The 761st TANK BATTALION

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by syscom3, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Feb is black history month, so its appropriate for us to look at some of the famous all black military units that proudly served in the US Military.

    THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (ARMY)
    FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM
    TO THE
    761st TANK BATTALION, UNITED STATES ARMY
    The 761st Tank Battalion distinguished itself by extraordinary
    gallantry, courage, professionalism and high esprit de corps
    displayed in the accomplishment of unusually difficult and hazardous
    operations in the European Theater of Operations from 31 October
    1944 to 6 May 1945. During 183 days in combat, elements of the
    761st - the first United States Army tank battalion committed to
    battle comprised of black soldiers - were responsible for inflicting
    thousands of enemy casualties and for capturing, destroying, or
    aiding in the liberation of more than 30 major towns, 4 airfields, 3
    ammunition supply dumps, 461 wheeled vehicles, 34 tanks, 113 large
    guns, 1 radio station, and numerous individual and crew- served
    weapons. This was accomplished while enduring an overall casualty
    rate approaching 50 percent, the loss of 71 tanks, and in spite of
    extremely adverse weather conditions, very difficult terrain not
    suited to armor operations, heavily fortified enemy positions and
    units, and extreme shortages of replacement personnel and equipment.
    The accomplishments are outstanding examples of the indomitable
    spirit and heroism displayed by the tank crews of the 761st. In one
    of the first major combat actions of the 761st, in the vicinity of
    Vic-sur-Seille and Morville-les- Vic, France, the battalion faced a
    reinforced enemy division. Despite the overwhelming superiority of
    enemy forces, elements of the battalion initiated a furious and
    persistent attack which caused defending enemy elements to withdraw.
    While pursuing the enemy, tanks of the 761st were immobilized before
    an anti-tank ditch. Savage fire from enemy bazooka and rocket
    launcher teams, positioned 50 yards beyond the ditch, disabled many
    of the vehicles. Crewmen dismounted the disabled tanks, resulted in
    the elimination of many of the positions and virtually destroyed two
    enemy companies while permitting the escape of other tanks and crews
    and eventual completion of the mission. From 5 January 1945 to 9
    January 1945, the 761st engaged the 15th Panzer Division in the
    vicinity of Tillet, Belgium. Suffering severe casualties and damage
    to their tanks, the 761st attacked and counter-attacked throughout
    the five-day period against a numerically superior force in both
    personnel and equipment , and on 9 January 1945 the men of the 761st
    routed the enemy from Tillet and captured the town. This action was
    significant in that the enemy was prevented from further supply of
    its forces encircling Bastogne, and the United States troops there,
    because of the closing of the Brussels-Bastogne highway by the men
    of the 761st. One of the most significant accomplishments of the
    761st began 20 March 1945 when, acting as the armor spearhead, the
    unit broke through the Seigfried Line into the Rhine plain, allowing
    units of the 4th Armored Division to move through to the Rhine
    River. During the period 20 March 1945 to 23 March 1945 the
    battalion, after operating far in advance of friendly artillery,
    encountered the fiercest of enemy resistance in the most heavily
    defended area of the war theater. Throughout the 72-hour period of
    the attack, elements of the 761st assaulted and destroyed enemy
    fortifications with a speed and intensity that enabled the capture
    or destruction of 7 Siegfried towns, 31 pill-boxes, 49 machine gun
    emplacements, 61 anti-tank guns, 451 vehicles, 11 ammunition trucks,
    4 self-propelled guns, one 170mm artillery piece, 200 horses, and
    one ammunition dump. Enemy casualties totaled over 4,100 and of
    those captured it was determined that the 761st in its Siegfried
    Line attack had faced elements of 14 different German divisions. The
    accomplishments of the 761st in the Siegfried area were truly
    magnificent as the successful crossing of the Rhine River into
    Germany was totally dependent upon the accomplishment of their
    mission. The men of the 761st Tank Battalion, while serving as a
    separate battalion with the 26th, 71st, 79th, 87th, 95th and 103d
    Infantry Divisions, the 17th Airborne Division, and 3d, 7th, and 9th
    Armies in 183 continuous days in battle, fought major engagements in
    six European countries, participated in four major allied campaigns,
    and on 6 May 1945, as the easternmost American soldiers in Austria,
    ended their combat missions by joining with the First Ukrainian Army
    (Russian) at the Enn River, Steyr, Austria. Throughout this period
    of combat, the courageous and professional actions of the members of
    the "Black Panther" battalion, coupled with their indomitable
    fighting spirit and devotion to duty, reflect great credit on the
    761st Tank Battalion, the United States Army, and this Nation.
     
  2. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    So, when is White History Month????
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    the other 11 months, hehehehehhe
     
  4. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget the Tuskegee airmen. never lost a bomber under their protection. Thats impressive
     
  5. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    LMFAO :D
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    We discussed this on another thread, but not taking anything away from the Tuskegee airmen, operating out of Southern Italy was a lot easier then coming across the channel and meeting up with the Luftwaffe’s best - Only one Tuskegee airman achieved acedom...
     
  7. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    not surprising that there was not really much of the Luftwaffe in the southern portions: Hungarian and Rumanien a/c-pilots, until late 44 and into 45 when the 15th's P-51's headed into central Germany. the Tusks got poked a few times by JG 7 Me 262's
     
  8. schwarzpanzer

    schwarzpanzer Member

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    I think this battalian was one of the protagonists in the videogame Call of Duty: Finest Hour IIRC?

    I've seen a picture of General Patton pinning a medal onto one IIRC?
     
  9. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Sorry flyboy, I missed the other thread talking about the Tuskegee airmen.
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    No sweat Vassili - welcome to the site!
     
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