4th Armored Division “By their deeds alone”: a brief overview of the division’s actions.

Cobra King tank in Bastogne 1944

To understand the story of the medical service of the 4th Armored Division it can be very helpful to have a brief overview of the division’s actions.

I will present you with a timeline, showing the main dates of interest in the division’s history.

I would like to start, however, by giving you an idea of the division’s accomplishments using the following statistics:

The 4th Armored Division served in Europe for 295 days. Of these, it served 280 days as part of Patton’s Third Army.

In ten months, the division took 90,354 prisoners in combat, killed an estimated 13,640 enemy soldiers, and wounded an estimated 30,000 more.

It destroyed or captured 579 German tanks, 3,668 other vehicles, 603 artillery and antitank guns, 1,172 horse-drawn wagons, 103 locomotives, and shot down 128 enemy aircraft.

The men and officers of the 4th AD won more than 4,000 individual decorations. Three were Congressional Medals of Honor, one of which was the first awarded in the Third Army. There were 34 Distinguished Service Crosses, 14 Legions of Merit, 802 Silver Stars, 1 Distinguished Flying Cross, and 3,031 Bronze Stars. There were more than 6,000 Purple Heart awarded to the personnel of the 4th AD (grimly known as the “German Marksmanship Medal”).

The division trains supplied the 4th AD with the 7,039,000 gallons of gasoline, 115,000 gallons of oil, and the 64,920 gallons of grease needed to move the division’s 2,500 vehicles across Europe.

The combat units of the division used 14,321,000 rounds of 30 caliber ammunition, 4,716,900 rounds of 50 caliber, 1,763,000 carbine cartridges, 460,600 rounds of 105mm howitzer, 57,700 rounds for the 75mm tank guns, and 49,864 rounds for the 76mm tank guns.

The 144th Signal Company laid 6,000 miles of wire, operators handled 6,760 messages linking the division to higher headquarters.

The 3804th Quartermaster Truck Company moved 7,476,750 ton-miles.

When Major General John S. Wood refused to give the division a nickname as was customary he famously stated that “they shall be known by their deeds alone”. For him, and for the men of the division, Fourth Armored Division was name enough. These numbers show us how right they were.

For more information on the 4th AD’s accomplishments I would like to invite you to read the two fantastic books written by Don Fox. You can find them at :www.pattonsvanguard.com.

