Seventh Army was the first U.S. Field Army to see combat in WW II and was
activated at sea when the I Armored Corps under the command of Lt. General
George Patton was redesignated on July 10th, 1943.
The Seventh Army landed on
several beaches in southern Sicily and captured the city of Palermo on July 22nd
and along with the British Eighth Army captured Messina on August 16th. During
the fighting, the elements of the Seventh Army killed or captured over 1 13,000
enemy soldiers. The Headquarters elements of the Seventh Army remained
relatively inactive at Palermo, Sicily, and Algiers, North Africa, until January
of 1944 when Lt. General Mark Clark was assigned as Commander and the Army began
planning for the invasion of southern France.
The invasion was originally given
the code name of "Operation Anvil" but was changed to "Operation Dragoon" before
the landing. In March of 1944, Lt. General Alexander Patch was assigned to
command the Army which moved to Naples, Italy, the following July. On August
15th, 1944, Seventh Army units assaulted the beaches of southern France in the
St. Tropez and St. Raphael area. Within one month, the Army employing three
American Divisions, five French Divisions, and the First Airborne Task Force had
advanced 400 miles and had joined with the Normandy forces. In the process, the
Seventh Army had liberated Marseilles, Lyon, Toulon, and all of Southern France.
The Army then assaulted the German forces in the Vosges Mountains, broke into
the Alsatian Plain, and reached the Rhine River after capturing the city of
Strasbourg. During the Battle of the Bulge, the Seventh Army extended its flanks
to take over much of the Third Army area which allowed the Third to relieve
surrounded U.S. forces at Bastogne. Along with the French First Army, the
Seventh went on the offensive in February of 1945 and eliminated the enemy
pocket in the Colmar area.
The Seventh then went into the Saar, crossed the
Rhine, captured Nuremberg and Munich, crossed the Brenner Pass, and made contact
with the Fifth Army - once again on Italian soil. In less than nine months of
continuous fighting, the Seventh had advanced over 1,000 miles and for varying
times had commanded 24 American and Allied Divisions.
The Seventh Army was
inactivated in March of 1946, in Germany, reactivated for a short time at
Atlanta, Georgia, and assigned to the Regular Army with Headquarters at Vaihingen, Germany, in November of 1950.
The shoulder patch for the Seventh Army
was approved on June 23rd, 1943. The letter "A" (for "Army") is formed by seven
steps indicating the numerical designation of the unit. The colors suggest the
three basic combat branches which make up a field army - blue for Infantry, red
for Artillery, and yellow for Armor (Cavalry).
Veterans of the Seventh Army wore
a tab reading "Seven Steps to Hell" under the patch, but this tab was never