The 758th Tank Battalion in World War II

The U.S. Army’s First All African American Tank Unit


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About the Book

In 1941, the U.S. Army activated the 758th Tank Battalion, the first all-black armored unit. By December 1944 they were fighting the Axis in Northern Italy, from the Ligurian Sea through the Po Valley and into the Apennine Mountains, where they helped breach the Gothic Line—the Germans’ last major defensive line of the Italian Campaign.
After the war the 758th was deactivated but was reformed as the 64th Tank Battalion, keeping their distinguished insignia, a tusked elephant head over the motto “We Pierce.” They entered the Korean War still segregated but returned fully integrated (though discrimination continued internally). Through the years, they fought with almost every American tank—the Stuart, the Sherman, the Pershing, the Patton and today’s Abrams.
Victorious over two fascist (and racist) regimes, many black servicemen returned home to what they hoped would be a more tolerant nation. Most were bitterly disappointed—segregation was still the law of the land. For many, disappointment became a determination to fight discrimination with the same resolve that had defeated the Axis.

About the Author(s)

The son of a tanker in the 758th and 761st, Joe Wilson, Jr., is a systems accountant in Washington, D.C. He has also written for World War II magazine.

Bibliographic Details

Joe Wilson, Jr
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 214
Bibliographic Info: 99 photos, 3 maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6999-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2944-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Foreword First Sergeant William Holley (Field Artillery), USA (Ret.) 1
Foreword Captain Matt Hewett (Armor Branch), USA (Ret.) 5
Preface 7
1. The Shadow of Coming War 9
2. The Double V Campaign 15
3. The Lee Street Riot 30
4. Camp Claiborne 36
5. Camp Hood 47
6. Fort Huachuca 50
7. Return to Camp Hood 56
8. Camp Patrick Henry 62
9. Destination Mediterranean Theater of Operations 70
10. Battle Indoctrination at the Gothic Line 74
11. Probing the Gothic Line 82
12. February Offensive 87
13. Reorganization of the 92nd Infantry Division 104
14. Spring Offensive 109
15. Back to the Home Front 125
16. Whatever Happened to the 761st Tank Battalion? 139
17. Whatever Happened to the 784th Tank Battalion? 148
18. Legacy 158
Afterword First Sergeant Joseph E. Wilson, Sr., USA (Ret.) 183
Appendix: Tank Specifications Matt Hewett 189
Chapter Notes 191
Bibliography 194
Index 197