US 5th Armored Division

5th Armored Division US 5th Armored Division in Normandy
and France


The 5th Armored Division was activated on 10 October 1941 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Like the 4th and 6th Armored Divisions, the 5th Armored Division by 1944 was organized under the flexible "combat command" concept introduced in 1943. The previous organization, with two armored regiments (four medium and two light tank battalions) and one armored infantry regiment (three battalions) had proved too large and too tank heavy, though two divisions (2nd and 3rd) remained in this configuration until the end of the war.

The 1943 Armored division contained three tank battalions (each with one light and three medium tank companies), three Armored Infantry battalions, three self-propelled field artillery battalions, a mechanized cavalry squadron and various support units. Regimental headquarters were abolished in favour of two combat command headquarters to which the combat battalions and other division assets could be attached as required. These headquarters were designated Combat Command A (CCA) and Combat Command B (CCB).

M4A1 Shermans race through Normandy

In 1944, a small "reserve" combat command headquarters (CCR) was also authorized. There were also headquarters units for the division artillery and the division trains (logistical support units).

The 5th Armoured Division through Normandy

5th Armored Division (Victory) 1944

Headquarters
Headquarters Company, 5th Armored Division
Combat Command A (CCA)
Combat Command B (CCB)
Headquarters, Reserve Command (CCR)

Armor
10th Tank Battalion
34th Tank Battalion
81st Tank Battalion

Armored Infantry
15th Armored Infantry Battalion
46th Armored Infantry Battalion
47th Armored Infantry Battalion

Division Artillery
47th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion
95th Armored Field Artillery Battalion

Recon
85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Battalion, Mechanized

Engineers
22nd Armored Engineer Battalion

Tank Destroyers
628th Tank Destroyer Battalion (attached 2 August 1944 - 19 December 1944)
629th Tank Destroyer Battalion (attached 29 August 1944 - 14 December 1944)

Anti-aircraft Artillery
387th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion (attached 1 August 1944 - 25 March 1945)

M7 Priest HMC and infantry
After much training in the US the 5th Armored Division was finally sent to the United Kingdom, arriving in February 1944. The division was commanded by Major General Lunsford E. Oliver.

The division was not initially involved in the D-Day landings, but was finally shipped across the channel and onto Utah Beach on 24 July 1944. It was committed to combat on 2 August as part of XV Corps of Patton’s 3rd Army. The unit swept between Coutances and St Lo, across the Selune River thus starting the division’s 300-mile exploitation behind the German 7th Army.
They advanced south through Avranches and Vitré, and across the Mayenne River to seize the city of Le Mans on 8 August. They meet only light opposition as their rapid advance swept around the east of Le Mans cutting off the escape routes of the German 9. Panzerdivision and an attached kampfgruppe of the 708. Infanteriedivision.

The division then turned north and began the squeeze on the German escape route out of central Normandy by advancing to the edge of the city of Argentan on 12 August, eight days before the Argentan-Falaise Gap was finally closed.

The 5th Armored Division turned Argentan over to the 90th Infantry Division and drove east 80 miles to capture the Eure River Line at Dreux on 16 August. Moving northeast the division was engaged in heavy fighting clearing the Eure-Seine corridor. This successful plunge to the south bank of the Seine won the 5th Armored Division Corps commendation for the action.

Start of September saw the 5th Armored Division ready to begin a 130-mile push from Paris north to Belgium. The division passed through Paris on 30 August to spearhead V Corps drive through the Compiègne Forest.  The division cut through the Compiègne Forest, crossed the Olse and Aisne Rivers, and then the Somme. They reached the Belgian border at Condé on 2 September.

New orders sent the unit racing east another 100 miles in just 8 hours to the Meuse River, advancing southeast below the Belgium border. They crossed the Meuse at Charleville-Mézières on 4 September. Racing past Sedan, it liberated Luxembourg City on 10 September and deployed along the German border. 

Advancing along a road

The reconnaissance squadron of the division sent a patrol across the German border in the vicinity of Stalzembourg on the afternoon of 11 September to be the first of the Allies to cross the enemy frontier. On 14 September the 5th Armoured Division penetrated the Siegfried Line at Wallendorf, remaining there until 20 September, to draw off enemy reserves from Aachen.

The division then participated in the Rhineland, Adrennes-Alsace and Central Europe campaigns during the remainder of 1944 and 1945. The division's losses included 570 killed in action, 2,442 wounded in action, and 140 who died of wounds. The division returned to the United States in October 1945 and was deactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on 11 October 1945.

Overlord

In Flames Of War

Options for the 5th Armored Division are now featured in Overlord (see page 251).

5th Armored Division Equipment

The 5th Armoured Division’s Tank Destroyer Platoons must be armed with M10 3in GMC Tank destroyers.

The Tank Platoons cannot be upgraded to M4A1 (76mm) Sherman tanks.

The Assault Gun Platoon of a Tank Company must be armed with M4 (105mm) Sherman tanks. The Assault Gun Platoon of an Armored Rifle Company must be armed with M8 Scott HMC.

4th Armored Division during Operation Cobra...

6th Armored Division during Operation Cobra...  

Operation Cobra... 


Last Updated On Tuesday, December 03, 2013 by Wayne at Battlefront