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4th Armored Division

From the day it was activated, the 4th Armored Division has scorned a nickname.

Let the other outfits give themselves tricky, blood-curdling, or humorous nicknames, but not the 4th Armored. All the way down the line, from the big brass to the buck private, the men feel that “4th Armored” is sufficient.

Nevertheless, the 4th Armored Division does have a nick-name. It was thrust on the Division by outsiders who fought along with it in France, Germany and Czechoslovakia. It is known as the “Breakthrough” Division. It hammered and slammed at Nazi defenses from the time of the Normandy invasion until the collapse of the Wehrmacht, and it never failed to break through.

There is one name that will always be associated with the 4th Armored. Bastogne!

The 101st Airborne Division had been surrounded at Bastogne by the Nazis' last great counteroffensive. The acting commander of the 101st had thrilled the Allied world by his reply of “Nuts!” to the German demand to surrender or be destroyed. The desperate troops of the Airborne outfit, subjected to a merciless pounding, had to have help. Someone had to break through the German ring of steel and men and effect their rescue.

Four medium tanks from the 4th Armored rolled up to a forest-lined roadway, all guns firing. The commander of the lead tank unbuttoned the turret and called to the worn soldiers in a ditch: “It’s all right, boys—this is the 4th Armored.”

“Hot damn, were mighty glad to see you,” the men of the Airborne division called from their positions. The contact with the heroic defenders of Bastogne was made by the 37th Tank Battalion and the 53d Armored Infantry Battalion.

After six months’ training in England, the 4th Armored went into action in Normandy. It started breaking through from the day it landed. It played a key role in cutting off the Brittany peninsula, made a lightning sweep across France north of the Loire River, defended the Moselle bridgehead against crack panzer units, and made the first crossing of the Saare River.

The 4th Armored did not rest on its laurels after the brilliant rescue of the 101st at Bastogne. After Bastogne, the Division drove its way through the Eifel Mountains, secured the high ground over the Kyll River, and shelled and captured Bitburg. Then the “Breakthrough” outfit really shifted into high gear. In an all-out blitz it roared 65 miles in 48 hours, coming to a halt opposite Coblenz. Here the Division joined the Seventh Army and began a successful hunt for V-l rocket launching sites.

Working with the Seventh Army, the 4th Armored crossed the Rhine near Worms and gave the territory in that vicinity a terrific pasting. It aided materially in the rapid advance of the Seventh Army by seizing intact a bridge across the Main River, and then drove on to Hanau, 10 miles east of Frankfurt-am-Main. Here the 4th Armored fought off numerous counterattacks by the heaviest German armor.

Six months after they had been in combat the men of the 4th Armored Division had received 1,959 decorations.

The 4th Armored moved so fast that it often stretched its supply lines to the breaking point. But it never slowed down. In one day it took 8,000 prisoners. At the close of the war the 4th Armored had joined the 90th Infantry Division and moved with it into Czechoslovakia.

From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.

Chronology & Statistics

Activated 15 Apr 41
Arrived ETO 8 Jan 44
Arrived Continent (D/37) 13 Jul 44
Entered Combat:
First Element 17 Jul 44
Entire Division 28 Jul 44
Days in Combat 230

Casualties (Estimated)

Killed 1,238
Wounded 4,246
Missing 503
Captured 1
Battle Casualties 5,988
Non-Battle Casualties 4,508
Total Casualties 10,496
Percent of T/O Strength 98.4

Campaigns

Normandy
Northern France
Ardennes
Rhineland
Central Europe

Individual Awards

DSC: 34
Legion of Merit: 16
Silver Star: 845
Soldiers Medal: 11
Bronze Star: 3,443
Air Medal: 103
PW's Taken: 90,364

Composition

Organic Units

Headquarters Company
Reserve Command
Combat Command A
Combat Command B
8th Tank Bn
35th Tank Bn
37th Tank Bn
10th Armored Infantry Bn
51st Armored Infantry Bn
53d Armored Infantry Bn
25th Cavalry Rcn Sq (Mecz)
24th Armored Engineer Bn
144th Armored Signal Co

4th Armored Division Artillery

22d Armored Field Artillery Battalion
66th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
94th Armored Field Artillery Battalion

4th Armored Division Trains

126th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion
4th Armored Medical Battlion
Military Police Platoon
Band

Commanding Officers

Division Commander

11 Jan 1944 Maj Gen John Wood
3 Dec 1944 Maj Gen Hugh J Gaffey
21 Feb 1945 Col Walter A Bigby
25 Feb 1945 Brig Gen Holmes E Dager
1 Mar 1945 Maj Gen Hugh J Gaffey
21 Mar 1945 Brig Gen William H Hoge
2 May 1945 Maj Gen William H Hoge

