“Hell on Wheels” [Maps of the Second Armored Division]


An impressive pair of divisional maps highlighting the World War II campaigns of the Second Armored Division.

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This pair of maps is a monumental testament to the efforts of the Second Armored Division during World War II, nicknamed ‘Hell on Wheels’. Each was drawn by a soldier with the initials M.E.B (see lower right corner) and published by the divisional G-2 Section in 1945.

The first sheet measures approximately 29.25″ x 22.75″ and shows the route of the unit across France and Belgium into Germany. Accompanying annotations provide context on notable individual actions, while a brief summary is provided in the white text box. Two simple insets of North Africa and Sicily immediately below highlight the action from preceding campaigns.

The second sheet presents a similar visual aesthetic but encompasses unit movements from the entire war, beginning to end. Three maps show the theaters of operations encompassing nearly half the globe; beginning with departure from the United States in the lower left inset. Just to the right is a second inset map which highlights the North African and Italian campaigns – elements of the Second Armored Division took part some of the earliest ground offenses in both regions.

The primary map emphasizes the European Theater, and uses the same bold strokes to highlight the thrust through France, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany. Accompanying paragraphs of text highlight notable actions of individual units or command companies, while a large block on the right side provides a succinct divisional summary; “Since 1942, the Division has served and fought on three continents, in ten countries, under five Armies, and one task force, and in seven Corps.” Surrounding the image is a catalog of places, people, and units (including a list of defeated German divisions) that provides further testimony to the global impact and diverse composition of the Second Armored Division.


Map Details

Publication Date: 1945

Author: M.E.B

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Two sheets, each previously folded with minor wear and creasing along former fold lines. Scattered soiling and a bit of discoloration in the margins and light wear at fold intersections. The smaller sheet has the intersections repaired on the verso with archival tape and a bit stronger creasing and wear along fold lines. Both sheets remain in good to very good condition overall.


1 in stock