This unit was originally formed on October 15th, 1935. In 1938, it moved toAustria after the annexation of that Country, taking on a large number ofAustrians into its ranks. The Division then was used in the PolishCampaign in 1939, suffering heavy losses against the Poles. After Poland, theDivision saw action in the West as a part of 12.Armee/Gen.Kdo.XIX.Armeekorps, starting inthe Eifel area. In May, the 2.Panzer-Division took Abbeville along theEnglish Coast which helped seal the ring around the Allied forces in theDunkirk Pocket.
After the Campaign in the West, the 2.Panzer-Division spent time onoccupation duty in Poland. During the months in Poland, the 2nd wasreorganized and it provided units to other forming divisions, as well astaking on new units itself. It was then moved to Rumania in April, 1941 foraction in the Campaign in the Balkans. In the Balkans, the 2nd helpedtake 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 toTarent 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 wastransfered 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 wasunder 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 theof 1941/42. The division continued to see action in the East as apart of Armeegruppe Mitte fighting in the massive defensivebattles of 1942 including Rzhev, the Kursk Summer Offensive in July, 1943, and the defensive battles along theDnieper 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 sentto rest and refit in France. After a period of rest and occupation duties in France, the division saw heavy fighting against theAllied Armies during the D-Day Invasion in June, 1944. After the desperate battles for Normandy the 2.Panzer-Division was nearly destroyed in theFalaise 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 ofGermany where it absorbed the remains of the 352.Infantry-Division. Thedivision 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 themiddle 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 the2.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 andSchützen-Bataillon II/Schützen-Regiment 304 were then formed frommany sources. Schützen-Bataillon III/Schützen-Regiment 2 receivedpreviously was incorporated into Schüten-Regiment 304 as well.
In 1942, Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 3 was removed and transfered toanother unit. At the same time, as a result of the transfer, the2.Panzer-Division contained only one Abteilung of Panzers. Aufklärungs-Abteilung 5 was renamed asKradschützen-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 Divisionwith 2 Abteilungen of Panzers. On May 7th, 1943, Panzer-Abteilung I/Panzer-Regiment 3became 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 2became Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 2. Also, the DivisionsSchützen-Regimenter were renamed Panzergrenadier-Regimenter.
The Division was nearly destroyed in France in 1944, and was reformed alongwith portions of the 352.Infantry-Division.
Knights Cross Holders