3rd Armored Division (France)

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3e Division Blindée
1rima insigne 3bm.png
Insignia of the 3e DIV.
Active April 15, 1943 - April 15, 1946
1951 - July 1991
June 20, 2016 - present
Country Flag of France.svg France
Allegiance Flag of France.svg French Army
Size ~ 24,700 as of 2016
Garrison/HQ Marseille
Motto(s) « Plus d'honneur que d'honneurs »
Engagements World War II

The 3rd Armoured Division (French: 3e Division Blindée, 3e DB) is a unit of the French Army.

The Division is the heir 3rd Algerian Infantry Division (3e DIA) formed in 1943 and dissolved in 1946.

The 3rd Armoured Division was created in 1951 then dissolved in 1991. The 3rd Mechanised Brigade (3e BM), created in 1999 inherited the traditions of the division.

The 3rd Division (3e DIV) was recreated on June 20, 2016 within the cadre of the reorganization of the French Army.

Creation and different nominations[edit]

  • The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division (3e DIA) was created on April 15, 1943;
  • Dissolution on April 15, 1946;
  • The 3rd Armored Division (3e DB), heir of the 3rd Algerian Infantry Division, was created in 1951;
  • The 3rd Armored Division was dissolved on July 1991;
  • The 3rd Mechanised Brigade (3e BM), created on July 1999 inherited traditions of the division. The brigade became designated as 3rd Light Armored Brigade (3e BLB) in 2014;
  • The 3rd Division was recreated on June 20, 2016 part of the Scorpion Force alongside the 1st Division.


It was under the signs of Latin traditions that général de Monsabert wanted to place the 3rd Algerian Infantry Division 3e DIA during creation on May 1, 1943.

The insignia of "Victory" (French: La Victoire) of Cirta (province of Numidia, today Constantine (provence in Algeria)) is supported by three crescents representing the Muslims, which composed the majority of the division, Allied to the "métros" (blue white red).Origin of the insignia, La Victoire de Cirta

The "Victory" (French: La Victoire) was a Roman goddess protector of the Emperors that the Legio III Augusta de Cirta particularly venerated. She was found within a search at Constantine in the 19th century.

The motto of the 3rd Armoured Division is : « Plus d'honneur que d'honneurs » in French which translates literally to « More honor than the honors ». The motto of the 3rd Light Armoured Brigade was : « Un seul but : La victoire ».


1943 to 1946[edit]

The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division (3e DIA), formed on April 15, 1943, fought in the Italy and France during World War II under general Joseph de Goislard de Monsabert and Augustin Guillaume. The division was dissolved on April 15, 1946.

1951 to 1991[edit]

The 3rd Division was reconstituted in 1951 at the corps of the French Forces in Germany (French: Forces françaises en Allemagne, FFA). This was a grand unit of almost 15000 men covering the Western part of Germany and comprising three brigades:

the division became the 3rd Armoured Division in 1978. Three infantry regiments, two tank reigments, two artillery regiments, one engineer regiment, and one command and support regiment. During the transformation of the FFA into FFECSA (French: forces françaises et élément civil stationnés en Allemagne) (French Forces and Civilian Element), the division was redimensioned and dissolved in 1991.

Organigram in 1991[edit]

Two tank regiments, three infantry regiments, two artillery regiments, one engineer regiment, one command and support regiment:

Based in Fribourg-en-Brisgau.


Other support :

1999 to 2015[edit]

The 3rd Mechanised Brigade (3e BM) created in 1999 retook traditions. The headquarter staff was based in Limoges. In 2011, the headquarter staff of the 3e BM garrisoned at Clermont-Ferrand.

On March 18, 2014, the 3rd Mechanised Brigade became designated as the 3rd Light Armoured Brigade (3e BLB).

Since 2016[edit]

The 3rd Division (3e DIV) was recreated during a ceremony on June 20, 2016. Interarm, the division is formed of three brigades part of the Scorpion Force alongside the 1st Division, units stationed in outre-mer and overseas. Headquarter staff is garrisoned in Marseille.

Composition in 2016[edit]

The 3rd Division is subordinated to the Commandement des Forces Terrestres CFT. At creation, the division managed 25 regiments, 4 headquarter staffs and one instruction school. Effectifs form 25000 men and 4000 reservists in:

2e brigade blindée – 2nd Armored Brigade[edit]

Insignia of the 2e BB.

Based in Illkirch-Graffenstaden.

6e brigade légère blindée – 6th Light Armoured Brigade[edit]

Insignia of the 6eBLB.

Based in Nîmes.

11e brigade parachutiste – 11th Parachute Brigade[edit]

Insignia of the 11e BP.

Based in Balma.



  • David Isby and Charles Kamps Jr., Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company, 1985. ISBN 0-7106-0341-X
  • Ian Sumner and Charles Vauvillier, The French Army 1939-45 (2), Osprey, 1998. ISBN 1-85532-707-4