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3rd Armored Division "Firsts" in World War II
and additional major accomplishments

 3AD soldier in WWII.
From Div. archives.

Of Allied ground forces attacking the Third Reich, the "Spearhead" Division was the:

FIRST -  To fire artillery shells into Germany.

FIRST -  To invade across the German border.

FIRST -  To capture a German town.

FIRST -  To breach the Siegfried Line.

FIRST -  To advance across the Siegfried Line.

-  To shoot down a German plane with guns emplaced on German soil.

FIRST -  To capture a major German city (Cologne - Germany's 4th largest).

FIRST -  Ground invasion of Germany in force since Napoleon in 1810 (then Prussia).

and Record Holder -  For the longest one-day advance through enemy territory in the history of mechanized warfare - 101 miles through central Germany on March 29, 1945.


Above "Firsts" in more detail
Division Commander throughout: Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose

  • First artillery fired into Germany by 991st Field Artillery Bn. on 9/10/44 at 13:00 hrs. in vicinity of Eupen, Belgium, with 155mm M-12 self-propelled guns.
  • First to invade across the German border by Task Force Lovelady under Lt. Col. William B. Lovelady, east of Eupen and south of Aachen, on 9/12/44 at 14:41 hrs.
  • First to capture a German town, Roetgen, west of Bonn, by Task Force Lovelady, with first actual entry into the town by 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Bn., 9/12/44.
  • First to breach the Siegfried Line by Task Force "X" under Lt. Col. Leander L. Doan in the vicinity of Scheidmuchle, Germany, on 9/13/44.
  • First to advance across the Siegfried Line by Combat Command "A" on 9/15/44 under Brig. Gen. Doyle O. Hickey.
  • First to shoot down a German plane [FW-190 fighter-bomber] from German soil by M-16 halftrack crew from Battery C, 486th AAA Bn on 9/18/44. T/5 Russ Eick, quad-.50 gunner.
  • First to capture a major German city, Cologne, west side of Rhine River, during March 5-6, 1945.
  • First ground invasion of Germany by foreign force since 1810, the final year of Napoloen's expeditions into then Prussia.
  • Record Holder: Longest one-day advance in history by lead elements of the 3AD in the northward drive toward Paderborn, Germany, 3/29/45, 101 miles, as part of U.S. First Army operation to encircle the Ruhr Pocket.

Additional Major Accomplishments
by the Spearhead Division

  • Played a major role in the decisive breakthrough of German positions northwest of St. Lo, France -- a crucial series of battles that would allow the Allies to break out from Normandy.

  • In the area of Mortain, France, along with the 4th and 30th Infantry Divisions, checked and ultimately annihilated a German force of five divisions attempting to drive a wedge between the U.S. First and Third Armies.

  • In the area of Mons, Belgium, blocked the primary escape route of a German Corps attempting to move westward into defensive positions inside Germany. Together with the 1st Infantry Division, defeated that German Corps in one of the most decisive battles of the Western Front.

  • Played a major part in the severe fighting of the Battle of the Bulge counteroffensive, first in checking and then in destroying or forcing the surrender of pockets of sizable German forces.

  • Forged nearly half of the ring in the encirclement of the Ruhr Pocket in Central Germany, which resulted in the largest single capture of enemy forces in all of WWII (Europe & Pacific) - 374,000 German Army soldiers.

  • By the Division's rapid westward advance into Central Germany, played the key role in the forced shutdown of Germany's primary V1 and V2 rocket manufacturing facility outside of Nordhausen, Germany.

  • Was the first Allied force to liberate a German slave labor camp (the equivalent of a concentration camp) - Nordhausen, Germany.

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