773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion

 

                                                                         

                                            773rd-Battalion-Crest

 

Motto:  FIT VIA VI or "Way is Made by Force"

Unit History:  Activated on 15 December, 1941, from the 73d Provisional Antitank Battalion, which had been formed from Louisiana and Pennsylvania National Guard units in July.  Arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on 7 February, 1944.  Landed at Utah and Omaha beaches on 8 August equipped with M10's.  Caught up with spearheads and saw first real action at Le Bourg St. Leonard, beginning 17 August during envelopment of Falaise Pocket.  Advanced to Moselle River sector via Paris.  Fought at Luneville and the Foret de Parroy.  Supported capture of Metz in November. Joined operations against Siegfried Line along the Saar in December, ordered to the Ardennes on 6 January, 1945. Fought through Siegfried Line in February.  Reached the Rhine at Koblenz on 16 March.  Crossed the Rhine 23–24 March at Oppenheim.  Helped capture Darmstadt and Frankfurt before driving across Germany to Czechoslovakia, beginning 1 April.  Cleared Czechoslovak-German border area southward and ended war near Petrovice.  Attached to: 6th Armored Division; 79th, 90th, 95th Infantry divisions.  History text from the book The Tank Killers by Harry Yeide.  Used by permission.

Combat Equipment:  8/44 - M10; 3/45 - M36

Commanding Officers:  Lt. Col. Frank G. Spiess;  Major Robert L. Moore (7/27/45)

Code Name/s:  Vidmar & Hellfire

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 - 17-22 Aug 44, WD GO 22-45

                                                              15-21 Jan 45, WD GO 108-46, 2nd Platoon,                                                                                               Co B only

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

Location August 1945:  Berresheim, Germany

Additional Information/Materials:

1.)  Wikipedia Entry for the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion.

2.)  Detailed History of the Unit.

3.)  Unit History Booklet - Covers origination and concludes with unit's designation as 773rd Tank Battalion, Louisiana National Guard.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

4.)  Map of unit Battle Path through Europe.  Includes history text but is difficult to read.

5.)  Missing Tank Destroyer Crew Members Found.  Link to website article about a lost crew of "C" Company of the 773rd TD Battalion and how the site of the incident was identified when a set a dog tags were found.  Written by Matthew Rink with additional commentary by Gerard Louis and Michael Ketchum.

6.)  Company C, 773rd Tank Destroyer Photo - Photographed by Irvin V. Matloff of Palm Springs, CA.  Identified is Willie A. Gilbertson, shown in the back row, 7th from left and Cecil Hopper (Tulare, CA), first row, 2nd from left.  Ernest "Ernie" Rabe is standing in the first row, 5th from the right.  Photo courtesy of Dan Rabe.

7.)  The Jerk Newsletter/Roster - Issue number 7, dated Dec. 12.  This was probably 1943, just prior to the unit shipping overseas.  It includes a short history of the early days of the unit and some background information on the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Frank G. Spiess, as well as the unit's distinctive insignia and a roster of men.  Courtesy of Cindy Russell.

8.)  Officer Roster - Although undated, this document may have been created when the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion Association was formed.  Courtesy of Tom Michaels.

9.)  General Order 230, 90th Infantry Division, December 24, 1944 - Silver and Bronze Star awards to 773rd personnel.

10.)  General Order 250, 90th Infantry Division, December 31, 1944 - Award of Silver Star for Joseph S. Lalish, George Reed and Tommie F. Lynch.  Courtesy of Cindy Russell.

11.)  Unit Citation - Given by Command of the Third Army Commander on February 1, 1945, GO #27, relating to the actions of the 773rd TD Bn in the final operations to close the Argentan-Falaise pocket in support of the 90th Infantry Division. Provided couretsy of Jonathan Tucker.

12.)  After Action Reports - from the Combined Arms Research Library of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

            Aug. 6-31, 1944..............7 Pages

            Sep. 1-30, 1944..............9 Pages

            Oct. 1-31, 1944..............6 Pages

            Nov. 1-30, 1944.............9 Pages

            Dec. 1-31, 1944..............8 Pages

            Jan. 1-31, 1945.............10 Pages

            January 1945..................1 Page (S-1 Report)

            Feb. 1-28, 1945.............11 Pages

            February 1945.................1 Page (S-1 Report)

            Mar. 1-31, 1945.............14 Pages

            Mar. 16-31, 1945.............5 Pages (Task Force Spiess Narrative)

                March 1945.....................1 Page (S-1 Report)

            Apr. 1-30, 1945.............13 Pages

            April 1945.......................1 Page (S-1 Report)

            May 1-9, 1945..................2 Pages

13.)  Daily Reports-from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas.

            TD Rpt, Sept. 10-30, 1944..................26 Pages (Includes casualties)

            TD Rpt, Oct. 1-12, 1944.....................13 Pages (Includes casualties)

            Unit Rpts, Sept. 12-19, 1944...............16 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)

            Unit Rpts, Sept. 21-30, 1944...............17 Pages (Includes casualties, 24th missing)

            Unit Rpts, Oct. 1-13, 1944..................17 Pages (Includes casualties)

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

            Medical Detach., Period Rpt, June 25, 1945.............2 Pages

            Awards listing......................................................1 Page

            Casualty Report, May 12, 1945...............................1 Page (*)

            "A Few Notes" by Vidmar......................................1 Page (*)

                90th ID "Sniper" Newsletter, Sunday Supplement....1 Page

15.)  Photo Gallery