6th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)

La 6 Panzer-Division (6ª armored division) was an armored division originated from transformed of the 1.Leichte-Division, and forms part of the Wehrmacht, who fought during the Second World War with the insignia of Nazi Germany.

Division battleship between the most celebrated and valiant of the Wehrmacht, the 6. Panzer-Division he counted in its ranks some of the most skilled officers of the Panzerwaffe, including Walther von Hünersdorff, Erhard Raus, Franz Bäke, Richard Koll, Hermann von Oppeln-Bronikowski, Erich Löwe, Helmut Ritgen and Horst Scheibert.

History

The campaigns of the 1940 and 1941

THEATRES OPERATIONAL OF THE 6 PANZER-DIVISION

Place and the period

Poland and Germany October 1939 – in May 1940

 France May 1940 – in July 1940

East Prussia July 1940 – in June 1941

Eastern Front, northern sector, June 1941 – May 1942

France in May 1942 – December 1942

Eastern Front, sector south in December 1942 – in March 1944

Eastern Front, sector center March 1944 – in December 1944

Hungary December 1944 – March 1945

Austria March 1944 – in May 1945

La 6. Panzer-Division was officially born October 18, 1939 in Wuppertal in Westphalia, by elements of the 1. Leichte-Division (1ª lightweight division; instituted, always in the same city, November 10, 1938 by elements of the 1. Leichte Brigade, the latter born October 12th, 1937) continuing to fight part of the campaign of Poland. He came initially equipped with mainly chariots of production czech M35, with the addition of some Panzer IV.

With in organic 60 Panzer II, 118 LT vz 35 (plus other 14 used as wagon command) and 31 Panzer IV the division fought in the western front framed in the Panzergruppe Kleist, XXXXI Panzerkorps, distinguishing itself for value and combativeness in the battle of the Meuse, in the reckless race towards the coasts of Manica, in the battle of Dunkerque and in ‘operation Rot (second phase of the campaign of France).

At the end of these operations, more precisely in the summer 1940, he was transferred to the eastern front for participate in the operation Barbarossa.

During the German offensive was in use by in the ranks of XXXXI Panzerkorps (Group armed Nord) on the march towards the Baltic countries and Leningrad. The division, equipped with 47 Panzer II, 155 LT vz 35 (M35) and 30 Panzer IV, he fought with momentum and Decision, advancing in depth and by rejecting some hard counterattacks of the reserves Soviet armored (battle of Rasenjai) in spite of the distinct technical inferiority of his chariots armed in front of to the KV-1 and KV-2 Soviets.

After having participated the advancing out of Leningrad, to September the department came aggregate as at Army Group Center for l operation Tifone direct against Moscow; after considerable initial successes also to the 6th. Panzer-Division (aggregate now at the LVI Panzerkorps) she was stopped at the gates of Soviet capital and forced to fall back, fighting a very harsh fighting in winter was which cost her losses very high of men and means.

Because of its complete exhaustion, the division in spring came then retreat from the eastern front and sent in France for regroup. In this period it came equipped with finally of the most modern Panzer III and Panzer IV with cannon long-, with whom would be had had to return, in the projects originals, to the Russian front to strengthen the Italian lines on the Don.

The catastrophe of Stalingrad would have forced the High German command to overturn these plans and in transferring urgency by rail, the 6. Panzer-Division to Kotelnikovo to strengthen immediately the German front to the south of the Don.

The return on the eastern front

La 6. Panzer-Division (to the command of the able and energetic general Erhard Raus) returned, therefore, precipitously on the eastern front at the beginning of December 1942 for costiture the strong core of the envisaged Operation Storm Wintry, organized hastily for groped of unlock the German forces encircled at Stalingrad. Starting from 12 December the division battleship (at the complete with over 160 panzer) engaged himself in maximum in the decisive mission, succeeding, after tough fights with the reserves Soviet armored, to advance up to 50 km from the bag (on the river Myskova). Exhausted (his armored forces had fallen to 51 panzer operating already December 19) and not supported by other forces, not was unable to continue over and came instead (December 23rd) callback to the north of Don to try to stop the new irruption Soviet in depth to the shoulders of Army Group of the Don, during l ‘operation Small Saturn.

At the end the year, the 6 Panzer-Division gave again test of its value and of the great skill of Crews of its panzer by rejecting the columns Soviet armored that threatened the airports of Morozovskaja.

For the rest of this winter, the 6 Panzer-Division, the strongest of the armored divisions of Field Marshal von Manstein, you would be continually done its utmost in interventions of rescue and in counterattacks to contain the inexhaustible offensives enemy. Forced to fall back slowly, the division would have finally participated actively, in the February-March 1943 until the counteroffensive German (third battle of Char’kov), contributing, together to the divisions Waffen-SS to the destruction of opposing forces in march towards the Dniepr and to the stabilization of the eastern front. After these successes to April on 1º battalion, 11 Panzer-Regiment he was transferred in Germany to take confidence with new wagons Panther.

In summer 1943, reorganized and re-equipped with 13 Panzer II, 52 Panzer III, 32 Panzer IV, 6 wagons command and 14 Flammpanzer (wagons flamethrower) sockets part in the battle of Kursk in the ranks of the detachment Kempff, engaged on the right of II Panzerkorps-SS in the southern sector of the salient; would once more have given proof of its value advancing in depth but without being able to join with the Waffen-SS and undergoing serious losses. Even during the subsequent fourth battle of Char’kov, the 6. Panzer-Division he would have fought bravely, tackling the massive Soviet offensive and defending and attacks her bitterly Ukrainian city until August 23 1943. From that moment the division, now very weakened and reduced to a handful of battle tanks, would have continued throughout the campaign 1943 – 1944 to fight tenaciously (September 13th 1943 claimed the 1500 ° enemy tank destroyed since the war began), but without being able to influence on the result of various battles and offensive unleashed subsequently Armata Rossa.

