We think of recycling as something new, but it was heavily
practiced during the war.
Three companies submitted test vehicles and specs to the Army
in the 1940s for an all-terrain vehicle: Bantam, Ford, and Willys.
Plans and specs were shared so all the vehicles were similar and
prototypes were tested. In 1941, the War Dept. approved production
of the Willys MB and the Ford GPW (W was for the Willys engine).
About 1000 of the Bantam's BRC were supplied to Russia.
The name Jeep is purported to have come from the initials
of the Ford model, GP. The War Office bought more than 350,000
of them during the 19040s at a cost of $738.74 per vehicle.
The 2nd Armored Division was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia
on July 15, 1940 and originally commanded by Major General Charles
L. Scott until he was promoted. His second in command, now Brigadier
General George S. Patton,Jr then assumed command. Through World
War II, the 2nd Armored's core units included the 41st Armored
Infantry Regiment, the 66th Armored Regiment, the 67th Armored
Regiment, the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, the 82nd Armored
Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 142nd Armored Signal Company.
It served with the First , Seventh and Ninth Armies. Some of
the division participated in Operation Torch, landing at Casablanca
on November 8, 1942, but the first fighting for the whole division
was with Operation Husky in Sicily in 1943 where they eventually
broke through to Palermo. The 2nd landed in Normandy and raced
across France, Belgium, and into Germany. In April, orders halted
their progress at the Elbe in Germany until July when it was
the first American unit to enter the German capital city. The
division returned to Camp Hood (later Fort Hood) in Texas in
1946 and was disbanded in 1991.
Patton graduated from West Point and represented the US in
the 5th Olympic Games, competing in the first Pentathlon, held
in Stockholm in 1912. Here, he met and competed against Alois
Podjahsky, whom he would meet again in 1945 when Patton's army
moved into Austria. Head of the famed Spanish Riding School
in Vienna, Podjahsky Lipizzan stallions were on the verge of
starvation and all the mares and younger stock were in German
hands. With the help of the War Office and Gen. Patton, these
magnificent animals were saved. Their descendants can be seen
in tours around the US.
Patton is shown here with the 2nd Armored Division Patch--Hell
The caption on this photo reads, "Snuggled up against the
belongings of his late master, General Patton's dog Willie waits
to be shipped home." Patton bought William The Conqueror, a
white bull terrier in 1944 and he went everywhere with Patton.
A cartoonist for the Army paper, "Stars and Stripes" once wrote
about walking into a room and seeing Patton and Willie looking
at him. "If ever dog
was suited to the master this one was. Willie had his beloved
boss's expression and lacked only the ribbons and stars. I stood
in that door staring into the four meanest eyes I'd ever seen."
Patton died as the result of a car wreck on his way to a hunting
trip in Mannheim, German. A truck turned in front of the car
he was in, and his driver was killed in the wreck. Patton's
neck broke from flying about in the collision. After a grueling
12 days in an Army hospital, he died on Dec. 21, 1945. In accordance
with his wishes, Patton was buried with his men in the Hamm,
Luxembourg American Cemetery, his graved marked with a simple
cross. Willie returned home to live out his life with Patton's
The siege of Bastogne is the stuff of legends. While Patton
was further south, the 101st Airborne was ordered to hold a
crossroad city called Bastogne in Belgium. Their commander,
Brig Gen Anthony McAuliffe's refusal to surrender by telling
the Germans, "Nuts"
is one of the most famous military replies to such a demand,
and they held on valiantly from Dec. 9 until they were relieved
by the 3rd Army under Patton's command on Dec. 26. Ordered to "drive
like hell" by Patton, the combined divisions fought all the
way to Bastogne to end the German besiegement.
Patton's troops liberated Buchenwald. American Command Officers
were overwhelmed by the atrocities. Eisenhower said that if America's
soldiers didn't know before what they were fighting for, at least
now they knew what they were fighting against. US soliders were
sent into the towns to round up civilians and compel them to walk
through the camps to see the full horror of what they had done.