Asst Div Comdr

16 Mar 1945 Col William L Roberts
1 May 1945 Brig Gen William L Roberts

Arty Comdr

11 Jan 1944 Col Ernest Bixby
7 Sep 1944 Lt Col Alexander Graham
5 Jan 1945 Col Alexander Graham

Chief of Staff

11 Jan 1944 Col Walter A Bigby
2 Aug 1944 Lt Col David A Watt
7 Sep 1944 Col Ernest Bixby
13 Sep 1944 Col Walter A Bigby

Assistant Chief of Staff G-1

11 Jan 1944 Lt Col Robert M Connelly
28 Aug 1944 Lt Col John H Himelick

Assistant Chief of Staff G-2

11 Jan 1944 Lt Col Harry E Brown

Assistant Chief of Staff G-3

11 Jan 1944 Lt Col David A Watt Jr
31 May 1944 Lt Col John B Sullivan

Assistant Chief of Staff G-4

11 Jan 1944 Lt Col Herbert F Krucker
5 Oct 1944 Lt Col Bernard C Knestrick

Assistant Chief of Staff G-5

12 Jun 1944 Maj James H Van Wagenen
16 Nov 1944 Lt Col James H Van Wagenen

Adj Gen

11 Jan 1944 Lt Col John H Himelick
28 Aug 1944 Lt Col Robert M Connolly

CC A Comdr

11 Jan 1944 Col B C Clarke
31 Oct 1944 Lt Col Creighton W Abrams
18 Nov 1944 Col William P Withers
3 Dec 1944 Brig Gen Herbert L Earnest
22 Jan 1945 Col Hayden A Sears

CC B Comdr

11 Jan 1944 Brig Gen Holmes E Dager
8 Mar 1945 Lt Col Creighton W Abrams
21 Apr 1945 Col Creighton W Abrams

CC R Comdr

11 Jan 1944 Col Louis J Storck
2 Aug 1944 Col Walter A Bigby
12 Sep 1944 Col Wendell Blanchard

Unit Attachments

Antiaircraft Artillery

489th AAA AW Bn (SP) 19 Jun 44-19 May 45

Armored

CC A (9th Armd Div) 26 Dec 44-30 Dec 44

Chemical

Co A 86th Cml Mort Bn 26 Sep 44-29 Sep 44

Engineer

995th Engr Treadway Br Co 15 Aug 44-11 Apr 45

Field Artillery

28th FA Bn (8th Div) (155 How) 27 Jul 44-3 Aug 44
177th FA Bn (155 How) 3 Aug 44-4 Aug 44
696th Armd FA Bn 3 Aug 44-6 Oct 44
5th FA Gp 7 Aug 44-16 Aug 44
695th Armd FA Bn 7 Aug 44-16 Aug 44
219th FA Bn (35th Div) (105 How) 20 Aug 44-24 Aug 44
177th FA Gp 20 Aug 44-15 Oct 44
191st FA Bn (155 How) 20 Aug 44-21 Oct 44
253d Armd FA Bn 22 Aug 44-7 Oct 44
179th FA Bn (155 How) 23 Aug 44-17 Dec 44
216th FA Bn (35th Div) (105 How) 19 Sep 44-24 Sep 44
255th FA Bn (105 How) 15 Oct 44-23 Oct 44
191st FA Bn (155 How) 22 Oct 44-30 Oct 44
177th FA Gp 8 Nov 44-7 Dec 44
253d Armd FA Bn 9 Nov 44-17 Nov 44
191st FA Bn (155 How) 9 Nov 44-21 Nov 44
253d Armd FA Bn 19 Nov 44-7 Dec 44
945th FA Bn (155 How) 24 Nov 44-5 Dec 44
274th Armd FA Bn 20 Dec 44-31 Dec 44
253d Armd FA Bn 20 Dec 44-31 Dec 44
177th FA Bn (155 How) 22 Dec 44-31 Dec 44
776th FA Bn (155 How) 22 Dec 44-31 Dec 44
276th Armd FA Bn 7 Feb 45-6 Apr 45
974th FA Bn (155 How) 24 Feb 45-13 Mar 45
179th FA Bn (155 How) 24 Feb 45-6 Apr 45
177th FA Gp 25 Feb 45-13 Mar 45
191st FA Bn (155 How) 13 Mar 45-7 Apr 45
177th FA Gp 15 Mar 45-21 Mar 45
177th FA Gp 24 Mar 45-26 Mar 45
177th FA Gp 28 Mar 45-6 Apr 45
943d FA Bn (155 How) 7 Apr 45-17 Apr 45
5th FA Gp 7 Apr 45-19 Apr 45
158th Armd FA Bn 9 Apr 45-17 Apr 45
177th FA Bn (155 How) 10 Apr 45-17 Apr 45
177th FA Gp 1 May 45-8 May 45
179th FA Bn (155 How) 1 May 45-8 May 45
276th Armd FA Bn 3 May 45-8 May 45

