German 7th Panzer Division

7th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)

7th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)

The 7.Panzer-Division was an armored division of the Wehrmacht who fought during the Second World War.

Created from the 2.Leichte-Division (2nd Light Division), the 7. Panzer-Division played a key role in the campaign of France and fought skillfully to the Eastern Front until the end of the war.

Among its members are remembered Karl Hanke, who served in the division during the years 1940 – 1941 later becoming governor of Lower Saxony as well as Reichsführer-SS in 1945, Hasso von Manteuffel, Karl Mauss and Adelbert Schulz, holders of the Knight’s Cross of the Cross Iron with fronds Oak, Swords and Diamonds, Hans-Bobo von Rohr, destroyer of about 58 enemy tanks, Erwin Rommel, and Karl Walther, who became general of the Nationale Volksarmee once the war.

OPERATING THEATRES OF 7. PANZER-DIVISION

Place and the period

Poland Sep 1939 – May 1940

France May 1940 – February 1941

Germany February 1941 – July 1941

Eastern Front, center industry July 1941 – May 1942

France May 1942 – February 1943

Eastern Front, southern sector February 1943 – August 1944

Baltic States and East Prussia August 1944 – January 1945

Poland and Germany January 1945 – May 1945

The origins with the 2 Leichte-Division

A Panzer 38 (t) of 7. Panzer-Division was during Operation Barbarossa

A Panzer 38 (t) of 7. Panzer-Division was during Operation Barbarossa

The 2.Leichte Division (2nd Light Division) was officially created in Gera November 10, 1938 and took part in the campaign of Poland, on September 1, 1939, framed in the 10th Army, Army Group South. His armored battalion, 66 .Panzer-Abteilung had at their disposal 83 wagons between Panzer I and Panzer II, and two Panzerbefehlswagen (wagons command unarmed), and by this means the division advanced to Radom, Kielce and finally Warsaw.

Terminate hostilities with the Polish state for the 2 Leichte-Division was repatriated to give birth, October 18, 1939, at 7 Panzer-Division.

The French campaign

The new division took part in the campaign of France in May 1940 under the command of Erwin Rommel, of the staff of the 4th Army of Army Group A (Field Marshal von Rundstedt) with 34 Panzer I, 68 Panzer II, 91 Panzer 38 (t), 24 Panzer IV tanks and eight control.

The first division crossed the Meuse at Dinant for you can move towards Arras, in France, where a counter-offensive of the Anglo-French forces put into serious difficulties, the tanks of the 7th Panzer, powerless against the Matilda II. Only the intervention of the guns 8.8cm FlaK saved the day.

Rommel photographed during the French campaign in May 1940

Rommel photographed during the French campaign in May 1940

In early June, with the Rot operation, Rommel and his division went to Army Group B (Field Marshal von Bock) initiating a broad attack to the north-west of France: once the Seine the 7. Panzer Division reached June 19, 1940 with an advanced Cherbourg which allowed her to destroy more than 500 enemy ships and capturing more than 100,000 soldiers.

Up to 19 February 1941, the division was stationed in Bordeaux as a troop occupation, so it was moved to Germany in Bonn, for a period of reorganization in view of Operation Barbarossa.

The use on the eastern front

On June 22, 1941 7. Panzer-Division (commanded by Generalmajor Hans von Funck) went into Soviet territory with the XXXIX Panzer Corps of General Rudolf Schmidt, belonging to Panzergruppe 3, led by the experienced General Hermann Hoth (one of two Panzergruppen assigned to Army Group Center). The armored division of surprise crossed the river Niemen (Lithuania) equipped with 53 Panzer II, 167 Panzer 38 (t), 30 Panzer IV and 15 battle command, and then completely devoid of the most modern Panzer III.

