602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion

Unit History:  Second Infantry Division Provisional Antitank Battalion converted to 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion on 15 December, 1941.  Equipped with M10s, then M18s before leaving the States.  Arrived in Scotland on 29 July, 1944, and at Omaha Beach on 26 August.  Committed to battle along Moselle River on 9 September.  Supported operations leading to capture of Metz, France, in November.  Transferred to Belgium during Ardennes Offensive, arriving at Neufchateau on 21 December.  Supported operations against the Bulge in January 1945.  Fought through Siegfried Line in February.  Returned to Moselle River area in March, crossed Rhine River at Boppard on 26 March.  Advanced through Gotha, Eisenach, and Zwickau in April.  Attached to: 17th Airborne Division; 4th and 11th Armored divisions; 26th, 28th, 80th, 87th, 89th, and 90th Infantry divisions; 2d and 6th Cavalry groups.  History text from the book The Tank Killers by Harry Yeide. Used by permission.

Combat Equipment:  9/44 - M18.

Commanding Officers:  Lt. Col. Peter J. Kopcsak (WIA 11/9/44). Lt. Col. Thomas J. Conlin (11/9/44)

Code Name/s:  Corsair

Campaign Credits:   Northern France...............Jul. 25, to Sept. 14, 1944

                                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 - 9-13 Jan 45, WD GO 40-46, Co. C only

Location August 1945:  Wittlich, Germany

Additional Materials:

1.)  Detailed History of the 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion - Found on the 89th Infantry Division website.

2.)  History 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion March 1941 to November 1945 - by Bertrand J. Oliver and published by the 602nd TD Bn Assoc., East Lansing, MI, in November, 1990.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

         Part 1 - Dedication, Stateside History, Overseas and into France.....Pages 1-15

       Part 2 - Belgium/Luxembourgh, Germany, Occupation, Awards......Pages 16-39

         Part 3 - Unit Journal, March 29, 1944 - May 8, 1945......................Pages 40-67

         Part 4 - Unit Journal - Co. A (w/Roster), Aug 24, 1941-May 9, 1945..Pages 68-105

         Part 5 - Rt. of March, Attachments, Combat Losses, PH Recipients..Pages 106-140 

3.)  Unit History, Dec, 1941 - Dec, 1943...............3 Pages

4.)  A Short History - March 29, 1944-May 7, 1945 (Includes casualties).  Appears to have been written years after the war.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

5.)  Daily Operations Reports - from the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

               Oct. 1-31, 1944......................21 Pages (includes summary & awards)

                    Nov. 1-30, 1944......................14 Pages (includes summary & awards)

               Mar, 1-31, 1945.......................9 Pages (includes summary & awards)

               Apr. 1-30, 1945......................11 Pages (includes summary & awards)

               May. 1-8, 1945........................7 Pages (includes summary)

6.)  General Orders - Various orders issued by the unit and VIII Corps.

                   1942 - 1944........................................12 Pages

                   1945...................................................25 Pages

7.)  Unit Journals - Compiled during the unit's stateside training in 1942 and 1943.

               1942 - Part 1........................................21 Pages
                         Part 2........................................20 Pages
                         Part 3........................................20 Pages
                         Part 4........................................17 Pages
                         Part 5........................................16 Pages
                         Part 6........................................10 Pages

                1943...................................................18 Pages

8.)  Personal Narratives - These were written by former veterans of the 602nd, 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.

                 Bert Oliver, CO Co. A, 4-10-87............................12 Pages
              Bert Oliver, 8-6-87...........................................5 Pages
                Bert Oliver, 1-18-88...............................................2 Pages
                Bert Oliver, 2-19-88.............................................12 Pages
                Bert Oliver, 4-14-88...............................................3 Pages
                Bert Oliver, 8-13-89...............................................2 Pages
                L. W. McCann, Co. C..............................................4 Pages

9.)  Miscellaneous Documents-from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas and courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian (*).

                    Attachments and Detachments, Co. A......................................6 Pages (*)

                    Enemy and Co. A losses.........................................................1 Page (*)

               North Dakota Governor Appreciation Ltr, Sept. 21, 1943...........2 Pages

               Medal Reccomendation, Bruno Kowalski, Feb. 14, 1945............3 Pages

               Troop Assignment #147, June 12, 1945................................18 Pages

10.)  Photo Gallery

11.)  Company C Thanksgiving Menu & Roster - What looks like a printed napkin from 1942, when the unit was still less than a year old and stationed at Camp Hood, TX.  The item was folded and the scans were not at a very high resolution but most of the names can still be identified.

12.)  Panther Tracks Newsletter - The official newsletter of the 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion.  Edited by Raymond Young with Warren Abels, President and John DeKenipp as Secretary and Treasurer.  Courtesy of Gary Beeson.

                  Volume 19, No. 3, December 1998