Definitions

storm boat

Großdeutschland Division

Infanterie-Division Großdeutschland (mot)
Panzergrenadier-Division Großdeutschland
Panzer-Korps Großdeutschland

The Großdeutschland Division (lit. "Greater Germany Division") was an élite German Heer combat unit which saw action during World War II. It was the premier division of the German Army.

Großdeutschland is sometimes mistakenly perceived as being a part of the Waffen-SS, whereas it was actually a Heer unit. It was, along with the Panzer Lehr Division, the best-equipped unit in the Wehrmacht, receiving equipment before all other units (including Waffen-SS units). The GD Division served exclusively on the Eastern Front. It was annihilated near Pillau in May 1945.

Early History - Wachregiment Berlin

The roots of the Division can be traced to 1921, and the formation of the initial guard units in Berlin that would become Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland. The Regiment saw action in France in 1940, and was attached to Panzer Group 2 in the opening phases of Barbarossa, being all but annihilated in the fighting outside of Moscow in late 1941. On the last day of February 1942, Rifle Battalion GD (all that was left of the original Regiment) was disbanded and two battalions formed a new GD Regiment out of reinforcements arriving from Neuruppin. The Regiment moved to Orel after a period in the front line, and on 1 Apr 1942, arising out of the need for new motorized formations for the summer offensives of 1942, an announcement was made at a regimental parade at Rjetschiza:

"Effective immediately the former Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland is expanded to the Infantry Division Großdeutschland."

Infantry Division Großdeutschland 1942

While resting and refitting near Orel, the Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland reorganized and expanded to become Infanterie-Division Großdeutschland (mot). The existing Regiment became Infanterie-Regiment Großdeutschland 1, and was joined by the newly formed Infanterie-Regiment Großdeutschland 2. Supporting units in the form of a Panzer battalion, an assault gun battalion and increased flak, artillery and engineers were added with the upgrade to divisional status.

After the reorganization, the Großdeutschland Division was assigned to XLVIII. Panzerkorps during the opening phases of Fall Blau, the assault on Stalingrad. The division took part in the successful attacks to cross the upper Don river and to capture Voronezh. In August, the division was pulled back to the north bank of the Donets and held as a mobile reserve and fire-brigade counterattack force. After the Soviet Operation Uranus, the Division was involved in heavy winter fighting near Rzhev. The exhausted division then took part in Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein’s abortive Operation Wintergewitter, the operation to relieve Stalingrad.

Kharkov

In January-February 1943, Großdeutschland and XLVIII.Panzerkorps, along with the II SS Panzer Corps took part in the Third Battle of Kharkov. The division fought alongside the 1.SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, 2.SS Division Das Reich and 3.SS Division Totenkopf during these battles. After the fall of Kharkov, the Großdeutschland was again pulled back and refitted. At this time, the division was equipped with a company of Tiger 1s, an unusual addition making GD the only Panzergrenadier division to have its own heavy tanks, and the only non-Waffen SS division at that time to have its own Tigers (they were normally deployed in independent heavy tank battalions).

Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland

In June 1943, with the addition of armoured personnel carriers and Tigers the division was redesignated Panzergrenadier-Division Großdeutschland, though in reality it now had more armoured vehicles than most full scale panzer divisions.

Kursk

The newly re-equipped division was attached to the German Fourth Panzer Army of Generaloberst Hermann Hoth, and was to take a major role (again paired with the SS-Panzerkorps) in Operation Citadel, the battles to sever the Kursk salient. During the buildup period, a battalion of new Panther Ausf. D tanks came under the operational control of Großdeutschland. After the launch of Citadel, the division was heavily engaged in the fight to penetrate the southern flank of the salient. The new Panthers were plagued by technical problems, suffering from engine fires and mechanical breakdowns, many before reaching the battle. The division fought on until it was pulled back to Tomarovka on 18 July 1943.

