signal Company.
The 2nd Armored had three artillery battalions: (the 14th, 78th, and 92nd). The Division
also had support units, including the 2nd Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, a Supply
Battalion, the 48th Armored Medical Battalion, and a Military Police Platoon.
Elements of the division were was among the first U.S. military to engage in offensive
ground combat operations in the European and Mediterranean theatre during World War
II. Along with the 2nd in North Africa was her sister division, the 1st Armored and
the 1st, 3rd, 9th and 34th Infantry Divisions..
They were part of the Western Task Force of Operation Torch, landing at Casablanca
on 8 November 1942. After the whole division, first went into action in the Operation
Husky landing at Licata, Sicily, 21 July 1943, after that the 3rd Infantry Division
landing on 10 July 1943, and fighting through to Palermo.
The division then landed in Normandy on 9 June 1944 under the command of then Major
General Edward H. Brooks, operated in the Cotentin Peninsula and later formed the
right flank of the Operation Cobra assault. It blunted the German attack on Avranches,
then raced across France with the rest of the Third Army, reaching the Albert Canal
in Belgium on 8 September. It crossed the German border near Sittard, 18 September
to take up defensive positions near Geilenkirchen. On 3 October, the division launched
an attack on the Siegfried Line from Marienberg, broke through, crossed the Wurm
River and seized Puffendorf 16 November and Barmen 28 November.