World War II
Activated: 15 July 1940.
Overseas: CC "B" 27 October 1942 ; remainder 12 December 1942.
Distinguished Unit Citations: 13.
Awards: MH-2 ; DSC-23 ; DSM-7 ; SS-2,302 ; LM-30; DFC-3 ; SM-189 ; BSM-6,404 ; AM-378.
Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes- Alsace, Central Europe, Sicily.
Maj. Gen. Charles L. Scott (July 1940-January 1941)
Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. (January 1941-February 1942)
Maj. Gen. Willis D. Crittenberger (February-July 1942)
Maj. Gen. Ernest N. Harmon (July 1942-April 1943)
Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Gaffey (May 1943-April 1944)
Maj. Gen. Edward H. Brooks (April-September 1944)
Maj. Gen. Ernest N. Harmon (September 1944-January 1945)
Maj. Gen. Isaac D. White (January-August 1945)
Brig. Gen. John H. Collier (May-August 1945)
Maj. Gen. John M. Devine (August 1945-January 1946)
Maj. Gen. John W. Leonard (February 1946-October 1946)
Maj. Gen. Leland S. Hobbs (October 1946-29 August 1947)
Maj. Gen. James G. Christiansen (September 1947 to present).
Returned to U. S.: 29 January 1946.
Elements of the Division first saw action in North Africa, landing at Casablanca, 8 November 1942, and later taking part in the fighting at Beja, Tunisia, but the Division as a whole did not enter combat until the invasion of Sicily, when it made an assault landing at Gela, 10 July 1943. The Division saw action at Butera, Campobello,-and Palermo. After the Sicilian campaign, the Division trained in England for the cross-Channel invasion, landed in Normandy D plus 3, 9 June 1944, and went into action in the vicinity of Carentan; ; the Division raced across France in July and August, drove through Belgium and attacked across the Albert Canal 13 September 1944, crossing the German border at Schimmert, 18 September to take up defensive positions near Geilenkirchen. On 3 October, the Division launched an attack on the Siegfried Line from Marienberg, broke through, crossed the Wurm River and seized Puffendorf 16 November and Barmen 28 November. The Division was holding positions on the Roer when it was ordered to help contain the German Ardennes offensive. The Division fought in eastern Belgium, blunting the German Fifth Panzer Army's penetration of American lines. The Division helped reduce the Bulge in January, fighting in the Ardennes forest in deep snow, and cleared the area from Houffalize to the Ourthe River of the enemy. After a rest in February, the Division drove on across the Rhine 27 March, and was the first American Division to reach the Elbe at Schonebeck on 11 April. It was halted on the Elbe, 20 April, on orders. In July the Division entered Berlin-the first American unit to enter the German capital city.
Assignments in the ETO *
24 November 1943: First Army.
27 November 1943: VII Corps.
8 February 1944: XIX Corps.
12 June 1944: V Corps.
18 July 1944: VII Corps.
1 August 1944: VII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
3 August 1944: XIX Corps.
7 August 1944: VII Corps.
13 August 1944: XIX Corps.
18 August 1944: V Corps.
19 August 1944: XIX Corps.
28 August 1944: XV Corps.
29 August 1944: XIX Corps.
22 October 1944: XIX Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.
22 December 1944: VII Corps, First Army (attached to the British 21st Army Group), 12th Army Group.
18 January 1945: VII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
16 February 1945: XIX Corps, Ninth Army (attached to British 21st Army Group), 12th Army Group.
16 February 1945: XIX Corps, Ninth Army (attached to British 21st Army), 12th Army Group.
4 April 1945: XIX Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.
8 May 1945: Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.
Nickname: Hell on wheels. Shoulder patch: Same as 1st Armored Division with number "2" in upper portion of triangle. Publication: History Second Armored Division, 1940-46, by Lt. Col. E. A. Trahan, unit historian; Albert Love Enterprises, Atlanta 2, Ga.; 1946.
* See footnote, 1st Infantry Division.
[Nota Bene: These combat chronicles, current as of October 1948, are reproduced from The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950, pp. 510-592.]