4th Armored Division Timeline

Date4th Armored Division
15-Apr-41Activation ceremony for the 4th AD at Pine Camp, NY. 3800 troops present. General Henry Welles Baird is CO.
26-May -414th AD starts with 13 weeks of Basic Training. Troops strength “above 10,000”
01-May-42General John Shirley Wood takes over command of the division
01-Sep-424th AD takes part in the Tennessee Maneuvres.
13-Nov-42End of the Tennessee Maneuvres
01-Nov-424th AD moves to Desert Training Centre, California; March to June located at Camp Ibis, Ca
10-Jun-43Move to Camp Bowie, Texas; Loss of 23 Medical Officers, 6 Dental Officers and 8 MAC Officers due to transfers. Among them Div Surgeon (Carl W. Rumpf) and Medical Inspector Lt Col Harold S. O’Neill
10-Sep-43Reorganistation to a Light Armored Division;
11-Nov-434th AD receives orders to prepare for movement to England
Advanced Detachment 4th AD leaves for England under the command of Col. Starck (Div Trains)
29-Dec-434th AD ships from Boston to England
01-Feb-444th AD assigned to Third Army
14-Jul-44Most of the 4th AD has arrived in Normandy
17-Jul-44First unit of the 4th AD moves to frontline. 53rd AIB takes over part of the frontline of the 4th ID
18-Jul-44First KIA of the division: Lt James Duffy 53rd AIB. Possibly due to friendly fire
19-Jul-4410th AIB attacks Raids.It has to retreat leaving some wounded. These are attended to by Pfc Thomas Rankin, medic Co C.
20-Jul-44The fact that the Division is in France has been released for writing home.
21-Jul-4422 EM and 3 Off received as replacements
24-Jul-44169 EM and 2 Off received as replacements
25-Jul-444th AD witnesses the bombardement at the start of Operation Cobra.
26-Jul-44First POW taken by 24th AEB
27-Jul-444th AD pulled back from frontline to prepare for the coming offensive.
189 EM and 5 Off received as replacements
25-Jul-44Start of Operation Cobra at 9.38 A.M.
28-Jul-444th AD starts to take part in Operation Cobra 5.00 A.M.
CCB takes Coutances around 18.00hrs.
First Silver Star for Capt Frank Allen, Dental Corps CCB.
30-Jul-444th AD arrives at Avranches. Pvt William H. Whitson receives first DSC. 1500 POW. Col Louis Storck, Reserve Command Commander KIA
31-Jul-44While taking Avranches the division takes 4000 POW
01-Aug-44Activation of Third Army. 4th AD attacks south towards Rennes.
02-Aug-44CCA arrives at Rennes
05-Aug-444th AD attacks from Rennes towards Vannes
07-Aug-44German artillery bombardement at Pont Scroff, near Lorient, Brittany. 70 man wounded,12 killed.
09-Aug-44CCB at Lorient, CCA moves to Vannes to attack towards Nantes
13-Aug-444th AD is ordered to attack Orleans, under XII Corps, after being relieved by 6th AD at Lorient.
15-Aug-44CCB moves from Lorient to the Vendome region
16-Aug-44CCA attack Orleans
21-Aug-444th AD attacks east from Orleans.
25-Aug-44CCB crosses the Yonne rivier. TF West attacks Troyes, TF Oden reaches the Seine river.
At Troyes Pvt Antony Scarpa, medic 10th AIB is taken POW, treating wounded Germans during his captivitiy. He talked the Germans into surrendering when the 4th AD reached the hospital were he was held. He received a Silver Star for his actions.
Captain Silverman, 10th AIB Surgeon is intentionally shot together with one medic and their driver by SS-troops at Troyes.
26-Aug-44TF Oden crosses the Seine
28-Aug-44CCA crosses the Marne River
31-Aug-44CCA scrosses the Meuse river
4th AD- AAR: Since breaking the German line in Normandy the Division has advanced the axis of the army in excess of 700 miles. The majority of combat vehicles travelled in excess of 1,500 miles, supply vehicles have travelled over 3,000 miles.
01-Sep-44CCB crosses the Marne and the Meuse.
02-Sep-44Because of a lack of fuel the 4th AD is stopped at the Meuse river. Plans are made for the crossing of the Moselle river
11-Sep-44CCB crosses the Moselle. (8th TB)
13-Sep-44CCA crosses the Moselle
14-Sep-44Co A 46th AMB gets isolated around Arracourt while being assigned to CCA.
18-Sep-44First German attacks against CCA and CCR start the battle of Arracourt
23-Sep-44Lt. Col Fuller 126th ORD/ Maint Bn returns to Omaha Beach to receive replacement tanks. This means a 1200 miles journey. After returning the tank engines have to be repaired or replaced.
