8th Armored Division
A brief History of the 8th Armored Division
The Division was initially called the 'Iron Snake', but subsequently adopted the 'Thundering Herd' moniker and another, it's war code name of 'Tornado'. From June 1942 until January 1943 it served as a training division. It trained cadre and replacements for many other armored divisions. While stationed at Fort Knox, the Division was the official military guardian of the United States Gold Vault.
In January, 1943 it moved from Fort Knox, KY to Camp Campbell KY, and in February 1943 it was relieved of its cadre training mission and directed to attain combat-ready status. In March, the division was moved to North Camp Polk, LA, where it took over vehicles and equipment of the departing 7th Armored Division. While in North Camp Polk, it began training for combat service.
In October 1943, it moved from garrison to bivouac and conducted extensive field exercises. From February to April 1944 it participated in Louisiana maneuvers which lasted three months. The Division stayed in the field after maneuvers were completed. Shortly after this most privates and Pfc.'s were shipped out and new replacements were received.
The Division ended almost six months of duty in the field as they moved to barracks at South Camp Polk and continued training for combat. In September 1944 it was placed in top priority for overseas movement. It departed for Camp Kilmer, New Jersey in late October 1944. Departure from New York began on 7 November with arrival in England on 18 November 1944.
After a six week stay at Tidworth, England the 8th Armored landed in France on 5 Jan 1945 and assembled in the vicinity of Pont-a-Mousson, France to organize a counterattack against an expected enemy strike in the Metz area.
On 22 Jan, after failure of the German attack to materialize, the Division joined the fighting in support of the drive by the 94th Infantry Division against the Saar-Moselle salient. Six days later, it was relieved and moved north to the Maastricht, Holland area to prepare for participation in 9th Army's attack toward the Rhine.
The Division crossed the Roer 27 February and assisted the 35th and 84th Infantry Divisions in their push eastward, taking Tetelrath, Oberkruchten, Rheinberg, and Ossenberg against stubborn resistance. Crossing the Rhine at Wesel 26 March the Division attacked east to help form the northern arm of the Ruhr encirclement.
Taking Dorsten and Marl on 29 March, it crossed north of the Lippe Canal on 1 April and raced east to reach Neuhaus on the 3rd. 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 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 the 20th of April, and seizing Ottenstedt on the 21st in 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 persons camps and guarding vital installations including the Skoda Munitions Works.
The Division closed in the Pilsen area 6 June, 1945 and remained there until departure 19 September for return to the United States and inactivation at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, on 13 November, 1945
On July 2, 1955 at
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery Maj. Gen. John
M. Devine, former commander of the Armored Division, spoke to the members
of the Division Association at the Association's annual memorial service.
But gallantry in action
demands a price, and many of us had already paid the price. Today we
commemorate those who paid that price in full. It is right and proper
that this Memorial Service should be a part of the reunion of this division.
It is right and proper that, as we gather to revive old memories and
to renew old friendships we should pause to remember those of our comrades
who cannot be here to participate in these gatherings, those who have
paid in full the price of gallantry in action.
May they rest in peace and in honor"!
COMBAT LOSSES BY MONTH
Armored Division Commanders
Headquarters: Commanding Officer:
8TH ARMORED DIVISION COMMAND POST LOCATIONS
Fort Knox, Kentucky, I April 42 to 9 Jan 43
Camp Campbell, Kentucky, 9 Jan 43 to 3 Mar 43
Camp Polk, Louisiana, 5 Mar 43 to 2 Feb 44
Highway 21, Leesville, La., 2 Feb 44 to 9 Feb 44
Pitkins, Louisiana, 9 Feb 44 to 25 Feb 44
Florien, Louisiana, 25 Feb 44 to I Mar 44
1 Mile North RJ 143 & 138, 1 Mar 44 to 9 Mar 44
Louisiana Maneuver Area, 10 Mar 44 to 16 Mar 44
Anecoco, Louisiana, 16 Mar 44 to 22 Mar 44
Jasper, Texas, 22 Mar 44 to 27 Mar 44
Newton, Texas, 27 Mar 44 to 31 Mar 44
RJ 21 & Chaffee Road, La., 31 Mar 44 to 26 Apr 44
Camp Polk, Louisiana, 26 Apr 44 to 29 Oct 44
Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, 2 Nov 44 to 6 Nov 44
NYPE, Brooklyn, New York, 6 Nov 44 to 7 Nov 44
South Hampton, England, 19 Nov 44 to 20 Nov 44
Tidworth, England, 20 Nov 44 to 4 Jan 45
South Hampton, England, 4 Jan 45 to 5 Jan 45
Le Havre, France, 5 Jan 45 to 5 Jan 45
Chateau St. Denis, AuFFay, Fr., 6 Jan 45 to II Jan 45
Chateau, Reims, France, 12 Jan 45 to 13 Jan 45
Thiecourt, France, 13 Jan 45 to 4 Feb 45
Wijlre, Holland, 5 Feb 45 to 23 Feb 45
Limbricht, Holland, 23 Feb 45 to 2 Mar 45
Huckel Hoven, Germany, 2 Mar 45 to 4 Mar 45
Lobberich, Germany, 4 Mar 45 to 31 Mar 45
Zweckel, Germany, 31 Mar 45 to 5 Apr 45
Beckum, Germany, 5 Apr 45 to 17 Apr 45
Immendorf, Germany, 17 Apr 45 to'25 Apr 45
Gottingen, Germany, 25 Apr 45 to 5 Jun 45
Holysov, Czechoslovakia, 6 Jun 45 to 21 Sep 45
Camp Oklahoma City, France, 23 Sep 45 to 31 Oct 45
Camp Philip Morris, France, I Nov 45 to 4 Nov 45
Le Havre, France, 4 Nov 45 to 4 Nov 45
HRPE, Newport News, Virginia, 13 Nov 45 to 13 Nov 45
Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, 13 Nov 45
The Division patch
The basic shape and color of the patch was approved by General George S. Patton during WW I. The colors were specifically ordered by Patton.
: representing the Cavalry and mobility
The overall shape suggests a pyramid of power, with Patton's branch and color (cavalry yellow) uppermost.
The lightning, tracks, and cannon were added in 1941 when the Armored Force was reactivated.
The individual unit designations are indicated by the number at the top of the patch.