World War II American General Officers' Project

 

 
 
 

A project dedicated to the study of the American General Officer and the preservation of their original uniforms, flags and medals.

General William Morris Jr.

 

General Newgarden commander of the 10th armored division was slated to take the division overseas to the European theater, but a plane crash in the states, just prior to leaving for Europe, took the life of the General and left the division without a commander. Requesting to what amounted to a demotion, General William Morris who was commanding a Corps stateside wrote a letter to General George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, asking for a chance to command the 10th A.D. in combat. General Morris had studied war most of his life and wanted a chance to command in battle.

At the conclusion of war in Europe on V-E Day, General Morris was overheard telling a fellow officer that the 10th Armored Division succeeded in taking all of the Divisions combat objectives either on time, or ahead of schedule. He went on to say that the Division had the record for largest number of combat losses per day.  Dean Chapman author of The Growl of the Tiger 10th Armored Division states: “To the uninitiated reader, this record may appear to be due to poor leadership. In reality, this is not true when all the facts are considered. Taking our objectives on schedule indicates that we did our job correctly. The large loss per day reveals that we had a tough battle winning each and every one. Had there been fewer or no losses, it would have indicated that we faced little or no opposition.”

One has to ask if the 10th Armored was the spearhead on so many attacks, with so many losses, why have we never heard of them? That question can be easily answered.  General Eisenhower placed the Division on a status known as S.H.A.E.F. Secret Reserve. This meant that the Division had to remove all shoulder patches, and paint out all Division markings on vehicles. No reference could be made of the 10th  by any news source. The 10th Armored Division was literally “blacked out” General Eisenhower would loan the Division out, with the understanding that if he needed the division it would be returned within 24 hours.

General Patton soon understood that if he "borrowed" the 10th and kept it fully committed in battle with his 3rd Army it would be hard for Eisenhower to retrieve the Division. That's exactly what Patton did; he kept the 10th in front, fighting.

Due to their blacked out status, the fact they were up front fighting, and because of the Divisions great ability, under the command of General Morris, to move and strike swiftly in all kinds of weather the German Command began to refer to the 10th as “The Ghost Division”.

 

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