13th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)

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German 13th Infantry Division
13. Infanterie-Division
German 13th Motorized Infantry Division
13. Infanterie-Division (mot.)
13th Panzer Division logo.svg
Active October 1, 1934 - October 11, 1940
Country  Nazi Germany
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Role Motorized Infantry
Size Division
Garrison/HQ Magdeburg
German 13th Panzer Division
13. Panzer-Division
13th Panzer Division logo.svg
Active 11 October 1940 — January 1945
Country Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Branch Army
Type Division
Role Panzer
Size Division
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 and participated in the campaigns against Poland (1939) and western Europe (1940). Following the Fall of France in June 1940, the division was reorganized as the 13th Panzer Division. It participated in Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the USSR) 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 up to 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 formation was re-created as Panzer Division Feldherrnhalle 2 in the spring of 1945, before surrendering in Austria at the end of the war.

History[edit]

Highlights[edit]

  • 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

Barbarossa[edit]

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 served 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[edit]

In 1942 and 1943, the division formed part of the First Panzer Army (Army Group A); it was involved in the battles for the Caucasus oil fields and in the desperate defense of the Kuban Peninsula after the Battle of Stalingrad. In the fall of 1943, it was withdrawn to Western Ukraine, where it fought defensive battles near the river Dniepr.

Romania[edit]

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[edit]

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 the war[edit]

In the spring of 1945, the division was reformed under the name Feldherrnhalle 2. The last engagements with the Soviets were fought on the Austro-Hungarian border. The Division surrendered in Austria in May 1945.

War Crimes[edit]

During the invasion of Poland, soldiers from the division took part in massacres in the village of Drzewica on September 8 and 9[citation needed]. Medical columns marked with Red Cross signs were also attacked[citation needed]. Soldiers from the division used civilians as human shields.[1]

Order of Battle, October 1944[edit]

  • 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

Commanders[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Note: The Web references may require you to follow links to cover the unit's entire history.

  • 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 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.