Defensive battles

After the cancelled Kursk offensive, the division was transferred back to Heeresgruppe Mitte, and resumed its role as mobile reserve. The Tiger tank company was expanded to an entire battalion, becoming the III. Bataillon of the Panzer Regiment. GD saw heavy fighting around Karachev before being transferred back to XLVIII Panzerkorps in late August. For the rest of 1943, Großdeutschland was engaged in the fighting withdrawal from the eastern Ukraine, taking part in battles around Kharkov, Belgorod, and finally on the Dnieper, ending the year fighting strong enemy forces near Michurin-Rog, east of Krivoi-Rog. It was during this period that the division earned the nickname "die Feuerwehr" (The Fire Brigade).

1944

Großdeutschland continued fighting in the area of Krivoi-Rog early in January 1944 until it was transferred west for rest and refit. During this period, 1./Panzer Regiment 26 (Panther) joined the Panzer Regiment GD, and GD's I. Bataillon moved to France to refit and train with the new tanks; they did not rejoin the Division until after the Normandy invasion.

Over the next months, the division continued moving from crisis-point to crisis-point across the front. Panzer Regiment Großdeutschland saw action in the battles to relieve the Cherkassy pocket in late January 1944 while the rest of the division was involved in heavy fighting from the Dniester to Northern Bessarabia. On 4 March 1944 the First, Second and Third Ukrainian Fronts launched a major attack on the north, central and southern flanks of Army Group South, and GD moved to Kirovgrad, bolstering weak parts of the line until withdrawn to Rovnoye to the southwest. On 16 March the division began the move to the Dniester River, and by the end of March had entered Romania.

In April 1944, GD. as a part of LVII.Panzerkorps. fought defensive battles near Iaşi, slowly retreating to Târgul Frumos in Moldavia. Fighting for the town raged for over a month. A renewed Soviet offensive began on 2 May, aimed at breaking through GD and onto the Romanian oil fields. The defensive action at the Battle of Târgul Frumos was the focus of several NATO studies during the Cold War.

In mid May, the infantry and reconnaissance components of the division were equipped with Schützenpanzerwagen and other armoured vehicles. The Füsilier regiments were downsized from four battalions to three. The division was then sent back to the front, where it was involved in the fighting around Podul. After a brief rest in early July, the division was again committed to heavy fighting in northern Romania.

In late July, the division was transferred to East Prussia. Over the next months, Großdeutschland was involved in heavy fighting in both East Prussia and the Baltic States, suffering immense casualties in both men and materiel. The division was virtually annihilated during the battles in the Memel bridgehead.

Panzerkorps "Großdeutschland"

In November 1944, while the division retained its status as a Panzergrenadier division, several attached units were expanded to divisional status, and the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland was formed.

The Corps was made up primarily of two Divisions - Großdeutschland and the Brandenburg Division, which had a lineage which was strongly linked to the Großdeutschland.

By March 1945, the Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland had been reduced to around 4,000 men. These escaped by ferry from the collapsing Memel bridgehead. They landed at Pillau and were put straight back into combat. By 25 April 1945, the division ceased to exist, having been completely destroyed in the battles around Pillau. Of the few survivors a few hundred were able to make their way to Schleswig-Holstein and surrendered to British forces. The majority of the men were left behind and were forced to surrender to the Russians where they were to face an often fatal and indefinite amount of time in Russian Forced Labor Camps (Gulags).

Panzergrenadier Division Kurmark had been created out of Großdeutschland remnants in early 1945 and had fought throughout the last months of the war. Men of both the Brandenburg and Kurmark units were entitled to wear Großdeutschland insignia.

Großdeutschland Insignia

As a celebration of their elite status, the Großdeutschland was permitted to wear unique insignia. An intertwined GD was displayed on the shoulder straps, and a cuff title, of the type granted to Waffen-SS units, was also distributed. Some examples of the green cuff title worn by Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland were still seen late in the war, but the most common title was the pattern introduced in 1940, with Sütterlin script on a black backing. All divisional elements were granted this cuff title. As an Army formation, Großdeutschland was ordered to wear their cuff title on the right sleeve, since the SS wore theirs on the left.

Personal accounts

The unit became known in the West through the book The Forgotten Soldier, by the Alsatian veteran Guy Sajer (a pseudonym), who served as a volunteer. The book was first published in 1967 in France as Le Soldat Oublié. While the historical accuracy of Sajer's autobiographical work has been questioned, it nevertheless offers a vivid and moving account of the horrors of war on the Eastern Front. A more recent account was written by Alfred Nowotny, entitled The Good Soldier, which focuses on both his experiences in Panzerfüsilier Regiment GD from 1944, but also his captivity in the Soviet Union after the German surrender.

