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Text by MARTIN WINDROW, Color plates by MICHAEL ROFFE. YEAR 1972
THE PANZER DIVISIONS

9. PANZER DIVISION (formed January 1940: from 4. Light Division)

Fought in Holland, and in France at Dunkirk and later Lyons, 1940. September-December 1940, stationed in Poland. January 1941, fought in Balkan campaign. July 1941, Russian front, southern sector. October 1941, central sector; engaged throughout 1942. Mid-1943, heavily committed to Kursk offensive and subsequent defensive operations in Dnepr Bend. Early 1944, heavy losses in southern sector. March 1944, survivors pulled back to Nîmes area of France; with 155th Panzer Reserve Brigade, division re-formed and brought back to strength. August 1944, engaged in Normandy. September 1944, engaged in Aachen/Geilenkirchen area. December 1944, heavy fighting in Ardennes offensive. January 1945, Eifel area. Captured by U.S. forces in Ruhr, April 1945.

Main combat units: 1940: Panzer Regt. 33 (raised from Austrian Army Tank Battalion, and later took honour title 'Prinz Eugen'), Rifle Regt. 10, Rifle Regt. 11, Artillery Regt. 102, Motorcycle Bn. 59, variously numbered divisional units. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 33, Panzergrenadier Regt. 10, Panzergrenadier Regt. 11, Artillery Regt. 102, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 9, variously numbered divisional units. (Panzer Regt. 33 mustered only one battalion; in January 1944 the armoured strength was increased by inclusion of Panzer Abt. 51.)

10. PANZER DIVISION (formed April 1939: Prague)

Fought in Poland, September 1939, and in France, May 1940. July 1941 - April 1942, engaged on central sector of Russian front. Transferred to France for rest and refitting, April 1942. August 1942, fought British and Canadian landings at Dieppe. December 1942, shipped to Tunisia. May 1943, division wiped out in Tunisia, and never re-formed.

Main combat units: 1939: Panzer Regt. 7, Panzer Regt. 8, Rifle Regt. 69, Rifle Regt. 86, Artillery Regt. 90, most divisional units numbered 90. 1943: Panzer Regt. 7, Panzergrenadier Regt. 69, Panzergrenadier Regt. 86, Artillery Regt. 90, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 10, most divisional units numbered 90.

11. PANZER DIVISION (formed August 1940: from 11. Rifle Brigade)

January-April 1941, fought in Balkans, captured Belgrade. July 1941, southern sector of Russian front, subsequently central sector. Fought in central zone until June 1942, returned to southern sector. July 1943, engaged in Orel/Belgorod offensive; later, heavy fighting in Krivoi Rog area. January-May 1944, Korsun Pocket; heavy losses. June 1944, survivors pulled back to France for rest and refit. Engaged against Allied landings in south of France, withdrawing to Alsace; September 1944, fought in the Belfort gap, withdrew into the Saar area. March 1945, engaged at Remagen; finally surrendered to U.S. forces in Bavaria. Frequently cited for distinguished conduct, it was known as the 'Ghost Division' on account of the unit emblem - a skeleton riding the tracks of a tank, brandishing a sword.

Soviet troops examine a PzKpfw. III and a half-track abandoned by the 3rd Panzer Division. (Imperial War Museum)

Main combat units: 1940: Panzer Regt. 15, Rifle Regt. no, Rifle Regt. in, Artillery Regt. 119, Motorcycle Bn. 61, variously numbered divisional units. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 15, Panzergrenadier Regt. 110, Panzergrenadier Regt. 111, Artillery Regt. 119, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 11, variously numbered divisional units.

12. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1940: from 2. Infanterie Division (Mot.))

From December 1940 to June 1941, stationed in Germany. July 1941, engaged on central sector of Russian front, between Minsk and Smolensk. September 1941, northern sector; participated in siege of Leningrad until November 1942, then returned to Army Group Centre. March-August 1943, engaged before Orel, and later in defence of middle Dnepr. February 1944, returned to northern sector; cited for distinguished conduct in withdrawal from Leningrad. August 1944, Kurland; captured by Red Army in that sector, early 1945.

