US Army Cloth Shoulder Patch for the Third Army. Worn December 20, 1918 to present.
In late July, and throughout August 1944, Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s Third US Army rapidly gained ground. Advancing first into Brittany and then swinging eastward, Third Army traveled over 250 miles across France. It crossed the Seine River south-east of Paris in late August. Patton would have continued, but in early September gasoline supplies ran low and the advance stalled. The American First and Third Armies had almost reached the border of Germany by September 11.
The Third Army’s greatest feat in World War II may have been when, during the Battle of the Bulge, it fought its way through to the besieged 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne. The small Belgium village was an important crossroads in the Ardennes Forest region and the Germans wanted it under their control. The 101st Airborne, together with a few other supporting units, were surrounded there and completely cut off from reinforcements.
Third Army’s advance to relieve the surrounded defenders at Bastogne was made through many miles of enemy occupied country in some of the worst winter weather imaginable. Patton’s attack was spearheaded by the Third’s 4th Armored Division. At 4:45 p.m., December 26th, 1944, Company C of the 37th Tank Battalion, supported by the 53rd Armored Infantry, broke through and made contact with Lieutenant Webster of the 326th Engineers, 101st Airborne. The Siege of Bastogne was lifted.
By mid January 1945 the Third Army, in a period of just six weeks, lost almost 5,000 killed, 22,000 wounded, and over 5,000 missing and captured. However, in return it inflicted many more casualties on the enemy. Patton’s Third Army moved farther and faster, and engaged more enemy divisions in less time than any other American army in history.
Cloth. Dia 6.0 cm
Eisenhower National Historic Site, EISE 10381