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To the men and Officers of this Battalion for their Devotion to duty.

To All Officers and

Men of the Battalion

.It has been my great privilege and honor to command the 744th Light Tank Battalion for over three years. They have been three full years for you. Years full of creditable achievement. Years full of friendship and acquaintanceship with strong capable men united in a common endeavor to accomplish a common mission.

You have participated in the successful accomplishment of the European phase of that common mission. This booklet tells of the glory and the cost of that accomplishment. Nothing I could say or write could add glory to your work or minimize the cost.

As you wait for your next mission, wherever it may be, remember those who are no longer present and remember that they paid their price to maintain the battalion policy.

You have never failed to do an assigned mission to the best of your ability regardless of conditions or cost.

RICHARD J. HUNT,

Lt. Co., 744th Light Tank Bn., Commandmg.

History

The Battalion was activated at Camp Bowie, Texas on 27 April 1942 under command of Major (Now Lt. Col) Richard J. Hunt who has been in command continuously since that date. The Battalion drew its cadre from the 755 th Tank Battalion. Of the 11 officers and 108 Enlisted Men who formed that Cadre only 3 officers and S3 Enlisted Men now remain with the Battalion. The Battalion was busily engaged with basic traininl{ at Camp Bowie until 21 August 1942. when by train and motor, it departed for Camp Hood, Texas. the Tank Destroyer Center, to remain there for almost a year fighting the "TDs" and the "battles" of Copperas Cove, Cowhouse Creek, Cotton\\ood Camp, and Brookhaven Range.

Louisiana, Third

Army Maneuvers, dust, mosquitoes, red bugs, the Sabine River, Leesvi11e, Alexandria, and six weeks of "hard" living. It was rough,

was

all over. But Camp Polk didn't last long. On the 21 September 1943 we left by train for Port Jackson, S. C. Soon we knew that our time was drawing near. Showdown inspections, turning in equipment, and last minute furloughs, and, on 20 November 1943 we were off for an unknown destination on the way overseas.

The Battalion arrived at Camp Myles Standish, Mass. and stayed there for five weeks waiting for a boat, but some didn't mind because passes were easy to get and BoSion and Providence offered many points of interests. (Lots of history was made there). On 28 December 1943 the Battalion boarded the U. S. Trans­ port General George S. Simonds and set sail the following afternoon for some place, we knew not where. There were boat drills, sub­ marine scares, and plenty of rumors and one or two people

In July

1943 the

Battalion left all

that for

and everybody was happy to move into Camp Polk

when

it

dropped anchor in Liver­

pool, England. Camp Court-y-Gollen in Wales, was the first station. There was Abergavenny and Crickhowell and Gilwern. England was the country of Brussel sprouts, fish and chips, pubs, mild and bitter, tbe Hokey-Pokey, bicycles, shillings, tea, blackout, powdered eggs, and lots of other things which were new and strange to us. There was training, too, becau6e we knew we had a job to do. We fired our tanks and other weapons at Castle Martin Range on the sea, and we spent two weeks with the 82 od Airborne Di­ vision on Strawberry Hill near Mansfield. On 1 May 44 the Batta­

got seasick.

Then on

9 Jan

1944 we

lion left Court-y-G6I1en for good and moved to Ludlow. The in vasion was near; waterproofing and other preparations began in earndt.

the

Battalion

mov~d to a concentration area in Southern England ne3r Minchin­

hampton. Final preparation

the Battalion embarked from Weymouth in LCTs and LSTs, landing _

in Normandy, France on 30 June Hl44 (0+24). Utah Beach, S1. Mere Eglise, then Cerisy Fore5L

On

10 June

1944 (0+4)

first

elements 01 the

were completed, and on 29 June 1944

It

was

easy

for

a

while, and then, on 26 Juiy 1944, the war

came home to the 744 th Light Tank Battalion at S1. Germain ~

D'Elle, Mnuffet. and Rouxville.

It

was

our first

taste

01 combat,

with the Ninth Inf. Regt.

of the

2 nd

Inf. Division. and one which we

s; all ne\ er forget. We learned what hedgerows meant, and we developed a healthy respect for the paratroopers of the 3rd Para Division. The breakthrough at nearby St. Lo had been made, and soon we were with the 28th Infantry Division fightin~ our way through Percy, St. Sever Calvados. Champ Du Boult, Gathemo, Sourdeval, Ger, Le Neuber~, and Elbeui on the Seine, hitherto unknown places which will never fade from our memory now.

