3-ID – OOB – WW-2

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The 3rd Division was activated in November 1917 during World War I at Camp Greene, North Carolina. Eight months later, it saw combat for the first time in France.

At midnight, on July 14 1918, the division earned lasting distinction. Engaged in the Aisne-Marne Offensive as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) to Europe, the division was protecting Paris with a position on the banks of the Marne River. The 7th Machine Gun Battalion of the 3rd Division rushed to Château-Thierry amid retreating French troops and held the Germans back at the Marne River. While surrounding units retreated, the 3rd Division, including the 4th, 30th and 38th Infantry Regiments, remained steadfast throughout the Second Battle of the Marne, and Col Ulysses G. McAlexander’s dogged defense earned the Division its nickname as the ‘Rock of the Marne’.

The rest of the division was absorbed under French command until brought back together under the command of Gen Joseph T. Dickman and by July 15 1918 they took the brunt of what was to be the last German offensive of the war. General of the Armies John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing, who commanded the entire American Expeditionary Force, called this stand : one of the most brilliant pages in the annals of military history. During the war two members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Mortar crewmen drop another round down the tube near the Rapido River on January 24, 1944. Before the attack, the 36th Division commander, Major General Fred L. Walker, had scribbled in his diary, “We are undertaking the impossible, but I shall keep it to myself.”Stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington the 3rd Division moved to Fort Ord, California on January 22 1940 and returned to Fort Lewis, on May 19 1940. It moved again to Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation, California on May 25 1941 for the IX Corps California Maneuvers and returned to Fort Lewis on July 1 1941. The division participated to the Fourth Army Maneuvers from August 15 to August 30 1941, was sent back to Fort Ord, on May 1 1942 and was re-designated 3rd Infantry Division on August 1 1942. Sent to Camp Pickett, Virginia on September 22 1942, it staged at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia and, on October 27 1942, departed Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation for the North African Theater.


3rd Infantry Division – Casualties : Killed in Action : 2472, Wounded in Action : 9489, Missing in Action : 1070, Captured : 70, Battle Casualties : 13.101, Non-Battle Casualties : 15.299. Total Casualties : 28.400

Commanding Generals

Maj Gen Charles F. Thompson : Jul 1940 – Aug 1941; Brig Gen Charles P. Hall : Aug 1941 – Sep 1941; Maj Gen John P. Lucas : Sep 1941 – Mar 1942; Maj Gen Jonathan W. Anderson : Mar 1942 – Mar 1943; Maj Gen Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. : Mar 1943 – Feb 1944; Maj Gen John W. O’Daniel : Feb 1944 – Dec 1944; Brig Gen Robert N. Young (Acting) : Dec 1944 – Jan 1945; Maj Gen John W. O’Daniel : Jan 1945 – July 1945 and Maj Gen William R. Schmidt : Jul 1945 – Aug 1946

Assistant Division Commander : Brig Gen Whitfield P. Shepard : 15 Aug 1944 – 29 Aug 1944; Vacant : 30 Aug 1944 – 8 Oct 1944; Brig Gen Robert N. Young : 9 Oct 1944 – 13 Dec 1944; Col Lionel C. McGarr (Acting) : 13 Dec 1944 – 8 Jan 1945 and Brig Gen Robert N. Young : 8 Jan 1945; Maj Robert C. Shaw (Acting) : 16 Feb 1945; Lt Col Dick A. King : 14 Apr 1945

Assistant Chief of Staff – G-5 : Maj Donald E. Long : 15 Aug 1944; Lt Col Donald E. Long : 16 Dec 1944

Adjutant General : Capt Stephen J. Rogers : 15 Aug 1944; Maj Stephen J. Rogers : 17 Sep 1944; Lt Col Stephen J. Rogers : 1 Apr 1945

CO 7th Infantry Regiment : Col Wiley H. O’Mohundro : 15 Aug 1944; Col Ben Harrell : 23 Aug 1944; Lt Col John A. Heintges : 5 Dec 1944; Col John A. Heintges : 8 Mar 1945

