ARMORED DIVISION / Armored Division[/heading:aaaaaa]
INTRODUCTIONArmoured division was a mobile striking force of all modern armies of the period of the second world war. Although they are (not only) american armored division often simplistically considered to be the tank of the unit, is this view an inappropriate simplification - both in terms of their organizational structure, so from the point of view of their deployment. It was a vševojskové formation, which should benefit from a combination of abilities and capabilities of tanks, infantry, artillery and other support elements. The specific ratio of the individual elements, especially the three major, was a subject of controversy throughout the war. The theoretical tactics of these divisions was imbued with the tradition of the cavalry, which was directed to the rapid invasion of the back of the head after the infantry reaches a breakthrough. The u.s. army sent into the field three type of armored formations. Next to the armored divisions were tank battalions included the infantry divisions and battalions of tank destroyers.
Wwi Tank service (Tank Service) and Panzer corps (Tank Corps) did not survive the end of the first world war and the tanks were in the u.s. army assigned to the infantry. The development in this field, however, due to the isolationist foreign policy and budget cuts very he slowed down. Infantry so only kept a few smaller tank units for its direct support. At the turn of the second and third decades there has been experimentation in the form of a test of mechanized groups, but these activities were short-lived. The cavalry, without much of the general enthusiasm, devoted, armoured vehicles and so-called combat vehicles, which were actually light tanks equipped with machine guns, but then were not allowed for political reasons to call. Their role should consist in the traditional role of cavalry - reconnaissance. However, in the context of this weapon occurred in 1932 to form 7. cavalry brigade (mechanized), which experimented with armoured technique and in 1940 was renamed the 1. armoured division. In Europe, when the war broke out, was looking for the american army suitable types of tanks and led discussions about the role and position of tank and armored units. The answer to the question of whether he has to go just a mere support weapon of the infantry and cavalry, or a separate weapon, put the development on the old continent, especially the achievements of the German tanks in Poland and France. To 10. July 1940 have occurred for the establishment of armored forces (Armored Force) as separate weapons. Followed by the gradual emergence of the first armored division.
Most gifted commanders of the cavalry came to this new weapon, which they perceived largely as a mechanized replacement to your original type of weapon. The structure and tactics of these divisions, therefore, was based on the experience and the history of the cavalry, and was directed to the rapid invasion of the back of the head after reaching the breakthrough the infantry, occupying the key points and spaces, disruption of lines of communication, and destruction of command posts and the enemy's rear. The american doctrine, unlike the british, nepředepisovala armored divisions fight against similar bodies of the enemy. This gap took advantage of the officers of the artillery, who were disenfranchised in the chief Command of the land forces to general Mcnair. According to them, was the best means to stop German tanks anti-tank guns. The rest of them argued that in Poland, France and the Soviet union, this assumption is not confirmed and the cannon, the tanks did not stop, however, this argument reflect the conviction that the deficiencies removed by the use of new self-propelled guns, including upgraded tactics of their deployment, and the result of training maneuvers, in which the artillery led significantly better than tanks. It is but the question, inasmuch as it was a real reflection of the value of each of the weapons, or rather about the unfair rules governing the conduct and evaluation of these maneuvers. Anyway, at Fort Hood was established the Headquarters of the tank destroyer (the Tank Destroyer Command) and began to shape their first unit. In addition, every infantry division still formed tank battalions which were infantry to provide direct fire support, while an armoured division should have a business operations to a broader meaning. The american mindset much influenced by the German example, however, not simple copying. American officials may be inspired, but brought a number of useful news, but also loads resulting from the complexity of the emergence and development of this weapon in the us army. In practice, meet the armored division's broad spectrum of tasks and it was not always in accordance with the theoretical treasures, however in general the emphasis was placed on the mobile assault missions than on the static defense, for the insufficient number of infantry element. The armoured infantry within the armored divisions could work as a fast, mobile element, but couldn't replace the unit the classic infantry concentrated in the 89 infantry divisions. For the reason that armored divisions suffered from a perpetual shortage of the number of personnel is armored infantry.
Light versus medium tank
The doctrine at first in the spirit of the traditions of the cavalry assumed that highly mobile armored division will operate only in the enemy's rear, where they will not impinge on the armored vehicles of the opponent and even the saturation of anti-tank guns will be low. The basis of the armored divisions because in its early days consisted of fast and light tanks. But the experience of the Spanish civil war and the opening stages of the second world war have shown that the development is going in a different direction. Army officials they began to gradually realize, however, american industry failed to act quickly enough. In mid-1941, while he began to produce the M3 medium tank, but the real change brought to his successor - medium tank M4 Sherman. Armored division so they have replaced light tanks medium up to during the year 1942.
