701st Tank Destroyer Battalion

Unit History:  Activated on 15 December, 1941, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Attached to 1st Armored Division, which provided most of cadre personnel.  Arrived at Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 11 June, 1942.  Companies B and C, along with one platoon of Recon Company, participated in Operation Torch landings, 8 November, near Oran, Algeria.  Advanced toward Tunisia beginning 16 November.  Rest of battalion reached North Africa on 10 December. Actions in Tunisia, usually attached to the 1st Armored or 1st Infantry Divisions, included El Guettar, Faid Pass, Sidi Bou Zid, Sbeitla, Hill 609, and Mateur.  Shipped to Italy in October 1943 and entered the line in the Pagnataro area. TDs operated largely as artillery.  For much of early 1944, the battalion was attached to II or VI Corps in Cassino sector.  Shipped to Anzio beachhead in February 1944.  Supported 1st Armored Division during breakout in late May, entered Rome on 4 June.  Pushed north to the Arno River, crossed river on 1 September, and reached Florence area. Spent winter training and firing artillery missions.  Supported 10th Mountain Division drive into the Po River valley in April 1945.  Entered Verona on 26 April.  Attached to: 1st Armored Division; 1st, 3d, 9th, 34th, 45th, 88th, 92d Infantry divisions; 10th Mountain Division; British 78th Infantry Division; Brazilian Expeditionary Force.  History text from the book The Tank Killers by Harry Yeide.  Used by permission.

Combat Equipment:  11/42 - M3 & M6; 12/43 - M10

Commanding Officers:  Lt. Col. Chauncey C. Benson; Maj. Harrison King (6/18/42) (WIA);  Maj. Frank J. Redding (4/16/43);  Maj. Frank M. Doran (5/30/44) (KIA 7/12/44);  Frank J. Redding;  Major Robert F. Childs (5/3/45)

Code Name/s:  Havoc

Campaign Credits:   Algeria/French Morocco...Nov 8-11, 1942 (Amph. Assault)

                                Tunisia...........................Nov. 17, 1942 to May 13, 1943

                                Naples/Foggia.................Sept. 9, 1943 to Jan. 21, 1944

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

                                North Apennines.............Sept. 10, 1944 to Apr. 4, 1945

                                Po Valley........................Apr. 5, 1945 to May 8, 1945

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

Location August 1945:  At Sea - Returning to Boston

Additional Information/Materials:

1.)  "Road To Tunis" - by British author David Rame, is a book which contains a narrative type record of his travels with Company "C", 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion, in North Africa.  The book is 8.5" x 6" in size, has 296 pages, and was printed in 1944.  It contains combat photos, maps and the authors dedication to the Company.  We do have a copy of the book and would be happy to provide you with information upon request.  Just send us an email with your question/s.

2.)  "Opening Rounds" - Unknown author.  A short 11 page history of Company B in the North Africa Campaign.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

The following documents are from the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas (**).  Also courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian (++).

3.)  Operations Reports

               Sep. 27, 1942-Feb. 12, 1943......8 Pages (Company B)

               Oct. 3, 1942-Jan. 24, 1943.........5 Pages (Company C)

               Oct. 3, 1942-Jan. 30, 1943.........3 Pages (HQ, Recon and A Companies)

               Nov. 8, 1942-May 11, 1943........4 Pages (Early History)

               Dec. 1-31, 1943........................9 Pages (Includes casualties)(++)

               Jan. 21-Feb. 16, 1943................4 Pages (Company A)

               Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 1943..................4 Pages (HQ, A and B Companies)

               Feb. 14-18, 1943.......................6 Pages (Sidi Bou Zid-Sbeitla)

               Mar. 16-Apr. 11, 1943...............2 Pages (Combat Report) (**)

               Mar. 24-Apr. 11, 1943...............4 Pages (El Guettar Report)

               Apr. 19-Sep. 5, 1943...............22 Pages (N. Tunisian Sector, some areas poor)

               May 13-Oct. 31, 1943................3 Pages

               Nov. 1-30, 1943........................4 Pages

               Dec. 1-31, 1943........................9 Pages (Includes casualties, some areas poor)

               Jan. 1-31, 1944.........................8 Pages (Includes casualties)

               Mar. 1-31, 1944.........................9 Pages

               Apr. 1-30, 1944.........................7 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)

               May 1-31, 1944........................12 Pages

               May 1-31, 1944........................12 Pages (Anzio Beachhead Offensive)(++)

               Jun. 1-30, 1944.......................11 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)(++)

               Jun. 1-30, 1944.........................2 Pages (S2 report)(++)

               Jul. 1-31, 1944..........................9 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)

               Jul. 1-31, 1944..........................3 Pages (Intelligence report)

               Aug. 1-31. 1944........................5 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)(++)

               Oct. 1-31, 1944.........................6 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)

               Dec. 1-31, 1944........................5 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)

               Jan. 1-31, 1945.........................4 Pages (Includes awards) (**)

               Feb. 1-28, 1945.........................9 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)(++)

               Mar. 1-31, 1945.......................10 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)(++)

               Apr. 1-30, 1945.......................16 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)

               Apr. 1-30, 1945.......................11 Pages (Combat Lessons Learned)

               May 14, 1945............................4 Pages (Report - Armor in Support of Infantry, Lago Di Garda, Italy)

               June 23, 1945...........................3 Pages (Status Report) (**)

4.)  Unit Diaries - Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

               Company B, Sept 27, 1942 - Jan 17, 1943................4 Pages

               Co. B and Recon, N. Africa Campaign.....................24 Pages

               701st TD Bn, Dec 15, 1941 - Jan 30, 1943................3 Pages

               Recon Co., Nov 1, 1942 - May 19, 1943..................14 Pages

5.)  Battalion History - monthly history courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

               June 1-30, 1944-Liberation of Rome & drive to the north.....15 Pages

6.)  Personal narratives - These were written by former veterans of the 701st, 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.

                Jacob Comacenko, Co B, 3rd Platoon, re: Faid Pass............6 Pages
             Jacob Comacenko, Co B, 3rd Platoon...............................13 Pages

7.)  Miscellaneous Documents - Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian

             Awards & Commd, Dec 15, 42 - Feb 27, 45......................43 Pages
             Clayton E. Averson DSC Citation, Mar 8, 43........................2 Pages
             AT Defense at Anzio.........................................................8 Pages
             Co. B and Rcn Platoon Roster w/casualties.........................5 Pages
             News articles...................................................................3 Pages
             Various docs, Dec 31, 42 - May 3, 45...............................21 Pages

8.)  Photo Gallery