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

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.

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