the Emergence of the first division
The emergence and the origins of the armoured division (Armored Division), which was in the u.s. army for the first time established the summer of 1940, have been marked by experiments with its organizational structure and equipment. Armored units are inherently units of vševojskovými (Combined Arms), in which it was necessary to combine the individual types of weapons - tanks, self-propelled artillery, mechanized or armoured infantry and other support formation such as reconnaissance, fighter or engineer. Very good was also the synergy with the air force, which should ideally provide a survey on long distance and direct air support. The us army but was initially doktrinálně, organizationally and materially ready. A large part of the officers, his mind was stuck in the doctrine of the methodical war, and moreover, the crisis of the thirties brought the need for major savings in the military budget, which only resulted in a considerable isolation of individual types of weapons, including a separate access to mechanization, which was individual weapons from above ordered for the celoarmádní access no funds. The Tank as such is advocated in the arsenal of the really easy and there were significant contradictions about his deployment (independently operating, or mere support of infantry), was assigned to the infantry, which had a sort of only interested in the light tanks and cavalry, which refused to give up the horses, went slowly on the way of development of armored vehicles. Fortunately, the cavalry and infantry appeared a number of progressively-minded officers about the role of the tank and all the operating warfare thought, watching foreign experience and trying to make a shift in these issues, even in the environment of the american army, and not only the critical texts in professional military journals and lectures on military educational institutions. For all let us mention, for example, general Chaffee.
More infantry, artillery and flexibility of command
In August 1941 he replaced at the head of tank units of general Chaffee, general devers was, which was an artillery officer and, as such, is one with the emphasis on the tank in the armored division. In his opinion, was the need to strengthen the infantry and artillery, which was also confirmed by the result of the summer maneuvers. In march 1942 there has been a reorganization of the armored division in the sense that turning the ratio of light and medium tanks. The division now had two armored regiments, each of three tank battalions, of which two were equipped with medium and one light tanks. The ratio of tanks was 232 medium compared to the 128 of the light. Armored infantry regiment was reinforced by another battalion and established a headquarters divisional artillery, which was to coordinate the activities of the battalions of field artillery. There's also a supply battalion. A significant change was the replacement of the brigade's two combat commands. It was a flexible staffs which the units were allocated according to the assigned task. Most often this command is made armoured regiment, several armored infantry battalions, several armored field artillery battalions, reconnaissance units, engineers, and other elements. This change is only slowly reflected in field manuals that continue to imply that the main role of light tanks, while the middle should have just a supporting role. Infantry and artillery then theoretically held still inferior function. The combat command was more or less ignored and vševojskový character should be achieved through the allocation of armored infantry and artillery battalions to armoured regiments. This contradiction between theory and practice accompanied the armored units basically for the entire duration of the war.
Situation when entering into war and the development of a number of divisions of the
When the United states joined in December 1941 to the war, consisted of their armored forces (Armored Force) from one armored corps (Armored Corps), five armored divisions (theArmored Division) in varying states of formation and several tank battalions of the General command (GHQ Tank Band). The initial plans of the construction of the army of the count to the compilation of the 216 divisions, of which should be 61 armored. In may 1942 the number was reduced to 47 armored divisions out of a total number of 187 divisions. These armored divisions were to be subordinated to the 23 armoured brigades, each of them should consist of two armored divisions and one motorized division (Motorized Division). During the year 1942 the planned number of armored divisions fell first at 26 and then at 20 divisions. Finally, it was during the war formed the 16 armored divisions. 1. armored division fought in the Mediterranean battlefield (North Africa, Sicily and the Apennine peninsula), the remaining divisions were deployed on the European battlefield. In addition to these 16 actually incurred by the division were on paper, set up yet another armored division, but here it was just about the shadow division, which served only to deceive the Germans in the Operation FORTITUDE SOUTH.
the First combat use of armored units
The first combat deployment of american armored units occurred in December 1941 and January 1942 in the Philippines. Of the two tank battalions of the National guard was formed the Provisional tank group (Provisional Tank Group), which the Japanese have dealt a crushing defeat. However, this event had a greater influence on the further development of the american armored units, since the home received very few reports.
Desert training center
Since it was assumed that the first place a full-fledged deployment of us armored units north Africa, it was in the spring of 1942 in the Mojave desert in southern California established the Desert training center. Its area allow for training of the entire corps. Paradoxically here did not have training 1. and 2. armored division, which eventually in Africa land. However, the training here has undergone a total of seven divisions.
Defeat 1. armored division at Kasserine pass was hard, but inevitable lessons. Among the main causes of this debacle belonged to the division of division into four separately operating headquarters, while part remained under the command of the division, the section came under command of the u.s. II. the choir and part of the under the command of the british 8th. army. The germans first destroyed a combat command and then did a defensive position. To help posted the combat command then accumulated in the formation of more appropriate for a classic cavalry before the barrel of the tanks of two German divisions. It has become clear that it is not possible to keep riding tactics in the armored guise that it is necessary to use a real vševojskovou tactics. Distinct also was the importance of artillery, which finally stopped the German attack. Confirmed also the importance of forward návodčí, radio communication, collaboration with the air force and centre for the management of the fire.
