All about Invasion of Poland…
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War (Polish: Kampania wrześniowa orWojna obronna 1939 roku) in Poland and the Poland Campaign (German: Polenfeldzug) in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe. The invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, and ended 6 October 1939 with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland.
The morning after the Gleiwitz incident, German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. As the Germans advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish-German border to more established lines of defence to the east. After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces then withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected French and British support and relief.
The Soviet Red Army’s invasion of the Kresy on 17 September, in accordance with a secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, rendered the Polish plan of defence obsolete. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock, German and Soviet Union forces gained full control over Poland. The success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, though Poland never formally surrendered.
On 8 October, Germany directly annexed western Poland and the former Free City of Danzig and placed the remaining block of territory under administration of the newly established General Government. The Soviet Union immediately started a campaign ofsovietization of the newly acquired areas. This included staged elections, the results of which were used to legitimize the Soviet Union’s annexation of eastern Poland. In the aftermath of the invasion, a collective of underground resistance organizationsformed the Polish Underground State within the territory of the former Polish state. Many of the military exiles that managed to escape Poland subsequently joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West, an armed force loyal to the Polish government in exile.
The Imperial Japanese Navy started their submarine service with five Holland Type VII submarines purchased from the Electric Boat Companyin 1904. Japan had the most varied fleet of submarines of World War II; including Kaiten crewed torpedoes, midget submarines (Ko-hyoteki andKairyu), medium-range submarines, purpose-built supply submarines and long-range fleet submarines. They also had submarines with the highest submerged speeds during World War II (I-200-class submarines) and submarines that could carry multiple aircraft (I-400-class submarine). They were also equipped with one of the most advanced torpedoes of the conflict, the oxygen-propelled Type 95.
Nevertheless, despite their technical prowess, Japan had chosen to utilize its submarines for fleet warfare, and consequently were relatively unsuccessful, as warships were fast, maneuverable and well-defended compared to merchant ships. In 1942, a Japanese submarine sank one aircraft carrier, damaged one battleship, and damaged one destroyer (which sank later) from one torpedo salvo; and during the Battle of Midwaywere able to deliver the coup de grace to another fleet aircraft carrier. With the lack of fuel oil and air supremacy, Imperial submarines were not able to sustain those kind of results afterwards. By the end of the war, submarines were instead often used to transport supplies to island garrisons.
The United States Navy used its submarine force to attack both warships and merchant shipping; and destroyed more Japanese shipping than all other weapons combined. This feat was considerably aided by the Imperial Japanese Navy’s failure to provide adequate escort forces for the nation’s merchant fleet.
Whereas Japan had the finest submarine torpedoes of the war, the U.S. Navy had the worst: the Mark 14 torpedo that ran ten feet too deep, tipped with a Mk VI exploder that was based on an unimproved version of the Mark V contact exploder but with an additional magnetic exploder, neither of which was reliable. The faulty depth control mechanism of the Mark 14 was corrected in August 1942, but field trials for the exploders were not ordered until mid-1943, when tests in Hawaii and Australia confirmed the flaws. Fully operational Mark 14 torpedoes were not put into service until September 1943. The Mark 15 torpedo used by US surface combatants had the same Mk VI exploder and was not fixed until late 1943. One attempt to correct the problems resulted in a wakeless, electric torpedo being placed in submarine service, but USSTang and Tullibee were lost to self-inflicted hits by these torpedoes.
During World War II, 314 submarines served in the United States Navy, of which nearly 260 were deployed to the Pacific. On December 7, 1941, 111 boats were in commission; 203 submarines from the Gato, Balao, and Tench classes were commissioned during the war. During the war, 52 US submarines were lost to all causes, with 48 lost directly to hostilities; 3,505 sailors were lost, the highest percentage killed in action of any US service arm in World War II. US submarines sank 1,560 enemy vessels, a total tonnage of 5.3 million tons, including 8 aircraft carriers and over 200 warships.
The Royal Navy Submarine Service was primarily used to enforce the classic British blockade role. It therefore chiefly operated in inshore waters and tended to only surface by night.
Its major operating areas were around Norway, the Mediterranean (against the Axis supply routes to North Africa), and in the Far East. Royal Navy submarines operating out of Trincomalee and Australia were a constant threat to Japanese shipping passing through the Malacca Straits.
