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Histories for 4th Infantry Division




The History Of 1-68 AR BN
The 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, is a part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), located on Fort Carson, at the Foot Hills of the Rocky Mountains, just South of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, is the "only" Armor Battalion located on Fort Carson, with 48 M1A1 (Abrams) Main Battle Tanks, 32 Armored Personnel Carriers, Over 50 Tactical Wheeled vehicles, 5 Tracked Maintance/Recovery vehicles and over 600 personnel, the "Silver Lion" Battalion is a large Self Reliant organization. 1-68 Armor has 4 Company's (Companies A, B, C & HHC) that combined into a team makes a well organized combat unit. There are 14 M1A1 Main Battle Tanks in each Line Company (Companies A, B, & C). The combined strength of the 14 M1A1's with all guns blazing make each company, Theoretically, more powerful than a WWII Battleship. With 3 "Battleships" at its disposal there is no mission that the "Silver Lions" Cannot handle. To Support the 3 line Company's there is Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) which is the largest of the 4 Company's with over 300 personnel. Located in HHC are platoons of Calvary Reconnaissance, Mortar, Maintance, Headquarters, Signal, Supply, Intelligence, Cooks, Chemical, administration and Medics for the Battalion. 1st Battalion, 68th Armor is 1 of 3 maneuver Battalions in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The other two maneuver Battalions are our sister Mechanized Infantry Battalions; 1st Battalion, 12 Infantry "Warriors" and 1st Battalion 8th Infantry "Fighting Eagles". In support the 3 maneuver battalion's the 3 BCT has Support And Service support units in Battalion, Company and Platoon strengths, They are 3rd Battalion 29 Field Artillery, 4th Battalion Engineers, 64th Forward Support Battalion, 534th Signal Company, C Company 104th Military Intelligence, C Company 1st Battalion 44th Air Defense Artillery, Brigade Headquarters Company and platoons of Chemical, Military police, and Finance. The 1st Battalion, 68th Armor was organized 7 June 1918 in France as Company A, 327th Battalion, Tank Corps, American Expeditionary Forces. On 12 September 1918, the Battalion was designated as Company A, 354th Battalion , Tank Corps. 8 January 1921, the Battalion was again redesigned as the 1st Tank Company. During September 1918, the Battalion, which was then Company A, 354th Battalion, Tank Corps participated in both St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne campaigns, receiving campaign streamers for both actions. On 1 January 1940, the 68th was again redesigned as Company A, 68th Infantry (Light Tanks). Early in December 1940, the 68th Armor participated in the first long road march of the Division to Panama City, Florida, from Fort Benning, Georgia, a distance of 200 miles. Colonel James R. N, Weaver was Commander of the 68th at the time. He later became a General, and is credited with cutting down Japanese by the hundreds with his tanks in the early days of fighting in the Philippines. While the other Battalions of the 68th were sent to Europe in World War II, the 1st Battalion was ordered to the Pacific as the 773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion. The Battalion was equipped with the Landing Vehicles (Assault), and as the name implies was used to make assault landings on the beaches of some islands, the names of which are know well known: such as Saipan and Tinian. At 0812 on 15 June 1944, under heavy guns of the Fifth Fleet, the assault battalions crossed the Line of Departure with LVT's and started for the beaches just to the south of Charankano on the island of Saipan. Despite the massive air attacks and naval gunfire shoving bombs and shells upon the Japanese defenses prior to the assault, the Japanese were ready and waiting. The landing was vigorously opposed. The defenders rained Artillery and Mortar fire on the beaches from weapons placed in well defiladed positions. Units of the 25th Marines (to which the 773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion was attached) were receiving such heavy enfilade fire that they were pinned down on the beach. No words can convey the fury of the battle, but men of the 4th Marine Division who were there that the day will remember the smoking wrecks of the LVT's, charred and blasted pillboxes, dead Japanese and American bodies, and the reek of high explosives in the air. Amidst this hell and bitter fighting, the men of the 4th Marine division finally reached Marpi Point on the northern tip of the Island leaving no place for the Japanese to go. The Island was secured on 9 July 1944. With the conclusion of the Battle of Saipan. the plans for the Coming assault on Tinian were complete, and on 24 July 1944, the assault was launched, again with LVT's of the 773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion (Companies A & B) in assault waves. The Preparatory bombardment delivered on Tinian prior to the landings exceeded in duration and deliberate destructiveness of any previous preparation of the Pacific War. The overwhelming preparatory fires, the surprise choice of narrow, rough , northern beaches, and a demonstration off Tinian Town had all combined to weaken and delude the Japanese