[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 Portions of the information may be out of date.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 April 1943.
Overseas: 1 December 1944.
Campaigns: Northern France.
Days of combat: 91.
Awards: DSM-1; SS-78; LM-9; SM-28; BSM-127; AM-58.
Commanders: Maj. Gen. Herman F. Kramer (April 1943 - 18 August 1945),
Maj. Gen. Walter E. Lauer (18 August 1945 to inactivation).
Returned to U.S.: 6 November 1945.
Inactivated: 8 November 1945.
The three regiments of the 66th Infantry Division arrived in England, 26 November 1944, and
the remainder of the Division, 12 December 1944, training until 24 December 1944 when the
Division crossed the English Channel to Cherbourg. A German torpedo ripped into the
transport as it was crossing the Channel, and 14 officers and 748 enlisted men were
lost. Attached to the 12th Army Group and designated the 12th Army Group Coastal
Sector, with operational control of all French forces in the area, the 66th relieved
the 94th Division in
the Brittany-Loire area, 29 December 1944. Its mission of
containing the enemy in the St. Nazaire and Lorient pockets was carried out by
daily reconnaissance patrols, limited objective attacks, and the maintenance of
harassing and interdictory fires on enemy installations. A heavy German attack
near La Croix was repulsed, 16 April 1945, and several strongly emplaced enemy
positions were taken, 19-29 April 1945. Enemy troops in the Lorient and St. Nazaire
pockets surrendered to the Division upon the end of hostilities in
Europe, 8 May 1945. The 66th moved to Germany on occupation duty, in
the Koblenz subarea, 20 May 1945, and left for Marseille, 26 May 1945. It
sailed for home 27 October 1945.
Assignments in the ETO
27 December 1944: 12th Army Group. // 31 March 1944: Fifteenth Army, 12th Army Group.
Nickname: Black Panther Division.
Shoulder patch: Red bordered circle, containing black panther's head
against an orange background.
Publications: 66th Division in World War II; by unit members; Army & Navy
Publishing Co., Baton Rouge, La.; 1947. Pictorial Review; by unit
members; Albert Love Enterprises, Atlanta, Ga.; 1944. The Black Panther;
U.S. Army; 66th Division; Albert Love Enterprises, Atlanta, Ga.
The Story of the 66th Infantry Division; Information and Education
Division, ETOUSA; 1945.
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