panzer division

panzer division

(German panzer, “armoured”) Self-contained military unit of the German army, built around the capabilities of armoured vehicles. In World War II, it consisted of a tank brigade with four battalions; a motorized infantry brigade with four rifle battalions; an artillery regiment; and reconnaissance, antitank, and military-engineering battalions and service units. Germany had six panzer divisions in 1939 and 20 by 1941. It remains the principal offensive element of the German army.

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World War II era

The 5th Panzer Division (5. Panzer-Division) was created in 1938. It fought in Poland (1939), France (1940), the Balkans (1941), and the Russian Front, first with Army Group Center (1941 – 1944) and later with Army Group North. It surrendered to the Soviets near Danzig at war's end.

Commanding officers

  • Generaloberst Heinrich von Vietinghoff-Scheel, 2 September 1939 - 8 October 1939
  • Generalleutnant Max von Hartlieb-Walsporn, 8 October 1939 - 29 May 1940
  • General der Panzertruppen Joachim Lemelsen, 29 May 1940 - 25 November 1940
  • General der Panzertruppen Gustav Fehn, 25 November 1940 - 10 August 1942
  • Generalleutnant Eduard Metz, 10 August 1942 - 1 February 1943
  • Generalmajor Johannes Nedtwig, 1 February 1943 - 20 June 1943
  • Generalleutnant Ernst Felix Fäckenstedt, 20 June 1943 - 7 September 1943
  • General der Panzertruppen Karl Decker, 7 September 1943 - 16 October 1944
  • Generalmajor Rolf Lippert, 16 October 1944 - 5 February 1945
  • Generalmajor Günther Hoffmann-Schönborn, 5 February 1945 - April 1945
  • Oberst der Reserve Hans Herzog, April 1945

Post-war era

The 5th Panzer Division was a West German armored unit. Subordinate to the United States V Corps, it played a major role in the defense of West Germany from the Soviet Union during the Cold War; after the Soviet Union's fall, the division remained under American military control (administratively), and sent troops to Yugoslavia.

This unit was technically under NATO control, in case of a foreign power's attack on a NATO country (this unit might get involved in an attack of Germany, Belgium, France, or other nearby NATO countries). It was the largest foreign military unit subordinate to an American military unit.

As part of continuing reductions of the Bundesheer, the division was disbanded on 30 June 2001.

See also


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