|1st Armored Division|
1st Armored Division shoulder sleeve insignia
|Active||16 January 1932 - 25 April 1946
7 March 1951 - Present
|Country||United States of America|
|Part of||V Corps|
|Garrison/HQ||1st AD Garrisons|
|Colors||red, yellow, and blue|
|Engagements||World War II
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|Major-General Terry A. Wolff|
|U.S. Armored Divisions|
|2nd Armored Division (Inactive)|
The 1st Armored Division —nicknamed "Old Ironsides"— is a standing armored division of the United States Army with base of operations in Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany. It was the first armored division of the U.S. Army to see battle in World War II. The entire 1st Armored Division is scheduled to arrive at Fort Bliss, Texas between 2008 and 2011, where they will replace the outgoing air defense artillery units (largely Patriot missile Battalions) currently stationed at Fort Bliss.
This division is part of V Corps (technically). It remains a United States Army Europe and 7th Army unit. As of November 2009 the division command group consist of:
Commander: Major General Terry A. Wolff
Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver): Brigadier General Ralph O. Baker
Assistant Division Commander (Support): Brigadier General Kenneth E. Tovo
Chief of Staff: Colonel Mark E. Calvert
Command Sergeant Major: Command Sergeant Major William M. Johnson
Since relocating to Fort Bliss, Texas, it has been reorganizing under the new modular design. The 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division reflagged in March 2008 as the 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. The Division will consist of four Brigade Combat Teams and a Combat Aviation Brigade. Currently the 1st, 3rd, and 4th BCT's are at Fort Bliss. The Division STB and the 2nd BCT are still in the process of moving to the post. The Units listed for the 2nd BCT were from its legacy BCT design in Germany; when the Brigade moves to Fort Bliss it will be a new modular BCT.
1st Armored Division will consist of the following elements after the completion of the transformation:
The division was nicknamed "Old Ironsides", by its first commander, Major General Bruce R. Magruder, after he saw a picture of the frigate USS Constitution, which is also nicknamed "Old Ironsides". The large "1" at the top represents the numerical designation of the division, and the insignia is used as a basis for most other sub-unit insignias. The cannon and tracked vehicle symbols represent the mechanized role of the division.
The three colors, red, yellow, and blue represent the Artillery, Armor, and Infantry Branches respectively, which are the colors of the three original combat arms which, when forged into one, created the field of Armor. This "pyramid of power" was devised by the order of then-Lieutenant Col. George S. Patton, Jr. in Bourg, France in early 1918 during Patton's formation and training of the Tank Corps in support of the American Expeditionary Force under General John J. Pershing.
COL Daniel Van Voorhis took a cadre of 175 Officers and Enlisted Men from Fort Eustis to Fort Knox in February 1932, and established a Provisional Armored Car Platoon. This was based on an earlier effort, but was predicated on a new Cavalry Regiment TO&E (Table of Organisation and Equipment) which was published that year. Also published, but never implemented, was a Cavalry Division TO&E which reflected the then unnatural assimilation of machines into the Horse Cavalry.
Van Voorhis’s cadre and platoon became the kernel for the 7th Cavalry Brigade, which went Active on 1 March 1932 at Fort Knox. At first, it was nothing more than a headquarters detachment and the Armored Car Platoon.
On 3 January 1933, the 1st Cavalry Regiment was relieved from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division, and was moved from Fort A.D. Russell to Fort Knox. The earlier Mechanized Platoon was incorporated into the new Regimental TO&E, and the result was the 1st Cavalry Regiment [Mechanised], which went active on 16 January 1933.
The new Regimental commander was Colonel Van Voorhis, late of the experimental Mechanized Force, while the executive officer was Adna Chaffee. The Post Commander of Fort Knox was Brigadier General Julian R. Lindsey, another cavalryman. To round out the cavalry nature of the unit, Major Robert W. Grow was on the Regimental Staff.
Van Voorhis added the 13th Cavalry Regiment, the 68th Field Artillery Battalion, the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron, the 7th Signal Troop, the 4th Medical Troop, the 47th Engineer Troop and the 17th Quartermaster Battalion. The 7th Cavalry Brigade was fully formed.
