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Author Topic: United States 3rd Armored Division  (Read 6806 times)

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« on: 8 November 2008, 07:14:50 »

United States 3rd Armored Division
 by Steve "Mad Russian" Overton

The 3rd Armored Division was one of the two "heavy" armored divisions in the US Army. Being one of "heavy" armored divisions, meant that they were under an old table of organization and, possessed three regiments instead of two, 232 Medium tanks instead of the 168 allotted a light armored division, and with attached units numbered over 16,000 men, instead of the normal 12,000, now found in the lighter armored divisions.

The 3rd Armored Division led attacks so often, that they earned the nickname, "Spearhead".
The 3rd Armored Division set many records during the war:
* The first Allied unit to fire Artillery into Germany.
* The first Allied unit to cross the German border.
* The first ground invasion of Germany since Napoleon in 1810.
* The first Allied unit to capture a German town.
* The first Allied unit to breach the Seigfried Line.
* The first Allied unit to shot down a German plane from German soil.
* The first Allied unit to capture a major German city.
* The longest single day advance in the war by any unit of any nation. This was for a single day advance, of 101 miles, through central Germany on, 29 March 1945.

The division's major accomplishments include:
* taking part in Operation Cobra during the breakout.
* helping to stop the German counterattack at Mortain.
* defeating a German corps near Mons, Belgium.
* helping to blunt the German offensive in the Ardennes.
* Forging more than half of the ring in the encirclement of the Ruhr Pocket in Central Germany, which resulted in the largest single capture of enemy forces in all of WWII (Europe & Pacific) - 374,000 German Army soldiers.
* played a key role in the forced shutdown and evacuation of Germany's primary V1 and V2 rocket manufacturing facility at Nordhausen, Germany.
* was the first Allied force to liberate a German slave labor camp (the equivalent of a concentration camp) - Nordhausen, Germany.

Throughout the war, the division was a part of First Army. Combat Command A at Villiers Fossard was briefly under V Corps, and Combat Command B was, west of the Vire, under XIX Corps. But, from the Normandy breakout on, except for a brief period during The Battle of the Bulge, they were under command of VII Corps, which was commanded by General J. Lawton Collins.

The division was only commanded by three men during the war; Major General Leroy H. Watson, Brigadier General Maurice Rose and Brigadier General Doyle O. Hickey.

An idea of how involved in the liberation of North Western Europe the 3rd Armored Division was can be found in the individual awards earned by it's men.

* Distinguished Service Cross - 17
* Legion of Merit - 23
* Silver Star - 885
* Soldiers Medal - 32
* Bronze Star - 3,884
* Purple Heart - in excess of 10,500
* Air medal - 138
* Distinguished Flying Cross - 3

The 3rd Armored Division lost more tanks in combat than any other US Division, and CCA lost more tanks than any other unit in the 3rd Armored Division.

Personnel Losses to the Division:

1,810 Killed in Action and 6,963 Wounded in Action


"Order of Battle U.S. Army, World War II" by Shelby L. Stanton

« Last Edit: 8 November 2008, 07:17:33 by Mad Russian » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 8 November 2008, 07:19:00 »

3rd Armored Division Organization


3rd Armored Brigade HHC
   32nd Armored Regiment (Light)
   33rd Armored Regiment (Light)
   40th Armored Regiment (Medium)
   67th Field Artillery Regiment (Armored)
83rd Reconnaissance Battalion (Armored)   
54th Field Artillery Battalion (Armored)
36th Infantry Regiment (Armored)

   Headquarters Company, 3rd Armored Division
   23rd Engineer Battalion (Armored)
   45th Medical Battalion (Armored)
   15th Quartermaster Battalion (Armored)
   143rd Signal Company (Armored)
   18th Ordnance Battalion (Armored)


32nd Armored Regiment
33rd Armored Regiment
36th Armored Infantry Regiment
54th Field Artillery Battalion
67th Field Artillery Battalion
391st Field Artillery Battalion
143rd Signal Company
23rd Armored Engineer Battalion
83rd Armored Reconnaissance Squadron   
643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion (attached 22 December 1944 - 26 December 1944)
703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion(M10, M36) (attached 25 June 1944 - 17 December 1944, 2 January 1945 - 9 May 1945)     
803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion(M10, M36) (attached 25 June 1944 - 2 July 1944)
413th AAA Gun Battalion (attached 7 July 1944 - 16 July 1944)
486th AAA Auto-Weapons Battalion (attached 25 June 1944 - 9 May 1945)

Headquarters Company, 3rd Armored Division
Service Company, 3rd Armored Division
Division Trains
   Supply Battalion
   45th Armored Medical Battalion
503rd Intelligence Corps

3rd Armored Division Overseas Assignments:

VII Corps  20 November 1943

XIX Corps  8 February 1944

VII Corps  15 July 1944

XVIII Airborne Corps  19 December 1944

VII Corps  23 December 1944

XIX Corps  1 May 1945


MG Alvin C. Gillem  April 1941                     
MG Walton H. Walker  January 1942         
MG Leroy H. Watson  August 1942
MG Maurice Rose  August 1944
BG Doyle O. Hickey  March 1945


"Order of Battle U.S. Army, World War II" by Shelby L. Stanton
« Last Edit: 29 December 2008, 07:29:24 by Mad Russian » Logged
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