Hell on Wheels: US 2nd Armored Division Campaign Map [1st version]

£1,500.00

“Hell on Wheels” War Against the Axis 1942 – 1943 – 1944

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First version of a campaign map charting the wartime progress of the US 2nd Armored Division, sheet size 58.5 x 75 cm, printed in colours, blank verso.

The lower panel deals with operations in North Africa and Sicily, with the unit’s insignia flanked by key placenames; the main map covers the Normandy invasion through to the Battle of the Bulge. The border of tank tracks incorporates the Allied invasion star, painted on vehicles for swift recognition, and the names of the unit’s commanding officers, including ‘blood and guts’ Patton.

The map’s creator ‘M.E.B.’ remans unidentified. This version of the map is not listed on Worldcat but the revised edition is, and Worldcat suggests that the author is Mary E Gellie; she was certainly published under the initials ‘M.E.B.’, but these are mostly improving tales for younger readers written in the 1870s and 1880s. As the map was published by the G-2 or intelligence section of the unit, the artist may have been on the staff. The map was probably published in the field: this edition was passed by censor, and the revised edition advises that it has been passed by the Allied Expeditionary Force censor, suggesting that they were printed near to where the unit was located.

As noted on the map, the unit entered Germany in September 1944, although the last action mentioned on the map was fought in eastern Belgium, as Allied forces rushed to contain the German Ardennes offensive. The final date is December 23-28 1944, when 2nd Armored was involved in the destruction of the 2nd Panzer Division in the Celles pocket. The first date given on the revised map is 16 January 1945, when elements of 2nd Armored completed the encirclement of German forces in the Ardennes at Houffalize, and it seems reasonable to assume that our map was drawn in the first weeks of January.

Title

Hell on Wheels: US 2nd Armored Division Campaign Map [1st version]

Mapmaker(s)

MEB

Publisher

G-2 Section, 2nd Armored

Place of publication

[Germany?]

Date of publication

1945

Colour

original

Printed Area Measurements

58.5 x 75 cm [sheet size]