66TH INFANTRY DIVISION
World War II
Activated: 15 April 1943. Overseas: 1 December 1944. Campaigns: Northern France. Days of combat: 91. Awards: DSM-1 ; SS-78; LM-9; SM-28 ; BSM-127 ; AM-58. Commanders: Maj. Gen. Herman F. Kramer (April 194318 August 1945), Maj. Gen. Walter F. Lauer (18 August 1945 to inactivation). Returned to U. S.: 6 November 1945. Inactivated: 8 November 1945.
The three regiments of the 66th Infantry Division arrived in England, 26 November 1944, and the remainder of the Division, 12 December 1944, training until 24 December 1944 when the Division crossed the English Channel to Cherbourg. A German torpedo ripped into the transport as it was crossing the Channel, and 14 officers and 748 enlisted men were lost. Attached to the 12th Army Group and designated the 12th Army Group Coastal Sector, with operational control of all French forces in the area, the 66th relieved the 94th Division in the BrittanyLoire area, 29 December 1944. Its mission of containing the enemy in the St. Nazaire and Lorient pockets was carried out by daily reconnaissance patrols, limited objective attacks, and the maintenance of harassing and interdictory fires on enemy installations. A heavy German attack near La Croix was repulsed, 16 April 1945, and several strongly emplaced enemy positions were taken, 19-29 April 1945. Enemy troops in the Lorient and St. Nazaire pockets surrendered to the Division upon the end of hostilities in Europe, 8 May 1945. The 66th moved to Germany on occupation duty, in the Koblenz subarea, 20 May 1945, and left for Marseille, 26 May 1945. It sailed for home 27 October 1945.
Assignments in the ETO*
27 December 1944: 12th Army Group. 31 March 1944: Fifteenth Army, 12th Army Group.
Nickname: Black Panther Division. Shoulder patch: Red bordered circle, containing black panther's head against an orange background. Association: Panther Veterans' Organization, 1230 East Adelaide Drive, Tucson, Ariz., Mr. Marion D. Gerhart, secretary. Publications: 66th Division in World War II; by unit members; Army & Navy Publishing Co., Baton Rouge, La.; 1947. Pictorial Review; by unit members; Albert Love Enterprises, Atlanta 2, Ga.; 1944. The Black Panther; U. S. Army; 66th Division; Albert Love Enterprises, 1090 Capitol Avenue, Atlanta 2, Ga. The Story of the 66th Infantry Division; Information and Education Division, ETOUSA; 1945 ; 31 pp.
Nota Bene: These combat chronicles, current as of October 1948, are reproduced from The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950, pp. 510-592.]
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