A Brief History of the 756th Tank Battalion

(The following is from the book The History of the Third Infantry Division in World War II edited by Donald G. Taggert, reprinted by The Battery Press, Nashville, 1987. pg. 571)

The 756th was activated as a light tank battalion on June 1, 1941, at Fort Lewis, Washington.  The battalion received its first training at Fort Lewis as part of the IX Corps.  It first joined the 3d Infantry Division after it left Fort Lewis on August 4, 1942, at Fort Ord, California, at it was there it took its first amphibious training.       

At Camp Picket, Virginia, Company A (reinforced) was attached to the 7th Infantry and Company C (reinforced) was attached to the 30th Infantry.  The remainder of the battalion went to Fort Dix, New Jersey on November 28, 1942, for further staging.  Companies A and C landed with the 3d Division at Fedala and assisted the Division in establishing and exploiting one of the first beachheads in the North African theater.

      The remainder of the Battalion rejoined its units at Port Lyautey in February, 1943.  It was relieved of attachment to the Division on May 7 and moved to Pont du Cheliff, Algeria under control of I Armored Corps. Its next move was to Petit Port in May and to Magenta, Algeria, early in June, where it trained with elements of the Fifth Army Tank Destroyer school.

       The first combat commitment of the 756th was at Paestum on September 17, attached to the 45th Infantry Division.  It was re-attached to the 34th Infantry Division on October 1, after having supported the 45th in action, and continued in this mission until October 20, when it reverted to VI Corps control.        

After numerous combat missions, the unit was re-designated from the 756th Tank Battalion (L) to 756th Tank Battalion by authority of General Order No. 107, Headquarters Fifth Army, dated December 15, 1943.      

 The Battalion supported the 34th Division on the first and second attempts at crossing the Rapido River, the second of which, on January 29, was successful.  The 756th was the first Allied unit into Cassino.  The Battalion continued in close support of the 34th Division until February 22, when it was relieved after having suffered heavy casualties in personnel and tanks.

 During the period from May 11, 1944 to June 10 the Battalion was attached no less than eleven times, each one for combat.  It participated in all phases of the drive on Rome.  It was not relieved until June 10, six days after the fall of Rome.

       The 756th Tank Battalion was attached to the 3d Infantry Division at Qualiano, near Naples on June 19, as the Division was preparing for its part in the invasion of southern France.  Except for two brief periods with the 103rd Infantry Division, the 756th remained with the 3d Division for the rest of the war.  Its hardest fight came during the Colmar Pocket battle, in which accurate enemy panzerfaust, bazooka and tank destroyer fire accounted
for much of its armor.  The Battalion in turn, however exacted a heavy toll in enemy armor and personnel.  

       From D-day, August 15, 1944, until May 8, 1945, the Battalion was continuously in action except for one ten-day period.

(The following in from the book Tank Battalions of the U.S. Army by James A. Sawicki, Wyvern Publications, Dumfries, Virginia (1983) pg. 331)

Constituted 13 January 1941 in the Regular Army as the 76th Tank Battalion (Light). Redesignated 8 May 1941 as the 756th Tank Battalion (Light). Activated 1 June 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington.  Inactivated 8 February 1946 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.  Activated 1 August 1946 at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Reorganized and redesignated 15 January 1948 as the 756th Heavy Tank Battalion.  Redesignated 73rd Heavy Tank Battalion, 10 January 1949.