Hell on Wheels: The 2d Armored Division

Hell on Wheels: The 2d Armored Division

Hell on Wheels: The 2d Armored Division

Hell on Wheels: The 2d Armored Division


Houston, himself a veteran of the 2d Armored Division, presents a detailed history of this most prestigious unit in the American army. Hell on Wheels details the actions it was involved in, & includes an analysis of armoured warfare in theory & practice.


No greater privilege can occur in the career of any soldier than to be given the command of troops in combat. This is always true and applies to any organizational echelon, from squad to field army. But the most satisfying command slot is the one with the double X on the map symbol, the division. Moreover, when you add the old tank tread to the symbol to designate one of the army's few armored divisions, you have the greatest of all commands. At least, this was my thought when I first took over the Hell on Wheels division, the 2d Armored, on July 31, 1942.

By this time the division had come a long way from its activation with the 1st Armored on July 15, 1940. The army planned to organize twenty of these new divisions but had only formed sixteen by the end of the war. Located at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 2d Armored had fewer interruptions in its organization and training than did the 1st Division which was supporting the Armored Force School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The 2d Division also was blessed with good commanders. Among these I would like to mention especially Charles Scott, George Patton, Willis Crittenberger and Edward Brooks.

Scott was a true pioneer in armor development, including its tactics and organization. He had the good luck to serve as an observer with the British Eighth Army in its battles with Rommel's Afrika Corps and therefore was able to bring back many lessons learned the hard way. He was able to overcome army branch prejudice against effective employment of the new Armored Force and obtain acceptance of the concept within the army's highest echelons.

George Patton followed Scott, giving the division dash, coupled with an aggressive attitude and the ultimate in fighting spirit--qualities never lost by its soldiers. Crittenberger added pride in organization and . . .

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