The Big Picture TV Series playlist:
Tanks, Armor, Artillery playlist:
“THE BIG PICTURE cameras will tell the story of two young Army privates who have recently been sent from their training camps in the U.S. to join the 2nd Armored, a division in Europe.”
“The Big Picture” episode TV-326
Originally a public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
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 Holland and the invasion of Germany. During the Cold War the division was primarily based at Fort Hood, Texas, and had a reinforced brigade forward stationed in West Germany. After participation in the Persian Gulf War, the division was inactivated in 1995. Its units were later transferred to the 4th Infantry Division.
World War II
The 2nd Armored was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia on 15 July 1940, originally commanded by Major General Charles L. Scott, with Colonel George S. Patton 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 served with the First, Seventh, and Ninth Armies.
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 while all 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 2AD 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 2nd Armored had three artillery battalions: (the 14th, 78th, and 92nd). The Division also had support units, including the 2nd Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, a Supply Battalion, the 48th Armored Medical Battalion, and a Military Police Platoon…
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 served in North Africa…
The division then landed in Normandy on 9 June 1944 under the command of then Major General Edward H. Brooks, operated in the Cotentin Peninsula and later formed the right flank of the Operation Cobra assault…
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 Gulf War
The invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein in August 1990 caught the division in the midst of the post-Cold War drawdown of the U.S. military. The division’s 2nd Brigade could not be deployed as it was in the middle of deactivating. The division’s 1st brigade, the Tiger Brigade for the war and commanded by Colonel John B. Sylvester, deployed to Saudi Arabia independently and participated in Operation Desert Storm by providing heavy armor for USMC forces in their attack into Kuwait.
The division’s 3rd brigade, the 2nd Armored Division (Forward) based in Germany, deployed to Saudi Arabia in the fall of 1990 and conducted combat operations as the third maneuver brigade of the 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, KS. The division destroyed 60 Iraqi tanks and 35 infantry vehicles along the IPSA pipeline…
The fate of the division after the Gulf War is a confusing series of deactivations and redesignations. Due to the restructuring of the U.S. Army after the end of the Cold War, the division was ordered off the active duty rolls, ending more than 50 years of continuous service…