Panzer-Grenadier-Division Großdeutschland

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Panzer Grenadier Division Großdeutschland (Greater Germany)
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-712-0497-24, Rumänien, Offiziere der Div. »Großdeutschland«.jpg
Active Created 1942, Surrendered 1945
Country Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Branch Heer
Type Panzergrenadier
Part of Expanded from Regiment to become Motorized Infantry Division 1942 and Panzer Grenadier Division 1943.
Garrison/HQ Berlin, Cottbus, Akhtyrka
Nickname die Feuerwehr (The Fire Brigade)
Engagements Eastern Front
Commanders
Notable
commanders

Generalmajor Hasso von Manteuffel

Generalmajor Karl Lorenz
Insignia
Cuff title Cuffti2.gif

The Panzer Grenadier Division Großdeutschland[notes 1] (also commonly referred to simply as Großdeutschland[notes 2] or Grossdeutschland or Großdeutschland Division or Grossdeutschland Division or Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland) was an elite combat unit of the Heer that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II. The Großdeutschland was considered to be the premier unit of the German Army and as such it was one of the best-equipped units of the Heer, receiving equipment before almost all other units.

History[edit]

The unit originally started out as a ceremonial guard unit in the 1920s and by the late 1930s had grown into a regiment of the German Army. The regiment would later be expanded and renamed Infantry Division Großdeutschland in 1942, and after significant reorganization was renamed Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland in May 1943. And later in November 1944, while the division retained its status as a panzergrenadier division, some of its subordinate units were expanded to divisional status, and the whole group of divisions were reorganized as Panzerkorps Großdeutschland.

Early history[edit]

The roots of the unit go back to 1921 when the guard unit of the city of Berlin (Wachregiment Berlin) was created. The unit was used for ceremonial and representative duties such as parades and guard duties in the capital. The unit was later reformed as Kommando der Wachtruppe[notes 3]. The unit grew in size, function and responsibility throughout the 1930s. In the first week of 1939, Hitler ordered that the unit be renamed Infanterie-Regiment Großdeutschland.[notes 4] The unit was now a permanent cadre, and unlike other regiments of the German Army (which were raised from a particular region), the recruits of the Großdeutschland were to be drawn from across the nation. The unit was officially activated on 14 June 1939, and the occasion was marked by a parade through the streets of the capital.

The regiment saw action in France in 1940. It was attached to Panzer Group 2 in the opening phases of Barbarossa, and was nearly annihilated in the vicious fighting outside of Moscow in late 1941. On the last day of February 1942, Rifle Battalion Großdeutschland (all that was left of the original regiment) was disbanded and two battalions formed a new Großdeutschland Regiment out of reinforcements arriving from Neuruppin. The Regiment later moved to Orel after, 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."[1]

Infanterie-Division Großdeutschland (mot.)[edit]

Map courtesy of deutschesoldaten.com.
Division Grossdeutschland.svg

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. During the combined Soviet winter offensives Operation Uranus and Operation Mars, the Division was involved in heavy winter fighting near Rzhev. The Division sustained heavy losses in the Rzhev salient, effectively making the division combat ineffective. It was pulled out of the lines and refitted.

Distinctive unit markings of the Panzer Battalion Großdeutschland Division based on photos taken in September 1942 of PzKpfw IVs of the Panzer Abteilung "Großdeutschland Division". Courtesy deutschesoldaten.com.

Kharkov[edit]

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.

Panzer Grenadier Division Großdeutschland[edit]

In May 1943, with the addition of armoured personnel carriers and Tigers the division was redesignated Panzer Grenadier Division Großdeutschland,[2] though in reality it now had more armoured vehicles than most full strength panzer divisions.

Operation Citadel[edit]

Großdeutschland Division soldiers, Kursk, July 1943

The newly re-equipped division was subordinated to the XLVIII Panzer Corps (which is part of Fourth Panzer Army commanded by Hermann Hoth), and was to play a major role alongside the II SS Panzer Corps in Operation Citadel - the German offensive to sever the Kursk salient. During the buildup period, a brigade of two battalions equipped with the new tanks, Panther Ausf. D, was integrated into the OOB of Großdeutschland Division. After the launch of Operation Citadel, the division was heavily engaged in the fight to penetrate the southern shoulder of the salient. The new Panthers were plagued by technical problems, suffering from engine fires and mechanical breakdowns, with many becoming disabled before reaching the battlefield. The Großdeutschland Division did not take part in the tank battle of Prokhorovka, and the Panther tanks were not engaged as most were broken down by the time the battle started. The division fought on until it was pulled back to Tomarovka on 18 July 1943.

Defensive battles after Operation Citadel[edit]

After the Kursk offensive was cancelled, 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. Battalion of the Panzer Regiment. Großdeutschland saw heavy fighting around Karachev before being transferred back to XLVIII Panzer Corps 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).

