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Jacob Loucks Devers
Jacob L. Devers.jpg
General Jacob "Jake" Loucks Devers
Nickname Jake
Born (1887-09-08)September 8, 1887
Died October 15, 1979(1979-10-15) (aged 92)
Place of birth York, Pennsylvania
Place of death Washington, D.C.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance Flag of the United States (1908–1912).svg United States
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1909–1949
Rank US-O10 insignia General
Commands held 9th Infantry Division
6th Army Group
Army Ground Forces
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze Star

General Jacob "Jake" Loucks Devers (September 8, 1887 - October 15, 1979), commander of the 6th Army Group in Europe during World War II. His units were the first United States units to reach the Rhine after D-Day.[1]

BiographyEdit

Devers was born in York, Pennsylvania. He graduated 39th out of 103 graduates from the United States Military Academy in 1909. Some of his classmates were George S. Patton (46), John C. H. Lee (12), Robert L. Eichelberger (68), Edwin F. Harding (74), and William H. Simpson (101). Much of his energy between the world wars was spent in the tactical and technical improvement of his branch, the Field Artillery.[2]

At the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Devers was serving in Panama. He then commanded the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from November 15, 1940 to July 15, 1941. On August 14, 1941 Devers, the youngest major general in the Army's land forces, was posted to Fort Knox, Kentucky to head the Armored Force. During his command, Fort Knox grew from two armored divisions to 16 divisions and 63 separate tank battalions. In May 1943, Devers was appointed overall commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, where, from his London headquarters, he organized and trained many divisions for the cross-channel attack.[2] In January 1943 General Devers was a passenger on a B-17 which landed in neutral Ireland along with much of his senior staff. He was transferred across the border to Northern Ireland the next day. .[3]

In January 1944 Devers had become Commanding General North African Theater of Operations, U.S. Army and also Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater under General Sir Maitland Wilson.[4] When the Allied landings in Southern France took place in August 1944 (Operation Dragoon) Devers formed a special headquarters in Corsica to oversee the Franco-American forces commanded by Lieutenant General Alexander Patch. As the ground forces built up in southern France French Army B headquarters was activated alongside Patch's 7th Army and Devers' headquarters became that of an army group subordinated to Wilson's theater H.Q.. It was officially designated 6th Army Group once his forces had advanced to link with the Allied advance in northwest Europe and had become subordinate to Dwight Eisenhower's Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).[5] With his twelve American and eleven French divisions, Devers cleared Alsace, reduced the Colmar Pocket, crossed the Rhine River and accepted the surrender of German forces in western Austria on May 6, 1945.[1][2]

General Devers' career spanned more than thirty-five years. He was promoted to brigadier general in May 1940, major general in October 1940, lieutenant general in September 1942 and general on March 8, 1945. He retired on September 30, 1949. He died in 1979 in Washington, D.C. and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[2]

ReferencesEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Jackson, General Sir William & Gleave, Group Captain T.P. (2004) [1st. pub. HMSO:1988]. Butler, Sir James. ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume VI: Victory in the Mediterranean, Part 3 - November 1944 to May 1945. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, UK: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-072-6. 

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Frank M. Andrews
Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe
7 May 1943 to 16 January 1944
Succeeded by
Dwight D. Eisenhower

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