MILITARY HISTORY ONLINE

User:  
Password:  
 
 (1939-1945) WWII
Message
JeffF.
Olympia WA USA
Posts: 4
Joined: 2021
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
7/19/2021 7:20:49 PM
How did the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions which, unlike the light armored divisions retained the 1942 heavy organization, use the two organic armored regiment headquarters? From the divisional histories I’ve read they used the CCA and CCB headquarters to each control a number of battalion task forces or teams per doctrine and the armored infantry regiments used as CCReserve. I read in the history of the 1st Armored Division in Tunisia where it was organized with four Combat Commands (A-D)where presumably the two armored regiments were used to create CCC and CCD but have not seen anything to indicate this was done in the ETO. The Osprey Battle Order book US Armored Units in the North African and Italian Campaigns 1942-45 and the Copy of the 1942 armored division TOE at the CGSC Library show the armored regiment headquarters had a substantial staff (with command, personnel, intelligence, communication sections etc and that these were separate and distinct from the Combat Command HQ personnel. Were these regimental HQs used as a command level between the Combat Commands and the battalion TFs/Tms? Were they used to form task forces that were also battalion sized? Or were these regiment headquarters used to augment the CC staffs (I.e. were they combined with the CC staffs to form a single HQ)?
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/4/2021 7:00:01 PM
Quote:
How did the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions which, unlike the light armored divisions retained the 1942 heavy organization, use the two organic armored regiment headquarters? From the divisional histories I’ve read they used the CCA and CCB headquarters to each control a number of battalion task forces or teams per doctrine and the armored infantry regiments used as CCReserve. I read in the history of the 1st Armored Division in Tunisia where it was organized with four Combat Commands (A-D)where presumably the two armored regiments were used to create CCC and CCD but have not seen anything to indicate this was done in the ETO. The Osprey Battle Order book US Armored Units in the North African and Italian Campaigns 1942-45 and the Copy of the 1942 armored division TOE at the CGSC Library show the armored regiment headquarters had a substantial staff (with command, personnel, intelligence, communication sections etc and that these were separate and distinct from the Combat Command HQ personnel. Were these regimental HQs used as a command level between the Combat Commands and the battalion TFs/Tms? Were they used to form task forces that were also battalion sized? Or were these regiment headquarters used to augment the CC staffs (I.e. were they combined with the CC staffs to form a single HQ)?


Its complicated.

In Tunisia the 1st Armd Div built the provisional CC 'C' around HQ&HQ Co, 6th Armd Inf Regt. cc 'D' utilized the HQ&HQ Co, 701st TD Bn.

In NWE, typically each Armd Regt served with one of the two CC and maintained administrative control of the regimental elements attached to the CC. Typically, the Armd Inf Regt acted as an unofficial CC 'R'.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/7/2021 5:09:11 PM
Rich,
Not exactly the same question, but later in the war weren't the somewhat redundant Tank Destroyer Groups used to augment the CCR headquarters in the light armored divisions, so they could function as combat commands without having to scrounge personnel from other units?
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/8/2021 2:49:17 PM
Jim,

The TD Group HQ in the ETOUSA were normally assigned to corps and acted as a corps AT staff section.

Some of the Armored Groups were assigned to augment armored divisions.

"The first so employed was the 3d Armored Group, which split to form the V Corps Armored Section and also augmented CCR, 5th Armored Division on 28 October 1944. The second was the 12th Armored Group, which was attached to the 9th Armored Division on 4 December 1944. Next was the 9th Armored Group, which was relieved of its CDL duties c. 12 November 1944 when it landed in France. It was first attached to the XVIII Corps as the Corps Armored Section from 23 December 1944 to 15 February 1945 and then to III Corps from 19 February 1945. On 10 January 1945, it provided an augmentation of 6 officers, 1 warrant officer, and 61 enlisted men augmenting CCR, 7th Armored Division. The 10th Armored Group was the last used to augment the armored divisions, after it also was relieved of CDL duties c. 29 August 1944. It augmented CCR, 8th Armored Division 10 February 1945. The other armored divisions organized under the September 1943 T/O&E, the 1st, 4th, 6th, 10th-14th, 16th, and 20th all retained the original organization and doctrinal employment of CCR." (For Purpose of Service Test ms. page 332) The other six armored groups assigned to the ETOUSA were normally attached to corps to augment the corps headquarters, acting as a de facto armor staff section.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/8/2021 4:06:09 PM
OK. I had thought it was the TD groups that were assigned to augment the CCRs.
Weren't the TD Groups assigned as Corps AT staff at least in part because the way the battalions were parceled out and attached to the divisions left them at something of loose ends as far as an active combat role? It would seem that they were left with a mainly administrative role, which doesn't seem like the original intent.