On 7 May 1940, the 7th Cavalry Brigade took part in the Louisiana Maneuvers at Monroe, Louisiana that were instrumental in developing the armored division concept. The maneuvers concluded on 27 May 1940, and the brigade returned to Fort Knox on 31 May 1940, and preparations began to expand the brigade into the 1st Armored Division.
On 15 July 1940, 7th Cavalry Brigade was expanded, reorganized, and redesignated as 1st Armored Division. 1st Cavalry Regiment was redesignated as 1st Armored Regiment and 13th Cavalry Regiment was redesignated as 13th Armored Regiment.
The first Order of Battle for the 1st Armored Division was as follows:
After completing its organization and equipping, 1st Armored Division trained at Fort Knox, where it participated in the Technicolor short movie The Tanks Are Coming (as the "First Armored Force"). It deployed to participate in the VII Corps Maneuvers on 18 August 1941. Once the maneuvers concluded, 1st Armored Division then moved on 28 August 1941, and arrived at Camp Polk for the Second Army Louisiana Maneuvers on 1 September 1941. They then moved to Fort Jackson on 30 October 1941 to participate in the First Army Carolina Maneuvers. 1st AD then returned to Fort Knox on 7 December 1941, but started to prepare for deployment overseas instead of returning to garrison.
The 1st Armored Division was ordered to Fort Dix on 11 April 1942 to await their deployment overseas. The division's port call required them to board the RMS Queen Mary at the New York Port of Embarkation at the Brooklyn Army Terminal on 11 May 1942. They arrived at Northern Ireland on 16 May 1942, and trained on the moors until they moved on to England on 29 October 1942.
The unit's first contact with an enemy was as part of the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa, Operation Torch, on 8 November 1942. Elements of the division were part of the Northern Task Force and became the first American armored division to see combat in World War II. Combat Command B (CCB) of the division landed east and west of Oran, and entered the city on 10 November 1942. On 24 November 1942, CCB moved from Tafaroui, Algeria to Bedja, Tunisia, and raided Djedeida airfield the next day. Djedeida was finally conquered on 28 November 1942. CCB moved southwest of Tebourba on 1 December 1942, engaged German forces on El Guessa Heights on 3 December 1942, but its lines were pierced on 6 December 1942. CCB withdrew to Bedja with heavy equipment loses between 10 December and 11 December 1942, and was placed in reserve. CCB next attacked in the Ousseltia Valley on 21 January 1943, and cleared that area until 29 January 1943 when sent to Bou Chebka, and arrived at Maktar on 14 February 1943. Combat Command A (CCA) fought at Faid Pass commencing on 30 January 1943, and advanced to Sidi Bou Zid, where it was pushed back with heavy tank loses on 14 February 1943, and had elements isolated on Djebel Lessouda, Djebel Kasaira, and Garet Hadid. Combat Command C (CCC), which had been constituted on 23 January 1943 to raid Sened Station on 24 January, advanced towards Sbeita, and counterattacked to support CCA in the Sidi Bou Zid area on 15 February 1943, but was repulsed with heavy loses. The division withdrew from Sbeita on 16 February 1943, but – by 21 February 1943 CCB contained the German attack toward Tebessa. The German withdrawal allowed the division to recover Kasserine Pass on 26 February 1943 and assemble in reserve. The division moved northeast of Gafsa on 13 March 1943 and attacked in heavy rains on 17 March 1943 as CCA took Zannouch, but became immobilized by rain the next day. The division drove on Maknassy on 20 March 1943, and fought the Battle of Djebel Naemia on 22–25 March 1943, and then fought to break through positions baring the road to Gabes between 29 March and 1 April 1943. It began to follow up the withdrawing German forces on 6 April 1943, and attacked towards Mateur with CCA on 27 April 1943, which fell after hard fighting on Hill 315 and Hill 299 on 3 May 1943. The division fought the Battle for Djebel Achtel between 5 May and 11 May 1943, and entered Ferryville on 7 May 1943. The German forces in Tunisia surrendered between 9 May and 13 May 1943. The division was reorganized in French Morocco, and began arriving in Naples, Italy on 28 October 1943.