In the war British submarines sank 2 million tons of enemy shipping and 57 major warships, the latter including 35 submarines. Amongst these is the only instance ever of a submarine sinking another submarine while both were submerged. This occurred when HMS Venturer engaged the U864; the Venturer crew manually computed a successful firing solution against a three-dimensionally manoeveuring target using techniques which became the basis of modern torpedo computer targeting systems. Seventy-four British submarines were lost, half probably tonaval mines, the majority of all losses, (42), being in the Mediterranean.
Diesel-electric submarines need air to run their diesel engines, and so carried very large batteries for submerged operation. The need to recharge the batteries from the diesel engines limited the endurance of the submarine while submerged and required it to surface regularly for extended periods, during which it was especially vulnerable to detection and attack. The snorkel, a pre-war Dutch invention, was used to allow German submarines to run their diesel engines whilst running just under the surface, drawing air through a tube from the surface.
The German Navy also experimented with engines that would use hydrogen peroxide to allow diesel fuel to be used while submerged, but technical difficulties were great. The Allies experimented with a variety of detection systems, including chemical sensors to “smell” the exhaust of submarines.
Cold-war diesel-electric submarines, such as the Oberon class, used batteries to power their electric motors in order to run silently. They recharged the batteries using the diesel engines without ever surfacing.
Modern military submarines…
The first launch of a cruise missile (SSM-N-8 Regulus) from a submarine occurred in July 1953 from the deck of USS Tunny, a World War IIfleet boat modified to carry this missile with a nuclear warhead. Tunny and her sister boat Barbero were the United States’s first nuclear deterrent patrol submarines. They were joined in 1958 by two purpose built Regulus submarines, Grayback, Growler, and, later, by the nuclear powered Halibut.
In the 1950s, nuclear power partially replaced diesel-electric propulsion. Equipment was also developed to extract oxygen from sea water. These two innovations gave submarines the ability to remain submerged for weeks or months, and enabled previously impossible voyages such as USS Nautilus‘ crossing of the North pole beneath the Arctic ice cap in 1958 and the USS Triton‘s submerged circumnavigation of the world in 1960. Most of the naval submarines built since that time in the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia have been powered by nuclear reactors. The limiting factors in submerged endurance for these vessels are food supply and crew morale in the space-limited submarine.
In 1959–1960, the first ballistic missile submarines were put into service by both the United States (George Washington class) and the Soviet Union (Hotel class) as part of the Cold Warnuclear deterrent strategy.
While the greater endurance and performance from nuclear reactors makes nuclear submarines better for long-distance missions or the protection of a carrier battle group, their reactor cooling pumps have traditionally made them noisier, and thus easier to detect, than conventional diesel-electric submarines. Diesel-electrics have continued to be produced by both nuclear and non-nuclear powers as they lack this limitation, except when required to run the diesel engine to recharge the ship’s battery. Recent technological advances in sound damping, noise isolation, and cancellation have made nuclear subs quieter and substantially eroded this disadvantage. Though far less capable regarding speed and weapons payload, conventional submarines are also cheaper to build. The introduction of air-independent propulsion boats, conventional diesel-electric submarines with some kind of auxiliary air-independent electricity generator, have led to increased sales of such types of submarines.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union maintained large submarine fleets that engaged in cat-and-mouse games. The Soviet Union suffered the loss of at least four submarines during this period: K-129 was lost in 1968 (which the CIA attempted to retrieve from the ocean floor with the Howard Hughes-designed ship Glomar Explorer), K-8 in 1970, K-219 in 1986, and Komsomolets in 1989 (which held a depth record among military submarines—1000 m). Many other Soviet subs, such as K-19 (the first Soviet nuclear submarine, and the first Soviet sub to reach the North Pole) were badly damaged by fire or radiation leaks. The US lost two nuclear submarines during this time: USSThresher due to equipment failure during a test dive while at its operational limit, and USS Scorpion due to unknown causes.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Pakistan Navy’s Hangor sank the Indian frigate INS Khukri. This was the first kill by a submarine since World War II, and the only one until the United Kingdom employed nuclear-powered submarines against Argentina in 1982 during theFalklands War. The Argentine cruiser General Belgrano was sunk by HMS Conqueror (the first sinking by a nuclear-powered submarine in war). The PNS Ghazi, a Tench-class submarine on loan to Pakistan from the US, was sunk in the Indo-Pakistani War. It was the first submarine casualty since World War II during war time.
