The 13th Armored (“Black Cat”) Division was one of the last outfits to clear this country for overseas combat, but in the little time the Black Cats were in action they clawed and scratched and bedevilled the Nazis just as efficiently as any of the older and more experienced outfits.
The Black Cats didn't leave this country for the European Theater until late January 1945, and did not get into action against the Panzers until the closing stages of the Allied drive in southern Germany. Working with General Pattons Third Army, the Black Cats were part of the relentless surge that by-passed Berchtesgaden in the race to link up with the Russians. In this drive the men of the 13th Armored were never stopped, and fought with the skill and coolness of hardened veterans.
Late in April 1945, the loth Armored was at Alterhofcn, and shortly afterward the division was across the Danube River, east of Regensburg at a point two miles southeast of Straubing.
On May 2—less than a week before the Nazi capitulation— the 13th Armored Division had hammered its way to Adolf Hitler s birthplace, Braunau, five miles from the Inn River.
It was in this closing action that a platoon of Black Cats captured a German major who was so anxious to put himself in good light with the Yanks that he gave away the location of a Nazi generals headquarters. The Yanks rolled up to the place to investigate and made quite a profitable haul -two generals with their staffs.
The experience of Lieutenant Colonel Dale E. Means of Valier, Pennsylvania, an assistant chief of stalf of the Black Cat Division, illustrates the coolness of the Cats in combat. Lieutenant Colonel Means was captured during the clearing out of Straubing, and held prisoner for four hours. He attempted to talk his captors into surrender. They refused. He then told them that his tanks and artillery would blow the town to bits. The Nazis again refused. Finally, the American said, "Let’s see the mayor.” The Nazis agreed, and the Colonel was OK, because he knew the office of the town’s No. 1 man was alreadv in Yank hands.
From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.
Activated 15 October 1942
Arrived ETO 29 January 1945
Arrived Continent (D+237) 29 January 1945
First Elements 19 March 1945
Entire Division 10 April 1945
Days in Combat 16
Combat Command A
Combat Command B
24th Tank Battalion
45th Tank Battalion
46th Tank Battalion
16th Armored Infantry Battalion
59th Armored Infantry Battalion
67th Armored Infantry Battalion
93d Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized)
124th Armored Engineer Battalion
153d Armored Signal Company
13th Armored Division Artillery
497th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
496th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
498th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
13th Armored Division Trains
135th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion
83d Armored Medical Battalion
Military Police Platoon
29 Jan 45 Maj. Gen. John B. Wogan
17 Apr 45 Maj. Gen. John Millikin
29 Jan 45 Col. Alfred E. Kastner
14 Apr 45 Lt. Col. John M. Smoller
19 Apr 45 Col. Alfred E. Kastner
29 Jan 45 Col. Herbert H. Frost
1 Apr 45 Lt. Col. Dale E. Means
19 Apr 45 Col. William H. Wood
29 Jan 45 Lt. Col. Richard E. Hussey
29 Jan 45 Lt. Col. Lloyd G. Buchler
29 Jan 45 Lt. Col. Daniel E. Means
1 Apr 45 Lt. Col. Daniel H. Heyne
19 Apr 45 Lt. Col. Daniel E. Means
29 Jan 45 Lt. Col. Orvie Highum
14 Mar 45 Maj. William R. Whitaker, Jr.
29 Jan 45 Maj. Ray N. Stetter
1 Apr 45 Lt. Col. Ray N. Stetter
29 Jan 45 Brig. Gen. Wayland B. Augur
14 Apr 45 Col. Alfred E. Kastner
19 Apr 45 Col. Peter C. Haines
29 Apr 45 Brig. Gen. Wayland B. Augur
29 Jan 45 Col. Harold G. Holt
29 Jan 45 Col. Frank R. Williams
6 May 45 Col. Charles G. Rau
574th AAA AW Bn (SP) 19 Mar 45-13 May 45
7th Armd Grp 11 Apr 45-17 May 45
254th FA Bn (155mm How) 3 Apr 45-18 Apr 45
820th TD Bn (T) 10 Apr 45-12 Apr 45
630th TD Bn (T) 10 Apr 45-12 Apr 45
801st TD Bn (SP) 27 Apr 45-12 Jun 45
There are 4 soldiers of the 13th Armored Division World War II still listed as missing in action.
|Private Robert R. Gruwell 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment 08/15/1944|
|Private First Class Russell R. Maki 46th Tank Battalion 04/10/1945|
|Private First Class Francis J. Murray 16th Infantry Battalion 04/30/1945|
|Private First Class James P. Niggl 124th Engineer Battalion 04/30/1945|
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