Hosted by Lorne Greene, THE BIG PICTURE was the U.S. Army's TV show. This episode , "Tigers on the Loose" shows the 10th Armored Division in World War II with a focus on the Battle of the Bulge and action at Metz and Bastogne, and the subsequent push towards the Brenner Pass. It features the words of the men who were there including commanders.
The 10th Armored Division (nicknamed "Tiger Division") was an armored division of the United States Army in World War II. In the European Theater of Operations the 10th Armored Division was part of both the Twelfth United States Army Group and Sixth United States Army Group. Originally assigned to the Third United States Army under General George S. Patton, it saw action with the Seventh United States Army under General Alexander Patch near the conclusion of the war.
The 10th Armored Division was inactivated on 13 October 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. On 25 February 1953, the division was allotted to the Regular Army but remained inactive.
The Big Picture is an American documentary television program which aired on ABC-TV from 1951 to 1964. The series consisted of documentary films produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service, showing weaponry, battles, and biographies of famous soldiers.
The 10th Armored Division entered France through the port of Cherbourg, 23 September 1944, and put in a month of training at Teurtheville, France, before entering combat, as part of the Third Army under General George S. Patton. Leaving Teurtheville, 25 October, the Division moved to Mars-la-Tour, where it entered combat, 2 November, in support of the XX Corps, containing enemy troops in the area. Later that month, the 10th participated in the capture of Metz. It was the first time in 1500 years that the ancient fortress at Metz fell. After fierce fighting, the 10th moved to the Siegfried Line and led the Third Army into Germany on 19 November 1944.
Combat Command-B’s lead Sherman tanks, tank destroyers and half-tracks entered Bastogne 18 December 1944. These were the first combat troops to reach the threatened city. CCB’s commander, Col. William L. Roberts, split his command to form a crescent-shaped arc facing eastward five miles from the city. A task force commanded by Maj. William R. Desobry went north to Noville, while a similar group under Lt. Col. Henry T. Cherry wheeled east to Longvilly. Lt. Col. James O'Hara’s group shifted southeast to Bras.
At the same time, German forces moved westward with increasing momentum. Bastogne, a hub from which seven main roads diverged, was essential to the swift movement of Rundstedt’s panzers. Before dawn of 19 December five Nazi divisions attacked CCB. Bazooka-armed American soldiers and a single platoon of tank destroyers fought a column of German Panzer IV tanks on the Houffalize-Noville highway, turned them back after a furious engagement. More enemy armor followed and with the road blocked, the battle spilled into the snow-covered fields and woods. For eight hours, CCB alone withstood multiple German attacks before reinforcements arrived from the 101st Airborne Division, which had moved into Bastogne under the screen of the 10th’s actions.
The Germans still maintained an advantage and the outnumbered Americans withdrew closer to Bastogne. The Germans sent pincers to the north and south. The night of 21 December, the pincers met and closed west of the city. In the surrounded city, the 10th assembled a mobile reserve force to strike in any direction.
CCB endured the cold, artillery barrages and bombing while their supplies and ammunition dwindled. Fourth Armored Division tanks finally broke through on 26 December, but CCB continued to fight until 18 January.
After the battle, the 10th Armored Division's 21st Tank Battalion and Combat Command B were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions from 17 to 27 December 1944 Battle of the Bulge. The 101 Airborne Division was also honored with the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions at Bastogne. Years after the war, General Anthony McAuliffe said "In my opinion, Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division was never properly credited with their important role in the Bastogne battle."
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