Seventh United States Army

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Seventh Army
US Seventh Army SSI.svg
Seventh Army Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Active
  • 1943–March 1946
  • June 1946–1947
  • 1950–2010
Disbanded17 April 2010
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
BranchFlag of the United States Army.svg  Army
Type Field Army
Role Headquarters
Motto(s)Pyramid of Power
Colors   White and red
Campaigns World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Insignia
Distinctive insignia
Seventh United States Army DUI.png
Flag
Flag of the Seventh United States Army.svg

The Seventh Army was a United States army created during World War II that evolved into the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) during the 1950s and 1960s. It served in North Africa and Italy in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and France and Germany in the European Theater between 1942 and 1945.

Contents

Originally the I Armored Corps under command of Lieutenant General George S. Patton, it made landfall at Morocco during Operation Torch as the Western Task Force, the first all-U.S. force to enter the European war. Following successful defeat of the Wehrmacht under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in North Africa, the I Armored Corps was redesignated the Seventh Army on 10 July 1943 while at sea en route to the Allied invasion of Sicily as the spearhead of Operation Husky.

After the conquests of Palermo and Messina the Seventh Army prepared for the invasion of France by its Mediterranean coast as the lead element of Operation Dragoon in August 1944. It then drove a retreating German army north and then east toward the Alsace, being absorbed into the newly created Sixth United States Army Group in mid-September. In January 1945 it repelled a fierce but brief enemy counter-offensive in the Colmar Pocket south of Strasbourg during the German Operation Nordwind, then completed its reduction of the region by mid-March.

In a lead role in Operation Undertone launched 15 March, the Seventh Army fought its way across the Rhine into Germany, capturing Nuremberg and then Munich. Elements reached Austria and crossed the Brenner Pass into Italy by 4 May, followed shortly by war's end on VE-Day, 8 May 1945. [1]

History

World War II

I Armored Corps in North Africa

The predecessor of Seventh Army was the I Armored Corps, which was activated on 15 July 1940 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. With the goal of stopping German expansion in Europe and Africa, it was decided that the first operation for United States Army forces would be to assist the British in driving German forces from North Africa. On 15 January 1942, Major General George S. Patton Jr. assume command of I Armored Corps and began planning for the invasion of North Africa.

On March 6, 1943, following the defeat of the U.S. II Corps by the German Afrika Korps, commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Patton replaced Major General Lloyd Fredendall as Commanding General of the II Corps and was promoted to lieutenant general.

The Seventh Army arm patch was approved on June 23, 1943: On a blue isosceles triangular background, a seven-stepped letter "A," steps in yellow with the center in scarlet. [2]

On 8 November 1942, General Patton was in command of the Western Task Force (a temporary redesignation of I Armored Corps for tactical deception), the only all-American force landing for Operation Torch, code name for the Allied invasion of French North Africa. I Armored Corps then began to drive east which complemented British forces driving from the west. The result was that Axis forces were trapped in Tunisia and were forced to surrender in May 1943.

Sicily and the Italian Peninsula

After succeeding in North Africa, Patton, now promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, became commander of the newly formed Seventh Army, which was formed at midnight on 10 July 1943 by the redesignation of the I Armored Corps. The Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943, was conducted in conjunction with the British Eighth Army, commanded by General Sir Bernard Montgomery, Patton's rival. Patton commanded the Seventh Army until early 1944.

The Seventh Army landed on several beaches in southern Sicily on 10 July 1943 and captured the Sicilian capital of Palermo on 22 July and, along with the British Eighth Army, captured Messina on 16 August. During the fighting, the elements of the Seventh Army killed or captured thousands of enemy soldiers, mainly Italians. During the operation the Seventh and Eighth Armies came under the command of the 15th Army Group, under General Sir Harold Alexander. The headquarters of the Seventh Army remained relatively inactive at Palermo, Sicily, and Algiers until January 1944, when Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, then commanding the U.S. Fifth Army on the Italian Front, was assigned as commander and the Seventh Army began planning for the invasion of southern France.

