817th Tank Destroyer Battalion

                                                            817tank-DUI

 

Unit History:  Activated on 1 June, 1942, at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas.  Converted to a towed battalion in June 1943. Arrived at Greenock, Scotland, on 31 July, 1944, and landed at Utah Beach on 25 August.  Took up rear-area security duties in France and Belgium.  Guarded COMZ 8/44 to 11/44.  Entered battle in the Hürtgen Forest with the 8th Infantry Division on 9 December.  Shifted to Ardennes in February, 1945  and then back to Roer River sector to fire as artillery.  Participated in advance to Rhine River with the cavalry.  Crossed river at Remagen on 15 March—the only towed TD battalion to enter the bridgehead.  Began conversion to M18's on 26 March.  Joined the 104th Infantry Division at the Ruhr Pocket in April.  Two companies joined the drive eastward from Marburg in mid-April, fighting in the Harz Mountains.  Helped capture Halle and advanced to the Mulde River where offensive operations ceased. Attached to: 8th, 9th, 78th, 99th, 104th Infantry divisions; 4th, 14th Cavalry groups.  History text from the book The Tank Killers by Harry Yeide.  Used by permission.

Combat Equipment: 12/44 - Towed 3" Gun; 4/45 - M18

Commanding Officers:  Lt. Col. William H. Bardes

Code Name/s:  Unknown

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

                                 Rhineland........................Sept. 15, 1944 to Mar. 21, 1945

                                 Central Europe.................Mar. 22, to May 11, 1945

Awards:  None

Location August 1945:  Warburg, Germany

Additional Information/Materials:

1.)  Photo Gallery

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 (**).

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

                 Jan. 1-31, 1945.........................19 Pages

                 Feb. 1-28, 1945.........................12 Pages

                 Mar. 1-31, 1945........................28 Pages

                 Apr. 1-30, 1945........................32 Pages

                 May 1-31, 1945.........................13 Pages (Includes Company Commanders) (**)

3.)  Reports of TD Operations-from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas.

                 Dec. 17-24, 1944..................................................1 Page (Weekly Anti-tank Rpt)

                 Dec. 17, 1944-Jan. 7, 1945..................................12 Pages (Weekly Report)

                 Dec. 20, 1944-Jan. 1, 1945..................................17 Pages

                 Dec. 31, 1944-Jan. 28, 1945..................................8 Pages (pages missing)

                 Jan. 1-30, 1945, Pt. 1..........................................28 Pages

                 Jan. 1-31, 1945, Pt. 2..........................................32 Pages

4.)  Miscellaneous Documents-from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, Abilene, Kansas.

                 ND Gov. Appreciation Letter, Sep. 21, 1943.............2 Pages

                 Various Documents, 1944-1945............................20 Pages              

5.)  Unit History and Roster - This 14 page pamplet contains a full personnel roster, including the unit's medical detachment, as well as a map of their operations from Aug. 25, 1944, to Apr. 25, 1945, a short history written by the unit commander, Lt. Col. William H. Bardes, and a list of the unit's fallen comrades.

6.)  Unit History - "The 817th T. D. Battalion - VE + 25" - A 13 page narration written by LTC William E. Lowery, who was one of the original unit members and joined as an enlisted man.  Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.

7.)  Unit History - Official 81 page document from the War Department, covering the unit's activation, to the end of July, 1945.  Due to the size of the document, I have divided it into three sections.  Provided courtesy of Brad Prescott.

                     Section 1 - June 1942 to November 1944
                     Section 2 - December 1944 to July 1945 (Part I)
                     Section 3 - December 1944 to July 1945 (Part II)                                           

8.) A Company Photo - Taken at Camp Campbell, KY, on February 26, 1944.  Captain B.A. Lowry was the Commanding Officer. This photo was provided courtesy of Michael Gasparino, whose great uncle, Sam Marzano, served in the unit. He is shown in the third row from the front, 11th man from the left.

9.)  B Company Photo - Taken at Camp Campbell, KY, on February 26, 1944.  Captain John T. Omenhiser Jr. was the Commanding Officer. Omenhiser would later serve as S-3 on the battalion staff. This photo was provided courtesy of Jerry Imperio who received it from Willis LaRue's wife, Hazel. You can see Willis standing in the 5th row from the front, first man on the left.

10.)  C Company Photo - Taken at Camp Campbell, KY, on February 26, 1944.  Captain R.L. McKenzie was the Commanding Officer.  The photo was provided to me by Louis D'Amicantonio, son of Filomeno "Phil" D'Amicantonio who is shown in the photo.  He is standing in the third row from the front, thirteenth from the left.

11.)  HQ Company Photo - Taken at Camp Campbell, KY, on February 26, 1944.  Lieutenant W.E. Edgar was the Commanding Officer.  The photo was provided by Gail Bensink Kazmar, daughter of Harvey Bensink, who is shown in the photo.  He is standing in the third row from the back, twelfth from the right.

12.)  HQ Company Photo Roster - A complete listing of all personnel (and the dog) in the above photo.  Provided by Bill Zink, son-in-law of Wilford Green, who is shown in the second row from the front, fourth from the left.  Please note that the rows are listed from the back to the front, i.e.; First Row is the back row, Sixth Row is the five guys front and center.

13.)  Training Article - The 817th spent time training at 5 different camps over the unit's history, which included time harvesting wheat in 1943.