66th Infantry Division "The Black Panthers"

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muckaroon1960
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Location: Warwickshire, England

66th Infantry Division "The Black Panthers"

Postby muckaroon1960 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:29 pm

Formed in April 1943 the 66th Infantry division arrived in England November 1944. They entered the European theatre via Cherbourg, France in December 1944. Tragically one of the transport vessels, the Leopoldville was torpedoed in the English channel by a German U-Boat and sank, with the loss of 14 officers and 748 enlisted soldiers. This proved to be the second-largest loss of life from the sinking of a troop transport in Europe for the US Navy.

Collaborating with French forces the 66th was involved with containing and attacking the German troops left behind by the retreat from Northern France. These actions took place around the Brittany-Loire area December 1944. The ports of Lorient, St. Nazaire, Bordeaux and La Rochelle held some 100,000 German troops and fighting continued right up until the end of the war with the Germans finally offering their surrender on May 8th 1945. This surrender took place in a small café near Cordemais. "Coffee and Gauloise anyone?" Known as the Black Panthers due to their aggressive looking patch the 66th suffered 1452 casualties with 795 killed including the Leopoldville sinking which without that episode their losses would have been much lower at 33 killed in action!

We seem to overlook this part of the war with concentrating on the drive to Berlin through Holland and Belgium and forget about the Liberation of Western France including the channel islands which were liberated by the British at the end of the war.
The division was disbanded in November 1945.

This is an original 66th patch which I have added to my collection. Approx two and three quarters in diameter. :thumbsup:

(Information from Wikipedia).
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Dave_Holden
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Re: 66th Infantry Division "The Black Panthers"

Postby Dave_Holden » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:24 pm

This is really great Paul, all new to me and very interesting. A very attractive badge.

Tailgunnerdownunder
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Re: 66th Infantry Division "The Black Panthers"

Postby Tailgunnerdownunder » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:19 pm

Another great patch for your collection Paul. Very interesting thread :thumbsup: Regards Mark

The Devils Bank
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Re: 66th Infantry Division "The Black Panthers"

Postby The Devils Bank » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:54 pm

"The Leopoldville was torpedoed in the English channel by a German U-Boat and sank, with the loss of 14 officers and 748 enlisted soldiers".

Very sad indeed.

May they Rest In Peace.

Lovely patch though :thumbsup:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_L%C3%A ... ille_(1929)#Sinking

Tailgunnerdownunder
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Location: NSW Australia

Re: 66th Infantry Division "The Black Panthers"

Postby Tailgunnerdownunder » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:27 pm

I must admit I knew nothing about this tragic event until now. The cover up and resulting lack of recognition of those involved even many years after the event is disgraceful. Particularly when you consider how well the United States remember those that have served their country. Regards Mark

Andyb
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Re: 66th Infantry Division "The Black Panthers"

Postby Andyb » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:16 pm

Another great topic :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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