12th Armored Division

Nickname; Hellcat Division. ….. Shoulder Patch: Regular armored division patch. ….. Slogan: “Speed Is the Password.” ….. History: The 12th has no history prior to World War II. ….. Training: Activation: Sept. 15, 1942, Camp Campbell, Ky. Other station: Camp Barkeley, Tex. Maneuvers: Tenn. (1943), Second Army. Overseas: Sept.. 1944 (ETO). ….. Commanding Generals: Maj. Gen. Carlos Brewer, Sept., 1942, to Aug., 1944; Maj. Gen, Douglass T. Greene, Aug.-Sept., 1944; Maj. Gen. Roderick R. Allen, Sept., 1944, to July, 1945; Brig. Gen. Willard A. Holbrook, Jr., Aug., 1943, to present. ….. Component Units: (As of Sept. 1944) 23d, 43d and 714th Tank Battalions; 17th, 56th and 66th Armored Infantry Battalions; 493d, 494th and 495th Armored FA Battalions. Higher Commands: Third and Seventh Armies. ….. Awards: Meritorious Service Unit Plaques to 134th Ord. Maint. Bn. (with a star in addition); 82d Armored Medical Battalion; and 152d Armored Signal Company. Division authorized by France to incorporate Arms of Colmar in its division insignia for action in liberating the city. ….. Combat Highlights: The Hellcats sprang the steel trap on the Colmar pocket, roared across the Saar Palatinate and captured intact a bridge across the Danube as highlights of its five months of combat action. Committed Dec., 1944, the 12th attacked the Maginot defenses. Bettviller and a number of smaller towns had been taken by Jan., 1945, and early in the month against the Nazi Strasbourg thrust occurred the 12th’s bloodiest action of the war. At Herrlisheim the Hellcats fought two crack Nazi divisions for 12 days, shutting the Germans out of Alsace-Lorraine. Following their failure, the Germans tried an attack from the south. The fighting centered around Colmar, liberated by the 12th 2 Feb. The Hellcats moved south and east, joined the French and sealed off the Nazis in the Vosges Mts, On 5 Feb. the 12th entered Rouffach, met the French and closed the trap on Nazis in the Colmar pocket. On Mar. 17, jumping off near Trier, the division began a three-day slice through the Rhineland to the river and in three more days had captured Ludwigshafen, Speyer and Germersheim. In one week the division had cleared the Saar Palatinate. Crossing the Rhine at Worms, the 12th took Amorbach, Beerfelden, Hettstedt, Ochsenfurt and Wurzberg, helped to capture Schweinfurt. Neustadt fell and in April, the 12th took Dillingen, seizing a Danube bridge intact. By May 5 when it was taken out of the line, the 12th had ripped the vaunted southern redoubt to pieces and had captured 70,166 prisoners, had liberated 2800 Allied prisoners at Lansberg.

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