Main combat units: 1940: Panzer Regt. 29, Rifle Regt. 5, Rifle Regt. 25, Artillery Regt. 2, Motorcycle Bn. 22, most divisional units numbered 2. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 29, Panzergrenadier Regt. 5, Panzergrenadier Regt. 25, Artillery Regt. 2, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 12, most divisional units numbered 2.

13. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1940: from 13. Infanterie Division (Mot.))

1940, served as training formation, Rumania. June 1941, transferred to Russia; heavily engaged, southern sector. Took part in capture of Kiev. August 1942 - January 1943, engaged in Caucasus.

February-August 1943, engaged in the Kuban. October 1943-January 1944, fought in Krivoi Rog area. September 1944, withdrew to Germany for refit. October 1944, transferred to Hungary. December 1944-January 1945, defence of Budapest; division wiped out. Re-formed as Panzer Division 'Feldherrnhalle 2' q.v.

Main combat units: 1940: Panzer Regt. 4, Rifle Regt. 66, Rifle Regt. 93, Artillery Regt. 13, Motorcycle Bn. 43, most divisional units numbered 13. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 4, Panzergrenadier Regt. 66, Panzergrenadier Regt. 93, Artillery Regt. 13, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 13, most divisional units numbered 13.

14. PANZER DIVISION (formed August 1940: from 4. Infanterie Division)

November 1940 - February 1941, stationed in Germany. March 1941, transferred to Hungary. April 1941, engaged in Yugoslavia. May-June 1941, returned to Germany for refit. July 1941 - December 1942, heavily engaged on Russian front, southern sector. December 1942, encircled in Stalingrad and wiped out. April-October 1943, division re-formed in Brittany; November 1943, returned to Russia and heavily engaged in Dnepr Bend. Refitted in Ukraine, June 1944. Moved to Kurland, August 1944; captured there by Red Army, April 1945.

Main combat units: 1940: Panzer Regt. 36, Rifle Regt. 103, Rifle Regt. 108, Artillery Regt. 4, Motorcycle Bn. 64, most divisional units numbered 4. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 36, Panzergrenadier Regt. 103, Panzergrenadier Regt. 108, Artillery Regt. 4, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 14, most divisional units numbered 4.

15. PANZER DIVISION (formed August 1940: from 33. Infanterie Division)

Shipped to North Africa as part of the original Deutsches Afrika Korps in February 1941, the division was continuously engaged in that theatre from that time until 12 May 1943, when it surrendered in Tunisia together with the other units of the German forces in Africa. July 1943, reformed in Sicily as 15. Panzergrenadier Division.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 8, Panzer grenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 104, Panzer grenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 115, Artillerie Regt. 33, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 15, most divisional units numbered 33.

16. PANZER DIVISION (formed August 1940)

Held in reserve during Balkan campaign; June 1941, Russian front, southern sector. Continuously engaged in that sector throughout 1941 and 1942; December 1942, encircled and wiped out at Stalingrad. March 1943, division re-formed in France. June 1943, transferred to northern Italy, subsequently moved to Taranto area. September 1943, rushed to Salerno area; heavily engaged in opposing Allied landings, and subsequently in Naples area. Continued operations in Italy until November 1943, then transferred to Russia, suffering heavy losses in counter-offensive around Kiev. October 1944, division refitted at Kielce; January 1945, returned to front in Baranów area. Engaged at Lauban in March 1945; surrendered at Brno in April 1945.

Main combat units: 1940: Panzer Regt. 2, Rifle Regt. 64, Rifle Regt. 79, Artillery Regt. 16, Motorcycle Bn. 16, divisional units numbered 16. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 2, Panzergrenadier Regt. 64, Panzergrenadier Regt. 79, Panzer Artillerie Regt. 16, most divisional units numbered 16.

17. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1940)

First saw combat on central sector of Russian front, June 1941. Continuously engaged in that sector until November 1942, when transferred to southern sector. Mid-1943, heavily engaged in Dnepr and Donets areas during aftermath of German defeat in Kursk/Orel/Belgorod offensive. Participated in all major actions during German retreat across northern Ukraine in 1944. January 1945, heavily committed to fighting at Baranów; overrun by Red Army in April.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 17, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 40, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 63, Panzer Artillery Regt. 27, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 17, divisional units numbered 27.

