Document Source: (AAR) After Action Report (December 1944), Headquarters 7th Armored Division, December 1, 1944, – December 31, 1944, St-Vith & Vicinity, Belgium, Col John L. Ryan Jr, GSC, Chief of Staff

Sherman M-4, the main US battle tank in WW2


US 7-ADUS 3-AThe 7th Armored Division was activated on March 1, 1942, reorganized on September 20, 1943, and sent to the United Kingdom in June 1944. The division landed in Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, on August 13/14, 1944, and was assigned to the US 3-A. The 7-AD drove through Nogent-le-Rotrou in an attack on Chartres which fell on August 18. From Chartres, the Division advanced to liberate Dreux, then Melun where the division crossed the Seine River on August 24. The 7-AD then pushed on to bypass Reims, liberated Château-Thierry and Verdun, August 31, halted briefly for refueling until September 6, when it drove toward the Moselle River and made a crossing near Dornot. This crossing had to be withdrawn in the face of the heavy fortifications around Metz.

US 5-IDUS 9-AThe 7-AD then made attempts to cross again the Moselle River northwest of Metz but the deep river valley was not suitable terrain for an armored attack. Elements of the division assisted the 5th Infantry Division in expanding a bridgehead east of Arnaville, south of Metz, and on September 15, the main part of the division crossed the Moselle. The 7-AD was repulsed in its attacks across the Seille River at and near Sillegny, part of an attack in conjunction with the 5-ID that was also repulsed further north. On September 25, the 7-AD was transferred to the US 9-A and began the march US 104-IDto the Netherlands where they were needed to protect the right (east) flank of the corridor opened by Operation Market Garden. They were to operate in southeastern Holland so that British and Canadian forces and the US 104th Infantry Division could clear the Germans from the Scheldt Estuary in the southwest Netherlands and open the shipping lanes to the critical port of Antwerp, to allow Allied ships to bring supplies from Britain.

A soldier tries to ease the pain of the bleeding driver until medical aid arrives after the Jeep he was driving hit a german Teller mine near Metz, France. All that remains of the Jeep is a twisted mass of metal. September 8, 1944

In September 1944, the 7-AD launched an attack from the north on the town of Overloon, against significant German defenses. The attacks progressed slowly and finally settled into a series of counter-attacks reminiscent of World War I trench warfare. On October 8, the 7-AD was relieved from the attack on Overloon by the British 11-AD and moved south of Overloon to the DeurneWeert area. Here they were attached to the British 2-A and ordered to make demonstration attacks to the east, in order to divert enemy forces from the Overloon and Venlo areas, where British troops pressed the attack. This plan succeeded, and the British were finally able to liberate Overloon. On October 27, the main part of the 7-AD was in essentially defensive positions along the line Nederweert (and south) – MeijelLiesel, with the demonstration force still in the attack across the Deurne Canal to the east. The Germans launched a two-division offensive centered on Meijel, catching the thinly stretched US 87-CRS (Cavalry Recon Squadron) by surprise. However, the response by the 7-AD and by the British VIII Corps to which the division was attached, stopped the German attack on the third day and from October 31 to November 8, gradually drove the enemy out of the terrain that they had taken. During this operation, at midnight on the night of October 31 – November 1, Gen Robert D. Hasbrouck replaced Gen Lindsay Silvester as Commanding General of the division.

On November 8, the 7-AD was again transferred back to the US 9-A and moved south to rest areas in the eastern vicinity of Maastricht. Following an inflow of many replacements, they began extensive training and reorganization, since so many original men had been lost in France and Holland that a significant part of the division was now men who had never trained together. At the end of November, the division straddled the Dutch-German Border with one combat command in Germany (in the area of Ubach–Palenberg, north of Aachen) and two in the Netherlands. Elements of the division were attached to the US 84th Infantry Division for operations in early December in the area of Linnich, Germany, on the banks of the Roer River.

