this must be like OTL's Grossdeutschland or the Panzer Lehr Divisions then?4th Barrel Division (Confederacy)
- Brigadier General George S. Patton Jr. (1938 - 1941)
- Brigadier General John S. Wood (1941 - 1943)
- Brigadier General Matthew J. Donahue (1943 - 1944)
The Confederate 4th Barrel Division was widely considered one of the most elite armored formations of the Confederate State Army during the Second Great War. Originally activated as a training regiment during the invasion of Louisiana it rose to prominence as Lieutenant General George Patton's favorite spearhead of the Army of Kentucky's armored forces. The Division ultimately fought from the first day of Operation Blackbeard, up until the final days of the Battle of Pittsburgh, before it was quietly reactivated, at President Featherson's insistence, and was the final unit of the Army of Kentucky to surrender with Patton in Birmingham in 1944.
The 4th Barrel Division was originally organized as the 2nd Forth Worth Light Cavalry Brigade. This was one of many misnomers that the Confederate General Staff had created to hide their armored training school in Texas and the reality of their units. The 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade was originally used as the western spearhead during the invasion of Louisiana, under the command of then Colonel George Patton. Patton's successful command, and his dedication to Lieutenant General Forrest's armored warfare theories made him the primary commander to take over as the Division's first commander. 4th Barrel Division was one of the first units that marched over the border into Kentucky, as apart of the newly reconstituted Army of Kentucky. Patton was later promoted to take command of I Barrel Corps, the chief armored spearhead for the entire Army of Kentucky, and the division was taken over by Colonel, later Brigadier General, John S. Wood.
During the opening phase of Operation Blackbeard, 4th Barrel Division was apart of I Barrel Corps, of the Army of Kentucky's Combat Command A, and lead most of the thrust towards Lake Erie. Patton drove his division relentlessly, urging it to pierce any position it could find. While it did lead the 4th Barrel Division to run into several of Colonel Morrel's ambushes and local counter attacks, it also allowed them to break portions of the line that normally wouldn't have been able to be broken. Following one particular engagement where Brigadier General Patton knew he had beaten Morrel personally he is reported to have said "Morrel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" 4th Barrel was ultimately the armored unit that reached Lake Erie first. For it's extremely successful service record, John Wood was promoted to Brigadier General, while George Patton was promoted to Major General.
When Patton was transferred to Virginia to command Armored forces there, 4th Barrel Division remained in Ohio for refit and reinforcement and await further orders. When US President Al Smith, refused to surrender to the Confederacy, rumor began openly floating within the 4th Barrel Division where it would be aimed next; either northwest to Michigan or east into Pennsylvania. When Operation Coalscuttle was planned, 4th Barrel Division was one of the first units to receive the new Mark IV. Confederate Barrel.
Operation Coalscuttle & the Battle of Pittsburgh
When the Confederacy launched Operation Coalscuttle, 4th Barrel Division was again at the forefront of combat, leading the offensive east, and was the chief unit that shattered the initial US lines between Akron and Canton, driving towards Pittsburgh. Although 4th Barrel was one of the first units to reach the suburbs of Pittsburgh, both Brigadier General Wood, and Major General Patton resisted constant calls by Confederate High Command to to deploy the barrels into Pittsburgh itself, much like they had not been deployed into Columbus the year before. As the Battle of Pittsburgh dragged on however, and the infantry and air force couldn't dislodge the stubborn US defenders, 4th Barrel, like much of the Army of Kentucky's armor, found itself increasingly being deployed deeper and deeper into Pittsburgh to get rid of the armor that Brigadier General Morrel had entrenched in the city. This eventually lead to it's death knell when Morrel launched his counter offensive and surrounded the bulk of Combat Commands A and B, within the city itself, including the entirety of the I Armored Corps. General Patton was forcibly evacuated from the city, leaving Brigadier General John Wood in de-facto command. 4th Barrel was eventually ground down to a scratch unit, with enough barrels to constitute a battalion at best, much like a division. 4th Barrel eventually surrendered with the rest of the Army of Kentucky trapped within Pittsburgh.
Rebuilding and the Grinding Retreat
Following the surrender of the bulk of the Army of Kentucky within Pittsburgh, to shore up morale, President Featherston ordered the recreation of several of the surrendered elite and notable units, including 4th Barrel. This new 4th Barrel Division was placed under the command Brigadier General Matthew H. Donahue, and apart of the rebuilding Army of Kentucky. A shell of it's former status, the new 4th Barrel Division only ever got up to full strength once during it's second existence, during Patton's attempted counter attack out of the Appalachians. 4th Barrel Division, like most of the armored forces that attempted the counter offensive were eventually ground down thanks to US air supremacy and the superiority and numbers of the US Mark. III Barrels. Outside of that 4th Barrel's forces were constantly pushed back, and anytime reinforcements came into the line, it, at General Patton's insistence, made as many localized counter attacks as it could get away with, though this only even slowed the US advance, never stopping it. 4th Barrel was kept as an armored reserve during the Battle of Chattanooga, with Patton holding it south of the city to reinforce the city similar to what General Morrel at done at Pittsburgh. It being held back ironically saved it when Morrel captured Lookout Mountain, and allow Patton and Donahue to withdraw 4th Barrel, and the bulk of the Army of Kentucky in order back into Georgia.
4th Barrel Division was kept as part of Patton's armored reserve during the Battle of Atlanta and fought on the western side of the city. It attempted several attempted counter offensives, however it constituent brigades were rarely able to push back to the superior US barrel forces and air supremacy, even after the introduction of the Confederacy's Mark V. Superbarrel. 4th Barrel withdrew with what forces it could into Alabama, and prepared for it's final stand in Birmingham. As close to the factories as it could be, 4th Barrel eventually almost reached it's full strength, with some barrels rolling directly off the line into combat commands. Brigadier General Donahue and Lieutenant General Patton knew this would be a final stand, but figured that they would be able to grind General Ironhewer's forces to dust. That all changed when the US threatened to drop a superbomb on Birmingham. Following the threat, Lieutenant General Patton surrendered all remaining forces of the Army of Kentucky.