Activities in 1944[edit]

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 Großdeutschland, and Großdeutschland'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 Großdeutschland 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, Großdeutschland. as a part of LVII.Panzerkorps. fought defensive battles near Iaşi, including the First Battle of Târgu Frumos, slowly retreating to Târgul Frumos in Moldavia. Fighting in the region raged for over a month. A renewed Soviet offensive began on 2 May, aimed at breaking through Großdeutschland and onto the Romanian oil fields. The defensive action at the Second Battle of Târgu 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 armored personnel carriers (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 Iloaiei. 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, including a successful counter-attack on Wilkowischken and the Baltic States, suffering immense casualties in both men and material. The division was virtually annihilated during the battles in the Memel bridgehead.

Panzer Corps Großdeutschland[edit]

Panzers of the division in Romania, 1944

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[notes 5] was formed.

The Corps was made up of primarily two Divisions - Großdeutschland and the Brandenburg Division which have its origins strongly linked to the Großdeutschland.

By March 1945, the Panzer Grenadier 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 survivors only 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 often faced death or an indefinite amount of time in Soviet labor camps.

Panzer Grenadier 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.

List of commanders[edit]

Personal accounts[edit]

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 Großdeutschland from 1944, but also his captivity in the Soviet Union after the German surrender. Jurgen Herbst, emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, recounts his experience as a young volunteer who joined the Division in 1945 in his book Requiem for a German Past.

War crimes[edit]

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.

—German Army and Genocide, page 42

Part of the photographic presentation for the book includes a photo where the Großdeutschland cuff title on the officer is clearly visible. The official Großdeutschland history by Helmuth Spaeter mentions that only "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).

Organization and structure[edit]

Insignia[edit]

The "Großdeutschland" cuff title

Members of the Grossdeutschland wore an intertwined GD on the shoulder straps and a cuff title. 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 wore their cuff title on the right sleeve.

Order of Battle as of September 1943[edit]

[3]

Divisional Headquarters[edit]

Divisional Staff (32 Officers, 143 NCOs and enlisted)

  • Divisional Commander.

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 Grossdeutschland - 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 hygiene, 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) Grossdeutschland 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[edit]

On formation of Grossdeutschland 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 Platoon
  • Heavy Anti-Tank Platoon
  • Self-Propelled Flak Platoon
  • Mixed Anti-Tank (Panzerjäger) Platoon.

Feldgendarmerie (Military Police)[edit]

Gdmilitarypolice.png

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. Grossdeutschland had several hundred motorized vehicles which had to be moved over great distances both rapidly and efficiently.

Kriegsberichter (War Correspondent Platoon)[edit]

Gdwarco.png

Responsible for recruitment and propaganda literature. Grossdeutschland was unusual in having its own correspondents permanently assigned to the division.

Panzer Grenadier Regiment Grossdeutschland[edit]

Gdinfantry1.png
Mechanised troops of Großdeutschland, Russia 1943
Großdeutschland mortar position, Russia 1943
  • 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[edit]

Gdinfantry2.png

As for Panzergrenadier Regiment Grossdeutschland, above

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

Artillerie-Regiment Großdeutschland[edit]

Gdartillery.png
A Großdeutschland soldier operating a flak rangefinder
Großdeutschland artillery position, Russia 1943
  • 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 guns
  • 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[edit]

Gdartillery.png
Großdeutschland Quad anti-aircraft gun, November 1943

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"[edit]

Gdantitank.png
  • 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 5 cm PaK 38 AT gun
    • 4 x 5 cm PaK 38 AT gun
  • 3. Company
    • 4 x 5 cm PaK 38 AT gun
    • 4 x 5 cm PaK 38 AT gun
    • 4 x 5 cm PaK 38 AT gun

Panzer Aufklärungs (Armoured Reconnaissance) Battalion Grossdeutschland[edit]

Gdrecon.png
Kradschützen (motorcycles) and light armoured vehicles of Großdeutschland, during Operation Bagration, August 1944
Großdeutschland radio vehicles and others, 1942
Lieutenant of Division "Großdeutschland" with Sturmpistole, 1943

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"[edit]

Gdpanzer.png
Oberst Karl Lorenz Commander of the "Großdeutschland" regiment, meeting with the crew of a Panther in south Russia
Großdeutschland troops training in a Panzer IV, November 1943
  • 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 (Panther)
        • 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
Tiger of III Battalion, Russia, September 1943
    • 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"[edit]

Gdpioneers.png
Großdeutschland Sturmpionier with flamethrower, November 1943
  • 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
    • detachment of SS - 10 SS snipers

Sturmgeschütz (Assault Gun) Battalion "Großdeutschland"[edit]

