ARMORED FORCE (ARMORED GROUP)

 
 

THE ARMORED GROUP

 
ORGANIZATION

The Armored Group Headquarters and Headquarters Company is organized almost identically with the Headquarters and Headquarters, Combat Command of an Armored Division. It thus contains the necessary staff, communication and transportation to enable it to function as the headquarters of a task force comparable in size to a combat command. Due to the training of its personnel, it is particularly suitable to command a task force predominately armored.

 
ALLOCATION AND USE

Ten (10) Armored Groups were assigned to the European Theater and in general, one was attached to each corps. Inasmuch as the separate tank battalions were attached to each infantry division, insofar as that was possible with the number of tank battalions available, each group was responsible for the supervision and liaison with two (2) separate tank battalions. The group, however, was not in the chain of command or administration of the separate tank battalions, and thus had no real authority over them. Thus in the majority of cases the group commander and his staff acted in the capacity of a corps special staff section for armor, the tanks and other radio equipped vehicles being used for liaison purposes and to supplement other means of communication.

 

OPERATIONS

 

Tactical. Practically every tank group was, at one time or another, assigned a task force mission. With very few exceptions, these were contingent or emergency missions, the troops never being assigned or attached and the operation never actually required. two examples of tactical missions against the enemy are given below:

 

3rd Armored Group, ( V Corps, First Army ) - During the period 17 to 30 September 1944, this group conducted operations against the Siegfried Line, destroying pill boxes and fortifications. The troops used varied with each days operations, consisting as a rule of units from the 741st and 747th Tank Battalions and one or more battalions of the 110th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Infantry Division.  

 

17th Armored Group (Third Army) - During the period 4 to 9 March 1945, and while attached to the 76th Infantry Division, the 17th Armored Group was the headquarters of a task force operating against the enemy form the vicinity of Meckel, Germany in an attack east across the Kyll River and beyond. The force consisted of: 702nd Tank Battalion, 1st and 2nd Battalions, 385th Infantry (Mtz), 355th Field Artillery Battalion, Battery C, 364th Field Artillery Battalion, Company B, 808th Tank Destroyer battalion, Company B, 301st Engineer Battalion, Battery B, 778th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, 76th Reconnaissance Troop, one platoon, 997th Engineer Treadway Bridge Company, Medical Detachment, 301st Medical Battalion, Military Police Detachment, 76th Military Police Platoon, Prisoner of War Interrogation Detachment and Air Support Party.

 
Other Missions.  Upon stabilization of the front in September 1944, various missions were assigned to the armored groups such as:
  
                                            Operation of Corps Rest Centers ( 6th & 7th Armored Group )
                                            Organization of Corps rear area defenses ( 7th & 17th Armored Group )
                                            Administration of provisional Military Government ( 11th Armored Group )
                                            Supervision of schools ( Flame thrower school, 6th Armored Group )
                                            Supervision of special training ( Mine exploders, 9th Armored Group )
 

Final Solution. In the fall of 1944 it became apparent that armored divisions required three rather than two combat commands. The reserve command was insufficient in size to operate in the same manner as the combat commands. At the same time it was recognized that there were insufficient missions for armored groups to justify their retention as such. The necessity for a corps armored section was recognized, but the entire armored group was not required for this role. Consequently the practice of dividing the armored groups into two parts arose. A small section, usually headed by the group commander became the Corps Armored Section. The remainder of the group was attached to an armored division, where it was assigned to the reserve command. The 3rd Armored Group was the first so employed. On 28 October 1944 it was assigned the dual role, 9 officers and 21 men being attached to corps headquarters and the remainder to the 5th Armored Division. By the end of the war, this practice had become general.

 
 

 

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