Tired and grimy tank crews gather round the troop commander for a briefing by the roadside. Note the variety of black and grey uniform items, and the use of working denims

18. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1940)

June 1941, first entered combat on central sector of Russian front. Continuously committed to action until June 1942, when it was transferred to the southern sector, subsequently returning to the central area. October 1943, heavily engaged west of Kiev; heavy casualties during German counter-offensive in that area the following month. Never re-formed as armoured unit, but reorganized and brought back up to strength as 18. Artillerie Division.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 18, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 52, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 101, Panzer

Artillery Regt. 88, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 18, most divisional units numbered 88.

19. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1940)

Fought on central sector of Russian front from June 1941 to April 1943; transferred to southern sector. Very heavy casualties in unsuccessful Belgorod offensive, July 1943. March 1944, heavily engaged during withdrawal across northern Ukraine. July 1944 - January 1945, stationed in East Prussia. January-February 1945, committed to action around Baranów bridgehead, near Breslau. Moved south to Bohemia, where it surrendered in May.

An Obergefreiter (note chevrons) or acting corporal of an armoured car unit fits on the huge plaited straw boots issued in Russia for extra insulation. (Imperial War Museum)

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 27, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 73, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 74, Panzer Artillery Regt. 19, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 19, divisional units numbered 19.

20. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1940)

Continuously engaged on Russian front. Fought on central sector, participating in drive on Moscow in 1941, and Orel offensive in July 1943; heavy losses during Soviet summer offensive of 1944. Transferred to Rumania, August 1944, and again heavily engaged. November 1944, moved to East Prussia, and in December to Hungary. Withdrew westwards, and overrun by Red Army in May 1945.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 21, Panzer grenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 59, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 112, Panzer Artillery Regt. 92, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 20, divisional units numbered 92.

21. PANZER DIVISION (formed February 1941: from 5. Light Motorized Division, plus Panzer Regt. 5 and other cadres from 3. Panzer Division)

Formed 'in the field', this famous formation was the second major component of the Deutsches Afrika Korps, and served continuously in the desert campaigns from February 1941 onwards. Badly mauled before Alam Haifa in mid-1942, the division suffered further heavy casualties at El Alamein in October, providing the rearguard for the subsequent German withdrawal. Overrun in Tunisia, May 1943. Re-formed in Normandy, July 1943 (with same unit numbers). Training and occupation duties in France until June 1944; heavily engaged in Normandy fighting and withdrawal across France. Withdrawn to Germany for refitting, the division fought in the Saar and Alsace areas September-December 1944. January 1945, transferred to Eastern front, and overrun by Red Army in final weeks of the war.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 22, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 125, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 192, Panzer Artillery Regt. 155, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 21, most divisional units numbered 200.

22. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1941: France)

Sent to the central sector of the Russian front in March 1942, this division was heavily engaged in the Crimea. It was encircled and virtually wiped out in Stalingrad in December 1942. Although some units survived, notably Panzergrenadier Regt. 129, the division was disbanded. The surviving regiment was transferred to the 15. Panzergrenadier Division.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 204, Panzergrenadier Regt. 129, Panzergrenadier Regt. 140, Panzer Artillery Regt. 140, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 140, divisional units numbered 140.

Detail of shoulder, collar and breast insignia on the tunic of an Army Unteroffizier or sergeant. The mid-war-style tunic has a field-grey collar, in place of the bluish-green 'badge cloth' collars often seen early in the war. The dark-green shoulder-straps, a survival from earlier in the war, have white infantry piping round the edge, and 9mm-wide silver braid identifies the rank. The silver Tresse is repeated round the edge of the collar. Breast eagle and collar-bars of 'field service quality' are woven in light grey on sage-green background.

23. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1941: France)

Sent to southern sector of Russian front in March 1942; heavily engaged in capture of Kharkov, and subsequently reached Terek River at spearhead of German penetration in the Caucasus. In November 1942 the division was moved north to Stalingrad but avoided encirclement. Summer 1943, heavily committed to defensive fighting in Dnepr Bend. February 1944, cited for distinguished service on the lower Dnepr. Suffered heavy casualties in withdrawal; refitted in Poland, summer 1944, and subsequently engaged there in September 1944. October 1944, transferred to Hungary, fighting at Debrecen. Cited again for outstanding services. Engaged at Baranów bridgehead, January 1945; overrun by Red Army at end of war.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 23, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 126, Panzergrenadier (formerly Rifle) Regt. 128, Panzer Artillery Regt. 128, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 23, divisional units numbered 128.

24. PANZER DIVISION (formed February 1942: from 1. Kavallerie Division)

After its reorganization and re-equipment this division was employed on the southern sector of the Russian front in the summer and autumn of 1942. It was encircled and wiped out at Stalingrad in December 1942 - January 1943. March-April 1943, re-formed in Normandy, France. August 1943, transferred to northern Italy. October 1943, returned to Russia, southern sector, suffering heavy casualties west of Kiev. February 1944, cited for distinguished conduct. Further heavy losses during withdrawal from Dnepr Bend, March 1944. July 1944, engaged in southern Poland during Soviet summer offensive. October 1944, transferred to Hungary, engaged around Débrecen. December 1944 - January 1945, Slovakia; transferred to West Prussia, withdrawing into Schleswig-Holstein and surrendering to British forces in May 1945.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 24, Panzergrenadier Regt. 21, Panzergrenadier Regt. 26, Panzer Artillery Regt. 89, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 24, variously numbered divisional units, primarily '40'.

25. PANZER DIVISION (formed February 1942: from troops of occupation forces in Norway)

Transferred to the south of France in August 1943 and brought up to strength, the division was moved to the southern sector of the Russian front in October 1943. Engaged west of Kiev; heavy losses during withdrawal from northern Ukraine in March 1944. April 1944, pulled back to Denmark for re-forming. September 1944, returned to central sector of Russian front. Engaged on Vistula line, and in defence of Warsaw. Withdrew into Germany in February 1945, and overrun by Red Army in May 1945.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 9, Panzergrenadier Regt. 146, Panzergrenadier Regt. 147, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 87, divisional units numbered 87.

26. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1942: Brittany, from 23. Infanterie Division)

July 1943, transferred to Italy, and remained on that front throughout war. Cited for outstanding service between Apennines and Adriatic coast, November 1944. Surrendered near Bologna, May 1945.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 26, Panzergrenadier Regt. 9, Panzergrenadier Regt. 67, Reinforced Panzergrenadier Regt. 1027, Panzer Artillery Regt. 93, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 26, most divisional units numbered 93.

27. PANZER DIVISION

While in process of formation in France, 1942, this unit was sent to the southern sector of the Russian front. It was engaged in the winter of 1942/3, and was disbanded early in 1943.

116. PANZER DIVISION (formed France: April 1944, from 16. Panzergrenadier Division)

Continuously engaged in France from July 1944, throughout withdrawal across that country. September 1944, pulled back to Düsseldorf for rest and refitting. November, transferred to Cologne. Heavily engaged on southern claw of Ardennes offensive, December 1944, suffering serious casualties. January 1945, engaged in Kleve area. April 1945, went into American captivity in the Ruhr.

Main combat units: Panzer Regt. 16, Panzergrenadier Regt. 60, Panzergrenadier Regt. 156, Panzer Artillery Regt. 146, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 116, variously numbered divisional units.

130. PANZER-LEHR-DIVISION (formed winter 1943/4)

Under the command of Fritz Bayerlein, Rommel's old Chief of Staff in Africa, the formidable Panzer-Lehr was assembled in France from the demonstration units of various armoured schools. Apart from its unusually experienced and expert personnel, it received double the normal complement of armour; by June 1944 its establishment included 190 tanks, 40 assault guns and 612 half-tracks, and it was the second most powerful division in the Wehrmacht. It was very heavily engaged in the fighting in Normandy following the Allied landings, and suffered correspondingly high losses; by late July it could field only 50 armoured fighting vehicles. Rebuilt around Paderborn in the late autumn, it was committed to the Ardennes offensive in December 1944. It remained on the Western front, and the survivors went into American captivity in April 1945 in the Ruhr.

Main combat units: Panzer Lehr Regt. 103, Panzergrenadier Lehr Regt. 901, Panzergrenadier Lehr Regt. 902, Panzer Artillerie Lehr Regt. 130, Panzer Aufkl. Lehr Regt. 130, divisional units numbered 130.

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