Orders of Battle – Panzer Divisions

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1st Panzer Division

The German 1st Panzer Division (1. Panzer-Division) was an elite armoured division in the German Army during World War II. Its divisional insignia was a white oakleaf emblem.

1941-1942.
1st Panzer Division Oak Insignia - 1935-1940 and 1943-1945.
1st Panzer Division Oak Insignia – 1935-1940 and 1943-1945.
Summer and Autumn 1940.

2nd Panzer Division

The 2nd Panzer Division (2. Panzer-Division) was created in 1935, and stationed in Austria after the Anschluss. It participated in the campaigns in Poland (1939) and France (1940), and then returned to Poland for occupation duties (1940–1941). It took part in the Balkans campaign (1941) and then transferred to the Russian Front in September 1941. It fought with Army Group Center in the battles of Moscow (1941) and Kursk (1943). After heavy losses on the Russian Front it was sent to France for rehabilitation (1944). It fought in Normandy and was almost completely destroyed in the Falaise Pocket (1944). It was rebuilt once more and fought in the Battle of the Bulge (1944) and in the defense of the Rhine (1945), surrendering to the Americans at war’s end.

3rd Panzer Division

The German 3rd Panzer Division (3. Panzer-Division) was established in 1935 under the command of Generalleutnant Ernst Feßmann. It later participated in the 1939 invasion of Poland under the command of Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg (where it was the most numerically powerful Panzer Division in the campaign, with 391 tanks), the 1940 invasion of France, and the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. One light company from the 5th Panzer Regiment of the 3rd Panzer Division participated in the Invasion of Norway. On the Eastern Front it participated in the 1942 drive on the Caucasus. It participated in the Battle of Kursk as part of the 48th Panzer Corps, fighting alongside the 11th Panzer division, the 167th Infantry division and the elite Panzergrenadier division Grossdeutschland. During the battle, the 3rd Panzer was used to achieve the initial breakthrough and inflicted heavy damage to the Soviet forces. It was then used to protect the flanks of the 48th Panzer Corps. After the Soviet counter-attack at Kursk, in which the 3rd Panzer division tried unsuccessfully to defend Kharkov, it retreated as the Germans were driven back westward. In early 1945 it was transferred from Poland to Hungary, and in the spring it was transferred to Austria, where it surrendered to the US at the end of the war.

4th Panzer Division

The German 4th Panzer Division (4. Panzer-Division) was established in 1938. It participated in the 1939 invasion of Poland, the 1940 invasion of France, and the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. It remained on the Eastern Front, mainly under Army Group Centre, until it was trapped on the coast at Courland in the summer of 1944. It was evacuated by sea and returned to the main front in West Prussia in January 1945.

5th Panzer Division

The 5th Panzer Division was an armored formation of the German Army from 1938 to 1945. The 5th Panzer Division of the German Army was formed on 24 November 1938 in Opole and dissolved on 8 May 1945. It fought in Poland, France, the Balkans and in Russia; first as part of Army Group Centre (1941–44) and then Army Group North. The division surrendered to the Russians in Gdańsk on 16 April 1945

6th Panzer Division

The 6th Panzer Division was an armored division in the German Army, the Heer, during World War II, established in 1939.

The division, initially formed as a light brigade, participated in the invasions of Poland, Belgium, France and the Soviet Union. From 1941 to 1945 it fought on the Eastern Front, interrupted only by periods of refitting spend in France and Germany. It eventually surrendered to US forces in Czechoslovakia in May 1945 but was handed over to Soviet authorities.

7th Panzer Division

The 7th Panzer Division was an elite armored formation of the German Army in the Second World War. It participated in the Battle of France, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the occupation of Vichy France, and the defensive battles on the Eastern Front till the end of the war.