27-Sep-44Maj Mericle Div Psychiatrist reports a strong rise in “exhaustion cases”. Today 71 patients were send to the Division Rest Center.> 50% will return to their unit.
29-Sep-44Battle of Arracourt ends with the German attack on Hill 318 (CCB)
02-Oct-44Frontline is static. Extra clothing and extra blankets are requisitioned due to the cold. General Patton visited the 4th AD for a conference with General Wood. He tol Wood: “I consider the 4th Armored Division the finest Armored Division in the US Army”.
03-Oct-44Muliple units bring up their field kitchens to the frontline. This gives the men the first hot meal since the start of Operation Cobra.
6-Oct-44A considerable number of captured vehicles operated by units of the division haven been picked up by higher headquarters as being unauthorized. Efforts to secure authorization for retaining the vehicled haven been made but to date without results. It has been advised that even German Ambulances in use, will be picked up by Army if not registered.
7- Oct -4Trains have brought up the Duffel Bags from storage so the men can get out their winter clothes.
08-Oct-444th AD releaved by 26th ID. 4th AD remains responsible for the sector.
9-Oct-44All Red Cross Clubmobile in the Corps are now servicing units dispensing doughnuts, coffee and cheer.
12-Oct-444th AD pulled back from the front. First time since 17 July 1944 that no unit of the division is on the frontline.
13-Oct-445% of the 4th AD receive daypass for leave in Nancy between 12.00 en 20.00hrs
17-Oct-444th AD Div HQ moves from tents to buildings. They were the last to do so as it is the opinion of the Division Commander that so long as his troops were in the field he and his staff would remain there also. The Division receives “flotation grousers” for the tanktracks.
20-Oct-44Plans are made for the next offensive. 10th AIB makes testing ground for attacking the Siegfried linie.
27-Oct-44Daypasses to Nancy are changed to 10.00 tot 18.00hrs to have more daylight during the stay in Nancy.
31-Oct-444th AD requests the new sleepingbags for its personnel
06-Nov-44Patton meets with Gen Eddy and Gen Wood on the upcoming offensive.
07-Nov-444th AD receives orders to prepare for combat again
08-Nov-44Third Army starts Lorraine Offensive.
09-Nov-444th AD returns to combat: Lorraine offensive.
Due to mud Stuart tanks are used as ambulances. The first Weasels arrive. 4 ambulances and jeeps are lost to artillery fire.
14-Nov-44Maj Carpenter destroyes a German halftrack with a bazooka fired from his Piper Cub spotter plane: Rosie the Riveter.
16-Nov-444th AD is informed that it receives a Battle Credit for the Normandy Campaign (represented by a Campain Star on Theater Ribbon on the uniform).
17-Nov-44Dry socks are issued with the meals daily to prevent trenchfoot. 46th AMB treats 458 cases of trenchfoot and 684 Battle Casualties during november.
Frontline units pull back from the frontline for rest and repairs
19-Nov-444th AD returns to combat
23-Nov-44Thanksgiving with Turkey dinner for the division. Near Fenetrange a medic helped the 24th AEB to lay a bridge across a crater, so he would have less work on wounded men.
24-Nov-44CCB crosses the Saar river.
25-Nov-44Offensive towards Saar-Union
03-Dec-44General Wood relieved of command (officially for medical reasons). General Hugh Gaffey takes over the division
06-Dec-44Offensive reaches Singling. 4th AD attack stopped there. Division will be relieved by the 12th AD
07-Dec-444th AD relieved by 12th AD.
08-Dec-444th AD pulls back for rest and repairs. Replacements received from “Repple Depples”, returning wounded and after culling other units such as the 57mm AT -guns.
10-Dec-44Under the Army rotational system the 4th AD sent its first quota of 60EM and 5 Off to the USA for R&R
13-Dec-44Gaffey authorises the 4th AD-patch to be worn by members of the 704th TD, 489th AAA bn, 995th Treadway Bridge co, 1st Platoon 16th Field Hospital, 3804th QM Trucking co, 444th QM Trucking co
16-Dec-44Germans start their Operation Herbstnebel/ Battle of the Bulge. In the Town Hall of Dieuze the officers of the 4th AD have a party.
17-Dec-44CCB on one hour alert in response to German counter offensive.
18-Dec-444th AD is notified on 20.30hrs to drive north under command of III Corps. CCB assembles at 11.00 P.M.
