This is an abberviated and recentered around my Popa. I wrote it after much research.
The Story of the 740th “Daredevil” Tank Battalion
The 740th Tank Battalion was formed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in March, 1943. Most of the young men in the initial compliment of troops came from Texas and Oklahoma, although virtually every state in the union was eventually represented.
Following basic training, the battalion was selected to participate in one of the Army's most closely guarded secrets at the time - the use of high intensity carbon arc lamps in tanks to blind the enemy in night fighting, an idea to revolutionize tank warfare. The 740th was assigned to "Special Training Group" and moved on October 1 to Camp Bouse in the Desert Training Center near Phoenix, Arizona, for specialized training.
Lieutenant Colonel George K. Rubel, who helped found and establish the camp, assumed command of the 740th in November, 1943. Colonel Rubel said, "We adopted a motto that we would do everything first and do it better than anyone else."
In April, 1944, the 740th headed for England, and later that year in October, the battalion crossed the English Channel, landing in the choppy waters of Utah Beach. As they began a slow trek across France, they picked up a motorcycle escort through Paris and learned of their assignment to the First U.S. Army, as a standard tank battalion, with the code name Daredevil, and with their destination Aubel/Neufchateau, Belgium. They never knew what happened to the special project.
On December 16, 1944, the Ardennes exploded, and the Germans broke through a weak spot in the Western Front. Entire units were overrun. The 740th was called into the breach. At Stoumont Station, on December 19, 1944, with elements of the 30th Infantry Division, the 740th smashed headlong into the 1st SS Panzer Division's spearhead, Kampfgruppe Peiper, lead by the infamous Jochen Peiper. They blooded Peiper's nose and turned his Kampfgruppe around. The 740th lost six tanks and 10 wounded, but no tanker had been killed in their first battle in the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge). In a Christmas Day disaster, 740th Company C was bombed by American P-47 Thunderbolts, leaving one tank knocked out and Cpl Walter Doyle Stengel (Popa) and two other tankers wounded. Units of the 740th would later receive a Presidential Unit Citation for a job well done in Battle of the Bulge engagements.
On May 4, the German forces in Holland and Northwest Germany surrendered. On May 7, all German forces surrendered unconditionally. At midnight on May 8, 1945, all hostilities ceased. There were no cheers, and there was very little emotion. Although the war was over for them, the tankers' thoughts and prayers were with their loved ones back home and their fallen comrades who had given their lives in battle along the way. On May 27, 1945, the entire battalion gathered in Schwerin for a Memorial Service in memory of those gallant tankers.
The 740th was ultimately deactivated on July 23, 1946. By this time, the Daredevil Tankers of World War II had fought or served with each of the U.S. Armies in Europe, and even fought for a time under the banner of the British/Canadian 21st Army Group.