Research on the German Armed Forces 1918-1945
This unit was originally formed on October 15th, 1935. In 1938, it moved to Austria after the annexation of that Country, taking on a large number of Austrians into its ranks. The Division then was used in the Polish Campaign in 1939, suffering heavy losses against the Poles. After Poland, the Division saw action in the West as a part of 12.Armee/Gen.Kdo. XIX.Armeekorps, starting in the Eifel area. In May, the 2.Panzer-Division took Abbeville along the English Coast which helped seal the ring around the Allied forces in the Dunkirk Pocket.
After the Campaign in the West, the 2.Panzer-Division spent time on occupation duty in Poland. During the months in Poland, the 2nd was reorganized and it provided units to other forming divisions, as well as taking on new units itself. It was then moved to Rumania in April, 1941 for action in the Campaign in the Balkans. In the Balkans, the 2nd helped take Athens in Greece, along with the 6.Gebirgs-Division.
After the Campaign in the Balkans ended the wheeled units of the 2.Panzer-Division moved to Yugoslavia via Albania and were entrained in Croatia for Germany. The tracked elements of the division were loaded for sea transport in the Greek port of Patras to Tarent in the south of Italy. On May 21st, 1941 the German transport ships Marburg and Kybfels carrying the tracked elements of the division were sunk by a recently laid British mine barrage. A considerable number of armored vehicles were thus lost causing any deployement of the division to be seriously delayed. The 2.Panzer-Division was in Germany when the Invasion of the Soviet Union began and in July of 1941 was transfered to Poland. In August, 1941 it was transfered to the south of France, and in September it was finally entrained for Russia, arriving at the front in October 1941.
For the Campaign against the Soviet Union the 2.Panzer-Division was under the control of Armeegruppe Mitte, first seeing combat in the Fall of 1941 in the region of Roslawl, Wjasma, Gshatsk, and eventually the outskirts of Moscow. With the onset of winter the 2.Panzer-Division was pushed back from the gates of Moscow by the massive Soviet Winter Counter-Offensive in the of 1941/42. The division continued to see action in the East as a part of Armeegruppe Mitte fighting in the massive defensive battles of 1942 including Rzhev, the Kursk Summer Offensive in July, 1943, and the defensive battles along the Dnieper River later. In all of these actions the 2.Panzer-Division suffered heavily.
In December of 1944 the 2.Panzer-Division was withdrawn from the Eastern Front and sent to rest and refit in France. After a period of rest and occupation duties in France, the division saw heavy fighting against the Allied Armies during the D-Day Invasion in June, 1944. After the desperate battles for Normandy the 2.Panzer-Division was nearly destroyed in the Falaise Gap. It managed a breakout from the pocket and suffered staggering losses while doing so.
The 2.Panzer-Division was once more refit and reformed, this time at Wittlich in the Eifel area of Germany where it absorbed the remains of the 352.Infantry-Division. The division again saw action, this time during the Wacht Am Rhein Offensive in December, 1944. Again, the division suffered heavily.
As WWII drew to a close in March and April of 1945 the weak remains of the 2.Panzer-Division were absorbed into the Thuringen Panzer-Brigade which fought in the middle Mosel region and later in Fulda. The unit surrendered to American forces at Plauen and Koetzing in May, 1945.
In November 1939, Schützen-Bataillon I/Schützen-Regiment 33 (mot) from the 13.Infantry-Division (mot) was posted to the 2.Panzer and became Schützen-Bataillon III/Schützen-Regiment 2. In September 1940, Panzer-Regiment 4 was transfered to the 13.Panzer-Division. Schützen-Regiment 304 was then formed. Schützen-Bataillon I/Schützen-Regiment 304 and Schützen-Bataillon II/Schützen-Regiment 304 were then formed from many sources. Schützen-Bataillon III/Schützen-Regiment 2 received previously was incorporated into Schüten-Regiment 304 as well.
In 1942, Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 3 was removed and transfered to another unit. At the same time, as a result of the transfer, the 2.Panzer-Division contained only one Abteilung of Panzers. Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5 was renamed as Kradschützen-Abteilung 24 and transfered to the 24.Panzer-Division. The Division then took on Heeres-Flak-Abteilung 273. In March 1943, Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 3 was rebuilt, providing the Division with 2 Abteilungen of Panzers. On May 7th, 1943, Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 3 became Panzer-Abteilung 507, an independent unit equiped with Tiger Tanks. Later on June 30th, 1943, the unit was changed back to Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 3, only with Panther tanks instead of Tiger tanks. Later, Kradschützen-Abteilung 2 became Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 2. Also, the Divisions Schützen-Regimenter were renamed Panzergrenadier-Regimenter.
The Division was nearly destroyed in France in 1944, and was reformed along with portions of the 352.Infantry-Division.
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