13th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
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|German 13th Infantry Division
German 13th Motorized Infantry Division
13. Infanterie-Division (mot.)
|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 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.
- 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 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 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 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 In the fall of 1943, it was withdrawn to Western Ukraine, where it fought defensive battles near the river Dniepr.
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.
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.
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.
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 Cross signs 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 Rothkirch und Panthen (11 October 1940 – 25 June 1941)
- Generalleutnant Walter 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-Erdmann 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)
- Battle of Debrecen
- Panzer Division Feldherrnhalle 1 (sibling unit)
- Franz Bäke (last commander of the division)
- Feldherrnhalle (the monument)
- List of German divisions in World War II
- "Zbrodnie niemieckie na terenie powiatu opoczyńskiego 1939 - 1945". Archived from the original on 2009-10-19.
- 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.