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The 3rd Infantry Division was an infantry division of the German Army that fought in World War II. The 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 the division took part in the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia.
|3rd Motorized Infantry Division|
3rd Panzergrenadier Division
|3. Infanterie-Division (mot.)|
|Active||1 October 1934 – 2 February 1943; |
1 March 1943 – 21 April 1945
|Engagements||World War II|
During World War II the division took part in the invasion of Poland in September 1939 where it was part of the German 4th Army. It then took part in the invasion of France in May 1940. In October that year it returned to Germany and was upgraded to a fully motorized division. (Most German divisions during the war 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.)
Redesignated the 3rd Motorized Infantry Division it took part in Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, advancing on Leningrad under Army Group North. In October the division 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 in 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 German 6th Army in February 1943.
It was reconstituted as the 3rd Panzergrenadier Division in March, absorbing the 386th Motorized Division in the process. It then fought on the Italian Front 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 the Normandy beachhead. Later in the year, it participated in the Battle of the Bulge and then in the defensive actions at Remagen. During this battle, several dozen soldiers of the division were killed in the Chenogne massacre. The division surrendeed in the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945, shortly before Victory in Europe Day.