Original U.S. WWII 2nd Armored Division Silver Star Recipient Named Grouping
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. The 2nd Armored Division "Hell on Wheels" was an armored division of the United States Army. The division played an important role during World War II in the invasions of North Africa and Sicily and the liberation of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands and the invasion of Germany.
Captain Robert F. Boylan of the 2nd Armored Division was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the 2nd Armored Division during World War II according to Headquarters, 2d Armored Division, General Orders No. 40 (1943). Reference can be found at this link.
This uniform grouping named to Robert F Boylan includes the following items:
- Original Class A Uniform Jacket in excellent condition and has an absolutely beautiful theater made 2nd Armored Division patch on the left shoulder. The jacket also adorns original armored officers insignia, 5 bullion overseas bars, NS Meyer (pin-back) Captain pins on the shoulders, Presidential Unit Citation, 3 place ribbon bar with American Campaign, ETO with 1 silver and 1 bronze battle star, and WWII victory ribbon, 2 place standard ribbon bar with Silver Star and Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster. The jacket has the QM tag inside the inner pocket dated June 24, 1942 and has Captain Boylan’s name written on it as Lt Boylan form before he became a captain.
- A chocolate brown 100% wool officers shirt in excellent condition which has a officers armored pin and sterling silver marked Captain pin on the collar. Boylan's name is written on the shirt tag (faded but still legible) and on the laundry tag stapled to the shirt.
- Captain Boylan’s officer overseas garrison cap which has the QM tag dated March 1945, sterling silver marked (pin-back) Captain pin on the left side, and Boylan's name hand written inside under the leather sweatband.
A wonderful uniform grouping from a Silver Star recipient that served in the 2nd Armored Division during WWII!
The 2nd Armored Division was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia on 15 July 1940. It was originally commanded by Major General Charles L. Scott, with Colonel George S. Patton, Jr. in charge of training. Scott was promoted to command the I Armored Corps in November of that year, which put Patton, now a brigadier general, in command of the division. The division, which in February 1942 passed over to the command of Major General Willis D. Crittenberger, served with the First, Seventh, and Ninth Armies throughout the war.
Btryv C, 702 TD Bn., 2nd Armored Division, tank destroyer on dug-in ramp has plenty of elevation to hurl shells at long range enemy targets across the Roer River. L-r: Sgt. Earl F. Schelz, Pvt. George E. Van Horne, and Pfc. Samuel R. Marcum. 16 December 1944.
The 2nd Armored was organized as a "heavy" armored division, having two armored regiments of four medium tank and two light tank battalions of three companies each. Along with the 3rd Armored Division, it retained its organization throughout World War II–the 14 other U.S. armored divisions were reorganized as "light" armored divisions, having three tank battalions, each consisting of three medium tank companies and one light tank company. Both types had an infantry component of three mechanized battalions, although the heavy divisions maintained an "armored infantry regiment" organization.
The core units of the division were the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, the 66th Armored Regiment, the 67th Armor Regiment, the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, the 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 142nd Armored Signal Company. The 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion was known as the "eyes and ears" of the 2nd Armored Division.
The 2nd Armored Division had three artillery battalions: (the 14th, 78th, and 92nd). The division also had support units, including the 2nd Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Supply Battalion, the 48th Armored Medical Battalion, and a band and military police platoon. The military police and band were tasked with headquarters defense of base operations under the banner of the 502d Adjutant General Company (502d AG).
Opened front in North Africa
Elements of the division were among the first U.S. military to engage in offensive ground combat operations in the European and Mediterranean theater during World War II. The 2nd Armored Division, now commanded by Major General Ernest N. Harmon, served in North Africa along with the 1st Armored Division. They were part of the Western Task Force of Operation Torch, which landed at Casablanca in French Morocco on 8 November 1942. The remainder of Torch's American component were the 1st, 3rd, 9th and 34th Infantry Divisions. However, the 2nd Armored Division did not see much action in North Africa and instead remained in French North Africa on garrison and training duties. In April 1943 Major General Harmon relinquished command of the division to Major General Hugh Joseph Gaffey. Training in amphibious operations began in preparation for an amphibious landing at Sicily.
