The unit's first contact with an enemy was on 08 November, 1942, in Operation TORCH, as part of the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa. Elements of the Division were part of the Western Task Force and became the first American armored division to see combat in World War II. Combat Command B (CCB) of the Division landed east and west of Oran, and entered the city on 10 November, 1942. On 24 November, CCB moved from Tafaroui, Algeria to Bedja, Tunisia and raided Djedeida airfield the next day. Djedeida was finally conquered on 28 November. CCB moved southwest of Tebourba on 01 December, 1942, engaged German forces on El Guessa Heights on 03 December, but its lines were pierced on 06 December. CCB withdrew to Bedja with heavy equipment loses between 10 and 11 December, and was placed in reserve.
CCB next attacked in the Ousseltia Valley on 21 January, 1943, and cleared that area until 29 January, when sent to Bou Chebka, and arrived at Maktar on 14 February. Combat Command A (CCA) fought at Faid Pass commencing on 30 January and advanced to Sidi Bou Zid, where it was pushed back with heavy tank loses on 14 February, and had elements isolated on Djebel Lessouda, Djebel Kasaira, and Garet Hadid. Combat Command C (CCC), which had been constituted on 23 January, 1943 to raid Sened Station on 24 January, advanced towards Sbeita, and counterattacked to support CCA in the Sidi Bou Zid area on 15 February, but was repulsed with heavy loses. The Division withdrew from Sbeita on 16 February, but by 21 February, CCB had contained the German attack toward Tebessa. The German withdrawal allowed the Division to recover Kasserine Pass on 26 February and assemble in reserve.
The Division moved northeast of Gafsa on 13 March and attacked in heavy rains on 17 March as CCA took Zannouch, but became immobilized by rain the next day. The Division drove on Maknassy on 20 March, and fought the Battle of Djebel Naemia on 22 to 25 March, and then fought to break through positions baring the road to Gabes between 29 March and 01 April. It began to follow up the withdrawing German forces on 06 April and attacked towards Mateur with CCA on 27 April, which fell after hard fighting on Hill 315 and Hill 299 on 03 May.
The division fought the Battle for Djebel Achtel between 05 to 11 May and entered Ferryville on 07 May. The German forces in Tunisia became trapped and surrendered in the period between 09 to May. The Division was reorganized in French Morocco, and began arriving in Naples, Italy on 28 October.
After the fall of Sicily, the unit, under the US Fifth Army, invaded mainland Italy. The Division took part in the attack on the infamous Winter Line in November 1943. It then flanked the Axis armies in the landings at Anzio, and participated in the liberation of Rome on 04 June, 1944. The Division continued in combat, moving to the Po Valley until the German forces in Italy surrendered on 02 May. In June, the Division moved to Germany as part of the occupation forces.
The 1st Armored Division returned to the New York Port of Embarkation on 24 April. 1946 and was deactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 25 April, 1946.
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Revised 17 Jan '12 SpellChecked