Divisional History


Divisional History of the 2nd Panzer Division

Formed on the 15th October 1935 in Würzburg, Bavaria (Wehrkreis VIII) at the same time as the 1st and 3rd panzer Divisions. The 2nd Panzer Division initially included the 3rd and 4th Panzer Regiments and the 2nd Panzergrenadier Regiment.
In 1938 the Division was transferred to Vienna after the annexation of Austria. At the outbreak of the Second World War the division was bolstered by a contingent of local Austrians, up to the point where the division was nicknamed the Vienna Division.

Service history

• In early September 1939, at the beginning of the war, the 2nd Panzer Division took part in the invasion of Poland as a part of the XII Panzer Corps, Throughout the campaign it suffered heavy losses, particularly on 18 September in a bitter tank battle.

• Under command of Ewald von Kleist they took part in the French campaign of 1940, where it formed part of Guderian’s XIX Motorized Corps. It was the first German troop formation to reach the coast when it captured Abbeville in May 1940. The 2nd Panzer Division, after isolating the allied armies by reaching the coast, participated in the encirclement at Dunkirk.

• In late 1940, the division gave up the 4th Panzer Regiment plus other cadres to the newly formed 13th Panzer Division and added the 304 Panzer Grenadier Regiment.

• On the 6th of April 1941 the 2nd panzer division played a role in Operation Marita and the invasion of Greece, taking Athens, with support from the 6th Mountain Division.

• In October 1941, the 2nd Panzer Division was sent to the Eastern Front, reinforcing Army Group Centre in their push towards Moscow, being involved in Operation Typhoon. Elements of the unit managed to reach as far as Khimki, a small river port five miles from Moscow. Elements of the 2nd Panzer Division even reported being able to see the Kremlin itself, before they were thrown back by the start of the Soviet Winter Offensive of 1941-42.
• The took part in various battles as a component in the 9th German Army during the first months of 1942. In 1943 the 2nd Panzer Division took part in Operation Citadel (the battle of Kursk) where they took heavy casualties.

• In late 1943 the 2nd Panzer Division was sent to France for refitting after the heavy losses it suffered on the Eastern Front.

• After the invasion of Normandy by the Allies on the 6th of June 1944, the 2nd Panzer Division was not sent immediately to Normandy but remained in the Somme due to the erroneous assumption that there was to be a second Allied landing in the region of Calais. They did not reach the front in Normandy until July.

• It took part in the unsuccessful counterattack at Mortain in August against the British troops of the 50th Infantry Division and the 7th Armoured Division, with only twenty-five tanks remaining operational. They were then surrounded at Falaise in August. They managed to break out but suffered losses.

• The Division was then sent to Bitburg in Germany to be reorganized again where it temporarily absorbed the remnants of the 352nd Infantry Division.

• They were involved in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 – January 1945
in the Ardennes, where they took lead advancing element with 103 tanks and assault guns. They again suffered heavy casualties.

• In the Spring of 1945, they took part in the Battle of the Rhine. During this battle, the Wehrmacht tried to halt the passage of the Allies across the Rhine, and the Division assisted as a component of the XIII Army Corps, of the 7th German Army, Heeresgruppe B.

• The final fate of the 2nd panzer division was to defend the city of Fulda in April 1945, they surrendered to the American forces on the 7th May. With only four tanks, three assault guns and two hundred men.

304 regiment composition 1944

• 1x regimental staff
• 1 x (half-take) Regimental staff company
• Signals platoon (7 x LMG,S)
• Motorcycled platoon (6 x LMG,S)
• Panzerjager platoon (6 x flamethrowers and 6 x LMG,S)
• 1 x light gun section ( 1 x 20mm guns)

1st battalion
• 3 x (halftrack) companies (4 x HMG,s 39 x LMG,s 2 x 80mm mortars 7 x 20 mm guns and 6 x 75 mm kwk)
• 1 x (halftrack) heavy company 1 x panzerjager platoon ( 4 x 20mm guns and 3 x 75 mm PAK 40)
• Infantry gun platoon 4 x LMG,s and 2 x 75 mm infantry support guns
• Support platoon 8 x LMG,s and 6 x 75 mm kwk guns

2nd battalion
• 3 x motorized companies 4 x Hmg,s 18 LMGS and 2 x 80mm mortars
• 1 x motorized heavy company
• 1 x panzerjager platoon 3 x 75 mm PAK 40 and 3 x LMG, s
• 1 x heavy mortar platoon 6 x 120 mm mortars
• 1 x flack platoon 6 x 20mm mortars
• 1 x motorized pioneer company
• 1 x halftrack pioneer platoon 13 x LMGs and 6 x flamethrowers
• 1 x pioneer platoon 8 x LMG,s and 6 x flamethrowers
• 1 x self-propelled infantry gun company 6 x 150mm heavy infantry gun 7 x LMG,s