Division HDQ - G2
3AD Assn. Historian
There was probably not a better trained armored division on the Allied side during World War II than the US 3rd Armored. It had experienced sub-tropical weather at Camp Polk, Louisiana, desert heat on the Mojave Desert, a wet fall at Camp Pickett, Virginia, winter maneuvers, including snow, at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, had provided cadres for the 7th and 5th Armored Divisions and more.
In combat, our, entry, into the continent was facilitated by Allied command of, the sea and air.
We were one of two "heavy" armored divisions, under an old table of organization and, as Martin Blumenson said, possessed two combat commands instead of three, 232 Medium tanks instead of the 168 allotted a light armored division, and with attached units numbered over 16,000 men instead of 12,000.
Throughout the war we were a part of FIRST ARMY, of which Gener4,9,,mar Bradley said, "It bore the brunt of the really tough fighting. Man for man, unit for unit, they were superior to any army on the Western Front."
Combat Command A at Villiers Foss ard was briefly under V Corps, Combat Command B was, west of the Vire, under XIX Corps but from the Normandy breakout on, except for a brief period during The Bulge, we were under VII Corps, commanded by General J. Law ton Collins, later arniy chief of staff and of whom Bradley said, "He was the ablest of all our five corps commanders."
Of our commander, Major General Maurice Rose, only division commander in Europe killed in combat, General Collins said, "He was the top armored commander in the army when be was killed."
Although we led FlRST ARMY, the 3rd Armored did not win the war alone! We had help including the 1st, 4th, 8th, 29th, 30th, 75th, 82nd Airborn,84th and 104th Divisions, at one time or another, plus, when conditions were right, General Elwood A. Quesada's IX Tactical Air Command and its P-47s. Also, from time to time, attached artillery urilts, including the much remembered 991st Field Artillery Batta1ion, 155 mm self propelled guns.
Our men were trained and held individually responsible for their; weapons and vehicles and we entered combat knowing the capabilities of duf leaders. Our closest connection with other divisions were the 1st, 30th and 104th infantry Divisions in VII Corps, and we felt for the 9th and 29th Divisions and their losses in the Huertgen Forest.
Our supply people brought munitions, POL and rations no matter how swiftly we moved and our maintenance people would pick up and repair tanks left unc1aimed by other units, Our medics were caring, our engineers had a bridging column, our anti-aircraft unit capable of tremendous firepower and, to get to the nitty gritty, our tankers and infantry knew their business.
And if there was one word we knew the meaning of it was -CHANGE- usually for the worst.
Somehow, although others had been in combat longer, we had more casualties than any ~ US armored division in World War II and were said to have shot up more artillery shells than any other division from the Normandy campaign onward which should have evened things up as to casualties - enemy casualties, that is.
To be continued
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