Changes in 1943
While in Africa, still in progress, in Washington, launched the debate about the reorganization of the armored divisions. In principle, everyone agreed that the existing division has too many tanks and not enough infantry. General devers was meant to solve the problem at the level of the corps - the armoured corps will consist of two armored divisions and one motorized division. The commander of the 2. panzer division, general Harmon advised neubírat tanks and add the infantry. General McNair considered the armored division as too large and unwieldy and the idea of the armored corps he certainly didn't like. In may 1943 he was devers was transferred to Europe, and in its place, he joined an infantry officer major general Alvan Gill, who didn't want to get into disputes with the bureaucrats at Headquarters land forces. In September 1943 it was officially adopted a new standardised structure of the armored division. Unlike the rather tank divisions from the years 1940-1942 to now were numerically smaller (from 390 tanks at 245 tanks - 168 medium and 77 light), but to a greater extent vševojskovou formation of a three tank, three infantry and three artillery battalions. The regimental headquarters has been canceled and their funds devoted to the strengthening of the combat command.
Lightweight versus heavy division
Pawn Gillemovi managed to push through it, that is the main element finally became a medium tank at the expense of light tank, which pushed the cavalry. The armored reconnaissance battalion was replaced by smaller formations in the form of a cavalry reconnaissance eskadrony (mechanized). The divisional engineer battalion lost bridge company, which came under the command of the corps. From the equipment division have been removed motorcycles. This new, so-called lightweight structure, but has not been introduced in all divisions. 1. the division was deployed in Italy and 2. the division, together with the 3. divisions were in the Uk in anticipation of the invasion of France. In Europe the word McNairův respondent devers was, who refused to In Britain deployed the division to reorganize. 2. and 3. the division, therefore, in principle, remained organized according to the pattern from 1942. There was only a change in the organization of the tank battalions, but of those, there are six. The third combat command here was replaced by the headquarters of the armored infantry regiment. 1. the division was reorganized according to the new tables, but only in mid-1944. When Deverse in Europe has replaced Eisenhower, asking him to Command the ground forces that allowed the reorganization of the two remaining divisions, however, Ike's due to the upcoming invasion of Normandy refused.
In 1943, abandoning the existence of the armored corps and motorized divisions. The corps proved unnecessary, and the motorized division was replaced by that in case of need, the normal infantry division reinforced with additional companies trucks. The Italian experience showed the need for a permanent tank support infantry, triggering the need for changes relating to the separate tank battalions within the infantry divisions. I generally suggest that change and innovation in the field of infantry and artillery tactics and techniques to allow easier detention attempt of the armored formations of the breakthrough. The Tank still more, he served as an infantry-support and combat with enemy armored formations than as an element of a separate wide breakthrough in the spirit of the cavalry - although general Patton in France showed that this is a viable approach. In the fall of 1943 began with the relocation of armored divisions into the Kingdom. Smaller training areas necessitated changes in the training, so a greater emphasis on the tactics of smaller units, secvičenost individual crews, gunnery training and practice of amphibious operations.
Number of reorganizations and their trend
During the second world war was the structure of the armored division amended several times. In total, occurred in the period since the emergence of the armored division until the end of the war to the six re-organisations, however important, were just two of them. The one from march 1942 removed the armoured brigade, September 1942 then imply the abolition of plukovních headquarters. The general trend of reorganisation was an increase in the number of medium tanks at the expense of the tanks light, increasing the relative amount of infantry, the interference of unnecessary command levels and the simplification of the structure of the support units.
the Initial organizational structure
The annex to the regulation on the formation of the armored forces of the 10. July 1940 was also the temporary organisation chart of the armored division. Standard organizational scheme was released to 16. November 1940. The command element of the division consisted of a headquarters, command company and the connecting company. The recon element consisted of an armored reconnaissance battalion and assigned to an observation squadron. The strike element consisted of headquarters and headquarters armored brigade, two armored regiments (light) and an artillery regiment (armored). The support element constituted infantry regiment (armored), artillery battalion (armored), armored regiment (medium) and engineer battalion (armored). The security element then formed the medical battalion (armored), supply battalion (armored) and the arms battalion (armored). When work began on a new structure, defended by general Chaffee's existing reasonable and advocated that there has been only minor changes. When it came in April 1941 to changes in the structure of armored forces, the armored division is unaffected.
the Reorganization in 1942
The existing structure had two weaknesses. One was the congestion of staff matters relating to security units - missing coordination element. The second was too complex command structure. Armoured brigade proved to be unnecessary degree. It was therefore replaced by two flexible combat hqs. The allocated units have been subordinated to the divisional headquarters, was established the headquarters of the coordinating security units, the number of armoured regiments was reduced from three to two, and the artillery was reorganized into three identical battalions, and was in addition established the divisional headquarters of the artillery. The basis of the armored division from march 1942, therefore, consisted of two armored regiments of one light and two medium battalions, an armored infantry regiment of three battalions and three armored field artillery battalions.
