Legendary Military Units: US Army 1st Armored Division, Old Ironsides - "Iron Soldiers!"

 November 29, 2021

The first armored division is the Army unit that has been around the longest. They faced combat in WWII and fought many battles long before.

1st Armored History

The division was created in 1940 and Mak. Gen. Bruce Magruder was the man in charge. Gen. George Patton named his unit "Hell on Wheels" and wanted to be sure that his friend wanted the first to have a nickname.

More than 200 people submitted options, but Magruder did not like any of them. So he took some time to think it over. Coincidently, he just bought the painting of the USS Constitution, which was called Old Ironsides.

Magruder correlated the name with unwavering spirit, so that's what he chose for the unit. His pick has never been changed.

Initial Mission

While most people think the 1st armored fought the Germans first, that is, in fact, not the case. They battled it out in North Africa First.

They went out on Operation Torch, attempting to bring the Axis powers away from the East, relieving pressure on the Soviet Union.

Old Ironsides was to land on Morocco's Atlantic coast. They would secure the bridgeheads and open up a second front behind German and Italian soldiers.

The mission was successful. The division helped to squash all the resistance within three days and went toward Tunisia.

Moving Forward

The invasion was seen as an accomplishment and put the U.S. and the U.K. in charge of their own decisions.

But the terrain was difficult for the soldiers. In 1943, they fought against well-trained Germans at Kasserine Pass. As a result, they had heavy losses with both crew and machinery.

They needed to retreat, but they made a plan for the next battle as they went. First, the division moved to Naples to assist the Allied Forces.

Winter Line Attack

With the 5th Army, the 1st Armored Division participated in the Winter Line in November 1943. At either side of the Allied forces, Old Ironsides helped free Rome by June.

Eventually, they went to Germany with the U.S. occupation. After forces began leaving, the 1st Armored was deactivated. However, they became active again at Fort Hood in 1951,

The unit, with 34,000 soldiers, is at Fort Bliss, Texas. In 2019, the team began using Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

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