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

4. PANZER DIVISION (formed 1938: Würzburg)

Took part in Polish campaign, 1939, and French campaign, 1940. June 1941, took part in Russian invasion as part of Army Group Centre; from that time onwards continuously engaged on the Eastern front. Engaged in drive to Caucasus, 1942; Kursk offensive, 1943; cited for action around Gomel following failure of offensive. Engaged on central sector of front, winter 1943/4. 1944, fought in Latvia, then moved southwards into Germany. Remaining elements surrendered to U.S. forces, early 1945.

Peaked service cap of an Army N.C.O. with pressed alloy badges, leather chinstrap, and piping in Waffenfarbe round crown seam and edges of the dark bluish-green band. (Author's collection)

Army officer's field-grey sidecap. The eagle is woven in silver on green, the cockade in black, red and silver metallic thread. Silver piping follows the crown seam, and the front arch of the 'turn-up'. The white Waffenfarbe chevron identifies the infantry. (Author's collection)

Main combat units: 1939: Panzer Regt. 35, Panzer Regt. 36, Rifle Regt. 12, Rifle Regt. 33, Artillery Regt. 116, Motorcycle Bn. 4, divisional units numbered 84. October 1940: Panzer Regt. 36 transferred as cadre for 14. Panzer Division. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 35, Panzergrenadier Regt. 12, Panzergrenadier Regt. 33, Artillery Regt. 103, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 4, divisional units numbered 79, apart from Panzer Jäger Abt. 49.

5. PANZER DIVISION (formed November 1938: Oppeln)

Played important role in French campaign, 1940. Early 1941, Yugoslavia and Greece. June 1941, Russia, central sector. Heavily engaged throughout 1941-2. Early 1943, Demjansk. Suffered heavy losses in Kursk offensive, July 1943. Early 1944, heavily engaged in Dnepr area. Late 1944, Latvia and Kurland. Early 1945, defending East Prussia; surrendered to Russian forces after stubborn defence of Hela Peninsula.

Main combat units: 1939: Panzer Regt. 15, 'Panzer Regt. 31, Rifle Regt. 13, Rifle Regt. 14, Artillery Regt. 116, Aufkl. Abt. 8, variously numbered divisional units. October 1940: 15. Panzer Regt. transferred as cadre to 11. Panzer Division. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 31, Panzergrenadier Regt. 13, Panzergrenadier Regt. 14, Artillery Regt. 116, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 5 variously numbered divisional units.

6. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1939: Wuppertal: from 1. Light Division)

Fought in France, 1940. Transferred to East Prussia; opened Russian invasion on northern front, June 1941. After fighting around Leningrad, transferred to the central sector where it was heavily engaged until May 1942. In that month the division was pulled back to France for rest and refit. Returned to Russia in December, fighting on southern sector, Kharkov. Summer 1943, engaged in Kursk salient fighting around Belgorod. January 1944, transferred to Hungary, took part in defence of Budapest. Heavy losses. Withdrew into Austria, March 1945; surrendered to Russian forces at Brno, May 1945.

Sidecap of Army Other Ranks; this example was worn by a cavalryman of Reiter Regt. 6, which served as an armoured recce unit in Africa and north-west Europe. The yellow chevron identifies the cavalry branch, and the tradition badge in the shape of the bronze 'Dragoon Eagle' identifies this particular regiment. (Author's collection)

Black Panzer sidecap, with pink Waffenfarbe chevron and grey-on-black eagle badge. The earphones are original Panzer issue items. (Author's collection)

Main combat units: 1939: Panzer Regt. 11, Panzer Abteilung 65, Rifle Regt. 4, Artillery Regt. 76, Motorcycle Bn. 6, most divisional units numbered 57. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 11, Panzergrenadier Regt. 4, Panzergrenadier Regt. 114, Artillery Regt. 76, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 6, variously numbered divisional units.

7. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1939: from 2. Light Division)

Played important part in French campaign, 1940, commanded by Gen. Maj. Rommel. February 1941, returned to Germany for rest and refit July 1941, Russia, central sector. Heavily engaged until July 1942, when division returned to France, taking part in occupation of Vichy. December 1942, returned to Russia, fighting around Kharkov on the southern part of the front, and later in the Belgorod offensive. August 1944, transferred to Baltic coast. Fought in Kurland, Memel until end of year, withdrawing into Prussia and surrendering to British at Schwerin in May 1945.

Main combat units: 1939: Panzer Regt. 25 Panzer Abt. 66, Rifle Regt. 6, Rifle Regt. 7, Artillery Regt. 78, Motorcycle Bn. 7, most divisional units numbered 58. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 25, Panzergrenadier Regt. 6, Panzergrenadier Regt. 7, Artillery Regt. 78, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 7, most divisional units numbered 58.

8. PANZER DIVISION (formed October 1939: from 3. Light Division)

After fighting in France in 1940 the division was transferred in April 1941 to Yugoslavia, but saw no action. In July 1941 the unit fought on the northern sector of the Russian front; took part in the early stages of the siege of Leningrad. March-November 1942, heavy fighting, Kholm area. April-August 1943, heavily engaged in operations connected with Orel offensive. Heavy losses in withdrawal from Kiev, October 1943. January-September 1944, engaged on southern sector of Russian front. September 1944, moved into the Carpathians. Defence of Budapest, December 1944. February-March 1945, Moravia; surrendered to Red Army at Brno, May 1945.

PzKpfw. IIIs thrust on into the Russian interior - a picture taken during the breathtaking advances of summer 1941.

Main combat units: 1939: Panzer Regt. 10, Rifle Regt. 8, Artillery Regt. 80, Motorcycle Bn.8; armour increased by inclusion of Panzer Abt. 67 in that year. Most divisional units numbered 59. Final strength: Panzer Regt. 10, Panzergrenadier Regt. 8, Panzergrenadier Regt. 28, Artillery Regt. 80, Panzer Aufkl. Abt. 8, divisional units numbered 59, 42, 84.

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