Panzerkorps Großdeutschland

The Panzerkorps Großdeutschland was a German panzer corps in the Wehrmacht which saw action on the Eastern Front in 1944/1945 during World War II.

Panzerkorps Großdeutschland
Active28 September 1944 – 8 May 1945
Country Nazi Germany
BranchArmy
TypePanzer
RoleArmoured warfare
SizeCorps
EngagementsWorld War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
General Dietrich von Saucken
General Georg Jauer

Creation and Service history

On September 28, 1944 the OKH ordered the creation of Panzer Corps Grossdeutschland.[1] It was planned to contain enlarged corps troops and several panzer divisions; a unit that could be used as strong reserve for an army. To achieve this, parts of the Panzer-Grenadier-Division Großdeutschland were, while the division retained its status, used as base for the Generalkommando Panzerkorps Großdeutschland.

Units for the staff and the corps troops were:[1]

With the addition of the Panzer-Grenadier-Division Brandenburg the corps had its first structure with two active divisions.[1] The first commander of the corps was General der Panzertruppe Dietrich von Saucken, the former commander of the XXXIX Panzer Corps.

Still in the forming phase during the looming of the Soviet Vistula–Oder Offensive the staff and the Brandenburg Division were ordered to Poland,[2] while the Division Großdeutschland was detached to Eastern Prussia. Ultimately the corps never fought as a unified body, and during the retreat towards the west its composition steadily changed. When von Saucken was promoted to command the 2nd Army in February he was succeeded by General der Panzertruppe Georg Jauer, who commanded the corps's 20. Panzer-Grenadier-Division. Never surrendering at-large the corps was dismissed on war's end on May 8, 1945.

Order of Battle – March 1, 1945

Staff Panzercorps Großdeutschland

Corps Troops

  • Heavy Panzer Battalion Großdeutschland
  • Corps Fusilier Regiment Großdeutschland
    • I. Fusilier (Bicycle) Btln.
    • II. Fusilier (Bicycle) Btln.
    • Regimental Support Company (mot)
  • Panzer Field-Replacement Rgt. Großdeutschland
  • 44th Panzer Signals Battalion
  • 500th Artillery Brigade Staff
    • Observation Battery (mot)
    • 500th Panzer Artillery Regiment (I. & II. Btln.)
  • 500th Pioneer Regimental Staff (mot)
  • 500th Panzer Pioneer Btln.
  • 500th Reconnaissance Company (half-track)
  • 500th Staff Escort Company
  • 500th Sound Ranging Platoon (mot)
  • 500th Mapping Detachment (mot)
  • 500th Military Police Detachment
  • 500th Supply Regiment (mot)

Division z.b.V. 615 / Divisions-Stab z.b.V. 615

Generalmajor Gerd-Paul von Below

  • Division Staff z.b.V. 615
  • 687th Pioneer Brigade
  • 3093rd Fortress Machine-Gun Btln.
  • 3094th Fortress Machine-Gun Btln.
  • 3095th Fortress Machine-Gun Btln.
  • 1485th Fortress Infantry Btln.
  • Infantry Battalion z.b.V. 500

Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring

Generalmajor Max Lemke

  • Division Staff
  • Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier Regiment 1 Hermann Göring (I. & II. Btln.)
  • Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier Regiment 2 Hermann Göring (I. & II. Btln.)
  • Fallschirm-Panzer Regiment Hermann Göring (I., II. & III. Btln.)
  • Fallschirm-Panzer Artillery Regiment 1 Hermann Göring (I., II. & III. Btln.)
  • Fallschirm-Panzer Fusilier Btln. 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer Reconnaissance Btln. 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer Pioneer Btln. 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer Signals Btln. 1 Hermann Göring
  • Fallschirm-Panzer Field-Replacement Btln. 1 Hermann Göring
  • Military Police Detachment
  • Field Post Office 1 Hermann Göring
  • Supply Detachment 1 Hermann Göring