The 7. Panzer Division advanced rapidly, after rejecting a first counter Soviet tank to Alytus, and played an important role in closing the large bag of Minsk-Bialystok, after this successful maneuver, the armored division went boldly forward in the direction Vitebsk and Smolensk. A Lepel (on 6 and 7 July) the Panzer-Division repulsed with heavy losses and a new confused counterattack Soviet armored reserves (5th Mechanized Corps), which were decimated by the skilful deployment organized by anti-tank division.

The subsequent battles for the closure of a new bag around the city of Smolensk were very hard and cost heavy losses to the German forces also, after fierce defensive fighting in August and September to Jarcevo, the 7. Panzer Division took part in the march to Moscow in October, fighting to Vjaz’ma and reaching the pinnacle of the advance to 50 km from the capital enemy, capturing a bridge in Jachroma that had to be abandoned due to lack of support from infantry troops, necessary to counter the Soviet counter-offensive. In the operations of folding the division suffered significant losses and stabilized the situation after the Battle of Ržev, was sent in Niort (accessed on 8 June 1942), in the Poitou-Charentes, to rest and regroup.

The parenthesis in France

Passed the 1st Army of Generaloberst Baskowitz the 7 Panzer-Division proceeded in November 1942 occupation of Vichy France (Operation Anton) entering Toulon and Toulouse.

In December, the incessant demand by German generals used on the Eastern Front of reinforcements meant that the armored division takes up residence again in the Soviet Union.

The second cycle on the eastern front

The unit went online in January 1943 along the rivers Don, Donets and Mius, under Army Group Don, to replenish the front line, disgregatasi under the attacks of Soviets. To fulfill its task now available to the division of 21 Panzer II, Panzer III 105 (of which 91 with 50 mm cannon and 14 with long-barreled 75 mm short), 20 Panzer IV (including two 75 mm gun with short and 18 with the same gun but long) and nine Panzerbefehlswagen.

Committed to achieving his goal up in the summer (the time of greatest battle took place in March 1943 as the Third Battle of Kharkov), in July, 7. Panzer-Division fought the Battle of Kursk, after which, defeat, convergette of Belgorod, Kiev and Zhytomyr in a retreat that lasted until December 1943, but he saw her winning against Soviet units who were trying to defend their positions. Despite the arrival of some Panzer V, the new year did not bring anything good to the soldiers of the 7th Panzer proven, yet forced to fall back on Shepetivka (where it fell Generalmajor Adelbert Schulz, famous tank commander and a few days division commander) and then get caught, in April 1944, in the bag Kamenets-Podolsky, where clashes groped to get rid of almost azzerarono wagons remained.

Always within the 4th Army battleship, which was part of March 3, the unit suffered the consequences of ‘Operation Bagration. In June he was in Lithuania, in August in Courland: here, along with the schwere Panzerabteilung 501 (501 º heavy tank battalion), counterattacked the ‘Red Army near Raseiniai with great success. Towards the end of the year, however, the 7. Panzer-Division, now under the 3rd Armored Army, suffered heavy losses and had to proceed to the total reconstruction of the departments employing elements of 2102.Panzer-Abteilung and 102.Panzer-Brigade. New clashes committed division (now placed in the 2nd Army) in the territory of Memel from where, in early 1945, he moved to East Prussia rallying to Arys. As a result of ‘Soviet offensive the 7th Panzer was isolated in the area of Gdansk and the Hel Peninsula, managing to arrive by sea in Świnoujście only in April, then withdrew into German territory.

New reinforcements arrived in Potsdam, Schwerin but the armored division was again decimated. The last survivors surrendered in this city May 3, 1945 the British forces had just arrived.

