3rd Light Division (Wehrmacht)

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The 3rd Light Division (sometimes described as Light Mechanized or Light Panzer to distinguish it from the later Light infantry divisions) was raised in November 1938. In 1939 it fought in the Invasion of Poland.

Due to shortcomings that the campaign revealed in the organization of the Light divisions it was reorganized as the 8th Panzer Division afterward, in October 1939.

On 4 September 1939, soldiers from the division entered the region of Katowice where they met resistance from the local Polish population. In retribution 80 Polish prisoners of war were gathered in Kosciuszko Square by German soldiers and executed.

As the 8th Panzer Division it fought in the 1940 Battle of France and then remained on occupation and garrison duty in France and Germany until joining Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941. It remained on the Eastern Front thereafter, fighting in every sector and eventually driven back into Hungary and then Czechoslovakia, where it surrendered to the Soviets at the end of the war.

On entering the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa the 8th Panzer Division had a total of 212 tanks which consisted of 49 Panzer II's, 118 Panzer 38(t)'s, only 30 Panzer IVs, 7 Panzerbef 38(t)'s (command tanks) & 8 Panzerbef's.[1] The 10th Mechanized Corps engaged the 8th Panzer Division on 13 July 1941 along with the 177th Rifle Division isolating 8th Panzer from its neighbouring divisions for several days around Dno & costing it 70 of its 150 tanks destroyed or damaged, but the 8th Panzer Division managed to break the encirclement


See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Glantz, The Battle for Leningrad 1941–1944, 2002, p45

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