3rd Division (German Empire)
The 3rd Division was a unit of the Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

German Army (German Empire)
The German Army was the name given the combined land forces of the German Empire, also known as the National Army , Imperial Army or Imperial German Army. The term "Deutsches Heer" is also used for the modern German Army, the land component of the German Bundeswehr...

. It was formed in Stettin (now Szczecin
Szczecin , is the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. It is the country's seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland on the Baltic Sea. As of June 2009 the population was 406,427....

, Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

) in May 1816 as a Troop Brigade (Truppen-Brigade). It became the 3rd Division on September 5, 1818. From the corps' formation in 1820, the division was subordinated in peacetime to the II Army Corps
II Corps (German Empire)
The II Army Corps was a unit of the Imperial German Army that was stationed in Stettin. At the outbreak of World War I, the corps served on the Western Front.In 1914, the component units of the corps were:*3rd Division*4th Division...

 (II. Armeekorps). The 3rd Division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I.

The 3rd Division and its regiments fought in the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 against Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 in 1866, distinguishing itself at the Battle of Königgrätz
Battle of Königgrätz
The Battle of Königgrätz , also known as the Battle of Sadowa, Sadová, or Hradec Králové, was the decisive battle of the Austro-Prussian War, in which the Kingdom of Prussia defeated the Austrian Empire...

. The division then fought in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 against France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1870-71. It saw action in the Battle of Gravelotte
Battle of Gravelotte
The Battle of Gravelotte was a battle of the Franco-Prussian War named after Gravelotte, a village in Lorraine between Metz and the former French–German frontier.-Terrain and armies:...

, the Siege of Metz
Siege of Metz
The Siege of Metz lasting from 19 August – 27 October 1870 was fought during the Franco-Prussian War and ended in a decisive Prussian victory.-History:...

, and the Siege of Paris
Siege of Paris
The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune....

, among other actions.

In World War I, the 3rd Division served initially on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

, seeing action in the invasion of Belgium, the First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Marne was a First World War battle fought between 5 and 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. The battle effectively ended the month long German offensive that opened the war and had...

 and the Race to the Sea
Race to the Sea
The Race to the Sea is a name given to the period early in the First World War when the two sides were still engaged in mobile warfare on the Western Front. With the German advance stalled at the First Battle of the Marne, the opponents continually attempted to outflank each other through...

. The division was then transferred to the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War I)
The Eastern Front was a theatre of war during World War I in Central and, primarily, Eastern Europe. The term is in contrast to the Western Front. Despite the geographical separation, the events in the two theatres strongly influenced each other...

, and remained there until the end of the war with Russia. It then served in occupation duty in Russia until October 1918, when it returned to the Western Front for the final few weeks of the war.

1870 organization

During wartime, the 3rd Division, like other regular German divisions, was redesignated an infantry division. The organization of the 3rd Infantry Division in 1870 at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War was as follows:
  • 5th Infantry Brigade (5. Infanterie-Brigade)
    • 2nd Grenadier Regiment "King Friedrich Wilhelm IV" (1st Pomeranian) (Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1. Pomm.) Nr. 2)
    • 42nd Infantry Regiment (5th Pomeranian) (5. Pommersches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 42)
  • 6th Infantry Brigade (5. Infanterie-Brigade)
    • 14th Infantry Regiment (3rd Pomeranian) (3. Pommersches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 14)
    • 54th Infantry Regiment (7th Pomeranian) (7. Pommersches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 54)
  • 2nd Jäger
    Jäger (military)
    Jäger is a term that was adopted in the Enlightenment era in German-speaking states and others influenced by German military practice to describe a kind of light infantry, and it has continued in that use since then....

     Battalion (Jäger Bataillon Nr. 2)
  • 3rd Dragoon
    The word dragoon originally meant mounted infantry, who were trained in horse riding as well as infantry fighting skills. However, usage altered over time and during the 18th century, dragoons evolved into conventional light cavalry units and personnel...

     Regiment (Dragoner-Regiment Nr. 3)