Orders of Battle

Panzergrenadier Division "Großdeutschland" September 1943

Divisional Headquarters

Divisional Staff (32 Officers, 143 NCOs and Men)

  • Divisional Commander.
  • Ia (I General Staff Officer) (Chief of Operations). Trained general staff officer who both advised the division commander and helped draft plans. (Divisions Stabschef)
  • O1 (1st Assistant Adjutant). Assisted the Ia, prepared maps and the divisional war diary, liaison with neighbouring units, and structuring component units of the division.
  • Ib (II General Staff Officer) (Supply and Administration) Directed the supply and workshop units of the division, field police, provost marshall and field post office units.
  • O2 (1st Assistant Adjutant) Assisted the Ib and handled the organization of all back line services.
  • Ib/WuG (Waffen und Geräte - Weapons and Equipment). Responsible for replacement, repair, supply, and maintenance of ammunition, weapons and non-specialized equipment.
  • Ib/Kfz (Divisional Engineer). Provided for replacement and supply of motor vehicles, spare parts, tires, fuel, etc. as well as traffic control, the workshop companies, fuel points and columns.
  • Ic (III General Staff Officer). Intelligence. Responsible for interrogation of POWs, radio intercept work, etc.
  • O3 (Third Assistant Adjutant). Assisted the Ic, oversaw map unit and interpreters at division HQ.
  • Id (Training)
  • IIa (Adjutant) Handled administration such as loss and casualty reports, rosters, etc. as well as administration relating to officers - replacements, promotions, decorations, leaves, punishment.
  • IIb (Division Assistant Adjutant) Handled administrative matters described above regarding the NCOs and men and oversaw the divisional orderly room.
  • III (Chief of Feldjustizamt GD - legal branch). In charge of divisional courts-martial, civilian relations, legal matters.
  • IVa (Head of Intendantur). Supplies, clothing, medical, dental, pay matters, canteens, housekeeping needs, etc.
  • IVb (Divisional Surgeon) Commanded the medical services simultaneous with this position, responsible for sanitation and hygience, movement and treatment of sick and injured soldiers, procurement and maintenance of medical equipment.
  • IVz (Divisional Paymaster)
  • IVe (Chief Chaplain). While regular divisions had 2 chaplains (one Catholic, one Protestant) GD was forbidden from having chaplains after holding mass at Notre Dame in 1940. Divisional level chaplain support was provided as needed from the Corps level.
  • Map Section. Eight men charged with reproducing maps, overprinting captured maps, shot diagrams for the divisional artillery, etc. (Under O3, Divisions Assistant Nachrichten Officer)
  • Headquarters Company (under Divisions O4)

Divisional Escort Company

On formation of GD as a Panzergrenadier Division, a 219 man Divisional Escort Company was added to Divisional headquarters. Modelled after the escort companies of Waffen SS Divisions, this unit was intended to guard divisional headquarters, serve as a mobile reserve, and was in essence a small battle group suited to all operational circumstances. It included, according to varying sources, some or all of the following:

  • rifle platoon
  • motorcycle platoon
  • heavy machinegun/mortar platoon
  • infantry gun Platoon
  • heavy Anti-tank platoon
  • self-propelled FlaK Platoon
  • mixed Anti-Tank (Panzerjäger) platoon.

Feldgendarmerie (Military Police)

Military Police Troop - Numbering one platoon of men, the Military Police detachment (recruited like the rest of the Army's MPs from civilian police) were equipped with light cars and motorcycles. Almost all military policemen not holding officer rank were NCOs (Unteroffizier or higher) excepting some drivers, in order to provide authority for their duties - including maintenance of discipline, but most importantly collection of prisoners and traffic control duties. GD had several hundred motorized vehicles which had to be moved over great distances both rapidly and efficiently.

Kriegsberichter (War Correspondent Platoon)

Responsible for recruitment and propaganda literature. GD was fairly unique in having its own correspondents permanently assigned to the division.

