[Webmaster Note: The following division information is reproduced
from the public domain publication, The Army Almanac: A Book of
Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office,
1950. Portions of the information may be out of date. Only minor formatting changes and
typographical corrections have been made.]
World War II
Activated: 15 September 1942.
Overseas: 20 September 1944.
Campaigns: Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.
Days of combat: 102.
Distinguished Unit Citations: 1.
Awards: DSC-2; DSM-1; SS-225; LM-8; DFC-4; SM-11; BSM-1,453; AM-63.
Commanders: Maj. Gen. Carlos Brewer (September 1942-August 1944),
Maj. Gen. Douglass T. Greene (August-September 1944),
Maj. Gen. Roderick R. Allen (September 1944-July 1945),
Brig. Gen. Willard A. Holbrook, Jr. (July 1945 to inactivation).
Returned to U.S.: 1 December 1945.
Inactivated: 3 December 1945.
The 12th Armored Division landed at Liverpool, England, 2 October 1944. It arrived at
Le Havre, France, 11 November 1944. Advance elements met the enemy near Weisslingen,
5 December, and the entire Division moved against the Maginot Line fortifications
2 days later. In its advance, Rohrbach and the Bettviller area were liberated by
12 December, and Utweiler, Germany, was seized 21 December. After a short period
of rehabilitation and maintenance, the 12th rolled against the Rhine riverhead at
Herlisheim. German defenders repulsed Division attacks in the most violent fighting
in the history of the 12th, 9 to 10 January 1945. However, enemy counterattacks
failed also. Going over to the offensive, the Division attacked south from Colmar, and
in a lightning drive, effected junction with French forces at Rouffach, 5 February,
sealing the Colmar pocket and ending German resistance in the Vosges Mountains. Except
for elements acting as a protective screen, the Division withdrew to the St. Avoid area
for rest and rehabilitation. The attack resumed, 18 March 1945. In a quick drive to
the Rhine, Ludwigshafen fell, 21 March, and two other important river cities, Speyer
and Germersheim, were secured on the 24th, clearing the Saar Palatinate. Maintaining
the rapid pace, the 12th crossed the Rhine River at Worms, 28 March, advanced toward
Wurzburg against light resistance, and captured that city. After assisting in the
seizure of Schweinfurt, the Division continued toward Nurnberg, 13 April, taking
Neustadt, then shifted toward Munich, 17 April. Elements of the 12th raced from
Dinkelsbuhl to the Danube, taking the bridge at Dillingen before demolition men
could wreck it. This bridge provided a vital artery for Allied troops flooding
into southern Germany. The Division spearheaded the Seventh Army drive, securing
Landsberg, 29 April, clearing the area between the Ammer and Wurm Seas on the 30th,
and moving deeper into the "National Redoubt." Elements crossed the Inn River and
the Austrian border, 3 May. The 12th was relieved by the 36th Infantry Division,
4 May, and engaged in security duty until 22 November 1945, when it left Marseille,
France, for home.
Assignments in the ETO
13 November 1944: Ninth Army, 12th Army Group. // 5 December 1944: XV Corps, Seventh Army,
6th Army Group. // 27 December 1944: XXI Corps. // 30 December 1944: Seventh Army,
6th Army Group. // 3 January 1945: XV Corps. // 6 January 1945: VI Corps. //
3 February 1945: XXI Corps. // 11 February 1945: XV Corps. // 28 February 1945: XXI
Corps. // 17 March 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group, but attached to the
XX Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group. // 24 March 1945: XXI Corps, Seventh
Army, 6th Army Group. // 26 March 1945: XV Corps. // 31 March 1945: XXI Corps. //
4 May 1945: Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.
Nickname: Hellcat Division.
Slogan: Speed is the password.
Shoulder patch: Same as the 1st Armored, but with a number "12" in the upper
portion of the triangle.
Publications: Hellcats in World War II, A History of the United States Twelfth
Armored Division; by unit members; Army & Navy Publishing Co., Baton
Rouge, La.; 1947. Buddy Locator; by unit members; Army & Navy
Publishing Co., Baton Rouge, La.; 1947. Pictorial Review; by unit
members; Albert Love Enterprises, Atlanta, Ga.; 1944. Speed is the
Password; by unit members; TI&E, ETOUSA; distributor, 12th
Armored Division Association. Hellcat News; monthly publication of
the 12th Armored Division Association.
• 12th Armored Division Links
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• 12th Armored Division Medal of Honor Recipients
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• Speed is the Password: The Story of the 12th Armored Division