19-Dec-444th AD departs for Longwy and drives on to Arlon (CCA) and Vaux les Rosieres (CCB). CCB started at 0.00 A.M. on 19 Dec 44. CCA at 8.30A.M.
Patton attends meeting at Verdun.
20-Dec-44Task Force Ezell (CCB) moves to Bastogne under orders of General Middleton and returns after Patton hears of the move. CCR starts its move north at 8.30 A.M.
21-Dec-44Germans have Bastogne surrounded. 4th AD ordered to break the siege
22-Dec-444th AD attacks towards Bastogne: CCA up the Arlon-Bastogne highway, CCB to the west of this.
23-Dec-44CCB: battle of Chaumont. CCA moves up to 13 km from Bastogne. 4th AD witnesses parachute dropping over Bastogne. CCR ordered to take Bigonville to secure the right flank of the division.
24-Dec-44CCR captures Bigonville. CCR receives orders in the evening to move over to the Division’s left flank
26-Dec-444th AD (CCR) breaks the siege at 16.45hrs north of Assenois. Pfc James Hendrix actions today earns him the Medal of Honor.
27-Dec-44First convoy of 110 vehicles (70 ambulances) reaches Bastogne 05.00hrs. Members of the convoy receive a scarf made of parachute material with the text “Souvenir de Bastogne” embroided.
CCB reaches 101st around 7.00P.M. at the Boid d’Hazy.
28-Dec-448th TB receives new type Shermans: M4A3E2-76mm.
4th AD stays around Bastogne to protect and enlarge the corridor.
29-Dec-44CCA reaches 101st near Remoifosse.
Total costs for 4th AD during the Bulge: 1101 battle caualties, 214 KIA, 831 WIA, 56 MIA. 4th AD down to 50 Sherman tanks tin total.
02-Jan-454th AD from III to VIII Corps
10-Jan-454th AD receives orders to move to Luxemburg as a “ghost division” (all marking removed from vehicles, all patches removed from uniforms). This is accompanied by the “Ghost Army’s” Operation L’Eglise. This unit impersonates the 4th AD to make the Germans believe the 4th AD is pulled back to L’Eglise, Belgium, rather than to Luxemburg.
11-Jan-454th AD departs for Luxemburg. Patches and markings removed.
12-Jan-45Arrival in Luxemburg. Start maintenance of vehicles and weapons. Camouflage by using whitewash.
15-Jan-454th AD assigned to XII Corps
27-Jan-45New winter clothing is issued (M43 uniforms and overshoes)
29-Jan-45AIB’s help 80th ID in manning the frontlinie
31-Jan-4537TB experiments with a Flamethrower installed on a tank.
02-Feb-45126th Ord/Main Bn sends teams to weld chickenwire to tanks for inserting camouflage materials.
03-Feb-45126th Ord/Main Bn sends teams to Third Army for a demonstration of welding extra steel platings to the sides of Sherman tanks for extra protection.
05-Feb-45Whitewash camouflage removed after snow melts.
07-Feb-45Start offensive over the Our river, multiple units of the division support this offensive
08-Feb-454th AD receives notification that the next objectve for the division will be Bitburg.
Patches and markings are returned to uniforms and vehicles as the 4th AD is removed from the secrets list.
14-Feb-45Total division casualties reaches 5000 since July 1944: 1085 KIA, 3624 WIA, 5 POW, 286 MIA.
15-Feb-45126th Ord/Main Bn sends teams to collecting point to find 76mm gunbarrels to install in Shermans
18-Feb-4566th AFAB is the first unit of the 4th AD to enter Germany
21-Feb-45Rest of the division enter combat unit by unit
22-Feb-45CCB attched to 80thID.
23-Feb-45CMOH awarded to Lt Fields. CCB attacks to Sinspelt.
25-Feb-45CCB released from 80th ID
26-Feb-454th AD reaches the Kyll river near Bitburg
01-Mar-45126th Ord/Main Bn installs .50cal in all coaxial locations on the tanks. The .30 cal are installed on the turrets.
03-Mar-454th AD receives orders to draw up plans for an offensive from the Kyll river to the rhine at Koblenz
05-Mar-454th AD starts offensive towards the Rhine. Civil affairs is renamed Military Government Section
06-Mar-454th AD surprises the German 13th Corps and takes Lt. Gen. Graf Edwin von Rothkirch und Trach prisoner at Neunkirchen
07-Mar-45At Kaiseresch 200 POW are taken after an ultimatum is given to them over a loudspeaker installed on the tank of “the Mad Russian” (Alexis Sommaripa).
1500 Allied POW’s liberated.
08-Mar-454th AD reaches the Rhine at Urmitz.
10-Mar-454th AD receives orders to plan an offensive over the Moselle river towards Worms and the bridges over the Rhine there.
G-2 reports that the use of loudspeakers accounted for 500 POW taken.
