The 8th Armored Division was activated on Apr 1, 1942, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with “surplus” units of the recently reorganized 4th Armored Division and newly-organized units. The division served as the first official military guardian of the gold vault at Fort Knox. From 1942 to 1944 it functioned as a training command stationed at Camp Polk, Louisiana. During this period the 8-AD supplied trained personnel to the 9-AD, the 10-AD, the 11-AD, the 12-AD, the 13-AD, and the 14-AD. In Septr 1943, the division completed reorganization from the old style triangular division to the new light armored division, as per War Department Letter AG-322, in preparation for activation as a combat unit. The light format armored division was made up of three combat commands referred to as Combat Command A (CCA), Combat Command B (CCB), and a smaller unit called Combat Command Reserve (CCR). Units could be assigned to one of the combat commands at need, creating a very flexible formation. During the month of Dec 1943, the division participated in the D Series of exercises in Texas. The D Series were small scale maneuver problems designed as a precursor to the full-scale Sixth Louisiana Maneuver Period. The 8-AD completed the D Series and participated in the Sixth Louisiana Maneuver Period from Feb through Apr 1944 as part of the Red Force. From the period of Apr through Oct 1944, the division conducted post-maneuver training, losing a number of trained personnel to other units and absorbing and training their replacements. At the end of Oct, the 8-AD received movement orders to Camp Kilmer, New York in preparation for shipment overseas. On Nov 6, 1944, the division left Camp Kilmer and boarded ships in New Jersey for the United Kingdom. The ships arrived in Southampton on Nov 18, and the division moved to Tidworth Camp, joining the newly formed Fifteenth Army. After additional training and acquisition of new equipment, the 8-AD landed at Le Havre and Rouen in France on Jan 5, 1945.

Casualties

Killed in action, 393
Wounded in action, 1572
Missing in action, 5
Total casualties, 2011

Statistics: Activated, Apr 1, 1942; Arrived ETO, Nov 21, 1944; Arrived Continent (D+213), Jan 6, 1945; Entered Combat (First Elements), Jan 19, 1945; Entered Combat (Entire Division) Feb 23, 1945; Days in Combat, 63.

Campaigns: Ardennes; Rhineland; Central Europe.

Awards: Legion of Merit, 3; Silver Star, 149; Bronze Star, 560; Air Medal, 27; Prisoners taken 35.494.

Commanding General
Brig Gen John M. Devine, Nov 21, 1944; Maj Gen John M. Devine, May 3, 1945

Artillery Commander
Col Henry W. Holt, Nov 21, 1944

Chief of Staff
Col Charles G. Dodge, Nov 21, 1944

Assistant CoS G-1
Lt Col Lawrence L. Boyd, Nov 21, 1944

Assistants CoS G-2
Lt Col Emmet R. White, Nov 21, 1944; Maj Henry C. Schraeder, May 3 1945

Assistants CoS G-3
Lt Col William S. Crittendon, Nov 21, 1944; Lt Col Edwin H. Burba, Mar 4, 1945; Lt Col Edward Y. Podufaly, Apr 11, 1945

Assistant CoS G-4
Lt Col Harold N. Lang, Nov 21, 1945

Assistant CoS G-5
Maj Robert C. Polsgrove, Jan 16, 1945

Adjutant General
Lt Col David L. Hairston, Nov 21, 1944

CO – CCA
Brig Gen Charles P. Colson, Nov 21 1944
COs – CCB
Col Edward Kimball, Nov 21, 1944; Lt Col Edwin H. Burba, Apr 11, 1945
COs – CCR
Col Robert J. Wallace, Nov 21, 1944; Col Yarrow D. Vesely, Apr 6, 1945

8-AD – Order of Battle (44-45)

Hqs & Hqs Company
Combat Command A
Combat Command B
Reserve Command
18th Tank Battalion
36th Tank Battalion
80th Tank Battalion
7th Armored Infantry Battalion
49th Armored Infantry Battalion
58th Armored Infantry Battalion
88th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mez)
53d Armored Engineer Battalion
148th Armored Signal Company
8th Armored Division Artillery
398th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
399th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
405th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
8th Armored Division Trains
130th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion
78th Armored Medical Battalion
Military Police Platoon
Band

8-AD – Attachments

Antiaircraft Artillery
467th AAA AW Bn (SP), 15 Jan 45 – 1 Feb 45
473d AAA AW Bn (SP), 6 Feb 45 – 6 May 45

Armored
10th Armd Gp, 6 Feb 45 – 7 Feb 45
691st Tk Bn, 21 Feb 45 – 28 Feb 45
10th Armd Gp, 28 Feb 45 – 5 Mar 45

Chemical
Co C, 92d Cml Mort Bn, 2 Apr 45 – 8 Apr 45

Engineer
999th Engr Treadway Br Co, 27 Feb 45 – 29 Mar 45
989th Engr Treadway Br Co, 10 Mar 45 – 15 Mar 45

Field Artillery
691st FAB (105-MM HOW), 21 Feb 45 – 27 Feb 45
407th FAB, 28 Feb 45 – 5 Mar 45
275th AFAB, 27 Mar 45 – 31 Mar 45
695th FAB, 27 Mar 45 – 31 Mar 45
215th FAB, (155-MM HOW), 27 Mar 45 – 31 Mar 45
681st FAB, 4 Apr 45 – 10 Apr 45
959th FAB (4.5″ Gun), 5 Apr 45 – 10 Apr 45

Infantry
290th CT (- 1st Bn) (75th Div), 27 Mar 45 – 30 Mar 45
1/290th Inf (75th Div), 27 Mar 45 – 31 Mar 45

