41st Armored Infantry Regiment and 42nd Armored Infantry Battalion
The 41st was constituted as 41st Infantry Regiment 15 May 1917, and organized at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, from the personnel of the 36th Infantry Regiment. The regiment was inactivated at Camp Meade, Maryland, 22 Sept.1921. It was reactivated and assigned to the 2nd Armored Division at Ft. Benning, Georgia, 15 July 1940. and redesignated 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, 8 January 1942. The 41st participated in the assault on Sicily, landing at Licata, Sicily and engaged in the battle for Canicati, Sicily. Vire-Mortain-Domfront Operations-France--From the breakout sector, the entire 2nd Armored Division joined in the operation to reduce the enemy’s threat in the vicinity of Mortain, Vire, Flers, Domfront. Throughout the first half of August, 1944, the Division held its ground on the north and south flanks of the German thrust and by steady pressure drove the enemy back, aiding materially in the eventual closing the Falaise gap. Co. H., 41st Armored Infantry Regiment held a hill east of Mortain for five rugged days and nights, driving back repeated enemy counterattacks. Co. H, 41st Inf. also received the Presidential Citation for its valiant stand in this engagement. CC"A" pushed from the Vire area toward Flers and rejoined the Division in the Domfont area. The 41st also was cited in the drive to break the Siegfried line east of the Roer river. Lt. Col. Etter, the commander and Major Berra Battalion Executive were killed in this period of time, when the Battalion was under artillery and mortar fire.The Battalion also was in the Battle of the Bulge, and in heavy combat near Samree, Belgium. The Battalion took part in the Rhine crossing and the advance into and the capture of Magdeburg on the Elbe River. Awards: Distinguished Unit Puffendorf-Roer, Belgian Croix de Guerre, Belgium and Ardennes., Belgian Fourragere, French Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star Puffendorf-Roer. Battle Stars won: Sicily ( with Arrowhead), Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, Central Europe.
Co. "G", 41st Infantry
Constituted 15 May 1917 in the Regular Army as Company "G", 41st Infantry. Organized 20 June 1917 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. ( 41st Infantry assigned 9 July 1918 to the 10th Division; relieved 18 February 1919 from assignment to the 10th Division. ) Inactivated 22 September 1921 at Camp Meade, Maryland.
Activated 15 July 1940 at Fort Benning, Georgia, as Company"G", 41st Infantry ( Armored ), an element of the 2nd Armored Division. Redesignated 1 January 1942 as Company "G", 41st Armored Infantry, Reorganized and redesignated 25 March 1946 as Company "A", 12 Armored Infantry Battalion, and element of the 2nd Armored Division.
Inactivated 1 July 1957 in Germany and relieved from assignment to the 2nd Armored Division; concurrently, redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th Armored Rifle Battalion, 41st Infantry,. Redesignated 4 January 1968 as Company "G", 41st Infantry and activated at Fort Ord, California. Inactivated 30 March 1970 at Fort Ord, California.
Campaign Participation Credit
World War II-EAME Rhineland
Sicily ( with arrowhead ) Ardennes-Alsace
Presidential Unit Citation ( Army ), Streamer embroidered Normandy ( 3rd Battalion, 41st Armored Infantry cited DA GO 28, 1948 )
Belgian Fourragere 1940 ( 41st Armored Infantry cited DA GO 43, 1950 )
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgium Army for action in Belgium ( 41st Armored Infantry cited DA GOO 43, 1950.)
Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgium Army for action in the Ardennes ( 41st Armored Infantry cited DA GO 43, 1950 )
Compiled by Howard Swonger on 9 April 2000
Co. G, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment: A combat experience, as related by Mike Ariano a former member of that company.
The Elbe Crossing
From the perspective of the infantryman involved the Elbe river crossing was an operation that started in confusion and ended in confusion. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I was in the 41st Armored Infantry, 3rd Bn."G" company, 3rd platoon. We had left Liebenberg, Germany on the morning of 11 April 1945 and literally barreled 60 miles through the German lines to the Elbe river on the outskirts of Schoenbeck. The next morning we were clearing out resistance there when the company was abruptly withdrawn to Bad Salzemen. The word was we were stopping at the Elbe and the Russians would be allowed to take Berlin, However late that afternoon the battalion was alerted for an assault on the east bank. Many of the GIs who were out celebrating what was thought to be the end of the war for us, were not aware of the alert and we had to search the town for them.. The battalion assembled at Westerhousen where we just sat and waited and waited. Finally our artillery began firing and after an hour long barrage the 1st Bn. crossed in assault boats and our Bn. followed. No provision was made to get armor or supplies across with us.The bridgehead itself was made with practically no contact with enemy except that we did exchange some friendly fire with a patrol of the 1st Bn. during the early morning. The 119th Inf. Regiment, 3rd Bn.( 30th Inf.) later followed us across.