More recently, Russia has had three high profile submarine accidents. The Kursk went down with all hands in 2000; the K-159 sank while being towed to a scrapyard in 2003, with nine lives lost; and the Nerpa had an accident with the fire-extinguishing system resulting in twenty deaths in late 2008.
India launched its first locally built nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Arihant, on July 26, 2009.
A North Korean submarine’s torpedo allegedly sank a South Korean navy ship on 26 March 2010.
- 1903 – Simon Lake submarine Protector surfaced through ice off Newport, Rhode Island.
- 1930 – USS O-12 operated under ice near Spitsbergen.
- 1937 – Soviet submarine Krasnogvardeyets operated under ice in the Denmark Strait.
- 1941-45 – German U-boats operated under ice from the Barents Sea to the Laptev Sea.
- 1946 – USS Atule used upward-beamed fathometer in Operation Nanook in the Davis Strait.
- 1946-47 – USS Sennet used under-ice SONAR in Operation High Jump in the Antarctic.
- 1947 – USS Boarfish used upward-beamed echo sounder under pack ice in the Chukchi Sea.
- 1948 – USS Carp developed techniques for making vertical ascents and descents through polynyas in the Chukchi Sea.
- 1952 – USS Redfish used an expanded upward-beamed sounder array in the Beaufort Sea.
- 1957 – USS Nautilus reached 87 degrees north near Spitsbergen.
- 3 August 1958 – Nautilus used an inertial navigation system to reach the North Pole.
- 17 March 1959 – USS Skate surfaced through the ice at the north pole.
- 1960 – USS Sargo transited 900 miles (1,400 km) under ice over the shallow (125 to 180 feet/38 to 55 metres deep) Bering-Chukchi shelf.
- 1960 – USS Seadragon transited the Northwest Passage under ice.
- 1962 – Soviet November-class submarine Leninskiy Komsomol reached the north pole.
- 1970 – USS Queenfish carried out an extensive undersea mapping survey of the Siberian continental shelf.
- 1971 – HMS Dreadnought reached the North Pole.
- 6 May 1986 – USS Ray, USS Archerfish and USS Hawkbill meet and surface together at the Geographic North Pole. First multi-submarine surfacing at the Pole.
- 19 May 1987 – HMS Superb joined USS Billfish and USS Sea Devil at the North Pole. The first time British and Americans met at the North Pole.
- March 2007 – USS Alexandria participated in the Joint U.S. Navy/Royal Navy Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007) in the Arctic Ocean with theTrafalgar-class submarine HMS Tireless.
- March 2009 – USS Annapolis took part in Ice Exercise 2009 to test submarine operability and war-fighting capability in Arctic conditions.
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has only limited underwater capability. The term submarine most commonly refers to large crewed autonomous vessels; however, historically or more casually, submarine can also refer to medium sized or smaller vessels (midget submarines, wet subs),remotely operated vehicles or robots.
The word submarine was originally an adjective meaning “under the sea”, and so consequently other uses such as “submarine engineering” or “submarine cable” may not actually refer to submarines at all. Submarine was shortened from the term “submarine boat”, and is often further shortened to “sub”.
Submarines are referred to as “boats” rather than as “ships”, regardless of their size. The English term U-boat for a Germansubmarine comes from the German word for submarine, U-Boot, itself an abbreviation for Unterseeboot (“undersea boat”).
Although experimental submarines had been built before, submarine design took off during the 19th century. Submarines were first widely used in World War I, and feature in many large navies. Military usage ranges from attacking enemy ships or submarines, aircraft carrier protection, blockade running, ballistic missile submarines as part of a nuclear strike force,reconnaissance, conventional land attack (for example using a cruise missile), and covert insertion of special forces. Civilian uses for submarines include marine science, salvage, exploration and facility inspection/maintenance. Submarines can also be specialized to a function such as search and rescue, or undersea cable repair. Submarines are also used in tourism and for academic research.
Submarines have one of the largest ranges of capabilities in any vessel, ranging from small autonomous examples to one or two-person vessels operating for a few hours, to vessels which can remain submerged for 6 months such as the Russian Typhoon class. Submarines can work at greater depths than are survivable or practical for human divers. Modern deep diving submarines are derived from the bathyscaphe, which in turn was an evolution of the diving bell.