What's your opinion of groups (TD or other) in general?

----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/8/2021 4:13:21 PM
Yes, it wasn't the original intent, but that foundered in reality.

The TD groups and battalions never should have had a separate existence. Those resources would probably better have served as organic divisional elements rather than as attachments. Ditto the armored groups.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/8/2021 5:01:15 PM
Two of my uncles were with the 601st TD BN, which was almost habitually attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. So much so that I have a picture of one of them on his return home, wearing a 3rd ID shoulder patch.

To me, one of the most questionable use of the group was the way cavalry regiments were redesigned Cavalry Reconnaissance Groups, with the squadrons detached and reattached as CRSMs. One wonders what was gained by it all.
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/9/2021 7:54:36 PM
Quote:
Two of my uncles were with the 601st TD BN, which was almost habitually attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. So much so that I have a picture of one of them on his return home, wearing a 3rd ID shoulder patch.


That seems to have been commonplace for the Tank, Tank Destroyer, and AAA separate battalions that became more or less permanently attached to particular divisions. However, some did not. My Dad wore his AA patch rather than the 90th Inf Divs TO patch.

Quote:
To me, one of the most questionable use of the group was the way cavalry regiments were redesigned Cavalry Reconnaissance Groups, with the squadrons detached and reattached as CRSMs. One wonders what was gained by it all.


Why? While most of the Cavalry Groups (Mcz) were redesignated from Cavalry Regiments (Mcz), two were organized from separate Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons. However, once organized, the groups were pretty well fixed in organization and were attached to corps as the corps reconnaissance asset. As such, they were little different from the former regiment in role, organization, or equipment.

The real problem was the American mechanized cavalry did not spend much time in the offensive reconnaissance mission they were intended for and they were not well organized or equipped for the multitude of missions they were given.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/9/2021 8:59:47 PM
Exactly my point. If as a practical matter they differed so little from the former regiments in terms of role, organization, and equipment, what was the point?

What would you say was the greatest problem with their organization? A lack of dismountable troops?
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/10/2021 12:05:38 AM
Quote:
Exactly my point. If as a practical matter they differed so little from the former regiments in terms of role, organization, and equipment, what was the point?


It did increase flexibility, given the squadron could act independently, which the squadron in the regiment could not do IIRC.

Quote:
What would you say was the greatest problem with their organization? A lack of dismountable troops?


General lack of combat power, lack of dismounts, lack of engineering assets, and limited off-road mobility. The General Board covered the problems in Report No. 49. The recommendation was replacing the M8 Armored Car with one of much better cross country mobility, replacing the M8 HMC with a lightweight 105mm SP carriage, keeping the Light Tank M24, and adding the M18 GMC. The Group would become a Regiment again, but with three squadrons, each squadron with three cavalry troops in armored cars, a light tank company, a howitzer battery with a troop of M18, and a dragoon troop (infantry company) in fully-tracked carriers (M39). The same squadron organization would be used for the armored and infantry division.

Even more interesting, they suggested creating a cavalry brigade, which actually looked very similar to Chaffee's 1939 concept. It was to be two cavalry regiments, plus a 105mm SP howitzer battalion, an armored engineer battalion, and a full medical company rather than a detachment, along with a QM Truck Company and a full Ordnance Maintenance Company. At a projected 477 officers, 18 WO, and 8,709 EM it was nearly as large as the original September 1943 "light" armored division.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 152
Joined: 2008
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/10/2021 8:11:01 AM
Quote:
Exactly my point. If as a practical matter they differed so little from the former regiments in terms of role, organization, and equipment, what was the point?

What would you say was the greatest problem with their organization? A lack of dismountable troops?


I think it was odd that the Cavalry Groups (Regiments) had two squadrons instead of three. Most of the U.S. Army was a triangle organization. 3 squads per platoon. 3 platoons per company, three companies per battalion, three battalions per regiment etc. (Plus support units at each level. )

They As you noted needed more dismounts.
----------------------------------
Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 152
Joined: 2008
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/10/2021 7:32:17 PM
Quote:
Two of my uncles were with the 601st TD BN, which was almost habitually attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. So much so that I have a picture of one of them on his return home, wearing a 3rd ID shoulder patch.

