Seek, Strike, and Destroy: U.S. Army Tank Destroyer Doctrine in World War II (Leavenworth Papers, Number 12)
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS COMBAT STUDIES INST
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On 3 December 1941, the War Department inaugurated a military concept unique to the U.S. Army-the tank destroyer. The term tank destroyer TD evolved into a broad concept that included personnel, equipment, and units alike. Born of a desperate need to counter the mechanized might of the so-called blitzkrieg, tank destroyer doctrine involved the pooling of antitank weapons into battalions at the division echelon and higher and the massing of those battalions, when needed, into regimental-size groups or even brigades. Specially developed tank destroyer weapons incorporated great mobility and high firepower at the expense of armor protection. Tank destroyer personnel were imbued with an aggressive, elite spirit intended to counter the tanks psychological ascendency on the battlefield. The tank destroyer motto--Seek, Strike, and Destroy--signified that tank destroyers were not to await enemy tanks passively in the manner of traditional antitank forces, but were to seize the initiative and take the battle to the enemy. The tank destroyer shoulder patch, depicting a black panther crushing a tank in its jaws, symbolized the TD spirit.
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