Panzergrenadier Regiment "Großdeutschland"

  • Regimental Headquarters
    • Headquarters Company
      • signals platoon
      • pioneer platoon
      • motorcycle platoon
  • I. (SPW) Battalion (At the beginning of June 1943, 83 SPW halftracks arrived to equip the first battalion of the Grenadier Regiment.)
    • Headquarters
    • 1. Company
      • Headquarters
        • Rifle Platoon - light anti-tank rifle team, three squads, each with 2 LMGs
        • Rifle Platoon
        • Rifle Platoon
        • Heavy Platoon - 4 HMGs, two 81 mm mortars, heavy anti-tank rifle team
    • 2. Company - as above
    • 3. Company - as above
    • 4. (MG) Company
      • HQ Platoon
      • Mortar Platoon
      • Light Infantry Support Platoon
    • 5. (Heavy) Company
  • II. (Motorized) Battalion
    • 6. Company - as 1 above
    • 7. Company - as 1 above
    • 8. Company - as 1 above
    • 9. (MG) Company - as 4 above
    • 10. (Heavy) Company - as 5 above
  • III. (Motorized) Battalion
    • 11. Company - as 1 above
    • 12. Company - as 1 above
    • 13. Company - as 1 above
    • 14. (MG) Company - as 4 above
    • 15. (Heavy) Company - as 5 above
  • IV. (Heavy) Battalion
    • 16. (FlaK) Company
    • 17. (Infantry Gun) Company
    • 18. (Panzerjäger) Company
      • 1st Platoon self-propelled

Panzerfüsilier Regiment "Großdeutschland"

As for Panzergrenadier Regiment GD, above

  • Regimental Headquarters
    • I. Battalion
    • II. Battalion
    • III. Battalion
    • IV. (Heavy) Battalion

Artillery Regiment "Großdeutschland"

  • Regimental Headquarters
    • HQ Battery
    • Observation Battery
    • Self-propelled light FlaK platoon
  • I. Battalion
    • Headquarters Battery and Signals Platoon
    • 1. Battery - 4 x l. FH. 18 (105 mm) howitzers
    • 2. Battery - 4 x l. FH. 18 (105 mm) howitzers
    • 3. Battery - 4 x s. FH. (150 mm) 18 howitzers
  • II. Battalion
    • Headquarters Battery and Signals Platoon
    • 4. Battery - 6 x Wespe SP (105 mm) howitzers
    • 5. Battery - 6 x Wespe SP (105 mm) howitzers
    • 6. Battery - 6 x Hummel (150 mm) howitzers
  • III. Battalion
    • Headquarters Battery and Signals Platoon
    • 7. Battery - 4 x s. FH. (150 mm) 18 howitzers
    • 8. Battery - 4 x s. FH. (150 mm) 18 howitzers
    • 9. Battery - 4 x K 18 10 cm howitzers
  • IV. Battalion - formed upon reorganization
    • Headquarters Battery and Signals Platoon
    • 10. Battery - 105 mm howitzers
    • 11. Battery - 105 mm howitzers
    • 12 Battery - 6 x Nebelwerfer
  • Armoured Observation Battery
  • Sound Ranging Platoon
  • 2 x Flash Spotting Platoon
  • Survey Platoon
  • Warning Platoon
  • 2 x Analysis Platoons

Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion "Großdeutschland"

Reorganizations in June 1943 involved renumbering the 3.7 FlaK batteries 1 and 2, and the addition of 6 Battery

  • 1. Battery - 3.7 cm self propelled
  • 2. Battery - 3.7 cm self propelled
  • 3. Battery - 4 x 8.8 cm - halftracked prime movers
  • 4. Battery - 4 x 8.8 cm - halftracked prime movers
  • 5. Battery - 4 x 8.8 cm - halftracked prime movers
  • 6. Battery - Quadruple anti-aircraft guns

Panzerjäger (Anti-Tank) Battalion "Großdeutschland"

  • 1. (Self Propelled) Company
    • 1. Platoon - 3 x Marder
    • 2. Platoon - 3 x Marder
    • 3. Platoon - 3 x Marder
  • 2. Company
    • 4 x 5cm PaK 38 AT gun
    • 4 x 5cm PaK 38 AT gun
    • 4 x 5cm PaK 38 AT gun
  • 3. Company
    • 4 x 5cm PaK 38 AT gun
    • 4 x 5cm PaK 38 AT gun
    • 4 x 5cm PaK 38 AT gun

Panzer Aufklärungs (Armoured Reconnaissance) Battalion "Großdeutschland"

Upon expansion to a panzergrenadier Division, this battalion adopted golden-yellow waffenfarbe and cavalry traditions for all its companies.

