the 29th of April 1943, the 645th TANK DESTROYER BATTALION, armored unit of
Their experiences in this hot cline were hardly anything that would warrant fond memories, especially the torrid mid-July 800-mile overland trip to Bizerte, Tunisia, North Africa.
Plans were prepared for the invasion of Italy, and on September 9, 1943, the 645th landed on the beaches of Salerno, Italy. With them were the 36th Infantry (Texas) Division, and other 5th Army troops. On they pushed through Benevento, across the Volturno River and into the mountains above Venafro. There, as part of the VI Corps, the Battalion supported the 45th Infantry (Thunderbird). 50 men from the 645th were tasked as mule skinners with the 45th ID mule train.
A two-week "breather" in San Lorenzo, Italy ended on January 31, 1944, when the Battalion landed with the 45th Infantry on the Anzio Beachhead. The 645th played a major role in stopping all enemy attempts to drive the Allied Forces into the Tyrrheenien Sea. Without rest, the Battalion spent more than 4 months on the line in its confined beachhead of not more than 100 square miles.
May 24,1944 brought the breakout toward Rome in support of the FSSF Troops as well as the 45th Infantry. The capture and liberation of the first of the great European capitals was, June 5th; the beginning of the crack in the fortress that was Europe. After Rome. the Battalion returned to Salerno, where amphibious training was conducted in preparation for landings in southern France.
D-Day, August 15, 1944, the 645th landed near Saint Maxime, South France. Together with the 45th Infantry and 7th Army troops, the 645th turned toward Berlin. They pressed north through Alsace, Reims. and over the German border to the outer defenses of the Siegfried Line. When their forward movement was hampered by stronger enemy resistance, cold and snow the Battalion wintered in the Vosges Mountains.
the spring, with the troops of the XV Corps and the 45th
After the fall of Munich, the Battalion was charged with securing Munich and Dachau. A small group of the 645th was assigned to a Special Unit with liaison duties. In the Austrian and Swiss Alps the Special Unit coordinated the surrender of German Army units.
A "mean" 600 miles aboard boxcars took the men of the Battalion's Special Unit to Le Harve, France, and on October 1, 1945, the embarkation to the U.S. began.
Their sacrifice and valor during 605 days in combat, 515 of them on the line, distinguish the men of the 645th Tank Destroyer Battalion.