U.S. 1st Armored Division

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{{Infobox Military Unit |unit_name=1st Armored Division |image=Image:US 1ADSSI.PNG |caption=US 1st AD Shoulder Sleeve Insignia |nickname=Old Ironsides |motto= |colors=red, yellow, and blue |march= |ceremonial_chief= |type=Armored |branch=Regular Army |dates=February, 1932– |country=USA |allegiance= |command_structure=V Corps |size= |specialization= |current_commander=Major General Fred D. Robinson, Jr. |garrison=1st AD Garrisons |battles=Operation Torch, Italian campaign, Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom |notable_commanders= |anniversaries= }} The 1st Armored Division —nicknamed the Old Ironsides— is an armored division of the United States Army with base of operations in Wiesbaden, Germany. It was the first armored division of the U.S. Army to see battle in World War II. [1]


Command and Staff

This division is part of the U.S. V Corps (technically), or is directly subordinate to the 7th US Army, USAREUR (in certain cases). As of July 2004 its command personnel include[2]

Commander: Major General Fred D. Robinson, Jr.
Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver): Colonel Michael Ryan
Assistant Division Commander (Support): Brigadier General Michael S. Tucker
Chief of Staff: Colonel George Lockwood
Command Sergeant Major: Command Sergeant Major Roger P. Blackwood

Order of Battle

1st Brigade (Ready First Brigade)
1st Battalion, 37th Armor
2d Battalion, 37th Armor
1st Battalion, 36th Infantry
Troop F, 1st Cavalry
16th Engineer Battalion
501st Forward Support Battalion
2d Brigade (Iron Brigade)
1st Battalion, 6th Infantry
2d Battalion, 6th Infantry
1st Battalion, 35th Armor
Troop G, 1st Cavalry
40th Engineer Battalion
47th Forward Support Battalion
Company B, 501st Military Intelligence Battalion
Company B, 141st Signal Battalion
3d Brigade (Bulldogs)
1st Battalion, 13th Armor
2d Battalion, 70th Armor
1st Battalion, 41st Infantry
Troop H, 1st Cavalry
70th Engineer Battalion
125th Forward Support Battalion
596th Signal Company
Aviation Brigade (Iron Eagle)
1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry
1st Battalion, 501st Aviation
2d Battalion, 501st Aviation
127th Aviation Support Battalion
69th Chemical Company
Divisional Artillery (Iron Steel)
4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery (supports 3d Brigade)
2d Battalion, 3d Field Artillery (supports 1st Brigade)
4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery (supports 2n Brigade)
1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery (general support, equipped with MLRS)
Divisional Separate Units
1st Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery
501st Military Intelligence Battalion
141st Signal Battalion
123d Main Support Battalion
501st Military Police Company

When the division relocates in 2007 to Fort Bliss, Texas, it will reorganize under the new modular tables of organization. A fourth brigade combat team will activated.


Image:US 1ADDUI.PNG The division was nicknamed, "Old Ironsides", by its first commander, Major General Bruce R. Magruder, after he saw a picture of the USS Constitution, which is also nicknamed "Old Ironsides". The large "1" at the top represents the numerical designation of the division, and the insignia is used as a basis for most other sub-unit insignias. The three colors, red, yellow, and blue represent the Artillery, Cavalry, and Infantry Branches respectively, which are the colors of the three original combat arms which forged into one created the field of armor. The cannon and tracked vehicle symbols are represent the mechanized role of the Division

Unit History


COL Daniel Van Voorhis took a cadre of 175 Officers and Enlisted Men from Fort Eustis to Fort Knox in February, 1932, and established a Provisional Armored Car Platoon. This was based on an earlier effort, but was predicated on a new Cavalry Regiment TO&E which was published that year. Also published, but never implemented, was a Cavalry Division TO&E which reflected the natural assimilation of machines into the Horse Cavalry.

Van Voorhis’s Cadre and the Platoon became the kernel for the 7th Cavalry Brigade, which went Active on March 1, 1932. At first, it was nothing more than a headquarters and the Armored Car Platoon.

On January 3, 1933, U.S. 1st Cavalry Regiment was relieved from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division, and was moved from Fort A.D. Russell to Fort Knox. The earlier Mechanized Platoon was incorporated into the new Regimental TO&E, and the result was the 1st Cavalry Regiment [Mech], which went active on January 16, 1933. The new Regimental commander was Colonel Van Voorhis, late of the experimental Mechanized Force, while the executive officer was Adna Chaffee. The Post Commander of Fort Knox was Brigadier General Julian R. Lindsey, another Cavalryman. To round out the Cavalry nature of the unit, Major Robert W. Grow was on the Regimental Staff.