Completely exhausted, in the spring 1944 it was withdrawn from the forehead for be reorganized with some Grille, Hummel and Wespe. It would be instead was again committed summer of 1944, still incomplete, to help stop the Russian advance during l operation Bagration: impiegata in the central sector, he would have fought with skill in Vilnius and Kaunas before being again retreat from the first line. In November returned the battalion, 11. Panzer-Regiment, that had been replaced in the meantime by a battalion of the Großdeutschland.

Le last campaigns

Moved in the central sector of the front, she was sent in Hungary in December 1944 where he took part to the various attempts, from part of the numerous German armored divisions gathered by Hitler, of unlock the forces German-Hungarians encircled during l siege of Budapest. After the failure of this mission the division continued to fight bravely in Hungary undergoing again strong losses of men and means (in particular during the desperate counteroffensive German of Balaton).

Almost decimated, is transferred, in March, 1945, in Austria where successfully defends the bridge Reichsbrücke thus allowing to the latest allied units in route to get to safety. On 7 May, near Brno, the division ceases to fight surrendering to the Americans, that deliver them to however to the Red Army. Exactly one month before the organic of the division was reduced to only 44 officers, 229 non-commissioned officers, 962 soldiers and 8 wagons armed.

Order of battle

Foundation (1939) – 1942

•Stab (Quartier general)

•11. Panzer-Regiment (11 º armored regiment)

•65. Panzer-Abteilung (65 º armored battalion) – up to the June 1942

•6.  Schützen-Brigade (6 ª motorized infantry brigade)

◦4. Schützen-Regiment

◦6.  Kradschützen-Abteilung (6 º battalion motorcyclists)

•76 Artillerie-Regiment (mot.) (76 º regiment of artillery motorized)

•41. Panzerabwehr-Abteilung (41 º battalion anti-tank)

•57 Pionier-Abteilung (57 º battalion of the military genius)

•57 Aufklärungs-Abteilung (mot.) (57 º battalion Searchin motorized)

•82. Nachrichten-Abteilung (82 º battalion communications) – from 1940

•57 Nachschub-Führer (57 ° train supplies divisional)

•57 Feldersatz-Abteilung (57 º battalion replacements)

1943

•Stab

•11. Panzer-Regiment

•4. Panzergrenadier-Regiment (4 º regiment panzergrenadier)

•114. Panzergrenadier-Regiment

•6.  Aufklärungs-Abteilung (mot.)

•76 Artillerie-Regiment (mot.)

•41. Panzerabwehr-Abteilung

•298. Heeres Flak Abteilung (298 º detachment FlaK of the army)

•57 Pionier-Abteilung

•82. Nachrichten-Abteilung

•57 Feldersatz-Abteilung

Decorations

The men who lent service in this division and to which came assigned the Cross of Cavaliere of the Cross di Ferro were 50 (included a case unconfirmed). Franz Richter was instead the only one to receive, August 20th 1944, the brooch oro for the hand to hand combat; 124 soldiers were awarded of the Cross German gold and three with that silver. To other 28 was granted the brooch honor of the army.

Commanders

Name Bars Beginning End Notes

Werner Kempf  Generalleutnant  October 18 1939  January 6th 1941  

Franz Landgraf  Generalmajor  January 6th 1941  September 1st 1941  

Erhard Raus  Oberst  September 1st 1941  September 15 1941  

Franz Landgraf  Generalmajor  September 16th, 1941  November 23, 1941  

Erhard Raus  Generalmajor  November 23, 1941  April 26th, 1942  

Erhard Raus  Generalleutnant  April 27th 1942  February 7, 1943  

Walther von Hünersdorff  Oberst  February 7, 1943  May 1st, 1943  

Walther von Hünersdorff  Generalmajor  May 1st, 1943  July 14 1943  wounded in the head by a sniper in Kursk

Dead July 17 1943

Martin Unrein  Oberst  July 14 1943  July 24th, 1943  

Wilhelm Crisolli  Generalmajor  July 25th 1943  August 21st 1943  

Rudolf von Waldenfels  Oberst  August 22nd, 1943  October 30, 1943  

Rudolf von Waldenfels  Generalmajor  November 1st 1943  February 8 1944  

Werner Marcks  Oberst  February 9th, 1944  February 19 1944  

Rudolf von Waldenfels  Generalmajor  February 20 1944  March 11th 1944  

Walter Denkert  Oberst  March 12 1944  March 27, 1944  

Rudolf von Waldenfels  Generalleutnant  March 28, 1944  November 22, 1944  

Friedrich-Wilhelm Jürgens  Oberst  November 23rd, 1944  January 17 1945  

Rudolf von Waldenfels  Generalleutnant  January 18 1945  May 8 1945  

Bibliography

•P. Carell, Operation Barbarossa, BUR, 2000th

•F. DELANNOY, Panzerwaffe, Editions Heimdal, 2001

•E. Bauer, History controversial of the Second World War, Volume 4, DeAgostini, 1 971

•F. Kurowski, Panzer aces, JJFedorowicz publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-921991-13-4

•JP. Pallud, Blitzkrieg à l’Ouest, Editions Heimdal, in 2000

•Panzer, The armored vehicles Germans of the Second World War, 2009, Novara, DeAgostini, vol.6, ISSN 2035-388X

Divisions battleships of the Wehrmacht

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