Most large submarines comprise a cylindrical body with hemispherical (and/or conical) ends and a vertical structure, usually located amidships, which houses communications and sensing devices as well as periscopes. In modern submarines this structure is the “sail” in American usage, and “fin” in European usage. A “conning tower” was a feature of earlier designs: a separate pressure hull above the main body of the boat that allowed the use of shorter periscopes. There is a propeller (or pump jet) at the rear and various hydrodynamic control fins as well as ballast tanks. Smaller, deep diving and specialty submarines may deviate significantly from this traditional layout.
History of submarines…
Early history of submarines and the first submersibles….
The first submersible with reliable information on its construction was built in 1620 by Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel, a Dutchman in the service of James I of England. It was created to the standards of the design outlined by English mathematician William Bourne. It was propelled by means of oars. The precise nature of the submarine type is a matter of some controversy; some claim that it was merely a bell towed by a boat. Two improved types were tested in the Thames between 1620 and 1624. In 2002 a two-person version of Bourne’s design was built for the BBC TV programme Building the Impossible by Mark Edwards, and successfully rowed under water at Dorney Lake, Eton.
Though the first submersible vehicles were tools for exploring under water, it did not take long for inventors to recognize their military potential. The strategic advantages of submarines were set out by Bishop John Wilkins of Chester, England, in Mathematicall Magick in 1648:
- Tis private: a man may thus go to any coast in the world invisibly, without discovery or prevented in his journey.
- Tis safe, from the uncertainty of Tides, and the violence of Tempests, which do never move the sea above five or six paces deep. From Pirates and Robbers which do so infest other voyages; from ice and great frost, which do so much endanger the passages towards the Poles.
- It may be of great advantages against a Navy of enemies, who by this may be undermined in the water and blown up.
- It may be of special use for the relief of any place besieged by water, to convey unto them invisible supplies; and so likewise for the surprisal of any place that is accessible by water.
- It may be of unspeakable benefit for submarine experiments.
First military submarines…
The first military submarine was Turtle (1775), a hand-powered egg-shaped device designed by the American David Bushnell to accommodate a single person. It was the first verified submarine capable of independent underwater operation and movement, and the first to use screws for propulsion. During the American Revolutionary War, Turtle (operated by Sgt. Ezra Lee, Continental Army) tried and failed to sink the British warship HMS Eagle, flagship of the blockaders in New York harbor on September 7, 1776.
In 1800, France built a human-powered submarine designed by American Robert Fulton, the Nautilus. The French eventually gave up on the experiment in 1804, as did the British when they later considered Fulton’s submarine design.
During the War of 1812, in 1814, Silas Halsey lost his life while using a submarine in an unsuccessful attack on a British warship stationed in New London harbor.
The Hipopotamo was the first submarine in South America. It was first tested in Ecuador on September 18, 1837. It was built by Jose Rodriguez Lavandera, who successfully crossed the Guayas River in Guayaquilaccompanied by Jose Quevedo. Rodriguez Lavandera enrolled in the Navy in 1823, becoming a Lieutenant by 1830. The Hipopotamo crossed the Guayas on two more occasions, but it was then abandoned because of lack of funding and interest from the government.
In 1851, a Bavarian artillery corporal, Wilhelm Bauer, took a submarine designed by him called the Brandtaucher (incendiary-diver), which sank on its first test dive in Kiel Harbour—but its three crewmen managed to escape, after flooding the vessel, which allowed the inside pressure to equalize. This submarine was built by August Howaldt and powered by a treadwheel. The submarine was re-discovered during a dredging operation 1887, and was raised sixteen years later. The vessel is on display in a museum in Dresden.
The submarine Flach was commissioned in 1865 by the Chilean government during the war of Chile and Peru against Spain (1864–1866). It was built by the German engineer Karl Flach. The submarine sank during tests in Valparaiso bay on May 3, 1866, with the entire eleven-man crew.
Submarines in the American Civil War…
During the American Civil War, the Union was the first to field a submarine. The French-designed Alligator was the first U.S. Navy sub and the first to feature compressed air (for air supply) and an air filtration system. Initially hand-powered by oars, it was converted after 6 months to a screw propeller powered by a hand crank. With a crew of 20, it was larger than Confederate submarines. Alligator was 47 feet (14.3 m) long and about 4 feet (1.2 m) in diameter. It was lost in a storm off Cape Hatteras on April 1, 1863 with no crew and under tow to its first combat deployment at Charleston.