Order of battle

1940 France

•Stab (Quartier general)

•25 Panzer-Regiment (25th Armoured Regiment)

•66 Panzer-Abteilung (66º armored battalion) – up to March, 1942◦Panzer-Abteilung I (1 armored battalion)

◦Panzer-Abteilung II

•7. Schützen-Brigade (7th Mechanized Infantry Brigade)

◦6.  Schützen-Regiment

◦7. Schützen-Regiment

◦7. Kradschützen-Bataillon (7th battalion motorcyclists)

•705. Schwere Infanterie-Geschütz-Kompanie (705th company of heavy infantry guns)

•37. Panzer-Aufklärungs-Bataillon (7th armored reconnaissance battalion)

•78 Artillerie-Regiment (engine) (78º motorized artillery regiment)

◦The Artillerie-Abteilung

◦Artillerie-Abteilung II

•42 Panzerjäger-Abteilung (42 Tank Destroyer Battalion)

•83. Nachrichten-Abteilung (mot) (83º motorized battalion broadcasts)

•58 Pioneer-Bataillon (58th battalion of the military genius)

•58 Versorgungstruppen (support units)

1943 Eastern front

•Stab

◦25 Panzer-Regiment

◦Panzer-Abteilung I

•6  Panzergrenadier-Regiment (6th regiment panzergrenadier)

◦The Panzergrenadier-Bataillon

Panzergrenadier-Bataillon II

•7 Panzergrenadier Regiment

◦The Panzergrenadier-Bataillon

◦Panzergrenadier-Bataillon II

•42 Panzerjäger-Bataillon

•7 Panzer-Aufklärungs-Bataillon

•78 Artillerie-Regiment

◦The Artillerie-Abteilung

◦Artillerie-Abteilung II

•296. Heeres-Flak-Artillerie-Abteilung (296º FlaK detachment of the army)

•83. Nachrichten-Abteilung

•58 Pioneer-Bataillon

•58 Versorgungstruppen Panzer (armored support units)

Decorations

Two soldiers belonging to 7. Panzer-Division were decorated with a brooch for Hand to Hand Combat in gold, 116 received the German Cross in gold and eight silver one, while the other was given 35 Brooch of Honor Army. Finally, 47 members of the division were awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, six of which with fronds Oak, with three fronds and Spade Oak and two with fronds Oak, Swords and Diamonds, for their courageous actions.

Commanders

Name Bars Beginning End Notes

Georg Stumme  Generalleutnant  October 18 1939  February 14, 1940

Erwin Rommel  Generalleutnant  February 15, 1940  February 13, 1941

Hans von Funck  Generalmajor  February 14, 1941  June 6, 1941

Hans von Funck  Generalleutnant  June 6, 1941  November 18, 1942

Nikolaus von Vormann  Oberst  November 19, 1942  December 8, 1942

Hans von Funck  Generalleutnant  December 9, 1942  August 16, 1943

Wolfgang Gläsemer  Oberst  August 17, 1943  August 22nd, 1943

Hasso von Manteuffel  Generalmajor  August 23, 1943  January 1, 1944

Adelbert Schulz  Generalmajor  January 1, 1944  January 28, 1944  wounded at Shepetivka from a mortar

Soviet died during transport to hospital

Wolfgang Gläsemer  Oberst  January 28, 1944  January 30, 1944

Karl Mauss  Oberst  January 31, 1944  March 31, 1944

Karl Mauss  Generalmajor  April 1, 1944  May 2, 1944

Gerhard Schmidhuber  Oberst  May 2, 1944  June 1944

Karl Mauss  Generalmajor  June 1944  September 30, 1944

Hellmuth Mäder  Oberst  October 31, 1944  November 30, 1944

Karl Mauss  Generalleutnant  November 30, 1944  January 3, 1945

Max Lemke  Oberst  January 4, 1945  January 23, 1945

Karl Mauss  Generalleutnant  January 23, 1945  March 25, 1945  seriously injured in a bombing

artillery and evacuated

Hans Christern  Oberst  March 25, 1945  May 8 1945

Bibliography

•Panzer, German tanks of World War II, vol. 7, DeAgostini, 2009 Novara, ISSN 2035-388X

Wehrmacht units of okh.it

Divisions battleships of the Wehrmacht

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