  • Battalion HQ
    • 8 motorcycles
    • 2 Kfz 15 cars
    • 1 Sd Kfz 247 armoured car
    • Battalion Maint Det - 1 motorcycle/sidecar, 1 car (2/40), 1 light car, 2 x 3ton trucks
    • Battalion train - 1 motorcycle, 2 light cars, 1 Kfz 15 car, 2 light trucks, 2 medium trucks, 1 medium (33 seat) bus
    • Signal Platoon
      • HQ Section - 1 mc, 1 mc with sidecar, 1 Kfz 15 car
      • 2 x pack radio sections "b" each with Kfz 2
      • 1 light armoured radio section "b" with 1 armoured car Sd Kfz 260
      • 4 x light armoured radio section "c" with 1 armoured car Sd Kfz 261
      • 3 x med armoured radio section "b" each with 1 car (Kfz 15) and 1 armoured car Sd Kfz 263
    • 1. (Armd Car) Squadron
      • Squadron HQ - 2 motorcycles, 5 motorcycle/sidecars, 1 Kfz 15 car
      • Heavy Armoured Car platoon - 3 x Sd Kfz 231, 3 x Sd Kfz 232
      • Light Armoured Car Platoon - 4 x Sd Kfz 222, 2 x Sd Kfz 223
      • Light Armoured Car Platoon - 4 x Sd Kfz 222, 2 x Sd Kfz 223
      • Light Armoured Car Platoon - 4 x Sd Kfz 222, 2 x Sd Kfz 223
      • Maintenance Section - 1 mc/sidecar, 1 car (2/40) 2 x 2 ton truck
      • Squadron Train - 1 Kfz 15 car, 3 x 2 ton truck, 1 med truck, 3 ton truck
    • 2. (Armd Recon) Squadron
      • Squadron HQ - 4 motorcycles, 1 mc/sidecar, 2 x SPW 250/3
      • Recon Platoon
        • HQ Sec - SPW 250, SPW 250/10
        • Squad - 2 x SPW 250/1
        • Squad - as above
        • Squad - as above
        • Squad - 2 x LMG
      • Recon Platoon - as above
      • Recon Platoon - as above
      • Heavy Platoon
        • HQ section - mc, SPW 250/1
        • HMG section - 3 x SPW 250/1, 2 x HMG
        • HMG section - as above
        • Mtr section - 2 x SPW 250/7, 2 SPW 250/7 without mortar (ammo carrier?)
      • Maintenance Section - 1 mc/sidecar, 2 x 2 ton trucks, 1 Kfz 10 halftrack, 1 x LMG
      • Squadron train -Kfz 15 car, 2 ton truck, med truck, 2 x 3 ton truck
    • 3. (Recon) Squadron (Volkswagen)
      • Squadron HQ - 4 motorcycles, 2 x Kubelwagen (Kfz 1)
      • Recon Platoon
        • HQ section - 1 mc, 1 x Kubel (Kfz 1), 1 anti-tank rifle
        • Squad - 4 x Kubel
        • Squad - as above
        • Squad - as above
        • Recon Squad - 2 x LMG
      • Recon Platoon - as above
      • Recon Platoon - as above
      • Heavy Platoon
        • HQ section - mc, 3 x Kubel
        • HMG sec - 7 x Kubel, 2 x HMG
        • HMG sec - as above
        • Mortar sec - 3 x trucks (Kfz 70) and 2 mortars (81 mm)
      • Maintenance Section - 1 mc/sidecar, 1 car (2/40)
      • Squadron train - Kubel (Kfz 1), 2 ton truck, med truck, 3 ton truck
    • 4. (Recon) Squadron (Volkswagen) - As above
    • 5. (Heavy) Squadron
      • Squadron HQ 3 x mc, 2 x mc/sidecar, 1 Kfz 15
        • Light telephone sec - 1 Kfz 15
        • Maintenance section - mc/sidecar, 1 car (2/40)
        • Anti-Tank Platoon - HQ sec - mc, mc/sidecar, Kfz 15
          • Ammo sec - 2 Sd Kfz 10 halftracks, 2 ammo trailers
          • Gun sect - 3 Sd Kfz 10 halftracks, 3 x 50 mm Anti-Tank guns, 3 x LMG
        • Pionier Platoon - HQ sec - mc, mc/Sidecar, Kfz 15, 2 x 2 ton truck
          • 4 x Engineer section (each with 2 ton truck)
          • 1 x Engineer section with LMG
        • Anti-Tank gun sec - mc/sidecar, 3 x Kfz 70 truck, 3 x 28 mm ATG, 3 x LMG
        • Infantry Gun Platoon HQ sec - 1 mc, 1 mc/sidecar, 1 Kfz 69 truck
          • Ammo sec - Kfz 69 truck, ammo trailer
          • Gun sec - 2 x Kfz 69 trucks, 2 light 75 mm Infantry guns
      • Squadron train - Kfz 15, 2 ton truck, med truck, 3 ton truck
        • Motorized light column
          • Column HQ - 3 x motorcycle, 4 x mc/sidecar, Kfz 15, 3 x LMG
          • 1 Section - mc, 5 x 2 ton truck
          • 2 Section - 4 x medium truck
          • Column train - mc/sidecar, 2 x medium truck