The Confederate States of America fielded several human-powered submarines. The first Confederate submarine was the 30-foot (9 m) longPioneer which sank a target schooner using a towed mine during tests on Lake Pontchartrain, but was not used in combat. It was scuttled after New Orleans was captured and in 1868 was sold for scrap. The Bayou St. John Confederate Submarine was also scuttled without seeing combat, and is now on display at the Louisiana State Museum.
The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley (named for one of its financiers, Horace Lawson Hunley) was intended for attacking the North’s ships, which were blockading the South’s seaports. The submarine had a long pole with an explosive charge in the bow, called a spar torpedo. The sub had to approach an enemy vessel, attach an explosive, move away, and then detonate it. The sub was extremely hazardous to operate, and had no air supply other than what was contained inside the main compartment. On two occasions, the sub sank; on the first occasion half the crew died and on the second, the entire eight-man crew (including Hunley himself) drowned. On February 17, 1864 Hunley, sank the USS Housatonic off Charleston Harbor. Soon after signaling its success the Hunley sank due to unknown cause. Submarines did not have a major impact on the outcome of the war, but did portend their coming importance to naval warfare and increased interest in their use in naval warfare. The location of Hunley was unknown until it was officially found in 1995, and was then recovered in 2000. The sinking of the USS Housatonic was the first successful submarine attack on a warship.
German 13th Infantry Division
|Active||1 October 1934 – 11 October 1940|
|German 13th Panzer Division
|Active||11 October 1940 — January 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 13th Panzer Division was originally created in 1934 under the cover name Infanterieführer IV; it was unveiled as the 13th Infantry Division in 1935 when the creation of the Wehrmacht was announced. In 1937 it was motorized and subsequently renamed as the 13th Motorized Infantry Division, as which it participated in the campaigns against Poland (1939) and western Europe (1940). Following the Fall of France in June 1940, the division was reorganized as 13th Panzer Division. It participated in Operation Barbarossa in 1941 and the advance on the Caucasus in 1942. The division suffered heavy losses in the withdrawal of 1943 and subsequent defensive actions in the south through 1944. It was partially refitted in Hungary, where it was encircled and destroyed by Allied forces in the winter of 1944-1945; fighting occurred primarily in Budapest. The unit was re-created as Panzer Division Feldherrnhalle 2 in the spring of 1945, before surrendering in Austria at the end of the war.
- 1940 Training in Romania
- 1941 Eastern Front: Lublin, Kiev, Rostov
- 1942 Eastern Front: Mius, Kaucasus
- 1943 Kuban, Kriwoi-Rog
- 1944 Romania (destroyed), Hungary, Budapest (destroyed)
- 1945 Western Hungary, Austria
The 13th Panzer Division was formed in Vienna in October 1940 from the German 13th Motorized Infantry Division and was immediately sent to Romania for training. It serviced in Operation Barbarossa as part of Panzer Group 1 (Army Group South), and it contributed to the successful encirclements of the Soviet forces at Lublin and Kiev. At the end of 1941, it was positioned at Rostov; however, it was forced to retreat due to fierce Soviet counterattacks.
Caucasus and Kuban…
In 1942 and 1943, the division formed part of the First Panzer Army (Army Group A); it was involved in the battles for theCaucasus oil fields and in the desperate defense of the Kuban Peninsula after the Battle of Stalingrad. In the autumn of 1943, it was withdrawn to Western Ukraine, where it fought defensive battles near the river Dniepr.
The offensive of the Soviet Army pushed the Germans to their starting positions of June 1941. The 13th Panzer Division was attached to Army Group South Ukraine, which had orders to stop the Soviets from capturing the Romanian oil fields. The Red Army offensive of August 1944 resulted in the deaths or imprisonment of most of the division.
First reforming and the battles for Hungary…
The division was reformed in July and it received modern equipment, including the Mark V Panther G tank and the Jagdpanzer IV Tank Destroyer. In the Battle of Debrecen, the division helped to annihilate three Soviet tank corps; however, it was encircled in Budapest at the end of 1944 and destroyed in January 1945.
End of war…
In the spring of 1945, the division was reformed under the name Feldherrnhalle 2. The last engagements with the Soviets were fought at the Austro-Hungarian border. The 13th Panzer Division surrendered in Austria in May 1945.
During the invasion of Poland, soldiers from the division took part in massacres in the village of Drzewica on September 8 and 9. Medical columns marked with Red Crosssigns were also attacked. Soldiers from the division used civilians as human shields.
