The United States Army’s 1st Armored Division famously known as the “Old Ironsides” was indeed the first armored division which got to face the battle in the World War II (WWII). The division is the U.S Army’s combined arms division and is also a part of the III Corps. The 1st Armored Division has its based operations in El Paso, Texas. The 1st Armored Division is a reorganization and expanded version of the 7th Calvary Brigade that got activated at Fort Knox, Kentucky during 1940. Under the 1st Armored Division and the 1st Armored Brigade, the 1st Cavalry Regiment got redesignated as the 1st Armored Regiment. Similarly, the 13th Cavalry Regiment got redesignated as the 13th Armored Regiment. The changes were chiefly because the 1st Armored Division went through major reorganization and expansion where it increased its numbers from 66 medium-sized military tanks to more than 600 medium and light armored tanks. Besides, the division developed and pioneered tanks with gunnery and armored offensive that can be employed strategically.
When the 1st Armored Division got formed in 1940, it got trained at the Fort Knox, in Kentucky. The division got employed as an experimental unit with tanks as the central element and was envisaged as a self-supporting and permanent fighting division. The 1st Armored Division, a kind of self-sustaining blitzkrieg force had not been tried before, and the soldiers employed in the force were chosen from many of the army posts. The division comprised of artillery, tanks, and infantry and had other support such as medical, tank destroyer, supply, and maintenance and engineer battalions. However, the division could be brought up to its full strength of its quota of guns, tanks, and vehicles in spite of adding new forms of equipment on a daily basis. Until 1941 the division had only nine medium tanks with a 37-millimeter gun.
The division had only minor changes such as half-tracks, newly acquired tanks, and guns when compared to the rest of the army posts in the US. But a year later the division went through intense training after being reorganized with tanks of medium-size and light-sized being put into armored regiments namely the 1st and the 13th. Further, the 3rd armored artillery battalion named the 91st got formed along with the organization of the 701 Tank Destroyer Battalion both of which got attached to the division. It was only in 1942 when the 1st Armored Division was put into combat with the enemy in the Allied invasion of Northwest Africa in operation called the Operation Torch. It was at this time when the elements of the division became a part of the Northern Task Force and thereby got the privilege to become the first American armored division and take part in the WWII. Such is the significance of the 1st Armored Division as a division of the U.S. Army.
Currently, the division is reorganized with a new modular design and has deployable units that serve as a brigade instead as a division. It division comprises of three kinds of brigade combat teams namely the division of artillery brigade, the sustainment brigade and the combat aviation brigade.