M-4 Sherman of the 31st Tank Battalion 7-AD

DECEMBER 1, 1944

On December 1, the division order of battle was as follows:

– 48th Armored Infantry Battalion
– Able Co, 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion
– Dog Co, 87th Cavalry Recon Squadron Mecz

– 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion
– 31st Tank Battalion
– Baker Co, 33rd Armored Infantry Battalion
– Baker Co, 87th Cavalry Recon Squadron Mecz
– Dog Co, 203rd AAA Battalion
– Charlie Co, 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion
– 1st Plat, Baker Co, 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion
– 1st Plat, Recon, 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion

– 38th Armored Infantry Battalion
– Baker Co, 40th Tank Battalion
– Charlie Co, 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion
– Ordnance Detachment
– Medical Detachment

Division Troops
– 203rd AAA Battalion (-)
– 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion (-)
– 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion (-)
– 87th Cavalry Recon Squadron Mecz

Division Trains
– 129th Ordnance Maintenance Company (-)
– 77th Armored Medical Battalion (-)
– 446th Quartermaster Truck Company (-)
– 3967th Quartermaster Troop Transport Company (-)
– Baker Co, 203rd AAA Battalion

Division Artillery was under XIII Corps control and consisted of:
– 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
– 440th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
– 489th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
– Able Co and Charlie Co, 203rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion

Attached to the division were the:
– 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion
– 203rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion
– 446th Quartermaster Trucking Company
– 3967th Quartermaster Troop Transport Company

Detached from the division were the:
– 17th Tank Battalion (attached to the 102-ID)
– 40th Tank Battalion (-) Baker & Dog Cos (attached to the 84-ID)

Liege, Belgium, November 28, 1944. Snafu, the Mascott of a Fire Fighting Unit wait for the men to return from an intervention

7-AD40th Tank Battalion(CCR/7-AD), commanded by Col John L. Ryan Jr, was in the vicinity of Ubach, Germany, on December 1, 1944. The only divisional unit in action under division command was Baker Co 40th Tank Battalion which was supporting the 84th Infantry Division’s operations in the vicinity 84-IDof Lindern. Able Co 40-TB was holding Lindern with elements of the 84-ID. Baker Co 40-TB was sent in to reinforce it. Due to enemy artillery concentrations on the supply route, supplies were brought to the two companies by means of the Blue Ball Express, an innovation using the light tanks of Dog Co 40-TB to bring up trailer loads of rations and ammunition under the cover of darkness.

84-ID102-ID(CCB/7-AD) under the command of Col Bruce C. Clarke, was alerted to move east of the Wurm River, Germany, to assemble at Gereonsweiller. The mission was to attack southeast from Lindern and to seize Linnich by passing through the 84-ID and 102-ID. The 814-TDB was to support the attack. However, due to the progress of the infantry divisions, it was not necessary 814th Tank Destroyer Battalionto commit CCB.

(CCA/7-AD) under Col Dwight A. Rosenbaum, located in the vicinity of Heerlen, Holland, was undergoing a training and maintenance program pending operations to the east.

Map Route of Victory 7-AD

DECEMBER 2, 1944

84-ID40-TBThe Division Tactical Headquarters was established at Rimburg, Holland. CCB 7-AD moved east of the Wurm River. This placed two combat commands east of that river, prepared for immediate operations to the east, northeast, or north. At 0115, the elements of the 40-TB which had been attached to the US 84-ID were relieved from such attachment. Baker 40-TB was then attached to the US 84-ID. While prepared to repel any enemy counter-attacks, the division units continued with training and maintenance programs.

Being hit once makes the crew running away from the tank asap because a second enemy shell is awaited

DECEMBER 3, 1944

17-TB102-IDAt 1200, the 17-TB was relieved from attachment to the US 102-ID and returned to CCR 7-AD control. Proposed operations to the east were dependent upon the destruction of the enemy-held Roer River Dams, south of Düren. The enemy was capable of countering an Allied offensive in this area by flooding the Roer River Valley. This would result in either destruction of the troops in the flooded region or the cutting off of our supply lines. To eliminate this threat, Allied air forces made 40-TB84-IDseveral attempts to destroy the dam by bombing. The first attempt was made on December 3. While training and maintenance continued for the division as a whole, various divisional units were in action while under attachment to other commands. Baker Co 40-TB was attached to the US 84-ID from December 2, 1944, at 2230 to December 6, 1944, at 1600. Charlie Co 38-AIB 102-IDwas also under attachment to the US 84-ID from December 3, 1944, at 2100 to December 6, 1944, at 1800. The 48-AIB was attached to the US 102-ID from December 5, 1944, at 1400 to December 9, 1944, at 2400 and the 17-TB was attached to the US 84-ID from December 9, 1944, at 1400 until December 16, 1944, at 2000.

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