803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion

Unit History:  Initially activated as the 103d Antitank Battalion on 30 September, 1940, from Washington National Guard troops, federalized on 10 February, 1941, and redesignated 803d Tank Destroyer Battalion on 12 December, 1941.  Departed for England on 24 June, 1943.  Landed at Omaha Beach on 13 June, 1944, equipped with M10's. Helped capture St. Lô in July.  Raced across northern France in August and passed through Belgium and Holland before reaching the Siegfried Line in September.  Supported operations north of Aachen in October, then transferred to the Hürtgen Forest.  Shifted to the Ardennes just before German offensive began in December.  Committed against Siegfried Line again in early 1945.  Converted to the M36 in February.  Participated in capture of Trier, crossed Rhine River on 23 March at Oppenheim.  Joined elimination of Ruhr Pocket in April, then pivoted and marched southeast through Austria and into Czechoslovakia.  Attached to: 82d Airborne Division; 3d Armored Division; 2d, 5th, 8th, 29th, 30th Infantry divisions; 1st Belgian Brigade.  History text from the book The Tank Killers by Harry Yeide.  Used by permission.

Combat Equipment: 6/44 - M10; 3/45 - M36

Commanding Officers:  Lt. Col. Charles W. Goodwin

Code Name/s:  Victim

Campaign Credits:   Normandy.......................Jun. 6, to Jul. 24, 1944

                                  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 -  16 Nov-4 Dec 44, WD GO 37-46, Co C only  

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

Location August 1945:  Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Additional Information/Materials:

1.)   Memorial page for last American Soldier to die in Europe - PFC. Charles Havlat of 803rd Tank Destroyer Bn, 5th Infantry Division, Volary, Czechoslovakia 1945.

2.)  After Action Reports - 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 (*).

           Jun. 13 to Jul. 1, 1944.....3 Pages

           Jul. 1-31, 1944................3 Pages

           Aug. 1-31, 1944..............3 Pages

           Sep. 1-30, 1944...............3 Pages (*)

           Oct. 1-31, 1944..............14 Pages (Includes casualties & overlay map)(*)

           Nov. 1-30, 1944...............9 Pages (Includes casualties & awards - Some parts difficult to read)

           Dec. 1-31, 1944...............9 Pages (Some parts difficult to read)

           Jan. 1-31, 1945..............11 Pages (Includes casualties & awards - Some parts difficult to read)

           Feb. 1-28, 1945...............8 Pages (Some parts difficult to read)

           Mar. 1-31, 1945..............10 Pages (Includes casualties & awards - Some parts difficult to read)

           Apr. 1-30, 1945...............9 Pages (Includes casualties & awards)

           May 1-8, 1945.................4 Pages (Includes casualties)

3.)  Unit Journals - from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas.

           June 15-30, 1944............3 Pages

           July 1-31, 1944...............8 Pages (S-2)

           August 1-31, 1944..........8 Pages (S-2)

           Sept. 1-30, 1944.............6 Pages (S-2)

           Oct. 1-31, 1944..............9 Pages (S-2)

           Nov. 1-30, 1944.............6 Pages (S-2)

           Dec. 1-31, 1944.............7 Pages (S-2)

           Jan. 1-31, 1945.............7 Pages (S-2)

           Feb. 1-28, 1945.............5 Pages (S-2)

           March 1-31, 1945...........6 Pages (S-2)

           April 1-30, 1945.............4 Pages (S-2)

           May 1-8, 1945................2 Pages

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

           Battalion History, Jan. 12, 1944.............................4 Pages

           Organization History, Feb. 3, 1944.........................3 Pages

           Unit History, Sept. 1-30, 1944...............................2 Pages

           Historical Record.................................................3 Pages

           Brief History........................................................1 Page

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

           Route of the 803rd, by PFC Guilio Antonio..............1 Page (*)

           Diamond Dust Newsletter (5th ID), June 8, 1945.....2 Pages(*)

           Combat Highlights................................................2 Pages (*)

           Various Orders & Assignments, 1941-1942...........13 Pages

6.)  1986 Reunion Letter - Members of the 803rd had apparently formed the 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion Reunion Association in 1979-1980 and began to have reunions, with the first in Tacoma, WA, the second at Ft. Lewis, WA and the third and fourth in Reno, NV.  The fifth was scheduled to be there also as identified by the letter.  Courtesy of Ron Swehla.

7.)  Association Letter to Felix Swehla - In September of 1985, 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion Reunion Association Secretary, Louis D. Frinchi "Frenchy" wrote to Felix giving him an update on his life, the Association's activities, their past reunions and a few other members of the unit.  Courtesy of Ron Swehla.

8.)  803rd TD Bn Reunion Assoc. Roster - Dated January, 1991, this list only contains 123 names out of the 600 to 800 members the unit had during WWII.  Courtesy of Ron Swehla.

9.)  Timeline of Events - Includes information on both James W. Walker and the 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion in a spreadsheet format.  The document was compiled by Charles and Joyce Baugh.  Joyce is the daughter of James W. Walker who served in Company B and is featured in our Honoree area.

10.)  Battle Buddies Graphic - Believed to have been created after the war to acknowledge each of the units that the 803rd served with or was attached. Unit insignias included: 29th, 2nd, 82nd, 28th, 79th, 30th, 4th 5th 90th and 83rd Infantry Divisions along with the 3rd Armored Division. Courtesy of Jane Fantley.

11.)  Photo Gallery