Order of Battle, October 1944…
- Panzer-Regiment 4
- Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 66
- Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 93
- Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 13
- Feldersatz-Battalion 13
- Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 13
- Heeres-Flak-Artillerie-Abteilung 271
- Panzerjäger-Abteilung 13
- Panzer-Pionier-Battalion 4
- Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 13
- Panzer-Versorgungstruppen 13
- Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm von Rotkirch und Panthen (11 October 1940 – 25 June 1941
- Generalleutnant Walther Düvert (25 June 1941 – 30 November 1941)
- General der Panzertruppen Traugott Herr (1 December 1941 – 1 November 1942)
- Generalleutnant Hellmut von der Chevallerie (1 November 1942 – 1 December 1942)
- Generalmajor Wilhelm Crisolli (1 December 1942 – 15 May 1943)
- Generalleutnant Hellmut von der Chevallerie (15 May 1943 – 1 September 1943)
- Generalleutnant Eduard Hauser (1 September 1943 – 26 December 1943)
- Generalleutnant Hans Mikosch (26 December 1943 – 18 May 1944)
- Oberst Friedrich von Hake (18 May 1944 – 25 May 1944)
- Generalleutnant Hans Tröger (25 May 1944 – 9 September 1944)
- Generalmajor Gerhard Schmidhuber (9 September 1944 – 11 February 1945)
- ^ “Zbrodnie niemieckie na terenie powiatu opoczyńskiego 1939 – 1945″. Archived from the original on 2009-10-19.
- Pipes, Jason. “13.Panzer-Division”. Retrieved April 1, 2005.
- Wendel, Marcus (2005). “13. Panzer-Division”. Retrieved April 1, 2005.
- “13. Panzerdivision”. German language article at http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de. Retrieved April 1, 2005.
- Burkhard Müller-Hillebrand: Das Heer 1933-1945. Entwicklung des organisatorischen Aufbaues. Vol.III: Der Zweifrontenkrieg. Das Heer vom Beginn des Feldzuges gegen die Sowjetunion bis zum Kriegsende. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1969, p. 285.
- Georg Tessin: Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 1939 – 1945. Vol. III: Die Landstreitkräfte 6 – 14. Mittler: Frankfurt am Main 1967.
German 10th Panzer Division…
10th Panzer Division insignia (1941—1943)
|Garrison/HQ||Wehrkreis V: Stuttgart|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 10th Panzer Division was a formation of the German Wehrmacht during World War II.
It was formed in Prague in March 1939, and served in the Army Group North reserve during the invasion of Poland of the same year. The division participated in the Battle of France in 1940, where it captured Calais, and in Operation Barbarossa with Army Group Center in 1941. After taking heavy casualties on the Eastern Front it was sent back to France for rehabilitation and to serve as a strategic reserve against potential Allied invasion. The division was rushed to Tunisia after Operation Torch (1942) and spent spent six months in that theatre, where it engaged both British and American forces. It caused severe losses to the “green” US Army in some of their first encounters with the Germans under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel at the Battle of Kasserine Pass(1943). It was later lost in the general Axis surrender in North Africa in May 1943 and officially disbanded in June 1943. Unlike many other divisions destroyed at this point in the war the 10th Panzer Division was never rebuilt, and thus permanently disappeared from the German order of battle.
In honour of notable members of the 10th Panzer Division being part of the German Resistance and the failed July 20 Plot to killAdolf Hitler in 1944, a new armoured division was named 10. Panzerdivision in 1959 upon the reinstallation of the West German Army as a part of the Bundeswehr.
For most of its history, the division was organized into three regiments. The tanks were organised into the 7th Panzer Regiment, and the panzergrenadiers (mechanized infantry) into the 69th Panzer Grenadier Regiment and the 86th Panzer Grenadier Regiment. The 90th Panzer Artillery Regiment, the 10th Motorcycle Battalion, the 90th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion, the 90th Tank Destroyer Battalion, the 49th Panzer Engineer Battalion, the 90th Signal Battalion, and the 90th Panzer Divisional Supply Troops were also assigned to the division.
