[Twelfth Armored Division, Scrapbook 6] Page: 81 of 220
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EXCERPTS FROM "25th ANNIVERSARY"
Compiled, edited and written
LEONARD P. DOOLEY
THE STORY OF THE 12th ARMORED DIVISION
"The defeat of Germany was quickened by the speed of the American armor.
Quote from Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt.
Speed was the 12th Armored Divisionfs password in five months of
constant combat against Germany—speed coupled with deft, devastating
In lightning thrusts, the Hellcat Division roared across the Saar
Palatinate to the Rhine in less than three days; ripped from the Rhine
to the Austrian border in 37 days. Swiftness, adroitness enabled the
12th to snap the steel trap on the Colmar pocket. Speed made possible
the division's seizure of the bridge at Dillingen where the first
C G C C "A" issued orders about midnight, 66th AIB was to again
attack the Stoinwald Woods at daylight, 17th AIB less "C" Co., to
attack the town of Herrlisheim from the south, the 43d TK Bn.
(strength at this time, 17 med. tks.) to move up behind 17th AIB, swing
around through a woods east of the town, and attack the town from the
17th AIB moved to assembly position and launched their attack,
Co's. A and B abreast, Co. A on the right; the Germans were taken
by surprise, their outpost position overrun and two hundred fifty
(250) prisoners taken. 17th AIB in initial attack took the south half
of the town.
43d Tk. Bn. attacked from the east at the same time, but were
met by German tanks in the town and came under fire from two ground
mount 88's located N.E. of the town. Their losses were very heavy.
They managed to get into the town with five tanks, which were put out
of action in a very short time. Survivors took up a defensive posi-
tion in some buildings in the edge of town where they held out
until about 1700 hours.
American troops crossed the Danube. This same killing pace sent
the spearheading 12th winging 59 miles through enemy territory in
less than nine hours!
Early May 3, 1945, the 23rd Tank Bn. crossed the Austrian border,
the division's objective, at Kufstein. There the mad drive halted
halted because a disorganized and defeated enemy no longer opposed
it. ---- Germany's unconditional surrender followed on May 8. The
combat job in Europe was complete. -----
The Hellcat's stars represented the blue chip battles, the battles
of the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and central Europe. Men of the
12th had earned those stars the hard way. -----
Much of the going was tough. Besides piercing the Maginot and
Siegfried lines, "Bloody Herrlisheim," a little town north of
Strasbourg, where the inexperienced Hellcats paid a terrific price
for combat seasoning, will never be forgotten.
The 12th waged its only actual defensive battle of the war at
Herrlisheim when it smacked into a numerically superior and well
entrenched enemy. But while sustaining many casualties, the
Hellcats thwarted repeated German attempts to break out of the
riverhead pocket and strike south toward the political prize of
Strasbourg. It was here that the 12th was dubbed the "Suicide
Division" by the Germans, who eventually withdrew still puzzled
by American tenacity. Later, according to Nazi POWs, Hellcats
became one of the two most feared divisions on the Western Front.
The other outfit was the fabulous 4th Armored.
The Hellcat Division came of age at Herrlisheim. After that battle,
it never was stopped. Its strokes were swift, sure. Loaned to Gen.
George S. Patton, Jr., the 12th became the "Mystery Division"
spearhead for Third Army's sensational dash from Trier to the Rhine.
On its return to Seventh Army, the Division blazed a route through
the Redoubt into Austria.
During its five months of combat, 12th Armored captured 70,166 German
prisoners, seven times its own strength. Hellcat columns blasted
through 3,000 cities and towns. Airfields, factories, ammunition
and supply dumps fell before the armor as it pierced deep into
Germany. Many railroad supply trains were shot up or captured;
thousands of enemy vehicles and weapons were destroyed.
The 12th was a blue chip division!