Van Voorhis added the 13th Cavalry Regiment, the 68th Field Artillery Battalion, the 7th Reconaissance Squadron, the 7th Signal Troop, the 4th Medical Troop, the 47th Engineer Troop and the 17th Quartermaster Battalion. The 7th Cavalry Brigade was fully formed.

Van Voorhis remained in command until September, 1938, when he was promoted to command 5th United States Corps at Indianapolis, Indiana. Chaffee took over from Van Voorhis.

On May 7, 1940, the 7th Cavalry Brigade took part in maneuvers at Monroe, Louisianna that were instrumental in developing the armored division concept. The maneuvers concluded on May 27, 1940, and the brigade returned to Fort Knox on May 31, 1940, and preparations started to expand the brigade into the 1st Armored Division.

On July 15, 1940, 7th Cavalry Brigade was expanded, reorganized, and redesignated as 1st Armored Division. 1st Cavalry Regiment was redesignated as 1st Armored Regiment and 13th Cavalry Regiment was redesignated as 13th Armored Regiment.

The first Order of Battle for the 1st Armored Division was as follows:

1st Armored Brigade
1st Armored Regiment (Light)
13th Armored Regiment (Light)
69th Armored Regiment (Medium)
68th Armored Field Artillery Regiment
6th Armored Infantry Regiment
27th Field Artillery Battalion (Armored)
16th Engineer Battalion (Armored)
81st Armored Reconnaisance Squadron
13th Quartermaster Battalion (Armored)
19th Ordnance Battalion (Armored)
47th Medical Battalion (Armored)
141st Signal Company (Armored)

Formation of 4th Armored Division

On April 15, 1941 The 1st AD sent a cadre to form the U.S. 4th Armored Division at Pine Camp.

World War Two


After completing its organization and equipping, 1st Armored Division trained at Fort Knox, and then deployed to participate in the VII Corps Maneuvers on August 18, 1941. Once the maneuvers concluded, 1st Armored Division then moved on August 28, 1941, and arrived at Camp Polk for the Second Army Louisiana Maneuvers on September 1, 1941. They then moved to Fort Jackson on October 30, 1941 to participate in the First Army Carolina Maneuvers. 1st AD then returned to Fort Knox on December 7, 1941, but started to prepare for deployment overseas instead of returning to Garrison.


The 1st Armored Division was ordered to Fort Dix on April 11, 1942 to await their deployment overseas. The division's port call required them to board the Queen Mary at the New York Port of Embarkation at the Brooklyn Army Terminal on May 11, 1942. They arrived at Northern Ireland on May 16, 1942, and trained on the moors until they moved on to England on October 29, 1942.

The unit's first contact with an enemy was as part of the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa, Operation Torch, on November 8, 1942. Elements of the division were part of the Northern Task Force and became the first American armored division to see combat in World War II. It eventually engaged Erwin Rommel's tank units and after long months of fighting, helped drive the Axis forces from the continent.

After the fall of Sicily, the unit, under the US Fifth Army, invaded mainland Italy. It took part in the attack on the infamous Winter Line in November 1943. It then flanked the Axis armies in the landings at Anzio, and participated in the liberation of Rome on June 4, 1944. The division continued in combat in the Po Valley until the German forces surrendered on May 2, 1945. In June, the Division moved to Germany as part of the occupation forces.


1st Armored Division returned to the New York Port of Embarkation on April 24, 1946, and was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on April 25, 1946.

Post World War II

The Korean War saw the US forces being built up again. As part of that buildup, the 1st Armored Division was reactivated on 7 March 1951 at Fort Hood. It was the first US Army unit to receive the new M48 Patton tank. After a number of years in Texas, the division was moved to Fort Polk, Louisiana, in 1956.

The division was deployed to Texas, Florida, and Georgia, in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the six week deployment, it received a visit from President John F. Kennedy. A few units fought in the Vietnam War, and were returned to the division after the war. The 3d Brigade deployed to Chicago, Illinois to restore order after Martin Luther King Jr.'s marches. At that time, the division was based in Fort Hood, Texas.

