3rd Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

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German 3rd Motorized Infantry Division
3. Infanterie-Division (mot.)
Active 1 October 1934 - 2 February 1943;
1 March 1943 - 21 April 1945
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Role Motorized Infantry
Size Division
Decorations Referenced in the Wehrmachtbericht

The German 3rd Infantry Division was established under the cover name Wehrgauleitung Frankfurt in 1934 by expanding the 3rd Division of the Reichswehr. It was redesignated Kommandant von Frankfurt shortly afterward, and took on its bona fide name when the formation of the Wehrmacht was announced in October 1935.
In March 1939 it took part in the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia.

It took part in the invasion of Poland in 1939 where it was part of the 4th Army. It then took part in the invasion of France in 1940. In October 1940 it returned to Germany and was upgraded to a fully motorized division. (Most German divisions during the World War II era had no transport for the infantry and used horses to tow their artillery; German industry could not turn out sufficient motor transport while also trying to meet other military requirements.)

As the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division it took part in Operation Barbarossa in 1941, advancing on Leningrad under Army Group North. In October it was transferred to Army Group Center for Operation Typhoon and the Battle of Moscow and the defensive battles of the winter. In mid-1942 it was transferred to Army Group South to take part the summer offensive Fall Blau ("Case Blue"), and was ultimately caught up in the Battle of Stalingrad, where it was destroyed in the encirclement with the Sixth Army in early 1943.

It was reconstituted as the 3rd Panzergrenadier Division in March 1943, absorbing the 386th Motorized Division in the process. It then fought in Italy until the summer of 1944, when it was transferred to the Western Front to help re-establish the front line after the Allied breakout from Normandy. Later in the year, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge and then in the defensive actions at Remagen, ultimately surrendering in the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945.

Commanding officers

3rd Infantry Division

  • Oberst Curt Haase, 4 April 1934 – 3 July 1936
  • Generalmajor Walter Petzel, 3 July 1936 – 11 October 1938
  • Generalleutnant Walter Lichel, 11 October 1938 – 1 October 1940

3rd Infantry Division (mot.)

  • General der Artillerie Paul Bader, 1 October 1940 – 25 May 1941
  • General der Artillerie Curt Jahn, 25 May 1941 – 1 April 1942
  • Generalleutnant Helmuth Schlömer, 1 April 1942 – 15 January 1943
  • Oberst i. G. Jobst Freiherr von Hanstein, 15 January 1943 – 28 January 1943

3rd Panzergrenadier-Division

Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
2 June 1944 In diesem Frontabschnitt haben sich die 65. Infanteriedivison unter Generalleutnant Pfeiffer, die durch Teile der 4. Fallschirmjägerdivision verstärkte 3. Panzergrenadierdivision unter Generalmajor Hecker und eine aus Einheiten des Heeres und der Fallschirmtruppe zusammengestellte Kampfgruppe unter Generalleutnant Greiner, hervorragend unterstützt durch Artillerie und durch Flakartillerie der Luftwaffe, besonders ausgezeichnet. [1] In this section of the front have the 65th Infantry Division under Lieutenant General Pfeiffer, augmented by parts of the 4th Airborne Division which reinforced the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division under Major General Hecker and units from the Army and the parachute troops assembled combat group under Lieutenant General Greiner, well supported by artillery and anti-aircraft artillery of the Luftwaffe, particularly distinguished themselves.


  1. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 116.
  • Burkhard Müller-Hillebrand: Das Heer 1933-1945. Entwicklung des organisatorischen Aufbaues. Vol.III: Der Zweifrontenkrieg. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1969, p. 285.
  • Georg Tessin: Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 1939 - 1945. Vol. II: Die Landstreitkräfte 1 - 5. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1966.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.

de:3. Panzer-Grenadier-Division

fr:3e Panzergrenadier Division sv:3. Panzergrenadier-Division