The 10th Panzer Division was first formed on 1 April 1939 in Prague, as a composite unit made up of previously established units throughout Germany. Many of these units were transferred from the 20th Motorized Division, the 29th Motorized Division, and the 3rd Light Division. By fall of 1939, the division was still forming, but was nonetheless committed to the1939 Invasion of Poland before the process was complete. For that reason, the 10th Panzer Division remained in reserve for most of that campaign. It was moved from Pomerania in August into Poland, where it was hastily given control of the 7th Panzer Regiment, the 4th Panzer Brigade and several SS units.
The division completed its formation by winter of 1940. It consisted of the 10th Rifle Brigade with the 69th and 86th Rifle Regiments, the 4th Panzer Brigade with the 7th and 8th Panzer Regiments, and the 90th Artillery Regiment.
Once complete, the division was sent to France to participate in the Battle of France. Committed to the XIX Motorized Corps, the 10th Panzer Division was committed to the southern axis of the fight, with the 1st and 2nd Panzer Divisions as well as Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland. It advanced through Luxembourg broke through the French lines at the Muese River near Sedan, all the way to the English Channel in its first engagement. At Sedan, the division remained briefly in reserve to protect the German bridgehead across the river from French counterattack. From there, the division pushed allied forces from the ports in the Flanders region, before engaged in mopping-up operations in western areas of France after the French surrender. Following this, the division engaged in occupation duty and training in France.
In March 1941, the division was recalled to Germany, and moved to the border with the Soviet Union in June of that year in preparation for Operation Barbarosa. Once the operation was launched, the division fought in engagements at Minsk, Smolensk, Vyasma, and the Battle of Moscow. It remained in the region during the Russian winter offensive of 1941-1942, holding Juchnow, near Rzhev, against repeated Russian counterattacks from January to April 1942. By 1942, the division had suffered massive casualties and losses, forcing it to be withdrawn to rebuild.
The division was sent to Amiens, France for rehabilitation. Here, it was reorganized, eliminating the brigade headquarters because the division had been so badly mauled it no longer needed them. In 1942, the division was rushed to Dieppe, where it played a minor role in countering the Dieppe Raid by Allied forces. Once the Allies landed in North Africa, the 10th Panzer Division was placed in occupation duty in Vichy France, and rushed to the African Theater in late 1942 as soon as transport became available. It landed in Tunisia and participating in the Battle of Kasserine Pass and several of the other early battles with units of the United States Army, newly committed to the war. In December 1942, the division, now a part of Fifth Panzer Army, consolidated defenses around Tunis, and the battle-weary troops were able to form a line against the advancing allied forces.
The division remained fighting during the early months of 1943. At that time, when the Axis line collapsed in May 1943, the division was trapped. It surrendered on May 12 and was never rebuilt.
The division was commanded by six men during its existence, including twice when acting commanders filled Wolfgang Fischer’s command.
|Generalmajor Georg Gawantka||1 May 1939 – 14 July 1939|
|Generalleutnant Ferdinand Schaal||1 September 1939 – 2 August 1941|
|Generalleutnant Wolfgang Fischer||2 August 1941 – 1 February 1943|
|Oberst Günther Angern (Acting)||8 August 1941 – 27 August 1941|
|Oberst Nikolaus von Cormann (Acting)||19 November 1942 – December 1942|
|Generalleutnant Friedrich Freiherr von Broich||1 February 1943 – 12 May 1943|
Several Wehrmacht officers who had served in the 10th Panzer Division were active in the German Resistance against Adolf Hitler and were imprisoned or executed after their unsuccessful attempt to assassinate him in the July 20 Plot of 1944:
- General der Panzertruppen Ferdinand Schaal, active in the resistance and imprisoned until the end of the war.
- Syndikus Albrecht von Hagen, active in the resistance and executed after the failure of the July 20 Plot.
- Oberst Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, who placed the bomb that was intended to kill Hitler at Wolfsschanze. He was executed and later became a symbolic figure of the German Resistance in post-war Germany. The Graf-Stauffenberg-Kaserne in Sigmaringen is the HQ garrison of the newly formed post-war 10. Panzerdivision of the Bundeswehr. Both were named as such in remembrance
Also serving with the division was Unteroffizier Erich Peter, who served from 1939 to 1943, later became Generaloberst and Deputy Minister for National Defense and Chief of the Border Police Troops of the German Democratic Republic.
