Third Armored Division Association Archives

An Inventory at the University of Illinois Archives.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Third Armored Division Association, Members of the Division, Family, and Friends
Title: Third Armored Division Association Records
Dates: 1941-
Abstract: Third Armored Division Association Records (1941- ) document the history of the United States Army's 3rd Armored Division during its service in World War II (1941-45), and its veterans who were Association members (1946- ).
Extent: 29.7 cubic feet.
Record Series: 26/20/76

Division History

The 3rd Amored Division was activated at Camp Beauregard, La. In April, 1941 and moved to Camp Polk., La. in June, where it underwent initial training in armored combat. In July, 1942 the division transferred to the Desert Training Center in the Mojave Desert in southern California. The maneuvers performed there were in preparation for the division's planned participation in the invasion of North Africa, which was not needed. In November, the division went back east to Camp Pickett, Va., and then to Indiantown Gap, Pa. in Jauary 1943. The training experience there prepared the soldiers for combat in northern Europe. In September three ships transported the division to England, and it emcampte in the southwest counties of Somerset and Wiltshire for final training.

The 3rd Armored arrived in northern France three weeks after D-Day in late June, 1944, and saw its first combat a week later as part of the VII Corps and First Army. Heavy fighting in Normandy continued into August, when the Allied forced finally broke through the German lines. On August 18 the 3rd Armored helped close the Falaise Gap, which trapped thousands of German troops. It then went on to cross the Seine River sough of Paris on August 25, and continued rapidly across France until it reached Belgium in early September, with the capture of Liege on September 8. Four days later it became the first U.S. Army unit to cross into Germany through the West Wall. The division caaptured Stolberg on September 22, but for the next three months could progress no further against heavy German resistance and fortifications.

The German offensive in the Ardennes, which became known as the Battle of the Bulge, temporarily halted the division's attempt to push eastward. On the 19th of December the 3rd Armored attacked to the south to reduce the German salient, which was eliminated by the middle of January, 1945. After a month of rest the division continued its offensive to the east, and finally broke through to the Rhine River and captured Cologne on March 7. Two weeks later it corrsed the Rhine south of Cologne at Honnef, and then moved east and north to capture Paderborn on April 1, close the Ruhr Pocket, and trap over 350,000 German soldiers. But it was on March 30 that the 3rd Armored suffered one of its greatest losses with the death of its commanding officer, Major General Maurice Rose, who was killed after being separated from his troops.

After the capture of Paderborn the division pushed on against disorganized resistance, crossed the Weser River on April 7 and the Mulde River on April 15, and captured Dessau on the Elbe River on April 23. That was the last combat the 3rd Armored saw, as it withdrw to Sangerhausen and was there when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.

The postwar 3rd Armored Division was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky as a training unit from 1947 to 1955, and then went to Frankfurt, Germany as part of the United States Army's NATO commitment. In 1990 the division was sent to Saudi Arabia as part of operation Desert Shield, and played an important role in the defeat of the Iraqi army and liberation of Kuwait. It then returned to Germay, and was officially deactivated on October 17, 1992 in a ceremony at Fort Knox.

Although no longer an active unit, the 3rd Armored Division will always be remembered as the "Spearhead" Division which led the U. S. Army into combat, and as one of the finest units to participate in the Allied victories in World War II and the Persian Gulf.

Chronology of the Third Armored Division in World War II

April 15, 1941 Activation at Camp Beauregard, LA
June 14, 1941 Transfer to Camp Polk
July 1942 Majave Desert, California
October 1942 Camp Pickett, Virginia
January 1943 Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania
September 5, 1943 Board ships for Europe
September 15, 1943 Arrive in Liverpool and Bristol
June 24, 1944 Omaha Beach, Normandy
June 29, 1944 Villiers-Fossard
August 5-8, 1944 Battle of Mortain
September 3, 1944 Capture of Mons
September 8, 1944 Leige taken
September 21, 1944 Reached Stolberg
December 19, 1944 Battle of the Bulge/Ardennes
January 16, 1945 Battle of the Bulge ends
March 5-7, 1945 Cologne
March 21, 1945 Rhine Crossing at Honnef
March 30, 1945 Death of General Rose
March 31, 1945 Paderborn
April 11, 1945 Nordhausen
April 21-23, 1945 Dessau
May 8, 1945 VE Day
September First units return to New York

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Third Armored Division Association Records (1941- ) document the history of the United States Army's 3rd Armored Division during its service in World War II (1941-45), and its veterans who were Association members (1946- ). The records include Annual meeting programs (1948- ); Books and published histories about the Third Armored Division and the units that comprised it (1942- ); Correspondence and diaries (1941- ); Division and Association newsletters (1942- ); Magazines concerning World War II (1940- ); Maps and oversize items (1941-48); Military organization records and after action reports (1941-45); Newspaper clippings of the war (1941-48); Photographs (1941- ); Propaganda material and travel literature (1942-45); Scrapbooks (1941-45); and Videotapes and films of combat during the war and postwar travels to Germany (1940- ).


By type of material and chronological or alphabetical thereunder

Index Terms

The subject headings used by the University of Illinois Archives were developed by University of Illinois Archivist Maynard Brichford and University Archivist Bill Maher. They are specific to the University of Illinois Archives.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
3rd Armored Division
Belgium–History and Geography
France–History and Geography
Germany–History and Geography
Word War II–Intelligence, Morale and Propaganda
World War II–Military Operations
World War II–Service and Training

Related Material

Andrew Barr Papers, 1912-1995

Haynes Dugan Papers, 1982-

Detailed Description/Box and Folder Listing

Wartime Correspondence & Diaries. Box 1 - 2

Reports, Orders & Citations, 1941-46. Box 3 - 3

Journals, Logs, Reports and Commendations, 1942-45. Box 4 - 5

Letters & Publications, 1945. Box 5 - 5

G-2 Periodic Reports. Box 6 - 7

Photographs. Box 8 - 11

German Divisional Histories, 1995-. Box 12 - 12

Propaganda, Currency & Captured Items, 1943-45. Box 13 - 13

Newspapers & Magazine Clippings, 1941-48. Box 14 - 14

The Stars and Stripes. Box 15 - 17

Articles & Books. Box 18 - 19

Articles and Books. Box 20 - 21

Magazines, 1940-. Box 22 - 23

Newsletters, Christmas Cards, Travel Literature & Money, 1941-45. Box 24 - 24

3rd Armored Division Association Newsletters . Box 25 - 28

3rd Armored Division Association Reunion Programs . Box 29 - 31

Army and Air Force Films, Captured German Films, 1936, 1940-45. Box 32 - 32

Tape Recordings & Videocassettes . Box 33 - 36

Published Guides to Microfilmed German Records, 1934-45. Box 37 - 37

Haynes Dugan, Third Armored Division History, 1989-90 . Box 39 - 39

Exhibits, 1985-. Box 40 - 41

Postwar Events Files . Box 42 - 44

Scrapbooks . Box 45 - 49

Gordon Sanderson letters and transcriptions, 1941-45. Box -

Maps, 1942-45. Box 51 - 51

Donor Correspondence & Recollections . Box 52 - 59

Andrew Barr Map Collection, 1941-45. Box Oversize Drawer 1 - Oversize Drawer 1

Lt. William D. Hill Map Collection, 1941-45. Box Oversize Drawer 2 - Oversize Drawer 2

Oversize Maps and Flags . Box Oversize Drawer 3 - Oversize Drawer 3

Oversize photographs . Box Oversize Drawer 4 - Oversize Drawer 4