636th Tank Destroyer Battalion

Unit History:  Activated on 15 December, 1941, at Camp Bowie, Texas.  Arrived at Oran, Algeria, on 13 April, 1943.  Landed at Paestum, Italy, beginning 13 September, 1943.  Elements performed artillery missions, guarded Fifth Army CP, and trained British troops on M10 and TD doctrine in October and November.  Reentered line in Mignano sector in late November, supporting assault on San Pietro.  Supported Rapido River crossing in January, 1944.  Entered Cassino sector in February.  Transferred to Anzio beachhead in May.  Entered Rome on 4 June. Landed in southern France on 15 August.  First unit to enter Lyon and to reach the Moselle River in September. Engaged in the Vosges Mountain region beginning in October.  Relieved 601st TD Battalion in Strasbourg in December.  Battled German Northwind offensive in January and February, 1945.  Converted to M36 beginning late February.  Struck Siegfried Line near Wissembourg in late March.  Crossed Rhine with 14th Armored Division in April, dashed toward Nürnberg.  Ended war in southern Bavaria near Tegernsee.  Attached to: 14th Armored Division; 36th Infantry Division.  History text from the book The Tank Killers by Harry Yeide.  Used by permission.

Combat Equipment:  9/43 - M10; 3/45 - M36.

Commanding Officers:  Lt. Col. Van W. Pyland;  Maj. Regan L. Dubose (4/21/44);  Lt. Col. Charles F. Wilber (6/44, WIA 3/17/45);  Maj. Richard A. Danzi (3/17/45);  Lt. Col. James W. Fry (4/13/44 thru 4/21/44)

Code Name/s:  Shamrock

Campaign Credits:  Naples - Foggia................Sept. 9, 1943 to Jan. 21, 1944

                                Anzio..............................Jan. 22, to May 24, 1944

                                Rome Arno......................Jan. 22, to Sept. 9, 1944

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

                                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:  Croix De Guerre (French or Belgium "Cross of War")

Location August 1945:  Brumath, France

Additional Information/Materials:

1.)  Seek, Strike, Destroy, the History of the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion.  Written by Thomas M. Sherman, who was a veteran of the 636th, the book has 243 pages and was published in 1986 by Tom, who spent thousands of dollars purchasing unit records, which he then utilized while writing the book.  Tom is from Marquette, Nebraska.  The book is out of print but can still be purchased through rare and military booksellers.  I do have a copy of the book, generously provided to me by Tom.  If you have questions, I am willing to take a close look through the book for you.

2.)  Unit Roster - From the book by Tom Sherman and provided here by permission.  Please note that the name Robert Burns appears in the roster for Recon. Company.  While I can not be sure that there was not a Robert Burns, I do know that T5 John W. Burns was in Recon. Company and his name was ommitted from the list.  You can see his Write-up in the Honoree section of the site.

3.)  Combat Highlights, Sept. 3, 1943-May 8, 1945, 4 pages.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

4.)  B Company, 3rd Platoon Personnel List - Provided courtesy of Della Sutton Morris.

The following documents are from the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas (*) and Javier Tome (**).

5.)  Operational Reports

           Sep. 1-20, 1943............5 Pages (Operation Avalanche)

           Oct. 1-31, 1943............3 Pages

           Nov. 1-30, 1943...........9 Pages

           Dec. 1-31, 1943...........18 Pages

           Jan. 1-31, 1944...........18 Pages

           Feb. 1-28. 1944...........18 Pages

           Mar. 1-31, 1944...........15 Pages (Includes casualties, awards and Officer's roster)

           Apr. 1-30, 1944...........10 Pages

           May 1-31, 1944............20 Pages (Includes casualties, awards and Officer's roster)

           Jul. 1-31, 1944............14 Pages (Includes awards and Officer's roster)

           Aug. 1-31, 1944..........34 Pages (Includes casualties and awards lists)

           Sep. 1-30, 1944...........31 Pages (Includes casualties, awards and Officer's roster)

           October 1944...............13 Pages (History report)

           Dec. 1-31, 1944...........13 Pages

           March 1-31, 1945.........23 Pages (Includes casualties, awards, Officer and Hq Co rosters) (**)

              March 2-31, 1945.........75 Pages (Unit Journal)(**) NOTE - Large File

           May 11-31, 1945..........28 Pages (Includes unit roster) (*)

6.)   Field Orders

           #1 - Dec. 1, 1943

           #2 - Dec. 7, 1943 (includes map overlays)

           #3 - Dec. 14, 1943

           #1 - Jan. 18, 1944

7.)   Award Recommendations

           Sep. 24, 1943 - Silver Star

8.)  Personal Narratives - These were written by a former veteran of the 636th, during the 1980's, in response to questions he 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.

              William F. Walter, Co. A, #1...................................3 Pages
           "                      ", Italy.........................................14 Pages
           "                      ", La Cosa Creek...........................25 Pages (#15 missing)
           "                      ", On to Rome................................9 Pages
           "                      ", Post-war...................................19 Pages
           "                      ", Hist. notes, 1-9-84......................6 Pages
           "                     ",  'Bazooka Red', 9-9-84.................2 Pages 

9.)  Miscellaneous Documents-From the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

           Co. A at Anzio, narrative by Capt. Robert A. Graham, 1944.........7 Pages
           Unit Commendation, May 25, 1944...........................................1 Page
           Articles about a TD named 'Jinx'...............................................2 Pages                       

10.)   Photo Gallery

11.)   Reconnaissance Company - Photo of the the Reconnaissance Company of the 636th, possibly taken at Camp Edwards while they were stationed there from October of 1942 to February of 1943.  It was provided courtesy of Charles Burns whose father, John W. Burns, served in the unit and is shown in the second row from the front, 21st soldier from the right.

12.)   Single Recon. Platoon - Small group photo of one of the Reconnaissance platoons along with the Company Commander standing in the center.  John W. Burns is kneeling in front, 3rd soldier from the left.  Photo courtesy of Charles Burns.

13.)  Video Clip, Members of the 636th TD Bn. - It has been identified to me that members of the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion can be seen crossing a bridge in both the trailer and the actual documentary "The Long Way Home".  The 1997 film is an Academy Award winner by Koch Lorber Films.  Bret Lyon's father, Robert Lyon, who served in the Reconnaissance Company of the 636th, can be seen walking in the group of men.  Bret saw his father quite by accident as he viewed the film.  He has provided a link to the trailer, which is included above.

14.)  The Stokes Twins Ride The Oklahoma Widecat: WWII in Europe - Is a 163 page book by author Madlyn V. Stokes about Claude H. Stokes and his twin brother Clyde T. Stokes, who both served in the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The book was published in 2003 and covers their pre and post-war lives. We do not have a copy of the book but it can be purchased from Amazon, which is where the our link takes you.

15.)  Small Group Photo - A group of men from the 636th pose for a photo during the occupation period. Their placard identifies them as the "Goons". Photo courtesy of Margaret Pickett whose father Frank L. Pickett joined the unit during the occupational period from the 55th Armored Engineers Battalion.