the Path to the next reorganization
The reorganization but didn't. The american Headquarters of the land forces learned about changes to the structure of the british divisions in north Africa, which originated from the German experience. The core of the changes was to lighten up their structure. General McNair requested the opinion of the chief of the armored forces. General devers was replied, that the american division has roughly the same amount of infantry and in addition, a greater striking force. However, the Headquarters of the land forces took on the changes and the british experiment has proven himself. In the summer of 1942, therefore, there was a proposal on the creation of the armored division, which could move faster, occupy less space on the road, with a more uniform structure and with a larger amount of infantry. However, the situation did not progress very fast forward. When the achievements of the British in Africa and the failure of the Germans at Stalingrad ignited a deeper interest in the british and German trends. A study from January of 1943 argued that the new british and German divisions have fewer tanks and more infantry than a division of the american. Sustained pressure Command of the land forces, the british and american experience and the experience of the american 1. armored division eventually led to the organisational changes from September 1943.
Reorganization in 1943
This change in organizational structure brought about the abolition of plukovních headquarters, increased the amount of infantry at the expense of tanks and canceled the supply battalion. The transition from the organisational structure from the year 1942 on the structure of the year 1943 was not carried out for the three first divisions, respectively, at the first was made until after its deployment in Italy. The second and the third division remained at the tables from the year 1942. During the second world war then in the end vyprofilovaly two basic types of organizational structure of the american armored divisions - light and heavy.
Heavy duty division
In the so-called hard structure (it was used also indications 1942-pattern armored division) maintained the regimental headquarters of the different weapon types and two combat command headquarters (CCA and CCB) were managing the stage without their own assigned to organic units. The skeleton of the division consisted of two armored regiments (Armored Regiment) on the three tank battalions (Tank Battalion) and an armored infantry regiment (Armored Infantry Regiment) of three infantry battalions. The individual battalions were assembled into combined teams, which have been subordinate to the battle hq for the purpose of fulfilling some designated task. One combat command was commanded by brigadier-general, another a colonel. Regimental headquarters was, in principle, only the administrative elements. In practice, it was the headquarters of the armoured regiments used to compile the battle groups (Task Force) and the headquarters of the armored infantry regiment was then used to ad hoc formation of the third combat command. The only two american armored division passed through the war in a difficult organizational structure - 2. armored and 3. the armored division. Their existence was the exception, which upheld the commanders in Europe and the Headquarters of the ground forces didn't like it. Therefore, also authorized prepared the official spreadsheet of the organizational structure.
The remaining 13 divisions deployed on the western european battlefield was in 1943, reorganised on the so-called light structure (1943-pattern armored division). In it was abolished regimental headquarters. Ground division here consisted of three separate tank battalions and three separate armored infantry battalions. Compared to the heavy divisions, therefore, remained three infantry battalions, but the number of tank battalions was reduced from six to three. Even under this type of armored division existed fighting command headquarters (CCA and CCB). In addition, added a smaller combat command headquarters (CCR), which velelo divisional advance and rear. At the head of ABOUT stood brigadier-general, at the head of the CCB, colonel and led by CCR colonel of infantry. In practice there has been in many cases to the fact that the headquarters of the armored groups before the assignment to the armies and corps velely tank battalions of the general command, was then used to strengthen the CCR, thus making them become full-fledged combatant commands comparable to CCA and CCB. Headquarters had allocated no own units. The normal assembly of the units assigned to accomplish the task consisted of a tank battalion, an armored infantry battalion and an armored field artillery battalion. The commander of the combat command commonly compiled two battle groups swapping rot. One group consisted of two tank companies and one armored infantry company and the second group from one of the tank companies and two armored infantry companies. In practice, take place depending on different circumstances to the fact that in some divisions there were to change the assembly of combat command depending on the task and crank units between the CCA/CCB and CCR and in the other remaining units assigned to each combat command, in principle, constant. This condition also supported by the fact that some combatant commands was sometimes separated from the subordination of the division and fought separately in favour of the infantry division or corps.
Lack of infantry
Both types have suffered from organizational problems. Neither one of them did not have enough infantry. In the course of the war there were discussions mainly about the appropriate ratio of infantry and tanks. In light of the type of division it was 1:1, in heavy type 1:2 in favor of the tank units. The problem, therefore, logically more tormented hard division, which had three armored infantry battalions for a total of six armored battalions. These divisions thus often operated with another assigned to the infantry regiment, which was adequately equipped companies trucks. The ratio for these divisions are then considerably closer to the ratio for light divisions. The situation was seemingly resolved, as it had three armored and three armored infantry battalions. However, even here, but the need to strengthen each infantry battalion by one rifle company, to between the infantry and the armored battalions of experience pairing on a team level-squad, platoon-platoon, platoon-company. Backup combat command for light divisions proved to be inadequately saturated, and it was necessary to strengthen it before the combat deployment of additional units.
