7th Armored Division Document Repository
World War II Documents of and related to U. S. 7th Armored Division
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7th Armd Div Patch

| Finding Aids | Pre-Combat | Aug 44 | Sep 44 | Oct 44 | Nov 44 | Dec 44 |
| Jan 45 | Feb 45 | Mar 45 | Apr 45 | May 45 | Post-Combat | Special | Post-war Memoirs | IMAGES |
| Microsoft Word Viewer | Microsoft Excel Viewer | Adobe PDF File Reader |

Toward an Accurate & Complete Record of the 7th Armored Division

It is often said that "those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them". But if what is considered to be "history" is not accurate, then the lessons supposedly learned are not the lessons of history, and the suffering will be repeated. While you can come to the study of history with a hypothesis, you must be willing to alter or abandon that hypothesis if the accurate record proves that hypothesis to be wrong. If you are coming to "history" with a pre-conceived notion and seeking facts to confirm that notion and to attempt to force-fit the historical record to conform to your preconceived notion, then you are not seeking the truth of history, and you will not learn the lessons of history.

7th Armored Division Webmaster Understudy Needed
Volunteer 7th Armored Division Historians Needed

NEW New January-June 2014 NEW
(Names in parens are transcribers or sources of material)
Black are transcription documents. Red are images or audio-visual files

  • 7AD
    • 17th Tank Battalion
      • Company C
        • Individual Deceased Personnel File of Gerald James A'hearn (KIA 5 Oct 1944) in the IMAGES folder
        • Individual Deceased Personnel File of Robert W. Denny (KIA 29 Oct 1944) in the IMAGES folder
        • Individual Deceased Personnel File of Leo W. Goers (KIA 29 Oct 1944) in the IMAGES folder
    • 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion
      • Company C
        • Individual Deceased Personnel File of Manuel N. Cuellar (KIA 3 Oct 1944) in the IMAGES folder
    • 87th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
      • Troop D
        • Individual Deceased Personnel File of Francis F. La Shomb (KIA 21 Dec 1944) in the IMAGES folder


About this Site

This is an auxiliary web site to the 7th Armored Division Association web site. This site began as a temporary storage (since my AOL space for 7AD was all consumed) for text-only documents that I (Wesley Johnston) had gathered in my 2004 research trip (6,200+ pages), as part of my effort to find the answers needed to write an accurate WWII combat history of 38th Armored Infantry Battalion. It has since expanded to include some of the 15,000+ pages of documents from my 2005 research trip, records I had obtained before 2004, and records that have been sent to me since the site began. In October 2005, about 15 volunteer 7th Armored Division historians began adding to the transcription effort, so that posting of new documents has accelearated since then.

I began this work in 1994 but have had to drop most or all of it for many years, due to severe health limitations. While my health has improved sufficiently to at least resume a cautious attempt to finally do the research and the writing, this is an immense project. 38 AIB was badly mauled several times during World War II, often losing the officers who knew the most about the events. Thus there are very significant battles for which only very sketchy accounts have existed in prior histories. It has cost me many MANY thousands of dollars and many MANY thousands of hours to try to find the shattered and scattered fragments of what happened in these battles and piece them back together into the accurate story of what happened -- and not settle for sketchy speculations about events that took place and are forever fixed in history, with very real implications for the men who were involved and for their families for the rest of time after those events. We owe it to them to understand the story as accurately as it can now be known, and that is what I am determined to do.

As of May 11, 2009, I have added many images to a directory that has thus far been non-public. As of May 11, 2009, that directory is now public. Click here to see the folder of the images that have thus far been uploaded for you to download. You will have to navigate to the image file and then right click on it to download it or left click to open and view it (if you have a viewer - files are PDF, TIF, JPG).

You can find the latest status on the writing of that history by clicking here. For the latest status on my health and my ability to respond to e-mails, follow the "What's New" link at the top of this page. For information about contacting me, click here.