The history of the POWs of the 12th ADA will continue to be developed,
as long as we live and beyond. This is a start.
tell the hen to meah theih helmets sabgeanti
After the surprise of our initial attack, the German forces, approxi-
mately an Inf. Reg't. reinforced with tks. rallied and 17th AIB
(-"C" Co.) were unable to advance further as the Germans began
counter attacks from the north, and also from three different
positions east of the town.
Repeated requests were made to C C A for reinforcements, as 17th
AIB suffered very heavy casualties, during the forenoon Bn S-3 went
back to C C A to explain to them our position and ask for help,
during the afternoon the S-2 went back for the same purpose, no help
was given, and permission to withdraw was denied.
At dark that night 17 Jan., 17th AIB organized a series of platoon
strong points in an attempt to hold the ground taken. The platoons
averaged a strength of about twenty (20) men at this time.
The battle continued through the night in hand to hand fighting,
as the Germans outnumbered us, and managed to infiltrate between our
platoon positions, and the Bn. C. 0. and those in the C.P. surrendered
at about 0445, as the building we were using for a C.P. was on fire.
They had a tk. in position and had fired through the C.P. twice, and
as our platoon positions had all been overrun, there was nothing left
to fight with.
Lt. Col. Clayton W. Wells, C.O. 66th AIB was fully acquainted with
our situation, as he visited my C.P. at about 2000 hours 17 Jan. on
his way back to C C A, and could verify most of the things in the a-
Lt. Col. Nicholas Novosel C. 0. 43d TR. Bn. is also familiar with
most of the events given above. His present whereabouts are not
known to me, as he was wounded and also captured by the Germans.
The above statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge,
and can be verified in detail by officers of my Bn. who were
captured with me.
(signed) James W. Logan
James W. Logan, 0-288875
Name of Prisoner of War Camp or Camps in which imprisoned, and length
of time served in each - Baden-Baden 19 Jan.-21 Jan. 1945; Stalag 5 -
A (Ludwigsburg) 22 Jan. - 9 Feb. 1945; Oflag XIIIB (Hammelberg)10 Feb.
26 Mar. 1945; Escaped XIIIB 26 Mar. returned to German control
3 April '45. Oflag XIII D Nurnberg 6 April - 17 April liberated.
FROM INTERVIEW OF RECOVERED PERSONNEL 8 Aug. 1945
During the early part of January, '45, 12th Armored Division was
in the 7th Army Reserve, and was moved to the vicinity of Hagenow,
assigned to VI Corps. C C "B" was attached to 79th Div. and launched
an attack against the town of Herrlisheim which was the center of
the German bridgehead established across the Rhine river, S.E. of
C C "B"'s attack was repulsed with heavy losses. They were forced to
withdraw to defensive position, west of the Zorn River. Co. "C"
17th Arm'd Infantry Bn. was attached to C C "B".
At daylight 16 January C C "A" attacked the German bridghead south
of Herrlisheim. Plan of attack was as follows: French 3d Div.
the adjacent unit on our right (south) attack Gambesheim, 66th AIB
plus 1 Med. Tk. Co. attack the Stoinwald Woods (N.W. of Gambesheim)
43d Tk. Bn., supported by 17th AIB to bypass the Stoinwald Woods on
the north and attack the village of Offendorf which was about 1000
yds. east of Stoinwald Woods.
The attack by the French failed to gain any ground, the 66th AIB
was repulsed with heavy losses, which made it impossible to bypass
the Stoinwald Woods, and 43d Tk. Bn. and 17th AIB withdrew and dug in
for the night just east of the Zorn River.
The battle continued through the night
in hand to hand fighting. The Germans
outnumbered us and managed to infiltrate
between our platoon positions and the
Battalion Command Post. We surrendered
at about 0445, as the building we were
using for a C.P. was on fire, one of
their tanks had fired through it twice,
all our platoon positions had been
overrun, and there was nothing left to
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United States. Army. 12th Armored Division. [Twelfth Armored Division, Scrapbook 6], book, Date Unknown; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth639084/m1/81/?q=Concentration: accessed September 23, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum.