Dave & Ann Wolf Dave and Ann Wolf

Third Armored Division World War II Combat History

By Dave Wolf

The 3rd Armored Division landed on Omaha White Beach in Normandy, 23 June 1944, and six days later was committed at Villiers Fossard. After a slow fight through the hedgerows, it broke out at Marigny on 26 July and swung south to Mayenne in a general exploitation of the St. Lo break through. Then through Mortain on August 2 and then CCB recalled to join with the 30th Infantry division to repel a German counter attack in Mortain toward Avranches on August 7th - 12th.From there, wheeling east and north, the "Spearheaders" participated in the drive which on 18 August, closed the Argentan-Falaise gap around the German Seventh Army. Seven days later, the Division cut across the Seine River, and began streaking through Meaux, Soissons, Laon, Mons, and Namur. Continuing the eastward push, it seized Liege on the eight of September and Eupen on the 11th, fought into the Siegfried Line with the Capture of Rotgen on 12 September and, against heavy resistance, advanced slowly to Langerwehe and Hoven on the Roar River. When the Battle Of The Bulge broke, the Division shifted southwest where it severed a vital highway leading from Manhay to Houffalize and in January helped reduce the German salient north of Houffalize. After a brief rest, the 3rd Armored returned to the front broke out of the Duren bridgehead and drove east to capture Cologne on 6 March 1945. It swept on to Marburg then north around the Ruhr Valley, in the vicinity of Etteln, south of Paderborn in the afternoon of 30 March, lead elements of CCB followed closely by General rose, the Division Commander, were suddenly caught in the fire of marauding German Panther and Tiger tanks in the woods on both sides of a narrow dirt road down which the combat command was attacking. While trying to run the ambush, the General's jeep was pined against a tree. by an enemy tank. In the melee, the German tank commander opened fire with a machine pistol on the General and his party, killing General Rose. Paderborn was secured the next day and when contact was made with the second Armored division attacking down from the north, the Ruhr pocket was sealed off. On 5 April, the "Spearhead" soldiers resumed the attack eastward, and CCB entered Nordhausen to liberate the concentration camp on April 11. Then crossed the Saale River 13 April and after overcoming stiff resistance, cleared Dessau by 23 April. Two days later, the Division pulled back into reserve, then performed occupational duties, following VE Day, until inactivated on 9 November on 9 November, 1945.