To me, one of the most questionable use of the group was the way cavalry regiments were redesigned Cavalry Reconnaissance Groups, with the squadrons detached and reattached as CRSMs. One wonders what was gained by it all.




Have you read " American Knights: The Untold Story of the Men of the Legendary 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion " it is about the 601st tank destroyer battalion in World War II. Very good book.

The author was a retired US Navy officer. His uncle was a lieutenant in the 601st TD BN.

----------------------------------
Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/10/2021 7:48:54 PM
Quote:
I think it was odd that the Cavalry Groups (Regiments) had two squadrons instead of three. Most of the U.S. Army was a triangle organization. 3 squads per platoon. 3 platoons per company, three companies per battalion, three battalions per regiment etc. (Plus support units at each level. )

They As you noted needed more dismounts.


The Cavalry Regiment in US service consisted of two squadrons since 1921, the three-squadron regiment only existed until then.

I should mention, the first official use of "squadron" was when the 3d Cavalry (later redesignated 6th Cavalry) was organized during the Civil War. Unlike the older mounted regiments, which had ten companies, it had twelve, divided into six squadrons and three battalions, each of two squadrons. The other Regular regiments followed suit in August 1861. "Troop" was also a late term.
JeffF.
Olympia WA USA
Posts: 4
Joined: 2021
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/10/2021 8:59:12 PM
Thanks for the information Rich. I have the Battle History of the 1st Armored Division. I read in that in Tunisia the CCD was formed from the DIVARTY and under its commander. (P.122 1954 published by US Army). Seems curious to me that with two armor regiment commanders of the same rank as one of the two CCA/B commanders and their staffs available that maneuver units would be placed under an artlleryman but that may be my bias as a retired armor officer. Given that the armored group HQs were also relegated to admin and support responsibilities for the independent armored battalions in the ETO I guess it makes sense that the regiments would fill a similar function for their organic battalions under the tactical control of the Combat Command HQs.
JeffF.
Olympia WA USA
Posts: 4
Joined: 2021
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/10/2021 9:12:33 PM
Anyone have information on how the armored regiment of the heavy armored division used their organic armored recon companies? I see many cases in the light armored division attached one of their four cavalry reconnaissance troops (of the division cavalry reconnaissance squadron) to each Combat Command HQ. Given the armor regiments of the heavy division were each associated with one of the two formal Combat Commands I assume these served as the eyes and ears of the CCA/B commanders. The armor regiments also had Intelligece and Reconaissance (I&R) Platoons which would seem to be a redundant recon capability. Were these usually attached to the regimental recon companies? Or used independently of those? Neither the regimental recon companies nor the regimental I&R platoons are mentioned in the Army histories of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions, tho the divisional armored recon battalions are occasionally
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/13/2021 11:00:01 AM
Quote:
Thanks for the information Rich. I have the Battle History of the 1st Armored Division. I read in that in Tunisia the CCD was formed from the DIVARTY and under its commander. (P.122 1954 published by US Army). Seems curious to me that with two armor regiment commanders of the same rank as one of the two CCA/B commanders and their staffs available that maneuver units would be placed under an artlleryman but that may be my bias as a retired armor officer. Given that the armored group HQs were also relegated to admin and support responsibilities for the independent armored battalions in the ETO I guess it makes sense that the regiments would fill a similar function for their organic battalions under the tactical control of the Combat Command HQs.


I will have to go back and look at the 1st AD experience in Tunisia, which was pretty unique. I recall that the HQ element of CCD was the 701st TD Bn (-A, B, C).

