Gaffey, Hugh Joseph, born18-11-1895 in Hartford, Connecticut, graduated from Worcester Academy in 1916 and later attended Officers Training School at Fort Niagara, New York State, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery Reserve on 15-08-1917. Assigned to the 312th Field Artillery at Fort Meade, Maryland, he went to Europe in August 1918 and served in France and Germany before returning to the United States in August 1919. During the next two decades he served at various posts in the United States and served with the 15th and 18th Field Artillery and the 7th Cavalry Brigade, nicknamed “Garryowen” . Assigned to the 1st Armored Corps, nickname “Old Ironsides in July 1940, division’s casualties included: KIA (killed in action): 1.194, WIA (wounded in action): 5.168 and DOW (died of wounds): 234. During the war, the Old Ironsides division captured 41 towns and cities and 108.740 prisoners. 722 Iron Soldiers were awarded the Silver Star, 908 received the Bronze Star. The division received 5.478 Purple Hearts and two Medal of Honor ) recipients. Two division soldiers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II, Private Nicholas Minue Private Minue with fixed bayonet, singlehandedly assaulted and destroyed several enemy positions while under fire near Medjez El Bab, Tunisia, until he was fatally wounded, age 38, on 28-04-1943 and Second Lieutenant Thomas Weldon Fowler
killed in action 03-06-1944, age 22. Gaffey served with them until July 1942 when he was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division, nicknamed “Hells on Wheels” . The 2nd Armored Division took 94.151 prisoners-of-war, liberated 22.538 Allied prisoners of war, shot down or damaged on the ground 266 enemy aircraft, and destroyed or captured uncountable thousands of enemy tanks and other equipment and supplies. In 238 battle days, the 2nd Armored suffered 7.348 casualties, including 1.160 killed in action. The division was recognized for distinguished service and bravery with 9.369 individual awards, including two Medals of Honor, twenty-three Distinguished Service Crosses, and 2.302 Silver Stars as well as nearly 6.000 Purple Hearts. Appointed Brigadier General 05-08-1942, he was sent to the European Theater in November; and, in April 1944, he was designated Chief of Staff for General Georg Smith Patton’s 3rd Army, nicknamed “Patton’s Own” , fighting in France. Third Army After Action reports state that the Third Army captured 765.483 prisoners of war, with an additional 515.205 of the enemy already held in corps and divisional level POW cages processed between 9 May and 13-5-1945, for a total of 1.280.688 POWs, and that, additionally, Third Army forces killed 144.500 enemy soldiers and wounded 386.200, for a total of 1.811.388 in enemy losses. General Fuller’s review of Third Army records differs only in the number of enemy killed and wounded, stating that between 01-08-1944 and 09 -05-1945, 47.500 of the enemy were killed, 115.700 wounded, and 1.280.688 captured. Fuller’s combined total of enemy losses is 1.443.888 enemy killed, wounded, or captured by the Third Army. The Third Army suffered 16.596 killed, 96.241 wounded, and 26.809 missing in action for a total of 139.646 casualties. Between June 1941 and December 1944, Germany lost 202.000 killed fighting the Americans and British in North Africa, Italy and North-west Europe together, against 2.4 million battlefield dead on the Eastern Front. General Gaffey then assumed command of the 4th Armored Division, nickname “Patton’s Vanguards in December. Casualty figures for the 4th Armored Division, European theater of operations, total battle casualties: 6.212, total deaths in battle: 1.366.
Gaffey was married with Eleanor, born Schmitt Gaffey who died 10-11-1992 (age 93) in Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA. They had one daughter Eleanor Gaffey Little, she died 02-11-2022 ( age 94) in Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA.
Death and burial ground of Gaffey, Hugh Joseph.
Major General Hugh Joseph Gaffey was killed in a B-25 Mitchell crash as it attempted to land at Godman Airfield on Fort Knox, Kentucky on 16-06-1946, age 50. Hugh Gaffey is buried on Fort Knox Post Cemetery, Hardin County, Kentucky.
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