15-Mar-454th AD attacks over the Moselle river heading south.
20-Mar-454th AD is again at the Rhine this time near Worms.
21-Mar-454th AD clears the area between Worms and Oppenheim
22-Mar-45Third Army crosses the Rhine near Oppenheim/ Nierstein.
23-Mar-45Gaffey leaves as Commanding General. Gen. William Hoge takes over command of 4th AD.
4th AD receives orders to cross the Rhine and attack cross the Main river at Hanau.
24-Mar-454th AD crosses the Rhine at Nierstein. Patton urinates in the Rhine. All 2500 vehicles of the division cross the Rhine in 18 hrs despite German air attacks (240900 – 250300)
25-Mar-454th AD reaches the Main river at Asschaffenburg and Hanau
26-Mar-45Start of Task Force Baum’s mission to liberate POW camp at Hammelburg. 8th TB takes a large medical depot of the German army at Hainstadt (Approx worth 2.5 million $)
25th Cav RCn liberated Political Prisoner Concentration Camp between Ober Roden and Nieder Roden (Strafgefangenenlager RollWald) with 1200 prisoners in it.
28-Mar-454th AD crosses the Main and advances 62 miles. Near Giessen Third Army makes contact with First Army surrounding a large German force
Mission Task Force Baum fails at Hammelburg.
29-Mar-45Reserve Command is ordered to attack to Herbstein to open the MSR.
30-Mar-454th AD receives Presidential Unit Citation as a whole division.
01-Apr-454th AD reaches the Werra river
1st platoon 16th Field Hospital taken prisoner at Altonstadt by 6th SS Mountain Division. They are liberated the same night.
02-Apr-45489th AAA Bn today shoots down 34 German planes (possibly 6 more) at the bridge over the Werra
04-Apr-45Liberation of Stalag III, Nord in Ohrdruf. This is the first concentration camp liberated by the western Allies. Burgomeister of Gotha surrenders the city to the 4th AD
10-Apr-454th AD prepares an offensive from the Gotha/ Ohrdruf area heading east
11-Apr-45“B/37 en A/10 took an alternative rout northeast from Ottstedt and captured the political concentration camp of Buchenwald”
12-Apr-45FDR dies
13-Apr-454th AD advances 73 miles today.
4th AD passes the “restraining line” near Chemnitz
14-Apr-45CCA liberates several thousand allied POWs from hospitals and camps today
16-Apr-454th AD pulles back behind the “restraining line”
18-Apr-451st Platoon 16th FH reattached to 4th AD.
21-Apr-454th AD rapports that until today it has captured 80.011 POWs
22-Apr-45Because Third Army is send south, today 4th AD is assigned to First Army just for this day
24-Apr-454th AD attacks south to capture the “national redoubt” in southern Bavaria. The division travels 120 miles to Bayreuth (06.35 -03.30 uur): CCA 0655 – 1600; CCB 1045 – 1900; Res Command/ TNS 1300 – 0330.
27-Apr-45Due to multiple ambushes on the road to Bayreuth the division orders its personel to move in groups of at least two persons.
Any house used for an ambush is to be destroyed.
28-Apr-4513 EM receive their naturalization ceremony while staying in Bayreuth
29-Apr-45USO show in Wagner theater in Bayreuth.
30-Apr-4559 EM and 2 Off drive to Paris , France to pick up supplies and replacement vehicles for the division.
4th AD attached to XII Corps.
01-May-454th AD attacks towards Regen/ Deggendorf. Once there it is placed in XII Corps Reserve
03-May-45News of the capitulation of Berlin, Austria and Italy
04-May-45News of the capitulation of all German troops in he Netherlands, NW Germany and Denmark. Upto this day the 489th AAA Bn has shot down 125 Cat I airplanes
07-May-45News of the unconditional surrender of all German troops. Effective 9th May 1945 at 0.01hrs
08-May-45VE-day: 4th AD is in Czechoslovakia.

5 thoughts on “4th Armored Division “By their deeds alone”: a brief overview of the division’s actions.”

  1. Pingback: Logistics Series. Part I: Basic logistics in an armored division. - Patton's Best Medics

  2. I’m french born in Troyes (FRANCE -Champagne). I want to learn détails about:
    – 25-Aug-44, Captain Silverman, 10th AIB Surgeon is intentionally shot together with one medic and their driver by SS-troops at Troyes.

  3. Thank you for this detailed information. My father Frank Via was with the 4th Armored Devision. a Tech Sargent. He took many photos and identified the men in the pictures.

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