The Third Division AEF [3rd Division First World War Poster].

In occupied Germany, late 1918, the American 3rd Division uses a local German printer to print its striking and emblematic colors…

An unusual poster printed for the Third Division Allied Expeditionary Force during the First World War. The poster was printed in occupied Germany, likely during the division’s march to the Rhine River in November 1918:

On 18 October [1918] General Preston Brown became Commanding Officer of the 3rd Division and is credited with the design of the Division’s insignia of three diagonal stripes white stripes on a square blue field. The three diagonal stripes had a dual significance: they stood for the numerical designation of the Division (3rd) and also for the three major engagements of the Division in the Great War — the Marne stand, St. Migiel offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne offensive. (St. John, p8)

In Willis Rowland Skillman’s The A. E. F., Who They Were, What They Did, How They Did It (Philadelphia, 1920) an earlier interpretation of the Division’s insignia adds further information:

The Third Division was organized as a branch of the Regular Army. Its Division Headquarters arrived in France April 4th, 1918. Commander, Brigadier General Preston Brown. Activities: Chateau-Thierry sector, May 31st to July 30th…St. Michael sector (corps reserve) September 10th to 14th; Argonne-Meuse offensive, September 30th to October 27th; march on Rhine, November 14th. … The insignia of this division is three white stripes diagonally superimposed upon a square field of royal blue. The three stripes are symbolic of the three major operations in which the division participated—the Marne, St. Mihiel and the Argonne-Meuse. The blue field is a symbol for those who have died. [Brig. Gen. Preston Brown (1872–1948) was appointed commander of the Third Division in August 1918. For his service leading the division he was awarded the Distinguished Medal.]

As a larger-than-life visualization of the 3rd Division’s insignia, the poster could have been used as a distinctive marker on military structures, headquarters, or road signs. It was printed in Andernach on the Rhine River by Carl Reinartz. Was Reinartz a willing or unwilling printer for this job?

Description: The Third Division AEF [3rd Division First World War Poster].

[Andernach On The Rhine. c. 1918.] Carl Reinartz, [Printer]. 39¼ x 25½ inches. Normal folds; 2½ inch horizontal tear to one white stripe; a very good example.


The poster does not have a separate entry within OCLC although it may have been catalogued with others within a collection. We do not find the poster within various databases and consortiums of First World War posters. For Carl Reinartz, interestingly, via OCLC 777076057 and 4986216 the following regimental history for the 3rd Division is recorded: [United States Army. 3rd Division] Third Division Citations. Andernach on the Rhine. Printed by Carl Reinartz, 320pp. One copy at Princeton. Via OCLC 17329165: Insignias of Combat: Replacement and Occupation Divisions of the A.E.F.-A. of O.-A.F. in G., 1919-1920. Andernach: Carl Reinartz, 1920. 60pp. US Army Heritage and Education Center only.

Price: $350.00