Click Here to go straight to 66th Armored Regiment
6th Tank Bn. (1946-1950)
You make no mention of the 6th
Tank Bn. . I was assigned to B. Co., 6th Tank Bn. at Camp Hood, Texas in April
1946. In June 1946, those of us that volunteered were sent to Task Force Frost
to test experimental clothing and equipment under extreme cold weather
conditions at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin where temperatures went as low as minus
35-40 degrees. We remained there from June 1946 to April 1947. Along with us
were elements of the 41st Armored Infantry as well as elements of the 17th
Armored Field Artillery and the 82nd Armored Recon.
The 66th Armored Regiment is the oldest Armored unit in the United States Army, tracing it's lineage to the beginning of the Tank Service in February 1918. The Regiment participated in the battles of St. Mihiel, France, where it received it's baptism of fire in the Meuse-Argonne and the Somme Offensives.
The Coat of Arms of the 66th Infantry tells the story of battle and high distinction won on the Field of Honor. On the shield of the armored knight, which we Tankers are proud to bear, are the colors of the Infantry , on the right, the Artillery, on the left, and the Cavalry below. Volunteers from these combat branches manned the first American tanks fighting in France eighty-four years ago. The 301st and 344th Tank Battalions were the parent organizations, and mashed the line at Hindenburg on the fought at Somme, St. Mihiel, the Argonne Forest. During this action the 344th Battalion led the advance of eight different divisions and was in action for 46 consecutive days. The experienced officers and men who formed the original three regiments of the 2nd Armored Division were drawn from the 66th Infantry, the nationís only tank regiment in 1940. These three regiments were concentrated in the 2nd Armored Brigade, the divisionís striking force, and placed under the command of Brigadier George S. Patton, Jr. who as a Colonel had commanded one of the battalions which provided the bulk of the cadre of officers and men for the 66th Infantry. Although numerical designation of the regiment was changed several times during the period of 1918 to 1928, its unity, integrity, fighting spirit, gallant leadership and esprit de corps remained unchanged. On 15 July 1940, the unit was re-designated from the 66th Infantry (Light Tanks) to the 66th Armored Regiment as part of the newly formed 2nd Armored Division, stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia. In December 1942, the 66th as a part of the 2nd Armored Division participated in the amphibious invasion of French Morocco in North Africa and was a part of the Division's triumphant entry into Casablanca. The regiment participated in the invasion of Sicily and through fierce fighting earned the 66th six battle streamers during the War.
In 1944, the 66th went into action on the European front, landed on Normandyís beaches on 9 June 1944. A week later the 66th as a part of the 2nd Armored Dvision decisively defeated the German 6th Parachute Regiment and the 37th SS Panzer Regiment near Carnetan, France. The 66th moved across France to the German border. It was diverted southeast to counter the German advance during the battle of the Bulge, assisting in the destruction of the 2nd Panzer Division and assisted in capturing Hoffalize, Belgium. As a result of it's exemplary conduct in the liberation of Belgium, the Regiment was twice cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgium Army. The Second Armored Division was selected to occupy Berlin and serve as the first American troops to enter the fallen German Capital. In World War 2 one of many noted battle of the 66th was in the vicinity of Geilenkirchen, Germany. This started on 18 Sept 44 attacked and breached the Siegfried Line in the vicinity of Ubach, 3 Oct 44. after one of the greatest tank battle of the European Campaigns, this was fought on 20 Nov.44, reached the Roer River, 28 Nov. 44. The 82nd Recon had a limited role in this tank battle.
66th Armored Regiment: Historical documented facts.
