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U.S. 3rd Armored Division
The 3rd Armored Division —nicknamed the Spearhead— was an armored division of the United States Army. A key participant in the European Theatre of World War II, the division was stationed in Germany for much of the Cold War, and was in the Gulf War. As of 2004 its strength is officially zero, but it is not inactive.
The division was activated on April 15, 1941. It arrived in the European Theatre on September 15, 1943, where it trained for a while. Its core units were the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment , the 32nd Armored Regiment , the 33rd Armored Regiment , the 23rd Armored Engineer Battalion, the 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 143rd Armored Signal Company.
It remained in Somerset, England until June 1944, when it departed to partake in the Normandy operations (D-Day). It advanced through France. During this time, it was under the command of VII Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps for some time, and assigned to the First Army and the 12th Army Group for the duration of its career.
The division reached Belgium on September 2, 1944, and began attacking the Rhineland of Germany on February 7, 1945. On March 31, however, the current commander of the division, Major General Maurice Rose was killed trying to surrender to a German tank commander.
The 3rd Armored Division had 231 days of combat in WW2, with a total of 2,540 killed, 7,331 wounded, 95 missing, and 139 captured. Total battle and non-battle casualties equalled 16,122. About 5,000 awards were won by soldiers in this division, including about 3,900 Bronze Stars. It was inactivated on 10 November 1945.
The Division was reactivated on 15 July 1947 at Fort Knox Kentucky to act as training formation. In 1955 it was reorganised for combat and shifted to Germany the next year. It replaced the 4th Infantry Division. It remained in Germany until momentous events in the Middle East developed.
In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. US troops were committed to the theater, first to defend Saudi Arabia, and then to eject Iraqi troops from Kuwait. The formation that was deployed to strengthen the American forces so that they would be able to attack rather than just defend was the VII Corps from Germany. 3rd Armored Division was one of four US heavy divisions deployed with the corps. The Gulf War was a crushing victory for the US.
Following the war, 3rd Armored was one of the first units rotated to Camp Doha , Kuwait. On February 15, 1992, 3rd Armored's strength was lowered to zero and removed from the force structure, but the division is not inactive.
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