Panzer (Tank) Regiment "Großdeutschland"

  • Regimental Headquarters
    • HQ Company - 17 x PzKpfw IV
    • I. Battalion
      • Battalion Headquarters Company - 17 x PzKpfw IV
      • 1. Company
        • HQ Platoon - 3 x PzKpfw V
        • 1. Platoon - 5 x PzKpfw V
        • 2. Platoon - 5 x PzKpfw V
        • 3. Platoon - 5 x PzKpfw V
      • 2. Company
        • HQ Platoon - 3 x PzKpfw IV
        • 1. Platoon - 5 x PzKpfw IV
        • 2. Platoon - 5 x PzKpfw IV
        • 3. Platoon - 5 x PzKpfw IV
      • 3. Company
      • 4. Company
    • II. Battalion (raised February 1943) as per I. Battalion
      • Battalion Headquarters Company
      • 5. Company
      • 6. Company
      • 7. Company
      • 8. Company
    • III. Battalion (joined Division August 1943)
      • Battalion Headquarters
      • Headquarters Company - signals platoon, scout platoon (motorcycles), pioneer platoon (2 x SPW, 4 trucks), flak platoon with 4 x quadruple guns, reconnaissance platoon with 7 x SPW
        • 9. Company - 14 Tigers
        • 10. Company -14 Tigers
        • 11. Company - 14 Tigers
  • Heavy Workshop Company
  • Maintenance Platoon - 3 Ton Trucks

Sturmpionier (Assault Pioneer) Battalion "Großdeutschland"

  • Headquarters
    • 1. Company - 219 Officers and Men
      • 1 Platoon
      • 2 Platoon
      • 3 (Storm boat) Platoon - 27 assault boats

This company was outfitted with armoured personnel carriers after Kursk.

  • 2. Company - 219 Officers and Men
    • 1 Platoon
    • 2 Platoon
    • 3 (Storm boat) Platoon - 27 assault boats
  • 3.Company - 219 Officers and Men
    • 1 Platoon
    • 2 Platoon
    • 3 (Storm boat) Platoon - 27 assault boats
  • "K" Type Bridging Column - Transported "K" type bridges - assembly responsibility of the companies above.
  • Light Pioneer Column

Sturmgeschütz (Assault Gun) Battalion "Großdeutschland"

Formed from 16th Company, Infantry Regiment GD and the 192nd Assault Gun Battalion.