Anyway, a good example of how the divisions organized is provided by the 3d AD in the assault on Cologne. Its ad hoc CCR was HQ&HQ Co, 36th AIR with miscellaneous assets. CCA was habitually built around the 32d AR and CCB around the 33d AR. In turn, the main assets of each CC were organized as TF Doan (CO 32d AR) and TF Welborn (CO 33d AR). TF Doan in turn was split into TF X and TF Y. Task Force ‘X’ consisted of the 32d Armor (-1st & 3d Battalion), the 1st Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, the 3d Platoon, Company A, 23d Armored Engineer Battalion, and the 3d Platoon, Company A, 703d Tank Destroyer Battalion, with the 67th Armored Field Artillery Battalion in support. It was commanded by Colonel Leander L. Doan, who wore two hats. Task Force ‘X’ was divided into two Battle Groups. Battle Group Orr comprised Company E, 32d Armor, and was commanded by Lt. Col. William R. Orr, the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment. Battle Group Miller comprised the 2d Battalion, 32d Armor (- E), and was commanded by Lt. Col. Clifford L. Miller, commanding officer of the 2d Battalion, 32d Armor.


RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/13/2021 11:03:47 AM
Quote:
Anyone have information on how the armored regiment of the heavy armored division used their organic armored recon companies? I see many cases in the light armored division attached one of their four cavalry reconnaissance troops (of the division cavalry reconnaissance squadron) to each Combat Command HQ. Given the armor regiments of the heavy division were each associated with one of the two formal Combat Commands I assume these served as the eyes and ears of the CCA/B commanders. The armor regiments also had Intelligece and Reconaissance (I&R) Platoons which would seem to be a redundant recon capability. Were these usually attached to the regimental recon companies? Or used independently of those? Neither the regimental recon companies nor the regimental I&R platoons are mentioned in the Army histories of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions, tho the divisional armored recon battalions are occasionally


The Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon was primarily for route reconnaissance. The Regimental Reconnaissance Company followed FM 17-33. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/PDFs/FM17-33.PDF

I do not recall an I&R Platoon in the Armor Regiment. They were part of the Infantry Regiment. I'll again have to dig into sources.
MPReed
Monroe MI USA
Posts: 31
Joined: 2005
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/13/2021 1:03:55 PM
Quote:
Quote:
Two of my uncles were with the 601st TD BN, which was almost habitually attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. So much so that I have a picture of one of them on his return home, wearing a 3rd ID shoulder patch.

To me, one of the most questionable use of the group was the way cavalry regiments were redesigned Cavalry Reconnaissance Groups, with the squadrons detached and reattached as CRSMs. One wonders what was gained by it all.




Have you read " American Knights: The Untold Story of the Men of the Legendary 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion " it is about the 601st tank destroyer battalion in World War II. Very good book.

The author was a retired US Navy officer. His uncle was a lieutenant in the 601st TD BN.




Interesting. My grandfather was in the 601st in North Africa, Sicily, and early on in Italy before being reassigned (he was signal corps). Will definitely have to look this up.

Thanks.

Michael
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/13/2021 10:36:32 PM
Quote:
I do not recall an I&R Platoon in the Armor Regiment. They were part of the Infantry Regiment. I'll again have to dig into sources.


That's correct. The I&R platoon was infantry, in the regimental headquarters company.
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 595
Joined: 2004
Tactical use of armored regiment HQ in U.S. heavy armored division
8/15/2021 3:17:28 PM
Quote:
Quote:
I do not recall an I&R Platoon in the Armor Regiment. They were part of the Infantry Regiment. I'll again have to dig into sources.


That's correct. The I&R platoon was infantry, in the regimental headquarters company.


Okay, I just checked. The Armored Regiment under T/O&E 17-11 of 1 March 1942 had a Reconnaissance & Intelligence Platoon, which was part of the Regimental Headquarters Company. As such, its function was similar to the Reconnaissance Platoons in the Tank Battalion Headquarters Company, route reconnaissance and marking, maintaining maps and augmenting the S-2 Section of Regimental Headquarters. The Regimental Reconnaissance Company actually had the tactical reconnaissance mission for the regiment.

Also, the confusion over CC 'D' in Tunisia. It was commanded by the Division Artillery Commander, Colonel Robert V. Maraist, but was not built around the Division Headquarters Battery (he and hit had no real function at the time because of the extreme dispersal of the division). It consisted of the 3d Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment (- G), the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry (34th Infantry Division), and the 70Ist Tank Destroyer Battalion (- A and B), Cannon Company, 39th Infantry, 68th Field Artillery Battalion (- C), Company D, 16th Armored Engineers (C), and one platoon of the 443d Coast Artillery (AA) Battalion (SP). Tactical command and communications was through the HQ & HQ Company, 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion, which acted as the ad hoc CC 'D' headquarters.

© 2021 - MilitaryHistoryOnline.com LLC