3rd Algerian Infantry Division

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3e Division d'Infanterie Algérienne
Insigne de la 3° DIA.JPG
Active 1 May 1943 - 15 April 1946
Country Flag of France.svg France
Allegiance Flag of France.svg French Army
Type Infantry Division
Engagements Italian Campaign
Southern France
Vosges Mountains
Gambsheim Bridgehead
Bienwald
Baden
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Joseph de Goislard de Monsabert
Augustin Guillaume

The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division (French: 3e Division d'Infanterie Algérienne, 3e DIA) was an infantry division of the French Army during the second half of the Second World War. The 3e DIA had one of the most successful combat records of any French Army division during the Second World War. It paid a high price for this distinction, suffering more than 3,000 soldiers killed in action between 1942 and 1945. It was considered by Marshal Juin and General de Monsabert as the "worthy heir" of the Legio III Augusta.[1]

History[edit]

The division was formed in Algeria on May 1, 1943 from elements of the Constantine Division and the division was structured and equipped in a manner similar to, although not identical to, U.S. infantry divisions of the period. The primary combat units of the division as initially organized were the 3rd and 7th Algerian Tirailleur Regiments, and the 4th Tunisian Tirailleur Regiment.[2] In March 1945, the 7th Algerian Tirailleurs returned to north Africa and its place was taken by the 49th Infantry Regiment.[3]

The 3e DIA fought within the French Expeditionary Corps in the Italian Campaign, the campaign in Southern France, the Vosges Mountains, and Alsace during 1943 - 1944 before spearheading the advance of the French II Corps into Germany and entering Stuttgart on April 22, 1945.

Part of the French occupation army in Germany, the 3e DIA was inactivated and used to form a mixed infantry and armor division in April 1946.[4] The division's honors and traditions were carried on first by the 3rd Armored Division and then the 3rd Mechanised Brigade.

Commanders[edit]

Structure[edit]

  • 3rd regiment of Algerian Tirailleurs
  • 4th regiment of Tunisian Tirailleurs
  • 7th regiment of Algerian Tirailleurs (replaced by the 49th Infantry Regiment in March 1945)
  • 3rd regiment of Algerian Spahis
  • 7th regiment of African Chasseurs
  • 67th regiment of African Artillery

The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division was made up of about 16,500 men including 60% Maghrebis (mostly Algerians) and 40% French (mostly Pieds-Noirs).[5]

Division Combat Casualties[edit]

Killed in Action[6] French Maghrebis Total
Tunisia Campaign (1942–43) 50 72 122
Italian Campaign (1943–44) 587 1,307 1,894
Campaign in Southern France (1944–45) 292 599 891
German campaign (1945) 52 119 171
Total (1942–1945) 981 (32%) 2,097 (68%) 3,078

Decorations[edit]

In France, citations made during World War I, World War II or colonial conflicts were accompanied with awards of a Croix de guerre (Cross of War) with attachments on the ribbon depending on the degree of citation: the lowest being represented by a bronze star (for those who had been cited at the regiment or brigade level) while the highest degree is represented by a bronze palm (for those who had been cited at the army level). A unit can be mentioned in Despatches. Its flag is then decorated with the corresponding Croix. After two citations in Army Orders, the men of the unit concerned are all entitled to wear a fourragère.

The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division was awarded four citations in Army Orders and all its regiments were awarded a Fourragère (at least two citations in Army Orders).[7]

Fourragère of the regiments[edit]

  • Fourragère in the colors of the Médaille Militaire (four to five citations in Army Orders)
    • 3rd regiment of Algerian Tirailleurs
    • 4th regiment of Tunisian Tirailleurs
  • Fourragère in the colors of the Croix de Guerre (two to three citations in Army Orders)
    • 7th regiment of Algerian Tirailleurs
    • 7th regiment of African Chasseurs
    • 3rd regiment of Algerian Spahis
    • 67th regiment of African Artillery

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Alphonse Juin, Mémoires, Fayard, 1959, v1, p. 264
  2. ^ GUF, Vol. 4, p. 741
  3. ^ GUF, Vol. 5, Part 1, p. 17
  4. ^ Réarmement, p. 117
  5. ^ Paul Gaujac, Le Corps expéditionnaire français en Italie, Histoire et collections, 2003, p. 31
  6. ^ Anthony Clayton, France, Soldiers, and Africa, Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988
  7. ^ Livre d'or de la 3e Division d'Infanterie Algérienne, Imprimerie Nationale, 1948

Article Sources[edit]

  • Grandes Unités Françaises, Volumes IV and V-1, French Army Historical Service, Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1970 and 1972.
  • Le Réarmement et la Réorganisation de l'Armée de Terre Française (1943 - 1946), J. Vernet, French Army Historical Service, Château de Vincennes, 1980.
  • Anthony Clayton, France, Soldiers, and Africa, Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988
  • Livre d'or de la 3e Division d'Infanterie Algérienne, Imprimerie Nationale, 1948
  • Capitaine Heurgon, La victoire sous le signe des trois croissants la vie, les peines et les gloires de la troisième division d'infanterie algerienne, P. Vrillon, 1946
  • Paul Gaujac, Le Corps expéditionnaire français en Italie, Histoire et collections, 2003
  • Alphonse Juin, Mémoires, Fayard, 1959

See also[edit]

External links[edit]