|United States Army Europe|
United States Army Europe shoulder sleeve insignias
|Active||July 10, 1943 – Present|
|Type||Army Service Component Command|
|Nickname||Pyramid of Power
Seven Steps to Hell
|Motto||Born at Sea, Baptized in Blood, Crowned in Glory|
|Engagements||World War II
|GEN Carter F. Ham|
Alexander M. Patch
Crosbie E. Saint
United States Army Europe, formerly the Seventh Army, is an Army Service Component Command (ASCC) of the United States Army and the land component of United States European Command. It is the largest American formation in Europe.
The Seventh Army was the first American formation of Field Army size to see combat in World War II. The Army was formed when the U.S. I Armored Corps was redesignated on 10 July 1943 to provide headquarters for American forces in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. During the campaign, it was commanded by (Then) Lieutenant General George S. Patton. Patton officially took command of the Seventh Army aboard USS Monrovia (APA-31), Admiral H. Kent Hewitt's flagship, thus became the Army's motto, "Born at sea, baptized in blood." Later was added "...crowned with glory."
It landed on the left flank of the Allied forces. Its role in the plan for conquering Sicily was envisaged as being a protecting force for the left wing of the British Eighth Army under Gen. Bernard Montgomery. In the end, it played a far more important role. Most of Sicily was liberated by American forces, and Patton's Army rendezvoused with that of Montgomery in capturing the crucial city of Messina, Italy, the nearest point on Sicily to the mainland of Italy.
After the Sicily operation, Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch took command of the Seventh Army. The Seventh Army was taken out of the frontline and transferred into the 6th Army Group. Its next action was the invasion of the south of France, code named Operation Dragoon, on August 15, 1944. This was conceived as a help to Eisenhower's forces fighting in Normandy by outflanking German forces in France. However, in the end, this was not crucial, in a way, since a breakout was achieved in Normandy before Dragoon was launched.
Dragoon was a contentious operation, because its launching severely weakened the American forces fighting in Italy, thus limiting their offensive capabilities in the final stages of that campaign. However, it was instrumental in the rapid liberation of Southern France and providing new supply ports; the Allied supply lines from invasion ports in Northern France were overextended. The operation saw a fundamental difference of strategy between the British Chiefs of Staff and the American Joint Chiefs of Staff and their respective governments. Originally called Anvil, the name was changed by Winston Churchill, who claimed to having been "dragooned" into accepting it. (Some sources describe this as "Operation Anvil-Dragoon.")
It was successful as an amphibious assault. Three divisions of the Seventh Army landed. The assault forces included units of the French Army B under Gen. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. With French and American forces established ashore in significant numbers, the Seventh Army and the French First Army were placed under 6th Army Group headquarters, commanded by Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers. This Army Group took up its position on the right wing of the forces on the Western Front.
Seventh Army succeeded in fighting its way through the defended defiles of the Vosges Mountains, and debouch onto the Alsatian Plain in late November, 1944. Seventh Army also became the first American army to reach the German Rhine River. Hard-fought battles were waged in the Alsace and Lorraine during the winter of 1944–45, in which Seventh Army got into substantial difficulties following the German Operation Nordwind. In the spring of 1945, Seventh Army crossed the Rhine River into Germany itself. Parts of the Black Forest and Bavaria were captured by Seventh Army, including Hitler's Alpine residence, the Berghof. The 103rd Infantry Division (United States) even entered into Northern Italy after taking Innsbruck, Austria on May 3, 1945 and linked up with the Fifth United States Army.
The Seventh Army did not remain active long after World War II. Along with the Third Army, it commanded the U.S. forces of occupation until March 31, 1946. A consolidation of forces then occurred, which saw the Seventh Army inactivated, with Third Army taking over its responsibilities. Seventh Army was reactivated for ten months from June 11, 1946 to March 15, 1947 at Atlanta, Georgia before being inactivated again.
