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The 1.Panzer-Division was created in 1935 from parts of the
old 3.Kavallerie-Division. The Division took part in the Invasion of
Poland in September, 1939 and fought with distinction in that Campaign.
In May, 1940, the Division took part in the Campaign against France. The Division was one of the many decisive units to drive throught the Ardennes region, helping to cut off the Allies in Belgium and the Netherlands. The Division broke through the French defenses of the Maginot Line near Sedan. Later in the Campaign, the Division drove south into France and fought against the lines at Dunkerque.
The 1.Panzer-Division took part in the Invasion of the Soviet Union in June, 1941, fighting in the Northern sector of the Eastern Front against Dunaburg and Leningrad. Later in October, 1941, the Division was transfered to the Central portion of the Eastern Front taking part in the Battles for Wiasma, Moscow and Rshew. After fierce fighting for Rshew, the Division was pulled out of the front and sent to France to be refit.
In June, 1943, the Division was sent to the Balkans and in July it was sent to Greece for coast defense duty. In Novemeber, 1943, the Division was sent back to the Eastern Front in the Ukraine. In the Ukraine, the 1st Panzer Division took part in the massive German counter-offensives west of Kiev. The Division then fought defensive actions southwest of Berdichev where it stayed until late January, 1944. On June 22nd, 1944, the Red Army launched a massive summer offensive in the section of Army Group Center along the Eastern Front. This Soviet Offensive literally crushed Army Group Center and in 3 weeks pushed back the German forces in that portion of the Front 300 miles, all the way to Poland. The 1.Panzer-Division took part in attempts to stem the Soviet onslaught and fought a desperate counter attack at Oleyyor where it managed to halt the Soviet Advance. The southern flank did not hold though, and the entire postion that the 1st helped create became untenable. The 1.Panzer-Division was then pushed back across the Vistula River.
In October, 1944, the Division was moved from its postions along the Vistula and sent to Hungary where it took part in actions at Debrecen, being sighted for distinguished actions there. The Division then took part in defensive actions in Hungary and was pushed back into Austria where, in May, 1945, the Division surrendered to the Americans.
In October, 1939 the III Abteilung/69.Schützen-Regiment (mot)/20.Inf.Div (mot) was added to the Division as the III Abteilung/Schützen-Regiment 1. In October 1940, Panzer-Regiment 2 was transfered to the 16.Panzer-Division. In November 1940, I/Schützen-Regiment 113 was formed from the III Abteilung/Schützen-Regiment 1. In February, 1941 the II Abteilung/Schützen-Regiment 69 was used to form the II Abteilung/Schützen-Regiment 113. Later, Artillerie-Regiment 73 formed the III Abteilung from the II Abteilung/Artillerie-Regiment 56.
In July 1941, Schützen-Regiment 1 and Schützen-Regiment 113 were both renamed as Panzergrenadier-Regiments. The Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 1 was removed and provided to the 16.Panzergrenadier-Division to become the Panzer-Abteilung 116. When Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 1 was removed, the 1.Panzer-Division had only 1 Abteilung of Panzers in the entire unit, that being Panzer-Abteilung II/Panzer-Regiment 1. In January of 1943, Panzer-Abteilung II/Panzer-Regiment 1 (The only Abteilung left in the Division) became the Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 1. Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 103 was then used to form Panzer-Abteilung II/Panzer-Regiment 1. Later, the independant Heer Flak unit, Heeres-Flak-Abteilung 299 was added to the 1.Panzer-Division.
Late in the War, Grenadier-Ersatz-Abteilung 1009 was added to the 1.Panzer-Division from the Tatra Panzer-Division.
Gen.d.Kav. Maximilian Maria Joseph Reichfrhr. von Weichs zu
Glon 10.01.35 - 9.30.37
Gen.Lt. Rudolf Schmidt 10.01.37 - 11.02.39
Gen.Maj. Friedrich Kirchner 11.02.39 - 7.17.41
Gen.Maj. Walter Kruger 7.17.41 - 1.01.44
Gen.Maj. Richard Koll 1.01.44 - 2.19.44
Oberst Werner Marcks 2.19.44 - 9.25.44
Oberst Eberhard Thunert 9.25.44 - 5.08.45