We are a "Unique" World War II museum in that we are able to tell a very personal story about the men of the 12th Armored Division.
The unit was activated in 1942 at Camp (now Ft.) Campbell in Kentucky.
After completion of Basic Training the Division proved itself by successfully participating in a field exercise called the "Tennessee Maneuvers" - THIS earned them the ability to continue on in their training and moved the Division to Camp Barkeley TEXAS - just nine miles south and west of current Abilene.
The men of the 12th spent almost a year at Camp Barkeley; Then the Division received their orders to move out. The 12th then began to prepare for the ETO (European Theater of Operation). The Division was sent to Camp Shanks in New York to prepare for embarkation and left from there aboard many ships to cross the Ocean, headed for England, then France, then the Front.
The First 12th Bullet fired in battle was on December 5, 1944 and thus began their 'quick work' of the final days of WWII. These men fought in the Battle of Herrlisheim (France) almost immediately following the Battle of the Bulge (Belgium). The Battle at Herrlisheim was Hitler's final offensive to cross the Rhine and try to regain Strasbourg, France. We are heavily indebted to the men of the 12th who lost 2/3 of their fighting force at that battle and still won!
12th men would go on to re-claim the Colmar pocket, liberate a concentration camp, and fight a battle alongside German regular army to stop SS soldiers who still felt the war was not over.
The 12th Armored Division was disbanded in 1945. General Allen, Commander of the 12th Armored Division, appointed unit historians to attempt to make lists of men who were in each unit, protect the after action reports and morning reports, and try to maintain the records of the each individual unit. Please see our Museum and archival Website, www.12tharmoredmuseum.com
The 12th Armored Division Association (12th ADA) was created in 1946 and has been active ever since. The 12th Armored Division once had over 17,000 men in it, once the war was over there was an effort made to keep in contact with the men who were still around. Yearly reunions are still held, although the number of veterans of the 12th grows smaller each year.
The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum was created in Oct 2001 as an idea between the History Department of Abilene Christian University and the 12th ADA. Once it was discovered that the museum would take on a life of its own there was a mutual parting between the two and now the museum is a somewhat stand alone venture with oversight by a Board of directors of several veterans and many family of Veterans. We have an archivist on hand who is able to work on request from family members and those wishing to do research.We are located at 1289 N. 2nd Street in Abilene, TX and are open 10 AM to 5 PM TUESDAY -SATURDAY.