The Seventh Army remained inactive until the Korean War, which proved to be a wake-up call to American policy-makers. As part of the build-up of forces in Germany, Seventh Army was reactivated in November 1950, based at Stuttgart. After the peace treaty with Germany was signed, it remained in the country to control the American ground forces committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defenses in Germany.
After the erection of the Berlin Wall, units were frequently deployed to this formation, until the military strength was at an all-time high (277,342 soldiers in June 1962). For most of the Cold War period, the forces assigned to the Seventh Army consisted of roughly two army corps of soldiers, V Corps and VII Corps. Frequent exercises were held to prepare the Seventh Army units for possible combat against Soviet forces. These included the enormous Exercise REFORGER or REturn of FORces to GERmany, which practised the reinforcing of American units in Germany with those from the United States itself, a vital task had war broken out between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
The strains on US Army personnel by the Vietnam War caused some soldiers from this European command to be sent to that war. However, the vital mission of holding the line against the Warsaw Pact meant that only small numbers of forces from Europe could take part. USAREUR's troop quality sharply declined for a number of years, as drugs and indiscipline wore away morale and combat capability. However the situation improved, as it did worldwide, as the All Volunteer Force changes was implemented during the 1980s.
The end of the Cold War saw large reductions of American forces in Germany. However, before these reductions could be implemented, the Persian Gulf War intervened. The Seventh Army itself did not take part, but VII Corps, one of its two constituent corps, was deployed, delivering the armored attack that smashed Iraqi forces. VII Corps units generally did not return to Germany after that war; but rather they moved directly back to the United States for deactivation. However, much of its heavy armaments, such as tanks and artillery was left in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The V Corps was thus left as the major combat component of Seventh Army. This remained the situation throughout the 1990s, with deployments of forces to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo punctuating the usual peacetime activities. A reorganisation in 1996 saw the reactivation of the 173d Airborne Brigade, based in Italy, the only major change after the departure of VII Corps.
The September 11, 2001 attacks did not directly affect the Seventh Army. However, the campaign in Iraq in 2003 did. The headquarters of V Corps was deployed to Iraq, as did 173rd Airborne Brigade, and after the campaign, 1st Armored Division followed for occupation duties. With parts of 1st Infantry Division also deployed in Iraq, and others on peacekeeping duties in the Balkans, Seventh Army was virtually stripped of combat formations. The return of 173rd Brigade, V Corps and 1st Armored Division in early 2004 was followed by the deployment of the rest of 1st Infantry Division for occupation duties.
Currently, U.S. Army's modularization transformation plan calls for the formation's major subordinate units — 1st Armored Division and 1st Infantry Division — to be relocated to the continental United States — Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Riley, Kansas, respectively. Replacing them will be the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, converted to a Stryker Brigade, and the 12th Aviation Brigade. V Corps will be deactivated, transferring most of its units and personnel to I Corps, III Corps, and XVIII Corps. Seventh Army, having been merged with US Army Europe since 1967, will remain merged, as was confirmed with the release of unit designations for the modular force in mid 1996. Actually HQ USAREUR and V Corps will merge to produce 'Seventh Army', which will have a deployable component.
Thus when the expected changes are finished the force in Europe will consist of Seventh Army HQ, aviation and combat service support, and three maneuver brigades: the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which will eventually expand to three airborne battalions, in Italy, and the Joint Task Force East, a brigade rotating from CONUS though two bases at Constanţa, Romania, apparently with the main facility at Mihail Kogălniceanu Airfield. Initially however, the JTF E will be provided by a rotational Stryker cavalry squadron from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. JTF E was originally planned to be called the Eastern Europe Task Force.
From 2008 to 2012-13, the two to three brigades listed above will be augmented by the 170th Infantry Brigade and the 172nd Infantry Brigade, 'reflagged' former V Corps/1st Armored Division formations. Thus from 2008 to 2013, the force will consist of two heavy brigades combat teams, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
Chief of Staff: Brigadier General (Promotable) Robert B. Brown