Official Record of Combat

As published in "Spearhead in the West," starting on Page 193:


Major Murray H. Fowler, Information and Education Officer of the 3rd Armored Division, authored the accurate and comprehensive G-3 supplement which completes this volume of SPEARHEAD IN THE WEST.

A veteran of long service with the division, Major Fowler was formerly attached to Combat Command "A". His work speaks for itself.


This account is designed to provide a unified outline of the operations of the 3rd Armored Division that will be of assistance in studying the accumulated mass of official documents that tell the whole story.

In itself, it takes the form of a brief, factual narrative of the combat history of the division. It is hoped that such a report will be of interest and value, especially to members of the division.

The source of most of the material in this outline is the official records such as periodic and after-action reports. Some of the more detailed action accounts, such as Col. Doan's battle at the Siegfried Line, are condensed from reports based on interviews and prepared by First Army Information and Historical Section.

It is not within the scope of an outline to capture in its short paragraphs all the drama, the confusion, and tension of the battles it describes. Such details are the business of the professional historian. Here they will have to be supplied by the mind of the reader.

Certain actions typical of a particular campaign are described in mole detail than straightforward actions. Such descriptions in no way imply that the battle described was of more importance to the overall picture than other engagements, taking place simultaneously. The device is used in some cases only to show the nature of the fighting at that particular time.

The 3rd Armored Division is organized on Table of Organization No. 17, March 1, 1942, and so retains the regimental organization both for tanks and infantry.

There are several basic schemes for dividing and subdividing the combat elements into teams for active operations. The designation of these teams varies from time to time, and so a brief discussion of their names and organization is in order.

THE COMBAT COMMAND: This unit is referred to most frequently in the following narrative. It is usually abbreviated as "C Com'd" or "CCA" or "CCB". When the strength of the division is split so as to provide three units of approximately equal strength, the third unit is referred to either as a Combat Command and given the name of its commanding officer, e. g. "Combat Command LEONE" or "CCL" or as "Division Reserve". The regular combat commands are also referred to by the name of the Commanding General on occasion, e.g. "CCA" may be called "C Com'd HICKEY" and "CCB" becomes "C Com'd BOUDINOT". In some earlier actions, a typical Combat Command organization was:

1 Tank Regiment, less one battalion
1 Infantry Battalion
1 Artillery Battalion
1 AAA Battery
1 Engineer Company
1 Tank Destroyer Company
1 Medical Company
1 Maintenance Company.

Later, it became common practice to attach an Infantry Regiment to the Division, providing sufficient strength to give each Combat Command two Infantry Battalions.

Also two light Armored Artillery Battalions were provided for direct support in each Combat Command by the attachment of at least one additional battalion to the division.

DIVISION RESERVE: The Division Reserve is usually built on the Infantry Regiment less the Battalions attached to Combat Commands. The Infantry Regimental Commander becomes the Division Reserve Commander. Until actual commitment, there is not normally any artillery attached to Division Reserve, since any organic or attached artillery not firing direct support of Combat Commands remained under direction of the Division Artillery Commander. The normal fighting strength of Division Reserve, as evolved through experience, was precisely the same as that of the two Combat Commands.

THE TASK FORCE: Elements of a Combat Command normally operate as two or more Task Forces. These Task Forces were originally given letter or number designations. Combat Command "A" had Task Forces X and Y and sometimes Z. The abbreviations were TFX, TFY and TFZ. Task Forces in Combat Command "B" were given number designations, i.e.: TF1, TF2, etc. Later, it became the practice to refer to these Task Forces by the name of their commanding officer, e.g.: TF DOAN.


Tank Regimental Hq
1 Tank Battalion
1 Infantry Battalion less one company
1 Platoon of Engineers
1 Platoon of Tank Destroyers

1 Tank Battalion
1 Infantry Company
1 Platoon of Engineers
1 Platoon of Tank Destroyers

When additional Infantry was attached to the Division, as in most major actions, each Task Force had a full Battalion of Infantry. It was normal to afford each Task Force the direct support of a full battalion of artillery.

The Combat Command direct support artillery usually supported both task forces as required. Reconnaissance, service elements and the remainder of the forces remained under Combat Command control.

THE BATTLE GROUP: Task Force commanders frequently subdivided their forces for special jobs. This particular subdivision was referred to as a BATTLE GROUP and was given the name of its commanding officer. These groups varied greatly in composition according to the nature of their mission. For a "clean-up" job the composition might be:

Infantry Company
Tank platoon and/or Tank Destroyer platoon
Mortar platoon
Engineer Squad

None of these organizations were fixed. The composition varied from day to day, and mission to mission. One factor remained constant. The 32nd Armd Regt has always fought under CCA and the 33rd Armd Regt under CCB.

Next Chapter: Normandy

Return to Top

 G-3 Index      BEGIN CHAPTERS