5th Armored Division
World War II
Activated: 10 October 1941.
Overseas: 11 February 1944.
Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.
Days of combat: 161.
Distinguished Unit Citations: 4
Awards: DSC-15 ; DSM-1 : SS-437; LM-13; DFC-2 ; SM-12 ; BSM-2,148 ; AM-54.
Maj. Gen. Jack W. Heard (October 1941 February 1943)
Maj. Gen. Lunsford E. Oliver (March 1943-June 1945)
Brig. Gen. Morrill Ross (June-September 1945)
Maj. Gen. Holmes E. Dager (September 1945 to inactivation).
Returned to U.S.: 8 October 1945.
Inactivated: 11 October 1945.
Reactivated: 6 July 1948.
The 5th Armored Division landed at Utah Beach, 24 July 1944, and moved into combat on 2 August, driving south through Coutances, Avranches, and Vitre, and across the Mayenne River to seize the city of Le Mans, 8 August. Turning north, the Division forged the steel ring around the Germans in Normandy by advancing to the edge of the city of Argentan on 12 August-8 days before the Argentan-Falaise Gap was closed. Turning Argentan over to the 90th Infantry Division, the 5th Armored advanced 80 miles to capture the Eure River Line at Dreux on 16 August. Bitter fighting was encountered in clearing the Eure-Seine corridor, the second big trap in France. The 5th passed through Paris 30 August to spearhead V Corps drive through the Compiegne Forest, across the Oise, Aisne, and Somme Rivers, and reached the Belgian border at Conde, 2 September. The Division then turned east, advancing 100 miles in 8 hours, and crossed the Meuse at Charleville-Mezieres, 4 September. Racing past Sedan, it liberated Luxembourg City on the 10th and deployed along the German border. The reconnaissance squadron of the Division sent a patrol across the German border on the afternoon of 11 September to be the first of the Allies to cross the enemy frontier. On 14 September the 5th penetrated the Siegfried Line at Wallendorf, remaining until the 20th, to draw off enemy reserves from Aachen. In October it held defensive positions in the Monschau-Hofen sector. The Division entered the Hurtgen Forest area in late November and pushed the enemy back to the banks of the Roer River in very heavy fighting. On 22 December it was withdrawn to Verviers and placed in 12th Army Group reserve. Crossing the Roer on 25 February 1945 the 5th spearheaded the XIII Corps drive to the Rhine, crossing the Rhine at Wesel, 30 March 1945. The Division reached the banks of the Elbe at Tangermunde, 12 April-45 miles from Berlin. On 16 April, the 5th moved to Klotze to wipe out the Von Clausewitz Panzer Division and again drove to the Elbe, this time in the vicinity of Dannenberg. The Division mopped up in the 9th Army sector until VE-day.
Assignments in the ETO
3 March 1944: Third Army.
29 March 1944: XX Corps.
17 June 1944: XII Corps.
31 July 1944: Third Army.
1 August 1944: XV Corps, Third Army, 12th Army Group.
24 August 1944: Attached to First Army.
26 August 1944: XV Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
29 August 1944: V Corps.
29 November 1944: VII Corps.
20 December 1944: Attached, with the entire First Army, to the British 21st Army Group.
23 December 1944: V Corps.
18 January 1945: V Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
27 January 1945: XIX Corps, Ninth Army (attached to the British 21st Army Group), 12th Army Group.
29 January 1945: XVI Corps.
1 February 1945: XIII Corps.
4 April 1945: XIII Corps, Ninth Army, 12th Army Group.
4 May 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps.
8 May 1945: XVIII Corps.
Nickname: Victory Division. Shoulder patch: Same as the 1st Armored Division with number “5” in upper portion of triangle. Association: 5th Armored Division Association, 4612 Center Avenue, Lyons, Ill. (Mr. Louis F. Filas, secretary). Publication: Fifth Armored Division News; quarterly, published by the 5th Armored Division Association. The Victory Division in Europe; U. S. Army 5th Armored Division; Gotha, Englehard-Reyhersche Hofbuchdruckerei; 102 pp.