Posted 20 November 2006 - 09:50 AM
7th Army / Seventh Army / Seventh United States Army
World War II
July 10, 1943
World War II
The Seventh Army was the first American formation of Field Army size to see combat in World War II. It was formed from the U.S. I Armored Corps to take command of American forces in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. During the campaign, it was commanded by Lieutenant General George Patton. Patton officially took command of the Seventh Army aboard USS Monrovia (APA-31), Admiral Kent Hewitt's flagship, thus became the Army's motto, "Born at sea, baptized in blood." Later was added "...crowned with glory."
It landed on the left flank of the Allied forces. Its role in the plan for liberating Sicily was envisaged as being a protecting force for the left wing of the British Eighth Army under Gen. Bernard Montgomery. In the end, it played a far more important role. Most of Sicily was liberated by American forces, and Patton's Army rendesvoused with that of Montgomery in capturing the crucial city of Messina, Italy, the nearest point on Sicily to the mainland of Italy.
After the Sicily operation Alexander M. Patch took command of the Seventh Army. The Seventh Army was taken out of the frontline and transferred into the 6th Army Group. Its next action was the invasion of the south of France, code named Operation Dragoon, on 15 August 1944. This was conceived as a help to Eisenhower's forces fighting in Normandy by outflanking German forces in France. However, in the end, this was not crucial, in a way, since a breakout was achieved in Normandy before Dragoon was launched.
Dragoon was a contentious operation, because its launching severely weakened the American forces fighting in Italy, thus limiting their offensive capabilities in the final stages of that campaign. It saw a fundamental difference of strategy between the British Chiefs of Staff and the American Joint Chiefs of Staff and their respective governments. Originally called Anvil, the name was changed by Winston Churchill, who claimed to having been "dragooned" into accepting it.
It was successful as an amphibious assault. Three divisions of the Seventh Army landed. The assault forces included units of the French First Army under Gen. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. With French and American forces established ashore in significant numbers, the Seventh Army and the First French Army were placed under Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers' 6th Army Group headquarters. This Army Group took up its position on the right wing of the forces on the Western Front.
In its advance from the beaches of Southern France to the Vosges Mountains Seventh Army advanced further and faster than the more famous Patton's Third Army. Seventh Army succeeded in fighting its way through the defended passes of the Vosges Mountains, and broke out onto the Alsatian Plain in late November, 1944. This was a highly significant feat, as no previous army in recorded history had successfully fought its way through the rugged Vosges Mountains. Seventh Army also became the first American army to reach the German Rhine. Hard-fought battles were located in the Alsace and Lorraine during the winter of 1944-45, in which Seventh Army played a major role. In the spring of 1945, the 7th Army crossed the Rhine River into Germany itself. Parts of the Black Forest and Bavaria were captured by Seventh Army including Hitler's Alpine residence the Berghof.
Post-1945 to 1990s
The Seventh Army did not remain active long after WW II. Along with the Third Army, it commanded the U.S. forces of occupation until March 1946. A consolidation of forces then occurred, which saw the Seventh Army inactivated, with Third Army taking over its responsibilities.
The Seventh Army remained inactive until the Korean War, which proved to be a wake-up call to American policy-makers. As part of the build-up of forces in Germany, Seventh Army was reactivated in November 1950, based at Stuttgart. After the peace treaty with Germany was signed, it remained in the country to control the American ground forces committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defenses in Germany.
After the erection of the Berlin Wall, units were frequently deployed to this formation, until the military strength was at an all-time high (277,342 soldiers in June of 1962). For most of the Cold War period, the forces assigned to the Seventh Army consisted of roughly two army corps of soldiers, V Corps and VII Corps. Frequent exercises were held to prepare the Seventh Army units for possible combat against Soviet forces. These included enormous Exercise REFORGER or REturn of FORces to GERmany, which practised the reinforcing of American units in Germany with those from the United States itself, a vital task had war broken out between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
In 1967, the Seventh Army was merged with U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), and its headquarters were moved to Heidelberg, Germany, on the Rhine River, near Campbell Barracks, where it remained until 2004.
The strains on US Army personnel by the Vietnam War caused some soldiers from this European command to be sent to that war. However, the vital mission of holding the line against the Warsaw Pact meant that only small numbers of forces from Europe could take part.
The end of the Cold War saw large reductions of American forces in Germany. However, before these reductions could be implemented, the Persian Gulf War intervened. The Seventh Army itself did not take part, but VII Corps, one of its two constituent corps, was deployed, delivering the armored attack that smashed Iraqi forces. VII Corps units generally did not return to Germany after that war; but rather they moved directly back to the United States for deactivation. However, much of its heavy armaments, such as tanks and artillery was left in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The Vth Corps was thus left as the major combat component of Seventh Army. This remained the situation throughout the 1990s, with deployments of forces to Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kosovo punctuating the usual peacetime activities. A reorganisation in 1996 saw the reactivation of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy, the only major change after the departure of VII Corps.
Main article: Transformation of the United States Army
The attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 did not directly affect Seventh Army. However, the campaign in Iraq in 2003 did. The headquarters of V Corps was deployed to Iraq, as did 173rd Airborne Brigade, and after the campaign, 1st Armored Division followed for occupation duties. With parts of 1st Infantry Division also deployed in Iraq, and others on peacekeeping duties in the Balkans, Seventh Army was virtually stripped of combat formations. The return of 173rd Brigade, V Corps and 1st Armored Division in early 2004 was followed by the deployment of the rest of 1st Infantry Division for occupation duties.
Currently, U.S. Army's modularization transformation plan calls for the formation's major subordinate unitó1st Armored Division and 1st Infantry Divisionówill be relocated to the continental United StatesóFort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Riley, Kansas, respectively. Replacing them will be the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, converted to a Stryker Brigade and the 12th Aviation Brigade. V Corps will be inactivated, transferring most of its units and personnel to I Corps, III Corps, and XVIII Corps. Seventh Army, having been merged with US Army Europe since 1967, will remain merged, as was confirmed with the release of unit designations for the modular force in mid 1996. Actually HQ USAREUR and V Corps will merge to produce 'HQ US Army Europe & Task Force 5', which will have a deployable component.
Thus when the expected changes are finished the force in Europe will consist of HQ AREUR & Task Force 5, aviation and combat service support, and three manoeuvre brigades: the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Grafenwohr, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which will eventually expand to three airborne battalions, in Italy, and the Joint Task Force East, a brigade rotating from CONUS though two bases at Constanza, Romania. Initially however the JTF E will be provided by a rotational Stryker cavalry squadron from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. JTF E was originally planned to be called the Eastern Europe Task Force.
Commanding General: General David D. McKiernan
Deputy Commanding General & Chief of Staff: Lieutenant General Gary Speer
Command Sergeant Major: Command Sergeant Major Ianola Savusa
Task Force Eagle (Bosnia)
Task Force Falcon (Kosovo)
Southern European Task Force
------173rd Airborne Brigade
V Corps "Victory Corps"
U.S. 2nd Cavalry Regiment
Army Flight Operations Detachment
1st Personnel Command
3rd Corps Support Command
5th Signal Command. Commanded by Brigadier General Marilyn A. Quagliotti
------2nd Signal Brigade, at Mannheim. Commanded by Colonel Hubert W. Newman
7th Army Training Command
7th Army Reserve Command
21st Theater Support Command
266th Finance Command
Divisional history from:
Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:52 PM
Right: German made embroidered variant with yellow border; both postwar.
Posted 28 January 2008 - 12:35 PM
Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:08 PM
Edited by Teamski, 03 May 2012 - 02:09 PM.
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