The 761st Tank Battalion was activated on April 1, 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and deployed to Europe, landing at Omaha Beach in France on October 10, 1944.
The Battalion trained at Camp Hood, Texas, where they were rated superior by Second Army Commander Lt.Gen. Ben Lear. They landed on the Continent with high morale
— some said they were cocky.
Referred to as the Black Panther Tank Battalion, the 761st was attached to the XII Corps’ 26th Infantry Division, assigned to Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s Third Army, an army already racing eastward across France, and committed to combat on Nov. 7, 1944.
As a result of their great fighting abilities they spearheaded a number of Patton’s moves into enemy territory. They forced a hole in the Siegfried Line, allowing Patton’s 4th Armored Division to pour through into Germany. They fought in France, Belgium, and Germany, and were among the first American forces to link up with the Soviet Army (Ukranians) at the River Steyr in Austria.