The Documents and How to Use Them Best

CAVEAT: The bulk of the information that is on the 7th Armored Division web pages has arisen from the records and the 10+ years of expertise that I have garnered during the search for the history of 38 AIB. I have published indexed and annotated accounts of some of those records, since people have asked me to at least do that much prior to the writing of the history of 38 AIB. (They also wanted to contribute to the effort, and this allowed them to contribute in a way that they also had something for it.) The introductions and annotations that I have added to those publications are required for most people, in order to be able to understand and to place into context -- and even to correct errors in -- what the records are saying. In other words, the introductions and annotations are necessary to make accurate sense of the records. The records presented on this auxiliary web site do NOT include any such introductions and annotations. These are the raw transcriptions (with a very few grammatical or spelling corrections in some rare cases) of the original records. I have hesitated to do this sort of publication of raw documents, since they can easily be mis-interpreted and lead people to seriously wrong conclusions, if they are not placed within the context of all else that is known about the events and if they are not evaluated within the overall context, which may show that some of what they report was in error.

If you do not have Microsoft Word or Excel, then you will need to download and install the Microsoft Word Viewer and the Microsoft Excel Viewer in order to be able to read the Word documents or the Excel spreadsheets with the Morning Report information. (Click on the words "Microsoft Word Viewer" or "Microsoft Excel Viewer" in the previous sentence to follow the links to download and install the software.) There are a few links to external PDF files. You need to have Adobe PDF File Reader to read the PDF files.

The organization has grown a bit muddy as the flood of new documents being added has increased. I originally had a sharp distinction between primary and secondary records. That was muddied by official and non-official documents written shortly after the period, such as the March 1945 Unit History of 31st Tank Battalion or the immediate-post-war history of the 203rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion. At this time, the priority is on transcribing and posting as many records as possible while veterans are still alive to answer the questions that arise from the documents. So someday, I do need to go over the organizational structure with an eye to primary vs. secondary sources. But that someday has not yet arrived, and the efforts on this site continue to be focused on the rapid posting of accurate transcripts.

How to Search the List of Documents

The documents exist in single copies, mostly as Microsoft Word documents. A footnote or other notice at the beginning of each document tells where the original is held and how to locate it there. This is a repository, plain and simple. So, I am not going to make this a very sophisticated site. All of the records are listed below by month. My first concentration is on France, which means August and September 1944. Second concentration is combat in Holland, September-November 1944. But other records are also included for later (and a few earlier) events. If you are looking for a specific unit, the sub-groupings are by unit. So either scroll down or use your browser's FIND function to search for the unit, and if you do not find it, look for the unit to which it was attached. Once you are in a document, use your browser's BACK button to return to this page. (The numbers in parentheses after each document are the file sizes. Larger files will take longer to download.)

Making the Most of the Documents for a Specific Company or Battalion

If you are researching a specific battalion, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to read only the documents for that battalion.

The battalions were always attached to other units, usually one or more of the three Combat Commands or sometimes to a Task Force within one of the Combat Commands or sometimes to a unit outside of 7th Armored Division. For example, the most common configuration of one of the Combat Commands was to have attached one of the three artillery battalions, one of the three armored infantry battalions, and one of the three tank battalions, as well as a company of the engineer battalion, a troop of the reconnaissance squadron and a company of the tank destroyer battalion. Thus the reports of the Combat Command as well as those of any of the other battalions attached to the same Combat Command are very likely to contain references to the specific battalion for which you are seeking information.

In particular, the After Action Reports of the artillery units are very comprehensive. Often they are better records of what the Combat Command -- and any of the elements attached to the Combat Command -- was doing than are the reports of the Combat Command.

And the artillery reports are sometimes even more informative about another battalion than that battalion's own reports are. For example, the January 1945 38th Armored Infantry Battalion's After Action Report of 21 January 1945 makes no reference to the fact (as the 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion's After Action Report does tell) that while 38 AIB was attached that day to CCR, C/38 was attached to CCB and moved to a location south of Born, Belgium.

So the bottom line is that if you want to really know what a specific company or battalion was doing, do the following:

  1. Read that battalion's reports (and that company's reports, if there are any shown)
  2. Establish which Combat Commands and/or Task Forces and/or other units that the company or battalion was attached to for the period of your interest.
  3. Read the reports of those other units. Even if they do not specifically mention the specific company or battalion for which you are looking, they are describing the events that included that company or battalion.