Tank Destroyer
809th TDB (SP), 9 Feb 45 – 14 Mar 45

8-AD – Detachments

Armored
CCA to 94-ID, 18 Jan 45 – 27 Jan 45
CCB to 35-ID, 4 Mar 45 – 11 Mar 45
Charlie Co, 18-TB to 35-ID, 9 Mar 45 – 10 Mar 45
Dog Co, 18-TB to 30-ID, 17 Mar 45 – 26 Mar 45
CCB to XIX Corps, 14 Apr 45 – 18 Apr 45
CCA to XIX Corps, 16 Apr 45 – 18 Apr 45

Cavalry
88th Cav Recon Sq to 35-ID, 5 Mar 45 – 8 Mar 45
Dog Co, 88th Cav Recon Sq to 79-ID, 17 Mar 45 – 26 Mar 45

Field Artillery
8-AD Arty to XVI Corps, 8 Feb 45 – 18 Feb 45
8-AD Arty to 79-ID, 20 Mar 45 – 26 Mar 45

8-AD – Command Posts
1 Dec 44, Tidworth, Wiltshire, England
11 Jan 45, Bacqueville, Manche, France
14 Jan 45, Pont-a-Mousson, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
3 Feb 45, Heerlen, Limburg, Netherlands
4 Feb 45, Simpelveld, Limburg, Netherlands
21 Feb 45, Echt, Limburg, Netherlands
28 Feb 45, Huckelhoven, Rhineland, Germany
2 Mar 45, Klinkum, Rhineland, Germany
3 Mar 45, Hinsbeck, Rhineland, Germany
6 Mar 45, Grefrath, Rhineland, Germany
23 Mar 45, Bruckenhausen, Rhineland, Germany
26 Mar 45, Friedrichsfeld, Rhineland, Germany
27 Mar 45, Kirchellen, Westphalia, Germany
30 Mar 45, Zweickel, Westphalia, Germany
2 Apr 45, Selm, Westphalia, Germany
4 Apr 45, Delbruck, Westphalia, Germany
6 Apr 45, Monninghausen, Westphalia, Germany
7 Apr 45, Erwitte, Westphalia, Germany
8 Apr 45, Soest, Westphalia, Germany
10 Apr 45, Werl, Westphalia, Germany
14 Apr 45, Wolfenbuttel, Westphalia, Germany
20 Apr 45, Halberstadt, Westphalia, Germany
23 Apr 45, Osterode, Westphalia, Germany
26 Apr 45, Gottingen, Westphalia, Germany
6 Jun 45, Holysov, Czechoslovakia
Sept 23 45, Camp Oklahoma City, France
Nov 1 45, Camp Philip Morris, France
Nov 4 45, Le Havre, France

Narrative

The 8-ID began moving across the English Channel on Jan 1, 1945, destination: landing at Le Harve, France. From Jan 4 to Jan 7, the unit moved across France to Bacqueville just north of Rouen then moved, Jan 8 to Jan 10, 175 miles from Bacqueville to the vicinity of the cathedral city of Reims. On Jan 11, the 8-ID was attached to Patton’s 3-A and, a day later, moved 105 miles from Reims to vicinity of Pont-a-Mousson, France, in anticipation of German attack on Metz. On Jan 14, the 148th signal Company, the last unit across the English Channel, joined the division. On Jan 17, the men cleared mines and removed dead, both American and German, from the Pont-a-Mousson area. On Jan 19, CCA began battle indoctrination and was ordered to attack on Jan 22 the German towns of Nennig, Berg, and Sinz in a joint attack with the 302-ID (94-ID). Nennig fell on Jan 24 during a blinding snowstorm and bitter cold, while on Jan 25, the attack on Berg began and the town was cleared by noon except for a strongpoint in Schloss-Berg which was captured that evening. The next day, the attack on Sinz began in the morning. Engineers build a Treadway bridge over an anti-tank ditch in the evening. On Jan 27, the battle for Sinz continued throughout the day until CCA was relieved after midnight and ordered to rejoin the Division.

On Feb 1, the 8-AD was detached from the 3-A and assigned to the XVI Corps of the 9-A in Holland and the 250 mile march to Holland began. On Feb 8, the Division received orders to relieve the 137-IR (35-ID), but orders were later postponed and replaced on Feb 17 with the new mission to relieve the British 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats) on Feb 19. The Division crossed the Roer on Feb 27 and assisted the 35-ID and the 84-ID in their push eastward, taking Tetelrath, Oberkruchten, Rheinberg, and Ossenberg against stubborn resistance. Crossing the Rhine River at Wesel on Mar 26, the 8-AD attacked east to help form the northern arm of the Ruhr encirclement. Taking Dorsten and Marl on Mar 29, it crossed north of the Lippe Canal on Apr 1 and raced east to reach Neuhaus on Apr 3. At that point, it veered south, then attacked west into the Ruhr Valley in an effort to help eliminate the Ruhr Pocket. In mid-April, when the XIX Corps drive to the Elbe River was threatened from the south, the Division was pulled out and rushed east to provide right flank protection against fanatical remnants of the German 11th Panzer Army grouping in the Harz Mountains. Assembling in the vicinity of Halberstadt, it attacked south against the German force, taking Blankenberg on Apr 20, and seizing Ottenstedt one day later was the division’s last coordinated action of the war. It continued mop-up operations and performed occupation duty in the Harz Mountain area up to and immediately following VE day. Then, in late May, it was ordered south to Czechoslovakia to assist in processing prisoners of war, operating displaced person camps, and guarding vital installations including the Skoda Munitions Works. The Division closed in the Pilsen area on June 6, 1945, and remained there until departure on Sept 19 for return to the United States and inactivation at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, on Nob 13, 1945.

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