On November 21, 1941 General Marshall activated the Tank Destroyer Force which was developed by the Army Ground Force's General Leslie J. McNair, and implemented by General Andrew Bruce at Camp Hood, Texas. They were charged with the mission to SEEK, STRIKE and DESTROY enemy tanks.
Camp Hood is located in southwestern Bell and southeastern Coryell counties in Central Texas. Most of the 218,000 acres owned by the United States Army is located in Coryell County. On January 14, 1942, at the beginning of United States involvement in World War II, it was announced that a Tank Destroyer Tactical and Firing Center would be established near Killeen, Texas. Gen. Andrew D. Bruce was selected as the first commander.
The first major unit, the 893d Tank Destroyer Battalion, arrived from Fort Meade, Maryland, on April 2, 1942. As other troops began arriving, some 300 farming and ranching families were required, on very short notice, to give up their land. Camp Hood was officially opened on September 18, 1942, and has been continuously used for armored training ever since. The installation was named in honor of Gen. John Bell Hood.
The mission at Camp Hood was almost immediately expanded to include a Replacement and Basic Training Center at North Camp Hood. At times, as many as 100,000 soldiers were being trained for the war effort. During the later part of the war some 4,000 German prisoners of war were interned at Camp Hood. Text courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
1.) Photo Gallery 1 - Over the next few months, we will be adding a collection of over 200 photos, taken at Camp Hood, TX, between May and September of 1942. These photos include facility images from the ground and by air, many command personnel images, equipment and training shots as well as event and activities images. This grouping, identified as the "Camp Hood Collection" were provided courtesy of the MCoE (Maneuver Center Of Excellence) Museum Division Archives, Armor Branch.
I want to especially thank Len Dyer, who is the Director of the Armor Collection and Justin Batt, who is an archivist and did the conversion of the photos. These photos have not been available to the public since they were moved, from the Patton Museum. Additionally, they have never been available electronically.
Please note that the archival section of the Museum Division is currently CLOSED to the public. Please read the following notice for more information.
2.) Original Tank Destroyer School Officers - Shown in the photo are sitting L to R: Lt. Col. Wheaton, Director of Automotive Dept.; Col. Cole, Operations Officer; Col. Beatty, C.O. Student Regt.; Brig. Gen. Mayberry, Commandant; Col. Devine, C.O. Officers Cand. Regt.; Col. Berry, Director of Tactics Dept.; Lt. Col. Maloy, Executive Officer.
Standing L to R: Lt. Col. Schermerhorn, Director of Pioneer Dept.; Major McGregor, C.O. of Academic Regt.; Lt. Col. Frederick, Director of O.C.S. Dept.; Lt. Col. McNair, Director of Weapons Dept.; Capt. Davis, Director of Reproductions Dept.; Major Poole, Adjutant; Lt. Col. Howell, Secretary; Capt. Miller, Property Officer; Maj. Dansereau, S-4 and Fiscal; Lt. Col. Whalen, Director of Communications Dept. Photo courtesy of Jim Moore.
3.) Officers Candidate School Class #22 - The graduating class of Officers from Camp Hood's Tank Destroyer OCS of March, 1943. The only identified person is Marvin E. Mikles, who is standing in the 5th row from the front, 4th from the left. Unlike many of the officers who went on to serve in TD units, Marvin then went to Jump School and ultimately served with the 101st Airborne. Photo courtesy of Don Mikles.
4.) Officers Candidate School Class #54 - The graduating class of Officers from Camp Hood's Tank Destroyer OCS of March, 1944, poses with what looks like their mascot sitting front center. Commanding officers listed are 1st Lt. Barron B. Posey, 2nd Lt. Dana L. Williams, 2nd Lt. Joseph P. Ludan and 2nd Lt. Floyd W. Coley also sitting front center in the dark uniforms. This photo was provided courtesy of Tom Grannis whose father Robert L. Grannis is shown in the front row, 4th from the right.
5.) Tank Destroyer Replacement Training Center Welcome Booklet - A small booklet given to new personnel upon their arrival at the TDRTC.
6.) Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 1942 - This is not only a menu of the food from the November 26, 1942 event but it also includes the names of all the officers of the Tank Destroyer School based at Camp Hood. At the time, Brigadier General H.T. Mayberry was the Commandant but what is interesting to me is that it lists at least six officers that would ultimately be assigned to my father's unit, the 6th TD Group.
7.) Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 1943 - It is interesting to come across the same document from one year later. There have been a number of changes, including the switch of Col. Branner P. Purdue from commanding the 6th TD Group to head of the Tactics Department in place of Col. Logan Berry who leaves the Tactics Department for the 6th TD Group.
8.) Student Regiment Officers - A single sheet listing of the officers assigned to the Student Regiment on April 26, 1944. This date was just a month and a few days prior to the Normandy invasion.
9.) Motorcycle Training at Camp Hood - From the Harley-Davidson "The Enthusiast" Magazine of May 1943, the article reviews both the driving and mechanical training practices learned while at Camp Hood. Colonel Wheaton, Director of the Automotive Dept., is shown sitting proudly on one of the motorcycles. The magazine was sent free of charge to all factory registered owners or 50 cents per year to all others. From the letters I read in the magazine, many of the soldiers looked forward to receiving their copy of the publication no matter where in the world they were stationed, England, Africa, Germany and the United States. Additional information on Harley-Davidson's role in WWII and use of their motorcycles during war times can be found on the Harley-Davidson website.
10.) Carpenter Crew Photo - This image from March of 1943, shows foreman M.M. Pattillo and his crew of 38 men, who were responsible for the much of the construction done at Camp Hood, TX, over the next few years. Fort Hood's website identifies that approximately 300 families were relocated and building of the new camp would begin in 1942. In less than one year's time, facilities for 95,000 soldiers were created.
11.) The Hood Panther Newspaper - We were able to find 57 issues of the newspaper, published at the Camp Hood, Texas, camp. We had them scanned professionally with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) so you are are able to seach them using Adobe PDF's "Find" feature. We have also provided an overview of the issues, which is listed below.
I want to especially thank Bill Whitney and his staff at MBI Imaging Systems for their work to digitize these documents.