Major General, Ernest N. Harmon

XXII Corps, U.S. Army

DYSINA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA 1945

Patton's Third Army continued to be part of the XXII Corps to which Major General Ernest N. Harmon, XXII Corps headquarters was located in Dýšina, Czechoslovakia.

General George S. Patton and General Ernest N. Harmon were the best of friend and would spent their last holiday together between August 10th thru 12th, and would spend it on a farm in Borek u Tachova, for this would be General Patton last vacation as the 3rd Army Commander.

General George S. Patton

PRESENTED TO THE COMMUNITY OF DÝŠINA BY MAJOR GENERAL ERNEST N.HARMON COMMANDING GENERAL

XXII CORPS, UNITED STATES ARMY

5.8.1945



XXII Corps

The original plaque that was given by General Harmon to the community of Dýšina is affixed to the wall of the mayor office in Dýšina .

The plaque was made from melted down German howitzer shell casings.

Major General Ernest N. Harmon, XXII Corps Commander

 

The Plaque that is placed on this memorial was reproduced by the armature company in Dýšina in 1990.

The Czech citizens of Dýšina had an intense love for General Harmon.

During the communist era all plaques and monuments were destroyed , with the exception of one that survived being that of the 1st  Infantry Division, that was hidden behind some trees behind the airfield in Cheb.

When people of Dýšina learned that the communist was destroying all these memorials and monuments left by there liberators the U.S. Army. In which two citizens during the middle of the night, thanks to Mr. Frycka and Mr. Marval, who took the plaque and buried it in the garden so that it would be safely protected and not destroyed. After the fall of communism  the well hidden plaque reappeared and was re-established for the citizens of Dýšina in 1990 .

General Ernest Nason Harmon who was  known to many as "Gravel Voice" born the 26th of February 1894 in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he grew up in West Newbury. He attended Norwich University in Vermont for a year then entered West Point, graduating from there in 1917 receiving a commission in the cavalry. He was promoted to first lieutenant in May 1917, and then to temporary captain in Aug., being sent on to France in March 1918.

He saw action in the St. Mihiel and Muese-Argonne operations. He was promoted to permanent captain in Aug. 1920, an graduated from the Cavalry School, Ft. Riley, Kansas in 1921. He also competed in the Paris Olympics in 1924, in the modern pentathlon. Then was an instructor at West Point until 1925.

From 1927 to 1931 he taught military tactics at Norwich University. He went on to graduate from the Command and General Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth, Ks. and being promoted to major in Nov,1932. He graduated from the Army War College in 1934, and from 1935 to 1939 was attached to the General Staff. In 1940 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and named assistant chief of staff of the I Armored Corps.

It was a newly organized corps and Gen. Adna R. Chaffee was heading this force at Ft. Knox, Ky. In Nov. 1941 he was appointed a temporary brigadier general and became chief of staff of the Armed Forces Headquarters. In July of 1942 he took command of the 2nd Armored Div. and advanced in rank to temporary major general the following month.

 

He led an advance part of the 2nd Armored Division in the landing in French Morocco in November 1942 and then on into Tunisia. April of 1943 took command of the 1st Armored Div. and was assigned to the VI Corp's, which was under the command of Gen. John P. Lucas. On 9 Sept. 1943 took part in the landing as a part of Gen. Mark Clark's 5th Army at Salerno and Paestum, Italy.

In Jan. 1944 the 1st moved to the beachhead at Anzio under the VI Corp's and in May 1944 led the breakout to form the beachhead. The 1st Armored was the first division to cross the Tiber River, then on to Rome, Italy and beyond. Covering over 200 miles in 5 days. July of 1944 Gen. Harmon was transferred to command the VIII Corp's at Camp Bowie, Texas. He then returned to the 2nd Armored Div. in Belgium, Sept. 1944. The 2nd was assigned to Gen. Courtney H. Hodge's First Army and then to Gen. William H. Simpson's First Army which included the 2nd Armored Div. which broke through the Siegfried Line at Aachen, Germany in October. During the months of Oct. and Nov. 1944 was the one of the 2nd Armored Divs. most difficult times, as they were engaged in one of the most bitter fought tank battles on the western front.