the Role of the chiefs of staff
Specific tasks were armored divisions allocated to higher headquarters - corps or armies. Since they were armored units of the new kind of weapons with their own tactics and doctrine, not on the many commanders of corps and armies sufficiently prepared. The appropriate choice of the tasks, of course, highly influenced by the resulting success of the deployment of the division. The one of the army commanders could exploit the potential of armored divisions most effectively, was the commander of the 3. army general George Patton. It was given not only his experience and temperaments, but also the fact that he was an officer of cavalry and served as the commander of the armoured division, while the commanders of the 1. army general Courtney Hodges, and 9. army's William Simpson were infantry officers. His campaign France is considered the best demonstration of the appropriate use of the possibilities of the armored divisions. While Patton proceeded to fast forward through concentrated attacks, both of the remaining commanders got along from the infantry tradition and voted for the methodical procedure, which armored divisions attributed the rather supportive role. The specific role of the armored divisions to allocate the commanders of the corps. Initially, there was a right armored corps, but there were in 1943, cancelled. The standard was an army corps of two infantry divisions, one armored division and additional artillery, engineer and other units. Not infrequently, however, there were changes, when were the churches strengthened or zeslabovány according to needs and possibilities. Some of the commanders of the corps, as, for example, was commander of the VII. corps, general Lawton Collins, were able to make the options of the armored divisions to the maximum, which showed to be in the leadership of COBRA. Others, such as the commander of the XX. corps general Walton Walker, who was in the habit of dividing the armored division to individual combatant commands and deploy them to support the infantry divisions, to play less skillfully.
Tactical doctrine and practice
The experience of the american army with the deployment of the armored divisions were up to mid-1944, limited to the campaign in Tunisia and in Italy, which was a theater of war characterize different from the european. The commanders of armored formations and the creators of their doctrines, therefore, to get from the experience of other armies - the british, the soviet and also German. Individual reports from different observers and military attaches were often sent directly to the commanders of the divisions which carried the resent bureaucrats at Headquarters land forces, who would like this flow to stop and replace the uniform documents of provenance. But it failed to issue a sufficiently fast pace, and so continued the previous practice of non-formal dissemination of information and exchange of experience. Fundamental tactical doktrinálním document was field manual FM17-100: Armored Division, which came out in mid-January 1944. Right in the introduction it was declared that in the guides cannot be considered as rigid regulation and the specific management of combat activities must be based on the current situation and respond even to previously unknown fact. In the course of the fighting were the divisions of the observers, who drew up a report, which helped in the update of the doctrinal and teaching materials in the framework of the theater of war and during training at Fort Knox. It should be noted that in the course of the fighting have been armored division often deployed in operations, whose character was in conflict with the doctrine, as the us army did not just offensive activity and even geographical or climate conditions were not always ideal. The armored division then led to a wider range of martial activities from the offensive operations in the enemy's rear, through the groundbreaking operation, the operation with the aim of occupying key points or areas of operations with the aim of re-obtaining or renewal of the initiative, the attack on the unprepared defensive lines to at least one anticipated deployment in the form of an attack on a prepared defensive line, the attack on enemy armored formations or operations with the goal of slowing the attack of enemy armored units.
American armoured division were deployed in Africa and in Europe in particular - one in the Mediterranean, the other in Western and Central Europe. It is therefore appropriate to compare them with German counterpart, although, as I have said, was not their theoretical task to fight with them. The composition of the divisions changed in time, we'll be differences illustrate the divisions of the summer of 1944. Although it was the German Panzer-Division actually armored division, is according to the usage in English translated as tank.
American versus the German division
The German panzer division had paradoxically less tank battalions and more infantry than the us armored division. The German division had one tank regiment of two battalions, while the us had tank battalions of three. However, the German battalion was considerably larger and had 80 medium tanks, while the american 53. The German division then consisted of 162 medium tanks, which is comparable with the american 168 medium tanks. As for the accompanying infantry, had the German army panzer division four battalions of panzer grenadiers and a panzer division Weapons SS even six such battalions, while the us was in the lineup only three armored infantry battalions. On the other hand was only half of those battalions equipped with polopásovými vehicles, so the ratio of these machines was 448:237 in favor of the Americans. The american division had three artillery battalions, as well as the German army. Of the Arms division of the SS was in the lineup four. However, on the German side was only one battalion equipped with self-propelled machine, while on the american side it was about all three battalions. The germans had the theoretical advantage in motorization, since their division had 2 538 vehicles, while the us only 1 of 103 pieces. Even as regards the number of men, the Germans were at an advantage. The German army division consisted of 14 727 and Weapons division of the SS even 17 809 men, while the american was in a state of just 10 616 men.