Panzer-Grenadier-Division Brandenburg

Generalmajor Hermann Schulte-Heuthaus

  • Division Staff Brandenburg
  • Jäger(mot) Regiment 1 Brandenburg (I. & II. Btln.)
  • Jäger(mot) Regiment 2 Brandenburg (I. & II. Btln.)
  • Panzer Regiment Brandenburg
    • I. Panzer Btln. (detached)
    • II. Panzer Btln.
  • Tank Destroyer Btln. Brandenburg
  • Armoured Artillery Regiment Brandenburg (I., II. & III. Btln.)
  • Armoured Flak Artillery Btln. Brandenburg
  • Armoured Reconnaissance Btln. Brandenburg
  • Panzer Pioneer Btln. Brandenburg
  • Panzer Signals Btln. Brandenburg
  • Field-Replacement Btln. Brandenburg
  • Supply Regiment Brandenburg

20. Panzer-Grenadier-Division

Generalmajor Georg Scholze

  • Division Staff
  • 76th Panzer-Grenadier Regiment (I., II. & III. Btln.)
  • 90th Panzer-Grenadier Regiment (I., II. & III. Btln.)
  • 8th Panzer Btln.
  • 20th Artillery Regiment (I., II. & III. Btln.)
  • 284th/285th Flak Artillery Btln.
  • 120th Armoured Reconnaissance Btln.
  • 20th Anti-Tank Btln.
  • 20th Field-Replacement Btln.
  • 20th Armoured Signals Btln.
  • 20th Supply Regiment

Commanders

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Nafziger, George. "Organizational History of the German Armored Formations 1939-1945" (PDF). Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library. US Army Combined Arms Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  2. ^ Ziemke 2002, p. 429.

References

Books
  • Ziemke, Earl F. (2002). Stalingrad to Berlin: The German Defeat in the East. Washington, D.C: Center of Military History, US Army. ISBN 9781780392875.
Websites
18th Artillery Division (Wehrmacht)

The 18th Artillery Division (German: 18. Artillerie-Division) was a German artillery division formed during World War II in 1943. Being the first independent mobile artillery force it never raised to its planned strength. The division fought at the Eastern Front, suffered heavy losses and was disbanded in 1944.

Baldur von Schirach

Baldur Benedikt von Schirach (9 May 1907 – 8 August 1974) was a Nazi German politician who is best known for his role as the Nazi Party national youth leader and head of the Hitler Youth from 1931 to 1940. He later served as Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter ("Reich Governor") of Vienna. After World War II, he was convicted of crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Dietrich von Saucken

Dietrich Friedrich Eduard Kasimir von Saucken (16 May 1892 – 27 September 1980) was a German general during World War II who commanded the 2nd Army and the Army East Prussia. Turning down an offer to escape by air, he surrendered to the Red Army in May 1945. Saucken was the last officer to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds of Nazi Germany.

First Battle of Târgu Frumos

The First Battle of Târgu Frumos was part of the First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive of World War II, fought between Axis powers commanded by Otto Wöhler and Soviet forces led by Ivan Konev.

By early April 1944, Stavka (Main Command of the Soviet Armed Forces) ordered its two major units involved in operations in south-western Ukraine to mount a strategic offensive in north-eastern Romania. Konev's 2nd Ukrainian Front approached Târgu Frumos and Botoșani regions by 5 April and commenced its offensive towards Târgu Frumos on 8 April. The Romanian 4th Army, charged with the defense of the region, was being reinforced by German panzer elements of the 24th Panzer Division and was preparing to hold an initial Soviet advance. However, these defenses proved to be no match for the Soviet assault on the town and by the next day Târgu Frumos had been secured by two 27th Army rifle divisions. Meanwhile, the German Eighth Army command responded rapidly by ordering Hasso von Manteuffel's Großdeutschland Panzergrenadier division to move towards Târgu Frumos and recapture the town. By the evening of 10 April, 48 hours after receiving the initial order, Großdeutschland succeeded in retaking the town and establishing new defensive positions there. Sporadic battles with Soviet elements remaining in the region continued until 12 April, as they were facing the danger of encirclement.

Following the end of the battle, the Germans formed a new defensive line northwest and northeast of the town and maintained a tank regiment as reserve near Târgu Frumos proper. Meanwhile, irked by the defeat suffered at Târgu Frumos, Konev ordered the 2nd Tank Army to commence on 12 April an offensive towards the village of Podu Iloaiei.

Führerbegleitbrigade

The Führerbegleitbrigade (FBB: Führer escort brigade) was a German armoured brigade and later an armoured division (Panzer-Führerbegleitdivision), in World War II. It grew out of the original Führer-Begleit-Battalion formed in 1939 to escort and protect Adolf Hitler at the front. It was formed in November 1944 and destroyed in April 1945.

