601st Tank Destroyer Battalion

Unit History:  1st Infantry Division Provisional Antitank Battalion converted to 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion on 15 December 1941.  Company C of the original battalion consisted mainly of Battery D, 5th Field Artillery, the only Army unit with a continuous history from the Revolutionary War.  Arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on 9 April 1942. Reconnaissance Company landed at Oran, Algeria, on 8 November as part of Operation Torch, and rest of battalion arrived in December.  Fought in Battle of Kasserine Pass in February, 1943, and at El Guettar in March.  Converted to the M10 at the end of the North Africa campaign.  Participated in invasion landings at Salerno, Italy, on 9 September.  Made third D-day assault at Anzio on 22 January, 1944, and entered Rome in June.  Conducted fourth assault landing in southern France on 15 August.  Advanced to German border in the Vosges region.  Participated in reduction of Colmar Pocket in February 1945, then converted to the M36.  Battled along the Siegfried Line until crossing the Rhine on 22 March.  Helped capture Nürnberg in April and ended the war occupying Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden in Bavaria.  Attached to: 1st Armored Division; 1st, 3d, 9th, 34th, 36th, 45th, 103d Infantry divisions.  History text from the book The Tank Killers by Harry Yeide. Used by permission.

Combat Equipment:  11/42 - M3 & M6; 7/43 - M10; 2/45 - M36.

Commanding Officers:  Lt. Col. Herschel D. Baker; Lt. Col. Walter Earle Tardy (4/43); Major Daniel S.T. Hinman (3/44); Lt. Col. Tardy (4/44); Major William R. Harrison (3/45).

Code Name/s:  Cricket, Sunray and Werewolf

Campaign Credits:   Algeria/French Morocco....Nov 8-11, 1942

                                Tunisia...........................Nov. 17, to May 13, 1943

                                Sicily..............................July 9, to Aug. 17, 1943

                                Naples/Foggia.................Sept. 9, 1943 to Jan. 21, 1944

                                Rome Arno.....................Jan. 22, to Sept. 9, 1944 (Amph. Assault)

                                Southern France..............Aug 15, to Sept. 14, 1944 (Amph. Assault)

                                Rhineland.......................Sept. 15, 1944 to Mar. 21, 1945

                                Ardennes-Alsace.............Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan 25, 1945

                                Central Europe................Mar. 22, to May 11, 1945

Awards:  Distinguished Unit Citation - 23 Mar 43, WD GO 45-35 and 22 Jan-6 Feb 45, WD GO 44-45

Location August 1945:  Toul, France

Additional Information/Materials:

ATTENTION...........Victor "Tory" Failmezger, who is a retired Commander in the US Navy, has written a detailed book on his uncle, 1st Lt. Thomas P. Welch, titled An American Knight - A Tank Destroyer Story.  The book is based on 150 letters written by his uncle during WWII as well as other memoirs and diaries from men in the unit.  The book goes beyond 1st Lt. Welch's story and gives a clear picture of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, the Army and its inner workings.  I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the 601st TD Bn, tank destroyer units or WWII in general.  The personal perspective given through the letters truly provides a soldier's view of the war.  Tory takes the letters and fills in the "back" story, giving the reader a clear understanding.  It's very well done, a truly enjoyable read and reasonably priced for a book of this size.  At 480 pages, there is plenty of material.

You can find more about the book, the author and purchasing information at the following website....www.ww2tankdestroyer.com.

NOTE: If you plan to purchase the book, please mention this website and the author will give a small donation to www.tankdestroyer.net to keep us up on the web. 

1.)  Photo Gallery

2.)  Group Photo of Charter Members - Two shots taken on July 25, 1942, at the Indiantown Gap, Military Reservation in Pennsylvania. The only difference I see is that in the second image, they all are wearing their helmets. Commanding Officer is listed as Lt. Col. Herschel D. Baker.  Photos courtesy of Paul Stevens.

                  Group without Helmets

                  Group with Helmets

3.)  Group Photo Reconnaisance Company 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion. Photo courtesy of Susan Yoder Hansen.

4.)  601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, unit history information - Wikipedia entry.

5.)  An Informal History of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion - book by 1st Lt. Edward L. Josowitz, 1945.  Includes KIA casualties, awards and full roster.  The file was quite large so I divided it for quicker downloads.  Provided courtesy of Paul Stevens.

              Pages - Cover through 21 (Includes History)

                  Pages - 22 through 49 (Includes History, Campaigns and Memoriam)

              Pages - 50 through 59 (Awards)

                 Roster - (This part of the document was scanned using OCR and is searchable)
                          Please note that Technician 5th Grade, Andrew Brin is listed in the roster
                          of the 601st but his last name was incorrectly spelled "Brian".  Thank you
                          to his nephew Richard Kuchta, for this information.    
               