Gdartillery.png
Großdeutschland StuG IIIs on parade, April 1943

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

  • Headquarters
  • 1. Battery - also includes Sd Kfz 252 or 250/6 ammunition carrier - 6 x StuG III (7.5 cm StuK gun)
  • 2. Battery - also includes Sd Kfz 252 or 250/6 ammunition carrier - 6 x StuG III (7.5 cm StuK gun)
  • 3. Battery - also includes Sd Kfz 252 or 250/6 ammunition carrier - 6 x StuG III (7.5 cm StuK gun)

Panzer Nachrichten (Armoured Signals) Battalion "Großdeutschland"[edit]

Gdsignals.png

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

  • Telephone Company
  • Radio Company

Medical Battalion "Großdeutschland"[edit]

Gdmedical.png
A Großdeutschland medical soldier tends to a wound, Russia 1942
  • Medical Company
    • Heavy Platoon
    • Light Platoon
    • Pharmacy
    • Dental Station
  • Medical Company
    • Heavy Platoon
    • Light Platoon
    • Pharmacy
    • Dental Station
  • Grossdeutschland Field Hospital
    • 1. Ambulance Platoon
    • 2. Ambulance Platoon
    • 3. Ambulance Platoon

Supply Services[edit]

Gdsupply.png
Field Post Office

Formed from IR Grossdeutschland 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
Großdeutschland troops unloading a supply truck

Commanding officers[edit]

Division Grossdeutschland.svg Infantry Division Grossdeutschland (1 Apr 1942 - 1 Jun 1943)

Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland (June 1943 - 8 May 1945)

Generalmajor (later Generalleutnant) Walter Hörnlein 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 (later Generalmajor) Karl Lorenz 1 September 1944 - May 1945
Gdartillery.png Artillery Regiment Grossdeutschland
Oberst Georg Jauer 15 Mar 1942 - Dec 1942
Oberst Reinke
Oberstleutnant Albrecht
Hauptmann Dr. Ritter
Burchardt
Gdpanzer.png Panzer Regiment Grossdeutschland
Oberst Hyacinth Graf Strachwitz von Groß-Zauche und Camminetz January 1943 - November 1943
Major Pfeffer (PanzerAbteilung 51, in temporary command of Pz Regt Grossdeutschland)
Oberst Otto Büsing (Killed in Action 8 March 1944)
Oberst Willy Langkeit 1 March 1944 - 1 November 1944
Oberstleutnant Bruno Kahl 1 November 1944 - May 1945
Gdinfantry1.png Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland 1 (1 Apr 1942 - 1 Oct 1942)

Grenadier Regiment Grossdeutschland (1 Oct 1942 - June 1943)
Panzergrenadier Regiment Grossdeutschland (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 Friedrich-Karl Krützmann Feb 1945 - War's End
Gdinfantry2.png Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland 2 (1 Apr 1942 - 1 Oct 1942)

Füsilier Regiment Grossdeutschland (1 Oct 1942 - June 1943)
Panzerfüsilier Regiment Grossdeutschland (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 Hermann 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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Großdeutschland means "greater Germany" or "united Germany
  2. ^ The formation went through various stages of expansion, reorganization and name changes, but "Großdeutschland" stayed through all the changes
  3. ^ Literally "Guard Troop Command"
  4. ^ Often simply referred to as Infantry Regiment Grossdeutschland or Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland
  5. ^ literal-translated as Panzer Corps Großdeutschland

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spaeter, Helmuth. History of the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland Volume I. Page 290
  2. ^ Wolfgang Schneider (2005). Tigers In Combat II. p. 21. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Sharpe, Michael and Brian L. Davis Grossdeutschland: Guderian's Eastern Front Elite, p. 39

Printed references[edit]

  • Herbst, Jurgen (2002). Requiem for a German Past. Madison,WI, USA: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-16414-0. 
  • Jung, Hans Joachim (c. 1990s). 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 (1978). Germany's Elite Panzer Force: Grossdeutschland. London: Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 0354011650. 
  • 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 (2002). The good soldier: from Austrian social democracy to communist captivity with a soldier of Panzer-Grenadier Division Grossdeutschland. Bedford, Pa: Aberjona Press. ISBN 0966638999. 
  • Quarrie, Bruce (1977). Panzer-Grenadier Division, Grossdeutschland. London, UK: Osprey Publishing Group. ISBN 0850450551. 
  • 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, Helmuth (1992). The History of the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland Vol I. Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 0-921991-12-6. 
  • Spaeter, Helmuth (1995). The History of the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland Vol II. Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 0-921991-27-4. 
  • Spaeter, Helmuth (2000). The History of the Panzerkorps Großdeutschland Vol III. Winnipeg, Canada: J.J. Fedorowicz. ISBN 0-921991-50-9. 
  • Spaeter, Helmuth (1990). Panzerkorps Grossdeutschland: A Pictorial History. Pennsylvania, USA: Schiffer Books. ISBN 0-88740-245-3. 

External links[edit]

Grossdeutschland: Von der Wachtruppe zum Panzerkorps]". Updated May 8, 2006.