Großdeutschland (disambiguation)

Großdeutschland is German for "Greater Germany" or "Big Germany." It can refer to:

Kleindeutschland (Lesser Germany) and Großdeutschland (Greater Germany), two competing ideas for unifying German-speaking lands in the 19th century; advocates of Großdeutschland wished for a single German state that included Austria as the answer to the "German Question."

Großdeutschland, the name informally adopted by Nazi Germany after annexing Austria in March 1938.

Großdeutsches Reich, Nazi Germany's official state name from 1943 to 1945.

Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland, a German Army formation in World War II

Panzer-Grenadier-Division Großdeutschland, a mechanized infantry / armor division created from the Infantry Regiment in 1942.

Panzerkorps Großdeutschland, a panzer corps created with elements from the Grenadier Division and others in 1944.

Magna Germania (Latin: Greater Germania), the Roman term for the region east of the Rhine River.

Heiligenbeil Pocket

The Heiligenbeil Pocket or Heiligenbeil Cauldron (German: Kessel von Heiligenbeil) was the site of a major encirclement battle on the Eastern Front during the closing weeks of World War II, in which the Wehrmacht's 4th Army was almost entirely destroyed during the Soviet Braunsberg Offensive Operation (13–22 March 1945). The pocket was located near Heiligenbeil in East Prussia in eastern Germany (now Mamonovo, Kaliningrad Oblast), and the battle, part of a broader Soviet offensive into the region of East Prussia, lasted from 26 January until 29 March 1945.

Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland

The Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland (German: Infanterie-Regiment "Großdeutschland"; "Greater Germany" Infantry Regiment) was an élite German Army ceremonial and combat unit which saw action during World War II. Originally formed in 1921 it was known as the Wachregiment Berlin. Renamed Infanterie-Regiment Großdeutschland in 1939, the regiment served in the campaigns in France and the Low Countries. It then served exclusively on the Eastern Front until the end of the war. It was destroyed near Pillau in May 1945.

Großdeutschland is sometimes mistakenly perceived to be part of the Waffen-SS, whereas it was actually a unit of the regular German Army (Heer). In 1942 it was expanded into the Großdeutschland Division, the best-equipped division in the Wehrmacht, which received equipment before all other units, including some Waffen-SS units; however it remained a regiment within the division and was renamed to Grenadier-Regiment Großdeutschland. It received its final name, Panzergrenadier-Regiment Großdeutschland, in 1943.

List of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipients (Ka–Km)

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest awards in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of extreme gallantry. A total of 7,321 awards were made between its first presentation on 30 September 1939 and its last bestowal on 17 June 1945. This number is based on the acceptance by the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR). Presentations were made to members of the three military branches of the Wehrmacht—the Heer (army), Kriegsmarine (Navy) and Luftwaffe (air force), as well as the Waffen-SS, the Reich Labour Service and the Volkssturm (German national militia). There were also 43 foreign recipients of the award.These recipients are listed in the 1986 edition of Walther-Peer Fellgiebel's book, Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945. Fellgiebel was the former chairman and head of the order commission of the AKCR. In 1996, the second edition of this book was published with an addendum delisting 11 of these original recipients. Author Veit Scherzer has cast doubt on a further 193 of these listings. The majority of the disputed recipients had received the award in 1945, when the deteriorating situation of Germany during the final days of World War II left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process.Listed here are the 289 Knight's Cross recipients of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS whose last name is in the range "Ka–Km". Scherzer has challenged the validity of four of these listings. This is the first of two lists of all 717 Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipients whose last names start with "K". The recipients whose last names are in the range "Kn–Kz" are listed at List of Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipients (Kn–Kz). The recipients are initially ordered alphabetically by last name. The rank listed is the recipient's rank at the time the Knight's Cross was awarded.

Lower Silesian Offensive

The Lower Silesian Offensive (Russian: Нижне-Силезская наступательная операция) was a Soviet offensive on the Eastern Front of World War II in 1945, involving forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front under Marshal Ivan Konev. It cleared German troops from much of Lower Silesia and besieged a large German force in the provincial capital, Breslau. The offensive began on February 8 and continued until February 24, when the Soviets ceased their offensive having captured a small bridgehead across the Neisse River near Forst. The offensive directly succeeded the Vistula–Oder Offensive, in which Konev's troops had driven the German Army Group A from Poland, liberating Kraków and taking bridgeheads over the Oder River.

