The 761st TANK BATTALION

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syscom3

Pacific Historian
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Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
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.
 
Vassili Zaitzev said:
Don't forget the Tuskegee airmen. never lost a bomber under their protection. Thats impressive
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...
 
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
 
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?
 

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