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Speed is the Password

The 12th Armored Division and the Spearhead to the Rhine, 1942-1945

Estimated Release:  2023

Activated on September 15, 1942 with organization and initial training at Camp Campbell, Kentucky.  Later the Division moved to Camp Barkeley in Abilene, Texas for final training.

The division was authorized 10,800 soldiers and included tank battalions, armored field artillery battalions (with an air component), armored infantry battalions, and other support units.

In early 1943 the Division adopted the nickname “The Hellcats” and commissioned artwork that incorporated the tank and the lightning bolt.

While at Camp Barkeley, one of the Division’s three tank battalions was detached and sent to the Pacific Theater.  The 714th Tank Battalion from South Carolina was sent to Camp Barkeley to replace the 44th Tank Battalion.  The 44th Tank Battalion saw action under General Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific campaigns, although the unit never fought as a battalion.  Companies were detached for temporary duty throughout the war, with part of the 44th entering Manila and liberating the city and the civilian prisoners at Santo Tomas prison.  A new documentary film about the liberation of Santo Tomas is currently under pre-production at Old Segundo Productions.

During the war, the Division captured 72,243 enemy prisoners of war, including Adof Eichmann and Wernher von Braun.

The Division liberated nearly 8,500 Allied POWs and an additional 20,000 non-military prisoners, many of whom were survivors of the concentration camps.

Total casualties included:  616 killed in action, 2,416 wounded in action, 17 missing in action, and 478 prisoners of war.

 

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Speed is the Password–This documentary traces the story of the 12th Armored Division from its activation in 1942 at Campbell, Kentucky and later training at Camp Barkeley in Abilene, Texas. By September 1944, the Division was on the move overseas, landing at Liverpool, England on October 2nd. After several weeks receiving new armor at Tidworth Barracks, the Division crossed the English Channel, joined Patch’s Seventh Army, and moved
against the Maginot Line, firing their first shots on December 5th.

Swift victories followed, but the Division suffered a devastating defeat in January at Herrlisheim. After receiving massive replacements and three
companies of African-American infantry, the 12th went on the offensive. Sealing the Comar Pocket and moving in a lightning drive, ended the German
resistance in the Vosges Mountains.

Later the Division was attached to General George S. Patton’s Third Army and spearheaded the drive to the Rhine River. This film covers their five-month combat story in detail as they liberated concentration and POW camps along the way. Watch as the story unfolds with 12th Armored Division veterans remembering those darks days on the combat trail as the desperate quest for victory unfolded.

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