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2nd Battalion - 63rd Armor Regiment

In 2007, as part of the reorganization and redesigantion of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor was inactivated. This transformation was part of the shift toward the new modular force structure in the US Army.

The mission of the 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor was to, on order, deploy to a designated contingency area to conduct military operations.

The 63rd Armor was organized in 1942 as the 745th Tank Battalion at Camp Bowie, Texas. After training in Texas and Louisiana, the Battalion departed New York in the summer of 1943 and continued its training in England. Landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, 6 June 1944, the 745th supported the 1st Infantry Division during the Normandy invasion. For its actions on the beachhead, the Battalion was awarded the French Croix de Guerre.

After securing the Caumont, the Battalion continued its support of the 1st Infantry Division, moving south through the breakthrough at Marigny and then west toward Coutances. It assisted in closing the Argentan-Falaise gap in September 1944, moved north to the Soissons area, and then advanced through France to the vicinity of Liège, Belgium. In September 1944 the Battalion, along with the 1st Division, destroyed an enemy pocket at Mons, Belgium, capturing more than 5,000 prisoners, including the commander of the German 6th Airborne Division.

The withdrawal of German forces enabled the 1st Infantry Division to move rapidly toward Aachen, Germany. The Division laid siege to the city, taking it after a direct assault on 21 October 1944. The 1st Infantry Division then attacked east of Aachen through the Hürtgen Forest in the drive toward the Roer. After bitter fighting, it moved to a rest area in December 1944.

Later in December 1944, the 1st Infantry Division fought on the northern flank of the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in the area of Eupen-Malmédy, repulsing the enemy after heavy combat. After the German counterattacks were thwarted, the Division and its attached units pushed forward to reduce enemy pockets and throw the Germans out of Belgian territory.

For its actions at Mons and at Eupen-Malmédy, the 745th Tank Battalion, along with the 1st Infantry Division, was awarded the Belgian Fourragère. The Battalion supported the 1st Infantry Division's attack against the Siegfried Line until 7 February 1945, when the 99th Infantry Division relieved the 1st Infantry Division.

After supporting the 99th Division in February 1945, the 745th Tank Battalion returned to aid the 1st Infantry Division in its drive to and across the Rhine, crossing into the Remagen bridgehead in March 1945. The Battalion advanced toward the Harz Mountains, through Büren, and across the Weser River. It then moved through Blankenburg to Marktleuthen, remaining there until the end of the war in May 1945, when the Battalion moved to Czechoslovakia for occupation duty. After several months, the 745th Tank Battalion returned to the United States, where it was inactivated on 27 October 1945.

Three years later, the Battalion was redesignated as the 63rd Heavy Tank Battalion and activated in Germany as an element of the 1st Infantry Division. The Battalion served in West Germany until 1955 when it, along with the 1st Infantry Division, moved to Fort Riley, Kansas, as a part of Operation Gyroscope. The Battalion was inactivated at Fort Riley in 1957.

As a part of ROAD (Reorganized Objective Army Divisions), the Battalion was reorganized and redesignated on 25 January 1963 as the 63rd Armor Regiment, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. The 2nd Battalion was then assigned to 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley. Active with the 1st Infantry Division between 1964 and 1965, the 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor (along with the rest of the Regiment) remained at Fort Riley when the Division deployed to Vietnam in 1965. The 2nd Battalion was eventually inactivated.

In September 1987 the 63rd Armor was reorganized under the US Army Regimental System with its home base at Fort Irwin. The Regiment was inactivated on 15 October 1994 at Fort Irwin, California, and was relieved from assignment to the 177th Armored Brigade. The colors remained cased until 15 February 1996 when it was brought back to serve in Vilseck, Germany, as part of the 1st Infantry Division. 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor were assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

In 2004 elements of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They served there until returning to Germany in 2005. In 2007 the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division cased its colors in Germany. The 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division was reassigned under United States Forces Command, with stationing at Fort Hood, Texas, effective 19 April 2007. It was subsequently reorganized and redesignated under the US Army's new modular force structure as 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). At this time, the 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor was inactivated.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:23:42 ZULU