The 2nd Armored Division, formed at Fort Benning (now designated Fort Moore) in July of 1940, must have been conceived under a lucky star. When its original commander, Major General Charles L. Scott, was promoted to command of the I Armored Corps just four months later, he was replaced by Brigadier General George S. Patton—arguably the greatest tank commander and strategist ever to serve in the U.S. Army. What’s more, Patton had developed considerable respect for the division: a year earlier, he had remarked that the unit would be “hell on wheels” whenever it encountered the enemy, giving the unit its memorable nickname.

Along with the 1st Armored Division, the 2nd took part in the Allied invasion of North Africa as part of the Western Task Force of Operation Torch in November 1942. Eight months later, as a reserve force, it was landed on the first day of fighting in Operation Husky to support the 1st Infantry Division.

But it was after hitting Omaha Beach on D-Day plus 3 that the Division proved that Patton’s prediction true. As part of V Corps, its Combat Command A launched a devastating counterattack that repulsed a German thrust at Carentan. It played a key role in smashing German defenses St. Lo before crossing the Seine, speeding through Belgium and the Siegfriend Line, and eventually helping blunt the German Fifth Panzer Army’s advances during the Battle of the Bulge. And in July of 1945, it became the first American unit to enter Berlin.

During the Gulf War, the Division as whole could not be deployed due to the implementation of drawdown orders in response to the end of the Cold War. But the Division’s 1st Brigade, or “Tiger Brigade,” did a fine job representing the unit. It provided heavy armor support for the Marine Corps’ units tasked with attacking Iraqi forces in Kuwait, and racked up impressive numbers: it captured or destroyed 181 enemy tanks, 148 armored personnel carriers, 40 pieces of artillery, and 27 anti-aircraft batteries, in addition to killing or capturing over 4300 Iraqi troops. It was the Division’s last hurrah in terms of martial glory, as it was inactivated four years later in 1995.

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2nd Armored Division Patch (SSI)
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