US 3d Armored Division in the Ardennes

Discussion in 'US Units' started by Earthican, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    It's not just maps that motivate my creative impulses, I also dabble in "info-graphics"....

    The unique organization of the 2d AD and 3d AD make them a rich source of challenging discovery. Beside their "heavy" armored division T/O and their odd re-organization in Normandy --where tank battalions consisting of two medium tank companies and one light tank company were established-- the constant changes in the composition of the Combat Commands and task forces have lead to many errors in the printed material. One must be extra careful when reading any account of their combat record.

    Since I sorted out the assignment of tank companies in the tank battalions, I have read a number of unit reports and veteran accounts to verify my "work". This often required sorting out the composition of Combat Commands and task forces which were also unevenly documented and had many gaps. Unfortunately I cannot resolve all issues, particularly those of the support units of engineers and medical. These units just don't get enough mentions to verify their location and assignment.

    The attached graphic only covers the major combat elements of the Combat Commands and task forces formed by the 3d AD starting 18 December 1944.

    (I like to "click" the SAVE button on the Attachment Viewer, which opens the file in a separate tab/window, then I can flip back and forth as I read the posts)

    The graphic illustrates the evolution of the Task Forces from the time the 3d AD received the order to move south to their early commitment to battle. While not clear from the many texts, the graphic shows the orderly dividing of each command into three or two -- generally equal -- parts.

    The 3d AD had two Combat Command HQ's (A and B) plus they could hold a division reserve though they had no formal HQ for it. With only orders to make three forces and move south, they sensibly made each with two tank, one infantry and one field artillery battalion(s) -- left side of the chart.

    Upon reaching their area of operations they further divided to accomplish their orders given the terrain and enemy situation (which was generally unknown) -- middle column.

    With the battle joined the task forces were further modified as reserves were switched to recover from defeats or fill-in the gaps -- right side of chart.

    Organic and Assigned Units of the 3d AD (my best guess)

    HHC, 3d Armored Division
    Service Company, 3d Armored Division
    -- Military Police Platoon, 3d Armored Division

    HQ Det, Combat Command A
    HQ Det, Combat Command B

    36th Armored Infantry Regiment
    32d Armored Regiment
    33d Armored Regiment
    83d Armored Reconnaissance Battalion

    23d Armored Engineer Battalion
    143d Armored Signal Company

    HQ Det, 3d Armored Division Artillery Command
    391st Armored Field Artillery Battalion
    67th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
    54th Armored Field Artillery Battalion

    HHC, 3d Armored Division Trains
    Ordnance Maintenance Battalion
    Quartermaster Supply Battalion
    45th Armored Medical Battalion
    stolpi likes this.
  2. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    I wanted to include this report from a US Army "field" historian. These were US Army officers who may have been academic historians or journalists before the war. From this sample it is hard to say if they got any different information than a unit after-action report.

    sketch map:

  3. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Thanks for the links, they make for intersting reading.

  5. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson Member

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