The Battalion crossed the Seine River on 30 Aug 1944 and rolled through Northern France and into Belgium without engaging in any actions of importance We were in XIX Corps Reserve and enjoying it. To be remembered are the long road marches, the many French and Belgian flags flying everywhere, the happy people with their offerings of pears, apples, tomatoes, fresh eggs, the pretty mademoiselles who insisted upon demonstrating their affections when the column came to a halt Company C will re­ member Valenciennes. On 19 September 1944 the Battalion moved into Holland with the 113th Cavalry Group to take up defen,ive positions along the Army North flank in the vicinity of Sittard. Company B remained in l3elgium with a Belgian Brigade for over two months. The de­ fensive line was thin in those days, but the Battalion was not al­ ways on the defensive. With a few Engineers, Tank Destroyers and Orange Army personnel, on 29 September 1944, the Batta­ lion attacked and seized the towns of Holtum, Buchten, Born, and ~ieuwstadt. Isenbruch, jWH across the border in Germany, proved

infantry support.

for two months the Battalion remained in the Sittard sector defending

to bt· a little too much for us to chew without

"uch pla:l:s as Wehr, Tuddern, Millen and Papenhoven.

Then. on 20 November 1944 the Battalion moved to Prelen· berg, Germany. to. assist in the capture of Beeck (The mortar plat90n will renember this place) and end up, once again, in de­ fensive positions. This time it was pillboxes and foxholes in the vicinity of a little town named Sug~arath.

Just before Christmas 1944 the Battalion moved South to Walheim, Germany. to remain there in XIX Corps Reserve for six weeks until the Germans had been beaten in the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge was no more Por Christmas we received a nice new tank, the M-24. with which we industriously trained in mud and snow throughout the period.

On 5 Feb 1945 the Battalion moved t,) Kirchberg on the Roer River near Julich to hold a defensive sector until we crossed the Roer with the 30th Infantry Division on 24 February 1945. Por the first time we were fighting with the M-24 tanks. We cleaned

the

Other towns on the way to the Rhine. Kirchherten. Garzweiler,

SI.

Hambach

Leonhard.

Forest and. with difficulty. took Rodingen and Hollen.

and

Reisdorf.

came easier.

After a period of training on the Maas River, the Battalion, again with the 30 th Inf Div. crossed the historic Rhine River below Wesel in LCMs 011 23 March 1945. The bridgehead was quickly secured. and we advanced some fifteen miles in less then five days.

On 30 March 1945 the Battalion was attached to the 75th Inf. Div. and began the fight which was to take us through the heavily built-up Ruhr. through Datteln, Ickern. Castrop - Rauxel. Lutgen-Dortmund. Witten. and a world of other places. to be on the Ruhr ,River by 13 April 1945. The Battalion saw some of its hardest fighting in this action. but it also saw its last. (We hopeI)

V-E Day found the Battalion comfortably located in the town of Olpe and surrounding communities. manning road blocks, collect­ ing German ammunition and equipment, guarding Russians and worrying about the non-fraternization policy and how soon we were going home.

The Most Decorated.

Officer:

Burnett, Elijah C. Captain, award the following Sil­ ver Star, Croix De Guerre, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Oak Leaf Cluster to the Purple Heart.

Enlisted Man

Herrera, Joseph Sergeant, awarded the following Bronze Star, Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters.

Did

HIGH LIGHTS

you know

that the

Battalion has

moved

the total

of 2216 miles since it landed on the continent.

Here is another one for you. The Transportation Platoon has traveled a total of 216,000 miles to keep you supplied with tho necessities.

The total number of rounds of ammo (of all types) fired

by

of 2,800 rds per man.

Hold your seat! The average consumption of gasoline for each move of the Bn. was 187,850 gals. The total con­ sumption of gasoline by this unit on the continent was 2,066,350 gallons.

This is an average

the

Bn in

the ETO

was 1,415,863 rds.

Let us not forget the water truck, which hauled of water. The average gallons of water hauled

1500.

495,000 gals per day was

Men and Officers of this unit have a total of 38 Silver Stars, 102 Bronze Stars,2 British Military Medals, 2 Croix De Guerre and approximately 200 Purple Hearts.