6.)  Short narrative of memorable events - Written by S/Sgt Bill R. Harper.  Some notable engagements with the enemy are highlighted and names of numerous personnel involved are included.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

7.)  Operations Reports/Statements-from the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas (**).  Also courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian (##).

           March 16 - 19, 1943........................................6 Pages (##)

           March 23, 1943.............................................10 Pages (El Guettar) (**)

           Company A, March 26, 1943 (Statements).........3 Pages (**)

           Company B, March 27, 1943 (Statements).......15 Pages (**)

           Company C, March 27, 1943 (Statements).......17 Pages (**)

           Recon Company, March 23, 1943 (Statements)..5 Pages (**)

           Oct. 1 - 31, 1943.............................................2 Pages

           Nov. 1 - 30, 1943............................................2 Pages

              Jan. 22 - Mar. 9, 1944-AT Defense at Anzio......12 Pages (##)

           Feb. 1 - 29, 1944............................................5 Pages

           Mar. 1 - 31, 1944............................................7 Pages

           Apr. 1 - 30, 1944............................................7 Pages

           May. 1 - 31, 1944............................................7 Pages

           Jun. 1 - 30, 1944............................................6 Pages

           Dec. 1 - 31, 1944............................................8 Pages

           Jan. 1 - 31, 1945...........................................12 Pages

           Feb. 1 - 28, 1945............................................7 Pages (**)

           Mar. 14 - 31, 1945..........................................8 Pages (**)

8.)  Unit Journals - Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

               Co. C, Jan 22 - Feb 23, 1943............................5 Pages

               March 16 - 19, 1943........................................6 Pages

9.)  Report "Operation Avalanche"...............................8 Pages (Sep. 5 to 20, 1943)

10.)  Report "Operation Shingle".................................16 Pages (Jan. 22 to 31, 1944) From the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

11.)  Miscellaneous Documents - Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

                 Various documents.........................................3 Pages
             News article-Stars and Stripes.........................1 Page (rough, but many names)
             News article-Yank magazine, April 25, 1943......2 Pages (includes names)
             Calendar of action by Tom Morrison.................1 Page

12.)  Presidential Unit Citation (P.U.C.) - G.O. 41, from April 25, 1947, and its amendment G.O. 1, March 31, 1996, and G.O. 25 from June 8, 2001, adding Company A and B of the 601st TD. Battalion to the order, and providing for award their P.U.C.

13.)  Unit Citation - G.O. 127, HQ Seventh Army, March 30, 1945.  For actions near El Guettar, Tunisia, March 23, 1943.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

14.)  Personal Narratives - These were written by former veterans of the 601st, during the 1980's, in response to questions they recieved from the author doing research for an upcoming book on U. S. tank destroyer forces.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

              P. Ray Desfosses, Co. A..................................6 Pages
              P. Ray Desfosses, Co. A..................................2 Pages
              Robert A. Hawks, Co. B, 2nd Plt.......................2 Pages
              Samuel A. Kelly, Co. A....................................4 Pages
              Samuel A. Kelly, Co. A....................................3 Pages
              Henry Large, Co. A..........................................1 Page
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, 1942-43.......................11 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: Ousseltia..................6 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: Ousseltia 2...............8 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: Sbietla...................10 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: Gafsa-Gabes Rd......12 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: El Guettar................ 3 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: El Guettar 2..............3 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: El Guettar 3..............7 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, re: Major Cushman........7 Pages
              Tom Morrison, Co. A, Sketches.......................6 Pages
              Herbert E. Sundstrom.....................................5 Pages
              Herbert E. Sundstrom.....................................3 Pages
              Walter E. Tardy-1...........................................2 Pages
              Walter E. Tardy-2...........................................3 Pages

15.)  Reunion Article - Originally posted in the Philadelpia Inquirer, April 26, 1986.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

16.)  Christmas Dinner Menu & Roster - This small program is for Battery "D" First Provisional Anti-Tank Battalion of the 5th Field Artillery Regiment, which is the unit that the 601st was formed from. Although not dated, it would have been 1940 or before since the unit was converted to a TD Bn in 1941. It includes a menu of their meal and a roster of men and lists their Commanding Officer as Captain Frederic W. Hodge. Capt. At the time, they were stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. This item is from the Colonel Frederic W. Hodge collection who is featured in our Honoree area. Program provided courtesy of Valerie Hodge.

17.)  "Cook's Tour" Campaign Map - A 15" x 16" map showing the route the 601st took starting on the Atlantic to England and then onto Africa, Italy and to Southern France, ending in Germany. The map provided courtesy of Valerie Hodge.