The division met with great success in France in 1940, and then again in Russia in 1941. In May 1942 the division was withdrawn from Russia and sent back to France to replace losses and refit. It returned to southern Russia following the defeat at Stalingrad, and helped to check a general collapse of the front in a series of defensive battles as part of Army Group Don, and participated in General Erich von Manstein’s counter stroke at Kharkov. The division fought in the unsuccessful offensive at Kursk in the summer of 1943, suffering heavy losses in men and equipment and was further degraded in the subsequent Russian counteroffensive.

Through 1944 and 1945 the division was markedly understrength but nevertheless was continuously engaged in a series of defensive battles across the eastern front. It was twice evacuated by sea, leaving what was left of its heavy equipment behind each time. After fighting defensively across Prussia and northern Germany the surviving men escaped into the forest and surrendered to the British army northwest of Berlin in May 1945.

8th Panzer Division

The 8th Panzer Division was a formation of the Wehrmacht Heer. The division was formed by reorganising the 3rd Light Division in January 1940. It was transferred to the west and fought in the Battle of France, in May 1940, and the German invasion of the Balkans in April 1941. Soon after the division advanced towards Leningrad under Army Group North in Operation Barbarossa, and would remain on the eastern front for the remainder of the war. Staying on defensive fronts, it saw action in the relief of Kholm in 1942, Orel and the withdrawals of Army Group Centre in 1943, until transferred to Army group South. The division then fought in a serious of retrograde movements, back through the Ukraine, into Hungary and finally into Silesia and surrender in May 1945.

During its existence, the division was headquartered in Cottbus, in the German military district Wehrkreis III.

9th Panzer Division

The 9th Panzer Division was a panzer division of the Wehrmacht Heer. The division was only active during World War II, and came into existence after 4th Light Division was reorganized in January 1940. During its existence, the division was headquartered in Vienna, in the German military district Wehrkreis XVII.

Originally raised from Austrian forces annexed into Germany during the war, the 9th Panzer Division was part of most of the German Army’s early Blitzkrieg attacks into western Europe. Sweeping east, the division was then a component of Operation Barbarossa, the German attack on the Soviet Union, where it was badly mauled at the Battle of Kursk.

Returning to France to rebuild in 1944, the division was rushed to counter Operation Overlord. It was destroyed several successive times by British and American forces as the German Army was pushed back across Europe. The division suffered massive casualties in armor and personnel until it finally collapsed in March 1945. The division’s few survivors were pushed into the Ruhr Pocket where they surrendered to the Allies at the end of the war.

11th Panzer Division

The 11th Panzer Division was a German Panzer formation which saw action on the Eastern and Western Fronts during the Second World War. The formation’s emblem was a ghost (this should not be confused with the famed Gespenster outfit, which was the 7th Panzer Division). The 11th did not take part in the western campaign, or see any action before the invasion of Yugoslavia.

15th Panzer Division

The 15th Panzer Division was an armoured formation of the German Army in World War II.

20th Panzer Division

The 20th Panzer Division was an armored division in the German Army, the Wehrmacht, during World War II. It was created from parts of the 19th Infantry Division.

The division fought exclusively on the Eastern Front, taking part in the battles of Moscow and Kursk. It eventually surrendered to US and Soviet forces in Czechoslovakia in May 1945.

The 20th Panzer Division was formed on 5 October 1940 after the decision had been made to weaken the existing German tank divisions to create new ones. The new division drew units from various active and reserve units, among them the 19th Infantry Division which had been converted to a tank division itself, having become the 19th Panzer Division.

Attached to Army Group Center, the division participated in the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa and remained in the front echelon of attack during the series of advances on Minsk, Smolensk and took part in Operation Typhoon, the failed attack on Moscow. It remained on the central front during the winter of 1941–42, engaged in defensive operations and retreat. In March 1942 it was withdrawn to Bryansk for refining and a rest after heavy casualties during the winter that lead to disbanding of a number of its units.

