83d Recon Battalion – WWII
83d Recon Battalion In WWII
The following is an excerpt taken from the book Spearhead in the West, 1945
The 83d Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is and original "Spearhead" unit, having been activated at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, on April, 15, 1941, as the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion. Major Edwin C. Greiner was the first commander, and the organization's core ws made up of 20 officers, and 224 enlisted cadrement from the 2d Armored Division at Fort Bening, Georgia.
On May 12 1941, the then 3d Reconnaissance became the 83d Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. As such it made history in the five western European campaigns of World War II.
With the 3d Armored Division, the 83d trained at Camp Polk, Louisiana; at the California Desert Center: Camp Pickett, Virginia; and Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, before sailing for England on the John Errickson early in September, 1943. Upon arrival in Great Britain, the battalion was stationed at Longbridge Deverill, Wiltshire, and took part in extensive maneuvers along the British seacoast and over Salisbury Plain.
Four officers commanded the 83d in combat. They were Lt Colonel William L. Cabaniss, who led the organization in Normandy and was transferred late in August; Major John R. Tucker Jr., who then assumed command, became executive officer upon the assignment of Lt Colonel Prentice E. Yeomans, two weeks later. Colonel Yeomans commanded the battalion through most of its great triumphs on the battlefield and was himself killed in action during the last weeks of the war. Major Richarld L. Bradley then assumed command.
Under the leather lunged and capable Colonel Yeomans, the 83d came into its own as a great fighting force. With Combat Command "B", the battalion was among the first Americans to reach German soil in force. The 83d also occupied Roetgen, on September 12, 1944, the first German town to fall to allied troops.
During the bitter winder campaign in Belgium, the battalion was again in the limelight. Company "A" was with Task Force Hogan's "400" at Marcouray; personnel of the unit reconnoiterering a route out of that death trap and leading a 14 hour march through German lines on Christmas night. Later the company, along wiht the rest of the battalion, spearheaded an attack which cut the vital St. Vith-Houffalize road.
Back in Germany for the last great offensive early in 1945, the 83d Armored Reconnaissance Battalion again led the "Spearhead" in several of its most notable drives. The battalion was the first unit of the First Army to reach the Rhine, touching the "sacred river" at 4 A.M. on March 4, north of Worringen. In the magnificent Paderborn sweep to encircle the industrial Ruhr, Colonel Yeoman's men again whipped out in front to lead the entrie division on the longest opposed armored drive ever made in the history of warfare, 90 road miles against opposition.
During the last days of the war in the west, Lt Colonel Yeomans was killed in action while leading his troops in the town of Zschepkau on the approaches to Dessau. Major Richard L. Bradley then assumed command.