France, Germany, and back into Italy

The invasion was originally given the code name of "Operation Anvil", but was changed to "Operation Dragoon" before the landing. In March 1944, Major General Alexander Patch, a highly experienced and competent commander, was assigned to command the Seventh Army, which moved to Naples, Italy, the following July. On 15 August 1944, elements of the Seventh Army assaulted the beaches of southern France in the St. Tropez and St. Raphael area. On 15 September, the Seventh was put under the field control of the 6th Army Group, under Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers. The 6th Army Group also included the French First Army. Within one month, the Seventh Army, which by then employed three American divisions, five French divisions and the 1st Airborne Task Force, had advanced 400 miles north and joined with the Allied forces coming south from Normandy. In the process, the Seventh Army had liberated Marseilles, Lyon, Toulon and all of Southern France.

The Seventh Army then assaulted the German forces in the Vosges Mountains and broke into the Alsatian Plain. During the Battle of the Bulge in late December, it extended its flanks to take over much of the area that had been the responsibility of U.S. Third Army then under the command of Patton, which allowed the Third to relieve surrounded American forces besieged at Bastogne. In mid-January 1945, the Seventh engaged in pitched battle seeking to regain ground lost to Germany's Operation Nordwind New Year's offensive. Along with the French First Army, the Seventh went on the offensive in February 1945 and eliminated the Colmar Pocket. After capturing the city of Strasbourg, the Seventh went into the Saar, assaulted the Siegfried Line, and reached the River Rhine during the first week of March, 1945.

In a lead role in Operation Undertone, the Seventh Army fought its way across the Rhine into Germany, captured Nuremberg and then Munich. Finally it crossed the Brenner Pass and made contact with Lieutenant General Lucian Truscott's U.S. Fifth Army at Vipiteno [1] – once again on Italian soil.

In less than nine months of continuous fighting, the Seventh Army had advanced over 1,000 miles and for varying times had commanded 24 U.S. and Allied divisions, including the 3rd, 36th, 42nd, 44th, 45th, 63rd, 70th, 100th, and 103rd Infantry Divisions.

Cold War

External audio
Nuvola apps arts.svg You may listen members of the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra broadcasting on the radio in Europe from 1956–2006 here on 7aso.org

The Seventh Army was inactivated in March 1946, in Germany, reactivated for a short time at Atlanta, Georgia, then inactivated again. It was reactivated by the United States European Command (EUCOM) with headquarters at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, on 24 November 1950 and assigned to command the ground and service forces of United States Army Europe (USAREUR). [3] For over a decade the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra performed in support of the United States Army's cultural diplomacy initiatives throughout Germany and Europe in the aftermath of World War II (1952–1962). [4]

On 30 November 1966, the Seventh Army was relocated from Patch Barracks to Heidelberg. Following French disagreements with certain NATO policies, United States European Command relocated from Paris the following year. From that time forward the Seventh Army has been the headquarters for all Army units under the European Command. Its major subordinate elements were the V Corps and VII Corps (Inactivated 1992.) From 1 December 1966 to present, the commander of Seventh Army has been "dual hatted" as Commanding General, United States Army Europe.

Commanding generals

Note - Starting in 1966, the commander of the United States Seventh Army has been "dual hatted" as the Commanding General, United States Army Europe.

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References

  1. 1 2 Fifth Army History • Race to the Alps, Chapter VI : Conclusion "On 3 May the 85th and 88th [Infantry] Divisions sent task forces north over ice and snow 3 feet deep to seal the Austrian frontier and to gain contact with the American Seventh Army, driving southward from Germany. The 339th Infantry [85th Division] reached Austrian soil east of Dobbiaco at 0415, 4 May; the Reconnaissance Troop, 349th Infantry [88th Division], met troops from [103rd Infantry Division] VI Corps of Seventh Army at 1051 at Vipiteno, 9 miles south of Brenner."
  2. Wilson, John B. (1999). Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Center for Military History, U.S. Army. p. 27. ISBN   0-16-049994-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  3. "USAREUR Units & Kasernes, 1945–1989". www.usarmygermany.com. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  4. New Music New Allies Amy C. Beal, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006, P. 49, ISBN   978-0-520-24755-0 "Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra (1952–1962) performing works by Roy Harris, Morton Gould and Leroy Anderson" on books.google.com
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