Finally, be careful to watch for attachments of individual squads or platoons to other elements than the rest of the company. These were rare, but they did happen.

To help with putting together where they were and when, please use the map and brief chronology below to figure out which month(s) you want to read about.

7th Armored Division Box Score (small)
Click on the map for a larger version (77K JPG).
| Finding Aids | Pre-Combat | Aug 44 | Sep 44 | Oct 44 | Nov 44 | Dec 44 |
| Jan 45 | Feb 45 | Post-Feb 45 | Special | Post-war Memoirs |

Many Document Images Now Available
Since we now have virtually unlimited web space since May 2008, many of the images of documents are now included in the Images folder. Click on the "Images" link at the top of this page, under the 7th Armored Division patch, to go to the main page of the images. Even though many of these files are transcribed into searchable text files (below on this page), these transcribed files do not contain the maps, overlays, and photographs that are included in many of the original records. But all of those images are included in the Images folder. In addition, the Images folder contains the images of a great many documents that are not included among the transcriptions on this page.

Finding Aids - National Archives Finding Aids
The National Archives has created a number of Finding Aids for their records on World War II. The main purpose of these Finding Aids is to know what codes to use and which boxes to use on a "pull" order, which is the order that you write to instruct the Archives as to which boxes that you want them to pull from the storage shelves for you to examine in the reading room. I have copied and transcribed the following Finding Aids.

The National Archives web site also has a page on World War II National Archives Finding Aids. In particular, the National Archives Reference Information Papers (RIPs) include several that are very deep on WWII material. Some of the WWII RIPs are online -- but not all of them; click here for the complete list of all of the NARA RIPs, WWII and other.

I have written a separate web page on How to Conduct Effective Research on WWII Unit Records at National Archives II.


Finding Aids - Military History Institute Finding Aids
The Military History Institute (Carlisle, PA) has many collections, including the Hatlem Collection of aerial photographs of European battle sites made in the late 1940's. The aerial photos in the green books (the Center of Military History's official series of hsitories of the U. S. Army in World War II) are from the Hatlem Collection. The collection is being digitized, and a new finding aid may be created. The fragmentary finding aid below is an Excel spreadsheet transcription of most of the index for France, taken from the old index.


Other Finding Aids


Before 1944-08 (August 1944) - Prior to Combat
Activated March 1, 1942 at Camp Polk, Louisiana, the 7th Armored Division took part in Louisiana Maneuvers (along the Texas-Louisiana border), went to Camp Coxcomb for desert training in California, returned east to Fort Benning in Georgia, and then traveled north to await transport, finally boarding the Queen Mary at New York on June 6, 1944. They sailed to Scotland, went by train to Tidworth Barracks in Wiltshire, England, and then in August 1944 crossed the English Channel to go ashore on the former invasion beaches -- Utah and Omaha -- in France.

The original organization of the Division was changed on September 20, 1943. The diagram below shows how the reorganization transformed the original organization into the organization that the Division used for the remainder of its existence.

7th Armd Div Patch

1944-08 (August 1944) - England, Channel, France
In August 1944, 7AD moved from Tidworth Barracks in England to the Marshaling Area and then boarded landing ships at Southampton and sailed to France. The men and equipment came ashore on both Omaha and Utah Beaches, spread over nearly a week. I know that HQ CCA landed 10 August and that 38 AIB landed 11 and 12 August (11 Aug: Bn HQ, Sv Co, C Co; 12 Aug: HQ Co, A Co, B Co; Not yet known: Med Det). The initial plans for the Division had to be changed, since it took so long to unload the men and equipment and assemlble the Division. Ultimately, the Division went into combat attached to XX Corps (along with 5th Infantry Division), which was attached to Third U. S. Army. The Division's major combat sites during the month were at Chartres (15-18), Melun (22-25) and then in places all along a rapid drive to Verdun. There was a brief period south of Dreux, after the liberation of Chartres.
SPECIAL NOTES FOR AUGUST:
  • I have compiled many 7AD documents into a fully indexed and annotated book, with an introduction that contains nine original maps, which I created from the information in the documents. Click here for more information.
  • I have compiled, annotated, indexed and written an introduction for several 7th Armored Division Hospital Interviews that cover August-September 1944. Click here for more information. http://www.7tharmddiv.org/docrep/images/7AD/Wartime%20Publications/From-the-Beaches-to-the-Baltic.pdf