  • Headquarters
  • 1. Battery - also includes Sd Kfz 252 or 260/6 ammunition carrier - 6 x StuG III (7.5cm StuK gun)
  • 2. Battery - also includes Sd Kfz 252 or 260/6 ammunition carrier - 6 x StuG III (7.5cm StuK gun)
  • 3. Battery - also includes Sd Kfz 252 or 260/6 ammunition carrier - 6 x StuG III (7.5cm StuK gun)

Panzer Nachrichten (Armoured Signals) Battalion "Großdeutschland"

Formed from IR GD Signals Company and remnants of 309th Signals Battalion

  • Telephone Company
  • Radio Company

Medical Battalion "Großdeutschland"

  • Medical Company
    • Heavy Platoon
    • Light Platoon
    • Pharmacy
    • Dental Station
  • Medical Company
    • Heavy Platoon
    • Light Platoon
    • Pharmacy
    • Dental Station
  • GD Field Hospital
    • 1. Ambulance Platoon
    • 2. Ambulance Platoon
    • 3. Ambulance Platoon

Supply Services

Formed from IR GD Supply Services

  • Supply Services - 18 columns
  • Field Workshop Company
  • Field Workshop Company
  • Field Workshop Company
  • Replacement Parts Company
  • Armourer-Artificer Platoon
  • Administrative Services
  • Bakery Company
  • Butcher Company
  • Division Ration Office
  • Field Post Office

Commanders

Infantry Division GD (1 Apr 1942 - 1 Jun 1943) Panzergrenadier Division GD (June 1943 - 8 May 1945)
Generalmajor (later Generalleutnant) Walther Hoernlein 1 April 1942 - 27 January 1944
General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck (temporary command) 3 Apr 1943 - 30 Jun 1943
Generalleutnant Hasso von Manteuffel 27 January 1944 - 1 September 1944
Oberst Karl Lorenz 1 September 1944 - May 1945
Artillery Regiment GD
Oberst Georg Jauer 15 Mar 1942 - Dec 1942
Oberst Reinke
Oberstleutnant Albrecht
Hauptmann Dr. Ritter
Burchardt
Panzer Regiment GD
Oberst Hyazinth Graf Strachwitz von Gross-Zauche und Camminetz January 1943 - November 1943
Major Pfeffer (PanzerAbteilung 51, in temporary command of Pz Regt GD)
Oberst Büsing (Killed in Action 8 March 1944)
Oberst Willi Langkeit 1 March 1944 - 1 November 1944
Oberstleutnant Bruno Kahl 1 November 1944 - May 1945
Infantry Regiment GD 1 (1 Apr 1942 - 1 Oct 1942) Grenadier Regiment GD (1 Oct 1942 - June 1943)
Panzergrenadier Regiment GD (June 1943 - 8 May 1945)
Oberst Köhler 1 Apr 1942 - 1 Dec 1942 (Killed in Action)
Oberst Karl Lorenz 1 Dec 1942 - 14 Dec 1942
Oberst Kurt Moehring 14 Dec 1942 - 14 Jan 1943
Oberst Karl Lorenz 14 Jan 1943 - 1 August 1944
Major Hugo Schimmel 1 August 1944 - August 1944
Major Harald Kriegk (?) October 1944
Major Wolfgang Heesemann November 1944 - Feb 1945 (Killed in Action)
Major Krützman Feb 1945 - War's End
Infantry Regiment GD 2 (1 Apr 1942 - 1 Oct 1942) Füsilier Regiment GD (1 Oct 1942 - June 1943)
Panzerfüsilier Regiment GD (June 1943 - 8 May 1945)
Oberst Eugen Garski 1 Apr 1942 - 30 Sep 1942 (Killed in Action)
Oberst Erich Kahsnitz 21 Oct 1942 - 3 July 1943 (fatally wounded and died of wounds on 29 July 1943 in Germany)
Oberst Schulte-Heuthaus 7 July 1943 - 4 Sep 1943 (Wounded in action)
Major Rudolf Watjen 4 Sep 1943 - 18 Sep 1943
Major Wack 18 Sep 1943 - 15 Oct 1943
Oberst Horst Niemack 16 Oct 1943 - 24 August 1944
Oberst Heinz Wittchow von Brese-Winiary 3 Sep 1944 - 13 Feb 1945 (Dismissed, captured 18 Feb 1945)
Oberstleutnant Maxemilian Fabich 13 Feb 1945 - May 1945

