By Don Whitehead
Associated Press War Correspondent
SECOND ARMORED DIVISION HEADQUARTER, OCTOBER 4 (AP) —
Then this battle-stained division rolled into a Dutch town, the foreman of a coal mine called at Headquarters to express his appreciation for liberation.” The Germans didn’t leave us much to give you, but we wonder if your soldiers would like to use the showers at the mine,” he asked.
“They sure would,” replied the Commanding General, and since then thousands of boys have had hot baths.
Sergeant Waldo B. Tinley, 1206 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia, wiped the soap from his eyes and said, “It’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve seen anything like this. My last real bath was in England before the invasion. “We’ve been moving too far and too fast to even wash our faces most of the time.”
That’s literally true, as this Armored Outfit, which has been rolling hard since the breakthrough at St. Lo, has been helping in the mighty drive of the First Army through France, Belgium and Holland.
The Second Armored Division is the most experienced Armored Division in the United States Army with three campaigns behind it—North Africa, Sicily, and France. It was the Second Armored Division that swept across Sicily with the Third Infantry Division to capture Palermo.
The following articles were sent for publication to the United States by the United Press and Associated Press following the release of the Division from the breakthrough at St. L to September 2. Between them the two press associations cover every daily newspaper in the United States.
By Henry Correll
United Press War Correspondent
FIRST UNITED STATES ARMY, October 4, 1944 — The “galloping ghost” of the Allied Forces—the Second Armored Division–is now operating in the First Army Area “Somewhere in Germany.”
It was this outfit that made headlines under the ambiguous term “American Armor” in the dash through France into Belgium. Covering 60 miles in three days, the Division too Beauvais and Montdidier in Northern France, smashing enemy armor and motor transport which ran unexpectedly into the steel fist.
The Division hit the Belgian frontier September 2, 1944, at 9:30 a.m. and streaked toward Tournai. Reconnaissance units of the Division were in Tournai some hours before it was officially announced that American units were in Belgium.
One of the enemy column destroyed just outside Orchies, France by tank and small arms fire alone number 165 vehicles. It had tried to slip through between the combat commands but was caught on a smooth straight highway and hacked to pieces on all sides.
It was also revealed today that the Second Armored Division, which is known to the Germans as “Roosevelt’s Butchers”, snapped shut the outer ring of the Falaise–Argentan pocket when it swung northward to capture the Ferry crossing at Elboeuf, just below Rouen, on August 26. At the time, the capture of Elbeouf before turning the town over to the Seventh Canadian brigade which subsequently entered the town from the north.
The memorandum receipt was conceived as a means of preventing later historical arguments as to who took what, and is a prized possession of the Division Historian.
In the Elboeuf offensive, the Second Armored, during this period from August 20 to 26, destroyed 93 tanks.
The Division disappeared August 1 after the famous St. Lo breakthrough. Through a narrow corridor between Fortain and the sea, the Division slipped southward and then swung east to Domfront, thereby flanking six German panzer divisions, which at that time were attempting to cut through to Avranches and sever the American First and Third Armies. Constant pressure and continual flank attacks byt he Second Armored Division prevented the most powerful German counter-attacking force since D-Day from knifing through Mortain to the sea.
When the counter-offensive failed and remnants of the Gorran Panzer Divisions fled towards the Falaise- Argetan gap, the Division again out-smarted the German High Command by racing, nfor for Falaso, but for Elboeuf on the Seine. In the offensee from Domfront to Elboeuf, the Division traveled a 150 miles in 12 days. In its make it left a trail of death and carnage.