    1944-09 (September 1944) - France, Belgium, Holland
    Most of September was in France, under XX Corps. A feint to the north was made in early September, but the combat from 6-25 September was all focused on the area around Metz, with extremely heavy casualties. Following the failure of Operation Market-Garden in Holland (made famous in the book and movie "A Bridge Too Far", the Allies had to defend a long salient. So 7th Armored Division left France and XX Corps on 25 September to move north through Belgium into Holland, to protect the right (east) flank of the salient. From 25 September and for the rest of the month, 7AD was transferred to XIX Corps, First U. S. Army. The first combat began with an attack by CCA at Overloon, Holland.
    SPECIAL NOTES FOR SEPTEMBER:

  • I have compiled, annotated, indexed and written an introduction for several 7th Armored Division Hospital Interviews that cover August-September 1944. Click here for more information.

    1944-10 (October 1944) - Holland
    October began with the continuing attacks by the Division at Overloon, which continued back and forth until 7 October, with heavy casualties. The Division then moved from XIX Corps, First U. S. Army to VIII Corps, Second British Army, where they remained for the rest of the month. Combat was engaged with attacks by Division elements (including 38 AIB) at Griendtsveen. The Division then went into a defensive role west of Meijel. It was through Meijel that the Germans launched a large counter-attack on 28 October, which began fierce combat that lasted into November, with heavy casualties.
    NOTE: There are very significant post-war studies included for this month. Either click here or scroll down past the specific units to see these studies.

    Click on the map for a large map (601K) showing the coordinate grid for the Meijel-Weert-Deurne area of the Netherlands (in provinces of Noord Brabant and Limburg).
    Grid Map of Meijel-Weert-Deurne area
    Many of the documents listed below for this month make references to grid coordinates that can be precisely located using this map. The map has vertical (East-West) grid lines from 94 to 00 to 21 and horizontal (North-South) grid lines from 55 to 75.
    Click here for a special page about the 7AD tanks lost at Overloon.
  • Post-war Sources

    1944-11 (November 1944) - Holland, Germany
    November began with a new Division commander: Gen. Hasbrocuk assumed command of the relieved Gen. Silvester, as of 2400 on 31 October. The fierce German counter-attack through Meijel continued. The Division remained in combat, suffering heavy casualties, until November 7, when relieved by British and Scottish troops. The Division then became part of Ninth U. S. Army, XIII Corps, on 9 November 1944. The Division, which had suffered maulings in September, October and November, had many new replacements, so that extensive reorganization and retraining were undertaken during the rest of November, as they remained out of combat in southeastern Holland. Some elements of the Division crossed into Germany on 28 November, to bivouac at Ubach, north of Aachen, as the Division prepared for new attacks in December.
    NOTE: There are very significant post-war studies included for the combat in Holland for this month. Either click here or scroll down past the specific units to see these studies.

    Click on the map for a large map (601K) showing the coordinate grid for the Meijel-Weert-Deurne area of the Netherlands (in provinces of Noord Brabant and Limburg).
    Grid Map of Meijel-Weert-Deurne area
    Many of the documents listed below for this month make references to grid coordinates that can be precisely located using this map. The map has vertical (East-West) grid lines from 94 to 00 to 21 and horizontal (North-South) grid lines from 55 to 75.