Problems when comparing the
This comparison paper numbers can be quite misleading, since the units are in the fights rarely at full strength and a different way of replenishment of losses. While the u.s. division moved close to the theoretical conditions and were continuously replenished, the German practice was set so that the units were deployed in the fighting, and when she was palpably reduced their combat readiness, have been withdrawn into the background, where they were added. So while the american division accounted for around 90 percent of the fulfillment, in the case of German often it was just about 50 percent and the situation has of course deteriorated with how deteriorated the overall position of Germany. German tank division, which accounted for the full number of respectable strike force, resembled in the real world in the second half of 1944 and especially in 1945 rather infantry division with a modest tank support. The americans had in the autumn of 1944 the problems with the lack of tanks, which is solved by reducing the number of tanks from 232 to 200 in heavy divisions and from 168 to 150 for light divisions. And so on but they were of the american division of a lot better than their opponents. The comparison is also complicated by the fact that often the allocation of other units on a differently long period of time. This concerns, for example anti-aircraft battalions and units of tank destroyers. While the German division should be counted in the standard group, the american division is used to have only allocated, although this condition was at times almost of a permanent nature. Not infrequently were the division divided into smaller units, that existed for some time relatively alone.
In February 1945, the assembled generals Robert Grow of the 6th. armored division, and Hugh Gaffey of 4. armored division of the study, which was the first attempt to analyse the experience from the deployment of armoured divisions in the fighting of the second world war. Its conclusions were forwarded to general Patton, who regarded them as two of their top three commanders of the divisions and let her send it to a third, general John Wood, who previously commanded the also 4. the armored division. Wood with their conclusions agreed. All three agreed that the american armored division, primarily the light, they were too small and needed to conduct combat operations too many other assigned units. Tough division, according to the study have proved themselves more, although they were not ideally well balanced in terms of tanks and infantry. The generals recommended the addition of infantry than the reduction in the number of tanks. In the case of units that were not only long-term assigned, recommended the study of their permanent integration. The aim of the analysis was also fighting headquarters. Post-war analysis, recommending their abolition and replacement of the vševojskovými regiments.
These conclusions were in other years discussed and a number of them have been used in the reorganization of the armored divisions in 1947. This was followed by other measures that responded to the radical postwar demobilization, the Korean war and the entry of nuclear weapons to the theater of war. In the post-war reorganization, there was no extension to the six tank battalions and six armored infantry battalions, however their number was set at the number four tank battalions (one of which was heavy), four armored infantry battalions and four armored field artillery battalions (including one battalion with 155mm houfnicemi). As for the combat command, she was maintained, and even been strengthened. In the context of the whole army there was to the adoption of a modified "light structures" with the added tank and infantry battalion, while the infantry battalions were expanded to include the other company. At the head of CCA and CCB stood brigadier general. CCR was renamed the CCC and built on a par with the previous two headquarters, however, unlike the CCB here there was no change to the rank of commander - the left colonel. Headquarters was finally abolished until 1963..
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BRIEF INFORMATION ABOUT the INDIVIDUAL FORMATIONS
HEADQUARTERS / Headquarters
The headquarters of the division was mostly divided on outpost (Forward Echelon) and rear position (Rear Echelon). On advanced post was the division commander, his aide, chief of staff to the crew, the commander of the divisional artillery, divisional engineer commander and staff of the cooperative chemical fight. This part of the command was located at the post headquarters company, gather necessary administrative, catering, transport, supply, and maintenance activities. Headquarters had at its disposal the means of transport, three light tanks, M5A1, and two armored vehicles M8. Present was also the anti-tank platoon with 57mm anti-tank guns. Connections provided the connecting company. Occipital habitat include the administrative components of the headquarters, which was legal, audit, personnel, financial, postal and other similar matters. The habitat is mostly located at the rail unloading station, discharging the place of supply trucks or some similar occipital area.
