LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – 761st Black Panther Tank Battalion

761st761st BLACK PANTHER TANK BATTALION – All branches of the United States Military were still segregated during World War II, but it was during this time special all-black units were formed, despite the belief that black soldiers were inferior to whites. Among the all-black combat units to be activated, few are more legendary than the 761st Black Panther Tank Battalion. Deployed in Europe in 1944, the 761st became known for their fierce fighting abilities. Of course, they had to be fierce, as they were often used to spearhead attacks, making them the first in the line of fire. The 761st successfully opened a hole in Germany’s Siegfried Line, making room from Patton to lead the 4th Armored Division into Germany, which helped win the war. The 761st fought valiantly through much of Europe, and at the end of the war, they were among the first of American forces to join with the Russians in Austria to liberate the concentration camps at Steyr. Jackie Robinson had been in the 761st, but he was transferred out and faced a court-martial after refusing to sit in the back of a bus during the unit’s training in the south. The racism that Robinson stood up to was a regular occurrence for the 761st and other all-black units in the military.



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