CO 15th Infantry Regiment : Col Richard G. Thomas : 15 Aug 1944; Lt Col Hallett D. Edson : 1 Oct 1944; Col Hallett D. Edson : 8 Mar 1945

CO 30th Infantry Regiment : Col Lionel G. McGarr : 15 Aug 1944; Lt Col Richard H. Nedderson : 13 Dec 1944; Col Lionel C. McGarr : 8 Jan 1945

3rd Infantry Division – Awards : Distinguished Service Cross : 71; Legion of Merit : 2; Silver Star Medal : 1438; Soldiers Medal : 21; Bronze Star Medal : 2385; Air Medal : 58

Order of Battle – 3rd Infantry Division

7th Infantry Regiment
15th Infantry Regiment
30th Infantry Regiment
3rd Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
10th Engineer Combat Battalion
3rd Medical Battalion
3rd Division Artillery
10th Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM Howitzer)
39th Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM Howitzer)
41st Field Artillery Battalion (105-MM Howitzer)
9th Field Artillery Battalion (155-MM Howitzer)
Special Troops
703d Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
3rd Quartermaster Company
3rd Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
Headquarters Company
Band

Attachments to the 3rd Infantry Division
Antiaircraft Artillery
441-AAA-AW-B (SP) : 13 Jul 1944 – 29 Jun 1945
1 Plat, A Btry, 353-AAA-SL-B : 4-9 Feb 1945
B Btry, (-2d Plat), 353-AAA-SL-B : 27 Feb 1945 – 15 Mar 1945
2d Plat, B Btry, 353-AAA-SL-B : 15 Mar 1945 – 22 Apr 1945

Armored
756-TB : 13 Jul 1944 – 1 Jul 1945
CCB, (14-AD) : 8-10 Apr 1945
47-TB, (14-AD) : 8-10 Apr 1945
19-AIB, (14-AD) : 8-10 Apr 1945
499-AFAB, (14-AD) : 8-10 Apr 1945
B Troop, 94-CRS, (14-AD) : 8-10 Apr 1945
B Co, 125-AEB, (14-AD) : 8-10 Apr 1945B Co, 636-TDB (SP) : 8-10 Apr 1945

Cavalry
C Troop, 117-CRS: 18 Jul 1944 – 17 Aug 1944
117-CRS : 22-29 Sep 1944
106-CG : 25-27 Mar 1945
101-CRS : 28 Apr 1945
106-CG : 3-4 May 1945

Chemical
3d Cml Mort Bn : 11 Jul 1944 – 2 Sep 1944
3d Cml Mort Bn (- Cos A&B) : 3 Sep 1944 – 6 Oct 1944
B Co, 3d Cml Mort Bn : 9 Sep 1944 – 14 Nov 1944
A Co, 3d Cml Mort Bn : 13 Sep 1944 – 5 Dec 1944
D Co, 3d Cml Mort Bn : 19 Oct 1944 – 14 Nov 1944
99th Cml Mort Bn : 21 Dec 1944 – 30 Jan 1945
168th Cml SG Co : 31 Jan 1945 – 12 Feb 1945
A Co, 87th Cml Bn : 14-31 Mar 1945
168th Cml SG Co : 31 Mar 1945 – 21 Apr 1945
B Co, 2d Cml Mort Bn : 2-21 Apr 1945
99th Cml Mort Bn : 26-29 Apr 1945
168th Cml SG Co : 26 Apr 1945 – 6 May 1945
2d Cml Mort Bn : 30 Apr 1945 – 5 May 1945

Engineer
36th Engr Regt : 25 Jun 1944 – 15 Jun 1944
290th Engr Cbt Bn : 14-20 Jan 1945
2831st Engr Cbt Bn : 15-19 Apr 1945

