pbcov A detailed and informative history is told in the book entitled The 761st “Black Panther” Tank Battalion in World War II -- An Illustrated History of the First African American Armored Unit to See Combat, by Joe Wilson, Jr. -- son of a 761st tanker (with an afterword by the author's father, Joseph E. Wilson, Sr.)

The following description of the book is from the website of the publisher, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, located in Jefferson, North Carolina.

This is a comprehensive record of the 761st Tank Battalion, the first African American armored unit to enter combat. Assigned at various times to the Third, Seventh and Ninth armies, the “Black Panthers” fought major engagements in six European countries and participated in four major Allied campaigns, inflicting 130,000 casualties on the German army and capturing or destroying thousands of weapons, despite severe weather, difficult terrain, heavily fortified enemy positions, extreme shortages of replacement personnel and equipment, and an overall casualty rate approaching 50 percent.

Richly illustrated and containing many interviews with surviving members of the 761st, this work gives long overdue recognition to the unit whose motto was “Come Out Fighting.” It recounts the events that in 1978—33 years after the end of World War II—led to the 761st Tank Battalion’s receiving a Presidential Unit Citation, the highest honor a unit can receive. Also described are the efforts that resulted, in 1997—53 years after giving his life on the battlefield—in the Medal of Honor’s being posthumously awarded to Sergeant Ruben Rivers.

The son of a tanker in the 761st, Joe Wilson, Jr., a Systems Accountant in Washington, DC, has also written for World War II magazine.


“lavishly illustrated with photos of the participants...well documented, with a good bibliography. Recommended” — Choice;

“one of those well-documented labors of love...heavily illustrated work” — C&RL News;

“a worthwhile book of tank combat” — The Military Book Review;

“complete history” — ForeWord Magazine.

“Your book on the 761st is excellent. It is the best researched and best written book on the battalion. You have put together an accurate accounting of the achievements of the 761st and it should stand as the definitive history of the unit” — Baron Bates (son of the late Colonel Paul L. Bates, the 761st commander).

ISBN: 0-7864-0667-4, 323pp. 141 photographs, illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index illustrated case binding (7 x 10) 1999