As the Vietnam War wound down, there was a fundamental reorganisation of the Army. As part of this reorganisation, the 1st Armored Division was moved to Germany in 1971. It replaced the 4th Armored Division there. The Division remained in Germany for the next twenty years, as part of the American forces committed to NATO.

In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. US Army units were dispatched to protect Saudi Arabia. Later in the fall, President Bush made the decision to deploy American heavy forces on a massive scale to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait. The lead unit for this deployment was the VII Corps from Germany. 1st Armored Division was one of four American heavy divisions assigned to VII Corps in theater. In the ground attack of the Gulf War, the Division led the VII Corps' flank attack on the Iraqis. It had the duty of destroying the elite Iraqi Republican Guard units. In eighty nine hours, the division moved 250 kilometers, destroyed 768 vehicles, and captured 1,064 prisoners of war, at the cost of four dead. It returned to Germany on May 8, 1991. It celebrated with a visit from the Vice President.

On December 18, 1995, under the command of Major General William L. Nash, the division deployed to northeast Bosnia as the command element of Task Force Eagle, a powerful, multinational unit intended to keep the peace. (A Russian brigade, initially under the command of Colonel Aleksandr Ivanovich Lentsov, was part of that effort. An account of the interactions of the Americans and Russians in Bosnia in 1996 may be found in James Nelson’s Bosnia Journal.) The 1AD returned in late 1996 to Germany.

In 1999, the unit was once again deployed, this time to Kosovo, for Operation Allied Force, and Operation Joint Guardian.

Afterwards, the unit trained heavily in Hohenfels and Grafenwohr Training Areas inGermany, with realistic OPFOR (Opposition Forces) exercises. Some units were deployed into Iraq and other countries in the Middle East for the global War on Terrorism.

In the build-up in the months prior the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, two battalions of the 1st Armored Division's, 3d Brigade were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 2-70 Armor and 1-41 Infantry battalion task forces augmented the 82nd Airborne Division, the 3d Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division throughout the campaign to oust Iraqi dictator Suddaam Hussein. These units spearheaded the U.S assaults in As Samawah and Karbala and later occupied the southern area of Baghdad. They were joined in May 2003, by the remainder of the 1st Armored Division, which assumed command of Baghdad and the surrounding areas, and relieved the 3d Infantry Division. The division was sheduled to return home on March-April 2004, but was extended in order to put down the Moqtada Al Sadr uprising. Task Force 1-37AR ("Bandits") fought Al Sadr's forces in Karbala while Task Force 2-37AR ("Dukes") fought in Diwaniya,Sadr City,Al-Kut and Najaf. Task Force 2-37AR encountered some of the heaviest fighting of post-invasion Iraq when it clashed with Shia rebels in Sadr City and Najaf in early 2004. 2-37AR lost four soldiers and several soldiers became seriously ill after returning to Germany. Task Force 1-36IN ("Spartans") became the CJTF-7 Operational Reserve and conducted operations throughout the theater in support of both 1st and 2d Brigades. Forces from the 2d Brigade fought in Kut. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the division lost over 125 soldiers.

The division's "Ready First" 1st Brigade deployed again to Iraq after months of intensive training in Grafenwohr and Hohenfels, Germany on January 2006. Many of the soldiers who fought with units like 2-37 Armor "Iron Dukes" and 1-37 "Bandits" returned to Iraq for a second time.

The division's 3d Brigade deployed to the Iraqi Theatre once again in February of 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom three from Fort Riley, Kansas, this after only nine months back in the States. There, they are attached to the 3d Infantry Division and are the major unit involved with Task Force Baghdad.


Campaign Participation Credit

World War II:

  1. Tunisia;
  2. Naples-Foggia;
  3. Rome-Arno;
  4. Anzio;
  5. North Apennines;
  6. Po Valley

Southwest Asia:

  1. Defense of Saudi Arabia;
  2. Liberation and Defense of Kuwait;
  3. Cease-Fire


  1. Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) for SOUTHWEST ASIA
  2. Army Superior Unit Award for 1995-1996

Book references

  • Template:Cite book covers its first (WWII era) incarnation.
  • Template:Cite book First Armored Division Museum. Written by 1st Armored Division Corporal while stationed in Iraq from Spring 2003 until July 2004.

External links


no:1. panserdivisjon (USA) sl:1. oklepna divizija (ZDA) fi:Yhdysvaltain 1. panssaridivisioona