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12th Armored Division >> General Discussion >> African Americans in the 12th Armored Division
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Author Topic:  African Americans in the 12th Armored Division
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posted 3/30/2014 3:03:41 PM  Reply w/Quote
Hello, I am doing some research on my grandfather Auguster Pruno. He was African American, and I noticed his name being in the list for the 12 Armored Division - 56th Armored Infantry. I found this was strange because I thought that most combat divisions and units were segregated. Furthermore, when looking at the pictures for the 12th Armored Division I do not see any African Americans or Colored people. Does anybody know if African Americans fought under the 12th Armored? Thanks for your help.

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posted 3/30/2014 5:39:42 PM  Reply w/Quote
There were coloreds in the 12th.
Sgt. Carter won the Medal of Honor while in the 12th. There is a display in the Museum honoring him and the other colored soldiers.
Most volunteered when asked to be in infantry. there pictures of D Company in the 2713 division photos. Harry

MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 887
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 3/31/2014 2:04:21 PM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Hello, I am traveling now, but I have a roster
at home of Company D of the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion. D company was composed of African American soldiers and white officers and sergeants, etc. for the 17th AIB, and the 66th AIB as well. I believe these companies also were named "1st infantry company,provisional."

These companies were organized perhaps in February 1945 and were trained for combat
and began to fight in March, 1945. I probably can find the exact dates. The soldiers saw plenty of fighting in March and April and the first week of May and some were
wounded and some died.

Take a look at the HISTORY OF THE 56TH Armored Infantry Battalion
in the BOOKS AND WRITTEN EXPERIENCES section
in the column at the left. This is a diary
of who was wounded or killed and who won medals and the location of the Headquarters, etc. The men of Company D are listed as belonging to the "1st Infantry Company"
in this book.
Mike Woldenberg

P.S. Sgt. Eddie Carter, winner of the Medal of Honor, was in the same company. There is a book written about his life and military career.

I will look for Mr. Pruno's name when I get
home in 2 weeks or so.





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posted 4/1/2014 12:15:52 PM  Reply w/Quote
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/11-4/chapter22.htm

hISTORY OF THE COLORED SOLDIERS IN ww ii.

Looking for info on Pruno.

Harry

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posted 4/2/2014 4:13:40 PM  Reply w/Quote
The 827th Tank Destroyer Battalion, an African-American unit, was attached to the 12th Armored Div. between Dec. 19, 1944 - Feb. 13, 1945. My Dad, who was with the 23rd Tank Battalion, told me that the Tank Destroyers of the 827th were very effective at knocking-out the enemy tanks, which had superior armor that the Sherman's guns couldn't penetrate. Dad said that the 827th saved him and his fellow tankers a few times.

MikeWoldenberg
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Posts: 887
From: University at Buffalo (NY)
Registered: 6/1/2004
posted 4/3/2014 2:56:49 AM    Click here to view the profile for MikeWoldenberg  Click here to email MikeWoldenberg  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
To previous GUEST from the 23rd Tank Battalion. Please contact me here or privately on my email:

geomike@buffalo.edu

I had found evidence that the 827th Tank Destroyer
Battalion was probably split up between the three
Combat Commands, A,B and R. `You have provided
very important evidence for this and we need to talk
or email.

There is a map in Emery's book C-66. The map
points out where part of the 827th was assigned.

On Feb. 3rd, 1945, elements of the 66th AIB and a Morrocan Mountain Division closed the Colmar Pocket, cutting off the Germans in
Rouffach. There is a picture on the web, of the Morrocans giving African American soldiers candy
during the celebration at Rouffach that day. The African American soldiers are wearing aviator goggles. I can send you this picture if you can not
find it. It is certain that these 2 or 3 men were with
the 827th.

Mike Woldenberg

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posted 4/4/2014 2:09:01 PM  Reply w/Quote
Hello Mike, I've seen the photo of the Moroccan Troops meeting the Americans at Rouffach. I have no evidence, except my father's words about his unit being supported by an African American TD Battalion. My father was a T/Sargent with Hq. 23rd, and Driver of the S-3 Tank, and later, Driver of the Battalion CO's tank. It does make sense that this TD Battalion would have been divided among the three combat commands, A,B,&R, so that they would be more readily available when needed.

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posted 4/4/2014 4:01:06 PM  Reply w/Quote
as of August 4th, 1945 all the colored soldiers of the 12th were either sent home or sent back to other companies. Many to Transportation Companies. Most had been in the Army and had enough points to be sent home.
They were very good soldiers.

KeithT
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posted 4/5/2014 2:53:30 PM    Click here to view the profile for KeithT  Click here to email KeithT  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
My grand pops was 23rd, C company.

Mike asked me if he mentioned any African American units but I don't think so. He may have talked about it to his nephews, brothers and cousins when many of these stories would come up. I was just a little kid at the time.

I do have a year book of the 12th from not sure which camp. I supposed I could flip through it and see if I even notice any other races, Ill report back.



KeithT
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posted 4/5/2014 3:02:57 PM    Click here to view the profile for KeithT  Click here to email KeithT  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
Nothing in the year book from 1943 Camp Campbell KY.

I can't find a story I read a few years ago online somewhere, about the 12th having African American troops. It also went in to them being under French command for a hot minute. Ill look some more...

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posted 4/9/2014 2:41:04 PM  Reply w/Quote
Early in January 1945, the volunteers assembled for six weeks of standard infantry conversion training. After training, the African American infantrymen were organized into fifty three platoons, each under a white platoon leader and sergeant, and were dispatched to the field, two to fight with armored divisions--the 12th and the 14th Armored Divisions in the Seventh Army; and the rest to work with infantry divisions-including the lst, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 69th, 78th, 99th, 104th Infantry Divisions, First Army. Each platoon totaled some sixty men, about 50 per cent over normal strength to provide a ready source of replacements for battle casualties. Because they were African American, they had to provide their own

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posted 4/9/2014 2:44:44 PM  Reply w/Quote
(REST OF STORY)

Because they were African American, they had to provide their own replacements. No other source of trained infantry existed.
Harry


Bob Scherer
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posted 2/23/2015 10:28:31 PM    Click here to view the profile for Bob Scherer  Click here to email Bob Scherer  edit/delete post  Reply w/Quote
To GUEST posting original query,
My father served as a platoon leader of one of the platoons in D Co, 66th AIB. I have some information on the Provisional Infantry Companies if you would be interested. Also, one member of D Co, Joe Peterson, is active in reunions and would enjoy talking to you.
Please contact me offline. rwscherer@verizon.net
Thanks, Bob Scherer