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The 808th Tank Destroyer Battalion

invites you to enjoy this site while learning about WWII and tank destroyers

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The 808th Is Shipped to Europe

The 808th tank destroyers embarked on the USS Hermitage on August 11, 1944 to join the war effort in Europe.

USS Hermitage

The 808 made the 2 week trip from New York to England on the USS Hermitage. Hermitage - converted liner to soldier transport

The Hermitage was built in 1925 as an Italian Luxury Liner. In 1942 she was interned by the United States at Cristobal, in the Panama Canal Zone after Italy declared war on us.

It was converted to a transport by Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia; and commissioned 14 August 1942 with Captain Donald F. Patterson in command. Throughout the war and after, it served as a troop transport. It also carried many refugees to safety as well as provide transport for POWs. On the return trip from England to the USA in Oct. 1944, the Hermitage carried 2600 German prisoners of war.

In May 1947, it was de-commissioned and returned to the Italian Government. While serving the Navy, the former luxury liner had sailed approximately 230,000 miles and transported 129,695 passengers.

General George PattonLanding at Liverpool

When the 808 landed at Liverpool they met Gen. Patton who would lead them to victory in the ETO.

General Patton addressed newly arriving members of his third army whenever possible. His first speech was in June of 1944 and was repeated, in part at least, unknown times to an unknown number of soldiers. The 808th TD Bn were some of the men for whom the speech was repeated in late August 1944. The men received renewed intent to seek, strike and destroy the enemy they were now soon to meet.

"There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily. All because one man went to sleep on the job". But they are German graves, because we caught the b#$%ard asleep before they did". Patton, 1944

General George Patton used colorful, expletive language, his speech to the men is no different. It is not appropriate for children. If you are under 18 do not click this link toread the speech.

LCT - Landing Craft Tank

LCT landing craftIt is not known if this is the LCT the 808 was transported on from England to France.

LCTs were used to transport men and equipment for relatively short distances, like across the English Channel.

Winston Churchill was quoted as saying: "Let there be built great ships which can cast upon a beach, in any weather, large numbers of the heaviest tanks." He got the LCT.

 

 

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