After the fall of Sicily, the unit, part of the US Fifth Army, invaded mainland Italy. It took part in the attack on the infamous Winter Line in November 1943. It then flanked the Axis armies in the landings at Anzio, and participated in the liberation of Rome on 4 June 1944. The division continued in combat to the Po Valley until the German forces in Italy surrendered on 2 May 1945. In June, the Division moved to Germany as part of the occupation forces.
The Korean War saw a buildup in U.S. forces after World War II. As part of that buildup, the 1st Armored Division was reactivated on 7 March 1951 at Fort Hood. It was the first Army unit to receive the new M48 Patton tank. After a number of years in Texas, the division was moved to Fort Polk, Louisiana, in 1956.
The division was deployed to Texas, Florida, and Georgia, in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the six week deployment, it received a visit from President John F. Kennedy. A few units fought in the Vietnam War, and were returned to the division after the war. The 3d Brigade deployed to Chicago, Illinois to restore order after Martin Luther King Jr.'s marches. At that time, the division was based in Fort Hood, Texas.
As the Vietnam War wound down, there was a fundamental reorganisation of the Army. As part of this reorganisation, the 1st Armored Division was moved to Germany in 1971. It replaced the 4th Armored Division in the Bavarian city of Ansbach. The Division remained in Ansbach, with brigade units in the neighboring towns of Bamberg, Illesheim, Furth (Nurnberg) Katterbach, Crailsheim, Erlangen and Zirndorf, West Germany for the next twenty years, as part of the American forces committed to NATO.
In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Army units were dispatched to protect Saudi Arabia. Later in the fall, President George H. W. Bush made the decision to deploy American heavy forces on a massive scale to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait. The lead unit for this deployment was the VII Corps from Germany. 1st Armored Division was one of four American heavy divisions assigned to VII Corps in theater. In the ground attack of the Gulf War, the Division led the VII Corps' flank attack on the Iraqis. It had the duty of destroying the elite Iraqi Republican Guard units. In eighty nine hours, the division moved 250 kilometers, destroyed 768 vehicles, and captured 1,064 prisoners of war, at the cost of four dead. It returned to Germany on 8 May 1991, and celebrated with a visit from Vice President Dan Quayle.
On 18 December 1995, under the command of Major General William L. Nash, the division deployed to northeast Bosnia as the command element of Task Force Eagle, a powerful, multinational unit intended to keep the peace. (A Russian brigade, initially under the command of Colonel Aleksandr Ivanovich Lentsov, was part of that effort. An account of the interactions of the Americans and Russians in Bosnia in 1996 may be found in James Nelson’s Bosnia Journal.) The 1AD returned in late 1996 to Germany.
Afterwards, the unit trained heavily in Hohenfels and Grafenwöhr Training Areas in Germany, with realistic OPFOR (Opposition Forces) exercises. Some units were deployed into Iraq and other countries in the Middle East for the global War on Terrorism.
In the build-up in the months prior the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, two battalions of the 1st Armored Division's 3d Brigade were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 2-70 Armor and 1-41 Infantry battalion task forces augmented the 82nd Airborne Division ("All-American"), the 3d Infantry Division ("Rock of the Marne"), and the 101st Airborne Division ("Screaming Eagles") throughout the campaign to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. These units spearheaded the U.S assaults in As Samawah and Karbala and later occupied the southern area of Baghdad.
In April 2003, the remainder of the division deployed to Iraq and assumed responsibility for Baghdad, under command of Brigadier General Martin E. Dempsey, and the surrounding areas, relieving the 3d Infantry Division. The division was scheduled to return to Germany in April 2004, but was extended in order to defeat a Shia militia led by Moqtada Al Sadr. During the three month extension Task Force 1-37 AR ("Bandits") fought Al Sadr's forces in Karbala while Task Force 2-37 AR ("Dukes")along with elements of 2-3 FA (Gunners) fought in Diwaniya, Sadr City, Al-Kut, and Najaf. Task Force 1-36 IN ("Spartans") became the CJTF-7 Operational Reserve and conducted operations throughout the theater in support of the 1st Cavalry Division. Forces from the 2d Brigade fought in Kut. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the division lost more than 125 soldiers.