Field Artillery
36th FAB (155-MM Gun) : 11 Jul 1944 – 19 Aug 1944
69-AFAB : 11 Jul 1944 – 8 Nov 1944
634-FAB (155-MM How) : 14 Jul 1944 – 19 Aug 1944
1 det, 2-FAOB : 23 Jul 1944 – 30 Aug 1944
36-FAB (155-MM Gun) : 30 Aug 1944 – 3 Sep 1944
634-FAB (155-MM How) : 30 Aug 1944 – 3 Sep 1944
Hq & Hq Btry, 6-FAG : 30 Aug 1944 – 3 Sep 1944
977-FAB (- Btry C) (155-MM Gun) : 8-10 Sep 1944
93-AFAB : 18-28 Nov 1944
Hq & Hq Btry, 17-FAG : 15-31 Dec 1944
977-FAB (155-MM Gun) : 21-31 Dec 1944
141-FAB (155-MM How) : 21 Dec 1944 – 9 Feb 1945
999-FAB (8″ How) : 31 Dec 1944 – 19 Jan 1945
6-AD Artillery : 14-18 Mar 1945
693-FAB (105-MM How) : 14 Mar 1945 – 20 Apr 1945
208-FAB (155-MM Gun) : 14 Mar 1945 – 20 Apr 1945208-FAG : 17-18 Mar 1945
250-FAB (105-MM How) : 19 Mar 1945 – 12 Apr 1945
44-ID Artillery : 24-27 Mar 1945
969-FAB (155-MM How) : 26-29 Apr 1945
693-FAB (105-MM How) : 29 Apr 1945 – 7 May 1945
283-FAB (105-MM How) : 2-6 May 1945

Infantry
141-IR (36-ID) : 7-8 Sep 1944
E Co, 398-IR (100-ID) : 17-18 Nov 1944
254-IR (63-ID) : 28 Dec 1944 – 9 Feb 1945
1st Bn, French Prcht Regt : 10-20 Jan 1945

Tank Destroyer
601-TDB (SP) : 13 Jul 1944 – 1 Jul 1945

Navy
1st Naval Beach Bn : 15 Jul 1944 – 15 Aug 1944
1 det Boat Gds : 15 Jul 1944 – 15 Aug 1944
5 Naval Shore Fire Control Parties : 18 Jul 1944 – 20 Aug 1944

3rd Infantry Division Attachments to
Field Artillery
41-FAB to 36-ID : 18-21 Dec 1944

Infantry
30-IR to 36-ID : 15-18 Dec 1944
30-IR (- Co L) to 36-ID : 18-21 Dec 1944
2/15-IR to 36-ID : 20-21 Dec 1944