COMBAT COMMAND / Combat Commands
Combat command a And B had their own headquarters (headquarters), which organizationally was based on the headquarters of the armored groups (Armored Groups), which administrovaly the activity of the separate tank battalions. The commander and his staff had available three light tanks M5A1. Combat command R was to be in charge of the troops sent to the reserves to replenish forces and thus serve as a divisional advance. A number of commanders but prefer to use them as the third full-fledged combat command. In practice, there were two ways the use. Often under the influence of the commanders of the corps, who were often infantry officers and they were closer to the second way to deploy CCR, because more match practice in the corps. Some of them even treated so far, that the armoured division basically split up to the individual combatant commands and allocate them to individual infantry divisions to direct support. The combat command then worked in the role corresponding to the separate tank battalions instead of the expected deployment of entire divisions in breakthrough operations. However, when stalemates, when the fight got rather static nature, they didn't want the commanders of the corps to let the armored division idle and wait when the time comes to perform the surgery to a more adequate doctrine of the deployment of armored forces. A number of commanders of the armored divisions prefer the originally intended function of the CCR, as the armored units needed to be inherently more time on the maintenance and replenishment of forces and supplies. This wasn't a heavy division, that had more power and could easily deploy three full-fledged combatant commands. CCR differed from the CCA/CCB number of the personnel, because there were assigned only three officers and five members of the team. Both a full-fledged headquarters was available to more than 90 people. The staffing situation was with the divisions that used the CCR as a combat command, initially dealt with by moving people from other units, causing problems. In October 1944 began 1. army to reorganize the headquarters of some of the armored groups in the CCR within the armored divisions. The measures worked and was subsequently carried out in the framework of the whole 12. the group armies. The structure of the combat command differed for light and heavy division. Fighting hq heavy divisions consisted of two tank battalions, armored infantry battalion, of the funds allocated from the battalion of tank destroyers in the force roughly company, engineer battalion and anti-aircraft battalion. In the course of offensive operations was the division often assigned to infantry, so that each combat command then have a plus one infantry battalion. Artillery used to division headquarters and was assigned to the combat command. The combat command was in heavy divisions often distributed on the two battle groups (Task Force), with each usually consisted of one tank battalion, an armored infantry battalion or allocated to the infantry battalion and various units of tank destroyers, engineers and anti-aircraft artillery. Fighting the headquarters of the light divisions had less force. Consisted of one tank battalion and one armored infantry battalion. Sometimes it was artillery under the direct control of the divisional headquarters, has ever been to a combat command assigned to one armored field artillery battalion, especially if the division operated on too vast territory. Even the fighting the headquarters of the light divisions was often distributed to the battle group. One consisted of a tank battalion attenuated by one platoon of medium tanks and on the contrary, reinforced by a rifle company. The second battle group consisted, in a complementary way, from an armoured infantry battalion attenuated by one rifle company and on the contrary, reinforced by a tank platoon.
TANK BATTALIONS / Tank Band
Striking power of the armored divisions were tank battalions. In a tough division, there were included six, in light, then three. The battalion consisted of a headquarters and headquarters company, rear battalion, and four rot a to D, of which company a to C were equipped with medium tanks M4 different versions and D company light tanks M5A1, and later M24. Towards the end of the war arrived to some armored divisions and heavy tanks T26E3, which, however, engage in fighting only in a minimum extent.
ARMORED INFANTRY BATTALIONS / Armored Infantry Band
Each division had three armored infantry battalions, which formed the backbone of the division in both defence and attack. The battalion consisted of a headquarters company, the rear company and three rifle companies. The basis equipment of the battalions was polopásová vehicle M2 and M3 different versions, thanks to which they could move quickly and keep up with the procedure of the tanks. Because of their mobility but were deployed more often in attacks and tpěly higher losses than regular infantry battalions. Armored infantry was similar to the German panzer grenadiers.
ARMORED FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALIONS / Armored Field Artillery Band
Each division had in the assembly of the three armored field artillery battalions. These battalions have within the division the largest firepower. Consume by far the largest amount of ammunition, but also causing the enemy the greatest loss. All the guns were, unlike the Germans, self-propelled, so even these battalions could advance together with tanks. For the purpose of coordination of artillery fire was established the headquarters of the divisional artillery, which consisted of the commander of the divisional artillery and a small staff, which was placed in the advanced posts, divisional headquarters. In the event that were to division allocated some additional battalions of field artillery, were also subject to this authority. The battalion consisted of a headquarters and command of the battery (including the centre's fire control, two light aircraft and tanks for the forward návodčí), three batteries of self-propelled howitzers M7 and rear battery. Sometimes with these battalions worked closely together tanks with 105mm houfnicemi, which operated within the headquarters of tank battalions.
RIDING RECONNAISSANCE ESKADRONA (MECHANIZED) / Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized)
Armored division had one reconnaissance eskadronu mechanized cavalry, which was to be her eyes. It was assumed that it will collect the information without the need of engaging in a fight. In practice, however, these units carry out a wider range of tasks, especially those that were previously exercised by the classic cavalry. It was about combat survey, protection of open wings, cleaning up of enemy pockets, which got shock spikes division and other specialized tasks. Eskadrona consisted of a command and a rear section, the three reconnaissance sections (Reconnaissance Troop), a section of assault guns and one company with light tanks. Eskadrona was equipped with light tanks, M5A1, armored vehicles M8, jeeps (in the cavalry they nicknamed bantamy) and 75mm self-propelled houfnicemi. Their biggest problem was the mismatch between doctrine and real-world tasks, which was the lack of infantry for the management of defence activities, weak anti-tank weapons and insufficient performance of the vehicles M8 in the field.
ARMORED RECONNAISSANCE BATTALION / Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
Both the heavy division had an armored reconnaissance battalion, which was equipped with the first reconnaissance vehicles M3A1, which were soon replaced by vehicles M8. The battalion consisted of three reconnaissance companies and one company with light tanks. Tank company had a total of 17 tanks M5A1 in three platoons. Reconnaissance company then had three platoons, with each platoon consisted of a squad of armored vehicles with four machine M8, přezvědného the squad with four jeeps and squad assault gun with one samohybnou howitzer.
