The German 1st Light Brigade was a mechanized unit established in October 1937 in imitation of the French Division Légère Mécanique, intended to take on the roles of army-level reconnaissance and security that had traditionally been the responsibility of cavalry. It included mechanized recon units, motorized infantry, and a battalion of tanks. In 1938 it was enlarged to become the 1st Light Division (sometimes described as Light Mechanized or Light Panzer to distinguish it from the later Light infantry divisions). In 1939 the division 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 6th Panzer Division afterward in October 1939.
6th Panzer division troops advance into Russia, 1941