War Crimes

The book German Army and Genocide (ISBN 1-56584-525-0) mentions the following incident, from the invasion of Yugoslavia:

When one German soldier was shot and one seriously wounded in Pancevo, Wehrmacht soldiers and the Waffen SS rounded up about 100 civilians at random...the town commander, Lt. Col. Fritz Bandelow conducted the Court's Martial...The presiding judge, SS-Sturmbannführer Rudolf Hoffmann sentenced 36 of those arrested to death. On April 21, 1941, four of the civilians were the first to be shot...On the following day eighteen victims were hanged in a cemetery and fourteen more were shot at the cemetery wall by an execution squad of the Wehrmacht's Grossdeutschland regiment. (Page 42)

Part of the photographic presentation for the book included the photo at right. The GD cuff title on the officer is clearly visible. The official GD history by Helmuth Spaeter mentions only that "Draconian measures were occasionally required to halt looting by the civilian population" in Belgrade. The events of 21 April in Pancevo are not discussed directly, though many references are made to "security duties" in Yugoslavia.

The subject of Grossdeutschland's complicity in war crimes was the subject of the book by Omer Bartov The Eastern Front, 1941-45, German Troops, and the Barbarization of Warfare (1986, ISBN 0-312-22486-9). The link, however, between GD's and atrocities is never fully realized. A complete discussion is available at the GD for CM website

Bibliography

Printed references

  • Jung, Hans Joachim (c1990s). The History of Panzerregiment "Grossdeutschland" (English Translation). Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 0-921991-51-7.
  • de Lannoy, François and Jean-Claude Perrigault La division Grossdeutschland ("The Grossdeutschland Division from Regiment to Panzerkorps 1939-1945") French edition, Editions Heimdal
  • Lee, Cyrus A. Soldat: The World War Two German Army Combat Uniform Collector's Guide (Volume V: Uniforms and Insignia of Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland 1939-1945) (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, Missoula, MT, 1993) ISBN 0-929521-76-5
  • Lucas, James Germany's Elite Panzer Force: Grossdeutschland (MacDonald's and Jane's, London, 1978) ISBN 0-354-01165-0
  • McGuirl, Thomas & Remy Spezzano (1997). God, Honor, Fatherland: A photo history of Panzergrenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" on the Eastern Front. 1942 - 1944. Southbury (Connecticut, USA). ISBN 0-9657584-0-0.
  • Novotny, Alfred THE GOOD SOLDIER: FROM AUSTRIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY TO COMMUNIST CAPTIVITY WITH A SOLDIER OF PANZER-GRENADIER DIVISION "GROSSDEUTSCHLAND" (The Aberjona Press, 2002.) ISBN 0-9666389-9-9
  • Quarrie, Bruce Panzer-Grenadier Division "Grossdeutschland" (VANGUARD series book, Osprey Publishing Group, London, UK. 1977. US version published in 1978 by Squadron/Signal Publications, Warren, MI.) ISBN 0-85045-055-1
  • Scheibert, Horst (Bruce Culver Editor) Panzer Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland (English version by Squadron Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX, 1987) ISBN 089747061
  • Sharpe, Michael and Brian L. Davis GROSSDEUTSCHLAND: Guderian's Eastern Front Elite, Compendium Publishing Ltd, 2001 ISBN 0-7110-2854-0.
  • Solarz, Jacek. Division/Korps "Großdeutschland" 1943-1945 Vol. I and II. (Polish/English edition by Wydawnictwo "Militaria", Warsaw, 2005) ISBN 83-7219-237-5
  • Spaeter, Helmut (c1990s). The History of the Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland Vol I-III (English Translation). Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 0-921991-50-9.
  • Spaeter, Helmut (1990). Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland: A Pictorial History (English Translation). USA: Schiffer Books. ISBN 0-88740-245-3.

Web resources

Notes

  1. Spaeter, Helmuth. History of the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland Volume I. Page 290
  2. Sharpe, Michael and Brian L. Davis Grossdeutschland: Guderian's Eastern Front Elite, p.39

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