The division's 3d Brigade deployed to the Iraqi Theatre once again in January 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom Three from Fort Riley, Kansas, this after only eight months Stateside. There, they are attached to the 3d Infantry Division and are the major unit involved with Task Force Baghdad.
2nd Brigade Combat Team, or BCT, deployed to Kuwait November 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom IV, spending three months as a theater reserve. Following the Al-Askari Mosque bombing in February of the following year Task Force 2-6 Infantry was activated from theater reserve status and deployed to Iraq. Three months later, in May 2006, the two remaining brigade task forces in Kuwait deployed to Ramadi, Iraq. In August 2006, 2BCT rear detachment, still in Kuwait, deployed to Baghdad International Airport.
The division's 1st Brigade("Ready First") deployed again to Iraq in January 2006 after months of intensive training in Grafenwöhr and Hohenfels, Germany. Many of the soldiers who fought with units like 2-37 Armor("Iron Dukes") and 1-37 ("Bandits") returned to Iraq for a second time. The Ready First Brigade was deployed to Northern Iraq in Nineveh province concentrating on the city of Tal' Afar. In May 2006 1st Brigade received orders to move south to the city of Ramadi in volatile Al Anbar Province. August 2006, seven months into their Iraq tour, 1st Brigade received news of a forty-six day extension. After nearly fourteen months, 1st Brigade redeployed from Iraq in mid-February 2007.
In September 2007, the 1st Armored Division Headquarters deployed again to Iraq. The 1st Armored Division conducted a relief in place with the 25th Infantry Division and assumed command of Multi-National Division North, headquartered in Tikrit, Iraq, on 28 October 2007. Multi-National Division North was then composed of five Maneuver Brigade Combat Teams, a Combat Aviation Brigade, a Fires Brigade, and an Engineer Brigade. Multi-National Division North includes the Iraqi provinces of Ninawa, Kirkuk (formerly At Tamin), Salah ad Din, and Diyala along with Dahuk, and As Sulaymaniah. The area also includes the critical cities of Tal Afar, Mosul, Bayji, Tikrit, Kirkuk, Samarra, Balad, Baqubah, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniah. The Division currently commands all Coalition Forces in Northern Iraq. Arbil province remains aligned as a separate Multi-National Division, North-East. The 1st Armored Division has tackled numerous complex problem sets in Northern Iraq applying both lethal and non-lethal means. The area includes ethnic fault lines between Arabs and Kurds, religious fault lines between Sunni and Shia Muslims, numerous tribal regions, and the complexities involving significant Former Regime Elements and the dynamics of energy. The Division conducted RIP/TOA with Headquarters 25th Infantry Division on 8 December 2008 and conducted a successful redployment back to Wiesbaden Army Airfield in Germany.
In April 2008 the 2nd BCT out of Baumholder, Germany deployed to Baghdad Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Brigade conducted 14 months of combat operations and successfully redeployed back to Germany in May 2009. On 30 Jul 2009 the 2nd BCT cased its colors and reflagged to the 170th BCT signifying the start of the Brigade's move to Fort Bliss, Texas.
In May 2009 the 4th HBCT out of Fort Bliss, TX deployed to Southern Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Brigade will be used as a Advise and Assist Brigade in order to train Iraqi Security Forces.
On 14 July 2009 the Department of Defense announced that Headquarters 1st Armored Division and the 1st HBCT would return to Iraq in late 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2005 the Base Realignment and Closure or BRAC commission decided to move the 1st Armored Division to Fort Bliss, Texas not later than 2012. As part of the current Army-wide transformation, several division units will be inactivated or converted to other units. As the complete move to Bliss will take place after 2008, the effect of the Iraq War and the projected troop surge is unknown.