3rd Infantry Division – Command Posts

15 August 1944 – La Croix (vic) – Var – France
16 August 1944 – Grimaud (vic) – Var – France
16 August 1944 – Cellobrieres (vic) – Var – France
18 August 1944 – Gonfaron (vic) – Var – France
19 August 1944 – Brignoles (vic) – Var – France
20 August 1944 – Trets (vic) – Bouches-du-Rhone – France
21 August 1944 – Aix (vic) – Bouches-du-Rhone – France
25 August 1944 – Cadenet (vic) – Vaucluse – France
26 August 1944 – Le Barroux (vic) – Vaucluse – France
27 August 1944 – Crillon (vic) – Vaucluse – France
28 August 1944 – La Begude (vic) – Drome – France
31 August 1944 – Voiron (vic) – Isere – France
1 September 1944 – Cremieu (vic) – Isere – France
2 September 1944 – Lagnieu (vic) – Ain – France
3 September 1944 – Poncin (vic) – Ain – France
4 September 1944 – Le Fied (vic) – Jura – France
5 September 1944 – Pagnoz (vic) – Jura – France
6 September 1944 – Tarcenay (vic) – Doubs – France
9 September 1944 – Besancon – Doubs – France
10 September 1944 – Devecey – Doubs – France
11 September 1944 – Rioz (vic north) – Haute-Saone – France
12 September 1944 – Rioz (vic north) – Haute-Saone – France
13 September 1944 – Dampierre (vic) – Haute-Saone – France
14 September 1944 – Les Belles Baraques – Haute-Saone – France
15 September 1944 – Les Belles Baraques – Haute-Saone – France
16 September 1944 – Mollans – Haute-Saone – France
20 September 1944 – Breuchotte – Haute-Saone – France
25 September 1944 – Faucegney – Haute-Saone – France
27 September 1944 – Remiremont – Vosges – France
20 October 1944 – Grandvilliers – Vosges – France
26 October 1944 – Brouvelieures – Vosges – France
12 November 1944 – Autrey – Vosges – France
20 November 1944 – St Remy – Vosges – France
23 November 1944 – La Chapelle – Vosges – France
25 November 1944 – Saales – Bas-Rhin – France
26 November 1944 – Mullerhof Chateau – Bas-Rhin – France
27 November 1944 – Mullerhof – Bas-Rhin – France
28 November 1944 – Strasbourg (vic) – Bas-Rhin – France
21 December 1944 – Ribeauville – Haut-Rhin – France
7 January 1945 – La Poutroie – Haut-Rhin – France
11 January 1945 – Ste-Marie-aux-Mines – Haut-Rhin – France
23 January 1945 – Ribeauville – Haut-Rhin – France
1 February 1945 – Riedweiler – Haut-Rhin – France
20 February 1945 – Pont-a-Mousson – Meurthe-et-Moselle – France
14 March 1945 – Ettingen – Moselle – France
18 March 1945 – Brenschelbach – Pfalz – Germany
23 March 1945 – Kaiserslautern – Pfalz – Germany
24 March 1945 – Altleiningen – Pfalz – Germany
25 March 1945 – Bobenheim – Pfalz – Germany
27 March 1945 – Burstadt – Hessen – Germany
28 March 1945 – Heppenheim – Hessen – Germany
30 March 1945 – Pfaffen Beerfurth – Hessen – Germany
31 March 1945 – Seckmauern – Bavaria – Germany
1 April 1945 – Ruck – Bavaria – Germany
3 April 1945 – Weibersbrunn – Bavaria – Germany
4 April 1945 – Partenstein – Bavaria – Germany
6 April 1945 – Burgsinn – Bavaria – Germany
7 April 1945 – Schondra – Bavaria – Germany
8 April 1945 – Bad Kissingen – Bavaria – Germany
10 April 1945 – Massbach – Bavaria – Germany
12 April 1945 – Mechenried – Bavaria – Germany
13 April 1945 – Priesendorf – Bavaria – Germany
15 April 1945 – Reundorf – Bavaria – Germany
16 April 1945 – Hemhofen – Bavaria – Germany
17 April 1945 – Neunkirchen – Bavaria – Germany
18 April 1945 – Buchenbuhl – Bavaria – Germany
24 April 1945 – Kirkingen – Bavaria – Germany
26 April 1945 – Kicklingen – Bavaria – Germany
27 April 1945 – Wertingen – Bavaria – Germany
29 April 1945 – Oberhausen – Bavaria – Germany
30 April 1945 – Uberracker – Bavaria – Germany
1 May 1945 – Neuaubing – Bavaria – Germany
2 May 1945 – Unter Haching – Bavaria – Germany
4 May 1945 – Siegsdorf – Bavaria – Germany
6 May 1945 – Salzburg – Salzburg – Austria

Narrative

The 3-ID landed in North Africa northeast of Fedala, being a part of the Operation Torch which was the British-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African Campaign which started on November 8 1942. The 3-ID entered Casablanca on November 11. Assigned the occupation of half of French Morocco, the 7-IR (3-ID) arrived behind the 1-ID for possible commitment on the Tunisian front on May 6 1943. However, the division was soon pulled out to train for the pending operation against Sicily, which it assaulted July 10.