As the reserve force of the Western Task Force of Operation Husky, codename for the Allied invasion of Sicily, the division landed on 10 July 1943 in support of the 1st Infantry Division at the Battle of Gela. Afterwards, the division next went into action in the second landing at Licata, Sicily on 21 July following the 3rd Infantry Division's better-known earlier landing on 10 July. The 2nd Armored, operating closely with paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division, then fought through to the Sicilian capital of Palermo. Along the way the 2nd Armored Division captured thousands of Italian prisoners of war (POWs). The fighting in Sicily came to an end on 17 August, with the 2nd Armored Division having sustained relatively light casualties in the brief campaign, where it had gained its first Medal of Honor of World War II, belonging to Sergeant Gerry H. Kisters. During the campaign the division came under the command of the U.S. Seventh Army, under Lieutenant General George S. Patton, who had been a former commander of the division.
Soon afterwards the 2nd Armored Division was sent to England, in preparation for the Allied invasion of Normandy, and remained there until June 1944. In April the division received a new commander, Major General Edward H. Brooks, a decorated veteran of World War I, replacing Major General Gaffey.
The division then landed in Normandy, on Omaha Beach on 9 June 1944, three days after the initial Normandy landings, and operated in the Cotentin Peninsula and later formed the right flank of the Operation Cobra assault. The division encircled the Waffen SS division Das Reich and the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen around Roncey. In the process Das Reich and the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen lost most of their armored equipment. It blunted the German attack on Avranches, then raced across France with the rest of the Third Army, reaching the Albert Canal in Belgium on 8 September. It crossed the German border near Sittard, 18 September to take up defensive positions near Geilenkirchen. On 3 October, the Division, now commanded again by Major General Harmon, launched an attack on the Siegfried Line from Marienberg, broke through, crossed the Wurm River and seized Puffendorf 16 November and Barmen 28 November.
The division was holding positions on the Roer when it was ordered to help contain the German Ardennes offensive. The division fought in eastern Belgium, blunting the German Fifth Panzer Army's penetration of American lines. The division helped reduce the Bulge in January, fighting in the Ardennes forest in deep snow, and cleared the area from Houffalize to the Ourthe River of the enemy. The German 2nd Panzer Division was on its original mission to the Meuse River. Mechanized units of this Panzer Division ultimately ran out of fuel at Celles, where they were destroyed by the U.S. 2nd Armored Division and the British 29th Armoured Brigade. After a rest in February, the division, now commanded by Major General Isaac D. White, drove on across the Rhine on 27 March, and was the first American division to reach the Elbe at Schonebeck on 11 April. It was halted on the Elbe, 20 April, on orders. In July the division entered Berlin—the first American unit to enter the German capital city. During World War II, the 2nd Armored Division took 94,151 POWs, liberated 22,538 Allied POWs, shot down or damaged on the ground 266 enemy aircraft, and destroyed or captured uncountable thousands of enemy tanks and other equipment and supplies.
Members of the Division received 9,369 individual awards, including two Medals of Honor, twenty-three Distinguished Service Crosses, and 2,302 Silver Stars as well as nearly 6,000 Purple Hearts; among those receiving the Silver Star were Edward H. Brooks, Hugh Armagio, Stan Aniol, Staff Sergeant John J. Henry, William L. Giblin, Neil J. Garrison, Morton Eustis, son of William Corcoran Eustis, and Kenneth E. White (HQ, 2nd Armored Division, G.O. No. 46 (1943)). The division was twice cited by the Belgian government and division soldiers for the next 50 years wore the fourragere of the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
Total battle casualties: 5,864
Killed in action: 981
Wounded in action: 4,557
Missing in action: 60
Prisoner of war: 266
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