Panzer-Grenadier-Division Großdeutschland

The Panzergrenadier-Division "Großdeutschland" (also commonly referred to simply as Großdeutschland or Großdeutschland Division) was an elite combat unit of the German Army (Heer) that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II.

The unit originally started out as a ceremonial guard unit in the 1920s and by the late 1930s had grown into a regiment of the combined Wehrmacht German armed forces. The regiment would later be expanded and renamed Infantry Division Großdeutschland in 1942, and after significant reorganization was renamed Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland in May 1943. In November 1944, while the division retained its status as a panzergrenadier division, some of its subordinate units were expanded to divisional status, and the whole group of divisions were reorganized as Panzerkorps Großdeutschland.

Second Battle of Târgu Frumos

The Second Battle of Târgu Frumos, part of the First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, was a military engagement primarily between the Wehrmacht and Red Army forces in May 1944, near Iași, Romania.

Military historian David Glantz claims the battle resulted from a Stavka order to the forces of the 2nd & 3rd Ukrainian Fronts to commence a coordinated invasion of Romania. It was directed towards Iași with a secondary objective of establishing bridgeheads across the Prut river.The battle was only briefly described by Soviet historians. Recently, Russian historians have begun describing this as a distinct battle. For example, the four volume Great Patriotic War (1998) prepared for the Russian Federation states:

Thus, during the Târgu-Frumos operation, the 2nd Ukrainian Front's forces tried unsuccessfully to complete a deep penetration of the enemy's defense and reach the territory between the Prut & Seret Rivers. By order of the Stavka, they themselves went over to the defensive along existing lines on 6 May.... The several attempts by the 3rd Ukrainian Front's armies to conduct attacks from their Dnestr bridgeheads & seize new bridgeheads also led to nothing.

According to accounts by Hasso von Manteuffel, one of the two German division commanders, and Ferdinand Maria von Senger und Etterlin the German forces defeated a Soviet offensive by the 2nd Ukrainian Front that was expected to be a precursor of a much larger offensive in Northern Ukraine. The battle of Târgu Frumos has been used as a case study in officer tactical education in the United States Army and other armies, teaching how a mobile defense can defeat an armoured spearhead. There are however questions about the accounts by the two German officers, relating to the failure to include Romanian forces into their account.

Vilkaviškis

Vilkaviškis (pronunciation , is a city in southwestern Lithuania. It is located 25 km (16 mi) northwest from Marijampolė, on a bank of Šeimena River. The city got its name from the Vilkauja River, a tributary to Šeimena. Initially named Vilkaujiškis the name was later changed to an easier to pronounce form Vilkaviškis.

Until 1941 the city had a large Jewish Community which was annihilated by the Nazis and their local collaborators. The whole Jewish population was killed in a single day,(tzom-gedalia), after the entry of the Germans into the city. This is the town from which the Cauliflower Revolution originated.

Vistula–Oder Offensive

The Vistula–Oder Offensive was a successful Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European Theatre of World War II in January 1945. It saw the liberation of Kraków, Warsaw and Poznań.

The Red Army had built up their strength around a number of key bridgeheads, with two fronts commanded by Marshal Georgy Zhukov and Marshal Ivan Konev. Against them, the German Army Group A, led by Colonel-General Josef Harpe (soon replaced by Colonel-General Ferdinand Schörner), was outnumbered 5:1. Within days, German commandants evacuated the concentration camps, sending the prisoners on their death marches to the west, where ethnic Germans also started fleeing. In a little over two weeks, the Red Army had advanced 300 miles (483 km) from the Vistula to the Oder, only 43 miles (69 km) from Berlin, which was undefended. But Zhukov called a halt, owing to continued German resistance on his northern flank (Pomerania), and the advance on Berlin had to be delayed until April.

Generalkommando Panzerkorps Großdeutschland (September 28, 1944)
Parent unit
Components
Panzerkorps Großdeutschland (February 1, 1945)
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Panzerkorps Großdeutschland (March 1, 1945)
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Panzerkorps Großdeutschland (March 31, 1945)
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Components
Panzerkorps Großdeutschland (April 21, 1945)
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Panzerkorps Großdeutschland (May 7, 1945)
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Components
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