so effectively that they were unable to offer strong resistance initially. however, when night fell, the Japanese launched fierce "Banzai" charges against the 4th Marine Division perimeter which left their dead piled up in the vicinity of the Division's perimeter. Victory in the night battles had been complete; it was here that the 4th Marine division and attached 773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion with its tanks, broke Japanese Pack in the battle for Tinian. For its part in the action on Saipan and Tinian, the 773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion won the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy). The 773rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion fought in the Philippines and in the battle for Okinawa and Ryukus. It landed in Japan after the surrender and remained there until inactivated in April 1946 at Uokohama. During the period between conflicts ( World War II and Korea), the history lineage of the 68th Armor was passed on to Company A, 56th Amphibian Tank and Tractor Battalion. That Company carried the Colors of the 68th Armor ashore in Inchon, Korea with the Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. With its Amphibious Tanks, Company A took part in the crossing of the Han River, near Seoul on 21 September 1950, and moved to Kimpo Airfield, routing the enemy forces. The First Marine Division and all attached units were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for this action; "For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea, from 13 September to 11 October 1950". After the Korean Conflict, the 56th Amphibian Tank and Tractor Battalion was inactivated on 15 December 1954. On 1 July 1957, The Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) went into effect. Under CARS, the regimental system was reestablished, through name only, in an attempt to retain the continuity of history which has been lost during the rapid expansion of World War II. Under CARS, a regiment was formed, normally through reconsolidation of separate companies which were once members of the regiment before the war. In each case, a historical regiment was recreated rather than a new one formed. The regimental headquarters was retained under the Department of the Army control with ultimate goal of establishing a ceremonial headquarters and staff in Washington to display the honors of the regiment, though this has yet to be done. The other part of the plan called for each separate companies in the regiment to be redesigned Headquarters and Headquarters Company's of various battalions. Thus, a regiment had a potential for one battalion to for every company it once had. Then, when war demanded , as many battalions as were required became activated. The first letter company became the first battalion. thus the regiment was reconstituted as follows: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 68th Armored battalion again became regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Company. A Company became 1st Battalion, B Company became 2nd battalion, and so on. Companies A through I became 1st through 9th Battalions respectively. The old reconnaissance company later D Troop, 68th Calvary Reconnaissance Squadron, became the 13th Battalion 68th Armor. Oddly G Company became 8th Battalion while H Company became 7th Battalion. There is no provisions for a 10th, 11th , or 12th Battalion. Of the Battalions of the regiment, the 1st through the 5th are currently on duty with the active army. The remainder are either in reserve units of inactive. Being descended from "A" Company, the unit became the first Medium Tank Battalion (Patton) 68th Armor, assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia; the some place where it first joined the 68th Armor. The battalion began its current history on 1 July 1957 when the line companies were activated, there being five in number under then current Pentomic System. 24 April 1958, the 3rd Infantry came to Germany, the 1st Battalion going to Aschaffenburg. Finally, in 1963, in conjunction with adoption of the ROAD concept, the unit was consolidated with other battalions of the 68th Armor in the 8th Division, arriving at Baumholder on 1 April 1963. While stationed at Wildfecken, Germany, the Battalion began fielding the M1A1 Abrams MBT in the late 1980s, replacing its inventory of M60A3 tanks. The Battalion deactivated and moved from Germany before reactivating on 15 January 1996 at Fort Carson, Colorado as part of 3rd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 4th Infantry Division Mechanized. Only one Brigade of 4th Infantry Division is located at Fort Carson. The Division Headquarters and two other Brigade's are located at Fort Hood, Texas. Before the Force 21 Concept, 1st battalion 68th Armor had at the time 5 Company's that where headquarters and Headquarters Company, A, B, C & D Companies. On April 13 2000, A Company was deactivated turning all 14 Tanks to the Mississippi National Guard. D Company was deactivated on April 14 2000 and re-flagged A Company, leaving the Battalion with only 4 Company's instead of 5. As of late 2001, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor, is fielded with M1A1 "Abrams" Main Battle Tanks.

Posted by Steven Heffner
Sep 26 2008 01:56:07:000PM




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