    1944-12 (December 1944) - Holland, Germany, Belgium
    December began with the units of 7th Armored Division out of combat, on both sides of the Dutch-German border, with Ubach, Germany as the east end, which is where 38 AIB was. 7AD was attached to XIII Corps, Ninth U. S. Army. 38 AIB moved up for combat at Setterich and Leitferth, Germany (2-7) and then back to Ubach. At least C/38 was attached to the 334th Infantry Regiment of 84th Infantry Division during the time at Setterich and Leitferth. On 17 December, the Division moved south in two columns to the Vielsalm-St. Vith area of Belgium, where they were in combat until 23 December, during which they were under VIII Corps (along with 106th Infantry Division and elements of 9th Armored Division, 28th Infantry Division and other units), First U. S. Army and then under XVIII Airborne Corps (along with 82nd Airborne Division and 106ht Infantry Division), First U. S. Army. After pulling back from the Vielsalm-St. Vith area, the Division saw combat in the Grandmenil-Manhay-Malemprι area (24-29), before being pulled north for reorganization, still under XVIII Airborne Corps, First U. S. Army.

    SPECIAL NOTES FOR DECEMBER:
    I have compiled, annotated, indexed and written an introduction for St. Vith and Manhay-Grandmenil combat interviews of most 7th Armored Division units. These records also contain many maps, created at the time of the interviews. Click here for more information on these and links to other December 1944 books that I have prepared.


    1945

    1945-01 (January 1945) - Belgium
    (Off the top of my head paragraph -- need to research exact dates and attachments later) The Division moved north to the area around Aywaille and then around Verviers, undergoing resupply and reorganization from about 7-14 January. The Division went back into combat about January 20, moving south, with some elements passing once again through the crossroads at Baugnez, where the frozen bodies of the men killed in the "Malmιdy Massacre" were still in the snow. (38 AIB and 17 Tank had cleared the road junction 17 December 1944 only about an hour before the Germans captured the men that they would murder a few hours later.) The Division attacked south in bitter Winter weather, recapturing St. Vith on 23 January. Many men were lost temporarily due to the cold. The attack continued east of St. Vith. About 28 January, the Division was about to move north but orders were suddenly changed and an attack was made east of St. Vith. The move north was then made and at month's end the Division was in the area of Baelen, Belgium, out of combat.


    1945-02 (February 1945) - Germany, Belgium
    The Division remained attached to V Corps of First US Army throughout February, being in SHAEF Reserve for part of February 28. In the first week of the month, CCR was attached to 78th Infantry Division for attacks on Strauch, Simmerath, Steckenborn, and other towns in the area of the Huertgen Forest. The Division remained in the area of Steckenborn, Germany throughout the month, waiting for the flood waters to recede after the Germans destroyed major dams in the Allies' path. However, large contingents of men were sent back into Belgium and attached to Engineer Combat Battalions (e.g. most of the men of 38 AIB were attached to 1110 Engrs at Stavelot) from February 12 to February 27, for use as laborers in using logs to build a solid base for the torn-up roads through the Ardennes Forest.


    1945-03 (March 1945) - Germany
    Took part in two major breakthroughs with a two-week period in between in which they established and maintained an important defensive position. The first breakthrough came early in March when the Division, as part of the III Corps, pushed east from the ROER RIVER to establish a defensive position along the west bank of the RHINE. The second major breakthrough came when the Division, still under III Corps control, took part in an armored offensive intended to break the thin crust ringing the REMAGEN Bridgehead and overrun the rich farmland to the east and north.

  • Post-war Sources

    1945-04 (April 1945) - Germany
    Preventing breakout from the Ruhr Pocket (attachement of CCA to VII Corps in First US Army); 5-16 April - Reducing the Ruhr Pocket (III Corps, FUSA); interlude at Dransfeld, Germany (V Corps, FUSA); move to the Baltic Sea (XVIII Airborne Corps, Second British Army).


    1945-05 (May 1945) - Germany
    Lt. Knowlton of 87th Recon contacts the Russian; war ends with 7th Armored Division along the Baltic Sea.


    Post-Combat
    June - into the future Soviet zone of occupation - Dessau and Kφthen, pending President Truman's visit to Berlin on 4 July.
    July - move SW to the American zone of occupation.
    August - many transfers sent home to prepare for invasion of Japan.
    September - awaiting ships home, many transferred to other units to try to get them home sooner.
    October - ship home, inactivation of Division, some former 7AD men still in Europe.


    Special War-time Documents


    Memoirs and Similar Post-War Accounts
    I will not post copyrighted memoirs, unless I receive the author's approval.