German 7th Panzer Division…
Nickname – “Ghost Division”
Notable Commanders – Erwin Rommel
|German 7th Panzer Division…|
|Active||18 October 1939 – 8 May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 7th Panzer Division was a German elite armored formation which participated in the Battle of France. General Erwin Rommel commanded the division, which was nicknamed the “Ghost Division” because of its speed and independent movement, which even the German High Command had difficulty following. After service in France, the division served mainly on the Eastern Front, ending its days in the defense of Germany and surrendering to the British army north west of Berlin in 1945.
The 7th Panzer Division in France…
After the successful completion of the invasion of Poland, Hitler allowed Erwin Rommel to choose whatever unit he would like to command. Although Rommel had no practical experience in tank warfare, he asked for a Panzer division and on 15 February 1940 he received command of the 7th Panzer Division. In preparation for the invasion of the low countries, the 7th Panzer Division became part of the 15th Panzer Corps under the command of General Hoth.
“Ghost Division” / “Phantom Division” under Erwin Rommel…
The 7th Panzer Division moved with great speed through France and covered vast distance. During the Battle of France, the 7th Panzer Division earned the name of theGespensterdivision (German:”Ghost/Phantom Division”) because of its speed and because nobody seemed to know where it was, not even the German High Command. Rommel had a “lead from the front” attitude and would sometimes cut communications with High Command if he wished to not be disturbed. His behavior showed confidence in the blitzkrieg concept; his success and favor with Hitler would prevent repercussions from his insubordination to the High Command. Nevertheless, Rommel was criticized by staff for being difficult to contact and locate. Rommel described the French Campaign in his letters to his wife as “a lightning Tour de France”.
Timeline – 7th Panzer Division in Belgium and France…
- 12 May 1940 – 7th Panzer Division reaches Dinant.
- 13 May 1940 – Crosses River Meuse after heavy fighting.
- 15 May 1940 – Reaches Philippeville and continues Westward passing Avesnes and Le Cateau.
- 21 May 1940 – Reaches Arras where counter attacked by 2 British Tank Regiments. British tank advance stopped by feared Flak 88 “Tank Killers”.
- 5 June 1940 – Positioned near Abbeville.
- 8 June 1940 – Reaches outskirts of Rouen.
- 10 June 1940 – Reaches English Channel West of Dieppe.
- 17 June 1940 – Reaches Southern outskirts of Cherbourg.
- 19 June 1940 – Garrison of Cherbourg surrenders to Rommel.
- 25 June 1940 - Fighting ends for 7th Panzer Division in France.
Organization / Order of Battle…
- 25 Panzer Regiment
- 66 Panzer Battalion
- 7 Motorcycle Battalion
- 6 Motorized Infantry Regiment
- 7 Motorized Infantry Regiment
- 37 Reconnaissance Battalion
- 78 Motorized Artillery Regiment
- 58 Motorized Combat Engineer Battalion
- 42 Antitank Battalion
7th Panzer Division on the Eastern Front – Feb 1941 to May 1942
During Operation Barbarossa, units of 7th Panzer Division were able to penetrate to within sight of the towers of St Basil’s Cathedral next to the Kremlin in the center of Moscow
- Generalmajor Georg Stumme (18 October 1939 – 5 February 1940)
- Generalmajor Erwin Rommel (5 February 1940 – 14 February 1941)
- Generalmajor Hans Freiherr von Funck (15 February 1941 – 17 August 1943)
- Oberst Wolfgang Gläsemer (17 August 1943 – 20 August 1943)
- Generalmajor Hasso von Manteuffel (20 August 1943 – 1 January 1944)
- Generalmajor Adelbert Schulz (1 January 1944 – 28 January 1944)
- Oberst Wolfgang Gläsemer (28 January 1944 – 30 January 1944)
- Generalmajor Dr. Karl Mauss (30 January 1944 – 2 May 1944)
- Generalmajor Gerhard Schmidhuber (2 May 1944 – 9 September 1944)
- Generalmajor Dr. Karl Mauss (9 September 1944 – 31 October 1944)
- Generalmajor Hellmuth Mäder (31 October 1944 – 30 November 1944)
- Generalmajor Dr. Karl Mauss (30 November 1944 – 5 January 1945)
- Generalmajor Max Lemke (5 January 1945 – 23 January 1945)
- Generalmajor Dr. Karl Mauss (23 January 1945 – 25 March 1945)
- Oberst Hans Christern (26 March 1945 – 8 May 1945)
Swedish Power Metal group Sabaton have a song on their 2008 album The Art of War titled “Ghost Division”, which is about the 7th Panzer Division’s advance into France 1940.