Photographs of the 3rd Infantry Division in France During World War I

This post was written by Harry B. Kidd, a volunteer at the National Archives in College Park, MD (Archives II), for the volunteer newsletter, The Columns.

In the spring of 1918, the German Army launched a major offensive in the hope of achieving a quick victory before the full weight of American Forces could be brought to the line.  Beginning in May and June of 1918 the Division was moved to the front along the Marne River, east of Paris.  At midnight on July 14, 1918, the 3rd Infantry Division earned lasting distinction.  Engaged in the Aisne-Marne Offensive as part of the American Expeditionary Forces to Europe, the Division was protecting Paris with a position on the banks of the Marne River.  The 7th Machine Gun Battalion of the 3rd Division rushed to Château-Thierry amid retreating French troops and held the Germans back at the Marne River. While surrounding units retreated, the 3rd Infantry Division, including the 30th and 38th Infantry Regiments, remained rock solid and earned its reputation in the Second Battle of the Marne as the “Rock of the Marne.”

These photographs are a sample of the collection volunteers at Archives II discovered as they were processing the textual records of the 3rd Infantry Division, Record Group 120. I scanned them.


U.S. National Archives. Record Group 120, Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) – Records of Combat Divisions, 1917-1919, 3rd Division. (National Archives ID 301641). Entry NM-91-1241.

1 St. John, Phillip. The History of The Third Infantry Division. Turner Publishing Co. 1994.

2 Wikipedia – 3rd Infantry Division (United States) World War I

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