Gen. Harmon showed extraordinary perception of what enemy movements might mean and the ability to make immediate adjustments in the alignment of his available units to out maneuver the German panzer divisions, along with their infantry. At times having other units that were not attached the 2nd Armored to assist him, and some just simply refused, others would help him. Then in late at night at 2350 on 21 December of 1944 the 2nd Armored Division was ordered to travel overnight from the Aachen area to take up position in the Ardennes Offensive. The division traveled over 100 miles to then gather in the vicinity of Huy, Belgium, to assemble. Gen. Harmon again took to the offensive in an attempt to push the Germans back and to meet them on his terms. Fighting in freezing cold weather with snow ( and insufficient winter gear ) on the ground most of the time the Ardennes Offensive was a very hard struggle for the 2nd Armored Div.. With decisive bold armored tactics and movements he was able to block the enemy's advance and gain ground while doing so.

Then later in January 1945 he was named Commander of the XX ll Corps which in April 1945 had control of the northern part of the Rhine Province. Later at the end of 1945 he briefly commanded the Third Army occupying Czechoslovakia.

General Harmon on his arrival to Rokycany for the Liberation celebrations  being held by the citizens of Rokycany.

General Harmon was noted for giving medals to soldiers of the Russian Red army for their involvement in helping to liberate Czechoslovakia in 1945.

94th Infantry Division

The 94th division was transferred back to General Patton's third Army but continued to be part of the XXII Corps.

The 94th's new assignment came on the morning of March 28th. The 94th was transferred to the newly established XXII Corps attached to the Fifteenth Army. On March 30-31 the troops began boarding trucks and trains for the trip north. The XXII Corps was under the Command of Major General Earnest N. Harmon . Their primary mission was to man roadblocks separating the zones of occupation between the Americans and the troops of the Soviet Union. Along with this mission came the military occupation duties of the cities of Susice, Horazdovice, Strakonice, and Bavorov, Czechoslovakia.

When the 94th arrived to administer military authority they found the Czech people very friendly and cooperative unlike those encountered in Germany. The German and Austrian civilians in the area were only more than happy to cooperated with the Americans which had the job of screening and processing them for movement back to their own countries. The Czech people had an intense hatred of these people who came in with the Nazis and stole their lands and set themselves up in their towns. Now with no protection except the Americans occupiers, These displaced personal  gladly cooperated in order to speed their movement along. Side from processing all the displaced persons there were almost no incidents of violence of any sort.

Throughout the summer the duties of the 94th consisted mostly of processing German POW's and monitoring the Russian American border. There were many instances of the Russians infiltrating the American zone and these troops were repatriated back to their zone.

On September 6,7, and 8th the division sent the remaining  men of the 94th to the US 8th division for return back to the US. The division gradually disbanded throughout the fall and winter of 1945. On February 9, one year from the time when they were fighting desperately the 94th Infantry was deactivated. The 94th now only remains as an reserve command component of the US Army.

94th Infantry Division military police escorting the division across Charles Bridge for liberation celebrations being held in Prague, Czechoslovakia .

Members of the 94th taking pictures around the area of Charles bridge

Members of the 94th Infantry Division marching in liberations celebrations across Charles bridge in Prague

In February 1946 he took command of the VI Corp's in Germany, which developed into a military police force known as the U.S. Constabulary (was designated this in May 1946). This force was responsible for the entire U.S. occupational zone. He would then be become deputy commander Army Ground Forces in early 1947.

Gen. Harmon retired in March 1948 to where he was named as President of Norwich University in 1950, and served there until 1965. He retired to Florida in 1970 and wrote a volume of memoirs titled "Combat Command". Gen. Harmon was rated as one of the best 2nd Armored Division Commanders.

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