With the assistance of the naval gunfire, the division took Agrigento on July 16-17 and reached Palermo ahead of armored columns on July 22. On August 1, the 3-ID relieved the 45-ID to drive east along the coastal highway. Despite mines and demolitions the 15-IR (3-ID), again assisted by naval gunfire, forced crossings over the Furiano River on August 4. The 7-IR (3-ID) landed ahead of the general advance and a battalion of the 30-IR (3-ID) repeated a coastal landing east of Agata on August 7. This same battalion outflanked the retreating enemy by another successful landing at Capo d’Orlando August 10. The division ended the Sicilian campaign by racing its 7-IR into Messina, still under fire from the hostile Italian coast, August 16.

Nine days after the invasion of Italy the division landed at Salerno and started north into the mountains, driving through Battipaglia to take Acerno on September 22. It captured Avellino in a night assault on September 30, and crossed the Volturno River east of Capua October 13. It seized Cisterna on October 15 and then fought a furious ten-day battle for the Winter Line which commenced November 5. Its 15-IR on Mont Lungo was relieved December 31 by the 6-IR (3-ID). The division assaulted Anzio, Italy, January 22 1944 and was heavily engaged for the next four weeks. After being prevented from achieving its objectives by the overwhelming German opposition in the area, the division was regrouped January 27. On January 29, a German counterattack forced it back to the Mussolini Canal, but the division contained this threat. It defeated the final German attack on the Anzio perimeter in the Ponte Rotto sector on February 3. It attacked out of the Anzio beachhead March 23 and was designated at the garrison of Rome on June 4, remaining in the latter city as 5-A Reserve.

The division landed in the Bays of Cavalaire and Pampelonne, France, on August 15 1944 and cleared Saint Tropez by August 17. The 15-IR and the 30-IR swept down National (Highway) 7 toward Toulon, and on August 24, the 3-ID reached the valley of the Rhône River at Arles. It cleared rearguard opposition from Montélimar, was relieved at the end of the month, and assembled at Voiron. On September 6, it returned to attack and take Fort Fontain, opening the way to the outer defenses of Besançon, which fell to the division the following day.

On September 11, the division invested Vesoul and reached the Moselle River, which it crossed over on a bridge round intact near Rupt at midnight on September 23. It then took over the St Amé area from the 36-ID. Renewing the offensive on October 4, the 7-IR assaulted Vageny which fell 3 days later as the 15-IR reduced a quarry strong point near Cleurie after a week-long battle. Advancing against formidable resistance toward Saint Dié, the 15-IR seized Etival as German opposition crumbled on the Meurthe River.

The 7-IR and the 30-IR crossed it in the Clairefontaine – St Michel area before dawn on November 20 and spearheaded the drive on Strasbourg. The division emerged from Vosges onto the Alsatian Plain and entered Strasbourg November 27 to relieve the French 2-AD. On December 5, the division began its attack toward the Maginot Line and cleared Bennwihr December 24 after which it was relieved by the 28th Infantry Division. The 3-ID renewed its offensive against the Colmar Pocket again on January 26 1945 and crossed the Canal de Colmar supported by the French 5th Armored Division on January 29.

At the end of the month it took Horbourg and the 7-IR was at the outskirts of Colmar. It assaulted the West Wall Line March 18, taking numerous pillboxes and bunkers, and the division seized the bridge at Zweibruecken intact on March 20. After saturation bombing of the hostile shore, the division. crossed the Rhine River on March 26 and advanced rapidly to the Main River which it crossed at Woerth on March 30. In April the division moved into the Hohe Rhon Hills and opened its rapid advance on Nuremberg on April 11. The division entered the city on Apr 17 to take it block by block against determined resistance, finally clearing the heavily fortified city on April 21. The 3rd Infantry Division began the drive toward Augsburg April 23 and relieved the 12th Armored Division at the Dilligen Bridgehead. Augsburg was captured by the 7-IR and the 15-IR against light opposition April 28, and the next day the division initiated its push toward Munich. On May 4 1945 the 7-IR crossed into Austria through Salzburg to Berchtesgaden, where the division was located when hostilities and the Second World War ceased on May 7 1945.

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European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
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Francorchamps 4970
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Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be





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(NB : Published for Good – July 2019)

 

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