Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

US Army 11th Armored Division shoulder sleeve patch with tank tracks, gun, and red lightning bolt

Object | Accession Number: 2004.749.1

Shoulder sleeve insignia, 11th Armored Division, United States Army, known as the Thunderbolt Division, of the type used during World War II. The patch design was used by all Armored divisions, with the division number, in this case 11, at the apex of the triangle. The colors represent the military branches that form an armored division: yellow for cavalry, blue for infantry, and red for artillery. The symbols represent the characteristics: the tank track, mobility and armor protection; the cannon, fire power; and the red flash of lightning, shock action. The 11th Division landed in Normandy on December 16, 1944, and their rapid march across France to the Meuse River, 350 miles in four days, earned them the nickname Thunderbolt. On May 5, 1945, the 11th entered Linz. They liberated two of the largest concentration camps in Austria, Mauthausen, and a subcamp, Gusen, on May 5 and 6. They discovered 19,000 prisoners in deplorable conditions, and thousands needing immediate medical care. The Division provided medical assistance and arranged for the burial of the dead. Germany surrendered on May 7. The Division ended the war in Amstetten, Austria, where they met with Soviet forces on May 8, 1945. The Division was placed on occupation duty until it was inactivated on August 31, 1945. This Division was active only during World War II.

Military Insignia
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:18:09
This page: