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John Matthew Devine


Command Timeline
Deputy Chief of Staff, 1st Armored Corps

1941-Feb. 1942
Chief of Staff, 1st Armored Corps 

Feb. 1942-Fall 1943
Brigadier General, Combat Command A, 6th Armored Division

September 25 1943-September 11 1944
Artillery Commander, 90th Infantry Division

October 5 1944-Aug. 7 1945 
Brigadier General, 8th Armored Division

Aug. 7 1945-Mar. 24 1946
Major General, 2nd Armored Division

Chief of Staff Army Ground Forces 

Feb. 1949-Aug. 1949
Major General, 1st Cavalry Division


The Man
General Devine was described by his subordinates as a small "roly-poly" man. He "looked and acted exactly as a general should look and act", according to a man from the 90th Infantry Division. During his command of the 8th Armored Division, he was known as a front-line general, and a soldier, Charles Leach, claims "most of the members of the Division had at one time or another in combat [have] seen the jeep bearing the General roll past".

The 8th Armored Division
General Devine's primary command during World War II was the 8th Armored Division. The division consisted of the 7th, 49th, and 58th Armored Infantry Battalions; 18th, 36th, and 80th Tank Battalions; and the 398th, 399th, and 405th Armored Artillery Battalions. It was nicknamed the "Iron Snake", as well as "Thundering Horde". It is also known as the "Tornado", after its military callsign.

It was deployed into France on January 5, 1945, after a training period of around three years. On January 22, it saw its first action against the Germans, supporting the 94th Infantry Division on an attack on German positions between the Saar and Moselle Rivers for a period of six days. On February 27th, the division crossed the Roer (Rur) River with the 35th and 84th Infantry Divisions. Against stiff resistance, they took the towns of Tetelrath, Oberkruchten, Rheinberg, and Ossenberg. The division crossed the Rhine River on March 26, and formed the northern arm of the Ruhr Pocket.

The Ruhr Pocket was formed after Allied forces captured the Ludendorff bridge crossing the Rhine River at Remagen intact. Allied troops poured across, and surrounded approximately 320,000 German troops on April 1. After three weeks of fighting, the Germans surrendered on April 17th and 21st. Field Marshal Model committed suicide rather than surrender.

The 8th Armored Division took the towns of Dorsten, Marl, and Neuhaus during April 1st to 3rd. They then drove southwest into the Ruhr Valley in an attempt to destroy the Ruhr Pocket. However, the division was forced to withdraw in mid-April in order to protect the XIX Corps's right (southern) flank. Fighting against the remnants of the 11th SS Panzer Army, they captured Blankenberg and Ottenstedt on the 20th and 21st, their last action in the war.

The division preformed garrison duties until June 6th. They began to return to the US on September 19th, and were deactivated on November 13th.