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20th Armored Division

Major General Orlando Ward was in action during only a few months of the European War, but he saw its beginning and its end. Arriving in North Africa in November 1942, with die 1st Armored Division, he was wounded in Tunisia the following April, and returned to the United States. Just two years Liter, he came back to action as commanding general of die 20th Armored, one of the last American divisions to be committed to batde in the European Theater of Operations.

The 20th Armored had made itself felt long before it went overseas. Thousands of men trained in its ranks had been shipped to Europe and .assigned to other fighting units as armored replacements.

But not until April 1945, did the Division get a chance to do some fighting under its own colors. Then it turned up on the Seventh Army front in southern Germany, as part of the force advancing on Munich- On its way, smashing into Salzburg just behind spearheading elements of the 3d Infantry Division, the 20th Armored bagged a banner crop of high-ranking Nazis, including three lieutenant generals, a major general, and Dr. Paul Schmidt, chief of the Press Department of the German Foreign Office.

Herr Dr. Schmidt was an especially rich find. When he was nabbed, he had with him a brief case containing 85,000 Cerman marks and 1,000 kroner.

After swinging south of Munich to cut off German escape routes from the falling city, the 20th Armored Division moved into an area north of Lake Chiem and, in June, was stationed at Traunstein, Germany.

When the 20th's commander left the front, in 1943, the vaunted Afrika Korps was still very much in action, and the Allies were still wincing from the blows they had taken in such battles as Kasserine Pass. When he got back, there was no Afrika Korps, and there were very few corps of any kind doing anything but moving backward fast, or surrendering. It was a contrast any American would have enjoyed.

From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.

Chronology & Statistics

Activated 15 March 1943
Arrived in European Theater of Operations 17 February 1945
Arrived Continent 21 February 1945 (D+225)
Entered Combat 24 April 1945
Days in Combat 8


Central Europe

Division Composition

Organic Units

Headquarters Company
Combat Command A
Combat Command B
Reserve Command
9th Tank Battalion
20th Tank Battalion
27th Tank Battalion
8th Armored Infantry Battalion
65th Armored Infantry Battalion
70th Armored Infantry Battalion
30th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized)
220th Armored Engineer Battalion
160th Armored Signal Company

20th Armored Division Artillery

412th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
413th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
414th Armored Field Artillery Battalion

20th Armored Division Trains

138th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion
220th Armored Medical Battalion
Military Police Platoon

Commanding Officers

Division Commander

17Feb45 Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward

Artillery Commander

17Feb45 Col. Lewis H. Ham

Chief of Staff

17Feb45 Col. Edwin H. J. Carns
30Apr45 Lt. Col. William E. Leonhard

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1

17Feb45 Maj. James R. Story

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2

17Feb45 Lt. Col. Robert J. Williams

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3

17Feb45 Lt. Col. Rex N. Anderson

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4

17Feb45 Maj. William S. McElhenny
1Apr45 Lt. Col. William S. McElhenny

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-5

15Apr45 Lt. Col. William L. Wells

Adjutant General

17Feb45 Lt. Col. K. K. Gilbertson

Commanding Officer, Combat Command A

17Feb45 Brig. Gen. Cornelius M. Daly
4Apr45 Col. Thomas A. McCrary (Acting)
3May45 Brig. Gen. Cornelius M. Daly

Commanding Officer, Combat Command B

17Feb45 Col. Newton W. Jones
30Apr45 Col. Edwin H. J. Carns

Commanding Officer, Combat Command R

17Feb45 Col. Thomas A. McCrary

Attached Units

Antiaircraft Artillery

468th AAA AW Bn (SP) 4Apr45-3Jul45


6th Armored Group 18Apr45-6Jul45

Field Artillery

250th FA Bn (105mm how.) 27Apr45-3May45
975th FA Bn (155mm how.) 28Apr45-3May45

20th Armored Division World War II Missing in Action

There are 1 soldiers of the 20th Armored Division World War II still listed as missing in action.

Corporal Edward L. Strauss 20th Tank Battalion 04/30/1945

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20th Armored Division World War II patch, front view


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