1944-1945: On 30 July 1944 the 2nd Battalion, which had been in reserve, attacked and fought for thirteen hours to secure and hold the Villebaudon, Fr. crossroads. The enemy resisted vigorously, counter-attacking with tanks and infantry, and throwing in heavy concentrations of artillery. In one counter-attack, the enemy employed 40 tanks. Elements of the 702 Tank Destroyer Battalion, attacked, knocked out eleven German tanks during this action and the preceding two days, one hundred and eighty of the enemy were killed and one hundred and twenty were captured. The 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment was on thirty minute alert to support the 2nd Battalion, but was not called upon. On 31 July 1944 the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment attacked along the axis of the Villebaudon-Tessy-sur-Vire road and reached a point immediately south of Beaucoudray, before encountering a ravine defended by enemy tanks in strength. On 1 August 1944 the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment on the north and the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment on the south of the Villebaudon-Tessy-sur-Vire road, attacked. The 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment had its column cut by five Panther tanks. The battalion fought them off and pushed on the the outskirts of Tessy-sur-Vire. The were preceded by Troop "A" of the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, which had arrived at the edge of town, but had not attempted to seize it. Two tanks were sent into town but were destroyed. The attached infantry from the 22nd Regimental Combat Team were then sent into Tessy and secured it by 1500B. The 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment had attacked that day with only twenty four tanks, less than half of its strength, and lost 14 of that number in the attack. The 1st Battalion of the the 66th forged its way to within about 1000 yds. of the town, knocking out five enemy tanks and capturing 60 prisoners. At 1700B, the 2nd Battalion , 66th Armored Regiment, which had been held in reserve, was committed and in an attack which ended about a mile west of Percy knocked out seven enemy tanks and captured 70 prisoners. Later that night the 30th Infantry Division occupied Tessy, and the gap between Tessy and the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 66th Armored
Later the 66th:
In the Korean War, an offspring of the 66th
fought under the designation " The 6th Tank Battalion". During the
war, winning seven battle streamers and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
These honors were awarded to the 66th Armored Regiment when the sixth Tank
Battalion was deactivated after the conflict. Quote: "I
am formerly a member of the 2 AD from Jan 1973 through Jan 1976 and I have some
significant information which might correct some misquoted dates and other
details for your first-rate web site. I quote these sources of information from
first-hand experience as a tanker assigned to A Company 1/66 [A Co 1/66 Armor],
D Company 1/66 [which later became A Company 3/67] and as a detached member of A
Co 1/66 to B Co 1/66 on TDY to Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation field testing
the Hell Fire and Extended TOW anti-tank missile systems." by Wade A
At the time that I arrived as permanent party to the 2 AD, in March 1973, armored battalion level elements of 2 AD on station at Fort Hood were 1st & 2nd Bn, 66th Armor and 1st & 2nd, 67th Armor. I believe it was 2/67 that was assigned the experimental M-60A2 tanks, ["A" Duces as I was told], which remained with that unit until I was discharged in 1976. My first assignment was to A Co., 1st Bn, 66th Armor [with the 1st Platoon and later to the Headquarters tank section of that company on the commander's tank.] Under two company commanders and for almost a year and a half, I spent most of my time in the field on a wide variety of training missions which included two annual gunnery tests, a host of field maneuvers and a week long stint in civil disturbance training. [From your own remarks, and my own experience, it would appear that some vestige of Task Force 11 was either reactivated or kept as a planning unit during the waning days of the Vietnam war as late as 1974.]
In late 1974, I was detached to B Company 1/66 Armor which was to TDY for a special three month training duty at Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation. The unit was flown by charted jet to Monterey, California, trucked to Liggett and billeted on a remote part of the reservation in near isolation even from permanent party staff at the reservation. Over the course of this three month period, B Company 1/66 Armored acted as an aggressor force, posing as a Soviet tank force and largely serving as live targets for field trials of the Hell Fire and extended TOW missile systems.
By the time I returned to Fort Hood, I found myself assigned to a "bastard" company attached to the 1/66 Armor, so-called "D" company for approximately six weeks. D Company apparently started with nine enlisted men, two officers and three NCOs and no equipment whatsoever. During that time, rumors abounded over the purpose of this "bastard" unit until the newly assigned company commander announced our unit designation was soon being changed to A Company 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor. Shortly there after, our ranks swelled rapidly as new personnel filed in almost daily, mostly raw recruits straight from basic training and cast off deadbeats from other units which were being reassigned to Germany. This combination of personnel was a sure fire mix to make us finish dead last in every category the US Army could conceive of at the time. Worse, when the newly formed 3rd Battalion 67th Armored was issued its equipment, we were actually signing off 1st Battalion 67th Armor's gear wholesale because they were being TDY sent to Germany for a six month rotation. The vehicles and much of the immovable equipment was stripped and practically worthless to a combat unit; however, Division's orders were to assume the equipment and get it all in shape for gunnery exercises in four month's time. What Division didn't tell us was that 3/67 was largely a "low priority" unit for the duration of the unit level rotations to Germany.
From my recollections, 1st 67th Armor, 1st or 2nd 50th
Infantry and a signal unit [52nd?] were relocated to Germany during the first
rotation from roughly February, 1975 through August 1975. A battalion of the
66th Armor, and other sundry support units, followed during the second rotation
shortly before I was discharged from service. Friends of mine in both 66th and
67th Armor later told me that each unit in the 2 AD rotated to Germany for six
month stints at a time until all units had spent brief tours on European soil.
Apparently this was the US Army's means of bolstering NATO unit strengths
without the spousal and dependent baggage that frequently follows GI's in
assignments around the world. Two of my friends actually PCSed to Germany
independent of 2 AD's unit rotations and gave me some interesting accounts
of some of these units on temporary overseas deployment after my own discharge.
Your reports of 67th Armor's deployment in 1978-79 would suggest to me that
this unit rotation scheme, or some variant of it, was still being conducted far
longer than I would have suspected.
!n the spring of 1995, the 1st of the 66th was once more called to duty. This time, the mission was one of peace, they were able to assist over 5,000 Cuban and Haitian refugees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They were charged with care and feeding of these refugees, the Iron Knights of 1-66 Armor adapted quickly to a new mission, helping to foster democracy through humanitarian relief.
The 66th Armored Regiment today is equipped with modern weapons systems, including the awesome MlAl Abrams Main Battle Tank. The 2nd Armored Division altough under a different name as a part of the 4th Infantry Division stands ready to come to the defense of this nation.