The 20th Panzer Division, consisting of just one of the nominal three tank battalions, remained in the central sector of the Eastern Front, taking part in the capture of Voronezh in mid-1942 but otherwise engaged in defensive operations. It took part in the defense of Orel in the winter of 1942–43 and, in July 1943, was part of the northern spearhead during the battle of Kursk. The rest of 1943 was spent in a long retreat between Orel, Gomel, Orsha, and Vitebsk.

The 20th Panzer Division spent the winter of 1944 fighting in the Polotsk, Vitebsk, Bobruisk and Cholm areas. Having suffered heavy losses during the Red Army’s Operation Bagration, the division was sent to Romania for refitting in August 1944. In October, the division was sent to East Prussia, then Hungary in December. It then retreated through Breslau, Schweinitz and Neisse in Silesia (now part of Poland). The division was transferred to Görlitz (east of Dresden on the German frontier with Poland). On 19 April 1945, the division was involved in a counteroffensive west of Görlitz in the direction of Niesky, but disengaged three days later and retreated west. It counterattacked again in the Bautzen area, succeeding in relieving the local garrison at heavy cost to Soviet forces. By 26 April 1945, the division was situated northwest of Dresden; by 6 May it retreated south across the Czechoslovakian border. Some divisional elements surrendered to the Red Army near Teplice-Sanov (northwest of Prague), whilst the rest, including elements of Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 20. surrendered to the U.S. Army at Rokycany, (between Prague and Plzeň); they were handed over to the Soviet forces.

21st Panzer Division

The 21st Panzer Division was a German armoured division best known for its role in the battles of the North African Campaign from 1941–1943 during World War II when it was one of the two armoured divisions making up the Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK).

22nd Panzer Division

The 22nd Panzer Division was a German Panzer Division in World War II. It was formed September 1941 in France. It was transferred to the southern sector of the Eastern Front in March 1942. The 22nd was the last Panzer Division to be issued with the Czech-built Panzer 38(t), which was considered under-gunned, under-armoured and obsolete by 1942.

24th Panzer Division

The 24th Panzer Division was formed in 1942 from the 1st Cavalry Division based at Königsberg. It served under the Fourth Panzer Army in Army Group South of the Eastern Front. In late December 1942 it was encircled in the Battle of Stalingrad and destroyed. It was reformed in March 1943 and served in Normandy, Italy and then went back to the Eastern Front where it suffered heavy casualties around Kiev and the Dnepr Bend. During spring-1944 it took part in the Battles of Târgu Frumos, part of the First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive. Near the end of the war it saw action in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia before it surrendered to the British in May 1945. In keeping with the Division’s mounted origins, the 24th Panzer’s tank crewmen wore the golden-yellow Waffenfarbe of the cavalry rather than Panzer pink.

116th Panzer Division – Windhund (Greyhound)

The 116th Panzer Division, also known as the “Windhund (Greyhound) Division”, was a German armoured formation that saw combat during World War II.

Panzer Lehr Division

The Panzer-Lehr-Division, commonly known as Panzer Lehr, was a German armoured division during World War II, one of the most elite units in the entire German Wehrmacht. It was formed in 1943 onwards from various units of elite training and demonstration troops (Lehr = “teach”) stationed in Germany, to provide additional armored strength for resisting the anticipated Allied invasion of western Europe. Its great weakness was that it concentrated the cream of Germany’s tank commanders/instructors in a single unit, which risked their annihilation should the division suffer heavy losses. Due to its elite status, it was lavishly equipped in comparison to the ordinary Panzer divisions of the Wehrmacht. It was the only division to be fully armoured with tanks and halftracks, such as the SdKfz 250 and the SdKfz 251, though on several occasions it fought almost to destruction, in particular during Operation Cobra.

Panzer Lehr is occasionally referred to as the 130th Panzer-Lehr-Division, since a number of its constituent units were numbered 130, and in most other Panzer divisions those units were numbered to match the division’s number.

Panzer Division Müncheberg

Panzer-Division Müncheberg was a German panzer division which saw action on the Eastern Front around Berlin during World War II.

German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History

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