ARMORED ENGINEER BATTALION / Armored Engineer Battalion
This battalion from the normal engineer battalions differed by one squad in each platoon was equipped with polopásovými vehicles. The battalion consisted of a headquarters and headquarters company and three engineer platoons. Headquarters was usually divided into three parts. The first part of the (forward) drive combat deployment engineers, the second part (týlová) was in charge of the supply, administration and technical support of the battalion, the third part was located on the forward station, division headquarters, where the coordinated activity of engineers with the commander of the division. The battalion was in charge of laying mines and de-mining of the necessary sectors, the repair of roads, removal of obstacles, clearance of anti-tank traps and a variety of other tasks. In the case of the needs was assigned to another engineer battalion, primarily for the laying of the bridges. I assigned to engineer units coordinate divisional engineer commander.
ARMORED MEDICAL BATTALION / Armored Medical Battalion
The battalion consisted of a headquarters company and three armored medical rot. Each company had a hq and two squads, while one of them was in charge of collecting the wounded and the second sorting and evacuation of the wounded.
ARMORED BATTALION MAINTENANCE / Armored Maintenance Battalion
The battalion consisted of a headquarters company and three companies of maintenance. Of the company then in their assembly had a platoon of maintenance and supply, automotive platoon, and complaint and evacuation team. As for the logistics security division in the diameter needed for one day of activity 14 750 gallons of gas, 310 gallons of motor oil, 215 gallons of other lubricants and 80 tons of ammunition (60 000 rounds of ammunition for small arms and machine guns, 420 rounds for the tank cannons and 2 of 100 pieces of artillery ammo). Division with him in theory, was delivering supplies to about 200 miles. Then had to go to replenish stocks. Also necessary was to set aside enough time to make the necessary repairs and maintenance.
Medical and maintenance battalion formed the main part of the divisional rear. He had his own command and the command platoon. To this command the rear, it was affiliated and the above mentioned rear stations, divisional headquarters, a platoon of military police, and divisional music ensemble.
ALLOCATED to the UNIT / Divisional Attachments
After a time it turned out that the armored division are not as self-sufficient as expected. They were thus more or less permanently assigned to other units. It was on various anti-aircraft battalions, battalions of tank destroyers, a platoon of trucks, engineer bridge companies or battalions of the middle field artillery with 155mm houfnicemi..
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EQUIPMENT LIST - status to February 1944
|PHOTO||NAME||INFO|| NUMBER of|
|-||.45-cal. pistol||-|| 90|
|-||.45-cal. SMG||-|| 2 814|
|-||.30-cal. carbine||-|| 5 272|
|-||.30-cal. M1 rifle||-|| 2 036|
|-||.30-cal. rifle M1903||-|| 27|
|-||.30-cal. LMG||-|| 328|
|-||.30-cal. HMG||-|| 129|
|-||.50-cal. HMG||-|| 402|
|-||2.36 in bazooka-||-|| 603|
|-||60mm mortar||-|| 63|
|-||81mm mortar||-|| 24|
|-||57mm AT Gun||-|| 30|
|-||, the M5A1 light tank||-|| 83|
|-||Medium Tank M4||medium tank|| 168|
|-||M4 (105mm)||-|| 18|
|-||75mm M8||-|| 17|
|105-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7||self-propelled howitzer|| 54|
|M8 armored car||-|| 54|
|-||81mm MMC M21||-|| 18|
|-||M32 ARV||-|| 24|
|-||M1 ammo trailer||-|| 192|
|-||1/4-ton jeep||-|| 451|
|-||3/4-ton command car||-|| 27|
|-||3/4-ton WC truck||-|| 61|
|-||2-1/2-ton cargo truck||-|| 426|
|-||2-1/2-ton dump truck||-|| 18|
|-||2-1/2-ton repair truck||-|| 31|
|-||Wrecker truck||-|| 25|
|-||Misc. truck||-|| 25|
|-||M26 tank recovery||-|| 9|
|-||1/4-ton trailer||-|| 12|
|-||1-ton trailer||-|| 372|
|-||Misc. trailer||-|| 25|
|-||Liaison aircraft||-|| 8|
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Zaloga, Steven J.: US Armored Divisions. The European Theater of Operations, 1944-1945, Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford 2004
McGrath, John J.: The Brigade: A History. Its Organization and Employment in the US Army, Combat Studies Institute Press, Fort Leavenworth, 2004
Hofmann, George F.: Through Mobility We Conquer. The Mechanization of U. With. Cavalry, The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington 2006
Davies, W. J.To.: German Army Handbook. 1939-1945 Arco Publishing Company Inc., New York 1977
Zaloga, Steven J.: US Tank and Tank Destroyer the Band in the ETO 1944-1945, Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford 2005
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