11th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
|German 11th Panzer Division|
|Active||1 August 1940 – 8 May 1945|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 11th Panzer Division was a German Panzer formation which saw action on the Eastern and Western Fronts during the Second World War. The formation's emblem was a ghost (this should not be confused with the famed Gespenster outfit, which was the 7th Panzer Division). The 11th did not take part in the western campaign, or see any action before the invasion of Yugoslavia.
The 11th Panzer Division was formed on 1 August 1940 from the 11th Schützen-Brigade and the Panzer Regiment 15, removed from the 5th Panzer Division and elements of the 231st Infantry Division, 311th Infantry Division and 209th Infantry Division. Most of its members were from Silesia.
The 11th Panzer Division saw action for the first time in the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941 along with the XIV Corps (motorized) of Panzergrenadier 1. Passing through Bulgaria, it arrived in Belgrade and assisted in the capture of that city.
The division was then sent to the Russian Front where it was part of XXXXVIII Corps (mot.) under the command of General Kempf (1 Pz.Gr., Army Group South). The division fought with distinction in the battle of Kiev and later took part in the march toward Moscow as part of XXXXVI Panzer Corps (Pz.Gr. 4, Army Group Centre).
In June 1942, along with the 4th Panzer Army, the division fought in the major offensive over the Volga and the Don, since it was not serving at Stalingrad. The division fought in the Don and Donets area with the 2nd Panzer Army, part of Army Group Don; it suffered substantial losses during the winter of 1942-43.
It faced difficult challenges and engaged in heavy fighting trying to stop the Red Army in the Rostov sector. In July 1943, it participated in Operation Zitadelle as part of XXXXVIII Panzer Corps (4th Panzer Army, Army Group South).
It was severely tested again during the Battle of Krivoi Rog in late 1943. In February 1944, being one of the divisions surrounded in Cherkassy, it struggled to get out of the siege, so much so that when it did get out, it had lost nearly all of its vehicles. To continue fighting, the division was reinforced by the remnants of the 123rd Infantry Division. For this to happen, it was withdrawn from the front and sent to Bordeaux, France after receiving personnel drawn from the 273rd Reserve Panzer Division.
After being stationed in the Toulouse area, it was moved to a section of the Rhône in July 1944. When the Allies invaded southern France in August 1944 it was forced to retreat via the Rhône corridor, reaching Besançon. Later entering combat in Alsace, it helped in the defence of the Belfort Gap after going back to the Saar. In December 1944, it fought as part of the Ardennes XIII. SS-K. (1st Army, Army Group G).
At the beginning of that battle, the division had 3,500 personnel, including 800 infantry. The 11th Panzer Division entered combat in Saarland and Moselle and the sector after dark as part of 7th Army (January 1945). It fought at Remagen with 4,000 soldiers, 25 tanks and 18 guns that still remained, but was expelled from the region by the advancing enemy.
It was then shifted to the southern sector of the front, with its forces stationed in and encircled in the Ruhr. The 11th Panzer Division fought until May 1945 when it was part of the LXXXV Corps (7th Army, Army Group G). On 4 May 1945, Wend von Wietersheim surrendered the formation in Czechoslovakia to the US 90th Infantry Division. On the 6th, the remainder under the command of Horst Freiherr Treusch und Buttlar-Brandenfels surrendered to the 26th Infantry Division.
- General der Panzertruppen Ludwig Crüwell (1 August 1940 – 15 August 1941)
- Generalleutnant Günther Angern (15 August 1941 – 24 August 1941)
- General der Panzertruppen Hans-Karl Freiherr von Esebeck (24 August 1941 – 20 October 1941)
- Generalleutnant Walter Scheller (20 October 1941 – 16 May 1942)
- General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck (16 May 1942 – 4 March 1943)
- General der Infanterie Dietrich von Choltitz (4 March 1943 – 15 May 1943)
- Generalleutnant Johann Mickl (15 May 1943 – 10 August 1943)
- Generalleutnant Wend von Wietersheim (10 August 1943 – 10 April 1945)
- Generalmajor Horst Freiherr Treusch und Buttlar-Brandenfels (10 April 1945)
Orders of Battle
11.Panzer-Division, June 1941
- 119.Artillerie Regiment
- 71.Flak-Battalion (attached)
- 2 / 21.Panzer Luftwaffe Observation Staffel (attached)
11.Panzer-Division, July 1943
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