Thursday, October 02, 2014

History of the 12th Armored Division

The 12th Armored (Hellcat) Division was activated at Camp Campbell, KY., September 15, 1942 and was commanded by Major Generals: Carlos E. Brewer, Douglass T. Greene, Roderick R. Allen, and Brig. General Willard A. Holbrook, Jr.

The Texas-trained 12 A.D. departed from Camp Shanks, NY, September 20, 1944, and landed at Liverpool, England on October 2, then crossed the Channel (via Southampton), landing at LaHavre, France.

The speed and striking power of the 12th A.D. is etched deeply into the pages of combat history, displaying its many magnificent actions. A few highlights:

HERRLISHEIM: The "Suicide Division" as the Germans called it, outfought two crack German divisions for 12-days, routing the enemy from Alsace-Lorraine.

COLMAR: Forced the Germans from their last stronghold in French Territory by liberating Colmar.

RHINELAND: As Genera's Patton's "Mystery Division" made the slash from the Tier to the Rhine in less than 72 hours; cleared the entire Saar Palatinate of the enemy in less than a week. From Rhine to Austria in 37-days, capturing 63,013.

DILLINGEN: Captured intact the first bridge across the Danube, thus setting up the bridgehead which led to the final campaign of the ETO.

LANDSBURG: Liberated 5 concentration camps, all satellite camps of Dauchau, near Landsberg Prison, where Adolf Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf." The 12th Armored Division colors proudly fly at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. as a liberating division.

On May 5, 1945, the Division established its CP at Heidenheim, Germany, and continued occupation duties until November, when convoys moved to Marsilles, France. On December 3, 1945 the Hellcat Division was deactivated and on December 17, 1945. Its battle flags were turned in at Camp Kilmer, NJ.

History of the Association

The 12th Armored (Hellcat) Division Association was founded on September 15, 1945 at Heidenheim, Germany, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Division's activation.

An add-day celebration was arranged under the direction of Brig. Gen. Willard A. Holbrook, which included a division review, band concert, ball game, awarding of flags to major unit commanders, Retreat Formation in the City Square, unit parties, and a street dance.

Col. Richard A Gordon, (CCR) was elected president of the Association at its founding meeting. The first state-side reunion was held at the Hotel Commodore, New York City, NY September 13-24, 1947