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LIST of GERMAN DIVISIONS in WORLD WAR II – (G.7th.P.D)

German 7th Panzer Division…

Nickname – „Ghost Division”

Notable Commanders – Erwin Rommel

German 7th Panzer Division…
7th Panzer Division logo.svg
Active 18 October 1939 – 8 May 1945
Country Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Branch Heer
Type Division
Role Panzer
Nickname
Engagements World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Insignia
1940 7th Panzer Division logo.svg
1941–1945 7th Panzer Division logo 2.svg
at Kursk 7th Panzer Division logo 3.svg

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…

Campaign map used by 7th Panzer inRussia

1940…

  • 25 Panzer Regiment
    • I.Battalion
    • II.Battalion
  • 66 Panzer Battalion
  • 7 Motorcycle Battalion
  • 6 Motorized Infantry Regiment
    • I.Battalion
    • II.Battalion
  • 7 Motorized Infantry Regiment
    • I.Battalion
    • II.Battalion
  • 37 Reconnaissance Battalion
  • 78 Motorized Artillery Regiment
    • I.Battalion
    • II.Battalion
  • 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

Commanding officers

  • 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)

Popular culture…

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.

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