Infantry

13th Inf (8th Div) 27 Jul 44-3 Aug 44
137th Inf (35th Div) 20 Aug 44-24 Aug 44
319th Inf (80th Div) 11 Sep 44-15 Sep 44
1st Bn 318th Inf (80th Div) 12 Sep 44-15 Sep 44
2d Bn 320th Inf (35th Div) 12 Sep 44-16 Sep 44
320th Inf (35th Div) 19 Sep 44-24 Sep 44
1st Bn 328th Inf (26th Div) 6 Dec 44-8 Dec 44
1st Bn 318th Inf (80th Div) 24 Dec 44-28 Dec 44
2d Bn 318th Inf (80th Div) 24 Dec 44-29 Dec 44
3d Bn 134th Inf (35th Div) 28 Dec 44-31 Dec 44
319th Inf (80th Div) 30 Jan 45-4 Feb 45
11th CT (5th Div) 9 Mar 45-11 Mar 45
359th CT (90th Div) 16 Mar 45-19 Mar 45
104th Inf (26th Div) 24 Mar 45-26 Mar 45
328th Inf (26th Div) 27 Mar 45-28 Mar 45
359th CT (-3d Bn) (90th Div) 29 Mar 45-3 Apr 45
355th CT (89th Div) 3 Apr 45-6 Apr 45
914th FA Bn (89th Div) (105 How) 3 Apr 45-6 Apr 45
Co C 314th Engr C Bn (89th Div) 3 Apr 45-6 Apr 45

Tank Destroyer

811th TD Bn (SP) 3 Mar 45-11 Mar 45
704th TD Bn (SP) 25 Apr 45-still atchd 20 Jul 45

4th Armored Division World War II Missing in Action

There are 32 soldiers of the 4th Armored Division World War II still listed as missing in action.

Technician Fifth Grade Raymond J. Abraham 37th Tank Battalion 09/19/1944
Private First Class Ferrell A. Baker 53rd Infantry Battalion 02/21/1945
Corporal Grover L. Brown 25th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron 09/25/1944
Technician Fourth Grade William E. Burden 8th Tank Battalion 12/23/1944
Private Edward H. Clark 37th Tank Battalion 12/23/1944
Private Wayne J. Clemons 8th Tank Battalion 12/23/1944
Private First Class Charles E. Dalton 53rd Infantry Battalion 02/21/1945
Private Albert C. Diamanti 8th Tank Battalion 09/14/1944
Private Harold W. Dusenberry 51st Infantry Battalion 08/10/1945
Private Joseph Erardi 35th Tank Battalion 09/15/1944
Private First Class William Fett 37th Tank Battalion 09/20/1944
Corporal Henry Hierz 8th Tank Battalion 09/14/1944
Corporal Harry F. Horbelt 37th Tank Battalion 09/20/1944
Private Richard O. Kantz 8th Tank Battalion 12/23/1944
Private Rudolph M. Karlo 53rd Infantry Battalion 02/21/1945
Private Jim Kimbrell 35th Tank Battalion 11/13/1944
Sergeant Michael F. Mazur 53rd Infantry Battalion 02/01/1945
Private First Class Robert A. McLain 35th Tank Battalion 09/19/1944
Staff Sergeant Wesley W. Michael 53rd Infantry Battalion 02/21/1945
Private Walter M. Mizutowicz 51st Infantry Battalion 09/20/1945
Sergeant John H. Parks 37th Tank Battalion 12/23/1944
Sergeant Earl S. Radlauer 37th Tank Battalion 09/20/1944
Private Harm A. Roelfs 37th Tank Battalion 09/26/1945
Sergeant Socondo J. Sacchini 66th Field Artillery Battalion 07/31/1944
Technician Fourth Grade Victor P. Scattone 35th Tank Battalion 11/13/1944
Captain Fred Sklar 25th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron 12/25/1944
Private First Class Ivan T. Smith 24th Engineer Battalion 08/03/1944
Technician Fourth Grade William J. St George 25th Reconnaissance Squadron 12/31/1943
Staff Sergeant Robert A. Stockdale 24th Engineer Battalion 12/28/1944
Private First Class Joseph W. Taylor 37th Tank Battalion 09/21/1944
Private William A. Van Kirk 37th Tank Battalion 09/20/1944
Corporal Eldore W. Wertz 35th Tank Battalion 09/30/1944

 4th Armored Division

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