Third Army History

The Third Army was on active duty in the Southern United States when the United States entered WW II. Between 1932 and 1944, Headquarters for the Army alternated between Fort Sam Houston, Texas (where the VIII Corps HQ was located), and Atlanta, Georgia (where the IV Corps HQ was located), depending upon which Corps had the senior officer. On January 12th, 1944, the advance detachment of the Third Army left for England, and at midnight on January 25-26 General George Patton assumed command of the Army. In July of 1944, the Army Headquarters moved to the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France. After heavy fighting in Brittany, the Third Army broke loose and raced across France crossing the Moselle River and cutting into the German winter defensive positions. Under Patton's brilliant leadership, elements of the Third Army raced 150 miles in 19 hours to attack the southern flank of the German forces during the Battle of the Bulge. After four days of fighting, the German siege of Bastogne was broken and the last major German offensive of WW II was brought to an end. The Third Army then forged the Rhine River, crossed Germany and the Danube River, and finally reached Czechoslovakia before the war ended. A total of six Army Corps and 41 U.S. and Allied Divisions were under the control of the Third Army for different periods. The Third remained on occupation duty in Germany after the war until March of 1947 when the units returned home (less personnel and equipment) for duty as a territorial Army with Headquarters at Atlanta, Georgia. The shoulder patch for the Third Army was approved on December 20th, 1918, while the Third Army was assigned to the American Expeditionary Force. The colors of the patch are the National Colors, and the design of the patch forms the letters "AO" for "Army of Occupation" to honor the post WW I mission that the Army was given.

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History || Honor Roll