Pre-World War I organization

Many regiments were renamed and assigned to different divisions during the period from 1871 to 1914. Among other changes, the 3rd and 4th Divisions swapped the Colberg Grenadiers and the 14th Infantry Regiment. In 1914, the peacetime organization of the 3rd Division was as follows:
  • 5th Infantry Brigade (5. Infanterie-Brigade)
    • 2nd Grenadier Regiment "King Friedrich Wilhelm IV" (1st Pomeranian) (Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1. Pomm.) Nr. 2)
    • 9th Colberg Grenadier Regiment "Graf Gneisenau" (2nd Pomeranian) (Colbergsches Grenadier-Regiment Graf Gneisenau (2. Pomm.) Nr. 9)
    • 54th Infantry Regiment "von der Goltz" (7th Pomeranian) (Infanterie-Regiment von der Goltz (7. Pomm.) Nr. 54)
  • 6th Infantry Brigade (5. Infanterie-Brigade)
    • 34th Fusilier Regiment "Queen Victoria of Sweden" (Pomeranian) (Füsilier-Regiment Königin Viktoria von Schweden (Pomm.) Nr. 34)
    • 42nd Infantry Regiment "Prince Moritz of Anhalt-Dessau" (5th Pomeranian) (Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (5. Pomm.) Nr. 42)
  • 3rd Cavalry Brigade (3. Kavallerie-Brigade)
    • 2nd Cuirassier
      Cuirassiers were mounted cavalry soldiers equipped with armour and firearms, first appearing in late 15th-century Europe. They were the successors of the medieval armoured knights...

       Regiment "Queen" (Pomeranian) (Kürassier-Regiment Königin (Pomm.) Nr. 2)
    • 9th Uhlan
      Uhlans were Polish light cavalry armed with lances, sabres and pistols. The title was later used by lancer regiments in the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian armies....

       Regiment (2nd Pomeranian) (2. Pommersches Ulanen-Regiment Nr. 9)
  • 3rd Field Artillery Brigade (3. Feldartillerie-Brigade)
    • 2nd Field Artillery Regiment (1. Pommersches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 2)
    • 38th Hither Pomerania
      Hither Pomerania
      Western Pomerania, Cispomerania or Hither Pomerania are terms used in English to translate the German Vorpommern the western extremity of the historic region of the duchy, later Province of Pomerania, nowadays divided between the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Poland.Forming part of...

      n Field Artillery Regiment (Vorpommersches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 38)

August 1914 organization

On mobilization in August 1914 at the beginning of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, most divisional cavalry, including brigade headquarters, was withdrawn to form cavalry divisions or split up among divisions as reconnaissance units. Divisions received engineer companies and other support units from their higher headquarters. The 3rd Division was again renamed the 3rd Infantry Division and the 54th Infantry was transferred to the 36th Reserve Division
36th Reserve Division (German Empire)
The 36th Reserve Division was a unit of the Imperial German Army, in World War I. The division was formed on mobilization of the German Army in August 1914. The division was disbanded during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I...

. The 3rd Infantry Division's initial wartime organization was as follows:
  • 5.Infanterie-Brigade:
    • Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1. Pommersches) Nr. 2
    • Colbergsches-Grenadier-Regiment Graf Gneisenau (2. Pommersches) Nr. 9
  • 6.Infanterie-Brigade:
    • Füsilier-Regiment Königin Viktoria von Schweden (1. Pommersches) Nr. 34
    • Infanterie-Regiment Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (5. Pommersches) Nr. 42
  • Grenadier-Regiment zu Pferde Freiherr von Derfflinger (Neumärkisches) Nr. 3
  • 3.Feldartillerie-Brigade:
    • 1. Pommersches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 2
    • Vorpommersches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 38
  • 1./Pommersches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 2

Late World War I organization

Divisions underwent many changes during the war, with regiments moving from division to division, and some being destroyed and rebuilt. During the war, most divisions became triangular
Triangular division
A triangular division is a designation given to the way divisions are organized. In a triangular organization, the division's main body is composed of three regimental maneuver elements. These regiments may be controlled by a brigade headquarters or directly subordinated to the division commander...

 - one infantry brigade with three infantry regiments rather than two infantry brigades of two regiments (a "square division
Square division
A square division is a designation given to the way military divisions are organized. In a square organization, the division's main body is composed of four regimental elements. Since a regiment could be split into separate battalions for tactical purposes, the natural division within a division...

"). An artillery commander replaced the artillery brigade headquarters, the cavalry was further reduced, the engineer contingent was increased, and a divisional signals command was created.

The 3rd Infantry Division was heavily reorganized by 1918, losing all of its prewar infantry regiments. These were replaced by lower grade infantry and Landwehr infantry regiments. The division was also weaker in artillery and engineers than most other divisions. These changes reflected the division's primary role as occupation troops late in the war. Its order of battle on January 10, 1918 was as follows:
  • 6.Infanterie-Brigade:
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 425
    • Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 428
    • Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 4
  • 3.Eskadron/Grenadier-Regiment zu Pferde Freiherr von Derfflinger (Neumärkisches) Nr. 3
  • Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 87
  • Stab Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 112:
    • 1.Landwehr-Kompanie/Schlesisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr. 6
    • Minenwerfer-Kompanie Nr. 3
  • Divisions-Nachrichten-Kommandeur 3
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