The 3rd Parachute Division was a German military unit that was active during World War II. Its formation began in October 1943 in France near Reims. From February 1944 near Brest. In March 1944 division was reinforced by soldiers from the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Parachute Regiment.

Equipment and training

The 3rd Parachute Division was a German Airborne division which fought during World War II. It was formed during 1943-44 around core consisting of a veteran 3rd Parachute Battalion from 1st Parachute Regiment. Training was intensive and emphasised initiative and improvisation. Division was well equipped with 930 MG42s each company had 20 MG42s and 43 sub machine guns while a squad had 2 MG42s and 5 sub machine guns.In comparison its main opponent, the 29th Infantry Division had just 2 M1919 machine guns 9 BARS per company and a squad had just one BAR. The 3rd Parachute Division had 3 times as many mortars and with larger caliber. So it had between six and twenty times more firepower. It arrived in Normandy on June 10 by truck after night drive from Brittany. It was at full strength. Division was made up by young German volunteers, and numbered 15,976 soldiers and officers. It's level of training and excellent weapon systems prompted the commander of 29th Battalion to remark, "Those Germans are the best damned soldiers I ever saw. They're smart and they don't know what 'fear' means. They come in and they keep coming until they get their job done or you kill 'em." .

Operational history

The division went into combat in June 1944 in Normandy. In August it was virtually destroyed in the area of Falaise. Formed again in Belgium thanks to replacements from 22nd, 51st, 53rd Luftwaffe Field Regiments. During September 1944 it fought as a part of Kampfgruppe "Becker" in Arnhem area. It surrendered in April 1945 to American troops in Ruhr.

Organization in June 1944

Commander: General Major Schimpf

5th Parachute Regiment

8th Parachute Regiment

9th Parachute Regiment

3rd Parachute Mortar Battalion

3rd Parachute Anti-Tank Battalion

3rd Parachute Artillery Battalion

3rd Parachute Engineer Battalion

3rd Parachute Signal divizion[5]

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