A pontoon bridge was started by the 17th Armored Engineer Bn. in the early morning to get our tanks and supplies across. Meantime we were expanding the bridgehead. However German artillery was destroying the pontoon bridge as soon as progress was made in constructing it. Our Bn. reached the town of RANDAU then had to fall back because the 1st Bn had been attacked by tanks and infantry and not having armor for support, had to pull back. That night at about 21:00 hours ( this was the 13th ) we had to abandon the bridgehead since the bridge couldn't be completed, and it became obvious armor and supplies could not be ferried across the river to support us, and our position had become vulnerable. We were ordered to move south to the Grunewald and Elbenau area where the 119th. Inf. was operating. At this point we had been in constant operation since the 11th. We all were exhausted and some men so bad off that when we stopped for a break it took pleading to get them moving again. As we neared Elbenau before dawn we saw that part of the town was ablaze and we had troops trapped there. It turned out later these were elements the 119th Inf.we were supposed to link up with. Our company was on the south edge of the town. Just as dawn broke we were attacked and overrun from several directions by tanks and supported by infantry They stopped just out side the effective range of the bazooka and fired at us. Our artillery from across the river helped keep the tanks off us for a while. Soon 7 or 8 of our squad found ourselves cut off from the company. We could see that other members of our battalion were also trapped and saw one shot down while surrendering. We took cover in a long fire trench with woods at our back and the river beyond the woods but rifle fire was useless at this point. A tank and an SP turned in our direction. The tank broke off to the right but the the SP came in laying down machine gun fire but then stopped. The hatch opened, a head popped out yelling something like ôcommen zie roust you sobs. Our bazooka man, Mike....don't remember his last name asked if anyone wanted to surrender. No one did ( or would admit to it ) and he turned and yelled go bleep bleep kraut and fired a bazooka round and missed, then it seemed that all hell broke loose. The SP fired a round that went over our heads we felt the heat from it. Someone said lets get out of here and go for the river. We scrambled out, Bud Andrews and I were together made it to the woods, how Ill never know. They continued firing into the woods but none of the German infantrymen followed.
Once we got to the river the question was how to get across, the current looked awful swift. This was in the afternoon of the 14th and we didn't know that some of our battalion and the 119th had made it back into the 1st Bn. perimeter and were to be evacuated by DUKWS upriver, or we would have tried to get there. We were at an unused boat dock and having no apparent options we decided to swim across.We took off our combat trousers, boots an cartridge belts and dropped our rifles into the river and started. I was an excellent swimmer but I didn't realize how weakened I was from exhaustion and lack of sleep and food. I had to fight the desire to just give up and drown. When I reached the river bank far downstream from where I started, I just lay in the mud in shock or utter exhaustion,probably both and just wanted to go to sleep. After a while I was able to crawl and stagger to a nearby house . Just as I got there a woman came out with a basket of wash. With look of fright on her face she dropped the basket turned an scooted in the house. Her husband came out and hesitantly motioned me to come, and then helped me in to the house. At this point I had no voice. They said something in German, she left and came back with a glass of schnapps, which I gulped down and promptly went out like a light. I awoke to find myself on a cot in the early morning of the 16th. That morning the husband took his bike and went to an American unit occupying the town to get help for me. I had the idea he was not very comfortable about harboring a GI. A jeep picked me up and took me to a medical unit where I was examined and released and re-booted, then taken to the Div. HQ. where I was interviewed, then back to my company, where I was told I was just reported MIA, then back to Div. HQ to get my name off the MIA list. My buddy Walt Andrews was there to greet me, he had been picked up by a civilian in a boat. He was surprised when I showed up because they had searched for me then gave up thinking I had drowned. This operation was the end of combat for our battalion. It was pretty well chopped up. Our company alone had about 60 MIAs
42nd Armored Infantry Battalion:
The 42nd Armored Infantry Battalion was formed in July 1951 at Ft. Hood, TX. the 42nd was formerly the old 41st Armored Regiment and fought with both the CCA and CCB in WW 2 It was with CCB during the vicious fighting in the Siegfried Line in 1944. more on this later.